Most Expensive Camera Lenses

Leica Apo-Telyt-R 1:5.6/1600mm
Price: 2,064,489 USD 

It might not be the largest one but it is the most expensive lens at the moment and I suppose no ordinary person can ever have it, unless he's a King!

Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 1700 mm F4

Price: disclose 

This behemoth which is actually the "largest of all the lenses ever", was developed by Carl Zeiss designed to be used in Wildlife Photography.
When it comes to lenses without mirrors, the Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 1700mm, f/4 lens is a front-runner-at least among non-military lenses (we never did apply for Top Secret clearance). Announced and exhibited at the 2006 Photokina, this monster was designed and produced for a "customer with very high demands and a special interest in long distance wildlife photography." We haven't been able to find out who the customer was—or whether anyone else has ordered this lens—but the lens features Arabic lettering and an emblem of the State of Qatar, one of the Arab emirates. 

Not surprisingly, the lens dwarfs the Hasselblad 203FE 6x6cm medium format camera it was designed to be paired with to such an extent that we didn't notice that the Hassy was attached in the photo.

The lens utilizes 15 optical elements in 13 groups, with some of the lens blanks weighing more than 55 pounds each, resulting in a gargantuan lens that tips the scales at a monstrous 564 pounds(256 kg)—not the kind of lens you want to move very often, if at all. Even more challenging is operating the lens, a challenge that Zeiss met by developing special servo-controlled aiming and focusing systems, sort of like those used for mega-telescopes. To top it off, the lens is quite beautiful in design. The lens has a focal length of 1700mm and a speed of f/4.

Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens
A super telephoto prime lens which is aimed at sports and wildlife photography made by Cannon. As the company it as, " the world’s largest interchangeable SLR AF lens, in terms of both focal length and maximum aperture." 

This one of the most expensive lenses ever made. The predecessor to the Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens was the Canon FD 1200mm f/5.6 L manual focus lens. The FD 1200 was first seen at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, CA, USA. Chuck Westfall of Canon USA was there and remembers that "5 copies of the original FD 1200mm f/5.6 L lens were brought to L.A. and used for newspaper, magazine and wire service coverage of the Olympic Games." 

All of the FD mount 1200mm f/5.6L lenses were eventually shipped back to Japan, and at some point in the late 1980s, they were converted to EF mount. The new EF 1200 was then marketed by Canon in July, 1993 with an annual production volume of around 2 (that's right - "two") lenses. The EF 1200 L was available by special order with lead times running about 18 months. 

Why such a long lead time? For one reason, it takes nearly a year to grow fluorite crystals large enough to be ground and polished for use in this lens. In addition, the lens is "virtually hand-made". 

Canon has not released specific production quantities, but according to my understanding, less than 100 of these lenses were made. Rumors put this number closer to 20, but ... no one who knows is releasing the actual figure. 

Over the years, several new batches of the lens were manufactured but only in small quantities. Essentially the lenses were handmade, which certainly influenced the limited availability and the extreme retail price, but even more importantly, the fact that it took almost a full year to grow fluorite crystals large enough to create the lens elements also kept production numbers low and the price high.

During production, some of the EF 1200mm lenses were purchased by news and sports magazines as well as newspaper and wire services internationally and were used to capture images of Papal elections in Rome, the Olympics, major league baseball, the World Cup, Formula One motorsports, among other important events. Other copies of the lenses went to various governments (no surprise there) and law enforcement agencies. According to Canon, at least a couple of lenses were purchased by private photographers. If you were a member of Canon's CPS (Canon Professional Services) program, you might have had the chance to borrow one. If not, you're out of luck. Finding a used version is almost impossible and Canon stopped its extremely limited production several years ago.

