Are new lenses getting too: heavy, wide and long?

Started Apr 13, 2013 | Discussions
Cytokine
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Are new lenses getting too: heavy, wide and long?
Apr 13, 2013

The design of modern lenses while in some aspects are getting better, seem to be growing every year and may soon outpace our desire / ability to carry such large objects. Sigma and other third party lenses can be just as bad. While cameras are shrinking lenses seem to be on steroids.

There appears to be growing popularity for the older lighter screwdriver lenses 20, 24, 50, etc., new wide angle lenses are so long they look like zooms, while high quality zooms are beginning to look like telescopes. Any thoughts?

slidewilson
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Re: Are new lenses getting too: heavy, wide and long?
In reply to Cytokine, Apr 13, 2013

I would say that recent Nikon releases, particularly the 28mm 1.8G, 70-200mm F4 and the new 18-35 are all taking a step in the direction of lightening the lens. Can't speak for length but I'm happy to see the weight reduction..

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Cytokine
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Re: Are new lenses getting too: heavy, wide and long?
In reply to slidewilson, Apr 13, 2013

slidewilson wrote:

I would say that recent Nikon releases, particularly the 28mm 1.8G, 70-200mm F4 and the new 18-35 are all taking a step in the direction of lightening the lens. Can't speak for length but I'm happy to see the weight reduction..

The 28 has no previous version I can see, except the 1.4D which is metal and heavier, the 18-35 has only grown fractionally, and the 70-200 f4 is lighter than the first 80-200 2.8 ED. as you say a move in the right direction, and nearly half the weight of the best 70-200.

http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/lenses.html

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paulski66
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Re: Are new lenses getting too: heavy, wide and long?
In reply to Cytokine, Apr 13, 2013

Cytokine wrote:

The design of modern lenses while in some aspects are getting better, seem to be growing every year and may soon outpace our desire / ability to carry such large objects. Sigma and other third party lenses can be just as bad. While cameras are shrinking lenses seem to be on steroids.

There appears to be growing popularity for the older lighter screwdriver lenses 20, 24, 50, etc., new wide angle lenses are so long they look like zooms, while high quality zooms are beginning to look like telescopes. Any thoughts?

The 50s are bigger but lighter than their AF-D counterparts.

There are no equivalent 20 & 24 lenses. The new 24 is a 1.4 and a completely different animal.

But I agree with slidewilson that, overall, these lenses seem to be getting light, not heavier. Yes, the most expensive pro-level optics are still heavy, but the mid-level zooms seem lighter, as do the primes.

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Tom Ames
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Re: Are new lenses getting too: heavy, wide and long?
In reply to Cytokine, Apr 13, 2013

the 85 1.8 is lighter than D version

the 24-70 is lighter than 28-70

18-35 almost same as previous version

70-200 VRII lighter than previous afs versions (80-200 and 70-200VR)

50mm 1.4 heavier than D version

50mm 1.8 heavier

New 80-400 heavier due to VR

70-200 F4 much lighter than 70-200 2.8

I'll say it's even steven - some lighter, some heavier.
VR on many of the new lenses does it share to bring up the weight.

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Michael Benveniste
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Re: Are new lenses getting too: heavy, wide and long?
In reply to Cytokine, Apr 13, 2013

Cytokine wrote:

There appears to be growing popularity for the older lighter screwdriver lenses 20, 24, 50, etc.,

I haven't seen any such "growing popularity" myself.  According to the serial numbers shown at Roland Vink's site, for example, Nikon's already sold more 14-24mm f/2.8's, than they sold 20mm f/2.8D's even though the cheaper, lighter lens has been on the market for about 3 times as long.

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I miss the days when I used to be nostalgic.

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Cytokine
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Re: Are new lenses getting too: heavy, wide and long?
In reply to Michael Benveniste, Apr 13, 2013

Michael Benveniste wrote:

Cytokine wrote:

There appears to be growing popularity for the older lighter screwdriver lenses 20, 24, 50, etc.,

I haven't seen any such "growing popularity" myself.  According to the serial numbers shown at Roland Vink's site, for example, Nikon's already sold more 14-24mm f/2.8's, than they sold 20mm f/2.8D's even though the cheaper, lighter lens has been on the market for about 3 times as long.

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I miss the days when I used to be nostalgic.

It is difficult to compare a zoom with these little primes, which are lovely for street photography and compactness, I was looking at the prices on Ebay uk, also I bought a 50mm f1.4D from a dealer, whos's prices seem to keep going up for the same lens. It could just reflect the number of new people moving to Nikon for their new higher end cameras, that all have screwdriver ability.

