10 things we learned in this test
Here are a few things that came to light when we were out and about shooting with this test group of lenses
1 Don’t mind the gap
There’s no need to worry about the gap in focal lengths covered by, say, 18-55mm and 70-300mm lenses. In practice, the missing focal lengths between 5570mm aren’t a problem.
2 Supersized reach
The ‘effective’ 450mm focal length achieved by a 70-300mm lens on a DX body enables supertelephoto levels of reach without having to use a big, heavy lens.
3 Filter frustration
Apart from the Nikon 55200mm (non-VR), all other lenses on test that lack internal focusing have front elements that rotate, making it hard to use polarising and ND graduated filters.
4 In the hood
Telephoto lenses can be particularly susceptible to ghosting and flare. It pays to use the lens hoods supplied with all lenses in the group.
5 Panning gold
It’s natural to think that the heavier lenses in the group will also be more cumbersome, but the extra weight often helps to enable a smoother handheld panning motion.
6 Feet apart
When panning, it’s best to have your feet slightly apart and to swing from the hips. Keep on panning even after you’ve released the shutter button.
Sigma and Tamron have stopped making their DX-format telephoto zoom lenses in the range covered by this test. An FXformat lens can be a better choice anyway, in case you decide to buy a full-frame body in the future.
8 At the limit
With most lenses in this budget class, sharpness drops off a little at the maximum telephoto zoom setting.
9 Into the corners
At any focal length, you can generally increase sharpness towards the edges and corners of images by narrowing the aperture slightly from its widest available setting.
10 Single AF
For very fast-moving objects, like racing cars or bikes that are coming directly towards you, continuous autofocus is unlikely to be able to keep up with the action. Use single AF and pre-focus on the point where you’ll want to take the shot.