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Gear Talk => Technical Support => Topic started by: Marsu42 on April 15, 2012, 08:00:39 AM

Title: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: Marsu42 on April 15, 2012, 08:00:39 AM
I've got this shiny new 70-300L, which has the red ring and Canon marketing has painted it white, too - although as was discusses elsewhere, this isn't necessary since the lens is small and doesn't contain any fluorite elements...

... but anyway: some of the paint already has been scraped off while I was laying the lens on something solid for support (IS is nice, but not lifting the lens at all is even nicer). This makes me wonder - what hits did your metal L lenses take w/o any damage or iq degradation? Do I have to treat it as my plastic 50/1.8 too, or to what extend does the improved quality really show in real life handling?
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: D.Sim on April 16, 2012, 07:09:56 AM
As long as you don't smash up an element, you should be fine.... generally.
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: dr croubie on April 16, 2012, 07:37:39 AM
I know it's not L, my EFs 15-85 hasn't taken any direct hits onto hard objects, but I've often heard a twoinging sound if I drop it into my bag or accidentally shake it a bit swapping lenses.
It's only the IS elements moving around inside the lens, I hope I haven't bumped it hard enough to knock the IS elements far enough that they'd hit the inside of the barrel, but I haven't noticed any IQ changes at all.
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: agierke on April 16, 2012, 08:10:37 AM
you still need to be very careful...it doesnt take much to knock an element slightly out of place and your focus becomes unusable. unfortunately i have seen several lenses dropped or receive a significant knock and those that didnt visibly break had major focus issues that needed repair.

L lenses are built to have superior image quality, not to to bounced off the ground.
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: aldvan on April 16, 2012, 08:38:40 AM
As I previously posted, I had my 100-400L (a very heavy piece of artillery...) rocketed from my Lowepro backpack and landed on a solid pavement after a 4 meters forward flight. The effect to see such a expensive barrel landing in front of me was quite  dreadful. By the way, the filter that I had on the lens disintegrated and the front zooming ring was deformed, needed replacement. But this was the only damage. The rest of the lens didn't get any dent, scratch or delamination and Canon official service gave me back the lens in a better shape and tuning  than before the crash...
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: friedmud on April 16, 2012, 09:14:53 AM
Well.  After less than a week of owning my shiny new 70-200 f/4 IS... I slung it out of my lowepro backpack last week into small rocks / gravel.  I'm not kidding.

I nearly started crying.

It hit mostly on the lens hood and it popped off and went flying... Which I'm thinking absorbed some of the impact (the gouges out of the lens hood are thinking the same thing!).  Other than that, it doesn't seem like any damage was done.

I have shot hundreds of photos since then (I was on a trip at the time), and i can't see any difference in them from before and after "the great fall".  The focus still seems to be spot on as well (it was perfect before the fall, and doesn't seem to have changed).

Now, I might be getting lucky because I'm using it on a an EFs camera (7D)... So maybe IQ has been effected at the edges a bit but I just can't see it.  I guess time will tell...
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: daveheinzel on April 16, 2012, 09:35:39 AM
My 70-200 2.8L IS II fell from waist-high onto a concrete floor with very thin carpeting. It sounded like a bowling ball hitting the ground. Someone else dropped it, and I acted cool so they wouldn't feel bad. But once I was alone, I put it on my camera and held my breath. The images looked great. I've been shooting with it for almost a year since then, and the image quality doesn't seem to have been affected at all, not do I actually see a mark on the lens where it hit (on the front element - hood was not on).

My 50mm 1.8 wasn't so lucky. It took a direct hit with a frisbee when filming a frisbee golf commercial, and the lens broke into pieces. If you're going to break a lens, this is the one to break.
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: 7enderbender on April 16, 2012, 09:38:22 AM
Well, obviously there are enough reports that all this stuff can take a bit of beating. I'm extremely careful with all my gear. Most of my 30 year old FD lenses still look like new. And those - unlike modern lenses, including "L" lenses - were really build like tanks. Most of what you have today is plastic anyway even on L lenses. Which may actually be better for certain accidents. But since there is glass and lots of moving parts involved I always try to be careful anyway. Make sure you have the proper bags and cases. Have a safe workflow for changing lenses. Try to work on a stable and large enough surface - if necessary, put the bag or case on the ground and change lenses there. And then there is slamming into things of course that you want to avoid.
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: TexPhoto on April 16, 2012, 10:11:38 AM
I don't think there is any standard other than: Jesus, be careful wit that thing!  Plastic lens hoods are a great way to minimize damage from an impact.

