I was recently asked this question: "I have a 18-55 mm and 75-300 mm lens. I am considering buying a 16-270 mm. Is this a good idea?"
My first instinct is to say no. Between the two zoom lenses you already have, you cover pretty much all of the ground a 16-270mm lens is capable of perusing plus some. Also, as a rule of thumb, a range with a longer lens (ie 16-260mm) is not normally going to produce the same quality as a lens with a shorter zoom range (ie 18-55) or a prime lens.
I would look into lenses that cover ground my current gear doesn't but ultimately, it truly depends on the type of photography you shoot the most. Let me explain.
First, if you're not sure about what the 'mm' on a lens means, see my explanatory article.
What Do You Photograph The Most?
If you shoot portraits, think about some prime lenses. A prime lens is a lens with a fixed focal length, unlike a zoom lens that has a variety of focal lengths built into a single lens. They are less versatile but prime lenses usually allow you to open the aperture up wider (remember, lower numbers equal larger apertures) to help you subjects pop off the background and create some really nice, creamy bokeh. Bokeh is just the fancy technical term for the blurred background behind your subject. My ‘go to’ is an 85mm lens because it gives me enough space that I’m not crowding the people I am photographing, while still allowing me to be close enough to communicate posing instructions.
Here are two great examples of Prime Lenses with wide open apertures: Canon 50mm f/1.4 Prime Lens, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 Prime Lens. Of course, you can purchase lenses with even wider apertures, like this Canon 50mm f/1.2 but it's 10 times the price!
If you shoot landscapes, start looking into an ultra-wide angle prime lens like a 10mm lens or a short zoom lens, maybe 10-24mm. One of these specialty lenses will allow you to get more in your frame without having to splice together multiple photos and since it’s made specifically for those hard to reach corners, you won’t have to worry about the quality of your final product.
If you primarily photograph wildlife, look into a super telephoto that can extend beyond the reaches of the 75-300mm lens to give you a larger range, like 400mm plus. Those extra millimeters are going to give you the ability to get even closer to wildlife without moving an inch or spooking any animals before you get the perfect shot.
Paying For Quality
That being said, one situation where I believe that 16-270mm lens could be a smart addition to your gear collection is if you are upgrading one of your other lenses or purchasing a better quality lens than the two you already own. When you go into the store and you see two lenses with the same range but with a $1000 price disparity, you are paying for the quality. All lenses are not created equal.
When you upgrade you often get a lens with better internal glass optics which means you will be able to create clearer, better focused pictures with tack sharp lines and details. Upgrading a lens also means better build quality and heftier materials to protect all the important internal mechanisms and glass inside. As a bonus often, the deluxe model has the ability to open the aperture wider and let in more light than the budget version; this makes shooting is difficult lighting situations considerably easier.
Most people think this post is Awesome. What do you think?