Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Guide To Buying Lens

As photographers we cannot run away from the fact that we will be buying lenses one day eventually whether it may be new or 2nd hand lenses. So what do you need to look out for when you part with your hard earned money for these beautiful glasses?

I've listed out below a step by step checklist which I hope will help you deal/overcome with this ordeal :

Step 1 - Physical inspection : do a physical overall check of the lens for its condition, look out for dents, scratches on the screws (which may indicate that the lens has been opened), rubber condition on the focusing/zoom rings, filter thread, rear of lens (which can tell you the wear and tear) of the lens etc.

Step 2 - Glass inspection : pick up the glass and point it at a bright source and look through it. Watch out for fungus, fogging, cracks etc.

Step 3 - If you're lucky enough to be a Canon user, you will be able to tell how old the L lens you're buying from the code at the rear of the lens. Here's the link which will contain all the info you'll need on how to do this.

Step 4 - Test the rotating rings of the lenses (zoom and focusing rings). They should be smooth with no grinding or resistance right through the rotation.

Step 5 - Do a backfocus/frontfocus test. How do you do this? Simple! Mount the lens onto your camera, take a page of magazine, catalogue or newspaper, shoot at 45 degree downwards onto a word and open your aperture wide (meaning f1.8 if your lens is f1.8). Focus on the word/alphabet and take the shot (preferably at a higher shutterspeed to avoid handshake). View the picture on your LCD and zoom in all the way. The word/alphabet which you focused on should be tack sharp whereas the rest of the areas are bokeh'ed/blurred. If the back is in focus instead, this is known as backfocus and vice versa.

Step 6 - Last but not the least check the apertures, shoot at different aperture settings for example f1.8, f8, f18, f22 etc

Once again, I hope that this article has been useful and do share or drop me a mail/comment on what you would like me to touch on in my future blogs. Till then happy shooting!



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