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What would you do with a 1200-1700mm Lens?

By Anthony Thurston on March 12th 2013

The Italian news website La Stampa released two images recently of a photographer who was set up in Saint Peter’s Square with a monster Nikon 1200-1700mm F5.6-8 IF-ED Lens hoping to get a shot of the new pope. As you can imagine this lens is pretty rare, and exceptionally expensive. But it got me thinking, what on earth would I shoot with a 1200-1700mm manual focus lens?


Wildlife is an obvious guess, some sort of surveillance would be another guess. But I am having a very hard time thinking of another use for this lens, given its size and the requirement of a tripod. I guess you might be able to use this as a sports lens, if you are a master at manual focus and don’t have on the field access. But even then baseball and football are the only sports where I think you may be able to get a decent shot, most other sports simply do not cover enough real estate to be able to use a lens like this.

How would you shoot this lens? Any interesting uses that I am not thinking of?

[via Nikon Rumors]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. k.A.o.Z.

    I’d take some cool photos of bands on music festivals without paying the entrance fee(which I can’t afford after buying this monstrous lens) from REEEEAAAALLY FAR AWAY! …and then break my back carrying the lens home again…:)

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  2. Andrew Thomas Regan

    Amazing piece of glass is right, but most likely the speed of the lens might become an issue  especially in sports and with nature, it all depends on what you are shooting. But I would love to try it. Man, my photos would get a thousand times better for nature.

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  3. Ahut10

    Amazing piece of glass, and not one that would be easy to carry around I’m sure.
    I have always had the urge to zoom enough to see what’s happening on the decks of shipping containers boats cruising up the coast.

    Or paparazzi of celebs on the opposite side of beach.

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  4. JohnnyCNote

    It would be perfect for getting shots of erupting volcanoes and lava flows . . .

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  5. Robert Grant

    You’d get some amazing shots at a decent air show with this, practically see the pilots waving to you as they fly past..!

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  6. Cinderroherty

    I would get to know my neighbors, up close and personal!

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  7. Jorje Castillo

    I’d like to see how portrait shots look with this thing O_O

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  8. Jason Lee

    nevermind … that’s a prime

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  9. Jason Lee

    ahhh… check this

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  10. Greg Schmidt

    Put it on a D300s and you have a 1800mm-2550mm.

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  11. Gildblancojr

    Paparazzi mode (maybe).

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  12. Doutchie

    Somebody is compensating for something! :P Of course, bird photography could use such a lens, although, I have a 200mm lens (Sigma 70-200mm f2.8) and it’s good for almost all the photos that I make. I could probably use a 500 or 1000mm lens, but this is crazy!!! 

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  13. Russell Cardwell

    Closeups of the Mars rover?

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