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The 2013 Lens Scene: A Savvy Selection of 12 Enticing New Lenses

February 2013 By Jason Schneider
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With increasing numbers of point-and-shooters moving up the ranks to acquire DSLRs and mirrorless compact system cameras (CSCs), and hordes of committed enthusiasts expanding and upgrading the capabilities of their new and existing interchangeable-lens systems, it’s not surprising that the interchangeable-lens market is red hot as we move into 2013.

The current consumer emphasis on real and perceived value also has a lot to do with it, because lenses are keepers that migrate with you as you upgrade to the latest cameras—they never go out of style and a lens that took great pictures five years ago may do even better when it’s mounted on the latest high-performance camera body. Not surprisingly, lenses also retain their actual monetary value a lot better than most cameras—a fact that’s pretty easy to verify by checking the eBay listings.

Interchangeable lenses also provide immediate real-world benefits by expanding one’s picture-taking possibilities, and as consumers become increasingly sophisticated, so do their lens choices. That’s one factor that accounts for the rapidly increasing popularity of wide-aperture prime (fixed-focal-length) lenses for DSLRs and CSCs, which provide shallow depth of field for portraits and gorgeous pictorial effects, along with extended low-light capability.

Other lens categories that have seen rapid growth over the past few years are ultra-wide-angle zooms, pro-caliber full-frame-coverage 24–70mm f/2.8 and 70–200mm f/2.8 zooms, macro telephoto lenses, and ultra-high-performance lenses for full-frame and medium-format cameras. Another trend: Quiet AF, a feature that will be much appreciated by the legions of photographers moving into HD video capture.

From a dealer perspective, the heightened interest in lenses is good news for photo specialty retailers for two major reasons: 1. Lenses are generally big-ticket, high-margin accessories and selling them helps to forge long-lasting relationships with your customers. 2. Lenses are classic specialty items that allow retailers to leverage their specialized knowledge base and serve their customers by steering them toward the best choices for their specific needs and shooting styles.

In short, customers are much more likely to buy additional lenses from people they know and trust rather than simply going online or to a big-box store. Dealers can take advantage of these inherent advantages by featuring lenses prominently in in-store displays and demonstrating and talking up lenses whenever it makes sense.

Although we covered interchangeable lenses fairly recently (November 2012), this is such a fast-moving category we decided to give you a fresh update on what to expect at the 2013 PMA@CES. Here’s an enticing selection of the latest optical opportunities.
 

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