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01-22-2013, 10:10 AM   #1
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Does lenses improve in quality....

If a lens started production in, let's say, 2008 and ends, let's say 5 years later, does the quality (IQ in particular) get better as the years of production pass?
Is it standard to make improvements without telling the consumer so that earlier products doesn't look inferior?

Any and all options matter!!

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01-22-2013, 10:14 AM   #2
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In theory ... no ... not as far as I know. How else would they extra charge you for a new "II" model!?
01-22-2013, 10:16 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrNewt Quote
In theory ... no ... not as far as I know. How else would they extra charge you for a new "II" model!?
Which part of the question are you referring to?
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01-22-2013, 10:19 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
Which part of the question are you referring to?
Thanks

Randy
This one
QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
Is it standard to make improvements without telling the consumer so that earlier products doesn't look inferior?

As for the first one ... I don't think lens are like wine ... I doubt they get better with time

01-22-2013, 10:28 AM   #5
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I guess, this concern electronic parts or feedback from warranty to solve mechanical and/or electronic weeknesses. As an example, the SDM of the 16-50 was improved to increase its reliability. I'm quite sure that there are no optical changes.
01-22-2013, 10:28 AM   #6
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That's an interesting question, one that I doubt will ever be definitively and authoritatively answered.

I would guess no. I would think that a lens is designed and manufactured to be sold at a certain price point. Once designed, I would guess no further changes are made to a particular model without revising the model name. (I'm referring solely to the optical design here.)

But I'm just guessing, and I could be totally wrong.
01-22-2013, 10:33 AM   #7
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In manufacturing, the first runs of anything are usually *worse* than the final runs. However, there are exceptions. If during part of the manufacturing process, there is a key device/tool that wears as part of the machines that make whatever it is you are making, then unless they replace that device/tool you will get worse slop toward the end of the process.

Generally the people or machines that make things become fine tuned/skilled, and the final *thing* is usually the best.
01-22-2013, 10:35 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MPrince Quote
That's an interesting question, one that I doubt will ever be definitively and authoritatively answered.

I would guess no. I would think that a lens is designed and manufactured to be sold at a certain price point. Once designed, I would guess no further changes are made to a particular model without revising the model name. (I'm referring solely to the optical design here.)

But I'm just guessing, and I could be totally wrong.
After working in factories half my life, I would have thought engineers would be at work trying to improve their products

Just a guess, though

01-22-2013, 10:41 AM   #9
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I would think the actual optical design remains unchanged. But improvements in quality control, manufacturing methods, assembly procedures and so on would be made on a continuous basis. At least in a forward thinking company. Workers on the line are usually offered bonuses for suggestions in improvement. A more reliable assembly procedure that results in a 5% improvement in average lens alignment (or something of the sort just using that as an example) would improve the average quality of the lens without any change in design.

Improvements in electronics, firmware, small parts (gears and so on) would normally be updated throughout the life of the production run and would not ever really be mentioned to the public.
01-22-2013, 11:49 AM   #10
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I remember to have read some lens reviews more than 2 decades ago which suggested that the Takumar 2.8/135 [Bajonet] and the F2.5 one got improved coatings at least twice during their production time. The first time probably was about 1979~1981, when Pentax changed all non-SMC lenses from single-coating to multi-coating, and some years later when these got an improved multi-coating (but still far from SMC).
01-22-2013, 12:53 PM   #12
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Many of the Minolta manual focus lenses improved with improved coatings during their production runs also.

It wouldn't surprise me if this was true for all major lens makers.
01-22-2013, 01:58 PM   #13
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As mentioned above, coatings and autofocus motors may change. Generally, if optical formula changes, it is noted as a new lens version.
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