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TUTORIAL: One-Touch (Push-Pull) vs Two Ring Zoom... Which Is Best For Me?


One-Touch (Push-Pull) vs Two Ring Zoom... Which Is Best For Me?
Push-pull vs. two ring zoom design... which one is best for you?
Left: Nikon Series E 75-150mm f/3.5
Right: Tamron AF 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 (71DN)



February 25, 2017

If you are new to the world of DSLR, then chances are, your kit lens is an 18-55mm, and it has two separate rings -- one for focusing, the other for zooming. In this generation today, one might be forgiven to think that it is the only design that exists. But if you venture into the world of legacy lenses, you will be shocked by the diversity in design, which you've never really seen before. 



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One such thing that I'd love to introduce today is what people call the 'push-pull' design. You can see that the focusing and zooming is combined into one ring. This design affords the best possible experience with manual focusing and handheld shooting. I love this design because it helps me to quickly nail focus on any fast moving subject... who needs AF when there's push-pull!

However, the main flaw with this design is 'zoom creep'.  This refers to the ring falling to either end when you tilt it vertically. It also is not possible to add a tripod collar for tripod mounting. The third downside is that it is only one combined ring (eg. while focusing, you might be unaware that you're also moving the zoom). This lens was designed for handheld shooting, so let's leave it as it is.

Vivitar/Kiron 75-205mm f/3.8

Vivitar/Kiron 75-205mm f/3.8
Vivitar/Kiron 75-205mm f/3.8




There is more security with separate rings for the focus and zoom, you can just set the value for either one of them, and it won't affect or move the other. Longer lenses like 300mm and above also come with built-in tripod collar. However, I find this to be slow, because I have to separately tinker with zoom and focus.

Sigma DC 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OS HSM

Sigma DC 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OS HSM
The Sigma 18-200mm is what I use for product photography and videos.




Conclusion: If you are like me who love to shoot candids, moving subjects, or wildlife, then push-pull is the way to go. Sometimes I shoot videos and mount the camera on a tripod -- that's when I'd rather have the two-ring design so that the zoom is always in place, free from zoom creep. There is no right or wrong choice, just 'which one suits your shooting style and situation'.

Have you watched the video embedded in this post? It would be most helpful if you could watch the demo. Did this article help you decide which one you want to go for? Post a comment below and tell us what you have in mind.




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