Why are so few lenses bought per DSLR? (Motivation of two polls)

Started Sep 29, 2013 | Discussions thread
jrtrent Veteran Member • Posts: 4,899
Re: Why are so few lenses bought per DSLR? (Motivation of two polls)

merops wrote:

Every so often I see a blog or forum post about how few lenses are bought per DSLR, usually together with a comment along the lines of “for most people it was pointless to buy an interchangeable-lens camera”.

Another thing to consider is that interchangeable-lens cameras have more to offer than just the fact that you can change lenses. The viewing system alone on a DSLR could be reason enough to buy one.  Control flexibility, ergonomics, and the variety of accessories available could also be good reasons for choosing a DSLR, even if the only lens a person needs or wants is the kit zoom.

While I agree that a fair proportion of users may only ever buy one lens, I think that the average number of lenses bought per camera body (the number available to the industry) is misleading taken as a raw statistic . . . I have set up two polls to compare these two numbers (how many lenses/camera have you bought; how many lenses/camera do you have available to use).

I think that's an interesting idea for a poll, that a person who has purchased 1 or 2 lenses per each camera body purchased could end up with many lenses available for the camera body they're currently using.

First, some of those who currently have bought only one lens will go on to buy more lenses. For these people it is not pointless to have bought an ILC. There will always be beginners.

Interesting that you associate having/using just one lens with "beginners," or that the acquisition of multiple lenses is needed to justify the ownership of an ILC.  I think Raymond Cho mentioned in another thread that many people may only need a 3X zoom.  The kit lens most of the moderately-priced DSLR's are sold with already encompasses the range that used to be considered a standard trio of lenses for SLR and rangefinder camera users (e.g., the 35, 50, and 85mm lenses I bought for a Contax outfit), so one lens can serve multiple purposes.

Second, which is the point I really want to make, the same lens can be used on multiple bodies. Indeed it is likely to be used on multiple bodies because lenses ‘age’ more slowly than bodies. Even if the number of lenses sold per camera was exactly 1, I would expect many people to have a range of choices of lens to use on their camera(s). For example, since going digital, I have bought 8 lenses (of which 3 have been stolen), and 5 camera bodies (all the same mount-type and format). I have therefore bought 1.6 lenses/camera

I have also purchased 5 DSLR's, but aside from a second Olympus body to replace one that died, all used different mounts (Nikon, Olympus, Samsung, Sigma). For one purchase, it was actually cheaper to buy a camera as part of a two-lens kit rather than as a body alone or with one lens, so I have purchased 6 new lenses for the 5 camera bodies, or 1.2 lenses/camera.

Another way of looking at it is that since four of those six lenses was a standard zoom in the mount needed for that camera body, functionally, I've only purchased three lens types:  a standard zoom, a telephoto zoom (which was in the two-lens kit, and which I gave away as I knew I'd never use it), and an f/1.4 normal prime (the only lens I purchased for the Sigma; it's also the type of lens I used with the Nikon body, but that lens was received used).

– you might think of me as an almost equal mixture of a complete noob (1 lens/camera) and someone just beginning to experiment (got their second lens for the same body). In fact I have a choice of 5 different lenses for each of the bodies that I (still) have!

There was a time in my experimentation with the hobby that I bought and used a lot of lenses, and other accessories (I think I had just about every lens and accessory available when I was using Praktica bayonet-series bodies), but over time I discovered that all I really needed for the pictures I enjoy is a normal lens (or a standard zoom, which I typically shoot at a normal focal length). Using 1 lens per camera body doesn't have to mean that a person is new to the hobby, nor does using just one or two lenses have to mean a person is beginning to experiment; it could also be indicative of an experienced hobbyist who already knows what he does and doesn't need.

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