Lens reality vs cost

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by drs@canby.com, Sep 27, 2004.

  1. Guest

    This may be so subjective there's no sensible response but I'm
    wondering how to tell (by reading/research) if a lens is
    cost-effective in terms of what it can do in normal use. Most things
    and certainly lenses cost a great deal more to get that top 5-10
    percent performance. Most of the time we might not need it, might not
    even be able to tell the difference. In particular, I'm reading about
    the optics on the Nikkor AFS 28-70mm f2.8 ED IF lens. It's very
    expensive for my budget. But it's apparently a superb lens. But might
    there be a similar lens that cost perhaps half as much that would
    perform so well that I couldn't tell the difference? I don't have a
    lab to conduct technical analyses on optics; I simply want a very very
    clean piece of glass. But my question isn't really about that specific
    lens. It relates to all lenses. And I know that not all pros use the
    highest quality lenses all the time; there are situations where the
    extra cost doesn't pencil out. Any ideas?
    , Sep 27, 2004
    #1
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  2. <> wrote in message
    news:...

    > Most of the time we might not need it, might not
    > even be able to tell the difference. In particular, I'm reading about
    > the optics on the Nikkor AFS 28-70mm f2.8 ED IF lens. It's very
    > expensive for my budget. But it's apparently a superb lens.


    Do you normally use a firm tripod? If not, why worry.

    --
    M Stewart
    Milton Keynes, UK
    http://www.megalith.freeserve.co.uk/oddimage.htm
    Malcolm Stewart, Sep 27, 2004
    #2
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  3. Bruce Murphy Guest

    writes:

    > This may be so subjective there's no sensible response but I'm
    > wondering how to tell (by reading/research) if a lens is
    > cost-effective in terms of what it can do in normal use. Most things
    > and certainly lenses cost a great deal more to get that top 5-10
    > percent performance. Most of the time we might not need it, might not
    > even be able to tell the difference. In particular, I'm reading about
    > the optics on the Nikkor AFS 28-70mm f2.8 ED IF lens. It's very
    > expensive for my budget. But it's apparently a superb lens. But might
    > there be a similar lens that cost perhaps half as much that would
    > perform so well that I couldn't tell the difference?


    Of course! Get a secondhand 35-70mm f/2.8. This is a really lovely
    lens. Bit of a bitch to handle, but optically lovely :)

    > It relates to all lenses. And I know that not all pros use the
    > highest quality lenses all the time; there are situations where the
    > extra cost doesn't pencil out. Any ideas?


    It would be a good idea to be familiar with various review
    places. Ones like Bjoorn's over at www.naturfotograf.com is extremely
    helpful as it provides quite a bit of perspective on the transition
    between old and new lenses, and can be quite brutal where necessary.

    You'll also need to keep in mind the secondhand prices. KEH, eBay, or
    your local camera places would all be good places to look. Don't
    forget to check B&H new stuff too.

    Oh yes, and make sure you read rec.photo.equipment.35mm regularly
    too. Check google groups for older threads too. Until the digital
    groupies manage to emasculate it with their group re-org it's going to
    be far and away the best available resource for this sort of thing.

    B>
    Bruce Murphy, Sep 27, 2004
    #3
  4. bmoag Guest

    Until and unless you have some experience using different lenses and
    evaluating the results you cannot answer that question for yourself. You can
    only judge results looking at slides directly or examining high quality
    scans of slides or negatives.

    As a rule long zooms (e.g. 28-200 or 28-300) are the easiest to see what bad
    optical performance looks like and if you have access to one of these use it
    and judge for yourself. All of them, regardless of maker, have pincusion and
    barrel distortion, low contrast and poor sharpness. If you can photograph
    subjects with vertical and horizontal lines and compare these zooms to a
    single focal length lens, preferably a 50mm (as these tend to be among a
    manufacturers best lenses) you should see these problems for yourself.

    Unfortunately alot of what is written in these newsgroups is by people who
    would never let the facts get in the way of a good opinion.
    bmoag, Sep 27, 2004
    #4
  5. [BnH] Guest

    You can try looking at Tokina's ATX-Pro II 28-70 range [ not the SV some
    said]
    You'll lose the AF-S feature but quality wise, they are damn good lens.

