Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Toolbox: Wide-Angle Zooms
The benefits of a wide-angle zoom aren’t just for grand scenics—they’re essential for indoor photo opportunities, too
This last year has been particularly exciting for photographers with the introduction of mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera systems. Pioneered by Olympus with its PEN series, Sony has also entered the arena with the popular NEX-3 and NEX-5 digital cameras. (Sony’s NEX-VG10 interchangeable-lens camcorder uses the same E-mount series of lenses, as well.) The line is fairly new, so as of this article there are only two available zoom lenses, the 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 (27-82.5mm in 35mm equivalence) and the much more versatile 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 (27-300mm in 35mm equivalence). The NEX line is compatible with Sony’s Alpha-mount lenses, as well, via the optional LA-EA1 adapter. List Price: $299 (18-55mm); $799 (18-200mm).
Tamron offers two all-in-one zooms, the AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC for Canon and Nikon DSLRs, and the AF18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 for Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony cameras. The Di II lens is compatible with sub-full-frame cameras only, and the 18-270mm range offers an incredible 15x zoom that covers a 35mm equivalent of 28-419mm. Tamron’s Vibration Compensation VC system is included for reducing camera blur, and the lens also offers macro capability with a 1:3.5 magnification and a minimum focus distance of 19.3 inches. The 18-200mm is available for more systems than the 18-270mm, and it includes Di sub-full-frame, APS-C compatibility in an efficient package of only 14.3 ounces and a length of only 3.3 inches. Estimated Street Price: $629 (AF18-270mm); $289 (AF18-200mm).
Designed for Canon EOS APS-C and Nikon DX sub-full-frame camera mounts, the AT-X 16.5-135mm DX starts at a wider angle than most standard zoom lenses, making it an ideal choice for working in narrow shooting conditions. The lens is comprised of 15 elements in nine groups, with three aspherical elements, two compound elements, a multi-layer coating and one all-glass element for precise optical reproduction of the image. The 16.5-135mm DX features a mechanical zoom system that minimizes play and reduces zoom creep. Weighing just a little more than 20 ounces, the lens is just shy of three and a half inches. Estimated Street Price: $449.
(THK Photo Products)
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