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03-10-2022, 11:38 PM - 4 Likes   #1
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LBA and the law of diminishing returns

LBA: Lens Buyer Addiction.
Diminishing returns: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diminishing_returns

Paradoxically, kit lenses are relatively cheap, they also cover the most useful focal length, they offer the maximum value for the money.
The value / money of each new lens added to lens portfolio, diminishes rapidly as we own more lenses.

How fast the value / money drops?
- non-general purpose lenses tend to be more expensive than general purpose lenses
- the more lenses we have the less we use them overall, the less diaphragm activation they get, because we can't use more than one lens simultaneously

Photography can go from relatively inexpensive / cost effective, with one camera and one lens, to very expensive without necessarily getting better images.

Owning lots of cameras and lenses completely hijack the value for money of image results.

Photographers should be aware of this.


Last edited by biz-engineer; 03-11-2022 at 01:45 AM.
03-11-2022, 12:35 AM - 11 Likes   #2
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If it makes your photography more cost-effective, I’ll gladly take a couple of your DFAs off your hands.
03-11-2022, 12:49 AM - 3 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Photographers should be aware of this.
I'm pretty sure most of us here are
We're gonna do it anyway. Even if it doesn't pay
03-11-2022, 01:26 AM - 4 Likes   #4
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My LBA conflicts heavily with my acute dislike of spending money
My *istDL2 with DA 18-55mm and DA 50-200mm cost less than 30 in total, in separate purchases … I already had the batteries and card.
My latest acquisition :- a Sigma 18-250mm for 10.50 +p&p … needed a minor repair, stripped threads on the lens-mount screws, but working otherwise!
Some days you've just got to speculate to accumulate

03-11-2022, 01:29 AM - 8 Likes   #5
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There's a lot of truth in this.

As I've indicated many times in these forums, for much of my photography I could get by with my old, favourite 10MP Samsung GX-10 and equally favourite Tamron 28-75 f/2.8. It wouldn't do everything that I want and need, but I'd adapt and limit my photography use-cases accordingly. That simple kit would be sufficient to maintain my interest and enjoyment in the hobby.

Having said that, not everyone is motivated or concerned by achieving optimum value for money. Some merely enjoy owning and using gear, whether-or-not they actually need it. I'm a prime example - I own way more equipment than I could ever hope to use often enough, let alone need... but I get a kick out of owning it, shooting it and tinkering with it, however infrequently that may be. There's nothing wrong with acquiring and enjoying gear... we just shouldn't confuse it with the practice of photography. One doesn't equate to the other... they're different things - but they can co-exist, and so long as the gear aspect doesn't become a pre-occupation that stands in the way of photographic progress, it's all good

Last edited by BigMackCam; 03-11-2022 at 04:14 PM.
03-11-2022, 03:57 AM - 3 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
for much of my photography I could get by with my old, favourite 10MP Samsung GX-10 and equally favourite Tamron 28-75 f/2.8. It wouldn't do everything that I want and need, but I'd adapt and limit my photography use-cases accordingly.
It depends on your photographic style. I have a penchant for the perspective given by UWA lenses, and I often use my macro lens for utilitarian purposes. Then there are the birders and sports photogs who need 300+mm. Those use cases are picture driven, not LBA driven.

I admit I have bought 3 or 4 lenses I don't need, but they didn't break the bank because I got them from Ebay, all for under 20. They are mostly Pentax Series F or FA that had been on Ebay for months before I took pity on them, like I'm a donkey sanctuary but for lenses
03-11-2022, 04:01 AM - 3 Likes   #7
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It is true that people spend a lot of money for small improvements in picture quality. The difference between a FA 31 limited, Sigma 35mm f1.4 and DA 35mm f2.4 are real, but obviously the price differences are just as real.

I do think you need to know yourself as well. It is cheaper to buy the more expensive lens right off than to flip lenses until you eventually get the right one. I bought the DA 35 macro, followed by the Sigma 30mm f1.4m, and finally the FA 31mm f1.8. The last one I bought used, but the others I bought new and I lost money with each sale. If you know that you aren't going to be satisfied with a DA 35 f2.4 long term, it may be better simply to save till you can get the more expensive lens, than to buy a lens that only temporarily fills a niche in your shooting line up.

03-11-2022, 04:29 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I do think you need to know yourself as well.
That's really the key, isn't it?

