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I've never owned a super zoom (e.g. 18-200mm on an APS camera). However, the optics have supposedly improved a great deal on these lenses, and I like the idea of not having to change lenses, especially when travelling. Just wondering how many contributors use a super zoom regularly. Any problems with QC? I imagine that downsizing for Alamy is often necessary for images taken at long focal lengths. 

Edited by John Mitchell

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Hi John,

you can be sure the optics have improved, however from my experiences super zooms and long lenses on crop sensor body's don't give sharp images especially if you are trying to get fine detail with bird photography, i found this out when using the Canon 600 f/4 and Sigma 150-600 sport, both lenses are almost tack sharp on full frame cameras.

 

Downsizing might be the answer for super zooms on crop sensors, i have never tried doing so.

 

Paul.

Edited by Paul Mayall

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It seems that in so far as overall image quality & video functionality (even 4K) are concerned, the 20.1 MP Sony RX10_III does hold a lot promise with its 24-600 (2.4-4.0) -equivalent 25x zoom and a 1" stacked CMOS sensor. It captures 4K video at rates of either 30, 25 or 24 fps, and with bitrates as high as 100 Mbps using full-pixel readout with no binning. We can of course opt for Full HD or half HD captures if we don't need this resolution, and here capture rates top out at 120 fps. Somewhat sluggish buffer clearance is still an issue though. And, mostly importantly for some us, if we don't mind cropping 20MP to a mere 5MP, we have as much as 1200mm reach at f/4. Amazing. I suppose with its Sony RX100_IV twin, the RX10_III forms pretty a deadly duo for general stock photography. Image sharpness & overall image quality (including RAW functionality) are very, very acceptable. And, 20MP is can still be cropped or down-sized substantially (if at all required) for submission here.

Edited by Kumar

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I've used the Nikon 18-200 as my main lens for years on a D300 and now D7200 -  never down-sized and several thousand through QC with no problems.

 

I bought the 18-300 a while ago but I'm not impressed.  I even sent it back to Nikon for checking and re-calibration, which improved it slightly, but I'm still not impressed.  It will be on ebay soon.

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I bought the 18-300 a while ago but I'm not impressed.  I even sent it back to Nikon for checking and re-calibration, which improved it slightly, but I'm still not impressed.  It will be on ebay soon.

That extra 100mm could be enough to not give tack sharp images on a crop sensor,  try the lens on a full frame and see if there is a improvement.

 

Paul.

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I used the Nikon 18-200 on my D300 while traveling. Lots of images here, only cropped for effect but not downsized.

Now I'm using 100-400, 50-140 and 18-135 on crop sensor Fuji with sharp results at all lengths.

 

I've probably shot many more images with the 18-135 than the others because of the wider-angle end. More versatility. Hundreds of images from it on Alamy.

It all comes down to the system and particular zoom. I had a Nikon 300 long end once that was awful.

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I bought the 18-300 a while ago but I'm not impressed.  I even sent it back to Nikon for checking and re-calibration, which improved it slightly, but I'm still not impressed.  It will be on ebay soon.

That extra 100mm could be enough to not give tack sharp images on a crop sensor,  try the lens on a full frame and see if there is a improvement.

 

Paul.

 

I haven't got access to a full-frame body and have no intention of getting one so it would be a fruitless exercise.  To be fair the lens is quite good between the two extremes but it is the 18mm end that is the main problem, which I use a lot for landscapes - much worse than the 18-200 lens.

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I used the Nikon 18-200 on my D300 while traveling. Lots of images here, only cropped for effect but not downsized.

Now I'm using 100-400, 50-140 and 18-135 on crop sensor Fuji with sharp results at all lengths.

 

I've probably shot many more images with the 18-135 than the others because of the wider-angle end. More versatility. Hundreds of images from it on Alamy.

It all comes down to the system and particular zoom. I had a Nikon 300 long end once that was awful.

 

 

Hello Betty, I know you do not want to talk to me :) but I would like to say something about the above post from my time with Fuji X system.

 

I had the 18-55 with the X-T1 (kit lens) and found it to be extremely sharp. When the 18-135 came out I swapped the 18-55 for the new one thinking it would be a good walkabout lens and I would not have to change lenses so often.  For me the 18-135 sucked due to poor IQ and I wished I had my 18-55 back.

 

What I am saying is perhaps you might be better off with the18-55 as it is smaller and lighter.

 

Best wishes, 

 

Allan ;)

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Call me old fashion but I like to limit my zooms within one specific range: wide angle (like 20-35) / medium (like 35-70) / tele (like 70-200 or 200-400 or even 100-400). No way would I even consider buying a lens that covers everything from wide angle to tele  :wacko: Besides, isn't fiddling with lenses fun?  :D

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

We are singing from the same hymn sheet Philippe.

