Monday, 18 January 2021

The New Lens Experience

Fuji X-T2, 7Artisans 12mm f2.8

One of the more surprising experiences I've had while dipping my toes into cheap Chinese lenses is just how great the New Lens Experience can be with some of them.

Fuji already had a pretty nice unboxing experience with the XF lenses. Nice boxes, if standard cardboard packaging and they all come with a combo lens pouch/lens cloth.

My Laowa 15mm f4 came with bog-standard packaging. Real nice build to the lens, but a standard new lens experience. The Neewer 25mm f1.8 was different, coming in a nice faux leather pouch in what is seriously the most flimsy cardpaper box out there, so thin it didn't even qualify as cardboard.

My two 7Artisans lenses on the other hand have been a VERY different experience.

 The 12mm f2.8 came in a very high quality cardboard presentation box, filled with high quality open-cell foam inserts (like a Pelican case). It included a very nice microfibre lens pouch and a Pergear lens cloth. Very nice for a lens that cost me $230CDN or so, and frankly better than the Fuji's (and significantly nicer than Nikon/Sony/Canon, even on expensive lenses)

I picked up the 7Artisans 18/6.3 UFO body cap/fixed focus lens this weekend. This is a cheap fixed focus lens ($69USD) and still came in a surprisingly nice presentation (the lens is also surprisingly a 7-element design, vs the usual 2-3 element design for most fixed focus applications). The overall package was just bubblewrap, but pull the contents out and there's a Pergear lens cloth and a plastic case with the lens in a nice microfibre lens pouch. And the plastic container doubles as a carry case for the lens in its pouch.

The level of presentation from these 7Artisans lenses gives a real anticipation for opening the box when it arrives. I'm given to understand their 'Wen' M mount lenses are even better, coming in proper leather presentation boxes.

It's little things like this which make buying some of these cheap lenses so much fun, and which really shows how the big brands cut corners and it affects the new lens experience.

The biggest part of this? If my $69 lens can come with a proper rear lens cap, why does a $300 XC lens from Fuji come with a crap push-on rear cap? Nikon & Sony are equally guilty of the cheap accessories in cheap lenses (something that makes no sense, stocking a second SKU has to cost them more than the penny or so they save, especially since they still have to cut a mold for them)

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