The difference in quality.....

Started Dec 27, 2010 | Discussions
chester0711 Regular Member • Posts: 143
The difference in quality.....

All things considered, photographers skill, camera body, etc......

Is there an actual difference in glass quality between the pro level lenses and the consumer level lenses?

I know the lens casings are made differently but what about the inner workings?

If you had a 55-200mm VR (or another lens at the comsumer level) and a 70-200 VR 2.8 mounted on the same camera body with the same settings and all other things being equal ......will one show a noticeable difference in image quality without pixel peeping?

I understand the benefits of a faster lens and all else, just wondering if they use "better glass' for the pro level lenses or the same stuff? Different coatings etc......

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Ilkka Nissilä Veteran Member • Posts: 4,107
Re: The difference in quality.....

If you had a 55-200mm VR (or another lens at the comsumer level) and a 70-200 VR 2.8 mounted on the same camera body with the same settings and all other things being equal ......will one show a noticeable difference in image quality without pixel peeping?

Yes, and it is quite dramatic.

Cliff Beard Regular Member • Posts: 453
Re: The difference in quality.....

When you buy a pro lens you are paying for the wide aperture which makes the lens a much more effective tool in low light and much better at isolating a subject from its background using the small depth of field.

You are also paying for a sealed metal body and all the current technologies such as special coatings to reduce flare, improve contrast etc.

Remember that an f2.8 lens will let in 4 times as much light as an f5.6 lens and engineering those big glass elements and the barrel to mount them in is costly and complex.

In terms of image quality alone the pro lenses tend to offer better subject isolation, better bokeh, more contrast and very natural colours. If you always shoot stopped down to say f8 the differences will be far less obvious.

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Where can I buy some natural artistic ability?!

OP chester0711 Regular Member • Posts: 143
Re: The difference in quality.....

exactly what I was looking for thank you!
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GoldRingNikkor Senior Member • Posts: 1,841
Re: The difference in quality.....

chester0711 wrote:

I understand the benefits of a faster lens and all else, just wondering if they use "better glass' for the pro level lenses or the same stuff? Different coatings etc......

Well, there's nano coating, which is only used on pro lenses at the moment (but I'm sure this will change at some point, like the use of ED glass, which is commonplace even in kit zooms today).

I don't think they use higher quality glass for the pro lenses - just more of it, more ED glass, and as I said, N coating.

Is there a difference? I'd say that some lenses have "the look", while others don't. But that's just me...

lac111 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,397
Re: The difference in quality.....

With pro lenses you are paying for better build quality, durability and better optics, all in a larger heavier package. Someone else already pointed out the feature of better optics. Not all pro lenses from the main manufacturers are excellent you need to do some homework on that, but usually you get what you pay for...

Lora
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I've been on Dpreview since June 2006. Unfortunately, some posting history has been lost along the way...

larrywilson
larrywilson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,280
Re: The difference in quality.....

All pro lens do not have weather sealed bodies and all are not made of metal. Even the weather sealed bodies are only weather resistant and wouldn't trust them in a pouring down rain storm. Most pro lens are optically better than consumer lens, but not all. Research you lens before purchasing whether a pro or consumer lens.

Larry

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nikons52 Senior Member • Posts: 1,077
I have a mixture of pro and

consumer glass. Love um both. They each have their place. Does the 55-200 isolate like my 80-200 or 300 2.8? No. Can I shoot night football with my 55-200? No.

Does my 16-85vr produce the out of focus areas of my 80-200, 50 or 17-55? Well, no.... but I enjoy using them both.

Certainly the 55-200 does not have a "pro" build although the 16-85vr is much better. So yes there are differences and the "pro" lens let you do things not capable with the "consumer" lens but they each have their place and the 16-85 mostly stays on my D300.

Nikon builds quality lens, both "pro" and "consumer", and I don't feel you can go wrong with either class of glass.....

Taken yesterday on a brief "walk in the snow", first snow in 47 years at Christmas in my area. 55-200vr, slight crop.

Best,

Don

ofior Contributing Member • Posts: 583
Re: I have a mixture of pro and

I'll chime in. In my personal experience this iis true.

Before the AF era, and before Nion had distinct consumer and pro line of lenses (execpet for the short lived Series E), I grew used to the 105 f2.5, 50 f1.8, 24 f2.8, etc.

