1855: Telephoto

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I was banned from the airliners.net photography forum by concerned moderators after the end of my lens started brushing against planes as they flew by.
Title text: I was banned from the airliners.net photography forum by concerned moderators after the end of my lens started brushing against planes as they flew by.


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Telephoto lenses are special lenses for cameras that have a longer focal length than standard lenses, which allows the photographer to zoom in on an object. The joke is that Cueball did not want to spend the money on buying a new telephoto lens, and instead added many many "converters" and "extenders" to his existing lens to get the same effect.

There are many problems with this. First, the end result is completely impractical to carry around; as shown in the comic, Cueball has to set up two tripods just to support the weight of his hulking behemoth of a camera. Second, if you're an animal photographer like Cueball, you need to be able to see the animal as close up as possible in order to get a good picture; a lens with lots of magnification power accomplishes just that without alerting the animal to the photographer's presence, but Cueball's camera would surely scare off any birds he tried to picture (except in fanciful proof-of-concept diagrams like this comic).

Perhaps most damning of all, though, is the fact that Cueball's idea involves installing a webcam at the far end to be able to photograph anything. Webcams are not designed to capture high-resolution images, so the resulting image will be of considerably lower quality compared to professional photographers' works. But more importantly, the presence of the webcam renders the functionality of the extenders (and the base camera itself!) completely redundant, cementing this idea as a total waste of time and effort.

The title text continues this by saying he was banned from the airliners.net photography forum because his new modified lens got so long from all of the attachments that it started brushing against planes as they took off. It would seem that having a greater than 100 foot lens set up on or near the runway, along with the potential to damage planes in-flight, being banned from an online forum would be the least of his worries.


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Notice the "webcam" placed on the front element, and the cable running through the extenders and converters back to the camera body? The extenders and converters are only being used for mechanical support, to place the webcam near the bird, and not optically. 15:16, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
I understood it to be that the webcam was mounted on the side of the extender, allowing for a live stream in addition to the up close picture being taken. Raj-a-Kiit (talk) 16:25, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

That's how I took it, but the webcam and wires are drawn in a lighter line, possibly insinuating that the webcam and wires are inside the extenders and converters. OldCorps (talk) 16:53, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

It depends on how tall Randall actually is, but using an average of 1.7 m for humans, that camera is about 32 feet, 4 inches long (it's about 5.8 times the length of Cueball). OldCorps (talk) 17:04, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

Your comment makes me cringe. Apparently you measure people in metric but camera lengths (not focal length!) in imperial. So here you have it: 9,85m camera length! 20:11, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
Fair point, I'll simplify the equation. Cueball is 0.00845063 furlongs tall, the camera is 0.048984751 furlongs long. OldCorps (talk) 11:33, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
That's 1 and 5.8 Smoots respectively for those of you who don't live in an empire. -- 00:36, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

While I am at it I think using commas for decimal places is wrong. Needforsuv (talk) 13:27, 27 June 2017 (UTC)

It is common practice in Germany and many other places in Europe, which can along with the difference between imperial and metric units and the naming of 10^9 (billion in English, Milliarde In German, while Billionen in German is 10^12) lead to a lot of confusion when workign with texts of unknown origin, or with translations of unknown quality. --Lupo (talk) 12:33, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
Incorrect definition of telephoto

A telephoto lens is actually a lens of which the physical length is shorter than the nominal focal length. For instance, I have a 90mm Leica lens that is about 67mm long; this is accomplished through the optical design. A long-focus or long lens is a lens with a comparatively long focal length: on 35mm cameras, this is generally any lens 85mm and up. They are sometimes called portrait lenses. A zoom lens is one with a variable focal length, e.g., 70mm – 140mm. It is not necessarily a long lens.

The distinction is especially important to large format photographers, and the conflation of the terms is common among lay speakers.

Randall has conflated a telephoto lens with a long lens, as does the current explanation.

See http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Telephoto#Long-focus_.28Telephoto.29 for on the topic. Seezee (talk) 18:21, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

It would be nice if you could enhance the explanation by this matter. I'm not an expert on photography but I believe Randall is just talking about a telephoto which is often also called telephoto lens. And his telephoto even doesn't need a single lens. Randall hasn't conflated anything, it's the explanation. I.e. instead of "100 foot lens" it should be "100 foot telephoto without lenses", and similar to other sentences.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:01, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

I am sure something like the contraption here will be a Long and Telephoto lens... like a telescope, yes you can get a lot of zoom under 200 mm lens length but then if you could do that they wouldn't have long telescopes.Needforsuv (talk) 13:27, 27 June 2017 (UTC)

Could this also be a reference to all those phone camera attachment advertised online. I don't know if there's any truth to their claims (somehow I doubt it), but if anyone knows better, please chime in. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Were it not for the added weight of the tripod on the left, the right end would be on the ground. --Pascal (talk) 11:36, 27 June 2017 (UTC)

Ahh this comic is documenting how those iPhone ads that says "taken with an iPhone" was taken. Technically an iPhone was involved. Technically. 17:03, 28 June 2017 (UTC)