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Improvement in Lens Design Warrants Buying New Kit
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Jun 13, 2022 13:42:10   #
MDI Mainer Loc: Mount Desert, Maine
 
Thom Hogan has written an interesting article for his blog which posits that the latest lens offerings represent a generational improvement in optical quality, and that this improved quality merits buying new kit. Here's the gist of his argument.

Most of you reading this think one of two things:

1. You don't need new lenses for mirrorless because mount adapters exist.

2. You only need new lenses for mirrorless because the mount changed.

I've had a ton of experience with all the new mirrorless mounts and the lenses for them, and I'm going to argue that neither of those are the reasons why you should be buying new lenses. Something else changed besides DSLR mounts becoming mirrorless mounts. That something is a different design ethic that resulted in higher quality lenses.


* * * *

About the same time as mirrorless started appearing, other things were happening in the lens business: new glass types, new aspherical molding techniques, new coatings, better ability to control and refine polishing methods, better mechanical alignment procedures, and more.

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Jun 13, 2022 16:33:32   #
Rongnongno Loc: FL
 
Can you refer to an article?

Changing lenses is a huge investment. If the changes are somewhat marginal, there is no point.

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Jun 13, 2022 16:41:47   #
DirtFarmer Loc: Way too close to New York City
 
In 2015 I got a 200-500 f/5.6 lens. After using it for a week it was clear to me that the VR was an order of magnitude better than the VR in my other lenses, which were about 8 years old. The old VR was pretty marginal, offering maybe 1 - 1.5 stops. The new VR allowed me to hand hold my lens at 500mm at 1/10 second (bracing my back against a wall). I went out and upgraded my 24-70 and 70-200 lenses as well. I consider it was worth it.

Yes, it was a large investment, but I use the VR much more now and it helps in low light action.

But you're right. There is no point if the changes are small.

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Jun 13, 2022 16:46:32   #
Ysarex Loc: St. Louis
 
MDI Mainer wrote:
Thom Hogan has written an interesting article for his blog which posits that the latest lens offerings represent a generational improvement in optical quality, and that this improved quality merits buying new kit. Here's the gist of his argument.

Most of you reading this think one of two things:

1. You don't need new lenses for mirrorless because mount adapters exist.

2. You only need new lenses for mirrorless because the mount changed.

I've had a ton of experience with all the new mirrorless mounts and the lenses for them, and I'm going to argue that neither of those are the reasons why you should be buying new lenses. Something else changed besides DSLR mounts becoming mirrorless mounts. That something is a different design ethic that resulted in higher quality lenses.


* * * *

About the same time as mirrorless started appearing, other things were happening in the lens business: new glass types, new aspherical molding techniques, new coatings, better ability to control and refine polishing methods, better mechanical alignment procedures, and more.
Thom Hogan has written an interesting article for ... (show quote)

Not going to argue that improvements in lens design and manufacture come along regularly. Thom is a respected source of good info. But I've got this one grain of salt to season the topic with. Below is a photo from my APS-C Fuji X-T2 (24mp) uncropped. The arrow points to a spot on one of the flower petals and I know that spot happens to be a bug with antennae and two beady eyes. In fact he was watching me all the time I took the photo. The 2nd image below is a 100% crop. (Also note the two spider web filaments strung between the two petals).

The lens is many decades old. I'm not exactly sure when I bought it but I saved it from one of my darkroom enlargers back in the day. -- it's a 60mm Rodagon enlarging lens. I use it now as a close-up macro lens and I'm keeping it.





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Jun 13, 2022 16:50:27   #
User ID
 
MDI Mainer wrote:
Thom Hogan has written an interesting article for his blog which posits that the latest lens offerings represent a generational improvement in optical quality, and that this improved quality merits buying new kit. Here's the gist of his argument.

