Have You Overlooked the Usefulness of a Superzoom Lens?

Photographers often look down on superzoom lenses, viewing them as too much of a compromise in image quality for the convenience they offer. However, they offer more than convenience, and with advances in image quality in recent years, they are much more viable than in the past. This great video essay discusses some of the reasons why you should consider adding one to your kit. 

Coming to you from Mike Smith, this interesting video essay discusses the benefits of superzoom lenses. Superzooms have traditionally been mostly avoided for serious photography because it takes too many image quality compromises to create such a large focal length range. And it is true that even the best modern superzooms will not compete with comparable regular zooms and primes. Nonetheless, as photographers, we often get a bit overly obsessed with image quality instead of enabling ourselves to get the shot, and when it comes to that, nothing can compete with a lens that can go from very wide to supertelephoto with the twist of a ring. And with the high-ISO capabilities of modern cameras, the narrower apertures of such lenses are not as much a hindrance as they once were. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Smith. 

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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I recently switched to a superzoom lens.

I was using a combination of two lenses - the Canon 100-400mm and the Sigma 300-800mm.

I added a Sigma 60-600mm, and find that it is so useful and convenient to use that I don't use the 100-400mm very much anymore, and hardly ever use the 300-800mm.

Because of the 10x range of the 60-600mm, I can shoot most of my images with that one lens, so I am not missing so many shots anymore, because I am able to get on a subject quickly instead of having to take a half minute to switch lenses or grab the other camera with the other lens on it.

Additionally, I am taking a LOT of photos between 60mm and 100mm, and those focal lengths were not available to me with the lens combo I was previously using. So now I am getting a lot of useful images that I simply couldn't shoot before. Most other wildlife photographers don't have anything with them that gets wider than 100mm, so I am also getting shots that others aren't getting.

Holy crap, I hadn’t even heard of this lens! 60-600mm is bonkers. Nice to have a bit of room on the wide end.

The 60-600mm been around for a few years, but I hadn't known about it until a few months ago.

A very successful commercial photographer who is a good friend told me about it, and said what a sharp lens it is. So I bought one right away. My only regret is not having known about it sooner - if I would have bought one a few years ago, I would have a LOT of great shots that I missed because my lenses didn't have enough range.

By the way, another friend of mine shoots contract work for BBC and Animal Planet, and uses the Sigma 60-600 for a lot of the wildlife video footage that he shoots for these productions.

I bought the Nikon 24-200 for hiking, thinking I would use more modest FL lenses for everything else. I did not expect too much.

I find that it is almost glued to one of my Z7 bodies. The lens has its week points but nothing that stops me using it for 90% of my photography with this lens. Nikon at least with their 24-200 have done a small miracle with this lens.

We photographers are often far to obsessed with image quality, and the reviews and opinions we see on the WWW often by the armchair photography brigade.