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06-04-2019, 05:39 AM - 3 Likes   #1
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Lenses: what has demand and what has not - facts

CIPA has some interesting facts on lens sales. The demand (quantity) in 2018 for lenses had clear favorites:

48% of demand go into standard zooms (28-105, 24-70 ...)
28% superzooms and telezooms (70-200, 150-450 ...)
19% all types of primes (that means zooms outsell primes 4:1 and it also menas that every single focal length prime is a niche with probably 0-1%)
3% wide zooms (15-30 ...)
2% special purpose (macro, tilt/shift, cine, soft focus ...)

Over time there is little change. The only shifts are:
a) more primes
b) less telezooms

06-04-2019, 06:02 AM   #2
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I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of the primes sold are 50mm...
06-04-2019, 06:15 AM   #3
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But then you also have 11,12,15,16,20,21,24,28,30,31,35,40,43,56,70,77,85,90,100,105,135,150,180,200,300,400,500,600,800,1000
06-04-2019, 06:35 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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Those percentages make sense considering how many people buy a starter kit of camera, one or two lenses, and stop there.

06-04-2019, 06:37 AM   #5
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It would be interesting to see each category with their respective fixed or variable aperture components teased out.
Nice one!
06-04-2019, 09:33 AM - 3 Likes   #6
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4 zooms sold for every prime.....
Why does this not surprise me?

My own collection.

3 telephoto zooms, 3 ultra wide zooms, 4 standard zooms - 10 zooms
4 macro primes- 3 standard primes, 1 ultra wide prime, 2 telephoto primes.

Despite constantly having to defend the use of zooms. I'm actually 50/50 zoom vs. prime and way above average in prime ownership, where as those who argue they have to have all primes are out on some kind of extreme edge.

I have two variable aperture telephoto zooms and 1 constant aperture telephoto.
Standard zooms, 3 variable aperture, 1 constant aperture.

I have 1 wide angle prime

Ultra wide angle zooms 3 variable aperture.


Looking at the numbers, I'm a prime extremist. The all prime users are the lunatic fringe.

Just kidding

Don't skewer me.

Last edited by normhead; 06-04-2019 at 09:40 AM.
06-04-2019, 10:04 AM   #7
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I'm wondering why they group superzooms with tele zooms, since the former category probably greatly outnumbers the latter.

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06-04-2019, 10:05 AM   #8
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Is this statistic solely composed of separate lens sales or do they also count lenses that come coupled with bodies? Only new lenses or also used, but sold by retailers?

06-04-2019, 10:09 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of the primes sold are 50mm...
Or 35mm for APS-C normal?
06-04-2019, 10:17 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ehrwien Quote
Is this statistic solely composed of separate lens sales or do they also count lenses that come coupled with bodies? Only new lenses or also used, but sold by retailers?
Since most bodies can be purchased without an included zoom, you have to assume those packages were bought because that's what the customer wanted. People who buy a body and one or two lenses usually want the flexibility of zooms, or you'd see more primes in packages for sale.
06-04-2019, 10:20 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by EssJayEff Quote
Or 35mm for APS-C normal?
I feel like even for APS-C a 50 could often be the first (and only) prime because of its ability to separate the subject from the background, as a portrait lens rather than a "normal" field of view lens. Or beginners looking for a prime get confused by the crop factor and follow recommendations to get a 50...
06-04-2019, 10:24 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
CIPA has some interesting facts on lens sales. The demand (quantity) in 2018 for lenses had clear favorites:

48% of demand go into standard zooms (28-105, 24-70 ...)
28% superzooms and telezooms (70-200, 150-450 ...)
19% all types of primes (that means zooms outsell primes 4:1 and it also menas that every single focal length prime is a niche with probably 0-1%)
3% wide zooms (15-30 ...)
2% special purpose (macro, tilt/shift, cine, soft focus ...)
No real surprise about the Standard zoom figures. I actually would have expected a larger figure considering the number of people
who only ever purchase a DSLR with kit lens and then effectively use it as a point and shoot.

Odd that the superzoom and telezoom are lumped together as they represent two different use cases and potentially two different
clienteles, albeit with some small overlap. Of course, the examples you've given are not superzooms but I'm assuming the figure
includes things like a 18-270.

I'm delighted 19% of all sales are still primes. Out in the wild I'd say I typically notice fewer than that. Whether that's just sample
bias or reflects real world usage is unclear. It's possible many people buy prime lenses at some point but then preferably shoot
with zooms for convenience while their prime lenses sit on the shelf.

I'm still happily a prime only/mostly shooter. I say mostly because technically I own a couple zooms though I rarely ever use them.
And I am very, very tempted by the DA20-40. I can't say any other current production zoom piques my interest.
06-04-2019, 10:40 AM   #13
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Zooms have gotten better over time. The only negative to them is that they are a lot bigger than similar aperture primes.

What I think would be interesting would be to see how appealing the weird new mirrorless lenses like a 28-70 f2 zoom and faster than f1 50-ish prime will be when priced over 2000 dollars.

My zooms are the DFA 15-30/24-70/70-200 and the DA * 16-50/50-135 and the DA 55-300. As far as primes, I have the DA 15, 40, FA 31, 77, DFA 100 macro WR, DA *55, and FA 135 2.8. I guess I'm not normal,but I am a Pentaxian, so go figure...
06-04-2019, 11:23 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by tvdtvdtvd Quote
It's possible many people buy prime lenses at some point but then preferably shoot
with zooms for convenience while their prime lenses sit on the shelf.
I always carry one or two primes (of course one is macro, so, different category) the 21 for APS-c the DA* 55 1.4 for FF, but the amount they get used is far less than 1 day in five. Most days they never get out of the camera bag, and then once every now and then I do a single and they get used all day.

There have been many days when i was carrying two zooms and two primes and the original zoom, 18-135, 28-105 or 55-300 PLM never gets off the camera.

Last edited by normhead; 06-04-2019 at 11:30 AM.
06-04-2019, 11:34 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Zooms have gotten better over time.
Agreed. If only.......

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The only negative to them is that they are a lot bigger than similar aperture primes.
This is still an issue for me. I don't like coke cans or Pringles cans attached to my camera as I have a tendency to
continually forget that protruding bulk and knock the lens into branches and door frames when I quickly pivot with
camera at the ready. I am eagerly awaiting a breakthrough in fresnel technology to deliver the first high quality
pancake zoom. Until then I much prefer the performance and size that primes deliver.
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