your worst lens purchase?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by invoke, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. invoke macrumors newbie

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    Jul 21, 2008
    #1
    please share some of your lens horror stories, which ones you totally regret buying, produce the worst results etc.

    mine would have to be the canon ef 28mm f1.8 lens. i thought it would be ideal for a crop body and the couple of reviews online seemed positive, but when i special ordered it, it was just awful. it had every problem in the book, all my photos were low-contrast and seemed to "bloom" just a little to make everything look soft-focus (but if i wanted that effect, i'd do it myself in photoshop, thanks). by FAR its worst flaw was fringing. if i took a shot of my blinds, there'd be about five pixels of purple fringing at every high-contrast edge.

    maybe i got a bad copy, but i wouldn't expect canon to drop the ball in every possible way?

    i hate when people suggest i stop down to alleviate these problems because, frankly, for a nearly $700 lens (in canada..) i expect it to perform decently wide-open. as a point of comparison, my $100 50mm f1.8 lens has virtually NO fringing and is sharp enough wide open.

    i would definitely not recommend this lens- stay away.
     
  2. onomatopoeia macrumors 6502

    onomatopoeia

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    Dec 9, 2007
    #2
    I wanted the Nikkor 85mm f1.4 and settled instead for the 105mm f2.8 VR Macro. It's still a fantastic lens but I lust after the 85mm 1.4. I figured I'd save $300, still get great bokeh and have the benefit of 1:1 macro shots.

    I should have spent the extra $300.
     
  3. anubis macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 7, 2003
    #3
    It wasn't exactly a "purchase" because it was the kit lens that came with my Canon XTi. But my Canon 18-55 EFS lens stopped working after I had it for about a year and a month. The iris became stuck closed. I took the lens apart and cleaned the heck out of it, but no matter what I tried, the motor that opens and closes the iris refused to engage or move in any way. It went right in the trash. Not that I was too sad to be rid of that piece of junk.
     
  4. vga4life macrumors 6502

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    Jun 16, 2004
    #4
    Agree on the original EF-S 18-55 kit lens. It sucks. Mine still works but I haven't used it in forever and probably never will again unless all my other lenses break in a series of freak accidents. The only reason I keep it is it still works and it's worth nothing to sell.

    Not counting kit lenses, I guess the 28-135 3.5-5.6 IS USM. It's not a bad lens but it's redundant now except on my old 300D body as a knockaround camera (e.g. one I can lend to a friend and not feel too bad if they drop it.)

    I should have skipped right to the 24-70 2.8L back then. Live and learn.
     
  5. flinch13 macrumors regular

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    Jul 4, 2004
    #5
    While I'll agree with the two previous posters that the 18-55 kit lens doesn't exactly have a good track record, it makes a great reverse macro lens (see some of my macro work on iStockphoto!)!

    I'm going to have to say that my worst lens choice so far has been the 50mm 1.8. My god. Great optical quality, but what's that worth when the thing falls apart in your hands after six months of use? I'm sticking to ultrasonic lenses from now on!

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #6
    My worst lens purchase was also a 50 mm f/1.8. It was the Nikon version. Nothing particularly wrong with the lens itself (if you ignore the ugly bokeh). The main problem was the focal length. On a crop sensor, it's not useful on a prime. I bought a Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 to complement it, but since I only use the Sigma, I actually bothered to sell my 50 mm f/1.8, despite its low value. I bought it for around $160 Australian (the price made sense at the time, but not today), but sold it for around $110.
     
  7. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    May 30, 2007
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    Midwest USA
    #7
    Of all the lenses I have, the Nikkor 24-120VR has been the most disappointing. It does OK if stopped down a lot (f/8 or so), but it's too soft at wider apertures. I even sent it back to Nikon service a couple of years ago to have it recalibrated, but that didn't really help much. It does a little better on my D3 than it does on my D2H, but has even more corner softness than my 70-200VR.

