Can you still take photos even with a cracked lens?

Feb 18, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Can you still take photos even with a cracked lens?

Feb 18, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

YouTube video

None of us like having our gear damaged. Unfortunately, sh*t happens, and a moment of inattention can see you wind up with a broken lens. This is what happened to Benj Haisch, leaving him with a pretty obvious crack on his lens. But could he still use it? You would be surprised. Benj shares his experience and photos in his recent video, and it could make you put your damaged lens to use again.

Two years ago, Benj was carrying his medium format camera by its lens, with the strap just dangling down. Unfortunately, the strap got caught onto something, and the camera just slipped out of Benj’s hands. He dropped it straight on the lens and it was as painful as it sounds: the lens ended up with a big scratch on its front element.

When the incident happened, Benj still had a lot of the film roll left in the camera. So, he decided to just shoot what was left and see what he’d end up with. To his surprise, the resulting images didn’t show the damage at all! After this, he shot somewhere between 20-50 rolls with the same lens-camera combination. In the video above, you can see some of the shots he took.

You’ll find that it’s very difficult to spot the scratch. In some cases, even impossible. The landscape photos were shot at around f/8, yet he couldn’t see the damage in them. As for the wedding photos, the damage is obvious in one of them, but it’s easy to remove it in Photoshop.

The damage is most obvious in backlit shots, but only some of them. Sometimes there are weird flare patterns, but to be honest – they don’t even look bad. Benj likes them, and I do too. Photographers put prisms and other stuff in front of their lenses to get weird effects, so maybe it isn’t all bad having them “integrated” into your lens.

Benj’s story reminded me of a Lensrentals case when they disassembled a weather-sealed lens to remove a fly from it. In their test, the shadow from the fly started to appear only when the aperture was stopped down to f/13. On wider apertures, the lens performed pretty well even with a freakin’ fly inside of it!

The bottom line is, don’t give up on your lenses even if they sustain obvious scratches. The chances are that they’re still usable and will even work perfectly well in a majority of situations.

Have you ever had a similar damage on your lens? Do you still use it?

[I DESTROYED this lens. Will it still work?! | Scratched Lens Test via FStoppers]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 responses to “Can you still take photos even with a cracked lens?”

  1. Justin Barr Avatar
    Justin Barr

    I have a 70-200/2.8 with a star chip and use it all the time. Doesn’t affect the photos at all.

  2. Tan Chek Chow Avatar
    Tan Chek Chow

    Is it be or I saw the same article somewhere else?

  3. Chung Dha Lam Avatar
    Chung Dha Lam

    Depending light situation it can cause nasty flare, under controlled lighting can be fine.

  4. Paul Kerckhofs Avatar
    Paul Kerckhofs

    Hasselblad cf100mm with a large dent …doesnt affect at all…

  5. Gary McMullen Avatar
    Gary McMullen

    Of the shutter still works, sure. But

  6. Ian Browne Avatar
    Ian Browne

    It’s a very different story if the back element is damaged ;) . I have a deep scratch on my Oly 12-40 f 2.8 lens (front element) yet I have not noticed any problems —- but I seldom go past F16 or F11 for that matter.