Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Inexpensive long-range zoom lenses, part of Photo Gear Weekly.
- For this installment of Photo Gear Weekly, I am hanging out, relaxing a little bit at Central Park in New York City. And specifically, at a wonderful little pond. One of my favorite places just to hang out in the city. We've got sailboats, radio-controlled sailboats out on the pond and I wanted to photograph them. Well, sometimes these photographic opportunities sort of sneak up on you. You can't anticipate everything you're going to need, especially when it comes to lenses. And what I find is it can be very helpful to have a lens that covers a tremendous range, a tremendous focal length range. So I've got lots of options.
Now, to be sure, when a lens is covering a wide range of focal lengths, there is a good chance it's not going to be the sharpest lens in the world. But that utility can really make up for that lack of sharpness. You may have noticed in this case, I'm actually using this lens handheld and even at 600 millimeters, I'm able to do that for two reasons. One, of course, I'm getting a fast shutter speed. We've got good light on the sailboats here today, so I'm able to get about a 1/4000 of a second shutter speed because I'm shooting with the aperture wide open and I've increased my ISO up to 400. But also I'm getting the additional benefit in this case of image stabilization built into this lens.
So here I happen to be shooting with a 150-millimeter to 600-millimeter lens. That gives me a tremendous range. In the case of these sailboats, if I've got a boat that's come to within about 20 yards of me, that boat's going to be full-frame. But I can even get a full-frame boat if it's almost all the way at the other side of the pond. So that's giving me tremendous possibilities, photographically, in this case, for sailboats, but in a variety of other situations as well. Now, there are other options of course, in terms of that focal length range, taking longer ranges. Some of those lenses are in the, some around 24 to 28-millimeter, up to some around 300 millimeters.
I know many photographers are familiar with the 100 to 400-millimeter lenses for example, or 70 to 20. By getting a long-range in a relatively compact package, and in an affordable price, a lens like this, this is a Tamron 150-600. It operates at an aperture range of f5 to f6.3 in terms of the maximum aperture size. And this is around about $1,000. A really good bargain, especially when you compare it to a 600-millimeter lens, a 500-millimeter lens. All the other lenses that you would need in between to cover this range.
So here I'm able to have some fun, photograph the sailboats on the pond at an affordable price, have all sorts of flexibility in terms of composing my shot along the way. So if you have opportunities, situations where you could use a wider range of possible focal lengths, I definitely encourage you to take a look at some of those options for very broad ranges of focal lengths in a single lens. It can be incredibly convenient and we've got a lot of lenses that are available now at a rather affordable price compared to other options.