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Zoom lens

Lens with a variable focal length / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A zoom lens is a mechanical assembly of lens elements for which the focal length (and thus angle of view) can be varied, as opposed to a fixed-focal-length (FFL) lens (see prime lens).

Nikkor 28–200 mm zoom lens, extended to 200 mm at left and collapsed to 28 mm focal length at right

A true zoom lens, also called a parfocal lens, is one that maintains focus when its focal length changes.[1] Most consumer zoom lenses do not maintain perfect focus, but are still parfocal designs. Most camera phones that are advertised as having optical zoom actually use a few cameras of different but fixed focal length, combined with digital zoom to make a hybrid system.

TV camera and Canon DIGI SUPER 86 II zoom lens with 86× magnification

The convenience of variable focal length comes at the cost of complexity – and some compromises on image quality, weight, dimensions, aperture, autofocus performance, and cost. For example, all zoom lenses suffer from at least slight, if not considerable, loss of image resolution at their maximum aperture, especially at the extremes of their focal length range. This effect is evident in the corners of the image, when displayed in a large format or high resolution. The greater the range of focal length a zoom lens offers, the more exaggerated these compromises must become.[2]