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Thread: How much damage can a lens front element take?

  1. #1
    Senior Member geraldkhoo's Avatar
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    Smile How much damage can a lens front element take?

    How much damage can a lens front element take before it affects the picture quality?

    Here are some links... and some experiments done....

    http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00WSXm?start=10

    http://kurtmunger.com/dirty_lens_articleid35.html

    http://www.lensrentals.com/news/2008...ment-scratches
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  2. #2

    Default Re: How much damage can a lens front element take?

    i always love it when people post such sites, a good dose of constant reassuring
    Playing with M43.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How much damage can a lens front element take?

    A lot more than one would expect.... You can pour gravy, tea, hammer a nail with the front element, drop a PC, whack a soccer ball and of course burn it with a 1300C torch, no issue.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWzsXeXCwuc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1tTBncIsm8

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How much damage can a lens front element take?

    I did drop a few lenses before, thanks to my butter fingers.

    Dropped a Canon 50mm macro from waist height, not a scratch. Still tack sharp.

    Dropped a 17-40 from a sofa, hit the edge of the front element, thought the focusing was off, but it was just me panicking. Still sharp.
    "Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing." - Vince Lombardi

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    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Never know if the less visible things like micro alignment n coatings might be affected..

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    Default Re: How much damage can a lens front element take?

    chips and deep scratches will affect in contra-light situations and induce more flare and lower contrast.

    now if you only base how good a lens is on 'sharpness' then you ll be fine.. if not, you ll find it irritating.

    coating marks are generally nothing to be worried about.. except WRT resale value
    F3, FTN, D700, just primes =)
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    Default Re: How much damage can a lens front element take?

    Quote Originally Posted by iRaphael View Post
    I did drop a few lenses before, thanks to my butter fingers.

    Dropped a Canon 50mm macro from waist height, not a scratch. Still tack sharp.

    Dropped a 17-40 from a sofa, hit the edge of the front element, thought the focusing was off, but it was just me panicking. Still sharp.
    now i know not to buy any lens from you hehehehe peace bro...
    D3100

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    Default Re: How much damage can a lens front element take?

    Quote Originally Posted by wasak2000 View Post
    now i know not to buy any lens from you hehehehe peace bro...
    don't think a nikon user like you would be buying lenses from a canon user like me. and my equipment are used, not abused. accidents do happen, especially when shooting events..
    "Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing." - Vince Lombardi

  9. #9

    Default Re: How much damage can a lens front element take?

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting. I have heard of a few professionals who don't use filters or even caps.
    Canon 550D - EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS / EF 50mm f1.8 II
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    Quote Originally Posted by zenix84
    Thanks for sharing. Interesting. I have heard of a few professionals who don't use filters or even caps.
    That's probably because the equipment does not necessarily belong to them too???
    Canon 550D | EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6IS | EF 50mm f/1.8II |
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  11. #11

    Default Re: How much damage can a lens front element take?

    i don't know about you all, but for me, as long as something is still working and acceptable to me, i don't bother.. micro defects are like its name, micro.. and i don't pixel peep.. i really find bargains like lenses with small scratch or tiny speck of fungus really interesting, especially with the low price.. because most of the time, they don't show up.. so i save $ for being so very not fussy.. (not mentioning big discount because "cosmetic imperfections" like body scratches or paint loss.. many times, many people forget that photography is an art, not a museum..
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  12. #12
    Senior Member geraldkhoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much damage can a lens front element take?

    Quote Originally Posted by bayusuputra View Post
    i don't know about you all, but for me, as long as something is still working and acceptable to me, i don't bother.. micro defects are like its name, micro.. and i don't pixel peep.. i really find bargains like lenses with small scratch or tiny speck of fungus really interesting, especially with the low price.. because most of the time, they don't show up.. so i save $ for being so very not fussy.. (not mentioning big discount because "cosmetic imperfections" like body scratches or paint loss.. many times, many people forget that photography is an art, not a museum..
    A picture tells a thousand words... make yours speak a million!
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  13. #13

    Default Re: How much damage can a lens front element take?

    Quote Originally Posted by bayusuputra View Post
    i don't know about you all, but for me, as long as something is still working and acceptable to me, i don't bother.. micro defects are like its name, micro.. and i don't pixel peep.. i really find bargains like lenses with small scratch or tiny speck of fungus really interesting, especially with the low price.. because most of the time, they don't show up.. so i save $ for being so very not fussy.. (not mentioning big discount because "cosmetic imperfections" like body scratches or paint loss.. many times, many people forget that photography is an art, not a museum..
    True, It really doesn't matter if the item has some scratches provided it's worth the money. But not everything is acceptable for it's cheap price. For instance, scratches in the front lens glass or fungus in the lens. Because even if you sent it for removal, it's not 100% successful. meaning not completely clean. Though it might be worth the bargain price, be careful not to overlook it's price than the condition of the item.

  14. #14
    Senior Member geraldkhoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How much damage can a lens front element take?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sgdevilzz View Post
    True, It really doesn't matter if the item has some scratches provided it's worth the money. But not everything is acceptable for it's cheap price. For instance, scratches in the front lens glass or fungus in the lens. Because even if you sent it for removal, it's not 100% successful. meaning not completely clean. Though it might be worth the bargain price, be careful not to overlook it's price than the condition of the item.
    Whether it is "worth the bargain" or not is really up to you. If you are looking to sell the lens, then it may not be "worth" it because people are generally particular about the condition of the lens. Some even worry when they see dust in them (they should suit up and shoot in a clean room).

    However, if you are using it and not looking to sell it, then it is worth it if the price is a bargain. As you can see, some scratches in the front element does not really affect the picture. Fungus is something to avoid because you do not want the spores to spread to other lenses. Also, what do you mean by "100% successful" cleaning? Even if it is 100% successful cleaning, the moment you take it out to shoot, you are exposed again.

    Everyone needs to weigh for himself/herself whether the price is worth it. If someone is selling a 24-70 f/2.8 trinity lens at $500 with a ding in the front element... is it worth buying?
    Last edited by geraldkhoo; 8th February 2011 at 11:48 AM.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: How much damage can a lens front element take?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sgdevilzz View Post
    True, It really doesn't matter if the item has some scratches provided it's worth the money. But not everything is acceptable for it's cheap price. For instance, scratches in the front lens glass or fungus in the lens. Because even if you sent it for removal, it's not 100% successful. meaning not completely clean. Though it might be worth the bargain price, be careful not to overlook it's price than the condition of the item.
    As i said,
    Quote Originally Posted by bayusuputra View Post
    ...as long as something is still working and acceptable to me...
    i have bought quite a number of lenses under $50, with tiny specks of fungus which don't show up at all.. but i do not want to buy lenses with misaligned elements, serious fungus, big cracks (not just scratches), etc..

    i always test out these lenses, so i know whether it is worth the bargain or not..
    i have rejected some offers as well; tested the lens, fungus showed up, i declined..

    but then, if i know these lenses don't worth the servicing but still usable, i don't bother sending it for repair..
    i only send those which i believe can still be repaired..
    If i can still use it without obvious degradation in image quality, why spend more money to repair when all i can see are only differences in pixel proportion..
    Last edited by bayusuputra; 8th February 2011 at 11:25 AM.
    - troubled undergrad -
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