Maybe I've been wrong about super zoom lenses?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Fmrvette, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    I just finished watching a Scott Kelby seminar on photographic composition:

    Scott Kelby's Crush the Composition - Google+ Photographers Conference - YouTube

    (It was linked in another thread by another forum member and of course I don't remember from whom I swiped the link so I cannot give credit where it is due :frown: ).

    Mr. Kelby is, of course, a fairly well regarded photographer although his real claim to fame is being an expert in all things PhotoShop.

    The composition seminar runs about an hour and has some ideas that are new to me and some that are a firm grasp of the obvious.

    However he made one quick off-hand remark that got my full and undivided attention:

    "When traveling I take a single 28-300mm lens and it never comes off of the camera" (I may have paraphrased a bit, but that's the gist of the remark).

    Mr. Kelby isn't talking about when he's on assignment or teaching a class, he's speaking of when he's traveling for pleasure.

    I did a bit of research and the lens he refers to appears to be this one: Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR: NIKON: Camera & Photo

    I had just assumed (without any data at all to back up the assumption) that Mr. Kelby would lug the "holy trinity" of Nikon glass on vacation. (The 12-24, 24-70, and 70-200 f/2.8 zooms). The shock of finding out that he takes a single lens (not even carrying a 'nifty fifty'!) and that the lens chosen is a super zoom was palpable.

    Ever since my somewhat lamentable experience with a Nikon 18-200mm lens I've pretty much disdained 'super zooms' in favor of primes or at least zooms with short ranges.

    While not putting my photographic skills at the same level as Mr. Kelby's (I'm fully aware that he can wring more out of any given lens than I can) after looking at shots he has taken with the 28-300mm lens I'm reconsidering the Olympus 14-150mm :43: lens as a "travel" lens.

    I've never used one and had no real plans to acquire one (the 45mm, 60mm, and 75mm lenses are on my 'wish list' in an ongoing battle with the Princess of the Exchequer to complete a collection of primes. The 12mm would be a distant acquisition - I'm pretty well satisfied with the 14mm unless I come into an unexpected, unallocated windfall).

    To think of reducing the travel kit to a single body (the OM-D EM-5), a single lens (the 14-150mm) and, probably, a single FL-600R flash...yeow!

    I've not done that since I took my first Nikon DSLR and kit zoom to Alaska for a two week vacation - and that was because I was just starting out in digital and budget constraints kept the kit to a minimum; I wasn't sure the whole kit wasn't going to be a disappointment and I'd be back shooting Tri-X after the vacation :biggrin:. I wasn't willing to risk buying more than a single body, lens, and an SB600 flash to test this new fangled digital idea.

    Maybe I'll go lay down for awhile and see if the sudden GAS passes :biggrin:.

    Too bad I didn't see Mr. Kelby's video until now; a month ago I could've passed out hints about Father's Day gifts...:biggrin:



    EDIT: I should've been more clear - my surprise isn't that a vacation can be photographed using a super zoom lens as the only resource available; my surprise is that Scott Kelby, who one images has just about every Nikon (and Adobe) product made available at his fingertips, chooses to do so.

    EDIT II: After more research I've found that Mr. Kelby concedes that he also carries a 12-24mm lens on travels, although he does rely mainly on the super zoom. That makes me feel a little less surprised. :2thumbs:
  2. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    Unless it is primarily a photography related trip that makes a lot of sense. Though I'd maybe thrown in a 14mm or 20mm pancake for low light indoors.
  3. frank2

    frank2 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 29, 2011
    Columbus, Ohio
    I agree, the addition of a low light lens (my choice would be the PL25) would be great. I would also consider a Rokinon fisheye for cramped interiors.
  4. DeoreDX

    DeoreDX Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 13, 2013
    I've yet to put together a mu43 kit that is as versatile as my Nikon slr, super zoom lens, and one of the fantastic Nikon flashes. Good enough for pretty much any situation you can throw at it. I personally find a good flash far superior to a fast lens in being able to capture indoor low light stuff. Being able to control the light and angle at with the light is coming from just can't be beat when it comes to the number in indoor keepers you get.
  5. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    For the kind of travel do, that lens would be way too big. That's why I've never considered superzooms: you have to carry that extra length all the time even though you might only use it 5% of the time.
  6. kurtwist

    kurtwist Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 6, 2011
    Southern Calif.
    My travel kit is the 14-150 and the 12mm f2 on the E PM2/VF2. It is always there, and no thinking required. Results are more than satisfactory.
    For everything else I prefer a variety of legacy lenses (though the 12 is my wa default)and complete control.
  7. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Frank2, Madogvelkor, thanks for the replies.

