Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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This question already has an answer here:

I'm new to cameras with interchangeable lenses.

I'm looking at a 18-200mm zoom lens or a 55-210mm zoom lens.

I already have an 18-55mm lens.

Is it fair to say that an 18-55mm lens, combined with a 55-210mm zoom lens, will give me the same "zoom range" as the 18-200mm lens? (Ignore the fact that the first is 210mm, and assume it's a 55-200 for the same of this question).

To get the zoom % you would take 200/55 = 3.63 X Zoom 200/18 = 11.11 X Zoom

The first has a lower zoom ratio, but that's only because the lowest field of view is 55mm which would be the exact same field of view at the highest zoom of my 18-55mm. Meaning it picks up where the 18-55 left off.

So, an 18-55mm and a 55-200mm would provide the exact same field of view and zooming options than a single 18-200mm lens. The only difference is having to swap between the lenses.

Based on what I understand I believe this to be the case. Am I spot on? Is there anything else I should be considering or be aware of?

Both lenses are Sony and will be fitted on my new a6000.

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marked as duplicate by Michael Clark, MikeW, mattdm, Paul Cezanne, AJ Henderson Apr 14 '14 at 14:12

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Your assumption looks about right. – Yao Bo Lu Apr 13 '14 at 21:00
@MichaelClark I see this more as a preliminary question to that one - until you know that the angles of view are equivalent from the two combinations, you don't even know to start thinking about the advantages of one combination over the other. – Philip Kendall Apr 14 '14 at 7:31
up vote 9 down vote accepted

In terms of which angles of view the lens(es) will allow you to select, you're correct: the combination of an 18-55 lens and a 55-200 lens will let you choose from exactly the same angles of view as a single 18-200 lens.

However, I think you are missing a couple of important points, both of which are well covered in this answer: you'll get better image quality and a better maximum aperture with the 18-55 / 55-200 combination than you will with the 18-200. On the other hand, you'll be carrying around two lenses and having to change them - at which point, it's a personal decision as to which matters more for you.

The other minor point I'd pull up is that "zoom ratio" isn't really a useful concept for interchangeable lenses; as I think you've realised, it's a concept which makes sense only for lenses which start at similar focal lengths. As such, it's vaguely useful for most compact cameras, which tend to start somewhere in the 20-28mm (equivalent) range, but pretty much worthless for comparing most interchangeable lenses. See this question for more details if you want to.

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