Video: See How the Canon 1200mm ‘Mother of All Telephoto Lenses’ Performs in the Wild

Want to see that ultra-rare Canon 1200mm f/5.6 L USM lens we told you about a couple of weeks ago in action? Well, you’re in luck, because the folks over at MPB Photographic have delivered on their promise to create some content with it by putting this monster through its paces in London.




This outing was supposed to answer two questions about the “Mother of all Telephoto Lenses”: how does it perform and just how far can it be pushed?

And so, to answer both of those questions, they took the camera to The Mall in London to see just how crisp Buckingham Palace looked at 1200mm… and 1680mm… and 2400mm.

Here’s a look at their results, from 50mm all the way up to 2400mm (thanks to a Canon EF 2x III Extender). All of these photos were shot with a Canon 1DX:

50mm | Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

50mm | Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

200mm | Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM

200mm | Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM

400mm | Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM

400mm | Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM

1200mm | Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM

1200mm | Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM

1680mm | Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM + Canon EF 1.4x III Extender

1680mm | Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM + Canon EF 1.4x III Extender

2400mm | Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM + Canon EF 2x III Extender

2400mm | Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM + Canon EF 2x III Extender

“It is undeniably impressive to take in the view through the 1200mm,” writes the MPB Photographic team over on their blog. “A glance over the lens is required to get your bearings and the view is somewhat dizzying at first but, given the sheer distance alone, the detail rendered in the viewfinder is staggering and the results don’t disappoint.”

To read more about this experience and see just how crisp the images turned out EVEN when it was being passed through extra glass, head over to the MPB Photographic website by following the link below.

Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM – Focal Length Comparison [MPB Photographic]

  • Sir Stewart Wallace

    It’s quite amazing how almost no “heat haze” can be seen while being so far away.

  • Warren

    Maybe just being picky but I can’t help thinking the focus is off. I first thought of haze but like you said there almost seems like none and the wall seems ever so slightly sharper.

  • Adam Cross

    still waiting for someone to point it at the moon…

  • slidede dexter

    or instead you could just walk there :)

  • pgb0517

    The video has no words.

  • Natalie Skittles Williams

    I want one. (cept I want the Nikkor1200-1700mm f/5.6-8P IF-ED) nom

  • CLO

    just get closer to your subject. Boom, dont need it.

  • Chris D Johnson

    Do the first petapan!

  • 3ric15

    The focus seems fine in the 1200mm shot, but then the multipliers seem to make it softer….

  • AliNoorani

    Petapixel is known for pornographic material.

    Stop objectifying lenses. Real lenses are beautiful and should be appreciated by everyone

  • HibikiRush

    The Nikon 1200-1700mm is more impressive in terms of engineering.

  • Deegoz

    “Call the municipality, I think I found a fissure in one of Ben’s needles…”

  • JP Zajackowski

    I agree, I think the tele conv makes it noticeably softer. Still looks awesome though

  • Mike

    Oh, you can see the moon with that lens!?

  • Tom Doms

    And now.. some portraits?

  • Zebulon Yegaboski

    How much?

  • Fark

    There are other longer lenses. This is hardly the Mother of All Telephotos.

  • Anthony Harden

    The 1200mm usually runs around the $160k range when one actually becomes available. They are very rare.

  • Mark Panioto

    Thanks, Anthony. Time-Life, Magnum(et al) and National Geographic have them already, I’m sure.

  • OtterMatt

    Maybe the longest one without the word “NASA” on the side, though.

  • OtterMatt

    Does it come with hernia surgery insurance?

  • Grive

    This is the perfect, perfect tool for shy street photographers, I tells you.

    Want those closeups on the spices market? Just ask for a 2nd floor room at the hotel. Boom! Right in the middle of the action without giving up AC and free WiFi.

    $200k well spent, if you ask me.

  • Grive

    Well, yes. Teleconverters will soften your picture and muddle it some.

    Also, I believe you lose autofocus if you put teleconverters on this lens. It’s a 5.6, after all. So those pictures were done with manual focus, and at f/8 and f/11 respectively, that’s a bit of a challenge.

  • Kane888

    Mother of lenzes…

  • Crispylogs


  • AJ

    You can see the moon with any lens…’Details’ is the variable here

  • AJ

    Can you tell me how to shoot a profile of a yawning lion ?

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  • 432789076543

    there is always one m*r*n around at photography discussions talking about the focus is off..

  • Turbohampster

    The 1DX can autofocus with an F8 Lens, but centre point only.

    You can also autofocus in Live view @ any aperture using contrast detection, but its a lot slower than the usual phase detection.
    This works on any Canon camera so not just reserved for the 1dx, comes in handy for shots of moon etc when stacking convertors

  • OtterMatt

    Rent a 3rd floor room in New York and point it southeast.

  • Grive

    Nice. Didn’t know that. I always thought f/8 was where it no longer could.

  • Turbohampster

    It was when it was originally announced, but they changed it to F8 with one of the firmware updates

  • JamesTagusLan

    yep I really want to see those pics too

  • dpanch_89

    I’m surprised you weren’t stopped by the govt/police for thinking it was some sort of rocket launcher!

  • johnw100

    I bet the Queens guards were keeping a close watch at that guy pointing his bazooka at the palace.