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Battle of Biggest Zoom Lenses Ever

Last Updated on December 5, 2020 by PixelPluck

Battle of Biggest Telephoto Zoom Lenses Ever

Like they say, the more the better !!

We tracked down the biggest zoom lenses ever produced for normal photography purposes. From the legendary Nikon 1200-1700mm to the Sigma’s Green Monster. From Canon 1200mm bazooka to World’s most expensive Leica 1600mm and the world’s largest lens Canon 5200mm. It’s very obvious that none of them are affordable and are built for a specific purpose. They look like missile launching units and to buy them you will have to blow your bank account. Even then the chances of getting them are extremely low. Check out who wins the battle of biggest zoom lenses ever made.

5. Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 APO EX DG Ultra-Telephoto Zoom Lens

The Sigma 200-500mm is also referred to as ‘The Green Monster’. You might confuse it for being a portable missile launching system. The green color gives a further boost to the intimidating monster look. Fair to say that you will need strong biceps or even an assistant’s shoulder to mount it on and shoot photos. The massive size is to accommodate a constant aperture of f2.8 which lets in a massive amount of light even at 500mm.
Price: US $26000

Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 APO EX DG Ultra-Telephoto Zoom Lens feat The Green Monster
Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 APO EX DG Ultra-Telephoto Zoom Lens

4. Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens

It was the longest fixed Canon Telephoto ever made with just a 2-degree field of view. Built-to-order by Canon from the year 1993 to 2005, each lens was specially hand-crafted. Canon produced just 2 lenses a year with a delivery time of about 18 months. The lens took more than a year to construct because of the time required to grow its massive fluorite crystals. Only a dozen-or-so of Canon 1200mm were ever made. Wondering who bought them? Well, National Geographic magazine and Sports Illustrated are known to own a couple, the Feds probably have a few squirreled away somewhere, and a few well-heeled photo enthusiasts. It is a rare possession given the small number of this lens ever manufactured. Most of it is owned by agencies rather than individuals.
Price : Above US $150,000

Biggest Zoom and Telephoto Lens Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens
Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens

3. Leica APO-Telyt-R 1:5.6/1600mm Lens

If you think spending $10,000 is a lot for your hobby then you have no idea to what extent one can go if they have the money. Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Thani of Qatar ordered the specially made Leica APO-Telyt-R 1:5.6/1600mm lens direct from Leica and spent a whopping $2,064,500 to get it. He even ordered a custom 4WD Mercedes to mount it and carry it around on the Mercz. This makes it the most expensive consumer camera lens ever made. This Leica APO-Telyt-R was prototyped and built in Leica’s Solms, Germany factory, where the prototype can still be seen on display. At 1.2-meters long,  42cm wide, and with a whopping 60kg or 132lbs weight, it needs a small truck to be carried around. Please free free to suggest a Tripod for this MegaZoom Lens in the comments below. Interestingly it was delivered to Al-Thani in the year 2006, however, no pictures taken with it have ever been made public.
Price: US $2,064,500

Leica APO-Telyt-R 1:5.6/1600mm Lens
Leica APO-Telyt-R 1:5.6/1600mm Lens

2. Nikkor 1200-1700mm f/5.6-8.0 Lens

Weighing in at 36 pounds and measuring nearly 3 feet in length, the manual focus lens was introduced in 1993 and had a hefty price tag of $60,000. It was first used in 1990 at the Koshien Stadium, the baseball ground at which the spring high school baseball tournament was staged. The Nikkor 1200-1700mm was also used during the french hostage situation to capture photos from a safe distance by AP journalists.
Price : US $ 60,000

nikon 1200-1700mm lens biggest and most expensive lens
Nikkor 1200-1700mm f/5.6-8.0 Lens

1. Canon 5200mm f/14 Tele-Monster

Canon 5200mm looks like an industrial scientific machinery. This 5200mm prime lens is the world’s largest DSLR lens. It’s said that only three of these toys are around, all are made in Japan, and all in private hands. The lens clearly focuses on objects 18-32 miles (30 – 51.5 km) away. If it was slightly more powerful then the earth’s curvature would become a serious issue. The minimum distance to focus is 400 feet (120 meters). Canon 5200mm weighs around 220 lbs (100 kg). One of these 5200mm was sold on eBay a few years ago for a ridiculous $50000. Definitely not recommended for frequent travelers.
Price: US $50000

Canon 5200mm
Canon 5200mm

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10 comments

  1. So the article is about the biggest zoom lenses ever. Kind of misleading considering that 3 of the 5 are not zoom lenses at all. It seems you’ve committed a pretty rookie mistake using the term zoom, instead of telephoto.

  2. I think we are just in beginning of photography revolution, look back to computer engineering from 50 years ago and campare it with what we get now, I try to imagine what photography technologies and industry will be in near future

  3. Ha. Loved the curvature remark

  4. Truly when someone doesn’t be aware of then its up
    to other people that they will assist, so here
    it takes place.

  5. Do you have any video of that? I’d care to find out some additional
    information.

    • On the 5200mm lens you said that it focuses on things 18-32 miles away. Then you say that IF it was more powerful that the earth’s curvature would be an issue.
      Well, at 10 miles, there would be 66 feet of earth in between you and an object at equal height above sea level.
      At 32 miles, there would be 682 feet of curvature.
      So your comment doesn’t make any sense.

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