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  By Mike Valeriani

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Camera Lens

A high quality Canon camera lens.I’ve always said that the camera lens is the most important part of your equipment. Many people let adverts and fashion deviate from what is really important.

There are two fundamental things in photography: the lens and the film. Whatever is in between is purely for your personal comfort and speed, but it will not aid in creating a great image.

Once I purchased an old Zenit camera (Soviet made) and I was astonished at the quality of the lens. The camera itself was completely mechanical and very basic (other than very heavy), but that was exactly what I liked about it.

Great (and very cheap) lens up front, great film at the back... and I was set! With very little money (I got it at the famous Porta Portese street market in Rome for about $50) I could shoot technically excellent photographs. Nothing stood in my way, not even a silly flat battery! I believe it is not very wise to spend all your money on the camera of your dreams and save on the lens. Unfortunately most people do precisely this and the results are inevitably very poor.

Instead you should invest in an excellent lens: choose an expensive one – there is a reason for them to be so expensive. Then save money by getting a silly camera. The lens you see at the top is a great one: the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens. Well worth the price. The red ring at the front tells everyone that it's an above average lens. This is how Canon marks the best of the best.

Now with digital photography the situation is slightly different, because a silly camera might not be that good anymore, but anyway you got the point.An old Zenit soviet camera with a great camera lens.

How many times in your life will you need a 1/8000 of a second shutter speed? Just as much as you will need a Ferrari to go at 350 miles per hour. Slow down and concentrate on quality, rather than speed.

Which is the best lens brand? As a rule of thumb, the more expensive a lens is, the better. The two and only World’s leaders in extremely high quality lenses are Carl Zeiss and Leica, both German. Their lenses are extremely expensive, but well worth it. They have minimal distortion and aberrations. If you are looking for perfection... well, you know where to go.

Talking about lenses that we common mortals can use without taking up a mortgage, I believe that a Canon camera lens is generally superior to a Nikon camera lens.

Many people ask me (and I get this a lot): “which is the World’s largest lens?” Keeping in mind that for the purpose of this article I will not get into astronomy lenses, the World’s largest ever built lens is the 5200 mm telephoto lens by Canon.

It is extremely rare and I actually believe there is only one in the world. It was built in Japan during the cold war, probably for spy purposes.

It was up for sale on eBay a while ago for $45.000. At 100 Kg in weight, the price did not include shipping fees. See this video posted on YouTube.

The best thing to do before buying a lens, is to check for camera lens reviews and preferably on internet.

Why? Because on internet you will get customers reviews, while on magazines you never know if they are being honest, because of advertising interests.(On the right you can see a mug made out of a Canon lens. It sells for an outrageous $30.00)

A Canon camera lens turned into a mug.A digital camera lens differs a bit from a traditional one. For a start they are much more delicate, as they have an incredible amount of electronic components inside. Then they are mostly made of plastic, which can crack very easily if dropped. I believe that a canon camera lens is a good one to rely on.

Camera lens repair shops are becoming so rare that you just better watch not to drop your lenses. Once I had to have a lens cleaned after having being in the Sahara desert and I had to wait three months to have it back. Thank God I had a spare one.

Many people use clear camera lens filters to protect the lens. The lens manufacturers spend so much time and effort to design lenses with the least possible number of elements and what do you do? You add another silly and cheap element in front of it.

To protect lenses there are caps, not clear filters. Throw away the silly filter and cover your lens when you don’t use it. You will have a slight improvement in your images and you will make full use of your well spent money.




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