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Are you a brand snob?

3rd party lenses

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Poll: Are you a brand snob? (99 member(s) have cast votes)

Are you a brand snob?

  1. Not at all. I'll shoot with any 3rd party lens. (15 votes [15.15%])

    Percentage of vote: 15.15%

  2. Partially. It depends on the brand and their reputation. (35 votes [35.35%])

    Percentage of vote: 35.35%

  3. Somewhat. I'll always seek out the OEM lens first before looking for 3rd party options (37 votes [37.37%])

    Percentage of vote: 37.37%

  4. Absolutely. I won't ever mount a 3rd party lens to my camera. (10 votes [10.10%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.10%

  5. I am not sure. (2 votes [2.02%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.02%

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#1 Dallas

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:38

Over the years I have noticed that many photographers tend to shy away from the use of 3rd party lenses on their Nikon cameras. In some cases the aversion might have been caused by poor experiences in the past (be they compatibility related, or of a quality control nature), but in a large number of the photographers I talk to about certain lenses it's most definitely a case of staying true to the Nikon brand. There is this perception that if Nikon put their name on it, it must be the best.

My own experience with 3rd party lenses has been mixed. I've had some real dogs, but then I have also had some unexpected gems. One of the better ones I used in the past (and which I should have held onto) was the original Angenieux 28-70mm f/2.6-2.8 AF F-mount which was pretty exotic. I had to sell it for economic reasons via an auctioneer who took a fair commission, but it still left me with a decent chunk of change. I think it sold for just under $2,000?

Then there is/was the Tamron 90mm 2.8 Macro, which I thought was superb as a portrait lens, with some great bokeh, but my copy has developed some kind of delamination of the front elements, so it sits as a paper weight now. I can't find a local agent who can fix the thing. Pity.

Some of the dogs I've used included anything that has had the Tokina name on it. In spite of some excellent build quality, I simply haven't ever had a Tokina lens that I liked. The last one I had I got as a part trade for something and that was the 20-35mm f/2.8. Really well made, but man, they may as well have put the bottoms of Coke bottles in there.

Other dogs were the original Sigma 105mm 2.8 Macro. Very sharp but with horrible OOF rendition and auto focus that may as well not have existed. The newer Sigmas have all fallen into the pleasant category, particularly the telephotos, which is where one tends to notice lack of quality.

So, would you consider yourself a brand snob, or are you willing to try out non-OEM lenses on your Nikons? If you are adventurous tell us about your best (and worst) 3rd party experiences, or if you're not the adventurous type tell us why you only use OEM.

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Added: my most recent 3rd party lens experience is the Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 which I reviewed here last week. The lack of views on that review is what led me to ask this question.

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#2 bjornthun

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:08

3rd party must by definition also include Zeiss, Voigtländer and Leica R (the latter when mounted on Nikon). So going 3rd party may also be considered "brand snob".
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#3 crowecg

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:12

Wasn't initially, but getting more that way.

#4 vivionm

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:37

I avoid 3rd party. Except for Zeiss, of course.

#5 Dallas

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 13:20

And the reasons for this avoidance?

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#6 vivionm

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 14:20

And the reasons for this avoidance?

I don't trust the likes of Tamron, Sigma, et al. You get what you pay for. If you drive a Porsche, you don't put 3rd party parts on it.

I have some Zeiss lenses. They are wonderful.

Edited by vivionm, 21 January 2013 - 14:28 .


#7 Bart Willems

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 14:26

I think it was on T.O.P. (where else?) where the situation regarding 3rd party lenses was described best: “dollar for dollar, you will get the same out of a Sigma, Tamron or Tokina lens, as out of a Nikon or Canon lens. The difference is that a Nikon 70-200/2.8 will cost you over $2000 and the Sigma version will cost you less than $1000, so of course there's a quality difference. Were both manufacturers offering a similar lens for a similar price, you would not see a lot of difference.”

As with all generalizations it is easy to point out exceptions, but I think that in general that rule holds true. Of course, lower prices have been a raison d’être for the non-OEM brands in the first place. All else being the same, you’d expect the OEM lens to work better, since the engineers don’t have to reverse–engineer wiring patterns, etc. But the reality is that the “off–brand” lenses are usually cheaper, and another reality is that we don’t always have the funds to buy the expensive brand. When the difference is in the build quality and not in the optics, it doesn’t always makes sense for Bart The Dilettante to pay double the price for a tank-like lens. As an amateur, I can afford to baby my equipment and I’m not tossing it with a ballistic arc in the back of a truck bed during a rain storm before driving 2 hours back home, or soaking it in seawater, etc. As those things are less of a concern to me, I have less problems using 3rd party lenses. The majority of my lenses is Nikon, at the same time when I look at what I want to buy, the majority of those is likely not going to be Nikon.