Most of you reading this think one of two things:

1. You don't need new lenses for mirrorless because mount adapters exist.

2. You only need new lenses for mirrorless because the mount changed.

I've had a ton of experience with all the new mirrorless mounts and the lenses for them, and I'm going to argue that neither of those are the reasons why you should be buying new lenses. Something else changed besides DSLR mounts becoming mirrorless mounts. That something is a different design ethic that resulted in higher quality lenses.


* * * *

About the same time as mirrorless started appearing, other things were happening in the lens business: new glass types, new aspherical molding techniques, new coatings, better ability to control and refine polishing methods, better mechanical alignment procedures, and more.
Thom Hogan has written an interesting article for ... (show quote)

Progress in IQ is the path to more and more increasingly boring images. Thom Hogan is apparently just another flack.

Reply
Jun 13, 2022 16:56:46   #
CHG_CANON Loc: the Windy City
 
Not sure I understand the purpose of the post ...

Did DSLRasaur lenses ever feature f/2 constant apertures for 28-70 zooms?
Did DSLRasaur lenses ever feature a sharpness wide open that rivals / exceeds any aperture of the prior model?
Did DSLRasaur lenses ever feature IS / VR for f/2.8 zooms?
Did DSLRasaur lenses ever feature 14mm or 15mm focal lengths in a full-frame zoom?
Were DSLRasaur lenses built for the demands of 45MP sensors?

DSLRasaur lenses got really good at the end, but mirrorless lenses feature still more advancements, giving sharper results in physically lighter-weight bodies.

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Jun 14, 2022 06:33:06   #
yssirk123 Loc: New Jersey
 
Here's the link to Thom's article: https://www.bythom.com/newsviews/youre-going-to-be-buying.html

Reply
 
 
Jun 14, 2022 08:01:19   #
LFingar Loc: Claverack, NY
 
The point that I have seen made most often, and that I have made myself regarding Canon, is that you don't have to be in a hurry to get rid of your EF lenses and buy RF lenses because EF lenses will work as well or better on R Series bodies as they did on DSLR bodies. Still a valid point. I don't recall anyone making the claim that RF lenses don't have at least some optical advantages over EF lenses. Since Canon has offered EF/RF adapters pretty much from day one it is obvious they wern't trying to force anyone to buy new lenses. They switched to the RF mount because it has allowed them to make improvements in their RF lenses.
Bottom line: Using EF lenses on an R Series may not give you all of the performance of the RF lenses, but, if you were happy with the performance of your EF lens on a DSLR then you won't be disappointed when you put it on an R Series. I highly doubt that the sole motivation for switching to mirrorless was the possibility of improved lenses. The first reasons I have always seen mentioned have been the improved auto-focus, improved eye tracking, improved EVF functions, etc, etc.

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Jun 14, 2022 08:59:00   #
imagemeister Loc: Stuart, Florida
 
MDI Mainer wrote:
Thom Hogan has written an interesting article for his blog which posits that the latest lens offerings represent a generational improvement in optical quality, and that this improved quality merits buying new kit. Here's the gist of his argument.

Most of you reading this think one of two things:

1. You don't need new lenses for mirrorless because mount adapters exist.

2. You only need new lenses for mirrorless because the mount changed.

I've had a ton of experience with all the new mirrorless mounts and the lenses for them, and I'm going to argue that neither of those are the reasons why you should be buying new lenses. Something else changed besides DSLR mounts becoming mirrorless mounts. That something is a different design ethic that resulted in higher quality lenses.


* * * *

About the same time as mirrorless started appearing, other things were happening in the lens business: new glass types, new aspherical molding techniques, new coatings, better ability to control and refine polishing methods, better mechanical alignment procedures, and more.
Thom Hogan has written an interesting article for ... (show quote)


The 24-600mm (equiv) Zeiss f2.4-4 lens on the RX10m4 is a technical optical masterpiece - and it is almost 5 years old now - and it objectively supersedes most all my other lenses/cameras for what I do. With this lens, the notion that a high ratio zoom - especially shot wide open - cannot possibly be any good has gone out the window ! Soon the technology from this lens will make it's way to other cameras - maybe most notably an M4/3 version ?? But there will certainly be push back from manufactures wanting to sell multiple interchangeable lenses and mounts but their days are numbered IMO.

