December 28th, 2015

Photo Gear Repair Rates: LensRentals Crunched the Numbers

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LensRentals has released a comprehensive overview photo gear repair rates after 24 months in the field. PDN has the exclusive details.

First, a quick primer on how LensRental generated their numbers. The company bases its results on “repair events”—or an instance of when a piece of equipment is sent to the repair department. According to LensRental, just because a camera body or lens is sent to the repair shop doesn’t necessarily mean it’s busted.

“When a customer reports an issue with a piece of equipment, it is always sent to the repair department for a thorough check,” the company tells us. “It could simply be a case of user error, or the customer’s equipment that is actually in need of repair.” Other cases of repair are simple cleanings like dust removal, even dust removal for cosmetic reasons. So you shouldn’t automatically associate a high level of repair events with defective construction.

The LensRental data was derived from relative repair percentages and average rentals and rental days for each item in a given category. They then developed a curve that best matched each data set, the company tells us. “What we found for each group is that a linear curve fit best. In other words, our data found that a lens has the same likelihood of failing on its 40th rental as it does on its [first] rental. We used the equations to generate predicted repair rates, based on the average rentals and rental days for each item. We generated a ‘Repair Score’ by dividing the predicted rate of repair by the actual rate of repair.”

A Repair Score greater than 1.0 indicates an item with an actual repair rate that is lower than the predicted repair rate, and a score below 1.0 indicates a repair rate that’s higher than predicted.

It’s important to point out the LensRental data may not be indicative of typical use. As the company tells us, “even an item with a poor score in our data is not necessarily likely to fail in the hands of a typical consumer.” For one thing, the data doesn’t account for directly for item weight or internal complexity. Lens data also doesn’t take into account image quality. For instance, tack sharp lenses are often adjusted if there’s a slight softening at an edge whereas a lens that’s less sharp to start with may not get flagged for as many optical adjustments. In this way, sharp lenses may end up being repaired more than average to keep them at the top of their game.

So here are the repair scores across several categories, keeping in mind that higher scores indicate lower-than-predicted rates of repair:

Camera Bodies
DSLR: 1.14
Mirrorless: .79

DSLR Brands
Canon 1.1
Nikon: .95
Sony .8

Mirrorless Camera Brands
Fuji 1.28
Sony 1
Olympus .97
Panasonic .92
Leica .92

DSLR Zoom Lenses
Canon 1.18
Tokina 1.11
Nikon 1.12
Average 1.11
Sony 0.95
Sigma 0.90
Tamron 0.71

DSLR Prime Lenses
Zeiss 1.20
Canon 1.08
Average 1.01
Sigma 0.90
Nikon 0.85
Sony 0.83
Pentax 0.59
Rokinon 0.53

Mirrorless Primes
Panasonic 1.57
Sony 1.26
Olympus 1.14
Voigtlander 0.99
Average 0.95
Zeiss 0.93
Fuji 0.77
Leica 0.69

Mirrorless Zoom
Olympus 1.25
Sony 1.06
Panasonic 1.05
Average 1.04
Fuji 0.92

Zoom Types
Wide Angle 1.31
Normal 1.09
Telephoto 1.07
Supertele 0.68

See Also:

10 Things We Learned About Cameras and Lens from LensRentals

The Best Advanced Compact Cameras You Can Buy Today

Our Favorite Photo Gear of the Year

November 13th, 2014

The Hidden History of the Zoom Lens in Films and Movies

What do the zoom lens and atomic bomb have in common? Both have roots in the second World War and both owe their genesis, in part, to qualified engineers fleeing the Nazi regime.

Nick Hall, a researcher at Royal Holloway, University of London composed the following short history of the zoom lens for the Society for the History of Technology’s three minute dissertation contest. It’s a fascinating, if brief, overview of how a once controversial technology permeated U.S. filmmaking.

Via: Studio Daily

April 18th, 2013

Sigma Announces World’s First F1.8 Constant Aperture Zoom

PPhoto_A_18_35_013_VerticalIn a very exciting bit of news for photographers who live and breathe in the low-light world, Sigma today announced a 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM lens. A constant f/1.8 zoom lens is one and a third stops faster than the f/2.8 lenses that we normally consider a “fast” zooms. Sigma is claiming that their 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens is the market’s first zoom lens to achieve a maximum aperture F1.8 throughout the entire zoom range.

The 18-35mm is the latest addition to Sigma’s Art line of lenses, one of their new “Global Vision” products. The Global Vision lenses are categorized by use into one of three groups: Art, Contemporary and Sports. The Art category is supposed to deliver “high-level artistic expression through sophisticated and abundant expressive power.” We’re not sure what “abundant expressive power” means. But if it means fast zoom lenses, we’re all in.

Our full story on the Sigma news, including specifications, info on handling and more is on the Gear section of PDNOnline.