Zoom versus unifocal - disadvantages

 Compared to a unifocal lens, a zoom lens also has several drawbacks as well. There are disadvantages of using a zoom lens, and following are some of the problems:

1. Compared to most unifocal lenses, zooms are larger, heavier and more expensive.

2. In general, filters and other accessories are also larger, heavier and more expensive.

3. Maximum apertures are smaller than those of similar sized unifocal lenses. Most lie somewhere between f/3.5 and f/4.5 with a very few being just a bit faster. In some zooms the maximum aperture gets even smaller as the longest focal length is reached.

4. Except for some with so called "macro-focusing" modes, zooms do not focus as close as unifocals. Even the close focusing zooms, with their bulk and weight, cannot match the optical performance of unifocal macro lenses.

5. A zoom lens, especially in the wide angle range, cannot be corrected for certain aberrations as well as a unifocal lens. Negative (barrel) distortion at the shortest setting and positive (pin cushion) distortion at the longest setting are found to some degree in every zoom lens.

6. Because zooms contain a larger number of glass elements, they tend to have more flare (light bouncing around inside the barrel and degrading the image). Since lens hoods for zooms have to be kept small enough to prevent their cutting into the image corners at the shortest focal length, they are not very effective in controlling stray light.

More about Zoom Lenses

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