Making a superzoom for a compact is easy, but for a DSLR, it's hard?

Started Oct 7, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP Leandros S Senior Member • Posts: 1,970
Doubtful that glass cost is the issue

MoreorLess wrote:

Leandros S wrote:

MoreorLess wrote:

Leandros S wrote:

MoreorLess wrote:

Leandros S wrote:

People say that interchangeable superzoom ("travel") lenses can't manage good sharpness, yet superzoom compacts do just fine in terms of sharpness. Why is that?

smaller sensors being easer to design lenses for

But why?

A smaller sensor needs a shorter lens with a smaller image circle, these elements make it easier to design.

I still don't find that intuitive. Other than the issue of flange distance, you should be able to scale a bridge camera design up to being an exchangeable lens, and vice versa. Added to that, miniaturising things is technically harder than making them bigger - at least in terms of R&D. At the small scale, imperfections are much more noticeable, so the glass actually needs to be higher quality.

Look at the sensor size for your typical superzoom, (generally 1/2.3" which is is about 1/15th the size of an ASPC sensor) then imagine how large and expensive an upscaled superzoom lens would be.

Compact camera's might be smaller than larger sensor options but the camera body is larger relative to sensor size so more able to support a long zoom without becoming over sized.

As John1940 points out, you can get zoom lenses with a lot of glass in them for a very affordable price. So I don't think the production of lens elements actually enters into the original question in a big way.

Again though I'd say expectation likely plays into this a lot. A superzoom for a large sensor camera will be judged by much higher standards than a superzoom compact lens.

And yet, I don't hear the superzoom compact reviews droning on about sharpness. In fact, the last time I remember that complaint as referring to the glass rather than the autofocus accuracy was in an HX300V review - that being a 20MP camera!

As I said I think your typical superzoom buyer isn't going to be as hung up on image quality hence the reviews won't tend to focus on it as much.

Even looking at the samples as a DSLR user and owner of some reasonably good lenses, I can see that, say, the SX50 doesn't have major problems with sharpness or aberration. I think the Fujifilm X-S1 was the last superzoom bridge camera that some people said was a bit soft (with the exception of the HX300V, which presumably slightly outresolves its lens - forgivable given the 20MP resolution).

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