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pro/cons about single or multiple lenses (covering same focal length)

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by AnttiV, May 20, 2012.

  1. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    91
    Apr 19, 2012
    Finland
    (I thought this would be the most appropriate place, as this isn't for any given system or adapted/native lens, but all)

    The question is: Is there any point keeping multiple lenses that cover the same focal length area than a single lens would?

    Case in point: I have these 18-50mm, 24-70mm and 28-200mm lenses, all f/3.5-5.6. I might have the opportunity to exchange these to a single 18-200mm/f3.5-6.3 lens.

    Do you think there are any notable pros/cons about this exchange?

    One definite pro I can find is that I wouldn't have to change lenses when going from wide to tele, and one con that I can find is the drop of the tele-end aperture from 5.6 to 6.3 (but that isn't so much as to actually bother me).

    My 28-200mm is a macro one and the 18-200mm isn't, so that might be something of a con. But I don't actually know how, since the 18-200mm will actually focus closer (45cm) than the 28-200mm does (48cm).
     
  2. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I would say the only question is how often do you use the 18-28 range? Then you weigh that against the size, price, and IQ and it becomes a pretty easy decision.

    Personally, I'm not a big wide-angle guy, so there would have to be some very compelling reason for the 18-200 (much smaller, vastly better IQ) for me to change.

    I carry a 14-50, 45-200, and 45 prime, not for what they all do the same, but what they all do different (normal zoom, tele zoom, macro)
     
  3. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    generally the wider the range of zoom, the more compromises need to be made in relation to total IQ. If you've pixel peeped and are content with the 18-200's performance or never planning on printing massive anyways (like most), it doesn't matter.
     
  4. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    91
    Apr 19, 2012
    Finland
    The 18-200 and the 28-200 are physically almost identical in size, the 18-200 weights a bit more than the 28-200, but not so much as to matter when connected to the heavy-weight SD10 body :D (50-100g here or there doesn't matter with SD10, the body weights about 900g with batteries..)

    IQ is, from what I could tell from samples, pretty equal on both lenses. I do, however, love wide angle shots and I've been using the wide end quite a lot with my G3. I generally use my Sigma as a tele, because I lack a long enough lens from the G3. I would like to get a separate UWA lens, but they are too costly for me.
     
  5. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    If you;re satisfied with the IQ, just dump all the other ones.....and put that money towards something else.
     
  6. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    91
    Apr 19, 2012
    Finland
    I've never been a pixel-peeper, that's why it doesn't bother me that the Sigma produces "only" 3.4MP images (although comparable IQ to much higher MP bayer-sensor). And also I rarely print anything out, most of my images stay in digital form. (out of ~35k images I've printed out a couple of hundred - at 10x15cm size. And maybe a dozen A4-size.)

    I think I'm going ahead with the exchange, provided everything goes to plan (eh, when does it ever...) because then I'd only have to put 50-100€ and I could exchange my whole SD10 system with a SD14 and that lens. I could've the same focal lengths I used to, and get a better body on the side. Leaves room in by bags for more lenses :D

    EDIT: But, in general, is there any real pros in keeping multiple lenses over a single lens if the covered focal range is the same? (Provided all lenses are zooms, primes are an entirely different matter - I do understand keeping those around ;)

    If, for example, one has a 28-70mm lens and a 70-300mm lens; is there really a perceivable advantage with these two over a 28-300mm lens? Are the longer lenses *always* worse than the shorter ones, for example. Or does someone use the other lens for some other quality? Like if the other is a stabilized lens, then I can see it. Or if one uses a different filter/attachment on both lenses, then you wouldn't have to change these all the time. For example two 24-70mm lenses, one with wide-angle converter and the other with tele-converter? (Personally, I find it easier to change the attachments than the lenses and I try to minimize the amount the camera body is "open" to elements, i.e. without a lens or a body cap.)
     
  7. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    I prefer having several somewhat limited-range zooms (e.g. 7-14, 14-45, 45-200) rather than trying to jam it all into one lens (which trades off IQ and adds all-the-time size/weight).

