World’s largest telephoto lens

Zeiss announced that they have created the world’s largest telephoto lens, a 1700mm f/4 weighing in at 256 kg (564 pounds). It was developed for long-distance wildlife photography. No kidding—you wouldn’t even have to leave your apartment. No word on how much this custom-made lens cost. But if you have to ask…

STL Sonnar T* 4/1700: Side View

By John Watson

John Watson is the original founder of Photodoto. If you're interested in what John has been up to, you can browse his personal blog.


  1. My Nikon D50 has a multiplication factor of 1.6x so if I attach this to it then I will have a 2720mm lens! What kind of practical use will this really have????

  2. Ali – Think *spy satellite*!

    So, which photo website is going to do the first review on this monster? Wonder how good the image quality is? 🙂

  3. Kind of reminds me of the Polaroid huge format instant camera featured in LensWork. They had to drive it around in a Uhal, park, and open the back door to shoot.

    All the same, I’d take one of these lenses. Looks fun.

  4. lets do some fun math here….

    1700mm lens * 1.6 digital sensor magnification rate * 2x extender = 5440mm

    now, i don’t know, but it seems to me that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to get blur free photos, because even just the 2720mm w/o an extender would result in even the super-smallest shakes and vibrations from say, THE WIND, causing blur.

    second: what are you shooting that you need to be this far away? of course with the lens you must be or any living creature in its right mind would run away from this insanely large lens that weighs more than two or three average men.

  5. This lens is designed for a 6×6 format camera — not a 35mm format camera — so it’s really not all that long of a lens. Basically it works out to being around a 1020mm lens if it were a 35mm lens — still it’s quite impressive.

    So, the math is really closer to this:
    1700mm 6×6 medium format lens * 0.6 35mm to 6×6 conversion = 1020mm 35mm format lens

    As for moving it around, I’m picturing it being mounted on a 4×4 off-road vehicle similar to how a gun is mounted on a tank. 🙂

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