Travel photography is something almost every photographer relishes. The many variations of nature, the soothing landscapes and the brilliant light provided by a fresh sun make the fingers itch to capture the moment in all its glory. But like every photographer knows, carrying around multiple lenses is not only cumbersome, but changing lenses outdoors increases the chances of exposing your lens’s sensor to dust and other weather changes.
On exploration of the most ideal fit to capture the various moods and moments of travel happens to be the superzoom lens. Depending on the requirement of the moment the superzoom lenses have the capability to make an instant switch from a wide angle to a telephoto focal length, and the myriad options which lie in between. Quite naturally the superzoom lenses are not beyond their faults, there are small problems which arise like optical stabilization, pin cushion distortion, chromatic aberration and such. But nothing which cannot be fixed with a post editing software like Photoshop.
The four recommended superzoom lenses are:
1. Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
The Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II is good value for its cost. It is one of the sturdiest superzoom lenses and puts Nikon back on the charts of the most favored camera brand.
Stand out features of this super value lens are:
- Ring type Silent Wave Ultrasonic Autofocus : Unlike some other lenses in this category, it is surprisingly accurate and operates at an acceptable speed. What makes it more convenient is that it comes with the option of a manual override
- Third generation vibration reduction: Offers 4 shutter speeds with more stability to cover a wider range of shots
- Dual mode stabilizer can be switched between active and normal modes with the help of a toggle
- The new lens includes a zoom lock
The flip side
- The focus ring is towards the rear end of the lens barrel
- There are minor distortions at either end of the zoom length i.e. the wide angle end and the telephoto ends
- Color fringing is sometimes noticeable towards either extremes of focus
2. Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 18-180mm 1:3.5-6.3
This lens gains favor amidst travel photographers because it’s sturdy, lightweight and compact.
Stand out features:
- The zoom creep is so minimal, it is as good as non-existent
- It offers precise manual focus owing to the electronic coupling of its focus ring. This option also extends to full time autofocus mode
- It provides excellent sharpness
- Distortions are also reduced dramatically
- The autofocus is very noisy
- The stability is a big concern
- Sharpness begins to drop at 180mm
- There is slight color infringement towards the middle
3. Sony DT 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3
Its light weight, owing to the presence of sensor shift stabilization in Sony bodies, making it a more popular choice amongst travel photography enthusiasts.
Stand out features:
· The lens is amazingly free of zoom creep
· The lens is sharps throughout the zoom range
· For an 18-250mm lens the color fringing is pleasantly minimum
· Stabilization is the biggest concern for this lens
· The maximum aperture length is 375mm forcing you to depend on the ISO function for better shutter speeds
· The quality of sharpness of the image leaves a lot to be desired
· There is extreme distortion at the wide end angle
4. Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD
Smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the lens has been upgraded to give better outputs. It now uses 16 instead of 18 elements, the vibration system has been upgraded and over all its become smaller, lighter and more travel friendly.
Stand out features:
· The earlier jerky zoom ring has been upgraded and replaced with a non-friction one
· The new lens has a zoom lock
· The Sharpness has been kept on a consistent level, keeping the zoom range intact
· The Pincushion distortion has been improved and now functions above average
· Color fringing is almost negligible
· The autofocus is slow and does not have a manual over ride
· The zoom creep is a nightmare
· Stability is a real problem and needs to be dealt with
Richard Stephen is technology and a gadget freak who suggests using canon digital cameras that stand as some of today’s finest and most reliable products. Take a look at the website to gain more info.