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I am in the market for an A6000 body and an all in one lens. I looked at the options that I have and it seems that E mount lenses come from Tamron and Sony but both are too expensive 750CAD-900CAD. I can get the body and 18-55 and 55-210 lenses for 930CAD so I will go with that.

Since I will shoot mostly outdoor when I travel, can I use the camera in pano mode and shoot closer to the 55mm end to avoid changing lenses? All I need is pictures to remind me the places that I visited, I am not crazy about extreme quality and I do realize that there will be a compromise here. I am just wondering how bad it will be.

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  • Are you asking if the camera has an in-camera panorama composition mode? – mattdm Dec 10 '17 at 16:16
  • It does, I am asking about the cons against using this trick – MiniMe Dec 10 '17 at 16:22
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    What "trick"? Do you intend to only use the 55-210 lens, and use the panorama mode whenever you want to capture a field of view larger than the lens allows? – osullic Dec 10 '17 at 17:20
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    If you don't want to change lenses, a bridge camera with high zoom range might be a better fit for you. Maybe a RX10 series model. – Gerhardh Dec 11 '17 at 8:05
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    For many people, the 18-55mm might be more flexible than an 55-200mm when travelling. In part because cropping to detail is easier than stitching to panorama and making a very wide panorama will require less effort at 18mm. Changing lenses is not a big deal with a little practice. Carrying a second lens is a bit more bother, but if a person has two, they tend to. – user50888 Dec 11 '17 at 15:54
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Chances of success are very low. Panorama stitching is quite delicate. People do it all the time but in specific cases. You have to be careful about parallax, movement between shots and consistency. You will be forced to try to reshoot countless numbers of times as people cross your field-of-view, moving vehicles reveal and cover different parts of the scene, light changes, etc.

Using the built-in panorama mode is further restricting since it only does one slice, not multi-row. So you would not get the same image-ratio as a wider lens unless you take the shots manually (locking focus, WB and exposure for the set) and do multiple rows. This of course increases the likelihood of more things going wrong and causing stitching errors.

Any time you would be shooting without a tripod would also complicate matters and reduce chances of capturing images that can actually be stitched. Even if parallax is not much of an issue with some scenes, you still have to have good framing with sufficient overlap.

It would be less risky for memory purposes to get a wide lens and crop when you need to. Resolution would be lost but at least you get a much higher chance of getting something.

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Trying to use a 55-210mm lens to take panoramas in lieu of using a wider angle lens for most travel 'snapshots' would be a nightmare. To do panorama shots properly you need specialized equipment (just a decent tripod and a pano head that can rotate around the optical center of the lens on two axes costs a lot more than the extra $50 for the 16-50mm kit lens with the A6000 compared to the body only price), a lot of expertise, and a LOT of time per shot.

The entire point of an interchangeable lens system camera is to allow you to use different lenses that are better or even great at one thing but unsuitable for other things. Fixed lens cameras with a wide focal length range zoom lens force you to use a single lens that is mediocre or worse at a lot of things but better at nothing. Restricting yourself to a single lens is pretty much the same thing as using a fixed lens camera.

The best lenses are all prime lenses. That means a single focal length. No.Zoom.At.All. They're really good when they provide the field of view and other characteristics you need. This is because they can be optimized to do one thing at one focal length. A good flat field 100mm macro lens is different from a good 85mm, 105mm, or 135mm portrait lens. But they are not very flexible, so you need a lot of them for various different things. Some are pretty good for not much money (e.g. EF 50mm f/1.8 STM @ $120). Others are incredibly good for a boatload of cash (e.g. EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS II @ $10K). Most fall somewhere in between.

Short ratio zoom lenses, that is zoom lenses with a less than 3X difference between their longest and shortest focal length, can also be very good. But the best ones cost a lot. A lens like the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II runs around $2K and can match the image quality, if not the maximum aperture, of a $120 EF 50mm f/1.8 STM. It's also built a bit better and can shoot at 24mm (with near the same IQ as a mid-priced 24mm prime) and 70mm and anywhere in between.

When you move outside of the 3x limit is when image quality really starts to noticeably go down. Some 4-5X zoom lenses that fall entirely in the telephoto range can be pretty good. But when you start trying to design a lens that goes from wide angle to telephoto and covers a 5X-10X or more zoom range, that is when it really starts getting difficult to keep it affordable and manageable with regard to size and weight and still provide excellent image quality. You'll usually get better image quality and spend less buying something like an 18-55mm and a 55-250mm pair of zoom lenses than you would get with an 18-200mm 'all-in-one'.

The other thing you must consider is that larger sensors require larger lenses to get the same field of view. A 28-560mm fixed lens 'superzoom' camera like the Sony DSC-HX1 is really using a 5-100mm lens in front of a sensor that is 5.6X smaller in linear measurements and covers an area less than 1/30 the size of a FF sensor. It also cover less than 1/12 the area of the APS-C Sony A6000. There are tradeoffs with low light ability, noise level even when shooting in daylight, image sharpness, particularly at the telephoto end, etc. that were made to give it that "20X zoom".

Will you get better image quality with an A6000 and something like a Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC compared to the Sony HX1? You probably will.

But you'd get even better quality spending that $650 you'd need for the Tamron 18-400mm towards a collection of other lenses for an A6000. Something along the lines of the 16-55mm kit lens for about $50 more than the body only, a 55-210mm for about $300, and a Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS for about $250. You'd also be $50 ahead.

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  • Got the A6000+18-55+55-210 for 1050CAD taxes included so I am in line with what you said about I wanted to see if I can take just one lens with me while traveling abroad. I am not comfortable with the idea to change the lens when I needed when outdoor. Not to say that it might rain sometimes.... any recommendations for this situations ?? Good to know that that 18-400mm Tamron exists, I had no idea – MiniMe Dec 11 '17 at 12:11
  • grrr I just learned that 18-400mm does not come with an E mount. Does this mean I need an adapter ?? Is it even worth trying it? – MiniMe Dec 11 '17 at 12:20
  • I used to use PTGUI with my Rebel and Tamron 18-250mm so when I asked the question I did know that it is possible The selected answer does hit a couple of good points, some of them long forgotten or never known to me. One thing that is missing is what adapter to use with a Tamron 18-400mm...for an A6000 – MiniMe Dec 11 '17 at 15:31

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