Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Quality of Lens Purchased in a Kit vs Same Model Lens Purchased Separately...  (Read 2016 times)

Nick Walt

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 60

I was reading an article by Rick Kattlemann where he made numerous references to the quality of the specific copy of the lens he was using or reviewing.

This was the first time that I recall reading a reference to a specific instance of a model and it really raised the question: just how much variance in quality is there within a particular model?

Which brings me to my question: Is it likely for a lens purchased as a kit, discounted with the body, to be of lesser quality than the same lens purchased separately for full price?

I am considering purchasing the Olympus E-M1 kit with the 12-40 f2.8 PRO (when you purchase a kit like this the lens is boxed with the body). The kit has a significant discount over buying body and lens separately.

Based on Rick's comments, indicating noticeable variation within a model, is it reasonable to assume that manufacturers might have a different bin for lenses going into a kit (a bit like having different bins for the same CPU that varies in its performance target)? If so, should I be willing to compromise on a lens like the 12-40 PRO when I am buying it for its quality?

Cheers
« Last Edit: May 05, 2014, 08:30:35 am by Nick Walt »
Logged

Slobodan Blagojevic

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16967
  • When everyone thinks the same, nobody thinks
    • My website

No, it is not likely. The price discount has economic reasons behind it.

AFairley

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1486

What Slobodan said.  For insight into how much sample variation there can be in lenses and whether variation is significant, browse the excellent posts in Roger Cicala's lensrentals.com technical blog.
Logged

Nick Walt

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 60

Ok, thanks guys. I'll be sure to check out the link, too. Cheers, Nick
Logged

Slobodan Blagojevic

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16967
  • When everyone thinks the same, nobody thinks
    • My website

To expand on the economic reasons: they are simply enticing you to spend more in one go, similar to super-sizing your portion in restaurants.

Especially when it comes to PRO lenses, like the Olympus you mentioned, or Canon's 24-105 that also comes in kit. Most amateurs actually crave the body more (camera body, that is), going for the latest and greatest, bells and whistles, while skimping on the lens, often settling for the cheapest (like 50/1.8 - though usually a great lens in itself). Or they go for other brands (e.g. Sigma, Tamron), that are usually cheaper than the original brand.

More experienced buyers know to get the best possible lens(es) they could afford at the time, and settle for a simpler body. The reason being, one, optical quality that impacts image quality more than a body does, and two, longevity of the investment. You see, camera lenses come and go every few months, while lenses last way, way longer. Just check the prices of Leica lenses, for instance, relative to bodies (other than collector items, of course). Especially when it comes to digital.

Other reasons being savings on packaging and handling. One instead of two SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit) means less warehouse space, less retail space, less bookkeeping, etc.

Nick Walt

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 60

Great, thank you, Slobodan. I can purchase with confidence, now. Most appreciated.

Interestingly, Ming Thein just posted about sample variation. Very timely:
http://blog.mingthein.com/2014/05/06/qc-and-sample-variations/
Logged

LKaven

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1060

Vote up for Roger's lensrentals.com blog.  They test their lenses in statistically significant quantities, and you'll find some plots of sample variations.  There is quite a bit of variation, depending upon which lens, who made it, and when.  I don't think there is anyone else who has numbers like this, except the manufacturers themselves.

spidermike

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 535

The only way it would make sense would be to take a lens that had failed QC and pack that into a kit with the body - that is committing commercial suicide because the instant purchase is the customer's window to their product range, and it would mean every kit sold is substandard which itself would lead to losses due to (a) damaged reputation and lost sales and (b) cost of replacing unsatisfactory goods. Separating 'pass QC' lenses into 'good' and 'not so good' would (IMO) likely be a stocktaking nightmare that would chew up the reduced profit because a lens that has passed QC is sold at the same prices irrespective of where it is on the spectrum.

Companies have a pricing structure which, in the case of technologies like cameras or hifi, has a lower % margin on the big ticket items (body or body plus kit lens) which gets you into the product range and a higher mark-up on after-sales purchases, whether it be a cable release or a new lens. The profit on those after sales purchases help keep the price of the body (or kit) down. So I would say go ahead and buy the kit.
Logged

BobShaw

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1909
    • Aspiration Images

To expand on the economic reasons: they are simply enticing you to spend more in one go, similar to super-sizing your portion in restaurants.

Exactly, plus the last thing they want if for people to buy a pro standard camera and put a poor lens on it and blame the camera.
Logged
Website - http://AspirationImages.com
Fine Art Photography

Lightsmith

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 197

It comes down to competitive marketing strategies. The camera manufacturers know that there is a segment of entry level customers who want a kit as it simplifies the purchase decision to one of whose kit to buy. It also insures that the manufacturer's camera is equipped with one of their lenses which adds to the profit from the individual customer. Many camera stores take this a step further and create their own bundles or kits and add in a lens cloth, a UV filter, and other fluff so the customer cannot make a direct comparison of this bundle with what another camera merchant is offering.

If one is going to get seriously into photography as a hobby the kit lenses are not a good investment. Better to buy a camera and then choose the best first lens for your needs. Over time you will upgrade cameras but you can save money by not also having to upgrade your lenses as well.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up