18-200mm IS - "NO USM" - UN-#@%&*!$-believable

Started Aug 26, 2008 | Discussions thread
Steve Balcombe
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Benefits of USM
In reply to skanter, Oct 31, 2008

skanter wrote:

I, for one, don't see such a big
difference between USM and non-USM lenses, and I have both.

There isn't a huge amount of difference between non-USM and "micro USM", so if you have lenses like the 70-300 IS (non-DO) you won't see much benefit.

Ring USM, on the other hand, is far superior but how much that impacts on your photography depends on the type of work you do. USM is generally faster (although there is considerable variation) and that matters a lot if you shoot fast moving subjects. It is quieter - sometimes that matters, sometimes not (but it's always nice). The focusing ring doesn't move during AF, and that can make for better handling. The moving focusing ring on my Sigma 18-50/2.8 is a regular source of irritation, but on other lenses with a different layout it might not be. Last and by no means least, full-time manual focusing can be a killer feature in certain situations.

For someone whose main use of the camera is, say, travel photography - mostly landscapes, buildings, static portraits and so on, USM offers relatively little. For others, it transforms the performance of a lens.

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