System with best "bang for buck" lenses?

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thechoson
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System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
6 months ago

Obviously soliciting opinions as I guess this doesn't really have a real answer.  But the mantra is "lenses over bodies".  There are lots of systems out there - Canon, Nikon, Micro 4/3, Fuji, Sony.  Which one in your opinion has the best "bang for buck" lenses?

I say "bang for buck" because if it's expensive enough, I think any system can produce a solid lens.  Just wondering which system has a good assortment of high IQ / performance lenses that are solid values.

EthanP99
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Re: System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

Minolta.

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Serickmetz
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Re: System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

Canon. It has the most plentiful selection with many sleeper lenses (50mm 1.8 for $99!?) and probably the biggest used market.

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peevee1
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Re: System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

Full-frame Canon. You can get cheap slow 3rd party zooms which are going to work like much more expensive premium zooms or even primes on other systems with smaller sensors.

Of course, you pay for the "cheap" lenses in many ways, including expensive bodies (a more or less decent one costs $3,500, a fast one for sports costs $6,500, even a very cheapo one is $2000), large and heavy bodies and lenses. The lenses are also loud and not suitable for video. Most of those cheap lenses are not sharp, especially in the outer area. So it is all about balance of your needs, what you consider "bang".

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MediaArchivist
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Minolta?
In reply to EthanP99, 6 months ago

I'm not prepared to say the A-mount offers the best bang for the buck, since it is the only one I have any familiarity with (at least as far as spending my own money). However, there are thousands upon thousands of very good quality Minolta lenses out there. I own four of them, two inexpensive zooms and two somewhat more expensive primes. They are built like personal defense weapons, the IQ is (mostly) spectacular, and are among my "most used" lenses.

Absolutely, a phenomenal bang for the buck.

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Mahmoud Mousef
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Re: System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

If you want bang-for-buck "fast" lenses, the best value seems to be Canon. Both with its EOS M 22mm lens and its DSLR F1.8 50mm lens (which is probably one of the more popular lenses in DSLR history).

http://www.canon.com.au/en-AU/Personal/Products/Cameras-and-Accessories/Camera-Lenses/EF50mm-f18-II-Lens
http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/ef_lens_lineup/ef_m_22mm_f_2_stm

As far as I can tell, no other company makes "fast" lenses of this quality this cheaply.

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Pontoneer
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Re: System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

I would have to say Pentax .

Even the latest bodies are backwards compatible with all 28 million K mount lenses produced , and with the earlier screw mount lenses using an adaptor . Few other makes have full compatibility with legacy glass .

Used SMC-M glass is still abundantly available at very reasonable prices , many of which are still very fine optics ; the current production ranges from economy kit lenses to the world class Limited series . Many Pentax lenses were designed in collaboration with Carl Zeiss .

Then there are third party manufacturers such as Sigma , Tamron etc who also produce glass for the Pentax mount ( of course they do this for most mounts , but only Pentax have such a wide range of original primes and zooms available at bargain prices ) .
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OpticsEngineer
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Re: System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

Good cases can be made for Canon, Nikon, Sony and Pentax being good as bang for the buck lenses in APS-C format.   On the used market good Nikon lenses are known for holding value more than other lenses, which is kind of the opposite of bang for the buck from the new users perspective.

There are quite a few complaints on these forums about the cost of the micro-four thirds lenses and the Fuji lenses too.

A lot depends on what particular lenses you want to buy and how you will use them.     On my Pentax DSLRs, a new $700 Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 works great.   On my Sony DSLRs, the same version of Tamron focus hunted so much I ended up buying a Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 for $1100.    That wasn't very good bang for the buck for Sony.   But my Sony 16-50 f/2.8 is very good whereas my Pentax 16-50 f/2.8 is merely good and it cost more.  But then the optical coatings on the Pentax lenses are better so there is less lens flare.   That can be very beneficial in some situations.

But back to the micro-four third lenses.    It is a new format so all the lenses are pretty good, having been recent designs taking advantage of modern lens design and manufacturing techniques.    With Canon, Sony and Nikon, there are a few lenses that go back a long ways and not as good as modern ones. (particularly zooms)   It can be a bit tricky figuring out which ones those are.  No matter how mediocre a lens is, you can find someone who will tell you how great it is and will post some really nice pictures to prove it.