I'd also highly recommend a tripod collar and a monopod.  Beats grinding off your paint on  concrete wall and supports the weight.
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: Kris_P on April 16, 2012, 11:27:06 AM
Hi all,

I've had a sliding glass door slam on my 17-55, with no loss in IQ

Would a manual focus lens, such as Samyang, be a little more "stable" since there's no (dare I say, delicate?) AF mechanisms inside?
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on April 16, 2012, 11:28:37 AM
The plastic exterior actually absorbs energy, without permanently bending, I don't see it as a factor in damage.   Of course, if it lands on the front, and the glass is cracked, its pretty certain that its just the tip of the iceberg.   Its the innards of a lens that often get messed up from a apparently survivable drop.  Elements get out of alignment, plastic parts crack, IS motors and AF motors get damaged.
 
Even if there is no serious external damage, after a severe drop, its a good idea to have the lens opened up and checked by a professional repair service.  That way, it won't suddenly quite at a critical moment due to a partially broken component that suddenly fails.
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: Marsu42 on April 16, 2012, 01:30:46 PM
My 50mm 1.8 wasn't so lucky. It took a direct hit with a frisbee when filming a frisbee golf commercial, and the lens broke into pieces. If you're going to break a lens, this is the one to break.

Mine too, it cracked like a raw egg after a fall - after this experience I vowed to get better gear and get an idea how much beating it can take - thus this thread.

L lenses are built to have superior image quality, not to to bounced off the ground.

:-) but it still gives some comfort to me reading these reports, because usually I'm transporting my gear in bike bags which is rather inconspicuous and does not say "here comes the photog! I'm the one to steal from!". But it of course it doesn't protect the stuff as well as a real bag.

Is the IS especially prone to break after a fall, and does it make any difference if it is switched on or off on transport?
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on April 16, 2012, 01:51:48 PM
My 50mm 1.8 wasn't so lucky. It took a direct hit with a frisbee when filming a frisbee golf commercial, and the lens broke into pieces. If you're going to break a lens, this is the one to break.

Mine too, it cracked like a raw egg after a fall - after this experience I vowed to get better gear and get an idea how much beating it can take - thus this thread.

L lenses are built to have superior image quality, not to to bounced off the ground.

:-) but it still gives some comfort to me reading these reports, because usually I'm transporting my gear in bike bags which is rather inconspicuous and does not say "here comes the photog! I'm the one to steal from!". But it of course it doesn't protect the stuff as well as a real bag.

Is the IS especially prone to break after a fall, and does it make any difference if it is switched on or off on transport?

The quality of construction of the L lenses is definitely better, its not really about plastic or metal, since the grade and quality of the plastics is different for more expensive lenses.  However, you can destroy a lot of 50mm f/1.8 lenses for the cost of repairing one 50mm f/1.2.
 
Check out Tokina Lenses, they are built like a main battle tank, I'd select them for their build versus cost if I were carrying them where damage was likely.  Sometimes the build and ruggedness outweigh a tiny bit of IQ difference, and they are pretty good in any event.
 
If you have a lens mounted to a camera in a bicycle bag, its much more likely to be damaged, the attachment on both the camera and lens is aligned to amazingly tiny tolerances, and can be bent out of alignment easily.  Then you will not be in focus from side to side or top to bottom.  Turn off your camera, anything touching the shutter button may turn it on and run your battery down, even a strong bounce might turn it on repeatedly.
 
Get some good foam lining for your bike bag, 3/4 inch memory foam is a good shock absorber. or use some of the partitions out of old camera bags, I'm sure you are doing something like this now, don't just put them in a thin cloth pouch
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: Marsu42 on April 16, 2012, 02:45:02 PM
Check out Tokina Lenses, they are built like a main battle tank, I'd select them for their build versus cost if I were carrying them where damage was likely.

Indeed - I'll get the 11-16 mk2 when it's available in August. Hopefully.

