Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.
Forums  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear
Forums  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear
Register to forums    Log in

FORUMS Community Talk, Chatter & Stuff The Lounge 
Thread started 19 Feb 2015 (Thursday) 23:02
Search threadPrev/next
sponsored links (only for non-logged)

Is keeping unused lenses a financial loss waiting to happen?

EOS ­ Man
Happy Lucky 888 EOS
645 posts
Joined Feb 2007
Feb 19, 2015 23:02 |  #1

A few years ago (aka almost a decade! I feel old) when I first joined this forum, this question would have never crossed my mind. But technology does progress quite quickly and so does time. One huge advantage about the glass we use on our digital SLRs over other electronics and their accessories/components has been how well lenses hold their resale value. This was never an issue, even as recently as 3 years back when it was Canon vs Nikon vs Sony SLRs, Olympus PENs and everybody else.

But as of late, we have all these newfangled (GET OFF MY LAWN! :p ) things like small interchangeable lens systems (EOS M, Nikon 1, PEN, NEX, etc) which have taken off and will probably eclipse 'main' SLR system in both sales and marketshare in the coming years. Then there are things like super high-resolution sensors (that 50MP Canon EOS we've talked about for years is finally here!), movie mode on DSLRs, etc which have the potential to bring another "lens system migration/extinction" like we saw with Canon moving from FD to EOS in the 80s.

Compact system cameras probably pose less of a threat to the full-sized (eco)system, much like how we still have high-end desktops in a world of high-powered smartphones and tablets. But what if [Canon/Nikon/your camera brand] announced they were going to make 50MP+ sensors exclusively from here on out (remember smartphones and pocket cameras already have 20 megapixels) and none of the current lenses can resolve such high resolutions. Or if they brought out new "photo+movie lenses" (that may or may not use a different mount) that can autofocus instantly, silently, while movies are being recorded, while you can simultaneously capture stills, 30% smaller using DO technology, while being just $800 etc that makes your $2000 70-200 IS II drop 80% in value overnight.

My 7D is still happily chugging along (it still feels new), the 5 year gap has brought little change this round, the jump from 7D>7D2 is much less significant compared to the 30D>7D and has given me little incentive to upgrade. And my primary shooter is still my 24-70 while my 70-200 hasn't been practically used for almost 18 months (though stored well and maintained). And my biggest worry is another FD to EOS like change that will render an entire lens mount obsolete - there's been enough change in technology/focus/marke​t and I fear a mount change is around the corner.

My EOS Gearlist

Senior Member
651 posts
Likes: 39
Joined Mar 2005
Location: Irvine, CA
Feb 19, 2015 23:17 |  #2

I think the answer is a resounding yes.

If you have a lens that you don't intend to use anymore, why keep it? Unless it's something like a mint 50mm f/1.0L or 1200mm f/5.6L, there'd be no financial reason or hopes of its ever becoming a collectible to justify keeping it.


http://portfolio.alexj​ (external link)

Cream of the Crop
7,171 posts
Gallery: 1 photo
Likes: 53
Joined Aug 2006
Location: Merseyside, England
Feb 19, 2015 23:23 |  #3

EOS Man wrote in post #17440127 (external link)
And my biggest worry is another FD to EOS like change that will render an entire lens mount obsolete - there's been enough change in technology/focus/marke​t and I fear a mount change is around the corner.

The FD to EF mount change was because of the physical limitations of the mount. It was a fully mechanical system,and wasn't suitable for handling all the electronics that were coming with AF, IS, electronic aperture control, ultrasonic motors etc. They did try a primitive AF system with the T80 and 3 dedicated AF lenses (FD AC mount) that would still fit on FD bodies but with MF only, but these would only work properly on bodies where you could set the aperture on the body, as they had no aperture ring on the lens.

This already meant that many old bodies couldn't use them, so it was sensible that they went the whole hog with an all-new electronic mount, rather than a cobbled together conversion of the mechanical system. Now that they have done that, they should be able to make any necessary adaptations for new tech without changing the mount for the forseeable future.

