Short, Medium & Super Telephoto Lenses


Choosing the Right Camera Lens


Lesson Info

Short, Medium & Super Telephoto Lenses

Moving our way into the short telephoto range, this is where we're talking about portrait photography, and so if you want to shoot people, get some beautiful portraits of people, this first area that I'm going to start with, which is the Basic Short Telephoto lenses, are probably the most best in value you can get. I know one of the leading companies that does testing on products, uses the Canon 85 millimeter one point eight lens to test all of their Canon cameras in image quality, because its such a good basic lens, especially when you stop down a few stops to get that maximum aperture, and so the standard 50 millimeter one point eight lenses are usually less than 200 dollars in cost. And so all of these are just fantastic deals when it comes to it. They're not the shallowest depth of field that you can get, but if you're looking to compromise weight and size, and the camera bag, and how big your camera is going to be, these are some of the best no-brainer options out there. If you ar...

e a professional or you're really wanting to take things to the highest level, you're going to be looking at some of these Premium options. So an 85 or a 105 lens that goes to one point four, to be honest with you, it's gonna be a difficult lens to work with because it has so shallow a depth of field, you have to be spot on in how you're doing your focusing. The crop frame users, they're going to be using the 50 millimeter lens for the same or similar effect. So I need to introduce an 85 one four, which looks like it's a beautiful lens. We have some more one point two lenses from both Olympus and Panasonic in order to get you that shallow depth of field. And, yes, you can get shallower depth of field shooting full frame, but with those forty five or forty two point five millimeter lenses, you can shoot beautiful portraits with really soft out-of-focus backgrounds. This is probably the least-popular category of all the lenses I'm talking about. The Medium Telephoto is somewhere in between kind of Long Telephoto and there's kind of an odd grouping of things that you might deal with these lenses. So these could be good for portrait work if you have a lot of room to work with, like your neighborhood park. They might be good for sports photography as long the sports and action isn't too far away. And this is where you're going to find a lot more options with Nikon and Canon and less so from the other manufacturers because, well, it's just not the most popular category that people are choosing lenses at. For those who shoot sports, they need a wide variety of different lenses for the different types of sports that are available. Typically, I would see people shooting basketball or volleyball or small court sports with this sort of thing. It could be used by portrait photographers on the beach where you have quite a bit of ways to back up. These are some really nice lenses that are going to have some really nice, beautiful out-of-focus backgrounds because of their fast aperture, these Premium ones, and so hopefully, we'll see some more from Sony in the future here and these are slowly starting to filter in with the manufacture of these newer, mirrorless options that are on the market. Alright, 400 and up, our Super Telephoto lenses, and this is what we're talking about for professional sports photography, wildlife photography, and so forth. And so anytime you need to be far away but still get close up to your subjects, that Canon 400 five six looks like it's a pretty good lens for wildlife, even though it doesn't have the stabilization. The 300 f fours and the crop frame lens is going to give you the equivalent of a 450 millimeter lens. You can also look at some of the zoom options that are available here as well. This is another niche area that you're not going to see a lot of options at through the mirrorless manufactureres quite yet. Super Telephoto Premium, this is where Nikon and Canon will shine bright and strong. This is where they have a lot of options for a lot of money. The 400 two eight is the standard go-to lens for football, soccer, baseball, any sorts of professional sports photography. The 300 two eights are really good for indoor arenas. They're typically the biggest lens that you can handhold for an extended period of time. Sony has announced it will be making a 400 two eight, which should be available in the near future. And we are seeing some other new ones, for instance, Olympus has a new 300 millimeter f four lens. I do have one of those lenses here, let me pull that out. I do not have the Canon or Nikon 600 f four in my back pocket right now, but the Canon and Nikon 600 f four is about this big in size and so that crop frame size allows you to shoot wildlife and sports with a really long lens that is really quite small in size. I mean this is something that I can handhold all day long probably, much more so than one of the other lenses which is probably something that you'd want to have on a monopod or tripod as you get through this. So I know I had to run through this pretty quickly, but all of this is going to be in the the .pdf and there'll be an entire page and listing of your brand of lenses and which ones, and the exact numbers, because there are new versions and old versions of lenses and if you really want to get the right one, you gotta make sure you get all the numbers and all the letters correct when you are ordering and choosing your lens. And so that is all part of the .pdf that comes with the class. And so that was your quick lens review of all my recommended lenses, at least in the basic category.

Class Description

Once you’ve chosen the camera of your dreams, how do you know which lens will maximize your camera’s capabilities? Join camera expert John Greengo as he explains what the best lenses are to add to your camera bag. He’ll explain:

  • Which lens is best for specific areas of photography
  • The technology behind lenses
  • How to use specialty lenses including macro and fisheye
  • Tips on operating and maintaining your lenses

John will also talk about lens accessories including hoods, mounts, filters, and teleconverters. By the end of this class, you’ll understand exactly what lens you’ll need to take your best photos!


Boris Dimitrov

Excellent class packed with incredibly useful knowledge. John is an amazing lecturer. He has also developed really great materials to help explain all the concepts and technologies that are explored in the class. Looking forward to my next class with him!

a Creativelive Student

Great class. So informative. John Greengo is such a fantastic tutor and explains everything in such and easy-to-understand way. I would highly recommend this class. Prior to doing this class, I was so confused about which lenses are best for various photography. Now I understand lenses completely. Thanks John!

Lettie Turner

Another great JG class, my 4th. He gives a lot of individual attention to several popular lens brands. I really think after seeing this video series you could pick out three lenses that would fit your needs and your pocketbook. The class handout is spot on for what is covered in the video. Great job!! Thank you