It's funny how I'm much more a brand snob when it comes to accessories like tripods, heads, and camera bags. Probably because the difference between a Chinese fantasy brand and “the real thing” is so much bigger.
Bart

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#8 Akira

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 14:40

I've experienced defect samples of both genuine and third party lenses. So, I don't care for any brands, third party or genuine. I always test the particular samples I'm going to use or own.

Edited by Akira, 21 January 2013 - 14:42 .

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#9 armando_m

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 14:54

I guess I'm cheap, it is all about prices, the sigmas 150mm and 15mm fisheye are doing great for me.

I'm ok with the nikon's f/1.8 prices, the price range of the f/1.4 afs lenses is beyond what I'm willing to pay for a prime, so I'm considering the 28 and 85 nikon primes

I accept the high price on the f/2.8 zooms , or on the fast telephotos, so I'm saving for a good wide angle, I'm considering the 14-24 f/2.8 but the review of the sigma 12-24 is making me think twice

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#10 afoton

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 15:56

I am always considering third party lenses as well as Nikon lenses. The lens with the specification, functionality and quality that suits my need best, is the lens that I will get. The only brand I am always avoiding is Sigma, because of bad experiences with them.

#11 simsurace

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 16:08

The issue that will be keeping me from 3rd party lenses is resale value. The Sigma 100-300/4 which I brought brand new in 2009 for 1500$ is only worth approx. 500$ now despite its excellent condition. This is very frustrating.

#12 Dallas

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 16:22

Resale is an issue I have noticed, but that then makes them very good propositions to pick up on the used market. :)

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#13 schwett

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 16:32

simsurance has an excellent point. the cost of the thing is not just what you buy it for - it's that minus what it's worth if you part with it divided by the time. I've been constantly pleasantly surprised by how much my used nikkors are worth, in most cases retaining 50-70% of value after 5 or more years.

as for third party, i inherently distrust them (the ones which are cheaper are cheaper for a reason and it's not a lower corporate profit target) but will definitely try then if they other something not otherwise available and the online review community has uniformly good experiences.
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#14 mfbenedict

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 16:41

Voigtlander lenses are wonderful. I love my 58mm f/1.4 and 180mm f/4. They are on par with Zeiss and much less costly. The reason I value a lens is its unique quality. We are talking about lenses as if they are commodities and all comparable. This is not true at all. Specialness trumps brand loyalty. I'm also cognizant of durability and resale. LensRentals.com's annual of survey repair frequency can be helpful. Of course you can always get a lemon or a gem in any brand.

#15 vivionm

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 17:11

I agree regarding Voigtlander.

#16 rbsinto

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 17:43

In addition to my my Nikkor F mount and S mount manual focus lenses (for my film SLR and Rangefinder cameras), I regularly use lenses by Cosina Voigtlander, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, and Vivitar, and are pleased with the results they give me.
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#17 olivier

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 18:01

I am a brand snob. I would never purchase a Nikon lens new. Out of my reach for most of them!
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#18 CharlesLoy

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 18:16

Absolutely. I won't ever mount a 3rd party lens to my camera

That's me, I am one of those votes. I have tried other brands years past, I won't bother with them again. I do read reviews on the Nikon consumer glass before I will buy it, but it will always be Nikon that I buy. Pro glass I just buy what I need knowing it will be quality Nikon lenses.
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#19 bjornthun

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 18:25

I remember when Cosina was not such a well regarded brand. Today they are the proud manufacturer of Voigtländer and Zeiss, lenses. This makes me think that even SIGMA, which once meant SIGnificant MAlfunction can improve, which may be what they are trying with their new series of lenses, but time will tell for sure. If the Sigma 35/1.4 should turn out to be a quality item, then that will beg the question about what you are paying for in a Nikon or Canon 35/1.4.

Edited by bjornthun, 21 January 2013 - 18:27 .

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#20 nfoto

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 18:42

"Snob" ??

An inapproriate term. If a Nikkor delivers what I need, then I don't have to change its mount to attach it to my camera. So I get it. If a third-party lens is better, and happens to have an "F" mount, then that is my preferred candidate as well.

Sometimes I have to replace the mount to get a lens to fit my "F" cameras. A hassle only if the lens is not worth the efforts.

Whatever brand a lens has, I think twice about replacing it if it breaks under field use. Nikkors are not exempt in that situation.

My most-sold photo ever was taken with a 100$ non-descript third party lens. Through an T2 adapter it fitted my Nikon.
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