6 of the most ridiculous lenses ever made
May 12, 2014
1. Nikon’s Fisheye-Nikkor 6mm f/2.8 looks like a spaceship and can see behind itself
This fisheye monster is credited as the world’s most extreme wideangle lens to cover the 24x36mm image area, described as actually being able to ‘see behind itself’.
It went on sale for £100,000 (bargain) in 2012, weighing a whopping 5.2kg and measuring 171mm in length.
2. The world’s most expensive lens is a Leica, obviously
The 1600mm Leica APO-Telyt-R is a true one of a kind, with only one model existing in the world.
Wealthy photo enthusiast Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Thani ordered it directly from Leica, at a somewhat excessive price of 16 million Hong Kong dollars (equivalent to about £1,222,440), making it the most expensive consumer lens ever made.
It’s 1.2 metres long, 42cm wide at the end, and weighs a staggering 60kg.
3. Sigma’s behemoth telephoto zoom
The Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 APO EX DG may look like a rocket launcher, but is actually billed as the ultimate wildlife lens. You’d better hope the wildlife are close to your house, as you probably don’t want to carry all 16kg of this one through the Fens for too long.
On sale now for $25,999 (£15,394), this lens also holds the honour of having some of the most impressively sarcastic Amazon reviews ever:
4. Canon’s ‘mother of all telephotos’
From 1993 to 2005, a measly $120,000 (£71,052) was enough to get you a Canon Super Telephoto 1200mm f/5.6L EF USM made to order.
Weighing 16.3kg, it contains 13 elements in 10 groups, boasts a 2º angle of view, and the closest distance at which it can focus is about 45 feet. Apparently there are ‘more than twelve, less than twenty’ of these in existence.
After publishing this article, we were lucky enough to get a hands-on day with the Canon EF 1200mm! Check out our write-up of the day here, our gallery of shots taken with the lens here, and our video below:
5. Zeiss’s 1700mm ‘monster lens’
The year after Canon ceased production of its mother of all telephotos, Zeiss turned up on the scene with this 1700mm telephoto lens that can also double as a small yacht.
Made to order for an undisclosed client, the lens required Zeiss to essentially invent new assembly techniques, and the result weighed a whopping 254kg.
Zeiss never mentioned the exact price this thing was sold for. We can only guess…
6. The Zoom-Nikkor 1200-1700mm
Turns out Nikon was ahead of the curve on this one – the Zoom-Nikkor 1200-1700mm f/5.6-8P IF-ED lens made its debut all the way back in 1990.
It’s almost 89cm long, its barrel is divided into two independent sections, it comprises 18 elements in 13 groups and each of these groups contains its own high power lens.
It earned itself the nickname ‘the tuna’ from photographers who used it due to its colossal size. Back in 1990 you could have paid $75,000 (£44,402) for the privilege of owning this, which next to some of the others on this list looks like a positive steal.
Seen any we’ve missed? Let us know on Twitter @AP_Magazine