 

I have the Nikon 14-24, Tamron 24-70, Tamron 70-200, Nikon's new 200-500. By the way, for the price, the 200-500 is tack sharp at all focal lengths. I used it at a radio control model air display recently. Photos on Alamy. :)

 

All used on D750 full frame body. That is the only body I have at the moment. Apart from the one I walk about in. :D

 

OK you may be asking as I am a Nikon shooter why am I using Tamron lenses. Well at the time I got them they gave better IQ (sharpness) than Nikons equivalent.

 

Allan

Edited by Allan Bell
  • Upvote 1

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Something I notice about online reviews of all-purpose zooms is that they tend to be inconsistent. It's not unusual to read in one review of a particular "super zoom" that the sharpness at longer focal lengths is very good, and then find another review website stating exactly the opposite. No doubt there are lots of reasons for this, but it's a bit disconcerting -- especially in these days of falling image prices -- when you're thinking about spending hundred of bucks on a lens.

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but it's a bit disconcerting -- especially in these days of falling image prices -- when you're thinking about spending hundred of bucks on a lens.

 

I could not agree more, i often ask myself why have i purchased many thousands of $s of gear and sometimes consider upgrading because it might be better, knowing that the image prices are not going to get better just because i purchased some great new piece of camera kit.

 

Because it is nice to have we photographers often over capitalise.

Edited by Paul Mayall

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Something I notice about online reviews of all-purpose zooms is that they tend to be inconsistent. It's not unusual to read in one review of a particular "super zoom" that the sharpness at longer focal lengths is very good, and then find another review website stating exactly the opposite. No doubt there are lots of reasons for this, but it's a bit disconcerting -- especially in these days of falling image prices -- when you're thinking about spending hundred of bucks on a lens.

 

One reason may be build quality and variations between samples. Superzooms are generally not going to be of professional quality and they tend to cost hundreds rather than thousands of bucks (feel free to substitute quid here the way sterling has been behaving).

 

This variation is not confined to superzooms though. I always read test data very carefully before I purchase a lens and I often find discrepancies in quoted relative edge-to-edge sharpness which is an easy parameter for a non-professional lens tester to measure. I expect lens manufacturers pick the sample lens they are sending out for testing very carefully so the test lens is probably always going to be the best of the bunch.

 

I'm sure superzooms have improved a lot over the years just as normal zooms have done but superzooms are what they are - very general purpose lenses aimed primarily at newbies. As far as Nikkors go, a 24-120 full frame is about the max that will get anywhere near to matching standard or telephoto zooms for optical quality by even then it is far short of the 24-70 and 70-200s. I presume it is the same for other manufacturers.

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I use the Panasonic Lumix 14-140mm on a Panasonic G5, and have submitted 100s of images to Aalmy without QC problems. I do however usually downsize to 3400 x 2550.  For most shots I don't think I really need to downsize, but I'm determined not to spend 28 days in the clink!

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I used the Nikon 18-200 on my D300 while traveling. Lots of images here, only cropped for effect but not downsized.

Now I'm using 100-400, 50-140 and 18-135 on crop sensor Fuji with sharp results at all lengths.

I've probably shot many more images with the 18-135 than the others because of the wider-angle end. More versatility. Hundreds of images from it on Alamy.

It all comes down to the system and particular zoom. I had a Nikon 300 long end once that was awful.

 

 

 

Hello Betty, I know you do not want to talk to me :) but I would like to say something about the above post from my time with Fuji X system.

 

I had the 18-55 with the X-T1 (kit lens) and found it to be extremely sharp. When the 18-135 came out I swapped the 18-55 for the new one thinking it would be a good walkabout lens and I would not have to change lenses so often.  For me the 18-135 sucked due to poor IQ and I wished I had my 18-55 back.

 

What I am saying is perhaps you might be better off with the18-55 as it is smaller and lighter.

 

Best wishes, 

 

Allan ;)

Allan, of course I want to talk to you!

Look at my portfolio. Scroll until you see all the shop fronts I have. Pages after pages. Virtually every. Single. One. Was taken with the 18-135. Also many others of the lake in drought, a few seagulls, men building houses, and others. You must have gotten a bad copy. It happens. I regularly see outstanding land and seascapes shot with that lens on the Fuji forum.

 

Agreed, some on the Fuji forum aren't enamored with that lens. I think it's more cause they like shooting wide with fast primes and the bokeh of the 18-135 doesn't compare. I agree with that. But for what I need the lens for, I don't need or want bokeh.

I need a zoom that gives me a wide shot and then a closer up shot when warranted. I shoot it in good light, and I have way more images on Alamy shot with it than any other of my excellent Fuji lenses. I sometimes have a bit of CA that LR handles perfectly.

So, my dear Allan, you will never convince me the 18-135 is inferior.

