Monday, October 02, 2006

Monster Lenses

The longest focal length in my collection of 3 lenses is 300mm. At that length, the slightest vibration, mirror slap or movement of any kind becomes easily recognizable in pictures if you are not careful enough with your settings and handling.

Lenses that are 400mm and beyond are usually referred to as super-telephotos. They are "the holy grail of optical design and the enemy of your bank account".

Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 4/1700

The monster of all monster lenses fitted to a Hasselblad 6 x 6 medium format camera, the owner's camera of choice.

To those who are not familiar with Zeiss labelling convention, 4/1700 means 1700mm f/4.

Announced by Zeiss in this years Photokina in Germany, there is only one in existence at the moment and is the property of a mystery owner. This lens was developed by Carl Zeiss for a customer with very high demands and special interest in long distance wildlife photography. This lens is now the largest telephoto lens for non-military use - anywhere in the world.

It weighs at a staggering 256 kg (564 lbs). I guess this lens will have to be permanently mounted on a Hummer H2-T.

Top view of the T* 4/1700.

The owner, as previously mentioned was not disclosed but the photos released by Carl Zeiss indicates some clues. Notice the Arabic markings and the 'State of Qatar' emblem next to it. My goodness - this Qatari is unbelievably rich!

The price? Not disclosed. But the lens blanks used to to cast the lens elements were valued at a cost more than a luxury sedan. Producing the final lens elements added even more to their value. You do the math.

More details on this lens at and

Other Monster Lenses:

Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM

Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM. There are belived to be only 12 in existence.

Before the T* 4/1700, this was the longest, most exclusive and perhaps the most expensive photographic lens in the world

Introduced by Canon in 1993, and discontinued in 2005. (Although the EF 1200mm is still included in Canon's EF lenses catalogue so I suppose you can still order one for yourself.) The initial price for this lens was US$89,579. It weighs more than 36 pounds (16 kg), comes with its own heavy-duty tripod and case, and was built only by request. There are believed to be around a dozen of the EF 1200 mm lenses in existence. Sports Illustrated magazine owns two of them, as does Canon Professional Services and James Jannard, the billionaire founder of Oakley.

Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 EX

The Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 EX fondly called "the Sigmonster" by Filipino birds photographer Romy Ocon.

The smallest in this group but not small by any means. At US$ 6,200 this is the most affordable super-telephoto lens. (I mean compared to the first two.)

First announced at Photokina 2002 it is 21.4 inches in length and 12.7 lbs in weight. Front element is 6 inches wide.

Comparison test between this lens and the Canon Ef 500mm f/4 L IS made by Filipino birds photographer Romy Ocon here:

So, got a few extra thousandsssss and don't know what to do with them?



Photos have been sourced out from various internet websites. Copyright remains the property of their owners.

1 comment:

lenny k said...

romy ocon was mentioned in the luminous landscape. see article here