    I agree that hedging one's bet may be the smart way to go - but of course if one starts adding in lenses for ultra wide and low light condition one has left Mr. Kelby's premise of a single lens to be used for all occasions.

    (I should make it clear that Mr. Kelby, in the seminar, doesn't promote the usage of a single super zoom lens; he just made an off-hand remark that that is his current methodology when on vacation).

    Of course "one camera, one lens, one year" assignments have been around since the second lens was invented :biggrin:; many folks buy a point 'n shoot (or a phone!!!) and use digital zoom to document entire trips.

    I was just somewhat floored to hear that Mr. Kelby used such an arrangement - and he apparently packs no 'backup' lenses for special circumstances.

    At a minimum for a week's vacation I would consider the OM-D, the 14mm, the 20mm, the 7.5mm UWA, and a 45-200 along with a flash as my 'road trip' kit. Not to mention a tripod or Mr. Kelby's remark is causing me to rethink my position.

    I gotta quit looking at these online seminars; they are leading me down the GAS path...:biggrin:.


  8. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    That SB900 was quite a flash; I very nearly kept it when I sold off my Nikon gear.

    The issue I (sometimes) run into is that not all venues allow flash photography, but do allow photography without flash. (Art museums, for instance; the flash can be detrimental, apparently, to oil paintings in some way that I have yet to fathom).

    And yet...Mr. Kelby states that he has only the single, not-all-that-fast lens on his camera.

    With all of his available Nikon gear I had just assumed that he would pack heavy.


  9. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Hi Tom!

    I have the 45-150mm Olympus lens and the 45-200mm Panasonic lens. The Olympus is considerably smaller, of course.

    Here's a comparison of the 40-150 and the 14-150 lenses mounted on an OM-D:

    Compact Camera Meter

    The super zoom is about 100 grams heavier.

    Compared to the 45-200mm lens, however - the super zoom is both smaller and lighter by 100 grams:

    Compact Camera Meter

    My concerns would be low light capabilities (or, rather, the lack thereof) and image quality compared to primes.

    Still, the remark from Mr. Kelby got me to thinkin'...and in photography thinkin' is usually a good idea :wink:.


  10. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Jim, I'm with you--I know it's not a huge lens. It's just that for the kind of traveling I do, 99% of my shots are with SWA, WA, or normal lenses. 45mm is about as long as I go. I probably have the 9-18mm or 14-45mm mounted on my camera most of the time, which makes for a nice, compact package I can actually slip into a jacket pocket. And that was the original appeal of m43 to begin with, for me.

    So given how little I use a telephoto, I have no interest in lugging around a long lens all the time.

    Obviously you might have very different habits.
  11. ThomD

    ThomD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 1, 2013
    SF Bay Area
    I had not seen that comparison web site before. It is awesome.
  12. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    My habit seems to be always wanting the lens I don't already own...



    * I recently took the strap off of my EPL-1 backup body and replaced it with a hand "strap" from a Canon G9, removed the VF2, added a Delkin folding sun shade and mounted the 15mm body cap lens. The rig will fit into to a sports shirt pocket :thumbup:. Although I will concede that the 15mm and the EPL-1 are not a match made in heaven...:wink:.
  13. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    It all depends on one's personal photographic style. Myself, I have no problem with superzooms. Before the advent of micro four thirds, my preferred travel kit was my Pentax K200D and the DA 18-250mm zoom (27-375mm equivalent FOV). I still have that lens and still use it occasionally on both my K-5 and K-30.

    You can see my micro four-thirds kit below and I own the Olympus 14-150, a refurbished item picked up at a very friendly price from Cameta Camera. I've used this lens on my Oly E-PM2 and my Panasonic G5 (Gadzooks! That means I was shooting with no IS!) with good results.

