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The best photos of Queen's Jubilee prove you need a big lens for the big occasion

Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee
This is heavliy cropped shot of Prince Louis - but still required using a 600mm f/4 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter (Image credit: Getty Images)

The spectacular pomp and pageantry of the first two days of the British Diamond Jubilee has been filling our newspapers with some great photographs of the best-known Royal Family in the world. 

But from hundreds of professional photographers who gave us colorful images from the celebrations at London's Buckingham Palace, St Paul's Cathedral, and Horse Guard's Parade - it is undoubtedly the close-cropped supertelephoto shots that create the biggest impact. Who will forget the close-up of young  Prince Louis's face (above), for instance, as he covers his ears and screams as the Air Force flyover passes over the balcony of the Palace?

But just how big a lens do you need to get these type of shots? We have got hold of a handful of images from the formal events from Thursday and Friday to have a look. And unsurprisingly the answer is that the photographers were in many instances using the longest (and fastest) lens set-ups on their cameras that they could get hold of.

The shot above of the four-year-old Prince, for instance was shot with a 600mm f/4 fitted with a 1.4x teleconverter (opens in new tab) on a Canon EOS R3 (opens in new tab). And even then Max Mumby's shot had to be heavily cropped to get the close-up that the newswire services wanted (you can see the wider, uncropped image, below).

This is the wider, uncropped image of the scene - showing Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Louis, Duchess of Cambridge, and Princess Charlotte.  Shot by Max Mumby with a Canon EOS R3, with RF 600mm f/4 IS USM & RF 1.4x Extender. Exposure: 1/250sec at f/5.6, ISO 1600. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM (Image credit: Canon)

But, of course, the exact lens requirements for the shot not only depended on what the photographer had available, but also on their precise vantage point. For a shot of the passing carriage's along The Mall a 100-400mm zoom was sufficient – but for other shots an 800mm lens was the default. Below are some other images with their full lens, camera and exposure details to help you get an idea of the gear being used.

Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte - shot by Karwai Tang with a Nikon Z9 (opens in new tab) with a Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S (opens in new tab). Exposure: 1/1600sec at f/5.6, ISO 800. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Meghan Markle at St Paul's Cathedral. Photographer Samir Hussein used a Nikon Z9 with a Nikkor AF-S 500mm f/4G VR. Exposure: 1/2500sec at f/4, ISO1600. (Image credit: Getty Images)

The Queen and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at Buckingham Palace.  Photographer Chris Jackson used a Canon EOS 1-DX Mark II (opens in new tab)with a EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Exposure: 1/640sec at f/8, ISO 1600. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Read more
Best professional cameras (opens in new tab)
Best 100-400mm lenses (opens in new tab)
Best 150-600mm lenses (opens in new tab)
Best Canon RF lenses (opens in new tab)
Best Nikon Z lenses (opens in new tab)

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Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 


His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.


He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.