Are You Overlooking Superzoom Lenses for Landscape Photography?

Superzoom lenses can be useful in that they cover a huge range of focal lengths without the extra weight and bulk from carrying a bag with lots of more specialized lenses. For landscape photographers, they can be especially useful, and this great video discusses why you should consider adding on to your arsenal. 

Coming to you from Nigel Danson, this excellent video discusses the usefulness of a superzoom lens for landscape photography. The downsides of a superzoom are that due to their extreme focal length range, they are generally not as sharp as most specialized lenses, nor are their maximum apertures as wide, but given that landscape photography frequently uses narrower apertures than other genres, the need for wide apertures is diminished, and sharpness is improved a bit. And of course, the real benefit is the access to a huge range of focal lengths all in a single lens, making it far more convenient and less tedious than carrying multiple lenses. I was personally never fond of superzooms, but I've grown increasingly fond of them during my pandemic walks and have now purchased an RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM lens that has become the default lens on my camera. Check out the video above for Danson's full thoughts. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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The core of my travel & hiking kit has long been a Panasonic GX7 or GX9 and a Panasonic 14-140mm f3.5-5.6 zoom. I used to hike with a 12-35/2.8 and 35-100/2.8, but lens swapping was just too slow when I was with groups who didn't want to stop every 5 minutes (they wanted to GET somewhere, go figure). This lens is remarkably sharp for a 10x zoom, across the whole frame and zoom range. The ability to shoot a broad valley and then a peak on the other side in a matter of seconds is invaluable.

No I am not. Use them all the time.

Some of my favorite landscape lenses have been or are: Sony 24-240, Nikon 24-120/4 VR (not quite "super" zoom), Nikon Z 24-200 (current favorite), Sigma 18-200 (APS-C), Olympus 12-100 (also current favorite).

I'm also a huge fan of telephoto zooms for landscapes, I use them the most actually: Nikon 70-200/4 VR, Tamron 100-400 VC, Sony 100-400, Sigma 150-600, Nikon 70-300 AF-P.

I sometimes use my 200-600 for shooting landscapes - can get unique perspectives and angles maybe only drones can take.

A well known scam.

Someone banish this moron.

Yes, I am overlooking superzooms for landscape photography, and for every other kind of photography, as well.

Why am I overlooking them?

Because I don't believe that I can get a sufficient level of fine detail resolution from them. I simply think that their optical quality is not up to snuff with the other lenses that I have, so do not consider buying them or using them.

Image quality is of extreme importance to me, while size and weight don't really matter to me at all. I have no problem carrying a couple of larger, heavier lenses around with me, and find the extra bulk and the extra pounds to be well worth the effort.

I have found the same problem with missing shots while doing a walk-around using one camera. It's just fleeting. I use the camera I have, and make do with that. Since I almost never print my shots, being a recent amateur, I am used to not getting the finest sharpest image.

Instead of changing lenses, I recently got a Canon SL3 for my 70-300 EF lens that I already have. I used to switch that lens on an Canon RP with the kit 24-105 f4 it came with. That way, I have two cameras to walk around with.The combinations dovetail nicely with each other. The framing of the 105 mm on the RP is slightly less than the 70 mm on the SL3.

In the case of a vacation, I simply go without a large camera, especially with only a traven on suitcase. i then rely on my Canon G9x only.

I'm contemplating getting an APS-C camera to use with my full frame lenses to gain the crop factor without losing the f/stop. And also to have a quick 2nd camera/2nd lens option.