    The next-worst lens is my 50mm f/1.8. I agree with flinch13 that it's very sharp but it is indeed a cheap, cheap, cheap-constructed lens. It's saving grace is that it was $99. At that price, it's probably still a bargain despite it's relative flimsiness. If his fell apart, I can understand his lack of enthusiasm. On my D3, it still performs well, but I'm pretty much a zoom guy and I don't use primes much, if at all.
     
  8. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    Nov 14, 2003
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    #8
    I've felt more or less positive about all my lens purchases:

    My first lens, the Tokina 19-35 f/3.5-4.5 was a little disappointing in terms of not being as much of a step up from the 35-80 that I was borrowing as I hoped, but still, for $150 it was solid optically and physically.

    The next lens, the Canon 50mm f/1.8 was disappointingly fragile and jumpy in terms of autofocus, but was very much what I expected in optically and a lot of fun for baby portraits and making my camera light enough to take everywhere.

    Unfortunately, I left these two lenses on a bus...

    I've not been disappointed at all by my lucky find of a Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 with 2 filters off ebay for $200. For the price, pretty much unbeatable. (although it's definitely a little soft at 70mm at f/2.8)

    And I've not been disappointed by the 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS lens, my most recent lens.

    Given the time I've spent reading lens reviews, I'd say I shouldn't have to deal with too much lens disappointment. On the other hand, given the excessive amount of time I spend reading lens review, I know that every lens has some drawbacks and the grass can always be greener.
     
  9. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    Nov 2, 2007
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    SF Bay Area
    #9
    I bought a Sigma 18-50 f2.8 (non-HSM) lens a few years ago and the thing was horrid. It was slow to focus and is vignetted terribly. I sold it on Ebay after using it for a few months and replaced it with a Nikon 17-55 f2.8. Every time I'm tempted to buy a non-Nikon lens, I think about that Sigma...
     
  10. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Not really a purchase, but my EF 35-70/3.5-4.5 (the kit lens from an EOS 650) is absolute and utter crapola. Seriously, I've been looking for creative ways of destroying it. Suggestions?

    As for lenses I've paid for, the EF 50/1.8, while great 'for the money', isn't really all that great. Horrendous low light focusing speed, flimsy construction, and so-so IQ (yes, it's better than average, and excellent for the price, but it's just ok in absolute terms). I always advise people to skip this lens and go straight for the 50/1.4, if they're looking for a 50 (which, frankly, isn't the best length anyway on a crop sensor body).
     
  11. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #11
    Fill it completely with water, then freeze it. Then place the frozen mass into a vice and squeeze. :eek:
     
  12. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #12
    Nikon AF-S 17-35. Autofocus broke down soon after the warranty expired even if it had seen little use. Paid a fortune to fix it, and one year later it started making a loud whine while autofocusing. Nikon wanted even more money the second time, so I left it as is.

    So now if a lens is not AF-S, the better, for me.
     
  13. nuwomb macrumors 6502

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    Jul 3, 2008
    #13

    how do I use the 18-55 as a reverse macro???? curious on that one
     
  14. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #14
    I've never had an issue with any AF-S lens, my 17-35 included. That lens has had a lot of abuse in my hands and still works great, although I am considering sending it off to Nikon before its 5 year warranty expires (this year) for a C&C and any warranty issues they might find.
     
  15. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #15
    Well, I found someone on the internet had the same whining problem with this lens and was told to exercise it. After autofocusing for about half an hour the noise has subsided quite a bit.
     
  16. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    #16
    The Nifty Fifty. I recommend it to everyone but I almost never use it. I've bought a 50mm for every camera I've had in recent times (that's a lot of 50s) and its a focal length I NEVER use. I find myself using it only for the sake of using it.

    Other baddies? The Canon 75-300 sounded awesome at the time, but it focused like a fat kid on a hamster wheel and took iffy pictures.
     
  17. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #17
    I'm telling you, 50mm is a terrible length on a 1.6x crop sensor body; great if all you're doing is shooting portraits, but far too long to be a walkaround lens, and far too short to be of use as a telephoto. If we're talking a 1.3x crop or FF sensor (or, gasp, a film body), however, that changes, and 50mm becomes a much more useful focal length.

