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Although lenses vary in aperture and build quality, the focal length is the main feature that sets a lens apart in terms of field of view and zoom capability. Usually, the best focal length to go for primarily depends on your photography style and application. So, should I buy a 70-300mm lens?
Should I Buy a 70-300mm Lens?
It’s worth buying a 70-300mm lens due to the flexibility and versatility the focal length range offers. The zoom range in this medium telephoto lens makes it the best option for astrophotography, wildlife, and sports photography, where you might not be close enough to the subject to shoot with a wide-angle lens.
Typically, the optical zoom in this lens magnifies the subject to fill the frame without losing the image quality, allowing you to see and capture the details of distant objects like a photographer who is shooting the photo up close.
Although the build quality of 70-300mm lenses varies across models and brands, some of the performance and handling attributes you can expect from these lenses include:
Unlike the prime lens, the zoom capability allows you to vary the magnification of the main subject without physically changing your position, allowing you to capture aesthetically pleasing videos without the camera shake of physically changing positions.
Keeping in mind that this lens is specifically designed for capturing mid-range to distant subjects, the 70-300mm lens can perform exceptionally well in sport, wildlife, and astronomical photography.
The zoom capability also makes this lens ideal for capturing close-ups of camera-sensitive subjects that might move away when you try to get close to them physically.
Field of View
The field of view refers to the maximum region of a scene the camera can image. The field of view is determined by the focal length of the lens and the camera’s sensor size. Usually, a short focal length will have a larger field of view than a longer focal length.
Keeping in mind that this lens has a minimum focal length of 70mm, it can’t capture wide-angle photos or shoot in tight spaces like a 10mm lens. However, it can shoot excellent portraits, especially when the lens is paired with a full-frame camera.
On the other hand, you can increase the capability of this lens to shoot distant subjects by pairing it with a crop-sensor camera, which will increase the focal range by 1.5. Usually, this will make the lens have an equivalent of 105-450mm.
Size and Weight
Keep in mind that the focal length refers to the distance from the camera’s image sensor to the lens when you have the subject in focus. That means a longer focal length translates to a longer lens.
Usually, this makes these lenses larger than ultra-wide-angle primes lenses. Although the weight of the lens might vary depending on the construction materials, these lenses are generally heavy due to their larger sizes.
The heavy weight makes these lenses ideal for use with a tripod setup as they improve the tripod’s overall stability. On the other hand, they are not the best for handheld shooting as they can make your wrists hurt.
Important Tips When Using a 70-300mm Lens
Keep in mind that 70-300mm lens performance is not all about the focal range, and other factors such as aperture might affect the performance of your lens. Although it will depend on the photography situation, the following tips can help enhance the performance of a 70-300mm lens.
- Use a tripod: Mounting the lens on a tripod will allow you to comfortably and smoothly zoom in and out, enhancing your image quality, especially when shooting videos.
- Enable the image stabilization system: If your lens comes with an image stabilization system, activate it to minimize camera tremors, especially when shooting handheld.
- Use the maximum wide aperture for portraits: Although the maximum wide aperture might vary from lens to lens, using the maximum wide aperture when capturing portraits can help blur the background and create a beautiful bokeh effect.
- Shoot in good ambient lighting: Since you might be zooming on a distant subject, artificial lighting or a camera flash might not sufficiently illuminate the subject. The best way to capture bright photos with this lens is to shoot in good ambient lighting.
How Far Can I Zoom With a 70-300mm Lens?
The lens can zoom for around 15 to 56 yards regardless of its brand or model. However, the smoothness and stability of the image when zooming in and out will depend on the build quality.
Is a 70-300mm Lens Zoom or Telephoto?
Generally, a 70-300mm lens can be categorized as a telephoto zoom lens. Typically, a zoom lens means the focal length is variable, while a telephoto means the lens has a longer focal length and a narrower field of view.
Whether you are shooting portraits or distant subjects, the flexibility and versatility that the 70-300mm focal length range offers make this lens worth buying. For the best results, it’s advisable to mount this lens on a tripod or enable the image stabilization system if shooting handheld.