Can You Tell The Difference Between A $150 Camera Lens And A $15,000 One?

As any person with a bit of DSLR experience knows, the lens you use is as important as the camera, if not more so. But just how much does the average shutterfly have to spend to get "good enough" results? Can a $150 Canon EF Primes compete with a $15,000 top-shelf Zeiss? Compare the photos in this video and judge for yourself.

Freddie from RocketJump decided to put several cheap and expensive lenses to the test, to save the rest of us from destroying our bank accounts.

To make sure the camera itself provided the best results, a 4K RED Epic was used, along with the following lenses:

  • Canon EF Primes (~$150)
  • RED Cine Primes and Zeiss Compact Primes (~$5000)
  • Zeiss Ultra Primes (~$15,000)

Rather than use focus charts or other purpose-designed tests that would clearly show the differences, the lenses are used in practical situations -- a typical suburb, at the beach, a park and so forth. The idea being that most amateur photographers would be more than happy with excellent perceptual quality and not what you get under unrealistic conditions designed to emphasise flaws.

While you're more than welcome to test your knowledge and guess which lens is which, Freddie also recruits two people with photography experience and... well, a guy who's only "professional" experience is playing with his dad's VHS camcorder. I know it's cliché but, the results will surprise you.

If you just want the raw test footage with each lens identified towards the end, that can be found in the clip below.

[YouTube, via PetaPixel]

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