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?