Be Careful What You Wish For

As we start 2021, I'm now tracking nearly 250 current lenses from the camera makers alone, plus an almost identical number from third-party lens makers. Call it 500 mirrorless lenses that are available to you new today. 

Now obviously not all 500 of those are available in all mounts, and there's a ton of duplication—I'm not even going to try to count all the 35mm focal length lenses—so for your particular camera there might not be quite such an absurd range of choice.

In the film and DSLR world, something around 60 lenses from the camera maker and another three dozen from third parties pretty much sated lens demand in each mount. Call that 100 lenses each in the EF and F mounts. 

We've already far surpassed 100 lens choices in the Sony E mount. Ditto m4/3. But would you believe that we're already up to 61 lens choices in the Nikon Z mount? And let's not get started with what happens when you put a mount adapter on a mirrorless camera.

And yet I keep hearing "we need more lenses." 

No doubt there are some gaps in virtually all the mounts, but I'd judge only a few of those to be critical. When I look at the known Road Maps and sort through the rumors to find the most likely ones, the number of critically missing lenses is going to reach zero soon, maybe even this year. 

Moreover, quite a few of the mirrorless lenses we've received in recent years are arguably "the best XXmm ever made." I see that in some lenses from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, and Sony, for sure, but I also see it in a few third party lenses, too. 

Recently, while trying to review the Z-mount "normal" lenses (50mm f/1.2, 50mm f/1.8, and 58mm f/0.95) I found myself sort of staring at great, greater, and greatest. All three of those lenses simply blow away what I was used to with film and DSLR versions. 

So what exactly is it that we're still looking for in lenses? (On bythom this week I've got an article entitled "Looking for Mr. Goodgear" that examines the bigger gear picture.) 

I'm starting to wonder. As I look at all the mirrorless mount options, I'm finding that there are camera and lens sets in virtually every one that I could easily live with for my work. That's absolutely true for the full frame mounts, but it's pretty much true for any of the mounts, particularly if I'm willing to use the maker's lens adapter to also use their DSLR lenses.

The bigger problem for this site is that I can't possible review every lens that comes along. I'm falling behind just trying to to do that with one mount, let alone seven active mounts. Thus, I'm going to have to make some tough decisions this year about which lenses I pick, and why. The generic me-too type lenses aren't likely to get as much attention from me as the more interesting new possibilities. 

If you have some specific lenses you think I should be looking closer at, by all means let me know. 

Looking for gear-specific information? Check out our other Web sites:
DSLRS: dslrbodies.com | general: bythom.com| Z System: zsystemuser.com | film SLR: filmbodies.com

sansmirror: all text and original images © 2021 Thom Hogan
portions Copyright 1999-2020 Thom Hogan-- All Rights Reserved
Follow us on Twitter: @bythom, hashtags #bythom, #sansmirror