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Thread: Are consumer grade lenses really that bad...

  1. #1

    Default Are consumer grade lenses really that bad...

    when compared to a PRO lens? I mean, looking at the price difference between, say a F2.8 70-200mm and a f4.5/5.6 70-200mm, does the images produced by the latter really inferior to the former?

    If it only offers barely noticeable image quality differences, then what is the impetus for buying a PRO lens, considering the big price premium one has to pay to get one?

    p/s: I assume PRO lenses means all those with F2.8 and smaller f stops right?

    Sorry but I am really a newbie to this lenses thingy

  2. #2

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    hmm...i guess 'pro' lenses are better in sharpness and colour rendition @ large apertures...but when stopped down to smaller apertures like f8-11, i guess 'consumer' lenses sharpness are v acceptable. but one must remember the limitations of a small aperture...tripod required, can't freeze motion etc. 'pro' lenses are also better built to withstand the possible harch working conditions of a professional photog.

    having large aperture does not neccessary mean pro lens...it just means a faster lens

    you've got to try them to believe it...but at the end of the day, the question is: have you maxed out the potential of your current setup? if so and you feel that your equipment id limiting you (and you have the cash!) then go for what you think will help you best.

    cheers

  3. #3
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    Default

    Larger aperture doesn't mean better sharpness, eg. it is commonly believed that the Nikon 50/1.8 is sharper than the 50/1.4 or 1.2 versions and reported tests show that it is so. The larger the aperture, the more difficult it is to perfect the optics.

    Better sharpness doesn't mean better pictures too. Sometimes, you see some nice pictures published in Amateur Photographer using really cheap camera and optics, like a Centon or an old Yashica etc. Composition, subject etc are more important.

    Anyway, most sharpness (or more accurately, resolving power) of a lens is wasted if you just do mainly hand-held photography with fast films.

    Pros use big lenses with large aperture because their livelihood depends on it. Not only do they need to deliver under all circumstances, they sometimes also need to keep a professional image.

    For a sports or wildlife photographer, the huge and expensive 300/2.8 would almost be a necessity. For us mortals, maybe a 70-300 4.5/5.6 would suffice for our travels. A wedding photographer might need a 28-80/2.8 zoom so that he would not miss an important shot, but a by-stander may be enjoying his photography of the situation stress free with a 50/1.8 lens.

    For me, my lens choice depends on my needs. eg. I would choose a cheaper Nikon 200/4 AIS over the "sharper" and more "pro" 180/2.8 not only because of price diff, but also the filter size and weight of the lens. I would carry it more often and would not lose sleep if I dropped it. Performance at f8 may not be distinguishable.

    Hope this is not too much!

    Enjoy your photography!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Are consumer grade lenses really that bad...

    Originally posted by gremlin
    [B]when compared to a PRO lens? I mean, looking at the price difference between, say a F2.8 70-200mm and a f4.5/5.6 70-200mm, does the images produced by the latter really inferior to the former?
    Since your bring out this example.

    I have used a 70-210/4.5-5.6 before.
    With a 1.4X TC, the image I see thru the view-finder is soft( Very soft such that I decided not to waste my film to shoot).

    I am using a 80-200/2.8 now. With the same 1.4x TC, the image is significantly much sharper. In fact, I leave the TC on for zoo/birdpark shoot all the time giving me a 112-280/4 lens.

    P.s. I didn't take much pic with the 70-210 but the pic taken w/o the TC is acceptable.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Are consumer grade lenses really that bad...

    Originally posted by gremlin
    when compared to a PRO lens? I mean, looking at the price difference between, say a F2.8 70-200mm and a f4.5/5.6 70-200mm, does the images produced by the latter really inferior to the former?

    If it only offers barely noticeable image quality differences, then what is the impetus for buying a PRO lens, considering the big price premium one has to pay to get one?

    p/s: I assume PRO lenses means all those with F2.8 and smaller f stops right?

    Sorry but I am really a newbie to this lenses thingy
    Yo gremlin, is the itch coming back? Anyway interested topic. I am interested to know as well.

  6. #6

    Default

    Its a sad world but most photographers you meet will tell you that consumer grade lens aren't up to mark and they trail way behind pro lens (or rather lens targeted at the Pro market). There will be this other group who swears by their german glass and condem japanese glass.

    Some will claim that they will be able to see the difference with shots taken with different grade lens, just as some are able to see the difference with a picture shot with a cheap UV filter and a certain b plus w filters.

    I do admit that there are lemons found within the large range of lens available depending on what system you use, and those are the ones which should be avoided at all cost. Other than that, I would say that all lens are adequate for amateur needs; even consumer zooms when shot wide open.

    Cuz really...when the final print comes out it hardly matters...what people want to see is the story/mood a picture tells...not how the picture looks from a technical point of view. If your photographer friends belong to the latter group of people...well...I'll feel sorry for ya.
    Last edited by BraveHart; 28th February 2003 at 11:38 PM.

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