Lens Life Expectancy at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Open DV Discussion
For topics which don't fit into any of the other categories.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 2nd, 2014, 02:51 PM   #1
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 9,068
Lens Life Expectancy

I got 2 old Tamron adaptall lenses II which are full manual, no communication with the camera body and all control of iris and focus is on the lens, especially the Tamrom adaptall II 80-210 f3.8-4 I bought on ebay for 12(!) dollar looks and functions like new with very smooth zoom and focus operation, from the looks of it these lenses still will be functional in another 30 years.

My wife has a canon camera with some "cheaper" glass in the 600 euro range, about the same amount I have paid for some olympus and panasonic m4/3 glass I have. Over a period of a few years she had about 3 lenses that just would stop working right, it was always a communication problem with the camerabody where autofocus didn't work anymore and one lens that just stopped communicating with the camera at all. Because repairing cost was almost as expensive as getting another lens all 3 lenses ended up being trown away.

I have currently invested in quite some panasonic and Olympus lenses that all communicate with the body, some have ois and some don't but I do wonder sometimes what the lifespan is of such a lens, the last lenses I got where all higher end m4/3 lenses all ranging around 1000 euro but I wonder what risc there is that those lenses would stop communicating with the camerabody because of failing electronics that's build into the lens. Is it something more common to happen with cheap lenses?

Once you build up a set of lenses after a while you realize you have spend a small fortune but I often ask myself if it is a good investment because when looking at the canon glass my wife got I would hate to see my investment be wasted, full mechanical lenses otoh seem to last a lifetime and should therefore be a much better investment?

Anyone had bad experience with malfunctioning (expensive) lenses?
Noa Put is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2014, 03:39 PM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Crookston, MN
Posts: 1,353
Re: Lens Life Expectancy

My favorite lens is an ancient, please don't laugh too hard, Sears (department store) brand 80-210mm f/4 (w/macro) fully manual, of course. It's a pain to use, though because of the m42 mount adaptor it needs isn't 100%.

One thing with old glass, I've seen noted is potential radioactivity(?), which is low risk... unless you're a photog who actually has your camera up to your face all the time.

With your newer lenses, are they part of Canon's insurance they offer? I know about them maintaining and cleaning the camera bodies as part of the deal, but don't know about the lenses (or if you even have that service in Europe).
Robert Benda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2014, 03:43 PM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,125
Re: Lens Life Expectancy

Radioactivity? You been shooting in Chernobyl?
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2014, 03:52 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 9,068
Re: Lens Life Expectancy

The lenses that didn't work where outside 2 year warranty, we had one lens send in to get a quote but repair cost was almost 70% of the cost of a new lens.
Noa Put is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2014, 05:31 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 848
Re: Lens Life Expectancy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
Radioactivity? You been shooting in Chernobyl?
Some lenses had thorium in the lens elements. Radioactive lenses - Camerapedia
Looks like it would be an alpha emitter Wallet Cards Search
Jim Michael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 3rd, 2014, 08:02 AM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Brandon, England
Posts: 343
Re: Lens Life Expectancy

I have a Zeiss Pancolar that has Thorium glass, the pre-multicoating "zebra" model, 50mm f1.8. It's incredibly sharp, but does have a yellow cast due to the Thorium. I also have the matching 35mm f2.8 Flektogon, although I am not sure it has Thorium glass, it certainly has much more neutral colour characteristics. Both fully manual of course.

As for life expectancy, still have a Mamiya 50mm f2.0 I bought new in about 1969. It has been very well used, it outlasted the Mamiya body and I then used it on another body regularly until about 12 years ago. I have used it since for video, with an adaptor, on my EOS 60D and it is still in perfect working order.

Robert, I'm not laughing, my favourite lens is a 30mm f3.5 Pentacon!

These old lenses were built like tanks, if it wasn't glass, it was metal. It was always said that a good lens will last a lifetime. I wonder if that is still true.

Dave
Dave Baker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 3rd, 2014, 08:42 AM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Efland NC, USA
Posts: 2,315
Re: Lens Life Expectancy

I have a collection of Canon FD lenses that I use and love. I hope with care they will last many more years. There are things such as tripods and lenses that if chosen properly will be with you through a number of camera bodies.
__________________
http://www.LandYachtMedia.com
Chris Medico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 4th, 2014, 01:28 AM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,682
Re: Lens Life Expectancy

Hi Noa,

With old or cheap lenses it is often the coating that fails before they wear out mechanically. When the coating goes it is throw-a-way time. One of the ways to check the coating is to hold the glass perpendicular to a light source, kind of like your looking for dust spots. Move it around slightly. If it looks like there is oil on the surface of the glass (colored smears or round spots, often blue) that will not clean off the coating may be failing or has failed. Check both ends of the lens.