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MoreorLess
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Re: System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
In reply to Mahmoud Mousef, 6 months ago

Mahmoud Mousef wrote:

If you want bang-for-buck "fast" lenses, the best value seems to be Canon. Both with its EOS M 22mm lens and its DSLR F1.8 50mm lens (which is probably one of the more popular lenses in DSLR history).

http://www.canon.com.au/en-AU/Personal/Products/Cameras-and-Accessories/Camera-Lenses/EF50mm-f18-II-Lens
http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/ef_lens_lineup/ef_m_22mm_f_2_stm

As far as I can tell, no other company makes "fast" lenses of this quality this cheaply.

Definitely the best thing about the EOS M system so far that seems to have been roundly ignored by the gadget freak end of the mirrorless market.

Canon are now offering the cheapest UWA zoom on a DSLR as well with the 10-18mm.

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jgitomer
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Re: System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

If you don't have any problems with shooting manual the answer is Nikon.

I am shooting a D600 and two of my preferred lenses date back to the 1960s.

With very few exceptions every Nikon F-mount camera lens made since 1978 will work on my D600 with no modifications.  Nikon F-mount lenses made prior to 1978 can be modified (either DIY or send it out) and will also work with the newest Nikon DSLRs.

Look at KEH, B&H, Adorama, etc for the prices on Nikon AI and AIS lenses and you will see for yourself that when it comes to bang for the buck Nikon is the answer.

Jerry

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nikon power
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Re: System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

If the system is usable and useful for 10 years or longer then it's best.

$10K system for 10 years is only $1K per year or $83.33 per month or $2.77 per day (half the price of a fast food lunch).

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Aaron801
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mirror-less systems...?
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

If you don't mind shooting in manual you can use all kinds of old lenses on mirror-less cameras... and if you're using the A7 series Sony's you can preserve the true focal length of those lenses. I use an m4/3 camera with an adaptor and some of my old manual focus Nikon lenses and that seems to work pretty well. I'm at a disadvantage though for that if I want to go wide, but with one of those new speed-booster adaptors I can restore much of the true focal length of those lenses. There are some cheaper lenses made for the m4/3 system, though noting like the range of what's available for Canon/Nikon stuff. Still, I see some nice m4/3 lenses going used for pretty cheap and the fact that the system (or really any mirror-less system is so adaptable to use with old lenses is pretty nice... The little bit that I've done on my Panasonic with old Nikon (and one Canon) lenses has been pretty promising. Folks complain about the focusing but I found that using the magnify feature that my camera has I can do a pretty good critical focus... though I'd be at a huge disadvantage if I had to shot really quickly moving stuff...

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Beachcomber Joe
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Re: System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

Canon.  Huge variety of lenses at every price point from both Canon and third party lens makers.  Older Canon EF autofocus lenses retain this feature with all Canon EOS bodies.  Canon crop sensor bodies can use all the EF lenses plus the crop specific EF-S line of lenses.  The EF-S lenses are often small, lighter and less expensive while many compare favorably optically with Canon's pro-line L series lenses.

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quezra
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Re: System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
In reply to Beachcomber Joe, 6 months ago

Agree with Canon EF (and EF-S). Tamron, Tokina and Sigma pretty much guarantee you can find something for your budget, aside from Canon's own offerings.

For mirrorless, it would be Samsung. No one bothers with Samsung so their used lenses are unbelievably cheap, small, and decent quality. And while the same might be said about EOS-M, Samsung actually have a pretty big lineup.

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mike703
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If you don't mind manual focus...
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

... then Pentax cameras can take all K-mount lenses which are abundant and cheap.  Some are dross of course but many of the Pentax ones are excellent; my 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.7 and 135mm f/3.5 cost me around £30UK each on ebay and are optically very good.  Can't get more bang per buck than that: and they all benefit from in-body image stabilisation.

