Why Cheap Lenses Will Always Cost You More in The Long Run

Cheap lenses offer an excellent way for photographers to build up a collection, but in the long run, you’ll pay for them in more ways than one.

At the beginning of your photographic journey, it’s easy to drop a few hundred bucks on a cheap lens that you’re sure will lead you to greatness. Continue to do this, and you will amass a collection of cheap lenses that you believe are doing an excellent job for you. Mark these words, though, as there will come a time when you progress in your abilities, and you will start to see the shortcomings of your cheap lenses. You’ll also realize just how much money you now have tied up in lenses that just don’t cut it. 7Artisans announced new 35mm f1.4 lens which sounds excellent, but this makes us wonder whether cheaper lenses always cost you more in the long run. Let’s talk about this after the break.

An article on Sony Alpha Rumors shed some light on a new 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 lens for Sony’s E Mount cameras. 7Artisans are known for making reasonably well-built lenses that offer great image quality. The kicker is the price you can get them for: they are very affordable. I will say there is nothing inherently wrong with buying cheap lenses like this one. I have purchased many, just as I’m sure that you have, but I have always been left wanting more after a short time.

You absolutely can get create great images with cheap lenses if you know what you’re doing. Many photographers have made excellent images with lenses like the 7Artisans 50mm f1.1, pictured above. You’ll go out, you’ll shoot, and you will be floored by what these lenses can produce. As stated above, as you progress, you will start to wonder what more expensive lenses could do.

portrait lenses


Yes, it’s the photographer that makes the image and not the camera or the lens. We know this, but higher quality gear will help you produce higher quality work; that’s just a fact. Spend a little more and you can get sharper images, and you’ll find that vignetting, distortion, and chromatic aberrations are all controlled better too. Higher-tiered lenses are often weather-sealed and offer autofocus capabilities, while lenses such as the new 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 are manual focus affairs.

By all means, purchase lenses like those offered by 7Artisans: there is nothing really wrong with them. But don’t put all of your eggs in the cheap lens basket. Cheap lenses are great for those who are starting out, but do yourself a favor and save for better glass down the line. If you really want to start producing work that can make you money, you’re much better off investing in higher priced lenses.

If all of your lenses are on the cheaper side of things, that’s okay, but it’s a guarantee that eventually you will sell them off to go on to bigger and better things. During the process, you’ll lose hundreds of dollars because cheap lenses do not retain their value like lenses from Sigma, Tamron, Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Fujifilm do. So, earlier than later, do yourself a favor and invest in higher quality glass rather than filling your camera bag with cheap lenses. You will save yourself a ton of money in the long run.

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.