While one person can mount the 1200 L on a tripod, two people make the job significantly easier and far less risky. Don't even think about handholding this lens. Even if you were strong enough to hold the lens up, the balance point of the tripod foot is too far away to reach for support purposes. Holding behind this balance point makes the rig far too front-heavy to balance. So, plan on needing a solid tripod.

w/o Hood                        Weight                 MFD         MM
9.0 x 32.9" (228 x 836mm) 36.4 lbs. (16,500g) 45.9' (14.0m) .09x

But, subjects are not the only thing this lens magnifies. Vibrations are one unwelcome magnification. With image stabilization enabled, the 800mm viewfinder remains motionless during use. In contrast, the non-IS 1200mm L, with its very long physical and focal length and the long distance from the viewfinder to the tripod attachment point, provides a vibration-filled viewfinder. I felt the need to rest my left hand over the tripod mount to stabilize the rig (my normal super telephoto shooting position), but my arm didn't reach that far comfortably. I settled on a mid-way position, but didn't feel at ease with my hold. Dual tripods would be a great solution for a non-moving subject.

The 1200 L has an 8 blade aperture, but evaluating bokeh was not easy as everything not in focus is always a complete blur.

The Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens uses a Ring USM (Ultrasonic Motor) rear focusing system. This is a electronic focus-by-wire design that works very well. It is quiet and relatively fast. 

Focus hunting can be an issue with this lens. The shallow DOF means that focus must be adjusted to a relatively close-to-correct setting for the relatively small f/5.6 aperture to allow the camera and lens to quickly lock focus. Helpful is that the Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens provides 3 focus distance range settings (see switch below) that allow focusing to be restricted to 14-30m, 30m-∞ and 14m-∞ (full range). That's right - MFD (Minimum Focus Distance) is 45.9' (14.0m). This lens will not work well in most back yards. 

Visible below is the relatively small manual focus ring. It is preferable if it is positioned over the tripod mount where left hand would typically rest, but as I said earlier, this position is not practical with this lens. As I also mentioned, this is a focus-by-wire electronic focusing design - this requires the camera to be powered on for any focusing to function. Power manual focusing is very smooth and can be adjusted to 3 different speeds (see switch below) - 1 is for fine focus control while 3 is for fast adjustment. 

Like Canon's current super telephoto lenses, the Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens has a focus preset function for immediate focusing to a predetermined distance.

Like most collared lenses, the Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens rotates while tripod mounted. What is unusual is that the tripod mount does not rotate - the rear of the lens rotates. See the friction control knob above? It provides friction control over the rotating narrower rear portion of the lens. It is a unique design that works well. 
A provided 48mm Drop-In Filter Holder can be seen on top of the rotating rear portion of the lens. A 48-mm Drop-in Circular Polarizing Filter is available. 

The 1200 L's lens hood is a very convenient and easy to use built-in design that locks closed and stays open well - but does not lock open. You will notice that the pics of the lens sitting vertically on the ground on this page all have the hood retracted. While the hood locks tightly closed, it does not lock open strongly enough to support its own weight. An open lens hood would of course have made the lens size appear even more impressive.

The Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens shipped in a strong, padded aluminum case. The B&H model reviewed comes in an additional padded aluminum shipping case for additional protection. The included lens cap/hood cover can be seen in the open case below.

Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 EX DG Telephoto Zoom Lens - Canon Fit 

It can be used in various types of photography such as astrophotography, portraits, wildlife, sports. Easy to use, either handheld or on a tripod.

If you've been to PMA (the Photo Marketing Association) tradeshow, you might have noticed a military green, humongous lens at Sigma's booth. Announced and exhibited at the 2007 PMA, the Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 (which can be pumped up to 400-1000mm using the bundled 2x teleconverter), certainly doesn't match the telephoto models mentioned above but it definitely sports kickass specs as the largest high speed zoom lens currently on the market. And with an MSRP of $38,000 ($28,900 street) it has the price to match.

The lens weighs about 34.6 pounds (that's almost $1,000 per pound) and measures 9.3 x 28.6 inches. The combination of telephoto capabilities and an f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range up to 500mm makes this a great lens for wildlife, sports and for you stargazers, astrophotography. "Add the generically named "Attachment" and you get a focal range of
400-1000mm and an aperture of f/5.6 at 1000mm—which is still awesomely

A dedicated Li-ion battery, which is built into the lens barrel, powers the zoom and autofocus. Need to know the focusing and distance numbers? Just check the lens' built-in LCD. You can drop in 72mm filters at the rear of the lens barrel and there's even a mechanism to position a circular polarizing lens just the way you want it. You'll have to provide your own camouflage outfit if you plan on conducting special ops, though.

Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Super Telephoto Lens

Never mind the price with itsultimate lens physical qualities and superb Image quality you will absolutely like it. It weighs 10lbs (4.5 kg) and is 18 inches long.

The EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM is a professional L series lens released June 2008. This lens is constructed with a magnesium alloy body and mount and with plastic extremities and switches. Features of this lens are: a wide rubber focus ring that is damped, a focus distance window, the ability to limit the focus range, a focus-preset mechanism, an image stabilizer that is effective up to four stops and is tripod sensing, an AF stop switch, and weather sealing. A maximum aperture of f/5.6 gives this lens the ability to create depth of field effects. The optical construction of this lens contains two fluorite lens elements, and "Super UD" (Ultra low dispersion) and UD Lens elements. This lens uses an inner focusing system powered by a ring type USM motor. This lens is compatible with the Canon Extender EF teleconverters.

The Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Autofocus Lens is currently Canon's longest telephoto lens, and an excellent choice for any long-distance application, e.g. outdoor sports, wildlife, news photojournalism, and so on. Even though it has a long 800mm focal length, the magnesium alloy used in the construction for this lens makes it lighter then the 600mm f/4L lens, weighing in at less than 10 lbs (4.5kg).

This lens shares the same lightweight, weather-resistant construction as the rest of the IS Super Telephoto lenses, as well as their improved control layout, improved weight distribution, and mechanical manual focus. Its IS Image Stabilizer mechanism allows the use of shutter speeds up to 4 times slower with no perceptible increase in image blur.

For optimum visual performance, the lens incorporates four types of special optical elements: aspherical elements to correct spherical aberrations, and refracting Fluorite, UD and Super UD (ultra-low dispersion) elements to eliminate secondary chromatic aberrations.

  • Super Spectra coatings ensure accurate color balance and high contrast.
  • Magnesium alloy construction keeps its weight comparable to shorter telephoto lenses.
  • Full-time manual focus override
  • AF Stop function shuts off autofocus when obstruction appears
  • Two-stage image stabilization; dual-axis camera shake correction or vertical axis only (for panning)
  • Focus preset function allows for returning to a specifically set focus by turning a ring in front of the focus ring
  • Circular aperture produces attractive background defocus

Focal Length                           800 mm       
Aperture                                   Maximum: f/5.6
                                                  Minimum: f/32

Camera Mount Type              Canon EF

Format Compatibility             35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor
                                                 Canon (APS-C)

Focal Length800 mm
ApertureMaximum: f/5.6
Minimum: f/32
Camera Mount TypeCanon EF
Format Compatibility35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor
Canon (APS-C)
Angle of View3.5°
Minimum Focus Distance19.7' (6 m)
Maximum Reproduction Ratio1:7.14
Diaphragm Blades8
Image StabilizationYes
Tripod CollarYes
Filter Thread52 mm
Dimensions (DxL)Approx. 6.4 x 18.1" (16.26 x 45.97 cm)
Weight9.9 lb (4.49 kg)

Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 EX DG HSM

Provides a constant fast maximum aperture throughout the entire zoom range. With multi-layer lens coating and lens designed to reduce flare and ghosting. HSM Hyper Sonic Motor for Canon, Sigma and Nikon Mount Lenses which provides silent, high-speed and precise auto-focusing with full time manual focus override. 

The Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 EX DG HSM is an extreme telephoto zoom lens, and ideal for nature/outdoor or sports photography. This lens provides a relatively large constant f/5.6 maximum aperture at all focal lengths.

The use of Apochromatic design and 2 ELD (Extraordinary Low Dispersion) glass elements give full correction of chromatic aberration and provide a high level of optical performance. The AF drive for the Canon EOS, Nikon and Sigma mounts are equipped with the silent, responsive and high speed Hyper Sonic Motor and provides fulltime manual focus override.

The improved DG lens design corrects for various aberrations. This lens is specially coated to get the best color balance whilst cutting down on ghosting caused by reflections from the digital image sensor. The lens provides the utmost correction against lateral chromatic aberration, which is a serious problem for digital SLR cameras.

It is also possible to use this lens with Sigma 1.4x EX and 2x EX Apo Tele Converters to convert this lens into an ultra tele-zoom lens, effectively converting it into a 420-1120mm f/8 or 600-1600mm f/11 lens. The lens materials used in this new lens are lead and arsenic free ecological glass.
  • Hyper Sonic Motor provides smooth, silent AF with fulltime manual focus override
  • The rotating tripod mount can be conveniently detached if required
  • Apochromatic design and 2 ELD (Extraordinary Low Dispersion) glass elements give full correction of chromatic aberration and provide a high level of optical performance

Lens Construction

Lens Construction

Lens Construction18 Elements in 16 Groups
APO Tele Converter1.4X MF
Angle of View8.2º-3.1º
Number of Diaphragm Blades9
Mininum Aperturef32
Minimum Focusing Distance600 cm / 236.2 in
Filter Size (mm)46 (Rear)
Maximum Magnifications1:6.9
(Diameter x Length)
156.5x541.5 mm/6.2x21.3 in
Weight5870g / 207oz.
Corresponding Mounts
Sigma HSM
Nikon HSM
Canon HSM
HSM - Hyper-Sonic Motor
APO - Apochromatic
CONV - APO Teleconverter EX
EX - EX Lens
DG - DG for Digital
D - Distance Information Function

* Nikon Mount: Built in motor lens: compatible with D40, D40x, D60, D3000, D5000
* The appearance, specifications, and the like of the product are subject to change for improvement without notice.

Nikon 600mm F4G ED VR AF-S Nikkor 

LensPrice: 11 540.6511 US$ 

With Nikon Nano Crystal Coat and a Meniscus protective glass element combine to reduce ghosting and flare. Magnesium die-cast for a lightweight body with rugged construction with A/M mode which reduces the possibility of unintentional switching from Auto to Manual.

The Nikon Telephoto AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4G ED VR Lens is a premium ultrafast super telephoto lens, currently the longest in the Nikon autofocus lens system. It is a very robust and durable lens. Its lightweight construction incorporates a magnesium die-cast barrel, and professional-grade dust and moisture sealing allows it to be used in more rugged situations.

This lens features the improved Vibration Reduction (VR II) system that allows handheld telephoto shooting, even in less-than-ideally lit conditions. The VR system minimizes image blur caused by camera shake, and offers the equivalent of shooting at a shutter speed of about 4 stops faster. In addition, this lens also features the Tripod Detection mode, which reduces vibration that may occur due to shutter release, when mounted on a tripod.

The Silent Wave Motor (SWM) feature provides swift autofocus with superior accuracy and ultra-quiet operation. This G-type lens does not feature an aperture ring on the lens body, resulting in a lighter and more compact lens. Aperture changes are designed to be done via the camera's command dial.

VR function is only compatible with Nikon's F5, F100, N80, N65, D70, D100 & D1-series (or later generation) cameras.
AF-S feature is not supported by certain older camera models. Please click here for a list of compatible models. 
"G" type lenses are not fully compatible with the F4, N90-series, N70, N8008-series and N6006 (or older model) cameras, only programmed auto or shutter-priority auto exposure mode can be used.
  • Tripod Detection mode reduces vibration that may occur due to shutter release when mounted on a tripod.
  • Magnesium die-cast lightweight barrel and professional-grade dust and moisture resistance.
  • Improved M/A mode provides instant and fast switching from autofocus to manual focus with nearly no time lag, even during tracking autofocus.
  • Three ED (Extra Low Dispersion) glass elements restrict chromatic aberrations to a minimum, while enhancing color, sharpness and contrast, even at the widest aperture settings.
  • Exclusive Nano Crystal Coat and a meniscus protective glass element combine to further reduce ghosting and flare for even greater image clarity.
  • 9-bladed aperture diaphragm assures brilliant rendition of out-of-focus highlights.

Focal Length600 mm
ApertureMaximum: f/4
Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount TypeNikon F
Format CompatibilityNikon FX/35mm Film
Nikon DX
Angle of View
DX Picture Angle: 2°
Minimum Focus Distance15.7' (4.79 m)
Maximum Reproduction Ratio1:7.14
Diaphragm Blades9
Image StabilizationYes
Tripod CollarYes
Filter Thread52 mm
Dimensions (DxL)Approx. 6.5 x 17.5" (16.51 x 44.45 cm)
Weight11.13 lb (5.05 kg)