Best Telephoto Lens

With the appearance of new cameras, a frequently asked question from CameraStuffReview readers is: "Is it really noticeably better than its predecessor?"

Viewfoto3840

WITH OR WITHOUT LENS CORRECTIONS?

Viewfoto3840

Lens manufacturers design lenses in which distortion, color separation and vignetting are not optimally corrected. They assume that lens errors will be automatically corrected in the camera (for jpg files) or afterwards in Lightroom or Photoshop (for RAW files). The advantage of this choice, for manufacturer and consumer, is that you can achieve high image quality at relatively low costs, because you do not have to use expensive types of glass to prevent all lens errors. But there are also, usually the more expensive, lenses where a manufacturer has gone to extremes to prevent lens errors in the lens design. CameraStuffReview shows tables and graphs of Imatest results with lens corrections ("in-camera jpg") and without lens corrections ("RAW" outside of Photoshop or Lightroom). You can thus use the scores that are closest to your workflow.

Sony FE: Super telephoto zoom lenses (full frame)

Supertelephoto zoom lenses for Sony FE

 Click on a lens for our review:   In-camera lens corr.   No lens corr. 
 

 
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Nikon FX: Super telephoto zoom lenses (full frame)

Canon EF: Super telephoto zoom lenses (full-frame)

Micro-43: Super telephoto zoom lenses

Canon EF-S: Super telephoto zoom lenses(APS-C)

Nikon DX: Super telephoto zoom lenses(APS-C)

Sony E: Super telephoto zoom lenses (APS-C)

Supertelephoto zoom lenses for Sony E

 Click on a lens for our review:   In-camera lens corr.   No lenscorr. 
 

 
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No test results yet. Have some patience.

An understandable question, because of course the quality growth spurt of digital cameras could not go on indefinitely. It's different for lenses. And there are, I think, two areas where lens manufacturers have started making so many better lenses in the last few years that it can hardly have escaped anyone:
First of all, the bright, fixed focal lenses with fewer lens errors, less flare, a higher contrast at full aperture and a higher sharpness from full aperture. Not only in the center, but also in the corners.

Super is NOT ENOUGH

Even more spectacular, I think, is the progress that has been made with the super-telephoto zoom lenses. A few years ago, they were already sharp at the shortest focal length. But you didn't use that. You use a super-telephoto zoom to bring a kingfisher, lion, hippopotamus or otter to you, without risking life and limb or chasing away your subject. Now, you don't even have to sell your car to get that.
Mount a Nikon AF-S 200-500 mm f/5.6E ED VR on a Nikon D500, and no creature is too fast for you. Put a Sigma 150-600 mm Sports (via a Sigma MC11 or a Metabones Speedbooster) on a Sony A7R mk2, and you won't believe your eyes. And the Panasonic 100-400 mm f/4-6.3 has some of both: lightning-fast AF and high sharpness. And that Panasonic Leica Vario-Elmar doesn't even weigh more than 1 kg. Super!

WITH OR WITHOUT LENS CORRECTIONS?

Lens manufacturers design lenses in which distortion, color separation and vignetting are not optimally corrected. They assume that lens errors will be automatically corrected in the camera (for jpg files) or afterwards in Lightroom or Photoshop (for RAW files). The advantage of this choice, for manufacturer and consumer, is that you can achieve high image quality at relatively low costs, because you do not have to use expensive types of glass to prevent all lens errors. But there are also, usually the more expensive, lenses where a manufacturer has gone to extremes to prevent lens errors in the lens design. CameraStuffReview shows tables and graphs of Imatest results with lens corrections ("in-camera jpg") and without lens corrections ("RAW" outside of Photoshop or Lightroom). You can thus use the scores that are closest to your workflow.

Standaard zoom
Supertelezoom
Groothoekzoom
50 mm
Beste Macro or Fisheye
35 mm
Portretlens
24 mm
Telelens

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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