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Author Topic: Origin of typical zoom ranges?  (Read 426 times)

Rado

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Origin of typical zoom ranges?
« on: July 17, 2018, 03:03:34 PM »

I was googling the origins of the typical focal length ranges of zoom lenses we have today for 35mm cameras i.e. 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm and didn't really find anything.

Those ranges are incredibly inconvenient for me and there's very little alternative. Sigma makes a wonderful 50-100mm zoom but it's for crop cameras. If I had a 50-100mm zoom for full frame that would cover 95% of my portrait shoots. Similarly I hardly ever shoot wider than 20mm, so a 20-50mm zoom would cover 95% of my landscape shots. One lens. Instead I have to swap lenses and lose time and/or gain sensor dust, it's stupid.

Who picked those numbers and why? Is it a case of someone doing it first just because and everybody else following it blindly? A 2-2.5x zoom should not be that challenging to design and manufacture with good optical quality for reasonable price.
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Telecaster

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Re: Origin of typical zoom ranges?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2018, 04:32:15 PM »

I think the current Big Three zooms came about due to some combo of user requests and marketing. Before the *1635mm we had 2135s, before the 2470 there were 2870s and 2885s and prior to the 70200 the common options were 80200 and 70210. In the former two cases at least, demand for greater width had a lot to do with what we've got now. My own all-time favorite zoom rig was the Zeiss 2885/100300 combo on Contax (Y/C mount) SLRs. With both lenses some speed was sacrificed for greater range, moderate size and better performance. Personally I think this is the way to go with zooms, though I can see the point of a faster 70/80200mm portrait-centric lens.

-Dave-

*If necessary substitute the "equivalent" focal lengths for your preferred non-35mm format.
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