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Lens Life Span?




I bought 2 entry level lenses for a T1i Rebel back in 2009.  A 18-55mm and a 55-250mm (both image stabilizer lenses).


Im still a novice and only use a camera for taking family and vacation photos.  I want to upgrade to a T6i or T7i.  


My question is should I buy new lenses seeing as though my current ones are almost 10 years old?





It depends on whether your old lenses went through lots of rough handling but it seems that family and vacation photo taking is not that rough!  So I think you can keep your existing lenses as long as they work fine.


I guess you also to know if you can get a new camera with a kit lens for some extra money & discount. Some people may do that to get a spare, but it may be wasted money if your old ones are fine.


Since your old ones are entry level lenses, it may be OK to upgrade to a better version of what you have, but since you're still a novice, it may not be necessary and you can also save money by using the old ones. 


Maybe it will be OK to just buy the new camera body only, use your old lens and consider getting a different lens from what you have. So don't upgrade with the same kind but maybe get a longer zoom, if you like that.


If you take good care of lenses... they last for years and years.  (Typically the one component on a camera which is likely to wear out is the mechanical shutter (with enough use).  


Lenses usually last much longer (although focus motors and aperture blades can sometimes have problems.)


Canon's "L" series lenses are their highest quality lenses ... the build quality is superb and those lenses generally last a lifetime.  (L series lenses are fairly pricey... most of them are more than $1000).


The lenses you just mentioned are consumer-grade lenses... designed with affordability of the camera + lens kit at a level that doesn't break the bank for most consumers.


Canon has redesigned BOTH of your lenses (the new version has the letters "STM" as a suffix in the name).  STM uses Canon's new "STepper Motor" technology... exceptionally quiet (designed to be so quiet that if you use the camerra to record video, your microphone will not pick up the sound of the auto-focus motors).


But when they did this redesign... they also redesigned their optical configuration and the newer version of these lenses are optically improved over the previous version.  


BTW... if you have a choice between a T6i and T7i... get the T7i... don't even think about the T6i.   I would only get a T6i if I absolutely could not afford the T7i.


The reason is that each Rebel series camera is typically just a tiny iteration over it's predecessar... you usually don't notice a ton of difference from model to model.  But when Canon introduced the T7i there were more new improvements in that camera than any Rebel model in many many years.   


The AF system got a major overhaul and the T7i now has a 45 auto-focus points (compared to the 9 on your T1i... and the T2i, and T3i, etc.)  The T6i got 19 (that was the first big update) but then the T7i got 45.


Your T1i sensor doesn't have any auto-focus capability on the sensor itself.  When you use video or live-view, you press the "*" button on the back to force it to use contrast detect AF (which is slow and has to perform 'focus hunt') ... but if subjects are moving while you shoot video, it wont track them.


Some tracking capability (albiet primative) was introduced for the T4i & T5i... and slightly improved for the T6i.  But the T7i got the vastly improved Canon Dual-Pixel CMOS AF system that can track subjects in video with fantatsic accuracy and speed (this is a feature previously only available on much higher end Canon cameras.)



Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

"... if you have a choice between a T6i and T7i... get the T7i... don't even think about the T6i."


Spot on advice.  I could not have said it better!  The big problem with cameras is electronics. Ten years is an eternity in the electronics world.  Ten years for a lens is not a big deal. The reason to replace a lens is, it isn't going the job any longer.

Now that can be because it is broken, worn out or better optics have been made.


In your case better optics have been done.  A T7i is also a way better camera than your current Rebel.  The question becomes, do you want to handicap it with lower quality optics?  Even though they may still function OK?


Canon almost gives the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens away free in kit form.  Now all this said, if it were I, personally I would not buy any lens with the T7i, even if it is almost free, because I would prefer the very much better, more costly,  EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!
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