Advice on buying Lenses

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Automatic, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. Automatic

    Automatic TPF Noob!

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    I read a few thread on what kind of camera body a beginner should buy and the general consensus is to not buy anything to fancy until one is confident he/she is going to stick with the hobby/profession. Does that apply to Lenses as well?

    I understand that digital camera get outdated very quickly and buying an expensive camera now could be a wast of one for a beginner but do lenses devalue as much or as fast?

    What I would like to do is buy very good lenses that I could use on a beginner body and when the time comes and I upgrade to a professional camera I can still use the same lenses rather than have to buy new lenses as well.


    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    It would seem that quality lenses shouldn't lose their value or become obsolete as fast as DSLR bodies, but we are in the infancy of digital photography technology. Much of what we are seeing in current camera and lens design is still heavily influenced by traditional film camera designs. I think we will see designers/engineers start to move away from that mindset soon, and if the bodies start changing significantly, I imagine the lenses will too.

    Even crappy, cheap lenses today are in many cases much better lenses than what was available in the past. Once computers got involved in the design process it got easier and cheaper to make good lenses. You don't have to spend $1000+ for a lens that will take very nice photographs.

    One way to get great quality at a lower price is to use prime lenses (single focal length). Even the cheap primes ( for instance the $75 Canon 50mm f/1.8 ) are often sharper than zoom lenses that cost 10 times more.
     
  3. LWW

    LWW TPF Noob!

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    Buy good glass used for the price of OK glass new.

    A good lens will outlive the owner with anything approaching sane care and use.

    LWW
     
  4. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    I'd have to disagree about computer design. The canon's 50/1.8 is the planar design which is almost a 100 years old.

    And unless we see the death of DSLRs and cameras with "live" chip technologies - all of the lenses will remain as good as they were before that.

    Even if you do elliminate the mirror - you will still be able to use the SLR glass and the rangefinder glass on the new generation bodies.

    My point for the new poster:
    Good lenses last a lifetime. They depreciate only if the whole system is discontinued.
     
  5. DepthAfield

    DepthAfield TPF Noob!

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    There are always exceptions to the rule. Overall however, Ksmattfish is on the money. Computer design and automation is responsible for huge improvements in camera optics.
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Yes, the planar design is old, but 100 years ago the Canon 50mm f/1.8 would have been $1700 (adjusted for inflation) instead of $70. And even only 30 years ago you wouldn't see many pros use zooms, because they were horrible. The cheapest zooms today, are better than the best zooms from the 80s. Computers made not only lens design easier and cheaper, but they also increased the efficiency of mass production. Computers are responsible for the zoom lens becoming the standard lens.

    Look at any DSLR. What do you see? A film body with a chip in it. Why limit yourself to a design engineered to run a 3' roll of plastic through it? The new generation of designers will come up with new ideas, and they won't anchor themselves with notions of needing to be backwards compatable. When the bodies change significantly, so will the lenses, even if they basically work the same way. With some brands it happened with as simple a change as auto-focus. Look at all the accessories that are proprietary to the 10D or 20D, and won't function with the other (vert grip, batteries, etc...). Any excuse to make you upgrade, and you can bet they're going to take advantage of it.

    I think cameras will change in the next 10 years as much, or more, than they have in the last 100. Merely my opinion.

    EDIT: My point was that I don't think resell value is viable to worry about with the new digital photography gear market. Photography gear used to be made by optics companies (Pentax, Minolta...). Now it is made by electronics companies (Sony, Panasonic...). Your new gear is going to hold it's value about like your DVD player or stereo or TV.

    EDIT EDIT: Oh, and let's see you mount a 100 year old planar, lovely as it is, on your EOS bodies. They call that a Frankensteined camera, so maybe you are just the man to do it. ;)
     

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