Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Choose Your Perfect Zoom
The modern zoom lens is a marvel of technology, and it’s the nature photographer’s best friend
Medium zooms cover the format’s “normal” focal lengths, along with wider and longer ones, and are good choices for general outdoor shooting. Good medium zooms for APS-C-format DSLRs include Canon’s EF-S 18-135mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS, Nikon’s AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G VR, Olympus’ Zuiko Digital 12-60mm ƒ/2.8-4.0 SWD, Pentax’s DA* 50-135mm ƒ/2.8 SDM, Sigma’s 17-70mm ƒ/2.8-4.5 DC HSM II, Sony’s Zeiss 16-80mm ƒ/3.5-4.5, Tamron’s AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II VC and Tokina’s 16.5-135mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 AT-X DX.
For full-frame and 35mm film shooters, popular medium-zoom choices include Canon’s EF 28-135mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS USM, Nikon’s AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G VR, Sigma’s 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 EX DG HSM, Sony’s DT 16-105mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 and Tamron’s SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di.
Telephotos aren’t just for wildlife photographers. Many pros use them for landscapes, too, for a different “look.” Some particularly popular wildlife zooms include Canon’s EF 100-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6L IS USM, Nikon’s AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 200-400mm ƒ/4G VR, Olympus’ Zuiko Digital 90-250mm ƒ/2.8, Pentax’s DA* 60-250mm ƒ/4 SDM (DSLRs only), Pro-Optic’s inexpensive 420-800mm ƒ/8.3-16 Vari-Zoom, Sigma’s 150-500mm ƒ/5-6.3 DG OS HSM, Sony’s 70-400mm ƒ/4-5.6 G, Tamron’s SP AF200-500mm F/5-6.3 Di and Tokina’s 80-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 AT-X.
When you want to travel really light, a wide-range “super zoom” can (almost) do it all. Popular super zooms include Canon’s EF-S 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS (for APS-C) and EF 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6L IS USM, Nikon’s AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G VR II (APS-C), Olympus’ Digital Zuiko 18-180mm ƒ/3.5-6.3, Pentax’s DA 18-250mm ƒ/3.5-6.3, Sony’s DT 18-250mm ƒ/3.5-6.3, Sigma’s 18-250mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 OS (APS-C) and 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-6.3, and Tamron’s AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC (APS-C) and AF28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC.
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