For consumer photographers, there’s much to recommend the travel zoom lens. Although travel zooms are often compromised in terms of maximum aperture and image quality, these one-size-suits-all optics cover your bases in terms of focal length, a metric that’s easier for beginners to understand. And even for more experienced photographers, there’s definitely an attraction to having a single lens that covers the most likely shooting situations when you’re travelling light, even if it means cranking up the sensitivity and putting a bit more work correcting image defects once you get back home.
Manufacturers clearly recognize that fact, as demonstrated by the ongoing arms race to provide more reach from travel zoom lenses. The latest such offering from Nikon looks to be tailored toward its 1-series mirrorless camera line, and it offers a whopping 14.5x zoom range in a single lens.
First spotted by Japanese tech blog Egami, the patent application for the lens was covered by the folks at NikonRumors over the weekend. As they note, the application describes a lens tailored for a 1-inch sensor, or CX-format in Nikon parlance. And as they say, it could be used for either a 1-series camera, or for an ultrazoom model with a larger-than-average sensor by fixed-lens standards. However, we’d note from having read a translation of the patent application ourselves that a diagram is included which is described in the application’s text as showing the lens mounted on an interchangeable-lens, mirrorless camera, tipping Nikon’s hand in favor of a 1-series offering.
The lens design covers a 10-145mm focal length range (27-391.5mm equivalent on a CX-format body) so there’s no debating that this is a far-reaching lens. And given the extreme telephoto on offer, the maximum aperture of f/4 to f/5.6 across the zoom range isn’t too shabby, even if it’s not spectacularly bright either. But when — or whether — we might see such an optic on sale is an open question: This is so far just an application, and there’s no guarantee that it will be granted, nor commercialized even if it is.
What say you — could a 14.5x travel zoom get your creative juices flowing, or is it likely to be too much of a compromise in other areas? Sound off in the comments below!