As a beginner, you might be wondering what is the lifespan of a camera lens.
Camera lenses are built to last long.
While upgrading and investing in lenses is normal… to improve your photography experience.
But you would only think of changing lenses if your current kit lens could no longer support your present need.
On the contrary…
Changing the lens because your current lens broke down?
That is another side of the story and this is exactly what we’re going to find out.
So join me, as we try to unearth the best reasons that contribute to how long a camera lens should last.
How long does a Camera Lens last?
How long does a Camera Lens last will depend on the lens’s Build Quality, Usage, and Maintenance. While most types of equipment designs may have a targeted lifespan of 5 to 10 years. And manufacturers will normally test their life cycle by doing an accelerated endurance and reliability test. Believed the same standard approach is implemented with camera lenses or even more stringent.
1) Build Quality can affect product lifespan
One aspect that is crucial in a product’s life cycle is how it was designed.
And in the case of the camera lens, its built or structure will play a big part in how long can it last.
Kit lenses for example are usually made of plastic housing.
While on the other hand, most premium lenses will be constructed on a metal housing.
So, right there, we can already spot the difference which will last longer by just looking at the way the lens is built.
However, even if the lens has a plastic housing it is expected to last longer.
As an example, I have purchased a used zoom lens with plastic housing for my Lumix GF2 some ten years ago and it is still doing well to this day as shown in the above photo.
Provided that mirrorless camera lenses have AF motors inside apart from the glass that may also contribute to the lifespan of the lens… this used Lumix G Vario lens is working fine until now (after more than 10 years) and can still capture sharp images.
2) Usage will impact the lifespan of the Camera Lens
How you use and handle your camera lens will surely impact its lifespan, regardless of the housing.
If your mirrorless interchangeable lens always gets dropped or gets bumped… then don’t expect that it could last even for a year.
And you’ll be lucky enough if you can get away with a warranty.
Proper usage and handling are important, especially for a beginner.
An exception could be said for professionals who are shooting in extreme conditions such as dusty areas, freezing temperatures, etc.
In such an extreme environment, a camera lens may not last long and might as well have to be replaced as soon as the shooting expedition is complete.
But if you are just using your mirrorless camera sparingly and handling it carefully, it is expected that your lens can go a long long way.
For example… I have upgraded to Canon EOS M5 with an 18-150mm kit lens (while also keeping the Lumix GF2).
I’ve purchased my unit at a promo price in 2019, but this model was produced in 2016. So, you can see that this mirrorless camera is almost seven years old that including the lens.
Although sometimes it can’t be avoided that it gets bumped… but I do make sure that it does not get dropped.
Likewise, I do take care of all my important stuff that others even think they’re still new.
3) Proper Maintenance plays a big role in a Camera lens’s lifespan
Any equipment will wear out faster if not properly maintained and there’s no exception in the case of the camera lens.
In reality, lenses require even more care!
This is especially true if they are not in use, and for a long time.
If you are a beginner, you have to note that lenses are susceptible to mold/mildew, or fungus.
For this reason, it is very important where you store them.
Storage is part of proper camera lens maintenance.
It is always good to keep your mirrorless camera and lenses stored in a dry place.
There are many ways how to store camera lenses – professionals make use of the dry cabinet since they have more gear to keep.
And of course, they have the budget.
Beginners and enthusiast that doesn’t have the budget for a dry cabinet can opt for a simple camera dry box.
You can take advantage of your ingenuity and creativity and then make your own dry box.
See this related article ➡️ How to Prevent Mold on Camera Lens
So, there you have the three main reasons that will impact the lifespan of the camera lens.
Again, they are the following:
- Build Quality – different camera lenses will have different lifespan base on their design
- Usage and Handling – usage and handling will be critical how long the lens would last
- Proper Care and Maintenance – when the lens is not in use, especially for a long period, it should be stored properly
While Camera lenses are built with precision, they are still composed of very sensitive parts.
Moreover, they’re tested for endurance and reliability but there will be a time that some parts will give way much earlier.
Barring factory defects…
Mirrorless camera’s interchangeable lenses are expected to last very long.
And as I have given examples with the lens that I currently have, even with plastic housing the lens is still good and functional after more than ten years of use.
So, there you have it, folks.
Once again thank you for reading. If you find this article helpful or you have some questions please leave a comment below.
And I will try to answer them to the best of my knowledge.
About Rowe Medialdea:
Hi, I’m Rowe, a mirrorless camera and photography enthusiast. We have created this site to be of help (especially to beginners) by producing easy-to-understand content about mirrorless cameras! Welcome to our website!