6 Largest Lenses Ever Created

  1. Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 (aka Sigmonster)

Length: 23 in.

Weight: 11 lbs.

Price: $8,000

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.

51maqcxh80L. SL1276  image


  1. Canon 1200mm f/5.6

Length: 33 in.

Weight: 36 lbs.

Price: $80,000

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.

Canon-EF-1200mm-f-5.6-L-USM-Lens image

Photo credit http://www.the-digital-picture.com

  1. Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8

Length: 29 in.

Weight: 35 lbs.

Price: ~$30,000

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.

31HJV48AKuL. SX300  image


  1. LEICA APO-TELYT-R 1600mm f/5.6

Length: 47 in.

Weight: 132 lbs

Price: $2,064,489

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.

leica-apo-telyt-r-1600mm-460x307 image

Photo credit www.apotelyt.com


  1. Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 1700mm, f/4

Length: Unknown

Weight: 564 lbs

Price: Unknown

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.”

zeiss image


  1. Canon 5200mm f/14 Mirror

Length: 76 in.

Weight: 220 lbs

Price: $55,000


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.

canon super lens image


Recommended Cleaning Supplies:

NIKON Prime Lenses

CANON Prime Lenses

SIGMA Prime Lenses

Nikon 24mm f/1.4 Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II Sigma 24mm f/1.8 EX DG
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM
Nikon 35mm f/1.4G Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
Nikon 85mm f/1.4G Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
Nikon 300mm f/2.8G AF-S ED Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS Sigma 300mm f/2.8 EX DG IF

Article written by Spencer Seastrom