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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Gadget Bag: Travel Zooms

These “do it all with all-in-one zoom lens” solutions can be ideal travel partners when you want to minimize your gear

Labels: GearMore GearGadget Bag

This Article Features Photo Zoom

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Canon EF 28-200mm USM
Canon 28-300mm L IS USM
Built to meet the rigorous demands of pro photographers, the Canon EF 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6L IS USM zoom proves that all-in-one lenses can be versatile without sacrificing anything. One of the finest examples of Canon’s legendary L lenses, this zoom combines Canon’s world-renowned dual-mode Image Stabilizer (IS) with its fast, quiet Ultrasonic Motor to assure that focus is quick, sure and steady. Other features include beefed-up resistance to dust and moisture, high-efficiency lens coatings and an eight-blade circular aperture for attractive out-of-focus image areas. The mechanical design employs three UD glass elements and two aspheric elements for superb correction of optical aberrations.

Although it lacks IS and is a step or so shorter on the telephoto end (but not far away in terms of versatility), the Canon EF 28-200mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 USM zoom is compact and speedy, and features nonrotating, internal focusing convenience.

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Nikkor AF-S 18-135mm DX Nikkor AF-S VR18-200mm DX
Nikon users have a tough choice between the super-svelte Nikkor AF-S 18-135mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 DX or slightly larger Nikkor AF-S VR18-200mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 DX. The 18-135mm features one Nikon ED glass element and two hybrid aspherical lens elements for optimum performance. The equivalent (in film-camera terms) is 28-200mm, and it can focus as close as 1.5 feet throughout the entire zoom range. Plus, it features IF (Internal Focus) and SWM (Silent Wave Motor) for ultra-fast, whisper-quiet performance.

The Nikkor VR18-200mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 pushes the zoom range to 28-300mm and adds the improved VR II (Vibration Reduction) system to enable handheld tele-zoom shooting even in dim light. The VR system helps reduce the apparent unsharpness caused by camera movement and delivers the equivalent of shooting at a shutter speed four stops faster.

gadget bag Olympus 18-180mm ED Zuiko
The Olympus 18-180mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 ED Zuiko qualifies as an all-in-one zoom, but it doesn’t provide moderate wide-angle coverage, despite its numerical designation. Because Olympus (and Panasonic) D-SLR cameras use the Four Thirds System, the lens factor used to calculate equivalent focal length in 35mm terms is 2x. That means this travel zoom, which begins at 18mm, will behave like a 36mm lens, not quite like a real wide-angle. Still, it offers a lot for EVOLT aficionados. Lens design features 15 elements in 13 groups, including two ED and two aspherical elements. It covers the equivalent of 36-360mm (10x) and focuses as close as about 18 inches over the entire range.


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