Why Every Photographer Should Have a 100-400mm Telephoto

There are staple telephoto lenses, such as the 70-200mm, but this photographer believes the standout winner and the most underrated Sony lens, is a 100-400mm.

My first telephoto lens was a 75-300mm f/4-5.6 and it was woeful. In fact, I was so inexperienced as a photographer that I thought the softness and dreadful autofocus was just part and parcel of longer-range telephoto lenses, so I steered clear of them. As I learned more, I realized that the problem was that specific lens, and I invested in a Canon 70-200mm f/4. I was immediately converted (eventually swapping it for a 70-200mm f/2.8) and on many occasions, I’ve mulled over the idea of an even longer telephoto lens.

On various trips I’ve taken to test photography equipment for companies, I’ve had access to telephoto lenses with a longer range and they never fail to surprise me with just how much coverage they have. However, I’m also never sure that I would put it to much use outside of trips. Though one long telephoto that has caught my attention a couple of times is the Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS. Chris Hau, in this video, dubs it as the most underrated Sony lens, and it’s easy to see why. With such reach, you have so much control over the composition. And while 400mm is more than far enough for most people, 100 mm is close enough that you wouldn’t need to switch out your lens every time.

What do you think? Is the 100-400mm a great telephoto zoom to own, or is it too niche for most photographers? Do you own one? If so, what do you use it for mostly?

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