    I find myself staring at the 50/1.8 thinking "One day, you'll get used"; as it stands, I only use it when light is an issue, and even then it sucks because the damn thing can't autofocus in dim light and is soft wide open. Kind of a waste of that f/1.8 aperture.
     
  18. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #18
    Hey, that's not bad. I was considering simply running it over with my car, but that might damage the car. Your way is much more creative.

    I would give it to someone who is just starting out in photography (which is how I got it), but, frankly, I think that's doing more harm than good. The thing is THAT bad.
     
  19. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #19
    I've been pretty fortunate with my lenses. One which I eventually sold because I just wasn't using it much was the 17-55mm. Most people who have this lens really like it but for some reason I found myself reaching for the 28-70mm instead. This was when I was using the D200. Eventually when I got the D300 and the D3 I found that the same thing was happening; time and again the 17-55mm stayed in the bag while out came the 24-70mm (which replaced my beloved "Beast"). An opportunity came up to sell the lens and so I did....
     
  20. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    #20
    Hm... now I'm a little twisted. I was thinking of ditching the beast and the 12-24 for the 17-55.

    I took it for a test drive yesterday and liked it, but its very limiting on the long end.

    Food for thought :apple:
     
  21. invoke thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 21, 2008
    #21
    i didn't really want people to complain about the kit lenses or the 50/1.8s because i don't think they count as lenses you can really "regret" due to being the cheapest of any line-up. you gotta put something on that body. i was more referring to lenses that people actually sunk some money on, expected it to be decent, and had it turn out to be a dud. frankly, i've seen more than decent results from the 18-55. and i'm surprised there's so much hate for the 50mm! while i agree it's really hard to use if you're indoors and cramped, i've taken some of my best shots at 50mm, but i suppose i'm more into portraits and close-ups anyway. about the build quality, mine has held up for nearly 2 years and i haven't babied it.
     
  22. valdore macrumors 65816

    valdore

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    #22
    My walkaround lens is a Canon EF 24-105 L - and overall it's my least favorite lens compared to my four others I use presently. The walkaround aspect of this lens just can't compete with the dramatic wide angles of the 17-40 EF, the crispness of the 100-400 telephoto, or the insanely wide aperture of the 50 mm 1.8 II, or the funner-than-hell factor of photographing urban canyons with the 15 mm fisheye.

    In comparison to all those lenses, the walkaround 24-105 is just boring - but damn it's shots are nice and sharp though.
     
  23. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #23
    The big gap between my 17-55 and my 80-200 af-s was the major motivation for me to sell the 17-55 and replace it with a 24-70 and 14-24. Of course, my bag weighs a farking ton now... I'm tempted to buy a 16-85 for those times when weight is a significant factor.
     
  24. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #24
    I would be tempted to say the kit lens I unfortunately decided to get, although honestly I'd have to say the Canon 50mm ƒ/1.8. Supposedly the no brainer buy, although I've had nothing but trouble with it. Originally it was very soft until you stopped down to at least ƒ/5.6 (negating the fast aperture I bought it for :rolleyes: ). I sent it to Canon and received it two weeks later and found that now the autofocus/manual focus switch didn't work and there was a terrible grinding sound when focusing (sounded a lot worse than originally). Received it again after two weeks, and now it is supposedly fixed. I haven't noted any problems with it although now I am very hesitant to even take it out of the bag and readily reach for my 17-40mm ƒ/4L over it although it is over two stops slower and is a zoom.
     
  25. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #25
    Well, I think it's not due to its own flaws so much as it is due to people recycling/parroting old advice from the film days without actually thinking much about it. The 50mm field of view on a 1.5x/1.6x crop camera just isn't as broadly useful as it is on a film (or full frame digital) camera.

    Not to mention that, at least on the Nikon side, the "sharp as a tack" 50mm lenses aren't really that sharp once you get away from the center - unless you stop them down.

    Basically I think you really have to take word-of-mouth lens recommendations with a grain of salt - otherwise you set yourself up for disappointment.
     

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