<take that! as she hits him on the head with the 18-135>

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I just use two zoom ranges to cover what I do.  I currently have DX Nikon 18-55, 18-105, 55-200, and 55-300 lenses.  I have looked at the 18-140 Nikon DX, but the 18-105 does most of what I need.  

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but it's a bit disconcerting -- especially in these days of falling image prices -- when you're thinking about spending hundred of bucks on a lens.

I could not agree more, i often ask myself why have i purchased many thousands of $s of gear and sometimes consider upgrading because it might be better, knowing that the image prices are not going to get better just because i purchased some great new piece of camera kit.

 

Because it is nice to have we photographers often over capitalise.

 

 

I keep things fairly simple, with a pair of complementing zooms -- the proverbial "two zoom solution" -- plus a wide-angle prime usually in my camera bag. My Sony mirrorless system is fairly lightweight to begin with, but I have the opportunity to buy an e-mount 18-200 zoom for a good price (but still not cheap). Part of me says that it would be handy to have one of these for the times when I only want to carry around one lens. However, as you say, it's easy to fall into the "over-capitilising" trap. After reading some of the contradictory reviews of the lens out there and looking realistically at my bank account, I realize that I'm better off leaving things as they are. If money were no object, though, I'd probably go ahead and over-capitalise, just for the heck of it.

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I have fallen in Love with my SIGMA 120-300 2.8,  pre IS version.  It is really heavy, but it makes wonderful images

I had a long (decades) with my NIKKOR 80-200 2.8, but I haul the SIGMA to most shoots now.

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I used the Nikon 18-200 on my D300 while traveling. Lots of images here, only cropped for effect but not downsized.

Now I'm using 100-400, 50-140 and 18-135 on crop sensor Fuji with sharp results at all lengths.

I've probably shot many more images with the 18-135 than the others because of the wider-angle end. More versatility. Hundreds of images from it on Alamy.

It all comes down to the system and particular zoom. I had a Nikon 300 long end once that was awful.

 

 

Hello Betty, I know you do not want to talk to me :) but I would like to say something about the above post from my time with Fuji X system.

 

I had the 18-55 with the X-T1 (kit lens) and found it to be extremely sharp. When the 18-135 came out I swapped the 18-55 for the new one thinking it would be a good walkabout lens and I would not have to change lenses so often.  For me the 18-135 sucked due to poor IQ and I wished I had my 18-55 back.

 

What I am saying is perhaps you might be better off with the18-55 as it is smaller and lighter.

 

Best wishes, 

 

Allan ;)

Allan, of course I want to talk to you!

Look at my portfolio. Scroll until you see all the shop fronts I have. Pages after pages. Virtually every. Single. One. Was taken with the 18-135. Also many others of the lake in drought, a few seagulls, men building houses, and others. You must have gotten a bad copy. It happens. I regularly see outstanding land and seascapes shot with that lens on the Fuji forum.

 

Agreed, some on the Fuji forum aren't enamored with that lens. I think it's more cause they like shooting wide with fast primes and the bokeh of the 18-135 doesn't compare. I agree with that. But for what I need the lens for, I don't need or want bokeh.

I need a zoom that gives me a wide shot and then a closer up shot when warranted. I shoot it in good light, and I have way more images on Alamy shot with it than any other of my excellent Fuji lenses. I sometimes have a bit of CA that LR handles perfectly.

So, my dear Allan, you will never convince me the 18-135 is inferior.

<take that! as she hits him on the head with the 18-135>

 

 

 

Oooh! THAT HURT! :blink:

 

The 18-135 lens was returned to Fuji for resetting under guarantee and although much improved I was still not happy with it. :mellow:

 

I suggested the 18-55, not because it produced better IQ (in my opinion), but simply it is smaller and lighter. :mellow:

 

I was thinking of you with your bad back/shoulder. :)

 

Allan

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OK you may be asking as I am a Nikon shooter why am I using Tamron lenses. Well at the time I got them they gave better IQ (sharpness) than Nikons equivalent.

 

Allan

 

 

It's not that they are necessarily better than the equivalent Nikkors but that they are an awful lot cheaper and the pro Tamron lenses are at least just as good in terms of image quality. The Tamron 24-70 2.8 is between a third and half the price of the equivalent Nikkor (the new one with vibration control) and it is a really excellent lens.

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Chuck Nacke

I have fallen in Love with my SIGMA 120-300 2.8,  pre IS version.  It is really heavy, but it makes wonderful images

I share the same comments in regard to my Sigma 150-600 sport,  only after putting it on the Canon 1DX,  before that i was struggling with image quality on the 7Dii, these days Sigma seem to be making  very good lenses, my Canon 600mm f/4 is just a shade better in image quality but dose not have the versatility of the Sigma zoom.

Edited by Paul Mayall

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I used the Nikon 18-200 on my D300 while traveling. Lots of images here, only cropped for effect but not downsized.

