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Old Aug 10, 2007, 1:21 PM   #1
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Why is it that the Canon S5is can have a 36-432mm equiv. zoom, yet no such lens is available for dSLR's (meaning one lens that has that much range). In general it seems that super-zooms and non-dSLR's offer 8x-12x optical zoom, but I don't see dSLR lenses that offer the same range. TIA.
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Old Aug 10, 2007, 2:55 PM   #2
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There are several reasons for that.

First - materials. Look at the physical size of that 432 equiv lens for the s5. VERY small in comparison to a 400mm lens designed for a DSLR. Go to your photo store and ask if they have a 400mm 2.8 - see how nice and heavy that is. So a lens designed to produce an image circle large enough for a DSLR sensor has to be larger. Larger = heavier = pricier

Second - performance. Ever hear the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none"? The problem exists in any aspect of engineering. If you try to design something that can do everything - it just might do everything but it will do it poorly. Verses building something to do a specific task very well. Again, feel free to take some shots with the S5 and 432mm equiv and compare said shots to results from the 300mm 2.8 and a 1dmk III (390mm equiv). Trust me there will be no comparison. Even within the DSLR world the superzoom lenses like the 18-200s don't have the same optical quality as you would get from buying two separate zooms that cover a shorter range. Think of it like a tool. Think of a professional powersaw and a professioal grade drill. They both do their job very well. Now try to build 1 tool that does both - they have them - but it doesn't do the job as well. Just because you can make item A that does it's job well and item B that does it's job well doesn't mean you can make Item C that does BOTH as well.

Superzoom lenses are in vogue right now from the large throng of people moving to DSLRs from digicams. But right now, those superzooms just can't perform as well as their more specialized counterparts.

And rember, in the digicam world there are 2 metrics which the manufacturers have drilled into the masses as being the only important features: megapixels and zoom.They use nice, soundbyte numbers: 4mp, 5mp, 8mp, 10mp, 12mp and 3x, 5x, 8x, 12x , 15x. So they are a great advertising gimick.

But here's the dirty little secret:

more mp doesn't mean better camera

more zoom range doesn't mean better lens.

In the example above, the canon 300mm 2.8 prime is a 1x lens. But it's better than any lens on the market that covers the 300mm range.
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Old Aug 10, 2007, 6:22 PM   #3
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interpol wrote:
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Why is it that the Canon S5is can have a 36-432mm equiv. zoom, yet no such lens is available for dSLR's (meaning one lens that has that much range). In general it seems that super-zooms and non-dSLR's offer 8x-12x optical zoom, but I don't see dSLR lenses that offer the same range. TIA.
Actually as so many people are calling out for this type of lens Tamron has just made one, it is the 18-250mm which is a 13.9x zoom. On a Canon body this gives the 35mm equiv of 29-400mm so you are getting wider although not quite as long, this is a payoff I would much rather have.

As John has very rightly said the bigger the zoom the worse the lens quality in general. Likely to be more distortion, lower resolution, more chromatic aberration and vignetting but it does mean you don't have to carry around as many lenses.

So yes they are on the market but not going to give you the best grade of photo the dSLR can produce.

As a point of note the 18-250 seems to do quite well compared to other super zooms.

Hope that helps,

Mark
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 11:37 AM   #4
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Delete double-post... :evil:
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 11:38 AM   #5
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To add to the other postings you can now also get an 11x zoom with IS:
http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len...63os/index.htm

... and the Bigma 50-500mm (10x) has more range than most P&S as well!


IMHO any dSLR equipped with 8x-12x zoom is probably capable of making a better picture than most Point @ Shoot as they are much more responsive and offer more controls as well
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