Update on Zoom Reduction

writer: russell j.t. dyer; posted: sep 2011; revised: mar 2018; readers past month: 1004

Since I posted an entry about Reducing Zoom over a year ago, I’ve used my Canon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM zoom lens only three times — I set up a smart-collection in Adobe Light Room to check. I took a total of fifty-four shots: forty-one in October last year, five in March of this year, and eight more in May. Of those three batches, I’ve only used five of the photos — they were all from the outing in May. As for the other forty-nine photos, I had switched between the zoom and the Canon 50mm L f/1.2 USM lens I own, and decided that the shots taken with the fixed focal length lens were better and used them instead.

Although this is a fine lens, I don’t seem to use it much. When I bought a Zeiss Distagon T* 21mm f/2.8 ZE lens in June of last year, I sold a Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM lens and a Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM lens to pay for the Zeiss lens. Both were excellent lenses for the money. The Zeiss 21mm lens helped me to get over selling the Canon 20mm lens. However, I have missed the Canon 85mm lens. I thought the Canon 70-300mm zoom lens would cover my needs by just setting its focal length to 85mm. That makes sense, but it’s not the same — especially since it can’t be set to an aperture of f/1.8 like the Canon 85mm lens.

Zeiss ZE 85mm f/1.4 lens

So, I’ve decided to sell my last zoom lens for my Canon cameras. I gave it to a photography store near where I live in Italy to sell for me. They think they can get about € 900 ($1275) for it. That’s only about $200 less than I paid for it three years ago. The storekeepers will take about $100 for a commission. The cool thing about that is that it will mean that I have basically rented that lens for three years at a cost of only $300, or $100 a year. I didn’t get too much of my money’s worth the past year or so, but I did use it a bunch the first eighteen months (i.e., 998 photos taken with most used) when I was zoom oriented and not fixated on fixed-focal length lenses.

When the lens is sold, I’m going to get a high-quality 85mm lens. If I can piece together the extra money, maybe the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM lens. It costs about $ 2050. But I may get a Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T* ZE manual focus lens. They cost only $ 1285. So, either an extra $ 110 for the Zeiss, or an extra $875 for the Canon.

Anyway, that’s the update on this plan and my progress to eliminate all of my zoom lenses. Thanks for the insights from those who sent me responses. It helped me to decide to hang onto the lens for another year, which made it easier to let go now, given the data I now have on my usage of that lens.