And, some will argue just how important IQ is in image making success anyway ??
.

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Jun 14, 2022 09:19:55   #
larryepage Loc: Collin County, Texas
 
For most, buying new lenses is just going to be an exercise in spending money, not improving their photography. I would estimate that fewer than 2% of the images posted on this site are "lens limited." If your estimate is different, that's ok. My point is that lenses are only an obstacle in the eyes of those who sell lenses.

I am fortunate to have put together a pretty diverse collection on lenses of various capabilities and grades, but am finding that I gravitate more and more to a couple od mid-tier favorites. Choosing my 24-120 f/4 Nikkor instead of the 24-70 f/2.8 (or even the 70-200 f/2.8) are a couple of key examples.

I've said before that I like nice equipment. And I do. I like having nice equipment. But it doesn't solve what is wrong with most photographs.

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Jun 14, 2022 09:34:33   #
Rongnongno Loc: FL
 
yssirk123 wrote:

Thank you.

Reply
 
 
Jun 14, 2022 09:53:17   #
Canisdirus
 
Not surprising and read this a while back which indeed prompted me to go mirrorless...well...one more good reason.

Tech advancement in camera bodies is quite apparent...less so with lenses perhaps...and probably more difficult to review in comparison to bodies.

But tech advances on all fronts...DSLR bodies are fairly antiquated now...as are the lenses.
Everything is designed from the ground up by computers today...tolerances are tighter than ever.

Overall...overall film lenses have the most amount of tolerance...since film isn't 100% flat.
Digital DSLR lenses have less tolerance than film...sensors are 100% flat...so they need to be.
Mirrorless lenses have the tightest tolerances...
Because the tech just keeps rolling...

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Jun 14, 2022 09:59:37   #
rmalarz Loc: Tempe, Arizona
 
I don't know about this. I respect Thom Hogan but I'm using lenses that are 40+ years old with a, relatively, new sensor. The photographs are remarkably sharp. I see no reason to invest more money in lenses.
--Bob

MDI Mainer wrote:
Thom Hogan has written an interesting article for his blog which posits that the latest lens offerings represent a generational improvement in optical quality, and that this improved quality merits buying new kit. Here's the gist of his argument.

Most of you reading this think one of two things:

1. You don't need new lenses for mirrorless because mount adapters exist.

2. You only need new lenses for mirrorless because the mount changed.

I've had a ton of experience with all the new mirrorless mounts and the lenses for them, and I'm going to argue that neither of those are the reasons why you should be buying new lenses. Something else changed besides DSLR mounts becoming mirrorless mounts. That something is a different design ethic that resulted in higher quality lenses.


* * * *

About the same time as mirrorless started appearing, other things were happening in the lens business: new glass types, new aspherical molding techniques, new coatings, better ability to control and refine polishing methods, better mechanical alignment procedures, and more.
Thom Hogan has written an interesting article for ... (show quote)

Reply
Jun 14, 2022 10:16:34   #
MDI Mainer Loc: Mount Desert, Maine
 
Here's the link to the article again. Sorry I didn't post it earlier lest the thread get moved to the dead zone of "Links and Resources."

https://www.bythom.com/newsviews/youre-going-to-be-buying.html

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Jun 14, 2022 10:23:27   #
cjc2 Loc: Hellertown PA
 
From my personal experience moving from Nikon DSLR to Nikon Mirrorless, I see a marked improvement in lenses which are made using the new design changes, which is exactly what Nikon promised in moving to the new design. IMHO, the new 70-200/2.8 S is almost unbelievably better than its most recent cousin in F mount. I love the new 50/1.2 and I couldn't be happier with the new 400/2.8 TC. Can't compare to other systems because I don't use them, nor do I participate in the N-C-S-F debates as these are boring to me.

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