Camera lens buyer's guide

Superzoom lenses

A very popular choice for the keen amateur, superzoom lenses are a great example of why DSLRs are considered pro-spec cameras. A superzoom lens typically varies from a wide or medium focal length through to a telephoto, such as Tamron's 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 travel zoom.

The drawback? Image quality can suffer due to the demands of the lens - asking for perfectly placed optics for the finest sharpness throughout the focal range is a tall order.

Furthermore, as per any zoom lens, the more affordable options have limited aperture control where the maximum aperture value often decreases as the focal length increases.

Of course there are higher-end models that tend to focus on a tighter focal length, such as the pro-spec Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G. This is a grand example of a lens that's able to maintain top quality throughout its focal range, although at £1,650 we'd expect nothing less. Here an f/2.8 aperture is constant throughout. Internal focusing is also employed, meaning that the lens is always the same size and the focus ring won't auto-rotate while the autofocus hunts for its subject.

More often than not, an image stabilisation system (IS) is employed, which can move the internal lens elements by microscopic amounts to counter for handshake - something essential to help steady up when framing at longer focal lengths.

Superzooms are popular for a variety of subjects because they cover a wide range that makes shooting portraits through to more distanced work such as sport and wildlife a breeze.

Read our Best travel lenses: 8 tested article.

Typical superzoom lens examples

DSLR

Camera lens buyer's guide

Nikon Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VRII AF-S - £1,633


Camera lens buyer's guide

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM - £1,153


Camera lens buyer's guide

Pentax SMC DA* 60-250mm f/4.0 ED IF SDM - £1,049

Camera lens buyer's guide

Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD - £499

Sony A-mount 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DT - £195


Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD Four Thirds - £1,000


CSC

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f/4-5.6 Micro Four Thirds - £458


Samsung NX 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED OIS II - £170

Sony E-mount (NEX) 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS - £300