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
Available in mounts for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma and Sony/Minolta APS-C cameras, the 18-250mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM zoom is incredibly compact at only 22 ounces and four inches in length. 35mm equivalence varies by mount, but the 13.8x lens provides roughly the equivalent of a 24-400mm lens with an Optical Stabilizer (OS) system for minimizing image blur by between three to four stops. Three aspherical and four Special Low Dispersion (SLD) elements are combined with Super Multi Layer (SML) coatings for high-quality optic transmission, and the lens has a minimum focusing distance of 17.7 inches throughout all focal lengths with a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.4. A Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) means quiet and accurate autofocus, and the Sigma DC series of lenses are specially designed to match APS-C sensors, so the lens isn’t compatible with full-frame cameras. Estimated Street Price: $529.
The Sony DT 18-250mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 has a whopping 14x zoom for an impressive 35mm equivalence of 27-375mm. DT lenses are built specifically for APS-C-sized CCD sensors of Sony Alpha and Minolta Digital SLR cameras, and can be used with Sony’s full-frame A900 and A850 (up to 11-megapixel images). The lens works with Sony’s in-camera SteadyShot image stabilization and contains Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass for reducing chromatic aberration at the telephoto extension. Other features include an Internal Focusing system for compatibility with circular polarizing filters and a round, seven-blade circular aperture that produces a smooth bokeh. Sony offers 1.4x and 2x teleconverters that will extend focal length on the 18-250mm to a 35mm equivalent of 490mm and 500mm, respectively. List Price: $579.
Designed specifically as a mount for sub-full-frame Canon and Nikon cameras, the Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical Macro zoom spans a huge 15x zoom range with a total 35mm equivalence of approximately 29-432mm—currently, the biggest range in the superzoom category. The Vibration Compensation (VC) mechanism compensates for image blur due to camera shake, and lens construction includes 13 groups with 18 elements, with two LD glass elements for reducing various aberrations and minimizing light falloff in the corners of the frame. Tamron’s Digitally Integrated (Di) technology means that the lens has been designed specifically for the demands of digital camera technology, including flat, even light transmission and an image circle optimized for sub-full-frame sensors. Estimated Street Price: $599.
At a weight of only 21.5 ounces and a length of only 3.46 inches, the Tokina 16.5-135mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 AT-X DX AF lens packs a long range into a diminutive package. The lens is wider than most other standard zooms at 16.5mm, and construction includes three aspherical elements, one all-glass, precision-molded element, two compound elements and two Super-low Dispersion (SD) glass elements for precise image reproduction. One-touch internal focusing is built into the lens for increasing the speed of the AF, and the nine-blade rounded diaphragm produces smooth, beautiful background blurs at large apertures. Estimated Street Price: $569.
(THK Photo Products)
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