Don’t Throw Away Your Old Friends!

Don’t Throw Away Old Friends

OK, so I got your attention. What I’m really talking about here is old, classic glass. LENSES. Good glass is good glass. I have some great lenses in my collection. I have also had some great glass in my collection. Over the years bodies have changed. Heck, in digital it seems that we are trading those beauties away every 2 to 3 years. That is to be expected, megapixels increase along with cameras ability to shoot in lower light. I have always told my students to invest in good glass, that it lasts a lifetime. Bodies, I’ve gone through so many… D1x, D100, E300, E400, D200, PEN, D300, YIKES!

One example of a lens that I’ve held on to is my classic 80-200 2.8 Nikon zoom. It’s been with me for 15-ish years, older that my oldest child. It’s been replaced by a 70-200 that focuses faster, is slightly sharper, and now had Vibration Reduction. I would love one of those, but don’t have the need to shell out the $2,400 bucks for one. Some would suggest that you sell the old, and invest in the new. DON’T.

Case in point. I used to have a 28-70 2.8 Nikon Lens. As cropped frame sensors came along, and I purchased a 17-55mm 2.8 lens and a 12-24 mm lens, I really didn’t see the sense in carrying around this big overlap in my lens arsenal. But soon I’ll be upgrading my D300 to the newer D800. The newer D800 is full frame, and the 17-55 mm will not work.

As I was thinking about this I pulled some archive stock that I had shot in 2004. It’s a shot of chili peppers on Tim Stark’s farm near Kutztown. Awesome shot. As I looked at the shot I was in love all over again reprocessing it with the newer version of PhotoShop. While it was taken on an older D1x camera, 6 megapixel, it was absolutely beautiful. The Bokeh (Japanese word for quality of background softness) was perfect.

Chili Pepper

I had sold that lens to a friend and now am looking on ebay for another.

There are others, the 20mm 2.8 and especially the 14mm aspherical. I miss you old friends, hopefully our paths will cross again.

Just like friendship, make sure you maintain it with the occasional pampering. I take my classics to Terry at Cardinal Camera in Quakertown for the occasional rebuilds. He replaces screws, lubricates and replaces rubbers that fall off. (fill in dirty jokes here) So long as you don’t scratch the glass regular maintenance will makes these lenses last forever. Last time I had him rebuild my 80-200 I thought he had replaced my lens with a new one. It focused faster, and was perfect.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Throw Away Your Old Friends!

  1. I could not agree with you more Ryan. One lens that is always with me is a 24 year old 50 mm 1.8 that out performs any newer equivalent. Not to mention its build quality is far superior. Some classics should always be held onto.

  2. So which lenses do you think you’ll use with the D800? I’m thinking of getting one in a few months, but I’ll have the same issue with lenses…

    • Well I’m not touching the 80-200. Of course I’m going to use the heck of of the 85mm. I want to shoot more with the 45mm pancake lens. I have a 24mm, and am looking at an old 20mm. Next lens purchase might be the 24-70, or a very clean 28-70 that I had. Really like the look of it in the shot above. Also there was a 20-35 which I’m interested in, these were some classic Photojournalistic glass. If I see a 24 or 85 tilt shift for a steal, maybe. Also that 14 mm 2.8 Aspherical? How about a 200 2.0? too pricy, but cool. I also saw a manual focus 50 1.8 pancake lens, it was cheap, so let’s see if that happens. Is that list too big?

  3. The 80-200 is a great lens , I do believe it is heavier than the 70-200 which I love. Are you on waiting list for a D800 . The last time we spoke you were setting up your studio with a friend , is that a reality.

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