I’ve always said that the camera lens is the most important part of your equipment. Many people let
adverts and fashion deviate from what is really important.
There are two fundamental things in photography: the lens and the
film. Whatever is in between is purely for your personal comfort and speed, but it will not aid in creating a great
Once I purchased an old Zenit camera (Soviet made) and I was
astonished at the quality of the lens. The camera itself was completely mechanical and very basic (other than very
heavy), but that was exactly what I liked about it.
Great (and very cheap) lens up front, great film at the back... and I was set! With very little
money (I got it at the famous Porta Portese street market in Rome for about $50) I could shoot technically
excellent photographs. Nothing stood in my way, not even a silly flat battery! I believe it is not very wise to
spend all your money on the camera of your dreams and save on the lens. Unfortunately most people do precisely
this and the results are inevitably very poor.
Instead you should invest in an excellent lens: choose an expensive one – there is a reason for
them to be so expensive. Then save money by getting a silly camera. The lens you see at the top is a great one: the
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens. Well worth the price. The red ring at the front tells everyone that it's an above average lens.
This is how Canon marks the best of the best.
Now with digital photography the situation is slightly different, because a silly camera might
not be that good anymore, but anyway you got the point.
How many times in your life will you need a 1/8000 of a second shutter speed? Just as much as
you will need a Ferrari to go at 350 miles per hour. Slow down and concentrate on quality, rather than speed.
Which is the best lens brand? As a rule of thumb, the more expensive a lens is, the better. The
two and only World’s leaders in extremely high quality lenses are Carl Zeiss and Leica, both German. Their lenses
are extremely expensive, but well worth it. They have minimal distortion and aberrations. If you are looking for
perfection... well, you know where to go.
Talking about lenses that we common mortals can use without taking up a mortgage, I believe that
a Canon camera lens is generally superior to a Nikon camera lens.
Many people ask me (and I get this a lot): “which is the World’s largest lens?” Keeping
in mind that for the purpose of this article I will not get into astronomy lenses, the World’s largest ever built
lens is the 5200 mm telephoto lens by Canon.
It is extremely rare and I actually believe there is only one in the world. It was built in
Japan during the cold war, probably for spy purposes.
It was up for sale on eBay a while ago for $45.000. At 100 Kg in weight, the price did not
include shipping fees. See this video posted on YouTube.
The best thing to do before buying a lens, is to check for camera lens reviews and
preferably on internet.
Why? Because on internet you will get customers reviews, while on magazines you never know if
they are being honest, because of advertising interests.(On the right you can see a mug made out of a Canon lens.
It sells for an outrageous $30.00)
A digital camera lens differs a bit from a traditional one. For a start they are much more
delicate, as they have an incredible amount of electronic components inside. Then they are mostly made of
plastic, which can crack very easily if dropped. I believe that a canon camera lens is a good one to
Camera lens repair shops are becoming so rare that you just better watch not to drop your
lenses. Once I had to have a lens cleaned after having being in the Sahara desert and I had to wait three months to
have it back. Thank God I had a spare one.
Many people use clear camera lens filters to protect the lens. The lens manufacturers
spend so much time and effort to design lenses with the least possible number of elements and what do you do? You
add another silly and cheap element in front of it.
To protect lenses there are caps, not clear filters. Throw away the silly filter and cover your
lens when you don’t use it. You will have a slight improvement in your images and you will make full use of your
well spent money.