All-in-Ones

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While there may not ever be a "perfect" lens, there has long been a need for a one-lens solution for shooters who want to head out the door with one camera and one lens over their shoulder. The reasons vary. For some it's a matter of convenience. For some, it's a matter of pure laziness and for others it's the fear of getting dust on the sensor. For frequent flyers it's a matter of logistics, i.e., there's a limit to how much airlines allow you  to carry aboard the plane (almost all of these lenses are surprisingly compact).


A majority of the lenses we carry at B&H that fall into this category replicate the fields of view of a 28-300mm lens, give or take a few millimeters on both ends of the focal range. Four of these lenses are 28-300mm, designed for full-frame DSLRs and seven are 18-200mm zooms designed for use with APS-C format DSLRs, which on compact DSLRs, works out to 27-300mm (or 28.8-320mm for Canon DSLRs). For FourThird format cameras from Olympus and Panasonic, we have four lenses, two of which are also 28-200mm equivalents, with the third and fourth lens falling into the 28-280mm and 36-360mm range, respectively.

All things considered, this range should be more than sufficient for almost any shooting situation you might encounter. For scenes requiring wider fields of view you can always resort to stitching and for tighter shots, you can always resort to cropping, more so if your camera contains a higher-resolution (15+ megapixels) imaging sensor.

Do keep in mind we don't live in a perfect world, and if there's a downside to all-in-one zooms it would have to be that they're slow, with the widest aperture of the lot being f/3.5. A few are as slow as f/4—and that's at the wide end. At the telephoto end of the focal range, the widest effective apertures drop down to f/5.6 to f/6.3, which under less-than-sunny skies can make handheld shooting at the longer focal lengths somewhat dicey. As a means of minimizing shakey pics, about half of the lenses in this roundup employ image stabilization, which in the case of slower-aperture optics is well worth the additional cost. If your lens of choice is not available with image stabilization, do keep in mind you can always boost the ISO rating on your camera, which nowadays is a relatively noise-free choice especially with more recent DSLRs. 

The following table contains a selection of All-in-One zooms for full-frame, APS-C, FourThird and Micro FourThird format DSLRs. Lenses from Tamron and Sigma are compatible with several brands of DSLRs, and by clicking on their respective links, you'll be taken to a landing page that displays all available options.

Note: When calculating the 35mm-equivalent focal ranges for lenses other than full-frame, multiply the focal range of APS-C optics by 1.5x (or 1.6x for Canon APS-C DSLRs) and 2x for FourThird and MicroFourThird  format DSLRs.

All-in-One Zoom Lenses for DSLRs
                                                                                        Format            Image Stabilized  Min.Focus   Filter Size     Weight     
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200/3.5-5.6G ED VR II APS-C Yes 1.6' (0.5m) 72mm

19.8 oz (560g)

 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28-300/3.5-5.6 ED VR Full-frame  APS-C Yes  1.6' (0.5m)  77mm  28.2 oz (800g)
Canon EF-S 18-200/3.5-5.6 IS  APS-C  Yes  1.48' (0.45m)  72mm  20.98 oz (595g)
Canon EF 28-300/3.5-5.6L IS USM Full-frame APS-C  Yes  2.3' (0.7m)  77mm 58.9 oz  (1670g)
Sony SAL 18-200/3.5-6.3 DT ASPH  APS-C In-camera  1.5' (0.45m)  62mm  14.3 oz   (405g)
Sony  DT 18-200/3.5-6.3 (NEX)  NEX In-camera  1.5' (0.45m)  67mm  14 oz (397g)
Sony SAL 18-250/3.5-6.3 DT  APS-C In-camera  1.5' (0.45m)  62mm  15.5 oz   (440g)
Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 14-140/4-5.8 ASPH MEGA O.I.S.  FourThirds  Yes  1.64' (0.50m)  62mm  16.23 oz (460g)
Panasonic Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-150/3.5-5.6 ASPH MEGA O.I.S.  FourThirds  Yes  1.6' (0.5m)  72mm  18.34 oz (520g)
Olympus Zuiko Digital 18-180/3.5-6.3  ED  FourThirds  No 1.48' (0.45m)  62mm  15.5 oz (440g)
 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-150/4-5.6 ED  Micro FourThirds  No  1.6' (0.5m)  58mm  9.87 oz (280g)
 Tamron 18-200/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II Macro LD ASPH IF  APS-C  No  1.5' (0.45m)  62mm  14.9 oz (423g)
 Tamron 18-270/3.5-6.3 Di-II VC LD ASPH IF Macro  APS-C  Yes  1.6' (0.5m)  72mm  19.7 oz (550g)
 Tamron 28-300/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD II ASPH IF

 Full-frame APS-C

 Yes  1.6' (0.49m)  67mm  19.7 oz (550g)
 Tamron 28-300/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD ASPH IF  Full-frame APS-C  No  1.6' (0.49m)  62mm  14.8 oz (420g)
 Sigma 18-200/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM  APS-C  Yes  1.5' (0.45m)  72mm  21.6 oz (612.35g)
 Sigma 18-200/3.5-6.3 DC ASPH IF  APS-C  No  1.5' (0.45m)  62mm  14.3 oz (405g)
 Sigma 18-250/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM  APS-C  Yes  1.5' (0.45m)  72mm  22.2 oz (630g)
 Sigma 28-300/3.5-6.3 DG  Full-frame APS-C  No  1.64' (0.5m)  62mm  17.6 oz (498.95g)
           

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One thing to keep in mind with the 4/3 and micro 4/3 systems is that many of the cameras (esp. in  the Olympus line) employ in-body image stabilization, so that any lens you mount on the camera is able to take advantage of that feature.  I use both an E-520 and and E-P2, and routinely get usable shots hand-held at speeds down to 1/10".