    =bob=

    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    .. In particular, I'm reading about
    > the optics on the Nikkor AFS 28-70mm f2.8 ED IF lens. It's very
    > expensive for my budget.
    [BnH], Sep 27, 2004
    #5
  6. Hunt Guest

    In article <>, says...
    >
    >This may be so subjective there's no sensible response but I'm
    >wondering how to tell (by reading/research) if a lens is
    >cost-effective in terms of what it can do in normal use. Most things
    >and certainly lenses cost a great deal more to get that top 5-10
    >percent performance. Most of the time we might not need it, might not
    >even be able to tell the difference. In particular, I'm reading about
    >the optics on the Nikkor AFS 28-70mm f2.8 ED IF lens. It's very
    >expensive for my budget. But it's apparently a superb lens. But might
    >there be a similar lens that cost perhaps half as much that would
    >perform so well that I couldn't tell the difference? I don't have a
    >lab to conduct technical analyses on optics; I simply want a very very
    >clean piece of glass. But my question isn't really about that specific
    >lens. It relates to all lenses. And I know that not all pros use the
    >highest quality lenses all the time; there are situations where the
    >extra cost doesn't pencil out. Any ideas?


    Your critical eye, or that of your client, will be the main factor. Is the
    lens in question sharp enough for YOU? Next, I'd advise on how the ergonomic
    factors of lens suit you and how you shoot. Actually mount the lens and use it
    a bit, even if only in a store. Do your fingers go naturally to the controls?
    Do you have to fumble switching from Auto to Manual modes? Does the zoom
    control work for YOU? The aperture ring, the focusing mechanism on manual?
    Once you get the approximate sharpness you feel you need, which ones feel
    right for YOU?

    Hunt
    Hunt, Sep 27, 2004
    #6
  7. <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > This may be so subjective there's no sensible response but I'm
    > wondering how to tell (by reading/research) if a lens is
    > cost-effective in terms of what it can do in normal use. Most things
    > and certainly lenses cost a great deal more to get that top 5-10
    > percent performance. Most of the time we might not need it, might not
    > even be able to tell the difference. In particular, I'm reading about
    > the optics on the Nikkor AFS 28-70mm f2.8 ED IF lens. It's very
    > expensive for my budget. But it's apparently a superb lens. But might
    > there be a similar lens that cost perhaps half as much that would
    > perform so well that I couldn't tell the difference?


    If you insist on a zoom, Tamron 28-75/2.8. Fine for portraits wide open,
    it's sharp as all get out from f/4.0.

    > I don't have a
    > lab to conduct technical analyses on optics; I simply want a very very
    > clean piece of glass. But my question isn't really about that specific
    > lens. It relates to all lenses. And I know that not all pros use the
    > highest quality lenses all the time; there are situations where the
    > extra cost doesn't pencil out. Any ideas?


    Yes. Zooms are almost always some combination of expensive, poor optically,
    heavy, and/or slow. Usually all of the above. The Tamron is light, fast,
    sharp, cheap, but nowhere near as well made as the expensive and heavy
    Nikon/Canon competitors. I expect mine to last 1/5 or so the life of my
    Canon 17-40. In the end, not really cost effective.

    Primes, on the other hand, are cheaper, better optically, lighter, and
    faster. The Nikon 85/1.8 (or Canon 85/1.8) is worlds better than any zoom
    that covers the 85mm focal length, and is lighter and cheaper than even some
    iffy off-brand zooms.

    Note that the vast majority of great photographs were taken with prime
    lenses.

    Even worse, most shots with zoom lenses are taken at one of the extremes,
    and the performance at the extremes is usually the worst in the whole range.
    So a zoom really only replaces two primes, and does that badly.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Sep 27, 2004
    #7
  8. Phil Wheeler Guest

    Isn't "lens reality" a bit of an oxymoron? Seems too emotional an issue
    for "reality" and "cost" to be operable :)

    Phil

    wrote:
    > This may be so subjective there's no sensible response but I'm
    > wondering how to tell (by reading/research) if a lens is
    > cost-effective in terms of what it can do in normal use. Most things
    > and certainly lenses cost a great deal more to get that top 5-10
    > percent performance. Most of the time we might not need it, might not
    > even be able to tell the difference. In particular, I'm reading about
    > the optics on the Nikkor AFS 28-70mm f2.8 ED IF lens. It's very
    > expensive for my budget. But it's apparently a superb lens. But might
    > there be a similar lens that cost perhaps half as much that would
    > perform so well that I couldn't tell the difference? I don't have a
    > lab to conduct technical analyses on optics; I simply want a very very
    > clean piece of glass. But my question isn't really about that specific
    > lens. It relates to all lenses. And I know that not all pros use the
    > highest quality lenses all the time; there are situations where the
    > extra cost doesn't pencil out. Any ideas?
    Phil Wheeler, Sep 27, 2004
    #8
  9. writes:

    > This may be so subjective there's no sensible response but I'm
    > wondering how to tell (by reading/research) if a lens is
    > cost-effective in terms of what it can do in normal use.


