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tele·​pho·​to ˌte-lə-ˈfō-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce telephoto (audio)
: being a camera lens system designed to give a large image of a distant object
also : relating to or being photography in which a telephoto lens is used


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plural telephotos
: a telephoto lens
: a photograph taken with a camera having a telephoto lens


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used for an apparatus for transmitting photographs electrically or for a photograph so transmitted

Examples of telephoto in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Always start with portrait mode—this switches the primary camera to the telephoto camera, which has a higher zoom and simulates the look of portraits taken with a DSLR camera. Cassie Steer, Condé Nast Traveler, 9 Nov. 2023 The iPhone 11 Pro can shoot 4K video at 60 FPS and is the first to pack three camera lenses: wide, ultra-wide and telephoto. Albert Khoury, USA TODAY, 7 Mar. 2023 The device could also feature a 48MP main camera, a 48MP ultrawide lens, and a 64MP telephoto camera on the rear, with a 20MP inner selfie camera and a 32MP outer one, Brar notes. Emma Roth, The Verge, 18 Oct. 2023 The Pixel 8 Pro has upgraded light-gathering capabilities in all three of its cameras: a 50-megapixel main camera, a 48-megapixel ultrawide, and a 48-megapixel telephoto camera with 5X optical zoom. WIRED, 4 Oct. 2023 The 7 Pro adds a third shooter, a 48MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom. Iyaz Akhtar, PCMAG, 14 Sep. 2023 Apple The iPhone 15 Pro Max features a telephoto camera with up to 5x zoom in, the longest optical zoom of any iPhone camera. Elizabeth Napolitano, CBS News, 13 Sep. 2023 Both models get new sensors across the camera array, though the iPhone 15 Pro Max adds a telephoto camera that can zoom in up to 5x. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, 12 Sep. 2023 While the iPhone 13 Pro has a great main camera and a solid ultrawide, 3x telephoto pictures have never been its strong suit. Wes Davis, The Verge, 18 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'telephoto.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1893, in the meaning defined above


1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of telephoto was in 1893

Dictionary Entries Near telephoto




Cite this Entry

“Telephoto.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: being a camera lens designed to give a large image of a distant object

More from Merriam-Webster on telephoto

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