Lately, I began to marvel simply how a lot heavier lenses have gotten on at present’s market – each DSLR and mirrorless. The query began when Nikon and Canon’s mirrorless launches every included lenses that dwarfed the digital camera our bodies, and it grew stronger when Sigma introduced a 1.three kilogram 40mm f/1.four lens (considerably heavier than the Zeiss Otus). Ultimately, I made a decision to map out the weights of all 733 lenses launched within the 21st century to see how issues have modified.
After sorting every lens by weight and date launched, I grouped them into eight distinct classes. For every class, I created separate charts to trace lens weight through the years:
- All lenses
- Nikon DSLR lenses
- Canon DSLR lenses
- Pentax DSLR lenses
- All third-party DSLR lenses
- Micro 4 Thirds lenses
- Fuji X mirrorless lenses
- Sony full-frame mirrorless lenses
All these charts are included within the article under. Though there are many classes that aren’t coated right here, I consider that these are a few of the largest ones our readers will marvel about. And, in the event you’re fascinated about monitoring how one other sort of lens has modified through the years, examine the underside of this text for a hyperlink to the entire spreadsheet of all 733 lenses to edit as you want.
Additionally, I’m not claiming that the record of lenses I gathered is an entire set of every part launched available on the market up to now 20 years. I’m positive that a number of slipped my consideration. Nevertheless, I did comply with an ordinary process for all of them – including each single lens from the DPreview lens database because the yr 2000, then filling in lacking specs utilizing knowledge from the Images Life lens index. That totaled 733, which is a big sufficient pattern to point out good developments, and that was my objective anyway.
How did I decide which lenses to incorporate or exclude? Usually, I didn’t skip over something in any respect if I might assist it. Meaning the charts under embrace lenses from obscure manufacturers like Kamlan and 7artisans, in addition to “gimmick” lenses from corporations like Lensbaby. The identical is true for specialty corporations like Leica and Hasselblad, in addition to defunct lens codecs like four/three DSLRs and Samsung mirrorless cameras. I selected to take action as a result of all these lenses are a part of the street to images in the present day, and the really obscure ones are solely a small fraction of the entire. Virtually all of the lenses examined under are viable choices available on the market that many individuals nonetheless purchase right now.
I solely included lenses for four/three sensors or bigger, which signifies that Nikon 1, Samsung NX-M, and Pentax Q lenses have been excluded. The one lens I excluded as an outlier is the Sigma 200-500mm f/2.eight, which weighs 15.7 kilos (34.6 kilos), greater than 3 times as a lot because the Nikon 800mm f/5.6. The dates related to every lens under are announcement dates, not cargo dates.
Common vs Median Lens Weights
Earlier than attending to the charts, right here’s a fast rationalization of why I introduced the info under as I did.
I’ve opted to point out three totally different charts for every class under: particular person lens weights, operating common, and operating median. I consider it is very important have each a operating common and a operating median chart, not only one or the opposite. For instance, check out the next numbers:
- 5, 11, 13, 17, 94
- Common = 28
- Median = 13
Which one – common or median – provides you a extra helpful sense of the 5 numbers above? Which one tells the extra full story? Neither, actually. The reply is determined by which info you worth extra, and the way a lot you need to account for outliers just like the quantity 94.
Lenses are so much just like the 5 numbers above. Most lenses weigh inside a small vary, straightforward to handhold and never too heavy. Nevertheless, producers typically launch an enormous 400mm f/2.eight or 600mm f/four telephoto that weighs probably 10x greater than the remainder of its lineup. Ought to these lenses be included in a good evaluation? There are good arguments both means.
Personally, I might somewhat the numbers not be skewed too strongly by mega telephoto lenses. I’m extra involved in how strange, on a regular basis lenses have modified through the years. So, I consider that the median is an important quantity general on this occasion, because it isn’t affected as strongly by supertelephotos. In fact, your personal preferences might differ.
That’s why I’ve included each a operating common and a operating median chart in every part of the article under. The “running” technique is an effective method to look at the state of lenses at a given time limit, as a result of it solely pays consideration to the most recent lenses available on the market. In the event you aren’t accustomed to operating averages or medians, they reply a easy query: On a given date, how a lot did the 100 latest lenses weigh? (Or the most recent 50, 25, 15, and so on., lenses – chosen based mostly on the “interval” specified.) That quantity is an effective solution to see developments buried in a big set of in any other case troublesome knowledge.
