The end of an era: bodies have become more important than glass.

Started Nov 13, 2012 | Discussions thread
J Mankila
J Mankila Veteran Member • Posts: 4,234
Optical quality goes hand in hand with resolution and print sizes...

marcio_napoli wrote:

..... How many here buy a modern DSLR and keep using 1960's glass? Glass without VR, no AF, and no special coatings at all...?

Really, how many actually do that?

I do! Enables me to spend my money on other hobbies that complement photography.

All that I see is the exact same thing that happens to newer bodies, happening to lenses.

Whenever Nikon releases a new version of a lens, people buy it.

Buying things gives us pleasure, which is often greater than the pleasure from the attachment to a product, accumulated through experiences and memories. So, it's only normal.

50 1.4 D > G, 28-70 D > 24-70 G, 70-200 G > 70-200 II G, 85 1.4 D > G, etc etc etc, ad infinitum.

Every single feature is reason enough to say you need a new lens.

Alone, the features you mention are hardly enough to warrant an upgrade for normal people (i.e. people with other hobbies and a limited income). However, the optics change as well, and seldom to the wrong direction.

Having said that, one only needs to find a good balance between the quality of one's lenses, sensor resolution and print sizes. If I'm able, for example, to capture an important landscape shot, print it at either 13x19" or 16x23" (for which the D800 sensor would provide ~380 or ~300PPI, respectively), and look at the image from as close as I can and see all the details, I will be content. Then I've found my happy place.

Currently, I would be limited to AI-S lenses: 25-50mm f/4 (pretty good resolution, at 25mm almost equalling that of 17-35/2.8 in the centre of a 10MP DX frame and certainly far better in the corners), 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.2 and 200mm f/4. I can see them working well with prints up to 11x16", but the long-term objective is to use Zeiss 28/2 and Nikkors 50/1.2 and 300/4 for those important shots. Once I'm set, I can hold on to those lenses. And when the camera gives up, it will be repaired or replaced, but, as I only like my prints at these reasonable sizes or well below, megapixels won't matter.

The only thing that could change that mindset is if digital frames evolved to unexpected heights in regard to resolution and colour... I discussed the issue and further possibilities and realms for photography in a thread I started a long while back:

Some say confidently that the D800 is their last body for at least a decade.

I'm among them.

Wow, longer life cycle than your last lens purchase!

What you guys think about it? Do we have a new motto?


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Janne Mankila, Finland

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