Should you own a 70-200mm lens?

That’s the question asked by Stephen F. Dennstedt.

And the answer is, “no.” You should not own a lens like that, not if you’re an amateur photographer anyway. No great amateur photos have ever been taken with a telephoto zoom lens. (OK, I am sure that of the billions of photos posted on the web, you can find at least one great amateur photo taken with a telephoto zoom lens, but the point is that it’s a rarity.)

If you’re a wedding photographer and need a telephoto zoom to take pictures of the wedding ceremony, then sure, go for it. But if you’re a “professional” photographer, then you probably aren’t reading my website for equipment advice, and honestly I don’t have any good advice for you anyway. The only thing I know about wedding photography is that my sister overpaid for mediocre photos (but she doesn’t realize the photos are mediocre).

Somewhere out there, someone may ask, “but maybe I ‘need’ this lens to photograph my kid playing sports or something like that.” No, you’re kid doesn’t want the embarrassment of their parent carrying around a massively huge lens while every other parent is just snapping pictures with their iPhone.

Still don’t agree with me? That’s why at the top of the blog it says “For entertainment purposes only. Don’t take anything in here too seriously.”

2 thoughts on “Should you own a 70-200mm lens?

  1. As the photographer/writer who posed the question in the first place I took your advice and decided to appreciate the humour in your post rather than get offended. So, yes, I had a chuckle or two. Having written the original article obviously I disagree with your advice (but I am still laughing anyway). I’ve seen a lot of great photos taken by amateurs . . . in fact many serious amateurs shoot rings around some pros. Pro simply means you make money with your photography (and many serious amateurs choose not to). In the old days it also implied a certain level of competency but not so much anymore. I’m an old fart and have snapped shutters for over 63 years (started when I was 7) and have been shooting professionally since 2009. I take my craft seriously (though hopefully I still have my sense of humour) so I tend to write about it seriously. Doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate your satirical tongue-in-cheek approach however. And for recreational shooters (iPhones, point & shoot cameras, etc) I probably even agree with you. But for photographers (at all skill levels) who take their craft seriously and choose to express their creativity through photography I hope they will be more broadminded in their approach. Gear (cameras and lenses), even telephoto zoom lenses, have their uses but it’s still ultimately the photographer and not the gear that makes or breaks a photo. Anyway, I’m flattered you chose my blog post to illustrate your point. Warmest regards, Stephen F. Dennstedt at Indochine Photography


    1. Hi, thanks for reading my blog post!

      I didn’t mean that there are no great amateur photos, but that there are no great amateur photos taken with a telephoto zoom lens (with of course some uncommon exceptions).

      And seriously, I do believe that the vast majority of amateur photos that I would label as great are taken within the typical focal lengths of standard zooms (say between 24mm and 100mm).

      Liked by 1 person

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