Best wishes

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ViRuS X
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Re: System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

Sony cameras + Minolta lenses.. Best bang of buck ever
I'm investing in Sony system (A99 - A77II)
These are my lenses :

Minolta 600mm F4 .. $4500
Minolta 300mm F2.8 .. $2000
Minolta 16mm F2.8 Fisheye .. $530
Minolta 100mm F2.8 Macro .. $318

Also I have some old Minolta MD lenses for my Sony A7 with adapter.
They are not that good but very nice lenses for people who enjoy shooting with manual focus lenses and they are very cheap.
The greatest lens in that collection is Minolta MD 50mm F3.5 Macro, very sharp, super sharp for $70.

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bosjohn21
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Re: System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

a used M8 with a forty year old f2 summicron

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DocetLector
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Re: System with best "bang for buck" lenses?
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

To me it`s the Fuji X system. The lenses are not cheap -  you didn`t ask for cheap lenses.But what you get for the money is excellent. So you get "best bang for buck"

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PerL
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Normal range - FF, extreme range - APS-C or m43
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

thechoson wrote:

Obviously soliciting opinions as I guess this doesn't really have a real answer. But the mantra is "lenses over bodies". There are lots of systems out there - Canon, Nikon, Micro 4/3, Fuji, Sony. Which one in your opinion has the best "bang for buck" lenses?

I say "bang for buck" because if it's expensive enough, I think any system can produce a solid lens. Just wondering which system has a good assortment of high IQ / performance lenses that are solid values.

If you mostly shot within the semi wide - normal - portrait range it is hard to beat the value of FF - for instance the Nikon 28 1.8G, 35 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 85 1.8G series. Look at DXO how they scores.

If you shot mostly at the more extreme ends, the smaller formats tends to be cheaper for the same FOV.

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TrapperJohn
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Mirrorless body+old Nikkors
In reply to thechoson, 6 months ago

The short registration distance mirrorless bodies can take just about any lens from just about any system, if that lens doesn't depend on in body electronics to operate. Older Nikkors, Pentax K, Minolta, even Conax if you can find those lenses.

Older Nikkors are very good lenses for the time in which they were made, definitely built to last with their all metal construction, not a lot to go wrong with them as they have no electronics (sticky shutter blades seems to be the most common malady), the selection is extensive, and the price is right. I have several left over from film days, and regularly use an 80 2.8, 105 1.8, plus a 400 3.5 I picked up a few years ago for a (relative) song.

Lots of exciting things going on in the micro/mirrorless field, but... the better lenses tend to be a bit pricey, largely because it's a new field, they're still amortizing costs, and there aren't a lot of used micro/mirrorless lenses on the used market to put pressure on new lens prices.

I use my old Nikkors on an EM1 and EM5 body, where they work very well: the very clear display of DOF makes MF easier: just adjust the 'in focus' band that can be seen clearly with the faster legacy lenses. EM1 has 'focus peaking', but I didn't find it to be that useful - it's either on or off, doesn't show degree of focus the way a real DOF preview does, so it can be hard to tell where within the focus band your central focus actually is. Also, the very effective 5 axis IBIS on EM1 and EM5 works with the legacy lenses: you manually enter the focal length when you mount the lens.

Side benefit of the EM1: it can use the very excellent ZD lenses made for the older 4/3 system that never really took off. Current prices for the ZD lenses on the used market is very low, on a relative basis. It's like getting Zeiss IQ at Sigma prices. In particular, the ZD 50-200, 11-22, and 50F2 are real bargains right now, and I've seen some sinfully low prices on the ZD 35-100 F2 lately - a lens that earns it's nickname of 'a bag full of primes'.

True that you can use older Leica M glass that is very good, but with all these mirrorless people snapping up the older Leica M glass, the price has been driven up quite a bit. Not quite the bargain they used to be.

One caution: be careful with the adapters you buy. Some are available at very low prices, but they're made of brass or aluminum which can bend or shed metal flakes into your camera body under extensive use. I use the Kindai/Cameraquest adapters,made from stainless steel. Have been using a Kindai Nikkor to 4/3 adapter for nine years, including using it with the seven pound 400 3.5, and that adapter is still in great shape.

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