Seems the distinctions started with the introduction of AF lenses and the wide selection of zooms. Once upon a time I had 24-50, and 75-300 zooms, and that is when I learned. I was never qute happy with the results. Each lens had its "sweet" spot, and I found myself trying to hit it everytime I went to shoot. "Wait a minute, I know every lens had one, but I do not remember having to be so aware of it in the past".

Over a period of two years, I took the plunge, and purchased a 24 f2.8 AF, 35-70 f2.8 AF, and 80-200 AFD. The difference was dramatic in the sense that these lenses produced consistent contrast, saturation, color, and, with some exceptions at the extremes, sharpness. (Also true, construction was much more robust). I found the sweet spot of these "pro" lenses was nearly the entire range, and I could concentrate on shooting and exposure without having to worry much about quality. I still use these lenses today for digital (but sold the 24 for the 18-35), FX and DX.

Now things are muddied a bit with Nikon's offering F4 lenses. The 16-35 seems to surpass the IQ of the 17-35 f2.8, with probably slightly less robust contruction; whereas the 24-120 is one of the more heated debates in DPR. ( I suppose these would be called "prosumer" lenses, sigh...)

In the end, these are generalizations, because the state of the art is advancing constantly, and you can produce pro results with consumer lenses, just be aware of the limitations, where present

Sorry for the length of the post. Hope this helps

Regards,

Ozzie

 ofior's gear list:ofior's gear list
Sony a6000 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II +15 more
BobSC Veteran Member • Posts: 3,714
Re: The difference in quality.....

Frequently manufactures designate lenses with special glass.

For instance, Nikon labels their special glass ED. So if you see a lens marked 180 f/2.8 EDIF, then you know it has the special ED glass.

It is better -- no question.

(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 19,115
Re: I have a mixture of pro and

Trying not to repeat everything that others have said.

Yes, pro grade lenses are better than consumer products...it's like with anything, one usually gets what they pay for. Which combines build-quality, precision, optics, coatings, structural mechanisms, etc.

Having said that, there's always exceptions to the rule...sometimes there are dud pro grade products, while some consumer items really shine.

Doing your research is the key here, and being very specific (with yourself) about what you actualy want equipment to do/provide for you, etc.

KEV
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zirtico Contributing Member • Posts: 733
Re: I have a mixture of pro and

Good question. Here's what I've found in my experience, a decent lens (kit quality) will look very similar to a pro lens at f/8 in terms of sharpness. What pro lenses give, are not only wide AND constant apertures often, they maintain a high AND consistent sharpness across the entire range while staying contrasty (unlike consumer lenses sharp at short end and soft at long end with smaller aperture). Aberrations and distortion are often better controlled and build and AF are superior. The 2-3x zooms have image quality very close to or as good as primes. If you want to build a quality set up and don't want to spend on the Nikon 14-24/24-70/70-200, you can find some alternatives like 17-50/28-75 f/2.8 Tammys and 70-200 Tammy/Sigma for similar performance. You won't get everything that the Nikon's give you, but value-for-money, they may be a better deal.

Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 14,436
Re: The difference in quality.....

An f1.4, f2 or f2.8 lens is almost always optically better in the f3.5-5.6 range than slower f3.5-f5.6 lenses used wide open.

The fast lenses may, and often do, perform less well at their widest aperture than f3.5-5.6 zooms used wide open - but they can do things slower lenses cannot do.

Generally by f8-11 all lenses are optically excellent for sharpness and resolution, so stopped down to f8-11 there is little sharpness or resolution gain with a fast lens.
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Practicing and thinking can do more for good photography than buying or consuming.

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happypoppeye
happypoppeye Veteran Member • Posts: 3,894
Re: The difference in quality.....

It is better, but in certain circumstances consumer grade lenses can out do pro level in my opinion.

Take the 35 1.8, which I may be mistaken, but I believe it is classified as consumer.

So, it is better - no question - unless you throw in certain lenses - than there is a question - or maybe it's just a question of engineering where a certain design can do just as much if not more than special glass...

BobSC wrote:

Frequently manufactures designate lenses with special glass.

For instance, Nikon labels their special glass ED. So if you see a lens marked 180 f/2.8 EDIF, then you know it has the special ED glass.

It is better -- no question.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS30 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS
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