GONE ARE THE DAYS OF THE BIG AND BULKY ZOOM LENS.
Now you can capture those intricate details, bring your subject closer and add more creativity to your framing with a versatile, lightweight travel lens.
The zoom lens has been a favoured companion of travel, landscape and wildlife photographers for a long time. And for good reason. While a 25mm or 50mm prime lens is handy for wandering those city streets, a zoom lens gives you the opportunity to explore exciting angles and expand the possibilities for your shot.
Here’s everything you need to know about composing your scene, choosing a focal length and playing with the different lens features to get the most out of your handy zoom:
CHOOSE YOUR ZOOM
The first thing to consider is your subject. Wildlife photography can require a focal length of 100-600mm whereas landscape photography works well with a versatile zoom lens (like the M.Zuiko 12-100mm f4 IS Pro) which allows you to capture both distant details and the entire scene without changing lenses.
↑ Focal length
↑ Focal length
↑ Focal length
↑ Focal length
You’ll also want to think about whether a zoom lens provides a variable maximum or constant aperture, a distinction that’s generally reflected in the price (the more expensive, the more likely it’s the latter). If you like to shoot at a wide aperture (like f2.8), which is typically great in low light conditions, look for a zoom lens that has a constant maximum aperture regardless of whether you’re using a focal length of 28mm or 200mm. A variable maximum aperture means the aperture changes with your focal length, in turn adjusting the amount of light let into your camera.
DON'T FORGET, COMPRESS!
Ever photographed a mountain range using a standard lens with a wider angle, or even your phone camera, and noticed that the mountains appear unsatisfyingly small? That doesn’t happen with a zoom lens. A telephoto lens enables you to zoom in further, therefore bringing the mountains closer.
This effect can be enhanced if you’ve got a subject that’s close to your camera. By placing a person or subject in the frame, you can draw the landscape in to surround them. To see how compression works start with a wide focal length and slowly zoom in to see how the distant features become closer and larger behind your subject.
F IS FOR ‘FOREGROUND’
A versatile zoom lens is a useful tool for experimenting with your framing and composition. Don’t be afraid to explore the possibilities through the viewfinder – zoom in tighter to see the outcome, move around to see what additional elements can be used within your image.
Incorporating foreground features is a wonderful way of combining various elements of a landscape into one single image. Rather than just snapping a shot of the entire scene, get close to a textured leaf, plant or even low to the ground with sand or water patterns, and use the environment to frame the landscape. Pairing this foreground feature with your ability to zoom toward distant subjects will create a beautifully composed image representative of the scene you’re trying to capture.
A wider aperture (like f/2.8) will
...while a narrow aperture (like f/11) will
ACTIVATE STEALTH MODE
Are you photographing landscapes where birds nest and wildlife roam? In that case, it’s best to remain out of sight. While bird hides and viewing platforms may be on site to assist you, a zoom lens can help you activate your next level of stealth mode and capture wildlife in their most natural state.
Being careful not to spook or scare wildlife should always be a consideration when photographing in natural areas. Having a zoom lens like the M.Zuiko 40-150mm (80-300mm equivalent) allows you to get close without interfering. Meanwhile the 300mm f4 lens has the perfect speed, stabilisation and focal length for capturing those striking images of grizzly bears, whales and exotic birds.
If you want to get right up close and personal with details in a landscape, a teleconverter is a very handy zoom accessory.
OM SYSTEM offers the MC-20 2x teleconverter which utilises the high optical performance of the master lens while doubling the focal length. For example, taking your lens from a 40-150mm to an 80-300mm. This 150 gram lens slots between the camera and your zoom lens, and is a worthy investment if you want a lightweight camera system.
At the end of the day, the best zoom lens for you will come down to a few key features:
Size and weight
Having a trusted zoom lens in your camera bag will make all your distant dreams a reality and give you the extra reach you need when out in the field. Happy snapping!
‘THE DAILY COMMUTE’
Jennifer Swanton’s shot of a man in Tokyo waiting for his train captures the essence of Japan — the busyness of urban life and the storied tradition in the form of his intricate garment. This shot is a contrast in terms of the neutral, everyday colours against the vivid blue of his robe, and of tradition against modern life.
Taken on an OM-D E-M10 Mark II.
Congratulations to Jennifer Swanton for winning our Frame Your View competition. Jennifer has scored an Olympus camera for entering this incredible shot.
THINK YOU'VE GOT A WINNER?
Send us your best travel photos for a chance to win an E-M5 Mark III + 14-150mm Kit, valued at AU$2,049, plus have your image featured in the magazine! This stylish, compact, interchangeable-lens camera is perfect for travel. shop.olympus.com.au
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