    This is almost an oxymoron. Particularly if you are an amateur.

    > Most things
    > and certainly lenses cost a great deal more to get that top 5-10
    > percent performance.


    True.

    > Most of the time we might not need it, might not
    > even be able to tell the difference.


    True, and I think here's your answer. I'm sorry to say that no one is
    better able to answer whether _you_ can tell the difference than you. No
    one else can tell whether you need it. Unless you are shooting commercially
    (or trying to) and buyers are rejecting your images because of technical
    problems related to the lens, having a bunch of strangers chime in and give
    you advice that tells you what they think won't be of any real help.


    >SNIP<
    > It's very
    > expensive for my budget. But it's apparently a superb lens. But might
    > there be a similar lens that cost perhaps half as much that would
    > perform so well that I couldn't tell the difference?


    There's only one way to know: buy the lens and see (1) if you can tell the
    difference and (2) whether the difference in quality is worth the
    difference in price. Well, maybe you can rent it. If you are in a region
    where a good store is within driving range, you may be able to rent the
    lens to try it out.

    >SNIP<
    > And I know that not all pros use the
    > highest quality lenses all the time; there are situations where the
    > extra cost doesn't pencil out. Any ideas?


    I'm confident that they've made the mistake of buying the costliest and
    found it didn't pencil out. It's a mistake you need to make. :-> The
    problem you face is that some pros doing some specific sort of work need
    one particular lens that is the absolute best. Other pros in other lines of
    work don't need that particular lens that's the absolute best, but I'm
    confident that they know which lens in their line must be the best and that
    they have it.
    --
    Philip Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
    Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip@
    http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.
    Phil Stripling, Sep 27, 2004
    #9
  10. "[BnH]" <b18[at]ii[dot]net> writes:

    > You can try looking at Tokina's ATX-Pro II 28-70 range [ not the SV
    > some said] You'll lose the AF-S feature but quality wise, they are
    > damn good lens.


    Yes, I was going to propose that one. Well, actually its predecessor,
    which is what I've had and used since 1994. Really a very nice lens.
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
    RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/> <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
    Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/> <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
    Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/>
    David Dyer-Bennet, Sep 27, 2004
    #10
  11. Auri Finch Guest

    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > This may be so subjective there's no sensible response but I'm
    > wondering how to tell (by reading/research) if a lens is
    > cost-effective in terms of what it can do in normal use. Most things
    > and certainly lenses cost a great deal more to get that top 5-10
    > percent performance. Most of the time we might not need it, might not
    > even be able to tell the difference. In particular, I'm reading about
    > the optics on the Nikkor AFS 28-70mm f2.8 ED IF lens. It's very
    > expensive for my budget. But it's apparently a superb lens. But might
    > there be a similar lens that cost perhaps half as much that would
    > perform so well that I couldn't tell the difference? I don't have a
    > lab to conduct technical analyses on optics; I simply want a very very
    > clean piece of glass. But my question isn't really about that specific
    > lens. It relates to all lenses. And I know that not all pros use the
    > highest quality lenses all the time; there are situations where the
    > extra cost doesn't pencil out. Any ideas?



    Speaking of sharpness, any good lens will resolve more detail than a digital
    camera can capture. There are, however, qualities beyond sharpness inherent
    in lenses that can make an image more or less appealing. As far as
    resolution goes, the 28-70 resolves far more information than, say, the D70
    can capture. There are other qualities to this lens that make it an
    excellent lens, though, and future digital sensors will caputre yet more of
    the detail available.

    --
    Aurelius Aristotle Finch III
    Auri Finch, Sep 28, 2004
    #11
  12. "Auri Finch" <> wrote:
    >
    >
    > Speaking of sharpness, any good lens will resolve more detail than a

    digital
    > camera can capture.


