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4.5 Super Zoom Lenses

If you only had one lens to take with you on vacation, it should be a super zoom. Super zooms have an incredible range from wider to super telephoto, but they can suffer from image quality issues. In this lesson you will learn about super zoom lenses and find out what you need to know about using one.

4.5 Super Zoom Lenses

If you only had one lens to take with you on vacation, it should be a super zoom. Super zooms have an incredible range, from the wider angle to the super telephoto. But, they can suffer from image quality issues. In this lesson, you will learn about super zooms, and find out what you need to know about using one. Super zooms are the ultimate in travel lenses, because they cover such a wide range of focal lengths. For full frame cameras, you will see lenses around 28 to 200 mm or maybe 28 to 300 mm. For APS-C, you'll find lenses that are in the neighborhood of 18 to 270 or 16 to 300. In Micro 4/3, you'll see lenses like 14 to140 or 14 to 150mm. All of these lenses have very similar field of views, which go from fairly wide to telephoto and super telephoto ranges. With this outstanding range comes some serious tradeoffs. Most of the long range zoom lenses have variable wide apertures. Some start with a reasonably fast F 2.8 or F 3.5 at its widest setting. But, by the time it reaches the telephoto range you're at F5.6 or higher. Long range zoom lenses may deliver acceptable optical performance, for hobbyists and the casual shooter. But, it probably will not satisfy advanced users. These optical defects are more prevalent at the longer focal lengths, because higher magnification also magnifies the lens's imperfections. That being said, sometimes you don't have space in your bag for several lenses or perhaps the budget isn't there for lenses to cover the same focal lengths. If this is the case a super zoom lens might be the right lens for you. Let's check out what a super zoom, looks like in action. So the next several images that we're gonna be checking out where all shot with a Tamron 18 to 270 mm variable aperture, image stabilized lens. Now to give you an idea of what this lens is capable of, this is shot on the wide end, and this is shot at 270 mm, so you can see that this lens has a ridiculous focal range. So what I did is, I went out a couple of days, and I only shot with this lens I got, just a bunch of different stuff. Here's some fields with some countryside images. And this lens is really, really great for this. You know, it's not the sharpest lens. It has a variable aperture. It has more distortion, because of that ridiculous focal range that it has. It's still a pretty decent lens to have in your kit, especially if you only have one lens to take around with you. It's super convenient and very, very fast to deploy and to start shooting images. We're gonna look at a bunch of images that I shot in an old cemetery. This was a great lens to have. You know, some of the shots, I got out and I set up, but a whole lot of these other shots as I was driving around this 100 acre cemetery. I just shot right out of my car, right out of the driver side window. You know, if you were gonna take one lens with you on a trip, on vacation, this would be the lens that you'd want to have in your bag. A super zoom lens is a great option. It gives you a tremendous amount of variation, in the shots that you can get. And you'll see a few in this series that I changed my position, and I changed my focal length on the lens to compose the shot, so that it was very similar. You can see how a lens like this can give you a lot of options, in how you're composing your images. Again, a super zoom lens, is not going to be the highest quality optic that you're gonna put on the front of your camera. When you're shooting inside it's going to be more problematic, because of the amount of light that's let in your camera, because of that variable aperture. None of them are very fast at all this particular lens starts at F3.5 and it goes down to 6.3, at the super long end and you'll see a lot of lens like that in the same range are going to be very, very similar. I took this lens to the zoo with my family and you can see that I captured a lot of really nice images. I can get in, get some nice tight shots of the animals, and I could go wide when I needed to. You know, not all of these are shot at the super long end. A lot of these are in the middle and wide as well. But, again, inside even with some skylights I was shooting, at ISOS of 2000 and 4000, because it's just not a very fast lens. Outside, when there's more light this definitely works a lot better. It allows you to get down to F8, which improves the sharpness a good deal especially when you're at the long end of the lens stopping down one or two stops. Can really improve the sharpness and the vignetting, but that doesn't mean that you can't get great shots with this type of lens. I find this lens one of the most fun lenses to have because I can travel light. I don't have to carry a lot of kit. And it works for a lot of stuff. I don't mind shooting at higher apertures, F8, F11, even at the more telephoto focal lengths. That does not bother me at all, because, when you're at, you know, above 200 mm, F8. Depending on your distance away from your subject, it's still gonna give you that nice out of focus background that you like. So, a super zoom lens gives you, just a whole bunch of options and it's a great all around lens to have. Now, if you're only gonna get one lens. I probably wouldn't recommend a super zoom lens. I would recommend a standard zoom lens, because you're gonna get something that's faster, you know? You probably should be in the F2.8 neighborhood, and it's going to sharper at those wide open apertures. Less optical distortion, but if you're looking for a lens to take with you on a trip, on a vacation, or you're looking to travel really, really light when space is limited. A super zoom lens is definitely the way to go. Now that you understand the flexibility and quality you can expect from a super zoom lens, you're ready to move on to the next chapter in this course. In the next few lessons, we'll be going over the zoom lens's faster, lighter, sexier, but more annoying cousin, the prime lens.

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