Is it time to buy a superzoom lens for your trip?

Whether you are traveling far or near, it is a good choice to pack light. If you’re exploring a city, wandering the countryside, or heading to the other side of the world, a heavy bag of cameras, lenses, and accessories can quickly get stressful. Is it time to buy a superzoom lens for your trip?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get the advanced processing and image quality of a system camera without having to carry around a lot of kits? That’s where the super zoom lens comes in.

Superzoom has long been popular for its versatility. It’s great to be able to react quickly to the opportunity as it presents itself, from wide-angle zoom to telephoto and everything in between with a flick of the wrist. You will completely avoid the frustration of missing a shot because you are busy changing lenses. Another benefit of the digital age is that you can greatly reduce the risk of dust and dirt dumping on the image sensor without having to change the lens on your camera as often as possible. This is especially true for compact system cameras, where the sensor is visible when the lens is changed, rather than hidden behind the mirror and shutter assembly.

apexel superzoom lens

1. What is a superzoom?

In short, it’s a lens with a very long zoom range — so you can shoot up to 16mm wide and then zoom up to 200mm or 300mm. Many also offer image stabilization/shock absorption, which is crucial when shooting at the far end of the telephoto range, as camera shake can be a real problem with handheld devices. So they’re very versatile.

Since super zoom is primarily aimed at hobbyist photographers with smaller, lighter SLRs, many, though not all, are designed for APS-C format cameras rather than full-frame cameras. However, check with the manufacturer of that particular lens.

2. What is the typical range of a super zoom lens?

There is no clear definition of a super zoom lens, but the term usually covers a range much higher than 3x or 4x of a standard zoom lens, with 10x, 12x, 18x, or more being considered super zoom.

apexel superzoom lens

3. How do we pick?

Here’s what we looked for in the superzoom when we researched and tested it:

Powerful lenses: “Powerful” means a lens with a zoom of 60x or more. This time, we’ve extended the category to include shorter lenses with other desirable attributes, such as a wide aperture across the entire zoom range.

Effective image stabilization: Since it is difficult to take sharp photos at long focal lengths, super zoom requires sophisticated image stabilization systems. Most of these systems are optical, meaning they use a gyroscope and moving glass inside the lens to counteract your hand movements, but some combine optical image stabilization (OIS) with electronic image stabilization (EIS) for a more powerful effect.

Fast autofocus: Contrast detection autofocus systems used in many superzooms sometimes struggle to focus at the longest zoom settings, in which case the contrast may be reduced. Imagine the frustration of lining up the perfect shot of a bald eagle in a distant pine tree as your camera struggles to lock in, only to see it fly away. Some models introduce different systems, such as Panasonic Depth from Defocus, to achieve faster, more consistent results.

Manual control and comfortable ergonomics: Superzoom is shaped like a DSLR, so they might as well take advantage of the space to provide you with useful buttons and dials. It’s even better if the camera is customizable, so you can better set it up according to your shooting preferences and whether the controls are laid out logically for instant access.

Sharp Electronic Viewfinder (EVF): Holding these tiny built-in displays close to your eyes makes steady shots easier when you use the maximum focal length of super zoom. Even if you prefer to use the back screen, a good EVF can be a real money-saver when bright sunlight washes over the main display. The best electronic viewfinders use OLED displays for superior color and contrast.

Quick streaks with depth buffering: Superzoom is a popular choice for action and sports photography due to its telephoto feature, so we prefer cameras that can take fast streaks — for example, 10 frames per second or faster. We’d also like to see a deep buffer — meaning lots of onboard memory and a fast processor — so these bursts can last longer than a split second before the continuous shooting stops.

High-quality video, preferably 4K: Most super zoom videos shoot at a resolution of at least 1080p at 30 frames per second, but we prefer models with 1080/60p, especially the 4K/30p option since many people now have 4K TV rooms in their lives. We offer bonus points for cameras with smooth, silent video zoom and autofocus.

Menus that are easy to navigate: In general, we prefer cameras that have user interfaces that allow you to get the Settings you need without scrolling through a lot of screens, and those that offer a convenient “quick menu” to collect the most frequently used settings in one place for easy access. The touchscreen interface also helps.

Lots of connectivity options: It’s 2020, so almost every camera has Wi-Fi for image transfer and remote control. Some go a step further and use Bluetooth or NFC for simple pairing and passive background image transfer. The best superzoom goes much further than that, offering HDMI output and ports for external microphones and headphones.

Reasonable battery life: Most point-and-shoot cameras have short battery life, and superzoom is no exception. DSLR cameras can take about 350 photos on a single charge, while small travel zoom lenses have smaller batteries that can take only about 300 photos. We are suspicious of any camera that performs much worse than that, and we applaud those that are above average.

Solid build quality: Superzoom may look like DSLR, but they don’t usually build as they do. Materials tend to be cheaper, and cameras sometimes feel hollow and plastic. We prefer cameras that feel sturdier in the hand, use rubber and polycarbonate that feel more luxurious, and have some sort of dust or water resistance.

apexel superzoom lens

Whenever you venture into wildlife with friends or yourself, you should never sacrifice the quality of your memory. The best super zoom lens will make you the best dream chaser, your holiday hero.


Which is better telephoto or zoom lens?

Depending on the situation, telephoto lenses are optimized for long distances. A zoom lens is a lens with a variable focal length, usually from wide to long. You can choose the right lens according to your needs.

Do I need a zoom lens for travel?

For travel photography, you need a lens that is fairly wide at the wide end and quite zoomed in at the narrow end. This will give you great flexibility to shoot wide scenes, such as buildings on city streets, by zooming in on the detail.

How does a superzoom lens work?

A telephoto lens works by having the outermost element of a much shorter focal length than the equivalent long-focus lens and then incorporating the second set of elements close to the film or sensor plane that extend the cone of light so that it appears to have come from a lens of much greater.

What is a superzoom camera?

A superzoom or hyper zoom lens is a type of photographic zoom lens with unconventionally large focal length factors, typically ranging from wide-angle to extreme long lens focal lengths in one lens. Long focal lengths normally have to be combined with image stabilization.

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