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Shooting With 400mm f/2.8 Telephoto Lenses

There are times when the zoom capabilities on your kit lens just aren't enough and you can't capture the highly detailed shots of distant subjects that you want. A telephoto zoom, like a Nikon 400mm f/2.8, will help to get you up close, even in restricted settings like professional sporting events or wildlife parks.

What Are the Advantages of a 400mm Lens?

Super telephoto zoom lenses allow you to capture clear and sharp images of subjects that are at a significant distance from you, including athletes at sporting events or wildlife while on a safari. When used in conjunction with a lens hood, you can capture stunning outdoor images while blocking the sun and preventing glare in your images.

  • Most Nikon telephoto lenses contain state-of-the-art optical features, such as ultra-quick autofocus motors and accurate image stabilization that make them worth the investment.
  • Capture a lion stalking its prey from afar, and without spooking the animals, or get crisp and sharp action shots of athletes from the edge of the boundary.
  • Compared to zoom lenses, fixed focal length prime lenses will be lighter in weight, which can make a significant difference with big telephotos.

What Should You Look for When Buying a 400mm Lens?

One of the most important features to look for when buying super telephoto lenses is elaborate image stabilization, particularly when you're trying to support the lens by hand. Also, keep in mind whether your camera uses a DX (APS-C) sensor or a full frame (FX) format sensor, as this affects the crop factor and the end result of the image.

  • Most lenses contain vibration reduction (VR) image stabilization technology. VR helps to minimize the blur that often produced by camera shake.
  • AF-S lenses feature an in-built silent wave motor for faster focusing without any discernible noise and some are also moisture-resistant so you can shoot in all conditions.
  • Look for extra-low dispersion elements to produce the sharpest and most detailed images while reducing chromatic aberrations and correcting for distortion.

How Does Aperture Affect a Super Telephoto Lens?

When looking for super telephoto lenses, you may notice that extremely fast apertures, such as f/1.4, are not as common as on 35mm or 50mm fixed focal lenses.

  • An f/2.8 super telephoto lens is almost double the size and weight of an f/5.6, and although it produces better quality images, it may not be desirable when you are hiking with your gear.
  • A faster aperture, such as the f/2.8, allows more light to reach the sensor, which in turn enables faster shutter speeds and lower ISOs to achieve better image quality overall.
  • You can also achieve a shallower depth of field with the f/2.8, allowing more space between your subject and the background to really make the image stand out.

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