Zoom Monster – Opteka 650-1300mm Zoom Lens Review

As an early Christmas gift, my wife got me this monstrosity

The Opteka 650-1300mm zoom lens. Weighing in at 4 and a half pounds with a filter size of 95mm, this is by far the largest lens I have ever worked with. Considering the average low-end beginner telescope has a focal length of 1000mm and an aperture of around 8, this lens is essentially a telescope designed to attach to a camera.

I primarily wanted this lens to to photograph the moon. Previously, the longest zoom lens in my collection was 300mm, which enabled me to yield shots such as this one heavily cropped.

Firstly we should unpack it and see what it looks like and how it works.

It appears packed well, unlike the Opteka flash I purchased last year which was literally thrown in a box twice it’s size
It also comes in a very nice carrying case resembling a weapon. It came with an adapter ring for Canon and a 2x teleconverter.
Behold this monster – if you were doing night photography you could knock your muggers out.

Lunar photography? Certainly there’s lot of people online doing it with this lens. Having said that, I have not yet mastered it. Multiple times I found myself flat on the ground with the tripod and camera on my chest – practice makes perfect here. But, I have tried this lens out very casually. These are tree pictures shot freehand outside my living room window. At first glance, they are unremarkable and not particularly good. What makes them interesting is that these trees are on the next street over (at least, maybe farther). If you’re seeking very, very powerful zooming, you will get it with this lens. The lens is manual focus and requires the right adapter ring to fit on your camera. This is an advantage if you have multiple cameras of different brands – it can be used on any of them, assuming you purchase the right ring. Manual focus isn’t a particularly big deal, though is much harder when you’re dealing with that much weight.

My impression overall – it will take practice to use this lens. A Canon-branded lens of equal specs that cost $10,000 instead of 199.99 would also take practice. Heavy and large zoom lenses are different. There is a lot of potential, and a lot of ways to use it and it should prove interesting. Image clarity is quite impressive and color is very good. You’re getting quite a lot of glass for your dollar.

Do any of you have advice on how to use this thing or on what to use it? Let me know in the comments. Shoot photos, not each other!

3 replies to “Zoom Monster – Opteka 650-1300mm Zoom Lens Review

  1. I am interested’ so now – more than a year later – did you get good images out of it or did it just not perform?

    I guess that you need either 1/1000 of a second exposures or a very rigid tripod to stop motion blur.

    The moon is very bright, so a small aperture lens should be no problem.


    1. Well to be honest it’s not used that often – there aren’t too many situations where you can use a lens that big. The only place it really doesn’t do well is on a tripod – but then again I suppose it depends on the tripod. I don’t have a super heavy-duty tripod that can deal with a great deal of weight. Handheld, believe it or not, it actually performs pretty well. The “lens doubler” that it comes with isn’t much use really – the amount of shake it introduces makes images impossible. But – if you want a lens that can capture a bird that landed on the roof of the house……that is two streets away from you….then this is probably the lens you’re looking for. For the price, it can’t be beat. Im my opinion if you’re doing something where you can use somewhere between 800 and 1000mm in length (such as the moon) it will do pretty well. It’s nice to have in your arsenal, but just don’t expect to take it with you everywhere to do street photography.


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