I don’t mean the type you have in your windows. Photographers slang for ‘lens’. With the recent releases of the Nikon Z series and Canon EOS R mirrorless cameras it got me thinking about lenses. Most photographers have a set of key ‘go to’ lenses, but I’m sure like myself most photographers think about how they can add to their lens set-up. Sometimes it’s just sheer want or lust, but most of the time I’m guessing it comes down to restrictions or a creative desire. I see a lot of photographers upgrade gear for sake of having the latest and greatest. My advice is to consider your options when you suddenly feel limited by your gear. Maybe you’ve gotten into macro and that current lens and extension tube option isn’t giving you the sharpness you’d like, or that 200mm lens suddenly isn’t long enough for the wildlife you’ve now taken an interest in. Now you find yourself looking at the online stores and reviews for lenses to add to your setup.
It’s no different for myself, but good glass isn’t cheap. So as a current SLR user it got me thinking…. Should I buying into SLR-fit lenses? SLRs aren’t going away over night, and they’ll have a long and prosperous future I’m sure. But just recently there seems to be a shift. Nikon and Canon have made their statements and whilst mirrorless has it’s disadvantages there are some significant advantages and the future certainly seems mirrorless. So if money is no object you can carry on and ignore the mirrorless tidal wave and keep purchasing SLR-fit lenses, safe in the knowledge that they at least hold good value if you look after them. I’ve no doubt got a few years of life in my existing camera body but my next body I’m sure might be mirrorless. So do I really want to be forking out hundreds of pounds on lenses that won’t natively fit my next body? Sure I can use an adapter but I have a couple of issues with this. 1 – what are the tradeoffs, auto-focus performance for example? 2. Why stick ‘old’ glass on a shiny new body? One of the key benefits of the mirrorless offerings is the flange distance. So if like me image quality is important to you then surely native glass is the right way to go to take advantage of this?
So it’s somewhat of a conundrum, which is further compounded by the existing situation…. Mirrorless lenses, especially for Nikon and Canon are in their infancy, very few options and extremely pricey when compared to their SLR equivalents. Then you have the SLR-fit lenses which are holding their price. Despite the aforementioned ‘mirrorless future’ we aren’t seeing a reduction in price on the SLR-fit options. It will be interesting to see when/if the likes of Sigma/Tamron etc get in on the Canon/Nikon mirrorless game. This will open up more options and hopefully more competitive pricing. But there is another option…. used lenses. There is a fantastic used market out there. So if you want a bit more life out of your current SLR before a mirrorless jump you might want to go down this road, which could become even more attractive as more SLR-fit lenses become available as those early adaptors of the Nikon/Canon mirrorless bodies make the leap.