Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Toolbox: Ultimate Travel Lenses
When minimal gear is an advantage, these do-it-all zooms have big range for maximum versatility
The APS-C-compatible Canon EF-S 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS zoom offers a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 29-320mm, covering wide to long telephoto in a compact design only four inches in length. The lens has an internal Optical Image Stabilizer for up to four stops of shake reduction, which can be seen through the viewfinder as you shoot. There’s also automatic panning detection that will shut off image stabilization when following horizontal- or vertical-moving subjects. Super Spectra lens coatings and two Ultra-low Dispersion elements are included among the 16 elements in 12 groups for suppressing aberration and fringing and enhancing image sharpness. List Price: $699.
Nikon offers its AF-S DX VR Zoom-NIKKOR 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G IF-ED lens with an 11x zoom range, translating in 35mm equivalence to a healthy 27-300mm wide-angle to telephoto lens. The 18-200mm features the second generation of Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR II) system for up to four stops of faster shooting. A Silent Wave Motor (SWM) and Internal Focusing (IF) work together to increase speed and limit extraneous sound from autofocus, and there are two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements, three aspherical lens elements and Super Integrated Coatings (SIC) for superior color and image reproduction. DX-format lenses are developed specifically for APS-C-sized sensors, so the 18-200mm isn’t compatible with Nikon’s full-frame FX cameras. Estimated Street Price: $765.
Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds sensors give a fully doubled zoom range, fantastic for gaining extra reach when zooming out to telephoto. The Zuiko Digital ED 18-180mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 lens doesn’t start very wide at 36mm, but the zoom ranges to an impressive 360mm. By using an adapter, you can even use it with Olympus’ new PEN Digital series, which features in-body Image Stabilization in three different modes: Mode 1 for general shooting, Mode 2 for horizontal panning and Mode 3 for vertical movement. The 18-180mm weighs only 15.5 ounces and incorporates two Extra-low Dispersion and two Aspherical lenses. It has a minimum focusing distance of only 17.7 inches throughout the zoom range, which complements the 0.23x magnification, making this lens a great choice for macro photography, as well. List Price: $499.
Developed by esteemed glass maker Leica, the 14-150mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 Leica D Vario-Elmar Aspherical MEGA O.I.S. lens from Panasonic gives Four Thirds users, including Olympus E-System cameras, a doubled 28-300mm wide to telezoom. MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) is built into the lens for reducing shake, and an Extra Silent Motor (XSM) means silent and accurate autofocus. The lens uses four aspherical lenses, one ED (extra-low dispersion) element and multicoatings for high optical performance. List Price: $1,299.
The Pentax SMC DA 17-70mm ƒ/4 AL (IF) SDM lens has a fast fixed aperture throughout the zoom range of 26-107mm in 35mm equivalence. DA-series lenses are digitally designed for matching Pentax 23.5x15.7mm CCDs, which keeps size, weight and production costs minimal. The 17-70mm is compatible with Pentax’s Shake Reduction, which has been built directly into their DSLR bodies for between 2.5 to 4 stops of compensation. The Quick-shift Focus System works alongside the silent SDM autofocus motor for compatibility with Pentax KAF3 DSLR mounts, like the K10D, K20D, K200D, K-7 and K-x models. The Super Protective (SP) coating, made of a fluoride compound, is used on the front of the lens for protection from water, oil and grease, particularly useful for fighting fingerprints. List Price: $599.
Page 2 of 3