With lenses it is one of those areas I believe you get what you pay for, big-time. Every aspect of the manufacturing must be high quality and expensive to make. There is no easy way for a manufacturer to cut corners. 1. Good glass is expensive to make. 2. The super tight, machined tolerances that must go into a lens is about much more than just the mount. Glass elements inside a lens move. There is no room for error. 3. Coatings fail because it is hard to make one that will last as long as glass and metal. Again, no way to cheapen it up.

I can not speak about electrical contact failures from experience. I have never had one. I generally buy expensive lenses.

Steve

Take my comments with a grain of salt. I am not an authority on this.
__________________
www.CorporateShow.com
Been at this so long I'm rounding my years of experience down...not up!
Steven Digges is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 4th, 2014, 02:04 AM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 9,068
Re: Lens Life Expectancy

The only thing that worried me was the electronics in a lens after seeing those canon lenses fail, I don't buy the cheapest lenses for m4/3 (I have the panasonic leica 25mm f1.4, the olympus 75mm f1.8, the panasonic lumix 12-35mm f2.8 and the olympus 12mm f2.0- but none are fully mechanical and manual, according to Canon standards/prizes they are cheap lenses but nevertheless considered higher end for m4/3. If the electronics fail they will stop working eventhough the rest of the lens can be perfectly intact, that means either a expensive repair if you are outside warranty or just replace the lens eventhough the optics are fine.

This has made me think if it was not safer to get lenses like the voigtlander which should last a lifetime and don't have to deal with what could be the achillesheel of a lens; the electronics. I only have not read about other people with failing lenses but can't imagine we are the only one with this problem.

I guess one can only hope these higher grade lenses I do have can stand the test of time.
Noa Put is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 4th, 2014, 11:09 PM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,682
Re: Lens Life Expectancy

Hi Noa,

Going with the Voigtlander lenses seems the way to go for you. Brand new, high quality, and probably a lifetime of service. And I said "for you" because I know you are comfortable with all manual controls and a de-clicked aperture. At least on your EA50 you were shooting great stuff that way. Is it different for you with the Panasonic?

My Canons are all "L" series and some of them I bought as far back as 1992. All of them are electronic, no aperture ring (I wish there was) mostly f 2.8 constant aperture zooms and not even one problem. Tack sharp all the way through the zoom and aperture range. I have the focal range covered from 16mm to 350mm. They are worth every penny I paid for them.

Steve
__________________
www.CorporateShow.com
Been at this so long I'm rounding my years of experience down...not up!
Steven Digges is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 5th, 2014, 02:31 AM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 9,068
Re: Lens Life Expectancy

With my ea50 I used all samyang primes, they are cheaper but all mechanical as well, but build quality is not that good, I have a had a 14mm f2.8 brandnew where the iris would stick sometimes so even if you turned the iris ring nothing happened and then after a short while it snapped into place and started working again. This was replaced by the manufacturer but it showed the build quality is not that good.

I really like the lenses I have now for my panasonic, they are much better for run and gun and I can quickly lock on my focus using the autofocus and leave it at that for each shot I take, if I had the time to compose my shot carefully like I do with my personal projects I do like the feel of a all manual mechanical lens but when I don't have the time my panasonic lenses are much easier to work with.

Then it's better to keep investing in quality glass I guess, even if they cost an arm and a leg.
Noa Put is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 5th, 2014, 07:14 AM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Posts: 700
Re: Lens Life Expectancy

One cause of failures in electronic lenses is a phenomenon known as "tin whiskers," or whisker failure. In simplest terms, over time hair-like crystalline structures can form on exposed tin surfaces (such as those found in soldered electronics contacts). If these whiskers then touch other contacts, it can result in a short circuit and voila, dead lens
__________________
Freelance pudgy bearded lighting camera operator
www.mcbob.tv
Kevin McRoberts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 5th, 2014, 07:29 AM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Brandon, England
Posts: 343
Re: Lens Life Expectancy

Mmmmmmmmmm.............. could easily be solved by adding lead to the solder!

Dave
Dave Baker is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:07 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network