« Next Book Sale a-Comin' | Main | Random Excellence: Diane Arbus »

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

It's been years since I bought a new retail lens and I'm curious what lens warranties and service are like these days. Below a certain price point, lenses are "disposable" in the sense that it's not worth paying to repair them (and some of them seem to be constructed with that in mind). And there's the question of maintenance, too.

Also, how does this rule of thumb affect buyers of used lenses?

Roger is indeed wonderful. Wonderfully authoritative , with no patience for bull Sh*t
For me, what his message really supports is the old idea of doing some basic testing on any lens you buy of both the test chart & Brick wall type, as well as taking real pictures.
This will ensure that you didn't get a lemon, and that you like the lens.
After that, just don't worry about all the minutia. Take Pictures.

> >>one reason to buy a high-quality lens, at least for your main lens, is that cheap lenses can go out of spec over time, after being knocked about a bit. <<

The trick is knowing whether a lens qualifies as "high-quality." (I assume you mainly mean construction quality in this context.) Price doesn't always correlate with quality and vice-versa. My own unscientific approach is based on feel (smooth and precise vs. gritty and sloppy) and mechanics (tiny motors and moving image stabilization groups vs. sturdy helicals and lenses in rigid assemblies). I'd be interested to know how others determine whether a lens is high-quality or not.

When at a workshop in the mid-90s, the instructor suggested that one reason the more expensive name-brand lenses were more expensive was those companies had better, more stringent, quality control, which necessarily drove the cost up. He suggested that some aftermarket lenses could be as good as the equivalent famous-name ones, but not consistently.
Made sense to me then; don't really know if it was true then, or is now. (Brand names intentionally left out here...)

Hi Mark,
But remember that most lenses and optics are not made nor assembled by the company with the label on. Case in point for Leica, Zeiss, Pentax and I am sure others.

Great OEM lens manufacturers include Komine,Kiron, Tokina, Tamron, Olympus, Samyang, et all.

Quality is something you buy upon. Sometimes, in order to break into a market, the profits will be shrunk so as to attract new customers.

And vice-versa: there is a moment when a small quality jump will have to have a big investment [ie: improving the existing fast 50´s, or the price difference between the 50 1.7-1.8 and 1.4].

I have seen the main statement on both sides of the marketplace: very expensive items with massive quality variations, and fairly good buys with little to no difference on quality.

But we have to forget the times when lenses had metal barrels, sadly.

He's certainly in an ideal position to test a bunch of lenses when new, let them go through their rental cycle—which presumably would subject them to higher than normal levels of wear and tear—then test them again.

As I understand it from his various posts on the topic, that's the main purpose of their testing. They aren't doing it just out of curiosity or so they can recommend good lenses; regular testing is a key part of their QC process. It sounds as if they're testing every lens every time it comes back from a rental so they don't send a damaged lens out to a customer. I don't think that's the full test they do when they're evaluating new lenses, but it's enough to spot loss of performance. When lenses fall out of spec, they can usually fix them in house, and the testing lets them prove they're back up to snuff before they get shipped out again.

I've dropped my Fuji 23mm f/1.4 a couple of times now and now I'm worried it isn't OK. But then ... https://flic.kr/p/SvNAnb

[It's true, isn't it? The work itself can calm neurotic anxieties about imperfect lens performance. Gets back to Ctein's maxim, "if you can't see it, it doesn't count."

The opposite is true too. If you have equipment that's "supposed" to be great, but you don't like the way the pictures looks, then you probably still need to change something. --Mike]

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007