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Thread: Any pointers or tips to look out for when buying a new camera lens?

  1. #1

    Default Any pointers or tips to look out for when buying a new camera lens?

    Hmm sorry.. i tried looking around..cant find any of these..only able to find advice for buying 2nd hand lenses. Erm..so if i were to buy a new piece from the shop..what should i look out for? Yea..forget about the please bring your camera so to test it out.. and make sure there is no defect and looks new/clean..

    I heard members saying about the 3rd party.. lenses sometimes dont have consistent QC..so even if the lens are new..Some can appear to be sharper than the other? Im kinda surprise and worried after reading that line.
    So..how do i know the 1 im holding (assume its opened from a brand new box) has passed the QC and is a sharp copy? Since i dont own the lens prevs.. i wont actually know how sharp is sharp or how bad is bad?

    Or did i mis-understand the whole thing. If so please enlighten me.. So what about if i only buy lenses from the own big brands..for eg. Canon/Nikon/Sony. Does these brands ensure their QC standards better? Is the (not so sharp/problematic lens) less likely to happen as i believe as long they are of the same kind they should work the same in term of sharpness etc.

    Sorry if i seems abit over. As in too worried. So..what do i have to look out exactly to know im buying a good copy?

    Thanks for reading. Much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Moderator rhino123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any pointers or tips to look out for when buying a new camera lens?

    The usual SOP is to check the focus accuracy. As you already know, bring your own camera to the shop and test. You can point the lens to something like a ruler, or at least pointed at the box with some wordings on it. Then shoot. Blow up your pic in your viewfinder and check if the lens focus at the exact point that you want. As to whether the copy is very sharp or what, you would have to read the reviews for the lens first before going down to the shop, it would give you more or less the picture of sharpness.

    Oh... other items to check would be fungus and haze (don't fall into the trap that the lens is new means that it wouldn't have these issues) also check the general appearance of the lens too, such as dents, dints, scratches, etc. Well... you are buying a new lens and not a used one, paint chipped off, dents and dints are obviously not acceptable. It is these telltale signs that actually tell you whether the lens are actually straight from the box or was it being use as a display set or even a second hand lenses.

    Don't bother with a bit of dust though. Dusts are everywhere... even right in the box or from the manufacturer to the shop... or warehouses. As long as the dust was not excessively large amount, I think it is pretty alright.

    Plus, don't trust that if a product make it to the shelves of the shop means that it had passed its manufacturers QC check. QC (or outgoing QA) would only do sample of a batch of products... it is highly impossible and ineffective for any manufacturer to do a 100% check on all the batches of the lenses or camera bodies. So part of the QC would actually falls on the consumers.
    Last edited by rhino123; 20th August 2011 at 09:34 PM.
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
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  3. #3
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any pointers or tips to look out for when buying a new camera lens?

    Don't forget: unless you buy a grey set you still have warranty where you can go for repair and replacement as well as lens calibration. If your camera comes with AF micro-adjustment features then you just use this to correct any minor focus issues. For all focus tests please use a test chart, a tripod and follow the instructions.
    EOS

  4. #4

    Default Re: Any pointers or tips to look out for when buying a new camera lens?

    Thanks Rhino and Octarine for being so nice.

    Bro/Sis who also happen to drop by.. if you dont mind..can share with me/us how and what you usually do before purchasing a lens. As we know..sometimes lenses arent cheap.. especially the professional grade kind. So just want to be safe and get it right. Have a good day. Keep shooting ^.^

  5. #5

    Default Re: Any pointers or tips to look out for when buying a new camera lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by TWmilkteaTW View Post
    Thanks Rhino and Octarine for being so nice.

    Bro/Sis who also happen to drop by.. if you dont mind..can share with me/us how and what you usually do before purchasing a lens. As we know..sometimes lenses arent cheap.. especially the professional grade kind. So just want to be safe and get it right. Have a good day. Keep shooting ^.^
    Hi, If you are buying new professional grade lenses from the big 3 brands I don't think you should worry too much other than taking the SOP usual inspection that others have mentioned.Please remember you are paying 3 or more times the price of a standard prouction lens.QC is more stringent.
    There are premium grade lenses from third party brands but their selling point is a lot cheaper than the big 3 although that does not mean they are inferior but from a price point of view more attractive.If you have done a search of third party manufacturers you would know that
    they initially started as oem makers for the big three as it is not economically viable to make everything inhouse by a company what with
    design expertise and special machinery and skilled manpower. Take Samyang for instance,a korean brand but they import all or most of the objective lens parts from a japanese oem maker,some designed by samyang but contracted to the japanese subcontracter.In essence it is a "japanese" product and quality.You just can't start a lens making factory from scratch without expertise help and knowhow.Singapore is a case in point ,long time ago Rollei has a factory here but because the japanese could come up with new models every year and cheap too,Rollei lost market share and have to packup and go.So where's the lens making skills? There is one other lens maker in singapore used to be known as Avimo which makes military optics or target sighting mechanisms but because
    it has a lucrative niche military market which pays a premium they can survive till now.In short you get what you pay for.
    Last edited by one eye jack; 21st August 2011 at 11:29 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Any pointers or tips to look out for when buying a new camera lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by one eye jack View Post
    Hi, If you are buying new professional grade lenses from the big 3 brands I don't think you should worry too much other than taking the SOP usual inspection that others have mentioned.Please remember you are paying 3 or more times the price of a standard prouction lens.QC is more stringent.
    There are premium grade lenses from third party brands but their selling point is a lot cheaper than the big 3 although that does not mean they are inferior but from a price point of view more attractive.If you have done a search of third party manufacturers you would know that
    they initially started as oem makers for the big three as it is not economically viable to make everything inhouse by a company what with
    design expertise and special machinery and skilled manpower. Take Samyang for instance,a korean brand but they import all or most of the objective lens parts from a japanese oem maker,some designed by samyang but contracted to the japanese subcontracter.In essence it is a "japanese" product and quality.You just can't start a lens making factory from scratch without expertise help and knowhow.Singapore is a case in point ,long time ago Rollei has a factory here but because the japanese could come up with new models every year and cheap too,Rollei lost market share and have to packup and go.So where's the lens making skills? There is one other lens maker in singapore used to be known as Avimo which makes military optics or target sighting mechanisms but because
    it has a lucrative niche military market which pays a premium they can survive till now.In short you get what you pay for.
    heh.. yea i know the Professional level lenses do have a higher standards of QC. Hopefully. LOL.
    Im worried because.. im still Quite new to photography.. But i do know what i need and what i want. Instead of getting cheaper and upgrade later.. Ill just go for the best/better ones. Thats why im kind of worried and afraid because i never buy them before..and they cost thousands over dollars (whether you are buying what you are paying) or maybe i should "trust" them since i have warranty. If anything happens. *fingers crossed*
    I believe many guys and girls here do have this kind of feelings like fear..worried.. when you purchase your first professional lens right.. or maybe its just me?
    Last edited by TWmilkteaTW; 21st August 2011 at 07:30 PM. Reason: additional text.

