For wildlife photographers, super-telephoto lenses are the key to capturing close-up, engaging compositions of subjects safely and respectfully. The advantages of super-tele primes compared to zooms are generally better image quality and constant maximum apertures, but that performance comes at a price, not only in dollars but also in size and weight.
The options for super-tele primes were once very limited and typically very expensive, but in recent years, lens makers have introduced more compact and more affordable choices for mirrorless camera systems. Innovations in optical design, along with some compromises in maximum aperture, have allowed manufacturers to offer alternatives that are easier to buy—and to handle in the field. Here’s a look at the super-telephoto prime lenses available today for mirrorless systems.