Now I'm using 100-400, 50-140 and 18-135 on crop sensor Fuji with sharp results at all lengths.

I've probably shot many more images with the 18-135 than the others because of the wider-angle end. More versatility. Hundreds of images from it on Alamy.

It all comes down to the system and particular zoom. I had a Nikon 300 long end once that was awful.

 

 

Hello Betty, I know you do not want to talk to me :) but I would like to say something about the above post from my time with Fuji X system.

 

I had the 18-55 with the X-T1 (kit lens) and found it to be extremely sharp. When the 18-135 came out I swapped the 18-55 for the new one thinking it would be a good walkabout lens and I would not have to change lenses so often.  For me the 18-135 sucked due to poor IQ and I wished I had my 18-55 back.

 

What I am saying is perhaps you might be better off with the18-55 as it is smaller and lighter.

 

Best wishes, 

 

Allan ;)

Allan, of course I want to talk to you!

Look at my portfolio. Scroll until you see all the shop fronts I have. Pages after pages. Virtually every. Single. One. Was taken with the 18-135. Also many others of the lake in drought, a few seagulls, men building houses, and others. You must have gotten a bad copy. It happens. I regularly see outstanding land and seascapes shot with that lens on the Fuji forum.

Agreed, some on the Fuji forum aren't enamored with that lens. I think it's more cause they like shooting wide with fast primes and the bokeh of the 18-135 doesn't compare. I agree with that. But for what I need the lens for, I don't need or want bokeh.

I need a zoom that gives me a wide shot and then a closer up shot when warranted. I shoot it in good light, and I have way more images on Alamy shot with it than any other of my excellent Fuji lenses. I sometimes have a bit of CA that LR handles perfectly.

So, my dear Allan, you will never convince me the 18-135 is inferior.

<take that! as she hits him on the head with the 18-135>

 

 

Oooh! THAT HURT! :blink:

 

The 18-135 lens was returned to Fuji for resetting under guarantee and although much improved I was still not happy with it. :mellow:

 

I suggested the 18-55, not because it produced better IQ (in my opinion), but simply it is smaller and lighter. :mellow:

 

I was thinking of you with your bad back/shoulder. :)

 

Allan

My shoulder is fine, now, well past surgery. It is my back and hands, though. :( yes, I do have the 18-55. My 18-135 has just as good IQ, believe it or not. And I know that's a NOT with you. The 18-55 just doesn't have the reach I need. I park my car deep In a parking lot, take a wide shot of a building, then from the same spot, zoom in closer. All through the window of my car most times.

 

I think the longer lens is light after shooting Nikon. Remember, I also use the 50-140 that is heavier yet, and I hand-hold the brilliant 100-400. Not saying the latter doesn't hurt, but it usually isn't in my hands for long periods and I don't walk around with it. Stiff upper lip and all that, lol. In the British fashion!

Betty

 

 

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If it helps anyone, I've done an analysis of sales versus focal length. (cropped)

1/2 below 40mm. 2/3rds below 55mm. 3/4 below 80mm.

Edited by spacecadet
  • Upvote 1

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OK you may be asking as I am a Nikon shooter why am I using Tamron lenses. Well at the time I got them they gave better IQ (sharpness) than Nikons equivalent.

 

Allan

 

 

It's not that they are necessarily better than the equivalent Nikkors but that they are an awful lot cheaper and the pro Tamron lenses are at least just as good in terms of image quality. The Tamron 24-70 2.8 is between a third and half the price of the equivalent Nikkor (the new one with vibration control) and it is a really excellent lens.

 

 

 

At the time I was checking these lenses out on DX Labs.

They had tested both Tamron and Nikon lenses on the D750 body and in both cases they rated the IQ of the Tamrons higher than the Nikons.

That is why I went for them.

The Tamrons being cheaper was a bonus.

 

The new Nikkor's were not out then.

 

Allan

Edited by Allan Bell

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If it helps anyone, I've done an analysis of sales versus focal length. (cropped)

1/2 below 40mm. 2/3rds below 55mm. 3/4 below 80mm.

Interesting and useful.

 

Of the lenses that I regularly use, the maximum focal length is 150, a 75-150 zoom. But that sees less use than the shorter focal lengths. I can't easily repeat your analysis as most of my lenses are manual focus and their properties don't appear in the photo data. However I would expect a similar distribution.

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If it helps anyone, I've done an analysis of sales versus focal length. (cropped)

1/2 below 40mm. 2/3rds below 55mm. 3/4 below 80mm.

Interesting and useful.

 

Of the lenses that I regularly use, the maximum focal length is 150, a 75-150 zoom. But that sees less use than the shorter focal lengths. I can't easily repeat your analysis as most of my lenses are manual focus and their properties don't appear in the photo data. However I would expect a similar distribution.

 

 

Probably similar for me too, although I've not done the analysis.

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