Simple question – does the perfect lens exist?
Simple answer- no, as perfection is subjective, always has been, always will be.
A reality that lends itself to untold amounts of money being spent in the pursuit and something lens manufacturers are aware of that will guarantee an ongoing market for new and improved.
New and improved is a good thing, but it should be noted there are vintage lenses whose IQ is such they can stand up to modern lenses and remain sought after.
It may be that a lens like Sigma’s 30mm f1.4 in the Contemporary series will at some point become a sought after vintage lens, the same could be said of their DN Art series trilogy of the 19mm, 30, and 60mm f2.8’s.
There is a revolution of sorts taking place in photography, highly affordable lenses that rival and in some cases out perform the sacred cows of Zeiss, Voightlander, and Leica in various areas.
There is a meme of sorts on the internet regarding kit lenses – some saying all are good and it isn’t necessary to upgrade to any sort of prime.
This discussion based primarily on the ability to correct/manipulate either in camera or during post editing.
What can be accomplished in today’s post editing software is nothing short of mind boggling, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to the ability to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear – though that time may come.
Personally I can’t think of a kit lens I’d opt for, with the exception of older kit lenses that accompanied film cameras in the past, and I’m not enough of a contrarian to jump on the they’re all good band wagon.
Normally when you buy a camera it comes with the option of body only or with a kit lens, and the increased price for including a kit lens is usually in the neighborhood of $150 to $200 dollars.
Enough of an initial enticement for many to forego the additional expenditure of opting for a prime.
I understand that as not everyone has a lot of disposable cash to spend, and a lot of people aren’t willing to put it on a card and pay the interest associated with doing so.
It doesn’t take long though before the hunt for a better lens begins and you can find a ton of kit lenses on the net people are attempting to unload to facilitate the pocket book to that end.
Are they doing this because a kit lens is good, or because they’ve come to a different understanding?
That speaks to a number of things – the first being a kit lens doesn’t deliver, fails to meet the expectations of many, and of course the hype and marketing associated with primes.
Now if you know your way around a camera and post editing you can squeeze more out of a kit lens than if you don’t in what can become an act of drudgery. The question is should you have to? Do you want to? And no, presets won’t get it in every instance.
I don’t believe the majority of people with a camera spend countless hours pixel peeping, neither do I believe a person or client who likes what they see does either, and yet some discrepancies, some shortcomings can be so obvious as not to be missed.
The only people who have asked me anything about what gear was employed have been those with the photography bug themselves.
I’ve mentioned previously a project I’ve been engaged in for some time featuring rez life, indigenous people, and culture/architectural related aspects.
Not long ago after some serious collating a person who was previously engaged in the publishing industry took a look at what would be presented, their response was enthusiastic, complimentary, and encouraging.
The only time the topic of camera or lens arose was when I made mention of it. There were a few questions about how did I achieve such a “look”, but that was the extent of it.
A great many of the photos were taken with vintage prime lenses, some on a film camera later to be scanned and digitized, some with a conventional dslr, and some with mirrorless.
I can’t think of anything that would lead me to divest myself of these vintage lenses, but I can’t say the same for a single modern kit lens.
Neither can I envision a time when I could or would spend thousands of dollars for a lens or camera body, and I’m not bothered by that due to the revolution I mentioned above and the availability of vintage primes and forward thinking companies like Sigma, Samyang/Rokinon, and a Chinese company by the name of Venus Laowa that is producing a revolutionary new macro lens for less than $400 that is blowing the socks off of competitors.
I’m a believer in fair market value, the qualifier is how that value is set and to what degree it is manipulated.
Camera cages are an example – is there an appreciable degree of difference in quality and build between a multi hundreds of dollars cage where simple “accessories” like a cold shoe or hdmi clamp cost extra and that of 8Sinns offerings at half or less the price that include the same “accessories”?
Not to my way of thinking, and I believe what 8Sinn is producing is the equal to or better than their competitors.
The marketplace is primarily based upon what the market will bear – now a quality product will naturally cost more, entirely acceptable.
But my contention related to any consumer product is profit is the motivation and I haven’t an issue with that – what I do have a problem with is when the amount of profit reaches what borders on the obscene.
Another example is a nd filter I have made by a startup company and sold as Ice filters. Well constructed, rave reviews, and inexpensive.
A person could spend literally hundreds of dollars for another brand but why should they when Ice does the job admirably?
Should they do so merely to say I have such an such a filter and it cost me multiple trips to the blood bank to acquire the necessary funds, or should they let their photos do the talking?
But as I said much of this is subjective and people should pursue their own likes and dislikes, though it might be advisable to do so with eyes wide open.
Companies like those mentioned above, Zeiss, Voightlander, and Leica have a respected and recognizable brand value based on a history of excellence, but the barbarians are at the gate and I believe they are going to have to make adjustments or lose market shares.
I understand I’m probably not endearing myself to their fans and arguments can abound – for those who advance them I suggest they consider the disparity between what is affordable for some and not for others, and while doing so ask themselves if everyone with an interest in photography should have the ability to capture quality photos or should a country club exist?