What are the differences between different lens brands?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by keller, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. keller

    keller TPF Noob!

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    Is there actually any difference between the different brands of lens (Canon, Minolta, Pentax, etc)? Are any better than the other, or is there a wider range with certain models, or are different models just better for different situations?

    I've never been able to dig up any objective (or at least, non-advertising) info on different brands.
     
  2. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    I believe that it's a good idea to match the brand of lens to the camera. This is especially true where advanced cameras like digitals are concerned as there are many complex features and controls which need to be compatible.

    There are slight differences between brands, but essentially, you'd be very very hard pushed to express a preference between the big manufacturer's prime lenses. Individual zooms are more tricky to compare as they vary in length, aperture, price etc. etc.

    I'd personally say... at considerable risk.. that Nikon make the sharpest primes under 180mm and Canon make the best zooms over 100mm. However there are as many opinions as there are choices here.

    Third party lenses such as Sigma, Tokina, Tamron etc. are not generally as well regarded, but are often the only affordable means for many people to get the focal length or aperture which they want. These type of manufacturers often have great lenses at the top end of their ranges, and very very crap ones at the bottom. They tend to be much cheaper than the manufacturer's own, usually about half the price I would say.

    There don't tend to be that many lens tests which are comparative and objective, as people are never choosing between Nikon and Canon lenses as they are not (normally) interchangeable with each other - Nikon fits Nikon, Canon fits Canon etc. There are some comparisons between the third parties and the OEM, but many of these are biassed as the reviewer was trying to prove something with the test, rather than do a relative compare.

    So to summarise, there are not really any massive differences between the manufacturers lenses. Canon and Nikon have the largest ranges of accessories and bodies and are very popular SLR and DSLR choices.

    Hope this helps!

    Rob
     
  3. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    My guess is that you will find a greater variance in a brand's line of lenses than between the major brands. It's probably safe to say that Canon and Nikon lenses would be better than those from some company called Mega-Omega, but comparing between Canon and Nikon is pretty useless.

    I do feel more comfortable buying the same brand as the body, for compatibility's sake. Some of the older off-brand lenses had to be upgraded before they would work with the digital cameras.
     
  4. MyCameraEye

    MyCameraEye TPF Noob!

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    Nkkor (nikon) and Zeith are about the ONLY two lens manufacturers left who actually make their own glass from scratch. Not sure if this means much but I have come to trust Nikon glass a great deal. Some people have had great luck with Tamron lenses though I have returned everyone I've ver tried. I have had some limited luck with sigma lenses and own one. As far as third party glass goes, I really like Tokina. In fact there are a lot of reports out there that rate the Tokina 12-24 lens which I own higher then Nikon's 12-24 lens.

    I probably just confused you a bit more but I still hope I was able to help some. I did not want to start up the big Canon /vs/ Nikon lens war here. :)

    Scott
     
  5. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    Uhm... So canon doesn't make its own glass? :er: Get your facts straight please.

    Quality = price

    On top you have german glass:
    Leica and Zeiss (if you buy them new. Stuff from 50 years ago is useable but compares to modern japaneze primes)

    Then you have Nikon and Canon from japan.
    Very close together. Nikon seems to have an edge.

    After that you have Konika/minolta, sony, fuji and such.

    Good third party lenses (tamron, sigma, tokina). They are generally cheaper and lower in quality than Canon/Nikon, but can be close. Some individual lenses might be as good as their brand equivalents and cheaper. I have a sigma 70-200 f/2.8 It's slower focusing and a little bit softer than canon's, but it's just as fast, smaller, lighter, cheaper and you'll only see a difference at 16*20 print. At those prints, it's the quality of the contents that matters... not the sharpness.

    Pentax is very good too. But it's a standalone category or used MF glass which you have to hunt for. Excellent quality, but I have no experience with it.

    Then there are Opticons, Soligors, Sears, Vivitars and maybe others. Those lenses are crud and even the primes don't give you good quality. Stay away.

    If I were to start over again, I'd probably buy myself a Contax and shoot just film.
     
  6. MyCameraEye

    MyCameraEye TPF Noob!

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    I was told by a canon rep 1-year ago that canon buys their glass. Of course, they have it made to their specs and they have their name on it but he told me that they do not make their own glass on site as nikkor does though this does not matter much, glass is glass made on site or not. I agree with you though, german glass ranks top.
     
  7. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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  8. MyCameraEye

    MyCameraEye TPF Noob!

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    I'll have to do some research to proove my point here so I'll get back on this thread once I have it. Interesting link.

    I know even nikon contracts out on their cheaper lenses such as 70-300 G which I did not like much. I bought it, returned it, then went to the DI model that tamron put out and learned they were responsible for the assembly of the Nikkkor lens as well. I did not like the performace of the Tamron either, returned it and spent some time on research and went with an entirly different beat all together, the Sigma Bigma 50-500 digital coated model which I have been pleased with for the price.

    Scott
     
  9. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    My daily use lens on my K1000 is a Vivitar 28-80 that I bought new off eBay for $10. It works OK, but I don't enlarge my prints more than 8x10. If I had more cash I'd own a set of Pentax primes, but I gotta work with what I can afford. That's my $.02.
     
  10. kfoster

    kfoster TPF Noob!

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    Just to add to the debate on whether Canon makes its own glass.

    I really have no idea. What I do know is that Canon use to buy its lenses for its 35mm cameras from Nikon. This was back in the day when Canon was called Seiki Kogaku Precision Optical and Nikon was known as Nippon Kogaku K.K. (1930's).

    They have actually been stealing stuff from each other for nearly 100 years.

    K
     
  11. sobolik

    sobolik TPF Noob!

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    Yes there are differences but it is probably beyond the means of one person to identify them. By that I mean one person would probably not notice. However if someone pointed the difference out then they would see it. You need to refer to people who have the time and resources to examine that. So you could be the proud owner of the most expensive lens and never really "see" why. Most people are content to soak up the general image and not dissect it. There are basic level things that a person will notice like the Vivitar zoom I had was one stop slower than my similar Yashica zoom. But it did not really matter in practice. The Russian lenses are of questionable quality. If you ask just so you don't get a lousy lens, stick with the mainstream stuff on the market. If you want to be very critical in the comparison then here is one link to look at. http://www.aeimages.com/learn/lens-quality.html
     
  12. duelinthedeep

    duelinthedeep TPF Noob!

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    wow..helpfull link you got there.

    would i be better off buying a 50mm f/1.8 prime from minolta or would i
    get a much better lens for the same price or cheaper from another company like sigma or tamron?

    i just searched it up and minoltas 50mm f/1.4 is pretty cheap.
    i dont know if there would be a better lens than that one for a better price.
     

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