If you are a photographer or just someone that loves taking pictures using your camera, specifically the single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, you must know what zooms are for. Zoom lenses are added to your basic camera unit to be able to focus on a subject correctly. It is similar to filters that you also add on your camera for specific special effects.
During the past, you would see a photographer carrying his huge camera case which contained about half a dozen different lenses. Each of these lenses has a fixed focal length and can only be used for a certain type of focus shot. If the photographer wants to take a shot on something from a different angle, he would need to change lenses. That takes a lot of time and possible loss of the good view for the shot.
Having all these lenses and carrying them every time you have a shoot can be a big burden, not to mention, expensive. Thanks to our ever improving technology, zoom lenses were introduced. With zoom lenses, you can have a single lens that covers the same range that three or more fixed focal length lenses. This definitely lets the photographer change angle or focus instantaneously as compared to the old lenses.
Mid-range zoom lenses are versatile since they can cover normal, wide-angle and telephoto focal lengths with just a single lens. Telephoto zoom lenses are great for portraits, scenic, travel, candid and sports photos. Long zooms are useful for wildlife and sports photography.
Features of Zoom Lenses
Here are just some of the features of most zoom lenses available:
1. Macro focusing. This feature allows the lens to focus at a close range. To determine how close a lens is able to focus, a reproduction ratio is specified in the lens. A 1:4 reproduction ratio means that a lens can focus an object such that if the diameter of the object is 4 inches, it will measure just 1 inch in the picture itself.
2. One-touch zoom control. Most of the zoom lenses have just a single ring that controls the focus and zoom at the same time.
3. Lens aperture. There are zoom lenses that have only one maximum aperture, while others have two, for example f2.8-4.0. The f-number changes as the zoom changes.
Tips in buying zoom lenses
If you are planning to buy a zoom lens, the first thing you have to consider is the focal length range. For you to know what correct focal length range to buy, you must identify your purpose for the lens. If you think you will use it mostly for travel and vacations, a mid-range zoom would suffice. However, if you are planning to use it for sports and portraits, a telephoto zoom is a better choice.
The size and weight of the lens is also a consideration. In general, a bigger and heavier lens is usually faster. One that has wide zooming range can also be larger.
Lens speed is important if you are intending to use the lens for indoor photography. A faster lens allows more light which makes it easier to shoot in subdued lighting.
If you are using a lot of filters, it is best to consider the size of the zoom so it can accommodate as much filter. If you want close-up photos, you must also consider the specifications of the camera with regard to macro focusing. If you are after flexibility, it is best to have a zoom with continuous macro focusing than a limited one.
Of course, just like any other product, price is also a consideration. The better the features of the zoom lens, the more expensive they will be.
Zoom lenses are really a good investment if you are thinking of making photography a business. Even if you don't, and you are just someone who loves taking pictures, having zoom lenses is still a good choice. You can take great shots at different angles and distances.
So if you are thinking of getting one, decide first on how you intend to use the lens so you can make the right choice. As you become more and more into this hobby or profession, then you can buy different types of zooms. Carrying just one or two zoom lenses is not a bad idea.