Zooms are with changing technology just as good as primes if not better. Some good zoom lenses are certainly comparable with some of the best known primes. Zooms, as they include a range of focal lengths, are highly versatile and can be used in a variety of different situations.

Consider these different broad categories of zooms: 

Wide angle: These are designed strictly for wide-angle perspectives, and, if designed for digital SLRs, may include ranges such as 10mm to 20mm or 12mm to 24mm. You can find wide-angle lenses originally created for full-frame 35mm cameras, too, that have ranges such as 17mm to 35mm. On a camera that has a crop factor, such lenses are actually close to wide-to-normal in range, but they likely produce very sharp images (and sometimes cost quite a bit). Before purchasing a wide zoom for your dSLR, you might want to check it out carefully because the widest of the wide often have serious distortion and aberrations. 


Short tele to telephoto: These lenses may start out at 50mm to 70mm and extend out to 200mm to 300mm or more. One vendor’s 50mm-to- 500mm zoom is especially popular because it provides such a huge range of focal lengths in one lens. Of course, it’s also possibly the largest and heaviest 50mm lens on the planet, so you want to own such a beast only if you plan on actually needing its 10X zoom reach. 


Telephoto: These lenses start long and go longer. My 170mm-to-500mm zoom falls into this category and can really reach out and touch someone, as shown in Figure 6-5. You can also find 200mm-to-400mm zooms or even longer lenses from various vendors. Like with any lens of more than about 200mm, seriously consider using these optics either with the camera mounted on a tripod or, better yet, with the lens attached to the tripod using a special collar that has a tripod socket. Many long lenses are sold with such removable collars. 


Macro: Several vendors offer lenses that have zoom ranges in the medium telephoto range (out to about 200mm) that also offer macro focusing. Wildlife photographers who photograph big beasts and small find these lenses especially useful.