Senior Member
513 posts
Gallery: 1 photo
Likes: 21
Joined Aug 2014
Location: the Netherlands
Mar 06, 2015 16:04 |  #4

As with anything that isn't considered "art" or "collectible", your lenses will slowly decrease in value over time. In that regard it makes little sense to maintain a lens just for the sake of keeping it. If you expect to use it in the future, then it's most likely cheapest to keep the lens.

Canon 5d, 60d, 17-40mm L, 30mm Art, 50mm, 85mm

2,268 posts
Gallery: 12 photos
Likes: 94
Joined Mar 2010
Mar 06, 2015 16:20 |  #5

If you'd invested in lenses before the recession you could make a nice profit after. Even when some MII versions came out hte second hand prices on out of production high end lenses were fantastic.

That said anything you have will likely devalue in todays world. Most consumer goods are mass produced so they are only going to go up if they are rare, niche etc.... Now sure in 500 years time they might be worth a fortune again if kept in good condition.

That said stuff you own and use (evn if not every day) is an investment; but its reward is not typically financial. If you're in it for the fun then the reward is your enjoyment; if you're running a business then yes chances are reviewing what you do and don't use and dropping things you've really no honest need for is a valid approach.

Tools of the trade: Canon 400D, Canon 7D, Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS L M2, Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 OS, Canon MPE 65mm f2.8 macro, Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro, Tamron 24-70mm f2.4, Sigma 70mm f2.8 macro, Sigma 8-16mm f4.5-5.6, Raynox DCR 250, loads of teleconverters and a flashy thingy too
My flickr (external link)

Senior Member
550 posts
Gallery: 7 photos
Best ofs: 1
Likes: 16
Joined Apr 2011
Location: Wisconsin
Mar 06, 2015 16:32 |  #6

If your photography is a business then you are already factoring in depreciation in the valuation of your lenses and camera bodies and other accessories.

If your photography is a hobby then it is all up to you as to when to sell versus keep a lens.

For me, if I already have something then it is cheaper to keep it, unless it no longer satisfies me then I will sell or donate it for whatever I can get for it.

And with that said, if you've got a $2,000 lens that you only use four times a year, and if you can sell it for $2,000 and can rent the same lens for some marginal amount then maybe it is worth it to sell your $2,000 lens while you can still get $2,000 for it. Version 1 100-400L's I'm seeing go for $850 or so now that the version 2 is out. Likewise I'm seeing EF-S 10-22's sell for $350. For those, I might still get one if I can afford it when I find a deal because I'd use them enough that renting would cost me more in the long run.

You pays your money, you takes your chances, and you do whatever works for you. It is only a "loss" if you regret your choices made.

60D w/18-135 kit lens, 55-250mm, EF 50mm 1.8, 580EXII flash.

sponsored links (only for non-logged)

1,437 views & 0 likes for this thread, 6 members have posted to it and it is followed by 4 members.
Is keeping unused lenses a financial loss waiting to happen?
FORUMS Community Talk, Chatter & Stuff The Lounge 
x 1600
y 1600

Jump to forum...   •  Rules   •  Forums   •  New posts   •  RTAT   •  'Best of'   •  Gallery   •  Gear   •  Reviews   •  Member list   •  Polls   •  Image rules   •  Search   •  Password reset   •  Home

Not a member yet?
Register to forums
Registered members may log in to forums and access all the features: full search, image upload, follow forums, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, all settings, view hosted photos, own reviews, see more and do more... and all is free. Don't be a stranger - register now and start posting!

COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and to our privacy policy.
Privacy policy and cookie usage info.

POWERED BY AMASS forum software 2.58forum software
version 2.58 /
code and design
by Pekka Saarinen ©

Latest registered member is bigtoxy69
1290 guests, 95 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 15,144, that happened on Nov 22, 2018 Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.