tele·​pho·​to | \ ˌte-lə-ˈfō-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce telephoto (audio) \

Definition of telephoto

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: 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


plural telephotos

Definition of telephoto (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a telephoto lens
2 : a photograph taken with a camera having a telephoto lens



Definition of Telephoto (Entry 3 of 3)

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: Noun The Max maxes out the telephoto at 65mm, which is close to the 70mm that pros use to get tighter. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max has superb camera, but differences will be hard to notice," 12 Nov. 2020 Notably the telephoto is really handy for portraits as well as being another view for shooting a photo. Michael Andronico, CNN Underscored, "These are the best smartphones of 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 Specifically, Apple promises a 47% larger image sensor and large pixels, meaning higher resolution photos, an advanced image stabilizer to help steady shots, and a more advanced telephoto lens. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "iPhone 12 Mini and 12 Pro Max begin preorders Friday, both expected to be in short supply," 6 Nov. 2020 The iPhone 12 features a dual-camera system on the back, with wide and ultra wide lenses, while the iPhone 12 Pro adds a telephoto zoom lens for a total of three cameras. Kaya Yurieff, CNN, "iPhone 12 review: Upgrade for the camera, not 5G," 22 Oct. 2020 As the gray day started to dim, more-experienced bird watchers appeared carrying cameras outfitted with huge telephoto lenses. Susan Degrane,, "Eyeing eagles: Winter is a perfect time to get outside, beat cabin fever and go birding," 26 Dec. 2020 Use a 58-mm telephoto to get even closer to your subject. Julian Chokkattu, Wired, "Which Google Pixel Phone (and Gear) Should You Buy?," 7 Dec. 2020 At the same time, the aperture for the telephoto lens in the larger phone is now f/2.2 as opposed to f/2.0 in the 12 Pro. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro Max hands-on: How they compare with the 12 and 12 Pro," 13 Nov. 2020 From a macro lens for pictures of objects up close with tremendous detail, to a super wide lens to capture an entire mountain range, to a super telephoto to zoom in ridiculous distances; all is possible with a DSLR. Kai Burkhardt, CNN Underscored, "The best DSLR cameras for beginners, according to professional photographers," 20 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'telephoto.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of telephoto


1893, in the meaning defined above


1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for telephoto

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The first known use of telephoto was in 1893

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Cite this Entry

“Telephoto.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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