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Using a long lens #photography

Sometimes we need to use a long lens to get a close-up shot of our subject. This can be for wildlife photography or in my case it was to get a shot of a helicopter taking off near my house. The lens I used was a 55 – 300mm lens which is the equivalent of a 10 times zoom on a bridge camera.

helicopter using a long lens


I used spot focusing for this shot and got the single focus point on the helicopter. I used the middle focus point, that is the most sensitive. I also had my camera set on the largest picture size 6000 px by 4000 px which gave me the option of cropping the photo. With such a large picture size you can crop to get your subject central or zoom in digitally.

helicopter 2


I used a wide aperture, this gave me a really fast shutter speed that has frozen the action but you can still see slight blur on the rotors. Most shots with a long lens are taken with a wide aperture.

helicopter 3

Focusing with a long lens

Focusing on the helicopter was difficult as it became obscured behind a tree. I kept the focus point on the helicopter and took multiple shots just in case I missed. Notice that the foreground blurs but keeps the subject in focus. If I bought another lens, I would like an 18 – 300 mm long lens which would be really useful but they cost around £650 for a DX lens. The 18 – 300 mm is useful for candid shots at events and is the type the paparazzi use.

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