    Conversely, for travel or just walking around... I prefer the convenience and quick handling of the 14-45 for general use, much of the time, rather than be swapping around back and forth with 14, 20, 45 primes. Of course, the excellent optical performance of the 14-45 makes this a very reasonable choice.

    An exception would be when I desire the particular attributes that a fast prime lens offers - in which case, I will select one of the primes.

    In your case, if moving to the 18-200 is going to result in carrying a much larger, heavier lens all the time (and/or a noticeable loss of IQ), I'd stick with the separate zooms.
     
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  8. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    91
    Apr 19, 2012
    Finland
    Physical lens length (18-200 vs 28-200) is almost exactly the same, the 18-200 is wider by a few millimeters and weights 25g more (380g vs 405g).

    The 18-50mm, which I then don't have to carry around, weights 250g so 225g of the total weight of the bag. Also the 18-50mm is the original kit lens and thus IQ is horrendous and CA is practically everywhere. So at least 18-28mm length will be improved quite a lot, IQ-vise.

    In my specific case (for me) it's practically a no-brainer to swap for the 18-200. But I still wonder about others.

    DHart has a good point there. Many smaller zooms, even though weight more in total, do weight less individually and thus the camera+lens combo is lighter.

    Any others? Would you trade 2-3 lenses with - say - internal focusing to one lens that would not have IF (and would have rotating front threads) if IQ and aperture would stay the same?

    What about AF motors? Would you change 2-3 lenses with quiet AF motors for one lens that had a louder AF (if IQ and aperture would stay the same)?

    Or are there any other pros with multi-lens setups? I imagine weight being a more prominent factor with lighter bodies, especially with mu43.
     
  9. tdekany

    tdekany Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 8, 2011
    Oregon
    I'm very new at this, but with my limited experience, I would prefer a 7-17mm, 14-140mm and a 100-300 with their own bodies to cover the ranges that are important to me and for my style of photography.

    ONLY, because I hate changing lenses in a hurry. I guess it depends on what you shoot.

    So my choice would be the 18-200 for sure.
     
  10. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Take a camera, especially a small and lightweight camera, and mount a relatively huge, heavy lens off to it... hang the rig off of your shoulder, while you walk around for an hour or five and then tell me how much you like having your entire photographic capability jammed into one big lens. Take it into a dimly lighted restaurant to grab a shot of your wonderful meal and see how that works out. Take it with you on a roller coaster or in a small boat? You get the idea. Sure would NOT work for me... but then again, each of us has differing experience, needs, and perspectives.
     
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  11. msaari

    msaari Mu-43 Rookie

    24
    Apr 30, 2012
    Tampere, Finland
    "With superzooms (those 10X things we all turn our noses up at in public and then take on vacation) it’s difficult to see the lens’ heritage just by looking at the diagram. They often have positive front elements like a telephoto, positive rear elements like a reverse telephoto, and a bunch of other elements in between to try to correct all the distortion and aberration that comes from trying to be all things to all people. There’s a reason superzooms didn’t come into being until lenses became computer designed. The complexity is far too much for mere humans to design."

    "It also explains why every every manufacturer’s zooms tend to occur in the same groups of focal lengths. Wide angle zooms in the 14-35mm range (14-24, 16-35, etc.) because that’s a reverse telephoto design. Telephoto zooms in the 70-200 and greater range because that’s a telephoto design. Standard zooms in the 24-70 range because that’s a weakly reverse telephoto design. And why “superzooms” that cover every range as a rule don’t cover it all that well: they have to be strong reverse telephoto, weak reverse telephoto and telephoto all in one."

    Lens Genealogy part 2

    That's pretty much the reason –*the larger focal length the single lens covers, the more it has to do different things well. A lens with smaller focal length range can focus on doing one thing really well.

    So I would probably prefer having couple of different lenses, but if you're happy with the image quality you get from the large-range zoom, then go for it, it sure makes sense from the convenience angle.

    (The article starts in Part 1 and is highly recommended to anyone interested in how lenses are designed.)
     
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