Very Large Lenses

In the past few days I’ve seen a few stories about a very special Canon lens, a 1200mm monster that weighs 36 pounds and costs 99 thousand dollars (that’s not a typo). It was interesting, but not something I would have necessarily mentioned here.

Then, today, came another story about a truly monster lens, a 220 pound, 5200mm specimen, made by Canon, that “is capable of taking photographs of objects 18 to 32 miles away.” No idea how much that one costs, but here’s a page with full details, including the note that two small telescopes are included to aid with focusing!

Anyway, back to the first lens. It was a special order item, produced from 1993 until 2005; there were “more than 12 and less than 20” units ever made. B&H has more details and some photos taken with this lens. It’s amazing how close something 2 miles away can seem when viewed through this amazing piece of glass.

To put things in perspective, my longest and heaviest lens is a Canon 100-400mm zoom that costs about 98,000 dollars less than the 1200mm. A typical point and shoot that advertises its telephoto capabilities is (35mm equiv) around 100 to 140mm. The mind boggles when considering 1200mm to 5200mm lenses; ignoring the logistics of such large lenses, they would sure make it easier to get those elusive bird close-ups!

Update: one key feature I wanted to mention is the close focus length. To take a photo with the 1200mm lens you must be at least 49 feet away from the subject; with the 5200mm lens the length of a football field is only 3/4 of the required distance!

3 thoughts on “Very Large Lenses”

  1. Mike, I love the banner photo of Coronado Heights. that is awesome Man.
    I enjoyed looking at all your photos, you have a real talent there.
    Thanks for brightening up my day, can these photos be downloaded and used for desktop wallpaper?
    The Smilemaker, jwa

  2. Speaking of very large lenses. Popular Mechanics or one of the other dozen magazines I view, had a military lens that has a 10,000 pixel something. Whatever it was, it was like a microscope for outdoor use, much like an retired spy plan thing.

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