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View Full Version : Is there really an advantage to digital specific lenses?



Imaginary
05-14-2005, 12:05 AM
I honestly cant believe that Ihave been unable to find anything about this on the www, but here we go

I am considering buying a Minolta 7D, or Nikon D70s, Cannon EOS 350. All three of these manufacturers have released or announced lenses specifically designed for use with digital SLR's. Of course as part of this you get the advantage of a smaller lense size and weight, and the associated Frame of View (FOV) crop.

There are a lot of quality lenses out there, and I am concerned that if I limited myself to the digital specific ones I may be missing the boat on a better value/product. I have a suspicion that much of the advantage is really just hype. Does anyone have any idea or resources about whether there is really an advantage to the digital specific lenses in terms of final image quality.

thanks,
dave

Ant
05-14-2005, 12:55 AM
As far as I'm aware the only real advantage is, as you've said, size and weight.

If a lens has quality concerns you can usually find them expressed at the edges of a photo...light fall-off, vignetting, pin cushioning etc, but because a digital camera crops the edges off a standard 35mm lens anyway it can often give better results than on a film camera. If a lens is a good one then it'll work just as well on digital...maybe even slighly better.

Personally I think you'd be limiting yourself if you only used digital specific lenses, particularly with regard to telephoto zooms.

TheObiJuan
05-14-2005, 01:08 AM
One big bonus of these digital only lenses is the coatings that are used inside to reduce ghosting, flaring, and etc.

Ant
05-14-2005, 02:29 AM
One big bonus of these digital only lenses is the coatings that are used inside to reduce ghosting, flaring, and etc.

Reasonably good quality standard 35mm lenses have these too.

TheObiJuan
05-14-2005, 02:41 AM
that is correct. However, those usually are prograde, and cost a lot of money. These digital only ones that include the coatings are fairly inexpensive.

Jredtugboat
05-18-2005, 04:52 PM
I can't speak to the lens coating issues as OBJuan has, but another thing to consider is that an investment in "digital only" lenses means that these same lenses will not have the same resale value when you upgrade to the full-frame DSLRs of the next generation or two...

yours,

Julian

Rhys
05-18-2005, 05:43 PM
I understand from a guy who makes bespoke lenses for telescopes that lenses self-coat (bloom) anyway.

cwphoto
05-18-2005, 08:02 PM
I can't speak to the lens coating issues as OBJuan has, but another thing to consider is that an investment in "digital only" lenses means that these same lenses will not have the same resale value when you upgrade to the full-frame DSLRs of the next generation or two...

yours,

Julian

If that happens... :confused:

scalia
05-19-2005, 01:22 AM
There are a lot of quality lenses out there, and I am concerned that if I limited myself to the digital specific ones I may be missing the boat on a better value/product. I have a suspicion that much of the advantage is really just hype. Does anyone have any idea or resources about whether there is really an advantage to the digital specific lenses in terms of final image quality.


here's one
The Digital Lens FAQ (http://www.swissarmyfork.com/digital_lens_faq.htm)


"DSLR photography demands higher lens resolution than its film counterpart. First, because most DSLRs have crop factors ranging from 1.3x to 2x. To match the resolution of a film camera on the final print, a DSLR needs a lens with 1.3x to 2x the resolution of a film camera lens (depending on crop factor)."

palmbook
05-19-2005, 02:25 AM
In addition, the light from digital lenses is more perpendicular to the sensor.

Because the sensor is very bad at picking up side-light, more perpendicular light yields a better result.

D70FAN
05-19-2005, 08:41 AM
In addition, the light from digital lenses is more perpendicular to the sensor.

Because the sensor is very bad at picking up side-light, more perpendicular light yields a better result.

While technically correct, and a good point, I'm not sure that many would agree that digital lenses are any better, optically, on digital cameras than standard lenses.

We have seen on these threads, examples of how a reasonably priced high quality standard lens like the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 can perform extremely well on digital bodies, as does the "old workhorse" 50mm f1.8 (Nikon & Canon).

The biggest advantage to lenses designed for digital is that they generally offer a wider zoom starting point to compensate for the crop factor of the sensor, and they are smaller and lighter than equivalent standard lenses.

Rhys
05-19-2005, 09:20 AM
While technically correct, and a good point, I'm not sure that many would agree that digital lenses are any better, optically, on digital cameras than standard lenses.

We have seen on these threads, examples of how a reasonably priced high quality standard lens like the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 can perform extremely well on digital bodies, as does the "old workhorse" 50mm f1.8 (Nikon & Canon).

The biggest advantage to lenses designed for digital is that they generally offer a wider zoom starting point to compensate for the crop factor of the sensor, and they are smaller and lighter than equivalent standard lenses.

If normal lenses were no good on a digital body, the camera manufacturers would have designed a new line of lenses and put a new bayonet mount on their cameras.

The only new lenses they made are those at the wider-end of the range - specifically to cope with the 1.5x crop factor.

jamison55
05-19-2005, 10:35 AM
If normal lenses were no good on a digital body, the camera manufacturers would have designed a new line of lenses and put a new bayonet mount on their cameras.

The only new lenses they made are those at the wider-end of the range - specifically to cope with the 1.5x crop factor.

Actually, many major lens manufacturers did update their lens stables when digital began to hit big - many of them were just quiet about it. Take Canon for example. Their current line of "L" lenses is made up mostly of lenses manufactured after Y2K. The 16-35 2.8L was first marketed in 12/01, and replaced the 20-35 2.8L (from '89). The 20-35 can still be bought on the secondary market, and is regarded as a very sharp, contrasty lens with terrible CA issues. The 16-35 exhibits none of the problems of the 20-35, and is a little wider to boot (seems digitally optimized to me)...

cwphoto
05-22-2005, 05:55 PM
The 16-35 2.8L was first marketed in 12/01, and replaced the 20-35 2.8L (from '89).

There was also the 17-35 L that appeared in April 1996 prior to the 16-35.

TheObiJuan
05-22-2005, 08:00 PM
which was replaced by the 17-40 which has internal coatings that reduce ghosting and flare.

cwphoto
05-22-2005, 08:20 PM
Canon would never replace an f/2.8 lens with an f/4.

The 16-35 replaced the 17-35. The 17-40 was introduced to bring L-series optics to those who didn't have the budget nor speed requirements of the faster glass.

They also did this with the 70-200 zoom range by adding an f/4 to the f/2.8 recently.

TheObiJuan
05-22-2005, 08:49 PM
Hehe, thats what I meant, not the 17-40, but the 17-35.
http://www.fredmiranda.com/17_35VS16_35/