    It's more complicated than that. The system MTF is the _product_ of the MTFs
    of the components, so an improvement in any component results in improved
    system performance.

    Switching from a good lens to a great lens runs into diminishing returns
    really fast, but the differences are there, and the better lens will produce
    better results on the same sensor.

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/lenses/16-35.shtml

    Note that you can see the difference between these lenses even on the 3MP
    D30.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Sep 28, 2004
    #12
  13. DM Guest

    It all depends on your needs. I am not a pro, but I still love my canon
    28-70/2.8L, it is truly a wonderful lens, and I can shoot wide open at
    f/2.8 any time, with the confidence that the results are going to be
    excellent. It's all about versatility.

    You should also try the second hand market. There are several 28-70
    Nikkors around, if you look. My canon 28-70 is second hand and I paid
    much less than a new 28-70 or 24-70/2.8L.

    I have tried the tokina 28-80/2.8 and it consistently front focused on
    my cameras and was soft till f/5.6. The sigma 28-70/2.8 I tried was
    really noisy and slow to focus and I just didn't like the handling.
    I have only used the Nikkor 28-70/2.8 AFS a few times and it is truly
    a superb lens. The contrast, color and sharpness is second to none in
    this range. You will be happy you didn't waste money on a cheaper lens.
    Lenses like these are a one time purchase. Get it, and enjoy it forever.

    wrote in message news:<>...
    > This may be so subjective there's no sensible response but I'm
    > wondering how to tell (by reading/research) if a lens is
    > cost-effective in terms of what it can do in normal use. Most things
    > and certainly lenses cost a great deal more to get that top 5-10
    > percent performance. Most of the time we might not need it, might not
    > even be able to tell the difference. In particular, I'm reading about
    > the optics on the Nikkor AFS 28-70mm f2.8 ED IF lens. It's very
    > expensive for my budget. But it's apparently a superb lens. But might
    > there be a similar lens that cost perhaps half as much that would
    > perform so well that I couldn't tell the difference? I don't have a
    > lab to conduct technical analyses on optics; I simply want a very very
    > clean piece of glass. But my question isn't really about that specific
    > lens. It relates to all lenses. And I know that not all pros use the
    > highest quality lenses all the time; there are situations where the
    > extra cost doesn't pencil out. Any ideas?
    DM, Sep 28, 2004
    #13
  14. Guest

    In message <0XV5d.20345$>,
    "bmoag" <> wrote:

    >Unfortunately alot of what is written in these newsgroups is by people who
    >would never let the facts get in the way of a good opinion.


    Perhaps, but it is still much more grounded than the DPReview forums.
    If you say anything less than flattering there about any product, you
    come across as a troublemaker or troll.

    Someone will post an 800*533 reduced image, and people will say, "what a
    sharp lens", and I will say, "all images can be sharp when downsized
    that far" and people act like I'm a party-pooper.

    You can make interesting photos with any lens, but if you want straight
    lines, all colors focusing in the same place, maximum contrast, maximum
    sharpness, etc, then there are less lenses that do the job.
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
    , Oct 3, 2004
    #14
  15. Guest

    In message <cj9bkm$2oe$>,
    "David J. Littleboy" <> wrote:

    >Note that the vast majority of great photographs were taken with prime
    >lenses.


    Also note that zooms have only come of age in recent years, and most
    "great photographs" take a while to be noticed.
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
    , Oct 3, 2004
    #15
  16. John Doe Guest

    Well, not to be a party pooper on your parade but people here can be pretty
    damn rude too.

    John


    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In message <0XV5d.20345$>,
    > "bmoag" <> wrote:
    >
    >>Unfortunately alot of what is written in these newsgroups is by people who
    >>would never let the facts get in the way of a good opinion.

    >
    > Perhaps, but it is still much more grounded than the DPReview forums.
    > If you say anything less than flattering there about any product, you
    > come across as a troublemaker or troll.
    >
    > Someone will post an 800*533 reduced image, and people will say, "what a
    > sharp lens", and I will say, "all images can be sharp when downsized
    > that far" and people act like I'm a party-pooper.
    >
    > You can make interesting photos with any lens, but if you want straight
    > lines, all colors focusing in the same place, maximum contrast, maximum
    > sharpness, etc, then there are less lenses that do the job.
    > --
    >
    > <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    > John P Sheehy <>
    > ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
    John Doe, Oct 4, 2004
    #16
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