John

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PHXAZCRAIG
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Re: Are new lenses getting too: heavy, wide and long?
In reply to Cytokine, Apr 13, 2013

If there is a growing popularity, it must be because the old lenses are selling cheaper on the used market than the new ones.

The lenses I've seen change (AF to G versions, basically), have mostly changed from using more metal to using more plastic.  Weight so far seems about the same, even though some of the lenses I've updated have gained VR.   I'd say it's basically a wash between saving weight from plastics and adding weight with VR.

No doubt that the lenses with VR and AF-S are physically bigger in diameter than their older counterparts.

I'm basing that on my 85F1.8AF versus 85F1.8g, my 50F1.8 AF and 50F1.4g (I know, 1.4 is bigger), and my 80-400AF versus 80-400g.    My 70-200F2.8 is about as heavy as my 80-200 push-pull, but actually longer and skinnier.   Both are heavy, and I've not noticed which feels heavier.

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Craig
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gatorowl
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Re: Are new lenses getting too: heavy, wide and long?
In reply to PHXAZCRAIG, Apr 13, 2013

PHXAZCRAIG wrote:

If there is a growing popularity, it must be because the old lenses are selling cheaper on the used market than the new ones.

The lenses I've seen change (AF to G versions, basically), have mostly changed from using more metal to using more plastic.  Weight so far seems about the same, even though some of the lenses I've updated have gained VR.   I'd say it's basically a wash between saving weight from plastics and adding weight with VR.

No doubt that the lenses with VR and AF-S are physically bigger in diameter than their older counterparts.

I'm basing that on my 85F1.8AF versus 85F1.8g, my 50F1.8 AF and 50F1.4g (I know, 1.4 is bigger), and my 80-400AF versus 80-400g.    My 70-200F2.8 is about as heavy as my 80-200 push-pull, but actually longer and skinnier.   Both are heavy, and I've not noticed which feels heavier.

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Craig
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One of the things that makes older lenses attractive is the aperture ring.  For videography or using the lens with an adapter on a mirrorless camera, being able to manually set/change the aperture is huge.

I do think that the lenses are getting bigger.  Perhaps it's due to the more demanding digital photography, which requires more glass and greater precision to produce stellar results.

I have both the 50 D 1.4 and 85 D 1.8.  I never particularly liked the 50, but the 85 was quite nice.  I have since acquired both the 50 G 1.8 and 85 G 1.4.  The 50 G is significantly larger than than the D and, I believe, the 85 G is a bit larger than the D. However, both G lenses are noticeably lighter presumably due to the switch from metal to plastics.  Both G lenses produce superior results to their D counterparts.  I'm happy with the tradeoffs.

I have acquired a couple of 70-210 manual focus lenses. These lenses are reasonably sharp and quite compact especially compared to current 70-200 lenses.  However, these old lenses just do not compete with modern nikkors.

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Leonard Shepherd
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Re: They are changing
In reply to Cytokine, Apr 14, 2013

Nikon lens designs and changing.

Usually in lens motors and VR take up extra space so the lens has to be a bit to a lot bigger. VR and in lens motors often weigh more than the gears used in older generation body driven focusing lenses.

Digital sensors still do not handle light reaching them at a low angle as well as film, and digital is more prone to corner vignetting and CA with many older lenses than film was. Several of these issues are put at least part right with modern in camera and post processing software.

In the more recent lenses these issues are reduced with tele-centric lens designs which for wider angles generally have a larger rear element further from the sensor, combined with larger diameter front elements for the focal length and maximum aperture than was common in the film era. This adds more size to new generation lenses.

Optical moulded asymmetrical lens elements are often lighter and enable a specific optical quality to be achieved with fewer lens elements. In addition the non-glass parts of lenses are now often made with lighter materials then in the film era.

Because of all this although modern lenses tend to be larger, though they are not necessarily heavier and sometimes they are lighter.

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Leonard Shepherd
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windsprite
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Re: Are new lenses getting too: heavy, wide and long?
In reply to Tom Ames, Apr 14, 2013

Tom Ames wrote:

70-200 VRII lighter than previous afs versions (80-200 and 70-200VR)

I believe the VRII is heavier than the VR.

70-200 F4 much lighter than 70-200 2.8

Slower lens, doesn't count.  :-]

Julie

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joneil
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Re: Are new lenses getting too: heavy, wide and long?
In reply to windsprite, Apr 14, 2013

Overall I think the original poster has a good point.  I love my nikkor 24-70 zoom, it is simply one of the finest lenses I have ever used.

But it is big and heavy, and if like me your are walking for two or three hours, it gets even heavier somehow. 

I find myself now walking around with a small, manual focus 24mm nikkor, and carrying around another small prime in my pocket much of the time.   I still use my 24-70mm, and these other new lenses are nice, but yes, they do get heavy after a while.

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