    IMHO, the 14-150 is a great travel lens. Perhaps also having a fast, normal prime would be a good idea for low-light and no-flash work. Both the Oly 17mm f/1.8 and the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 would be good choices. But the Panny 14mm f/2.5 might be enough as well.

    Either way, you probably don't need more than that for almost any trip.

    EDIT: Mind you, I am not necessarily saying one needs to have both the superzoom and fast prime with one's self all the time. If I left my hotel for a day of shooting outdoors, I'd have only the 14-150. If I came back to my hotel in the evening, to shower and change clothes before dinner and a night out, I'd probably switch to the prime at that time. No switching lenses in the middle of any given station.
  14. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Back in January I went to a conference in Orlando at Disney World. I had one afternoon and evening when I went to Epcot. I am not a ride fan so I went for the photography. Anyway I brought my 14-150mm, 14mm, 20mm, 30mm and my 45mm. I used the 14-150mm 75% of the time.

    I work for a church and have to shoot events. I almost exclusively use the 14-150mm for these times. The only time I find this lens sucks is in low light situations.
  15. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    I think it depends on what you like to take pictures of. For a typical sightseeing urban vacation I am fine with a regular 3x zoom, though I would prefer and currently considering the 12-35 for wider angle. If I had an Olympus I'd be hard pressed to not use the conveniently ranged 12-50.
  16. Danny_SWE

    Danny_SWE Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 30, 2013
    Sweden (Gothenburg)
    I use the 12-35 when travelling, for my use, that range is just perfect, and great with the fast aperture also. Together with the light Oly 40-150 I have a kit that covers most situations. Maybe some pancake (my choice the 20) when I need something small, that lens fits the small bag w/o problems so I use to bring that one as well.

    But honestly I miss my old 4/3 12-60/2.8-4 that was an awesome lens.

    /edit: I forgot one thing. The 12-35 and the 40-150 share the same filter diameter. Good.
  17. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    I believe superzooms are very underrated. I have the 28-300 on my Nikon D700 and don't regret it; I have the Oly 14-150 on the E-pl5 and it keeps shooting:biggrin: and the results are very good, at least for me. Yes, I do have primes and shorter zooms but only use them on occasion. I'm not a pro so for me it's ok and also for many pros I know. So no wonder Kelby used a superzoom, he's a photographer not a pixel peeper and knows when to use primes or superzooms.
  18. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    One of the big reasons why I bought my GH1 was the 14-140. The only complaint is the indoor performance, otherwise in good light, it's very good. So when travelling, I use a GH + 14-140 and a GF3 with the 20/1.7.
  19. I only just watched the video myself a few days ago. It was an entertaining way to cover what is fairly bland subject matter. As to the use of superzoom lenses, like always it comes down to knowing your lens and where it does and doesn't perform. Most superzooms tend to have a weaker section in their range to be mindful of. My travel kit is virtually my entire kit and I wouldn't exclusively use a superzoom just because it was easier than selecting the best lens for the job.

    Of course when using primes instead you may miss a shot entirely by not having a wide enough lens mounted, or have to crop excessively by not having a long enough lens, or get a different looking shot by having to change your position to suit the lens' angle-of-view. Every lens is a compromise.
  20. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    I like to take a larger selection of lenses on the trip, but then pick and choose what to take on each particular outing. Some outings would include two bodies, like 7-14 on one body and 14-140 on the other. Other outings might be 14-140 on one body and 9-18, or a fast prime, in a pocket.

    There have been some outings where the Pany 14-140 alone was absolutely perfect. And there have been times when I wanted to get wide and long from the same spot that I was limited to. That happened when by the side of the road in the Black Hills... there was just one good vantage point, cars driving by, I didn't want to be juggling lenses and bodies, so I shot the 14-140 at both ends of the range. Did the job just great. Wonderful lens.

    At 14mm

    And another at 140mm

    Even the guy with a dozen great primes and specialty zooms can make very good use of a super zoom at times!

    The 14-140 is an awesome lens with exceptionally effective OIS.
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