September 18, 2014, 02:01:50 AM

Author Topic: Are recently made lenses better?  (Read 2530 times)

Frodo

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Are recently made lenses better?
« on: March 09, 2013, 02:30:02 PM »
Some lenses have been in Canon's arsenal for many years.  I'm looking at purchasing a 200mm f2.8, which was first made in 1991 and mechanically upgraded in 1996.  So my question is: while Canon has not changed the optical formula of its old lenses, have manufacturing tolerances and other improvements (maybe better coatings) meant that newer copies are better than older copies?  In other words, should I buy new, rather than a 15 year old lens in excellent condition?
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Are recently made lenses better?
« on: March 09, 2013, 02:30:02 PM »

expatinasia

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Re: Are recently made lenses better?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2013, 04:36:47 PM »
Newer is always going to be better when it comes to lenses. the-digital-picture.com has some great reviews of lenses and he often makes comparisons with the previous model.

Generally you will benefit from improved weight, weather coating, durability, performance etc.
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Sporgon

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Re: Are recently made lenses better?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2013, 05:23:54 PM »
I still have my original 20-35 f2.8 L from 1989. It is a remarkable lens in the centre, as good if not better than most L lenses produced today. With regard to the 200 f2.8 ii I doubt there is any difference between one made in 1996 or 2013, but age is age and if I had the choice I'd get as new as I could.

The 200 f2.8 always lives in the shadow of the 135 f2, but for me the 200 is the more versatile lens, and greatly underrated.

Frodo

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Re: Are recently made lenses better?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2013, 05:58:53 PM »
Newer is always going to be better when it comes to lenses. the-digital-picture.com has some great reviews of lenses and he often makes comparisons with the previous model.

Generally you will benefit from improved weight, weather coating, durability, performance etc.

I appreciate the difference with newer versions of lenses, my question focused on the same model, but a newer copy.

Thanks
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Are recently made lenses better?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2013, 07:01:34 PM »
I don't think Canon does 'stealth updates'.  If there's a problem (like the early 24-105L lenses with the 'rays of light' flare issue, they issue a service notice and newly produced copies are fixed.  But if they make improvements like new coatings, etc., they aren't shy about it - they call it new version, and don't miss the opportunity to raise the price!
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risc32

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Re: Are recently made lenses better?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2013, 08:18:20 PM »
I don't believe there is a bit of difference between a new and older copy of a given lens.

From your heading I thought the same as the first few guys. i was expecting to come in here, and lay down a blanket statement of, yes, newer is better, but that's not exactly what you wanted to know.

RS2021

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Re: Are recently made lenses better?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2013, 08:26:17 PM »
Newer is always going to be better when it comes to lenses.
........
Generally you will benefit from improved weight, weather coating, durability, performance etc.

This is not always true. Perhaps the newer L lenses in general and Version II  L's in particular offer better optics, sharpness, and weather sealing...even this is not universally true as 85L II is not weather sealed and is a "relatively" new lens and is a version II.

Some of the older consumer-level lenses I would argue are just as good if not better in manufacture, overall quality, metal parts and heft than the new pasticky ones.

Older lenses that are still kicking and are still highly regarded include the 85 f/1.8, 35L,  and 135L just to name a few. So much so Canon is still dragging its feet in renewing them in spite of active competition.

If image quality and build truly goes up with newer versions, so will their price.
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Re: Are recently made lenses better?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2013, 08:26:17 PM »

Area256

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Re: Are recently made lenses better?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2013, 09:19:26 PM »
I don't think there is likely to be any difference in the production quality of same model lenses with respect to when they were made.    Having said that, older lenses will of course be well: older.  Things like rubber wears out, tight joints become lose with use, etc.   I have an a used 24-105mm, which works great, but shows its age.  Faded rubber, has a fair bit of lens creep, ect.   Having said that, if it's structurally sound, good lenses can last a long time.
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Rienzphotoz

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Re: Are recently made lenses better?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2013, 10:45:56 PM »
If its the same version no ... unless the first batch of lenses had some issues.
But if you are talking about version II etc, yes they are better than the previous versions.
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applecider

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Re: Are recently made lenses better?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2013, 11:13:14 PM »
One would think that coating on lens elements (and given the number of pieces of glass and thus glass to air interfaces) in those lenses that transmission and internal flair is better in modern glass even if all other elements stay the same.  The coatings on the front of some modern lenses is also reportedly much easier to clean and harder to make dirty.  So this would be one area where more modern may be better....
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jdramirez

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Re: Are recently made lenses better?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2013, 11:18:29 PM »
I know some fd lenses are highly regarded, but the proof is really in the pudding.  Not all lenses are made at the same standard deviation, so there are some 24-70's mkii that are AMAZING... and some that are merely great.  So it depends on where in the spectrum that lens falls.  If you can try it out for a week and compare and contrast... do it. 
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

XS->60D->5d Mkiii:18-55->24-105L:75-300->55-250->70-300->70-200 f4L USM->70-200 f/2.8L USM->70-200 f/2.8L IS Mkii:50 f/1.8->50 f/1.4->100L->85mm f/1.8 USM-> 8mm ->100L & 85L

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Re: Are recently made lenses better?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2013, 11:18:29 PM »