Lastly, observe that I stored the size on the vertical axis equivalent for every of the three chart varieties. This makes a number of the later charts look a bit sparse, however it supplies a greater solution to examine the general weight of every lens system, which I consider is well worth the tradeoff.
All Lenses Since 2000
Once we take a look at each single lens launched because the yr 2000, all 733 of them, a number of takeaways are fairly clear. First, extra lenses have been merely introduced just lately than originally of the 2000s, which is not any shock provided that the variety of digital camera and lens corporations has solely elevated through the years (and digital camera sensor codecs, too).
Second, lens producers within the early 2000s had no qualms about producing unwieldy telephoto lenses. 4 of the 5 heaviest lenses on this chart have been introduced in 2007 or earlier. Beginning in about 2003, it’s straightforward to seek out lenses that weigh nicely over the two kg mark.
Then again, “medium heavy” lenses, within the vary from 750-1000 g, weren’t actually widespread till about 2012. In 2015 and past, these lenses actually exploded in reputation, comparable (for the primary time) to lenses within the 500-750 g vary.
Now check out the operating common and operating median charts for each lens launched because the yr 2000:
(The charts above begin in 2006 moderately than 2000 as a result of they’re a operating complete of the 100 latest lenses, and the 100th lens wasn’t launched till 2006.)
These charts present one factor fairly clearly: After regularly reducing in weight over the early 2000s, lenses have began to get considerably heavier in recent times.
The distinction is surprisingly giant. At present (January 2019), the 100 latest lenses available on the market weigh a mean of 797 grams. Six years in the past (January 2013), the 100 latest lenses weighed simply 531 grams on common. This development is even clearer within the operating median numbers, which aren’t skewed by telephotos as a lot. Particularly, the 100 latest lenses available on the market in the present day weigh a median of 650 grams. In January 2013, that quantity was simply 320 grams. That’s lower than half. In truth, by this normal, right now’s lenses are the heaviest they’ve ever been, a minimum of within the digital age.
Nevertheless, one other takeaway from the chart is that older lenses have been a lot heavy as nicely. In line with the Common chart, lenses in 2008 have been heavier, barely, than lenses immediately. That reality is partly because of the giant variety of supertelephotos launched within the early 2000s, although it isn’t the one purpose.
However sufficient about that. You’ll be able to take a look at these charts and type your personal impressions. As an alternative, I’d like to point out the precise charts of smaller classes of lenses, which is extra related anyway. In any case, the charts above embrace each lens, no matter format or model; they’re too broad to provide a lot info in your specific firm or sort of digital camera. So, listed here are some extra particular divisions:
Nikon DSLR Lenses
First up are Nikon DSLR lenses, not together with third social gathering lenses that match Nikon cameras. That totals 86 lenses because the yr 2000. On this case, lens weights have remained fairly regular over the previous 20 years, even reducing barely in that point. Check out the next charts:
That final little bounce within the median chart isn’t actually vital, until it retains going up for the subsequent few years. General, Nikon has remained very fixed in its lens weights – one of many few producers to take action.
(Notice that the charts for operating common and operating median embrace a decrease variety of current lenses – 25, not 100. This cuts off minimal knowledge from the start of the chart, though the tradeoff is that the chart shouldn’t be as clean from level to level. Nevertheless, an interval as giant as 100 would have been inconceivable, provided that there are solely 86 lenses complete.)
Canon DSLR Lenses
Canon has stored tempo with Nikon through the years, with 76 DSLR lenses launched because the yr 2000. General, lens weights have additionally remained comparatively regular. Though there was a little bit of a dip in weight from 2012 to 2016, and a little bit of progress since then, the distinction shouldn’t be very giant:
These charts are fairly regular general, just like Nikon.
