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'Budget' lens build quality


13 Mar 2013 6:24PM
About a year ago, I bought a Sigma 18-200 OS lens, brand new.

At first, it was a wonderful thing. Did everything I wanted, focused instantly every time, and provided some really good quality images. But after six months, it started to develop some interesting qualities. After a trip on a few planes, it started making a 'clunking' sound inside somewhere that it definitely did not make before when it is shaken or moved. It all worked fine, though, so I ignored it (probably not the best move, I suppose).

Then the zoom creep started. At first, there was no zoom creep at all. Then I noticed that it started to creep a little sometimes. Now, I can't leave it roud my neck without locking it, or else it almost instantly zooms to 200mm, which puts it in danger of knocking in to stuff and means I have to re-compose every time.

Is this the quality that you just 'expect' from 'budget' lenses, like 18-200 dx lenses? Or is it just Sigma lenses that are this crap? Or Sigma and Tamron? Or was I just unlucky. It really wasn't that cheap, I'd really have expected it to last much longer.
User_Removed 17 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2013 7:00PM
It's not a Sigma thing it's a budget lens thing. Things that you describe can happen with all lenses. They are far less likely to happen to Canon L series lenses or even Sigma EX lenses but that's one reason why they are much more expensive.

Another important point is that your lens is the kind that gets left attached to your camera all the time, it's unlikely that it gets a nice rest in a lens case while you use lots of other lenses?
Newdevonian 8 466 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2013 7:01PM
I had a 28-200mm Sigma without a zoom lock. It didn't creep, it sprinted, and also wobbled. Constructionally it was a pile of poo, but optically sort of OK.

I will probably never buy another Sigma lens after that experience.
Pete 20 18.8k 97 England
13 Mar 2013 7:07PM
It's not always a cheap vs expensive issue. It's when a lens has most of it's glass (the heavy bit) in the adjusting "trombone" area. The friction needed to stop it would be too stiff for fair operation of the lens so there's a compromise to keep a smooth zoom action. Some lenses have a lock to prevent the barrel from moving when you're set at the position you want. The trouble with those is that you tend to forget it's locked and then get frustrated when trying to adjust and it's stuck.
13 Mar 2013 7:10PM
The sigma has a lock but it only works at 18mm and, as you say, is really annoying to put on and off every time you lower the camera.
thewilliam 12 6.1k
13 Mar 2013 8:35PM
Unfortunately we do get what we pay for. When a lens is to be sold cheap, something has to be made less well and the most expensive part will be mechanical.

I have Nikon lenses that are more than 30 years old and some of them have had a lot of use but they still work well. You could say the same about Leica or Zeiss optics.

The advice that I'd give is that if you're going to use the lens occasionally and you're not selling the images, it doesn't matter what you buy. But if you're professional, then you should buy a "professional" grade lens. They hold their value so you should think of them as an investment.
Paul Morgan 20 19.5k 6 England
13 Mar 2013 8:46PM

Quote:Is this the quality that you just 'expect' from 'budget' lenses, like 18-200 dx lenses


I would never expect quality from a lens of that type, I would expect average at best.
Paul Morgan 20 19.5k 6 England
13 Mar 2013 8:48PM

Quote:They are far less likely to happen to Canon L series lenses or even Sigma EX lenses but that's one reason why they are much more expensive


Sigma`s EX lenses start at very low prices 100 or less, I can`t fault them.

Can`t you just shove an elastic band on it Smile
13 Mar 2013 10:54PM
"When a lens is to be sold cheap, something has to be made less well and the most expensive part will be mechanical."

I really don't think that 300 is that 'cheap'. I bought my first car for about the same. I can a decent pushbike for that, or several other objects which are much larger and seemingly more complicated. A new moped can be bought for less.
User_Removed 17 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2013 11:09PM
Regardless of mopeds, in the world of lenses 300 is at the cheaper end of the scale. To achieve the same focal lengths using decent glass you'd need two or three lenses on which you could easily spend two grand.
ianrobinson 11 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2013 12:56AM
Hey if you think 300 is expensive try what i have a canon 600mm f4 l is usm see how much change you get from 10k
Not that i paid 10k as mine was second hand lol but still i could buy a performance car for the price, but hey I have made an investment because I know i will get my money back if i was ever in the need to sell it, which of course i would hate to be in that position as this is a stunning lens.
So you get what you pay for and when it comes to serious glass you pay serious money.
Nobody ever said photography was cheap lol.......
779HOB 9 1.2k United Kingdom
14 Mar 2013 7:36AM
One of the first bits of advice I ever got on this site was to buy pro lenses. This was one of the best bits of advice I have ever had to do with photography.

Nikon (what I use) pro lenses are, like all pro lenses, expensive. But I would rather have one pro lens than any amount of kit lenses. I would rather have a pro lens on a D80 than D800 with a cheap lens. 300 is a lot of money but unfortunately in terms of lenses it's nothing really. Well worth saving up for.
thewilliam 12 6.1k
14 Mar 2013 8:54AM

Quote:"When a lens is to be sold cheap, something has to be made less well and the most expensive part will be mechanical."

I really don't think that 300 is that 'cheap'. I bought my first car for about the same. I can a decent pushbike for that, or several other objects which are much larger and seemingly more complicated. A new moped can be bought for less.



With Nikon and other good makes, the basic "professional" zooms cost into 4 figures and for good reason. The top-end Nikon lenses are designed and built to survive the rough and tumble of press photography.
Newdevonian 8 466 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2013 9:48AM

Quote:The top-end Nikon lenses are designed and built to survive the rough and tumble of press photography.


This includes sticking up disgraced politicians noses. Thank the Lord for lens hoods!!!Smile
keithh 17 25.8k 33 Wallis And Futuna
14 Mar 2013 10:14AM
To be honest, and I know, if you get a camera knocked out of your hand, the pavement has no idea that it should not be breaking your expensive lens.

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