Difference Between Telephoto and Zoom Lens
By Laura Lee - June 14, 2022

Using the appropriate camera lens — the most significant portion of the camera — is critical for producing the perfect shot in any type of photography. Using your camera’s interchangeable lenses to their full potential can elevate your photos from novice to professional. So pick your lens carefully. A zoom lens has a variable focal length and is used for dynamic photography. In contrast, a Telephoto lens has a permanent focal length of greater than 50mm and is used for static photography.

Table Summary

Telephoto LensZoom Lens
It does not vary in focal length It varies in focal length
They are made use for unique angle shotsThey are made used for general photographs and landscape 
They are costly They are much more affordable 
Telephoto lenses aren’t so compactZoom lenses are more portable


A zoom lens is a camera lens that provides the photographer with a helpful variety of focal lengths in one lens. Allows quick and easy scene re-framing while remaining in the same physical position.

A telephoto lens is a long-focus lens that allows photographers to use a focal length that is less than the physical length of the lens. A telephoto lens is attached to the camera body of an SLR or DSLR camera, such as those made by Canon, Nikon, or other well-known companies. Some telephoto lenses are even compatible with smartphones.

Telephoto VS Zoom Lens

Instead of pushing the scene away as a zoom lens does, the telephoto lens pulls it closer to you. The telephoto lens produces extremely sharp photos, whereas the zoom lens produces images that you may manipulate. Telephoto lenses are pretty unique, although zoom lenses offer greater adaptability. The terms telephoto and zoom are not mutually conflicting, and this means that a lens can be either zoom or a telephoto lens. Zoom lenses are now considered standard because they offer the optimum balance of flexibility and cost. Sports and wildlife photographers use telephoto and telephoto zoom lenses because they require extreme focal lengths.