Get some good foam lining for your bike bag, 3/4 inch memory foam is a good shock absorber. or use some of the partitions out of old camera bags, I'm sure you are doing something like this now, don't just put them in a thin cloth pouch

Thanks for the advice, and for reminding me - until now, I had pretty much throw-away lenses I am attached to because I've got them for decades, but if they break it won't hunt me in my dreams. Now that I've got this 70-300L and am about to get the 35L I really have to think again. But when constantly taking in and putting back the camera, its very tempting to not protect it properly - I have to work on this.
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: Harv on April 16, 2012, 02:48:04 PM
Have you ever seen how a professional handles his/her gear at a fast paced event?  I have.  The stuff gets beat up and banged around like you wouldn't believe.  The professional grade gear is built to take a beating and keep on ticking.

I was following a friend one day who had his 500/4 and 1D combo come loose from the tripod while he carried it on his shoulder.  It hit the pavement in front of me and took a good bounce.  That was 3 years ago and it has worked just fine ever since.

I had my 400/4 come lose from my 1D one day when I accidentally hit the release button and hit the pavement at my feet.  It never missed a beat and I used it a long while after with no ill effects.

Don't go out of your way to test the limits, but there is no need to be paranoid about it either.   Use it and enjoy.  If you worry about marks, just get a LensCoat for it.  I have them on all my large lenses.  It makes it easier to handle the gear in cold weather and provides a layer of protection for the finish as well as small bumps etc..
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: Marsu42 on April 16, 2012, 03:20:01 PM
If you worry about marks, just get a LensCoat for it.  I have them on all my large lenses.  It makes it easier to handle the gear in cold weather and provides a layer of protection for the finish as well as small bumps etc..

Didn't know these, looks really nice and the US prices are still somehow sane for special items of this type - but unfortunately the import increases the price tag considerably and the item also isn't available - and I have to think about if it's worth it. Until then, I've taped my lens with generic green duct-like tape - removes the "big white lens" look (except for the protruding zoom element of the 70-300L) and prevents some scratches, too
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: prestonpalmer on April 16, 2012, 08:03:36 PM
This entirely depends on the direction and location of the shock.  The G-force sine wave, and other factors.  You might drop your lens from .5" and have it totally messed up, or it might fall off a table and be just fine...
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: pwp on April 16, 2012, 08:44:56 PM
This entirely depends on the direction and location of the shock.  The G-force sine wave, and other factors.  You might drop your lens from .5" and have it totally messed up, or it might fall off a table and be just fine...

Everyone has their "drop" stories, some miraculous, some tragic. I had a 70-200 f/2.8is on a 1Dmk3 body drop from waist height onto soft carpet. The body was a write-off and the lens was repaired twice but never the same and had to be replaced. Grrr...

Generally most gear is pretty tough within obvious reasonable limits. The best protection after good common sense is the lens hood, followed closely by the screw-on filter. Time and time again these two items have taken a knock and left me with a smashed filter, a bent or gouged hood but an undamaged lens.

Paul Wright
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: prestonpalmer on April 17, 2012, 04:54:33 PM
The best protection after good common sense is the lens hood, followed closely by the screw-on filter. Time and time again these two items have taken a knock and left me with a smashed filter, a bent or gouged hood but an undamaged lens.

Paul Wright

I completely agree, A lens hood on your lens is one of the all time best protections you can have.  It frustrates me sometimes how many photographers walk around clunking the front of their 70-200 on stuff. The hood is designed to take that abuse, NOT the front of the lens or threads.  Ugh.  Actually, my best friend dropped a 300MM right on its face, the lens hood cracked, and the UV(0) filter shattered.  Lens was perfectly fine.  the outcome would have been very different without the hood and filter.
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: JR on April 17, 2012, 07:23:30 PM
I drop my 24 L from about 1 foot high with no issues.  Typically i take very good care of my lenses.  The fact of the L lenses are not all metal would not discourage me from buying them.  Just treat them as jewel!

 ;D
Title: Re: What impacts does a metal L lens take without any iq degradation?
Post by: agierke on April 17, 2012, 09:56:26 PM
this is a slight tangent but i just thought of it reading this thread....

never go through a revolving door with your camera slung behind your back and a flash mounted to it.  i did this once and soon heard a sickening "crunch" and a slight tug at my back. turn around to see my flash wedged in between the revolving door an the door frame. the door ripped it right off the hot shoe mount but thankfully missed my lens!

i can laugh about it now...not so much when it happened.