I am an outdoor photographer and I am hard on gear. I don't baby my equipment or clean my camera and lens after each shooting day. There is visible dust collecting along the outside of the EVF window. My lenses and camera body are not in pristine condition, often showing light grit in the ridges and knurls of the various rings and dials. I clean my gear maybe once or twice a year. I tell myself that I must change my ways, but so far I haven't. I suppose it is a testament to Canon build quality that it can take this kind of abuse and still function flawlessly.
Yesterday, I took a tumble, the first time in years, as I was taking photos in the backcountry. I was doing some light boulder scrambling and came across a spider, which I was shooting. I slipped and fell forward and scuffed the front of my lens. I practice cowboy medicine -- clean the wound with water, rub some dirt in it, and keep on shooting. The scuff is visible, about the size of your index fingernail, and it doesn't come out with light buffing. Oddly enough, I see no sign of the scuff in my images after the damage. Is it worth taking it in for polishing, or just forget about it? Fortunately, this was the cheap kit lens, which retails for around $400. It's about 3 years old.
Here are some photos after the scuff, which is well off center, and about 1/2" from the right edge as I face the lens.
If its just cosmetic, then its a judgment call. I would think a scuff might show up under certain lighting conditions as flare or glare? Maybe not.
You can always send to Canon for evaluation or use this as an excuse to upgrade. This might also be a good time to consider clear lens filters moving forward or CarePaks.
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I agree with Rick that you aren't likely to notice except under certain narrow lighting conditions. I wouldn't try to do anything further to remove the scuff, just shoot a lot with it and see if it is going to cause an issue for you; it probably won't.
I wouldn't bother trying to get a lower cost lens repaired, it would make more sense to spend the money on a new copy or an upgrade. And it is nice to see a camera used rather than sitting as a display piece on a shelf. I do keep a sacrificial clear "filter" on all of my smaller lenses while the big white telephotos are pretty well protected by their very long lens hoods.
I agree with all your points. This was just the kit lens and not worth the cost to have the front element replaced. I called Canon and was given a price range estimate of $149 to $229 for repair. In my view, it's not even worth the cost of the low end. And so far I've not seen the scuff in my photos, which has surprised me. I could probably stamp it out with software if it becomes noticeable. Fortunately, I have a better version (the RF 24-105mm F4 L), which does have a clear filter on it. The kit lens I save(d) for particularly nasty and dirty environments. I'll take that repair money and put it toward another lens. I've been thinking of picking up the RF 85mm F2 Macro lens.
" ... so far I've not seen the scuff in my photos, which has surprised me."
I know most people are surprised when something like this happens. I have seen it many times over the past decades of photography. It almost never shows up unless really severe. The reason is because it it OOF. (out of focus) I think people think of light coming in like straight rays or lines if you will but that only happens in diagrams folks draw for examples. Light is in reality more like a fog so it doesn't matter if a small portion of the front element has a spot on it. It still gets to the sensor just fine.
IMHO, I would also choose to not repair it in favor of buying a new lens.
"IMHO, I would also choose to not repair it in favor of buying a new lens."
Yes, that seems to be the prevailing opinion, and I agree with it. Sinking $149+ into a cheap kit lens for repairs makes no sense. I still can't see the scuff in my photos. Thus, I will direct that money into a better (or different) lens.
I was thinking about the RF 85mm F2 Macro. I know you don't like it as it isn't a true 1:1, but the IQ seems really good. But I have also given consideration to what you had mentioned recently during that discussion. That is, get a lens that covers a focal length my 24-105mm doesn't cover. So I have been looking at the RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM. I costs about the same as the 85, but I had rejected it due to the aperature. Maybe I was too hasty? In looking at it again, reviews indicate that its field performance exceeds the sum of its spec sheet performance. What do you think of it.
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