The choice of lens is to me a lot more important than DSLR camera body, since the body the most critical choice will be full format or not.
The reason for this is that the when changing from one system to another may require to change all the lenses as well. And the saying is true that spending more money on lens quality than body features makes it more expensive to change camera manufacurer or system. So lenses and accessories will be more important than the actual camera body.
The most well-known manufacturers of lenses (Nikon, Canon, Leica, Tamron, Sigma etc.) all have a reputation to keep and a goal to achieve more marketing shares. This will be one of the best insurances for functionality you will ever get in todays online world.
Make a realistic idea about how and where to use the lens:
It will most likely not benefit you to buy a lens that you will not match your style of photography. For portrait considering fixed lenses, if buildings are a highly desired topic a tilt-shift lens may be worth considering. Vacation photography may require an 18-300mm lens or two lenses (18-70 and 70-300mm i.e).
The highest priced lenses are usually the best quality original lens, and if the very best quality and the assurance that the lens has the very best match to the camera body is important, then this is the way to go. Another benefit of higher priced lenses will be the weather protection and aluminum vs. plastic camera mounts.
On the other hand, the quality of the major companies manufacturing third party lenses (Tamron, Sigma etc) will have a very respectable quality to a lower price. And unless you are really into the finest details and matching brands this is a very respectable way to go. I even keep an old 70-300MM ED Nikon lens in my backpack.
The quality of a similar lens today will be a lot better, but the quality is good enough for vacation pictures and it is a lot lighter weight that a big 70-200 VR,ED 2.8. And being on a family trip usually do not require attention to the finest details available, the convenience of having a smaller camera system to carry in with me in small shops and rides will sometimes be the most valuable choice. When the time has come to work for a really nice macro image, then switching to i.e. 105/2.8 will be a reasonable thing to do. So having a selection of lenses that reflects YOUR interests will be a minimum to achieve.
The coatings, elements and the techinal information the lens gives the camera are all small details that add up to a perfect result. Buying a new lens always comes with the benefit of having the latest technology, just like buying a new car vs. a old model. And if the budget allows it, then go for the newest one since minor changes happens at a high speed within DSLr technology as well.
USED DSLR LENSES:
Used equipment will be a money-saver if done right. However, ask the seller, and get pictures before buying it of:
Ask for the age and make a google search or similar to find out if the lens is to old to match a DSLR system. There are still old lenses out on the market that do not have the coatings or build quality to provide good images on a digital system. I have tried out some of my old SLR lenses on the D-system and they can never produce a crisp clear image, those lenses was built for the SLR and should not be mixed with todays quality.
Some are not important, however to remove details that a scratch may add to an image takes a lot of time. It may also make the auto focus to malfunction if the focus point is at the same place at the scratch.
Most manufacturers have database that will show you the age etc of the equipment by checking this number.
They may be bent, scratched and show how the lens have been used in the past. I regularly clean the metal surfaces that connect camera and lens. This is because tiny metal fragments may occur when assembling/disassembling the units, and they may cause scratches when cleaning lens or camera body.
– Auto focus system
Not all cameras have a built in auto focus motor anymore, however there is a lot of lenses sold second hand that do need a camera with this feature. So check if your camera have the AF screw or not before purchacing a lens that requires it!!
– Ask for the shutter count on the camera used together with the lens.
This will give an idea about how much use/abuse the lens have been through. The more pictures and use, the more chances for dust inside the lens, well-used AF motor or moist inside the lens.
– Filter and lens covers:
Ask if the lens have been fitted with a UV-filter or similar. This serves will also serve to protect the front element from scratches. The lens covers should always follow the lens when selling, and more than likely the UV filter will also be a part of the deal.
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