Length: 23 in.
Weight: 11 lbs.
Starting off our list of giant lenses is the Sigma 300-800mm which is the shortest and cheapest in this series. It is one of the few super-telephotos that is actually obtainable without a crazy amount of hassle or money. $8,000 may not sound very affordable, but for those who are really, REALLY into photography, it's a price that is reachable. The Sigmonster has two Special Low Dispersion glass elements that provide optimum sharpness and color through the whole focal range. There's even a place to drop in 46mm filters at the back of the lens.
Canon 1200mm f/5.6
Length: 33 in.
Weight: 36 lbs.
This lens first appeared in the 1984 Summer Olympics and was originally created with an FD mount but was later converted to an EF mount. It's uncertain how many of these lenses were made. Estimates range from 20 to 100. The lens contains two crystal fluorite elements which take a year to grow (so order ahead of time.) Some owners of this lens include National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, and James Jannard, founder of Oakley. B&H reported to have sold one in their New York store for $120,000.
Photo credit http://www.the-digital-picture.com
Length: 29 in.
Weight: 35 lbs.
After seeing this massive piece of equipment, you really understand why they call it a bazooka lens. The Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 is the first and only lens to have a 2.8 aperture at 500mm making it the fastest 500mm in existence. Focusing and zooming are adjusted via an internal battery-powered motor, and it even has an LCD screen that shows the zoom and focus settings. At a price of $30,000, Sigma is nice enough to include a special made 2x teleconverter that makes this lens into a 400-1000mm f/5.6.
LEICA APO-TELYT-R 1600mm f/5.6
Length: 47 in.
Weight: 132 lbs
It should come as no surprise that the most expensive lens in this series goes to Leica. In fact, it claims the title of the most expensive consumer lens ever made. Very little is known about this lens since it was specially commissioned by Qatar’s former minister of Culture, Arts, and Heritage, Sheikh Al-Thani. Rumor has it that a customized four-wheel-drive Mercedes was built to act as a mobile tripod for the lens. There is only one in existence other than the prototype that sits in Leica's showroom. No images from this lens have been released.
Photo credit www.apotelyt.com
Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 1700mm, f/4
Weight: 564 lbs
This special lens was custom made for one customer and is most likely the only one in existence. Because of this, several details of this lens are unknown. What is known is that it is the largest telephoto lens for non-military use in the world. Due to it's enormous size and weight, Carl Zeiss developed a special focusing system very similar to that of telescopes. It was designed to be used with a Hasselblad 6x6 camera for the customer's “special needs.”
Canon 5200mm f/14 Mirror
Length: 76 in.
Weight: 220 lbs
Okay, so this one doesn't really count because it's a mirror lens, but it's still incredible nonetheless. At an effective focal length of 5150mm this lens is (according to Canon) capable of taking photos of objects up to 32 miles away. In fact, the minimum focusing distance is about 400 ft. Instead of an aperture, the lens controls light through the use of bulit-in ND filters. It's so massive that anything built to hold it needs to be custom built, and believe it or not, it can actually be fitted to work with a DSLR though frankly, it would be rather impractical. Unlike the other lenses, there is no way you could use this for sports or wildlife photography. It's only practical applications would be astrophotography or perhaps special surveillance.
Recommended Cleaning Supplies:
- Nikon Lens Pen Cleaning System
- Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Cloths Wipes
- Canon Optical Digital Camera and Lens Cleaning Kit
- Giottos AA1900 Rocket Air Blaster Large
- Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth
- Giottos CL1001 Large Cleaning Kit with Small Rocket Blaster
- Hoodman Lens Cleanse Natural Cleaning Kit
Article written by Spencer Seastrom