Are newer lenses better than older ones?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by mootxico, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. mootxico

    mootxico Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 6, 2014
    I bought a 25mm f1.8 for my E-pl7 recently, and I'm really pleased with the results. I'm planning to purchase a 12mm f2 lens sometime in the future to make it easier to take pics of things closer without having to move myself further away as I do now for the 25mm.

    However, it appears that the 12mm was produced back in 2011. Does that mean it'll be technologically inferior compared to newer lenses, like the 25mm that I bought that was produced in 2014?
  2. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    No, lens technology doesn't move quite that fast.

    In general each lens design offers far more design trade offs the designer must choose that have far more effect than a few years of technology.

    So choices like:

    - Higher IQ vs. smaller size
    - Sharper center vs. sharper edges
    - Field curvature vs. coma

    and hundreds of others tend to make different lens designs far more different than what particular glass types or aspheres a lens designer had a year or two ago.

    Now, compare lenses from say twenty or thirty years ago - especially smaller form factor lenses like m43 and even more especially zoom lenses and the differences due to technology are very dramatic.
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  3. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    And then even sometimes dramatic in how good the old lenses really are, some of the older glass is every bit as sharp as the new.

    Older doesn't automatically mean worse unless it's the marketing department talking. This is something where video is once again ahead of still photography(being brutal here, the real money not too long ago in film was movies, the real money in lenses and cameras now is high end broadcast/movie cameras and lenses for them, a single TV/movie camera lens would offset the sale of tens of thousands of consumer lenses) What is often found is many newer more technically perfect render the scene in a very sterile harsh way, nature isn't perfect... so slight imperfections can actually add rather than detract depending on the scene.

    All that said, in the scheme of things 5 or 10 years is absolutely nothing at all. We're mostly still using the same optical formulas which have been known for a hundred years, each generation tweaked slightly closer to marketings end goal. The main gains in short term (10-15 years) is things like autofocus speed or stop down speed (can increase sequential shooting speed) or just quieter more refined operation.
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