Determining the value of a lens...

Started Jul 31, 2012 | Discussions thread
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papillon_65 Forum Pro • Posts: 27,030
Determining the value of a lens...

There is much conjecture on this forum about the perceived value of a lens, with many people panning certain lenses as being expensive and others denigrating cheap lenses as being worthless. I think this is mainly because people look solely at the initial price and performance of a given lens without really considering their prospective usage. This leads to many arguments and much unnecessary posturing.

I maybe have a slightly different perspective to some on this, I don't know, I'd be interested to hear. I have quite a few lenses, some expensive, some not so. All of them I've worked hard to purchase by fine-tuning my lens choices over the years and upgrading when I could, and felt the need to, much like many here.

My current bargain lens is the 7-14mm, one of the most expensive of all the m4/3's lenses. I did buy it for a very good price and could easily recoup my outlay on it as the price has since gone up considerably, however, I'd never sell it. It represents a bargain to me solely based on my usage of it. It's always in my bag and I use it frequently, getting some very nice results from it. The lens I have which has the worst value to me is the cheapest lens I've bought, the 14mm F2.5. This is not because it's a bad lens, it's actually very good for what it is, a tiny, lightweight sharp prime. Unfortunately I don't use it very much, so in essence, it's been a bit of a waste of money and the 7-14mm much more of a bargain to me. Others will say the opposite to me, it's a bargain lens for them and therefore is excellent value.

I've recently bought the 12-35mm and already this lens is coming into the bargain category for me, it's rarely off my camera, except when I need to go wider than 12mm and then my 7-14mm then goes on. So ironically, my two most expensive lenses are my two biggest bargains and their usage will by far outweigh the significant price I paid for them.

Other people's biggest bargains will be different to mine, some love the Oly 14-42mm II, others might argue the Oly 12mm F2 is their best purchase. I've never owned or used one but I can totally understand those that swear by it and see it as good value.

All this may seem a bit obvious to some, but clearly it's not recognised by others. The 12-35mm in particular seems to cause much controversy, I guess if you bought one and didn't use it much then it would be a waste of money, for me it's looking like it's already worth the price I paid for it, as I've said.

So in a nutshell, before you decry the price of a lens, consider how much you'd use it if you bought it, that will then give you a better appreciation of whether it's likely to be worth it's price or not. The initial price of a lens, (specifications apart) assuming you can afford it, doesn't really give the true value of it, only you can do that over time. So what are your "bargain" lenses ?

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