  7. #7
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any pointers or tips to look out for when buying a new camera lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by one eye jack View Post
    Hi, If you are buying new professional grade lenses from the big 3 brands I don't think you should worry too much other than taking the SOP usual inspection that others have mentioned.Please remember you are paying 3 or more times the price of a standard prouction lens.QC is more stringent.
    There are premium grade lenses from third party brands but their selling point is a lot cheaper than the big 3 although that does not mean they are inferior but from a price point of view more attractive.If you have done a search of third party manufacturers you would know that
    they initially started as oem makers for the big three as it is not economically viable to make everything inhouse by a company what with
    design expertise and special machinery and skilled manpower. Take Samyang for instance,a korean brand but they import all or most of the objective lens parts from a japanese oem maker,some designed by samyang but contracted to the japanese subcontracter.In essence it is a "japanese" product and quality.You just can't start a lens making factory from scratch without expertise help and knowhow.Singapore is a case in point ,long time ago Rollei has a factory here but because the japanese could come up with new models every year and cheap too,Rollei lost market share and have to packup and go.So where's the lens making skills? There is one other lens maker in singapore used to be known as Avimo which makes military optics or target sighting mechanisms but because
    it has a lucrative niche military market which pays a premium they can survive till now.In short you get what you pay for.
    irregularities can happen to new equipment from any brand.

    I was checking a brand new $3k Nikon lens prior to purchase and I rejected it, spotting some problems with the glass element. The shop put it aside and told me it will be sent back to Nikon.

    I also spotted scratch/tool marks on the inside of the front element on first Samyang lens I ordered. Rejected it and waited another 2 weeks before I got another one that was perfect.

    I have tested lenses from Sigma, which are famous for focus inaccuracies. Out of the 3 I bought, only one had a problem which was corrected at the service center (I bought it because it was adjustable in camera and it was the last piece available).

    I have also bought and tested lenses from Tamron. All three were great at first try/check and I bought them.

    I also had no problems with the Tokina I owned.

    So it is hard to say.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Any pointers or tips to look out for when buying a new camera lens?

    exactly.. thats what im afraid of..even new 1 with seal and tape on.. it can be problematic/faulty too.. though i believe it should be minimal especially for the preimun grade kind but its still inevitable.. i really hope im not so "lucky" to get 1 of those..
    Which bring back to my point why i create this thread..

  9. #9
    Moderator rhino123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any pointers or tips to look out for when buying a new camera lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by TWmilkteaTW View Post
    exactly.. thats what im afraid of..even new 1 with seal and tape on.. it can be problematic/faulty too.. though i believe it should be minimal especially for the preimun grade kind but its still inevitable.. i really hope im not so "lucky" to get 1 of those..
    Which bring back to my point why i create this thread..
    Frankly... don't ever rely on whether the lens is premium grade or noob grade... they are all the same. Sure Premium grade lenses uses better material, some have weather sealing, they look and feel more solid. But they are still assembled by - men (women)... and so there are bound to have some error somewhere.

    And of course if your camera have micro-adjustment capability or your lens having warranty and whats not... it would not feel good to have the lens returned (especially if the lens is new). And of course having a lens chart, tripod and whatsnot is good, but it would be a bit overkill to bring to the shop when doing testing of the lens you want.

    Just tune up your shutterspeed, aim at a group of wordings, turn your focus point to the center focus point manually, and test shoot. Shoot a couple of it, then check to see if all of them are spot on or the focus was all over the place... then you will get more or less a rough idea of whether the lens' focus accuracy was there. As to sharpness of the pic, it is very difficult so you should more or less have a rough idea of what to expect.

    Do not be afraid to reject the lens if you find it not to your expectation and request the sale person to change a new one for you to test. and after a few of the lens, and all result is more or less the same, you should know that that is the sharpness of the lens.
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
    My lousy shots

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