May 11th, 2019

These days we’re starting to see how superzoom lenses are becoming more popular on smartphones. Granted, we would like to see smartphone makers start exploring ultra-wide angle lenses as well, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun with superzoom lenses in the meantime.

Now, a lot of examples that manufacturers are showing don’t feel very practical and they seem to be more about wow-ing the customer with how much zoom their cameras can achieve while retaining an impressive amount of detail. If you’re wondering how to take advantage of the zoom function on your camera, here are some practical ideas and uses that might be worth exploring.

Landscape

When you think of landscape photography, wide-angle lenses come to mind and we totally agree. Wide-angle lenses do an excellent job of shooting landscape and capturing the vastness of the location. It gives us a ton of perspective, like how wide a field is, how far an ocean stretches, and how big mountains are.

But zoom lenses can also be used in landscape photography to great effect.

This is because with a zoom lens, you can focus on specific areas of the scene that you want to emphasize on. For example, using a zoom lens will let you capture that snowy peak of the mountain that might otherwise be lost using a wide-angle lens. It also helps to add perspective, where if you were to zoom into objects in the foreground, it will help give the background some context.

Portraits

Seasoned photographers might already be familiar with the concept of using a zoom lens for portraits. This is because with a zoom lens, it creates a tight crop around the person’s head or face, making it quite ideal for such photography. It can also be used to capture the subject’s entire body and all you need to do is step back a bit.

One of the problems with wide-angle lenses in general is that some of them tend to suffer from distortion where the wider you go, straight lines start to appear more curved. This is clearly not ideal for portrait photography, and a zoom lens can help with that. Also with zoom lens, and depending on the set aperture, can help create a nice separation between the foreground and the background.

Nature

If you’re the type of person who loves to photograph wildlife in their natural habitat, a zoom lens is a great way to do that. This is because a zoom lens allows photographers to get up close with their subject without necessarily alerting them to their presence and scare them away or change their behavior. This is especially useful for animals or insects that might otherwise startle easily and could fly away, causing you to miss your shot.

Street Photography

Have you ever noticed that whenever you point a camera at someone’s direction that their behavior can change? Some people might tense up and start looking stiff, while others break into a smile. If you’re a fan of street photography and want to capture people just going about their daily business without interrupting them, a zoom lens can come in handy.

It can also allow photographers to capture images at a distance where they might not be able to access. For example, if you see someone walking down the street in a funny outfit but they’re way across the road, a zoom lens can help you not miss your shot. Much like nature photography, capturing your subjects at a distance can result in more natural-looking photographs.

That being said, there are of course downsides to using a zoom lens, especially on smartphones where stability could be an issue. More often than not when you zoom in, things start to get really shaky and you could end up with blurred images unless you can somehow stabilize your phone, so it could be worthwhile to invest in a nice grip or maybe a tripod.

Also, unless you have one of the newer smartphone models, using zoom on your older smartphones might not have the same desired effect due to the loss of details, so your mileage may vary. At the same time, since zoom does seem to be a trend that smartphone makers are gravitating towards, maybe it’s time to start exploring new types of photography techniques to get the most out of your smartphone.