I've come to realise that I enjoy the variety of rendering from different lenses. Whilst I appreciate good image quality, I get as much enjoyment from the style of rendering as I do from the quality of it - perhaps more so. I can live with drop-off of resolution in the borders and corners, a bit of CA here and there, wildly different performance between wide open and stopped down, etc. A lens like the D FA*50/1.4 - whilst undoubtedly superb (and I certainly wouldn't mind owning one) - would be somewhat wasted on me. I'd rather spend the same amount on two or three older and/or lower-grade (but still decent) lenses and enjoy their differences. That's not a criticism of the D FA*50/1.4 or those who choose to shoot with it, but an observation and acknowledgement of what makes me tick. It's a gear thing in one sense, but it also influences the images I create... and whilst some folks may argue that I'd have been better off with one great lens instead of three lower-performing models, I get real enjoyment from the variety of results...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 03-11-2022 at 06:31 AM.
03-11-2022, 04:48 AM   #9
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According to his books, Ansel Adams didn't have a lot of lenses, he used a couple of lenses, 300mm and 210mm, but he also use more than one camera format (4x5 and larger), wide and normal, and he managed to make his collection of prints based on that. Looking at large format lenses, the focal length FF equivalents go from 23mm to about 100mm, great pictures taken with lenses that would now barely cover more than a kit zoom lens on a FF DSLR. We are over-equipped with digital.

---------- Post added 11-03-22 at 12:52 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I do think you need to know yourself as well.
Sometimes I bought a lens I was sure I would use. After I had the lens for a few years, I realized I didn't use it much. I have a couple of lenses I use a lot, but that can change over time. The lenses I use a lot were a good "investment" , other lenses not so much. I have a D-FA 50 macro, 50mm... normal FL , should be used a lot, I think I used it three times. What happens is the DFA28-105 is very good at 50mm, and I prefer the 100 macro for macros, so , the 50 macro isn't used.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 03-11-2022 at 05:01 AM.
03-11-2022, 05:20 AM - 2 Likes   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
According to his books, Ansel Adams didn't have a lot of lenses, he used a couple of lenses, 300mm and 210mm, but he also use more than one camera format (4x5 and larger), wide and normal, and he managed to make his collection of prints based on that. Looking at large format lenses, the focal length FF equivalents go from 23mm to about 100mm, great pictures taken with lenses that would now barely cover more than a kit zoom lens on a FF DSLR...
... and less than the DA18-135 on an APS-C body. Theoretically, that's all most people need for 90% of general photography. Of course, need and want soon diverge...
03-11-2022, 06:14 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Sometimes gear just does not tick with us. Sometimes we just want to surrender us with nice, well build gear. Cost effective is cool if someone wants it, otherwise it turns live to pretty boring experience.
03-11-2022, 06:27 AM - 7 Likes   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
LBA: Lens Buyer Addiction.
Diminishing returns: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diminishing_returns

Paradoxically, kit lenses are relatively cheap, they also cover the most useful focal length, they offer the maximum value for the money.
The value / money of each new lens added to lens portfolio, diminishes rapidly as we own more lenses.

How fast the value / money drops?
- non-general purpose lenses tend to be more expensive than general purpose lenses
- the more lenses we have the less we use them overall, the less diaphragm activation they get, because we can't use more than one lens simultaneously

Photography can go from relatively inexpensive / cost effective, with one camera and one lens, to very expensive without necessarily getting better images.

Owning lots of cameras and lenses completely hijack the value for money of image results.

Photographers should be aware of this.
So what this all boils down to, basically, is that cameras and lenses are like doughnuts; buying two or more costs more money than buying just one.
03-11-2022, 06:35 AM - 3 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
According to his books, Ansel Adams didn't have a lot of lenses
QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
So what this all boils down to, basically, is that cameras and lenses are like doughnuts; buying two or more costs more money than buying just one.
According to his books, Ansel Adams didn't have a lot of doughnuts either (well, he never mentions them specifically)...
03-11-2022, 07:00 AM - 4 Likes   #14
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Seriously, I do understand the point of the post. Our "Single In" challenge illustrates what can be achieved with minimal equipment. I could actually get along pretty well with one lens. I'd spend the money on the absolute best lens available between 18 and 24 for APS-C or between 28 and 35 for 24x36 format.
03-11-2022, 07:53 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Some merely enjoy owning and using gear, whether-or-not they actually need it. I'm a prime example - I own way more equipment than I could ever hope to use often enough, let alone need... but I get a kick out of owning it, shooting it and tinkering with it, however infrequently that may be. There's nothing wrong with acquiring and enjoying gear... we just shouldn't confuse it with the practice of photography. One doesn't equate to the other... they're different things
Well said. I'm "guilty" of LBA and don't actually shoot much....and I enjoy it!
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