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.
|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||
|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)|