Pentax DSLR Lenses
Since 2000, there have been 46 new Pentax DSLR lenses, principally for full body and APS-C sensors (although two for medium format DSLRs). Because the pattern measurement is smaller, it isn’t potential to attract conclusions which are as robust as different classes of lenses, however listed here are the tables however:
Based mostly on these tables, the load of Pentax lenses has remained comparatively fixed over time, just like Nikon and Canon, maybe growing marginally in recent times (although keep in mind that the pattern measurement is comparatively small).
Third-Get together DSLR Lenses
There have been a powerful 160 third-party DSLR lenses launched up to now couple many years, making it straightforward to attract conclusions from the info under. Briefly, third-party lenses have gotten considerably heavier in recent times, a gentle improve from about 600 grams (median) to 885 right now.
As an fascinating apart, you’ll discover within the first chart that 5 heavy lenses have been introduced on precisely the identical day in 2005 (February 14 particularly). All of them are Sigma’s. That day alone shifted the general lens averages greater than some other thus far this century.
Micro 4 Thirds Lenses
There have been a powerful 81 devoted Micro 4 Thirds lenses launched because the first one in September 2008. Over that point, they’ve grown in weight at a gentle tempo, as you’ll be able to see under.
This part solely consists of lens made solely for Micro 4 Thirds cameras, not APS-C lenses or full-frame lenses additionally bought in a Micro 4 Thirds mount. Most of them are Panasonic and Olympus lenses, however a handful of third-party lenses from corporations like Sigma and Tamron are M4/three solely, and they’re included within the charts under.
Fuji X Collection Mirrorless Lenses
There are simply 29 Fuji X collection mirrorless lenses thus far, which isn’t sufficient to collect a terrific pattern on how they’ve modified in weight over time. Nevertheless, I’ve nonetheless included all three charts under. Though it seems as if they, too, have elevated in weight, the small quantity of knowledge concerned means it isn’t a good suggestion to leap to conclusions:
Sony Full Body Mirrorless Lenses
After getting into the full-frame mirrorless market, Sony launched lenses at a speedy tempo. Nevertheless, the primary of these lenses didn’t arrive till October 2013, so that they had loads of work to do. Because of some third-party lenses from corporations like Zeiss and Rokinon, the entire variety of devoted lenses for Sony FE cameras (full body mirrorless) is 48. That also isn’t sufficient knowledge to attract particularly robust conclusions, however it does present a bit extra room than Fuji:
And, like Fuji, the general lens weights look like growing – nevertheless it may simply be a fluke of the smaller knowledge set.
Personally, my largest takeaway is that lenses at the moment are a number of the heaviest we now have ever had – perhaps the heaviest, interval. Nevertheless, not all classes have elevated in weight equally, and even elevated in any respect. Nikon lenses are arguably trending barely lighter than earlier than, and corporations like Canon and Pentax have been pretty regular over time.
As an alternative, a lot of the weight positive aspects over the previous 6-7 years come from third-party lenses and, apparently, mirrorless lenses (no matter model). That is regardless of the impression that we’re getting into a “lightweight mirrorless era” right now. Though the charts clearly present that mirrorless lenses general are nonetheless lighter than DSLR lenses, they’ve been getting heavier extra shortly than their DSLR counterparts. In consequence, it’s no shock that at this time’s lenses are trending upward in weight so noticeably.
This isn’t essentially a nasty factor. Lenses at this time are additionally sharper than ever earlier than, with wider apertures and unorthodox designs like f/2 zooms that we haven’t seen till lately. Though producers is perhaps trending away from light-weight lenses, it looks like photographers are doing the identical – and even in case you’re not amongst them, there are nonetheless numerous lenses out there at the moment to suit your wants. And inside sure courses of lenses the place weight actually counts, resembling supertelephotos, there was an plain development of lighter lenses in recent times, because of technological developments like fluorite lens parts and part fresnel glass.
If you wish to research the unique knowledge your self, here’s a Google Sheets doc with all 733 lenses, prepared to repeat and paste into Excel or your different most popular software program. Should you discover the info from this spreadsheet helpful for a venture of your personal, I’d respect a hyperlink again to Images Life:
Hopefully you discovered this text to be fascinating! It took some critical effort to place collectively all this knowledge for tons of of lenses, and the undertaking isn’t over but. Share this text in case you thought it was a great learn, and let me know within the feedback if there’s something particularly you need me to take a look at for half two.