Does lens quality matter?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by keller, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. keller
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    keller New Member

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    So I go to the camera store, and see a Canon lens for $1000, and a Sigma lens for only $50, and a Kiron for only $100.

    Now, obviously the Canon lens are better, but does it matter? What does lens quality affect? Say I take a photo of a green grass hill with a Canon lens, then a Sigma lens. Will there be much difference in the photos?
  2. Torus34
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    Torus34 New Member

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    Composition and lighting will have a much greater effect on the impact of the final photo than lens quality, within reasonable limits. There is a real difference between a disposable camera's lens and a good 'prime' lens. You can easily see it in the final print. Even so, it is possible to make a great photograph with a disposable.
  3. markc
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    markc New Member

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    There's also construction quality to worry about. I wouldn't expect a beginner to see what a pro lens does differently as far as image quality goes, but once a person becomes good enough, it can become important. I personally don't shoot with any of the "L" glass (Canon's pro line), but I did go for the better primes below that. I chose the 50mm/1.4 over the 1.8 because it has better bokeh (the quality of the out-of-focus area in an image). There are also things like chromatic and spectral aberations, flair, barrel distortion, etc. that a pro lens will have less of.

    My advice is to try to get a decent lens so that you won't have to upgrade all that soon, but don't break the bank. In the above example, the 50mm/f1.8 is a decent enough (and cheap enough) lens that it's fine for most people. I shoot with a lot of shallow DOF, so the bokeh of the 1.4 lens (which I could see was different) was worth the extra money to me.
  4. keller
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    keller New Member

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    But with the lens, apart from the durability, how does it affect the photo? Would it alter the colour and accuracy of the photo, or how easily it focuses?
  5. darich
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    darich New Member

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    My Canon lenses are f2.8 and cost approx £1000 each. You can buy the 70-200 with f4 for several hundred pounds less. So you're paying more money for a faster lens.

    I think it has higher quality glass and definitely has a wider aperture which is constant throughout the entire focal range. I can shoot at 200mm and f2.8 - that's what I paid the big money for. Colour or accuracy maybe affected but i think you'd need a computer to measure it because the difference would be so small.

    It may well focus faster due to having a different type or method of focusing than a cheaper lens.
  6. selmerdave
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    selmerdave New Member

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    Keller, image quality is not the only factor in the price of a lens. There are not many lenses that will beat in terms of image quality the standard 50mm/f1.8 from the major manufacturers, and those are not pricey lenses. With the higher prices you pay for certain specific capabilites that a given lens has, some of which involve considerable comlexity of manufacture. So obviously you don't spend >$1k on a 200mm/f2.0 unless you NEED specifically a long telephoto with that big an aperature. Shooting at f8 there is likely little difference from say a 200mm/f4 (MUCH less $$$), and in fact many times the smaller maximum aperature lens is superior due to its simpler construction. But there are shots you could take with a 200/2 that you could never take with a 50/1.8.

    Dave
  7. Chamelion 6
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    Chamelion 6 New Member

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    The short answer is yes.

    Where it gets fuzzy is when you start trying to qualify why. For example... The ability of the lens to distinguish between two points of light, resolution, is an important quality but not one you're going to see in every photo. In fact it's a quality you may never realize is missing till you compare it to a shot with a better lens.

    I don't believe that a better lens is, by itself, going to make you produce higher quality photos, there are just too many variables, but I believe the better the lens, the better your chances of getting a good quality shot are. The harsher the circumstances you're shooting under, the more that high end lens is going to benefit.
  8. tirediron
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    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member

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    It can/will affect all of those areas. As has already been mentioned, construction quality is probably the most visible difference between high-end glass and consumer lenses, however there are many other areas where the differences can be seen as well:

    -Colour reproduction, contrast and saturation: the differences here are less noticable now than they were in years past due to the fact that even consumer lenses are made with precision equipment and have multiple coatings, but the higher-end glass will usually have at least slightly better results.

    -Flare control: Good glass will almost always deal much better with things like flare and CA. As an example, my 70-300 (~$450) suffers horribly from purple fringing, but on my 70-200 ($2000) it's virtually non-existant even in the worst conditions.

    -Focusing: High-end glass will generally focus much more crisply than consumer-grade glass, although this is also a factor of the body, and high-end bodies usually have better focus systems.
  9. o hey tyler
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    o hey tyler New Member

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    I don't think the OP will return to see your responses, guys.
  10. Derrel
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    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Good one Tyler!!!! 123 has been digging uop three-, four- and even five-year-old threads all morning long....


    Seems like 123 is a necromancer:

    Necromancer

    partial quote: the Necromancer "...has a supernatural ability to bring long-dead forum discussion threads back to life. After having been flogged to death the thread may have been deceased for many years, and bringing it back may have scant relevance to the current topic, yet Necromancer will unexpectedly exhume the thread’s rotting corpse, and strike horror in the forum as its grotesque form lurches into the discussion. The monster, instantly recognized by all who knew it in life, seems at first to breathe and have a pulse, but, alas, it is beyond Necromancer’s skill to fully restore the thread’s original vitality."
  11. jason324
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    jason324 New Member

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    Great question, and I must say lens quality makes an enormous difference!

    1st you have build quality: weather proofing, zoom is smooth, focus is smooth, can take a fall better?

    Then you have optical quality, and that really is what it's all about. Good glass cost a lot more than cheap glass due to the manufacturing process/ accuracy.
    The optical quality is where the sharpness, contrast, and accuracy comes from, in conjuction with the camera sensor of course.

    Then there is Speed "fast glass". The f/2.8 and faster lenses require more of that expensive glass, so there more $$.

    Then there is features such as image stabilization which is an amazing technology that again costs money.

    So basically you get what you pay for as the cost is justified IMO for the quality product.
    That being said, you can still take killer images with cheap lenses and cameras!! What the pricey lens Cannot do is make a bad photographer a good one. The lens has nothing to do with that;) in the real world though, the quality equipment cuts back on post processing big time!!

    Best,
    Jay



    Then you have optical quality
  12. ann
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    ann Well-Known Member

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    Derrel, your terrific.
  13. tirediron
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    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member

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    :er: Looks like I done got got.
  14. DirtyDFeckers
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    DirtyDFeckers New Member

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    :lol::lmao::lol::lmao::lol::lmao:
  15. ann
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    ann Well-Known Member

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    This 123 individual has Landed in the Beyond Basic section big time.

    What is even funnier , for me at least, they have been thanked 3 times. Am trying to understand what is accomplished by doing this?
  16. Chamelion 6
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    Chamelion 6 New Member

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    :confused:

    Damn...
  17. memento
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    memento New Member

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    apparently there's a limit to the thanks. :lame:
  18. ann
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    ann Well-Known Member

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    Update, they have also hit the film section. At least they aren't biased!
  19. Derrel
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    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    ann,
    Did you happen to watch Dallas last night? Can you tell me who shot JR????
  20. Arch
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    Arch Damn You! Staff Member

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    Not any more!
    Guys if you see some idiot doing this then just report him, i can't stand the forum being all stunk out by some crazy guy.... most the people in these threads don't even post here anymore.

    Well done to anyone that did report him tho. ;)

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