I have purchased a Nikon D5000 camera with 18-55 from eBay.

The lens focuses automatically, but should the lens also zoom automatically or is this controlled manually by the zoom ring.


No, the lens does not zoom automatically.

Almost all SLR zoom lenses are zoomed using the zoom ring, very few have a motorized zoom mechanism.

  • Interesting! I didn't know a power zoom for DSLR even exists! I just looked it up and I find this tool, but for videography there are better and more useful tools, like DSLR video rigs... – Omne Jan 13 '13 at 12:48
  • @Omne - I know of the sigma 200-500 that has motorized zoom (operated by a zoom ring) because the lens elements are too heavy to be moved by hand and a very old Canon power zoom lens that doesn't work reliably on modern DSLRs (don't remember teh focal range). and from what I've seen videographers prefer manual follow focus and not power zoom systems. – Nir Jan 13 '13 at 13:09
  • And there were the Minolta xi lenses that would zoom as they focused to provide subject size lock (very useful for runway fashion, which doesn't move too quickly; I don't know about anything else). – user2719 Jan 13 '13 at 13:49
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    And as a note: manual zoom is generally much better, as it's faster and more precise than most motorized zooms. Point and shoot cameras use powered zoom not really as a feature but because it'd be tricky to fit manual zoom into those tiny lenses. – mattdm Jan 13 '13 at 15:18
  • Tricky yes, but not impossible. A mechanical zoom can even fit in a 1.3" thick compact. However, point-and-shoot also have been shooting video for a long time where an electric zoom has the advantage being smoother. That is why we seen more electric zoom among mirrorless cameras which are aimed to upgrade the market of compact camera owners. – Itai Jan 13 '13 at 16:44

Automatic zoom feature would require an information link between camera operator and camera itself because in most cases the operator knows the best what zoom level is desired at the moment.

  • While you're correct that the operator (photographer) probably knows the desired focal length better than the photographer that's not really the question. The question is weather the zoom is controlled automatically or if it's manually controlled by turning the zoom ring to which the answer simply is "it's controlled by the zoom ring". – Hugo Jun 29 '15 at 12:33
  • Yeah, I think the question means to ask "via a motor, controlled by buttons on the camera", not necessarily under actual autonomous control. But this answers the question as actually asked. – mattdm Jun 29 '15 at 16:32

Every SLR and DLSR lens that I know of has manual zoom. This is because manual zoom gives you a higher degree of control than motorized, and also includes less complicated mechanisms in the lens and camera body, reducing the number of things which can break, as well as reducing the weight of the (often already very heavy) camera components.


As I have searched and spoken to some pro-photographers, there is no DSLR camera which gives auto zoom using a button provided on the camera. There are 2-3 major reasons:

  1. DSLR was always designed for professional photography, and they actually don't need auto zoom feature.
  2. it will consume a lot of battery to move such lenses and we all know how important power supply is while you are away from a charging point.
  3. manual zoom gives a much better control then auto one.
  • 2
    The vast majority of DSLRs (by number of sales) are not designed for professional photography. – Philip Kendall Dec 15 '15 at 6:56

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