~EdT. 

EdT. wrote:

One thing to keep in mind with the 4/3 and micro 4/3 systems is that many of the cameras (esp. in  the Olympus line) employ in-body image stabilization, so that any lens you mount on the camera is able to take advantage of that feature.  I use both an E-520 and and E-P2, and routinely get usable shots hand-held at speeds down to 1/10".

~EdT. 

Good point Ed, and something I should have considered when writing this post.

Two points for the visiting team!

Canon EF 28-300/3.5-5.6L IS USM
58.9 oz ??  Is this intended to be a portable solution?

Hey Guys, I have had great success with a 7D coupled with my 18mm-200mm f3.5 - f5.6. It is a super light combination and compact. I did a house birthday party shoot on Saturday night and was blown away with how sharp the shots were and how good the depth of focus was. There were rooms as bright as full daylight and other areas varying to pretty darn dark!

I kept the aperture at a constant f5.6 / ISO 200. I Used the fill flash and the speed varied depending where I was in the building.....Left the White Balance on "Daylight" and adjusted in CS4....I shot 267 shots and none need sharpening! All were tack-sharp!

It is also a great travel kit......I love this camera body and lens combination for that application.

ps: I specialise in wildlife and bird photography and, in the bush, I shoot with 2 x 1D Mkiv's and 2x 7D's.....On Saturday night I left my 1DMkiv / 16mm-35mm f2.8  in the bag and used this rig out of preference....

I bought the D90 along with a 18-200 VR, took it to Hawaii for 10 days and never missed a wide shot or a long shot, super sharp pics. Great lens, might not have a wide apperture but for everyday photography and walk around definetly its a keeper.

My primary lens on my  D80 is a Tamron 18-200. No stabilization in camera or on lens.. I've been extrememly happy with this lens since and its been a good fit for both wedding shots and landscapes/natrue photography. My only wish is for slightly more reach at the long end and for image stabilization, both of which were not available at the time of my purchase.

I really want a better piece of glass than these super ranges that have been on the market so far... would love to see something like a 35-300/1.4-2.8 style pro extended zoom range lens... in the mean time, I'll stick to my standby kit:  35/1.4, 20/2.8, 85/1.4, 300/2.8, 70-200/2.8VR and TCs.

mike rodgers wrote:

I really want a better piece of glass than these super ranges that have been on the market so far... would love to see something like a 35-300/1.4-2.8 style pro extended zoom range lens... in the mean time, I'll stick to my standby kit:  35/1.4, 20/2.8, 85/1.4, 300/2.8, 70-200/2.8VR and TCs.

I'd like to have a 35-300mm/1.4-2.8 also... but only if you can carry it around for me.

You'd hurt yourself lifting the darn thing.

Until they can find a way around the weight factor, stick to your set of primes (they're good choices)

Allan Weitz wrote:

mike rodgers wrote:

I really want a better piece of glass than these super ranges that have been on the market so far... would love to see something like a 35-300/1.4-2.8 style pro extended zoom range lens... in the mean time, I'll stick to my standby kit:  35/1.4, 20/2.8, 85/1.4, 300/2.8, 70-200/2.8VR and TCs.

I'd like to have a 35-300mm/1.4-2.8 also... but only if you can carry it around for me.

You'd hurt yourself lifting the darn thing.

Until they can find a way around the weight factor, stick to your set of primes (they're good choices)

I would think the 24-300/1.4-2.8 wouldn't be that much different than the 300/2.8 prime in terms of size and perhaps doable with the right lens and coating design today without that much loss of actual transmitted light (the t-stop on older mutlielement zooms like 35-135mm used to be terrible but is much better today).  I consider a 300/2.8 not that big a lens, but then I am used to carrying my 8x10 monorail camera around in the field witha bag of lenses, holders and gear on a huge tripod.

 I've owned most Canon L and non L zooms at one point or another but the perfect lens for me, and the only lens I now own, happens to be a prime lens - the Canon 35mm f/1.4 L.

If what you are looking for is Image Quality nothing beats having dedicated lens for a specific focal lenght. Normally I would use two lens for this propose, one midrange lens and a telephoto. When I need it I would use my wide angle . But I do admit that the convinience of not having to change lens is great. Just see what you like and want ,  set and shoot . When I'm not so critical about my pics I take along my Sigma 18-200mm Os HSM. For the price and built it's one great buy and can without reservation recommend it .

I can recall a few occasions that I left the house with one camera and what I thought was my "all in one" lens only to kick myself later for not bringing my 17-35mm f2.8 to capture a great sunset landscape.  My point is this; don't let yourself get locked into carrying around an all in one lens for the sake of convenience if at the same time it restricts your creativity.  Get the shot you want, not the one you have to settle for. 

D700 fan wrote:

I can recall a few occasions that I left the house with one camera and what I thought was my "all in one" lens only to kick myself later for not bringing my 17-35mm f2.8 to capture a great sunset landscape.  My point is this; don't let yourself get locked into carrying around an all in one lens for the sake of convenience if at the same time it restricts your creativity.  Get the shot you want, not the one you have to settle for. 

Quite true, and I've been there and done the same.

Point is, there are times when for any number of reasons you can't or don't wish to have anything more than 1 body and one lens with you, and that's when these optics make sense.

And next time you're out with an all-in-one and find you need something wider or longer, you can always shoot overlapping frames at the wide end and stitch them together post-capture and crop into your frame if you need something tighter than you can grab at the long end.

I love my Tamron 28-300 for a walk around lens. If I leave the house it goes on my camera. Price kept me from purchasing the VC model. I can only dream(and drool) about how nice the nikon 28-300 VR II would be. Indoors I thought a 50/1.8 would be the ticket until I found myself backed into a corner and wishing I'd spent a bit more for the 35/1.8.