With the rapid development of smartphones, everyone has access to a more than decent camera right now, that could capture crisp and clear images, even at night, and high quality 4K video. But professional photographers will always go for the next best thing: a standout digital camera which provides more flexibility and the right equipment for any occasion.
From taking an incredible photo in almost complete darkness, to having immaculate zoom-in capabilities and the ability to shoot proper action shots in a fraction of a second, professional-grade cameras are still miles away than what you’d get from a smartphone. But their biggest downside is the price-tag associated they’re associated with, especially when it comes to lenses.
1. Leica 1600mm f/5.6 Telephoto Lens
💵 Cost: $2 million
Leica made this custom lens for Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Thani of Qatar, at a price just topping $2 million. The world never found out exactly what the Saudi prince used it for, or why he needed a 1600mm focal length in the first place.
With a weight of 132 pounds, it’s no wonder the owner also bought a custom Mercedes to lug it around. Throw a 2x teleconverter on it and you’ve got 3200mm of close-up goodness. Al-Thani, arguably the most extreme gear addict of all time, unfortunately never released any sample images. As of the writing of this article, we still have no technical information on the Leica lens, nor any idea where it is now.
2. Nikon 6mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lens
💵 Cost: $160,000
Nikon first unveiled this rare lens at Photokina in 1970. This prime, designed for special scientific and industrial applications, is actually able to see behind itself! A series of filters are actually built into the lens since you obviously can’t fit any on the front.
Nikon later released an updated version in the 1980s, but good luck finding one anywhere. One Nikkor 6mm recently sold at auction for £100,000 ($160,000).
3. Carl Zeiss 50mm Pla
💵 Cost: $150,000+
This 50mm lens from Carl Zeiss is an extraordinary lens. This camera lens was built in 1966. It is specifically made for the Apollo Lunar program of NASA. It is designed to capture the far side of the moon.
The wide-open aperture of f/0.7 makes it possible to capture images in any lighting conditions. Out of the 10 lenses manufactured by Carl Zeiss, 6 units were sold to NASA, three were sold to Stanley Kubrick for shooting film, and the last piece is still there with Carl Zeiss.
4. Zeiss APO Sonnar 1700mm f/4
💵 Cost: $100,000+
This massive super telephoto lens is designed by Zeiss. It comes with a massive focal length of 1700mm with a wide-open aperture of f/4.0. This Zeiss lens is specifically made to work with the Hasselblad 203FE camera body. It weighs around 255 kg. It does not come with any focus ring.
5. Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L Lens
💵 Cost: $ 89,579
This lens from Canon supports a focal length of 1200mm with a maximum aperture of f/5.6. The close focusing distance is 14m. This telephoto lens is the most expensive Canon lens.
It was first seen in the 1984 Olympics. It supports an angle of view of 1.45 degrees. The weight of the lens is 16.5 kg. It supports a 48mm filter. Canon has discontinued this lens.
6. Nikkor 1200-1700mm f/5.6-8.0 Lens
💵 Cost: $60,000
This zoom focal length range of 1200 to 1700mm is the longest telephoto focal length range supported by any lenses. So, you can call it, the mother of all zoom telephoto lenses. It is also the most expensive camera lens in the zoom lens category.
It comes with 18 elements in 13 groups. The angle of view supported is 2 degrees at 1200mm and 1.5 degrees at 1700mm. It comes with 9 diaphragm blades. The minimum focusing distance of this camera lens is 10 m. It supports 52mm filters. The size of the lens is 23.7 x 88 cm. The lens weighs around 16 kg.
7. Canon 5200mm f/14 lens
💵 Cost: $45,000
The other name of this lens is the mirror lens. It uses a series of mirrors to photograph subjects that are miles away. So, it is easy to do astrophotography with this lens.
The massive focal length of 5200mm is only possible with the help of this mirror arrangement. The minimum focusing distance of this lens was 394 feet.
8. Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 APO EX DG
💵 Cost: $25,999
This massive telephoto lens from Sigma comes with a wide aperture of f/2.8. It supports a zoom range of 200mm to 500mm. This lens is available in Sigma, Nikon, and Canon mounts.
It comes with 17 elements in 13 groups. There are 9 diaphragm blades inside. It weighs around 15.7 kg. The length of the lens is 726mm. It supports filters of 72mm thread size (rear drop-in type). It is useful for photographing sports and wildlife.
9. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens
💵 Cost: $16,296
This lens is the expensive, super telephoto lens from Nikon which anyone can buy. It is an excellent choice for wildlife and sports photography.
The nanocrystal coating in the glass elements helps to improve the image quality.
10. Horseman 23mm f/5.6 HR Digaron-S Lens
💵 Cost: $15,620
This wide angle lens from Horseman comes with a viewing angle of 112 degrees. You can use this lens with Horseman SWD PRO, SWDII PRO, and SW612D cameras.
It comes with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 and a minimum focusing distance of 0.5m. It is a manual focus lens and comes with a leaf shutter.
11. Cambo WRS Lenspanel with HR Rodenstock 138-Float Lens in Rodenstock eShutter
💵 Cost: $14,710
This lens comes with exceptional sharpness. So, you can even capture tack sharp images with extreme camera movements. It is compatible with the PhaseOne XT system.
12. Leica Noctilux-M 75mm f/1.25 Lens
💵 Cost: $14,295
The Noctilux-M 75mm lens from Leica comes with a wide-open aperture of f/1.25. It will help you to capture portraits with excellent background blur. It consists of 9 elements in 6 groups.