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This post was most recently updated on November 13th, 2022

A 70-300mm lens can look quite conspicuous if you are not sure how to use it. Certainly, using one may feel like you have just joined the paparazzi yet such a lens can be really useful in the right situations.

This includes wildlife photography, including certain viewing areas at the zoo, as well as at sports events and when traveling.

Knowing how to use a certain lens can mean making the most out of every situation. They can be cumbersome so you should learn why a 70-300mm is so useful and when you should bring it with you.

The lens can excel at the right distance so is not ideal for everyday photography but if you want the ability to occasionally zoom in on your subject then drop it into your pack.

What Is A 70-300mm Lens?

A 70-300mm lens is considered a medium telephoto lens so should prove ideal for travel and street photography. With a 300mm focal length, you take great photos of wildlife even from a safe distance in front of the enclosure.

For natural features such as waterfalls or geysers, you want to be able to zoom into the subject yet stand well back and with this lens, you can do that.

You can also use this telephoto lens to take photos of even more distant subjects such as the moon, stars, and planets which makes it a great choice for astronomy photography.

This is largely why telephoto lenses are referred to as a ‘long lens’, as their internal constructions give them a focal length that is larger than the diameter of the lens itself.

This makes them ideal for giving you an enhanced zoom that can take superb photos at a relatively far distance.

The Focal Length Of A 70-300mm Lens

Understanding the focal length of a specific lens can help you to understand why it works so well at certain distances. Bear in mind that the figure represents the focal length and not the length of the actual lens itself.

The focal length of this lens means that there is between 70 and 300mm from where the light rays converge inside the lens to where they hit the camera’s sensor. A shorter focal length will have a reduced magnification and a wider angle of view which is a good thing to remember.

The magnification of the lens means that you can zoom into a subject without disturbing it. For instance, if you wanted to take a photo of a bird in a tree you would want to magnify the image so you do not have to physically approach the bird or you may scare it off.

At a 300mm focal length, you can get an image where the bird is in focus yet you have remained at a safe distance. If you do use the full 300mm focal length, the viewing angle will be narrower so you will see more of the bird but less of the tree and other surrounding objects and that should be what you want.

What Is A 70-300mm Lens Good For?

What Is A 70-300mm Lens Good For_

If you want to zoom into your subject and still achieve a high-quality image then a lens with a defined focal length is ideal. Some telephoto lenses can extend to as much as 800mm and even further yet for a good mid-range, 70-300mm does have its plus points.

For one, they are largely more affordable than lenses with higher focal lengths and come in a smaller, more portable size.

The 70-300mm lens offers some great versatility as you can use it during the day for capturing wildlife, travel shots as well as candid shots too.

There is flexibility which means you can use it for greatly detailed photos of objects that are nearby and then use the zoom for those that are further away.

That makes it ideal for photographers who do not necessarily have a specialism in their photography and do not intend on working towards one. They are also comparably lightweight meaning you can take one with you while not feeling weighed down as you would with a larger lens.

Certainly, if you want the ability to take photos of a sports event you should desire some choice. The ability to switch between zooming into the action itself while shifting back to taking closer photos of the crowd can be done by just adjusting the zoom function.

At a focal length of 300mm, you can expect a zoom of around 8 and a half times which is substantial.

What Should You Not Use A 70-300mm For?

While a 70-300mm lens is ideal for taking photos of the stars, wildlife, and when you are traveling, there are certain situations where they do not prove ideal. For instance, if you wanted to take portrait photography, having the versatility to zoom into your subject may be largely wasted.

Your subject may even object that you are taking such a close shot of their face when you should be able to capture enough detail at a comfortable distance without using a telephoto lens.

The 70-300mm lens has a narrow field of view so should objects or passers-by walk across your view, you may struggle to capture your subject without having to move. This makes it less than ideal for travel photos of subjects in busy areas.

Final Thoughts

A 70-300mm lens offers great versatility that should make it a fixture in your photography bag. For a lightweight, portable lens it may mean you can take all the photos you want for astronomy, wildlife, and travel.

If you want to take a close-up photo of a giraffe’s face without using a ladder, you need a lens with a suitable focal length and 70-300mm has it.

As a lens that can cover so many different types of photos, there are fewer that have so much flexibility as the 70-300mm lens. They also tend to be more affordable than more specialist telephoto ‘long lenses’ that can go beyond 300mm.