Today I explain why I do not like off-road objectives. If you already have one of these objectives, do not be offended please. The off-road objectives are not so horrible, they have their audience and their use, only that I personally do not like them. Today I explain why. If you were thinking of getting an off-road goal, you may want to read this first.


To begin let’s define what an SUV is. It is named in the world of objectives, those who have a very, very wide focal length range. You know that each lens has a certain focal length, there are short focal length lenses, for example 18mm (wide angle), there are a long, 200mm type, which allow zooming, and there are those that cover a whole range of focal distances, allowing you to use them in both 18mm and 200mm, for example, with all the focal distances in between.

It is “off-road” due to the fact that it allows you to photograph both in the field of short focal lengths and in the long.


« What objective did I buy? »Should be the second question I receive most from the readers of the blog, after that of« What camera do I buy? «, Which was already answered here .

In the market, today, the offer in terms of lenses and lenses is immense. But this abundance of options, something that had to be an advantage, can sometimes be overwhelming. With so many options the choice becomes difficult. It is as if in a restaurant menu there were a thousand dishes, you would not even know where to start. So many photographers end up opting for an objective that supposedly would allow them, in theory, to enjoy all the options at once. The SUV. A kind of tasting menu of objectives. So one of the most frequent uses or advantages of an SUV is precisely not having to give up a range of focal distances. Where other photographers would buy 2 or 3 lenses, each with a specific focal length,

An SUV also helps you, in theory, to save space and weight in your backpack when you go on an excursion. Other photographers will carry several heavy lenses, in addition to all the effort and risk involved in turning the camera off and on, attaching one lens and decoupling another. You, on the other hand, stand there with your SUV and go light in weight. What do you have a landscape in front of? You quickly change at a short focal length (18mm for example). What puts a bird in front of you? Quick change to 200mm without having to turn off the camera or undock the lens.

An SUV is, apparently, all advantages.


Have you noticed how many times I have used the expression “in theory” and “supposedly” in the text so far? And I see it that way, everything is beautiful but only in theory. In practice, an SUV is far from becoming the best photographer. Again, I emphasize that this is a very personal and subjective opinion, this is not an exact science.

Here are my reasons:

1) The higher the range, the worse the optics:The optics, the lens, the glass, plays a fundamental role in the quality of the photography we take. Not all lenses offer the same optical results. The optical quality of a lens depends on several elements, one of them is the focal length for which the lens was designed. Normally the objectives with fixed focal lengths, that is, those that do not allow playing with several focal distances, bring a certain focal length and you can only use that one, for example a 50mm or 35mm, these objectives being designed to work EXCLUSIVELY with that Focal length, manufacturers find it much easier to provide them with a very high optical quality, since the crystals inside are combined to ALWAYS work under the same focal length.

The objectives manufactured to work with more than one focal length are versatile, they effectively give you the freedom to shoot at 18, 50 or 200mm if you want, but of course, to get to offer you that freedom they do so at the expense of optical quality. Nor do I say that they give horrible results, because if not they would not be sold, their acceptable results are, but only that, they remain acceptable. They do not reach half the optical quality that a fixed focal length lens can offer you.

So, the higher the focal length range of a lens, the worse its optics.

2) The SUVs let less light in: Generally, the SUVs usually have a relatively small maximum aperture of the diaphragm. Maybe f / 3.5 at best. In a fixed focal length lens, 50mm for example, it is normal to find much more generous diaphragm apertures, we planted directly in f / 1.8 and f / 1.4 without problem. Which affects huge amounts of light that will give us as a photographer much more flexibility to capture that photograph.

A detail is missing. In the SUV I said before that in the best case we got an aperture of f / 3.5 (just an example), what I did not say is that those f / 3.5 have them only in the smallest focal length of the lens, but at As we go up in the range of focal lengths of that objective, those f / 3.5 disappear, giving way to much smaller openings (worse light, darker photos, more moved and blurred, etc.)

Let’s look at an example: An 18-250mm and f / 3.5 lens will usually give us that f / 3.5 aperture only when we use it at 18mm. The moment we go up to the other end of the focal length, 250mm, we will see that the maximum aperture is also changing until it reaches f / 6.3. Shooting at 250mm with an aperture of f / 6.3 is very poor truth: as I explained before, in these conditions much less light enters, with all the complications that this means to the photographer to stabilize the image and achieve a level of sharpness and exposure Right.

3) You may not need an SUV: It is typical that at the beginning of our love for photography we want to monopolize all kinds of photos as photographers. That is usually the time when we believe we need an off-road objective. The truth is that as we move forward as photographers our taste and photographic style are defined, as well as the type of photos / motifs we like to photograph. Most photographers end up fond of a certain type of photos. There are landscapers, portraitists, macro lovers, etc. That does not mean that we do not like to take other types of photos, most of us like to take more than one type of photos, I love for example the portrait and the landscapesmainly. But I mean that not everyone likes to photograph absolutely everything and with absolute assiduity.

In other words, you probably do not need to shoot at all focal distances between 18 and 300mm. You probably end up shooting especially in the 18mm if you are a regular of the landscapes, or the 200-300mm if you are more of birds and animals. Or maybe yours are the portraits and you end up photographing almost exclusively in 50mm.

In the end, most photographers manage well with a lens or at most a couple. In my case I carry in my backpack a 50mm (for me, the king of the lenses ) and a wide angle specialized in landscape photography. Point. I don’t need to shoot at 200 or 600mm, why would I want an SUV? Is it cumbersome to change from one objective to another? No. Keep in mind that I am not switching lenses between one shot and another. After half an hour of landscape photos can I end up getting tired and wanting to play with my 2-year-old son by taking some portraits? Yes, there the objective would change, but I would not change it immediately after a minute, but after a while.

I want to tell you that this change from one objective to another is something you will do occasionally and on time. There are Sundays that I go out there with the camera and backpack and maybe I do not change the objective throughout the session. Do not believe that you change the target before and after each shot.

4) The SUVs plug your creativity: With a telephoto lens you shoot and shoot, if you do not like the photo, even if it has a solution playing with the composition or working other aspects of the photo, your mind will always make it easier, change Focal length So you shoot at 18mm and you look at the result, it doesn’t convince you and all you do is change to 30mm and shoot, then at 100, 200 and 300mm. You see that no photo is worth it and you end up leaving it and looking for another reason to photograph. It is the laziness that causes the SUV.

When you have a 35mm lens attached and you want to photograph something, if you don’t like the photo, you cannot change the focal length by repeating the photo but changing the focus, changing the perspective, moving yourself to another angle. You work as a photographer. You put your brain into operation. In short, fixed focal length objectives stimulate your creativity and help you put your “photographer” side into operation.


Have I convinced you? Once you know more or less what kind of photos you like to take, you have a huge range of options at your fingertips. I summarize this article with my most recommended SLR objectives .

Remember that half of the beauty of a photo lies in the lens with which it was taken. Choose your next lens with care and care.

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