The Delightful Horrors of LBA

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LBA is an acronym for (among other things) Lens Buying Addition. The Urban Dictionary defines Lens Buying Addiction as follows:

Lens Buy Addiction. The extreme desire to purchase additional camera lenses for a camera body. Often just a "phase" that is triggered by a particular event, but that will pass with time. Usually affects prosumer and professional photographers after purchasing a new camera."I think I'm suffering from LBA since buying that Pentax DSLR- which one should I get, the 50mm or the 77mm?"



Note the “since buying that Pentax DSLR.” This is no accidental choice. LBA appears to be a kind one of the hazards of using Pentax DSLRs. The acronym was actually devised by the Australian photographer Lance Blackburn on the DPR Pentax DSLR Talk forum in November of 2004. Those were dark days for the Pentax company, when many of its customers leaving because Pentax had been late to the digital party. With so many Pentaxians jumping ship, the used market was glutted with Pentax glass, driving prices down and creating an optimal situation for Pentax loyalists who stayed with the brand. It was now possible even for impecunious Pentax shutterbugs to collect vintage Pentax glass at bargain prices. The consequence was widespread addiction to lens buying which swept through the Pentax community like a plague.

I make note of this chilling syndrome right after noting some of the symptoms of LBA in myself. I have just purchased on ebay the Pentax F 35-70 zoom lens for $41 (shown above). I have heard quite a bit about the lens in recent years, on how good it is considering the price it goes for and so on. I bid for it on a lark, half expecting not to win. Indeed, just a few days earlier a copy had sold for $70. I was certainly not going to pay over $42 for it. So what chance did I have? Well, it turns out I had a very good chance, and could have my paws sometime next week.

This is not the first time I have bought a Pentax lens for under $50. A couple years ago I purchased an old manual focus M 50/1.7 lens for $45. The lens had a loose filter ring, but that turned out to be easily fixable. The M 50/1.7 proved a superb lens which I used to take this:

Lassen SP10 Panorama 5

Not sure if the F 35-70 will quite measure up to that 50mm prime. Probably not. Although the 35-70 is an auto-focus lens, it’s still rather old. It was produced between 1987 and 1991. It’s one of the smallest SLR zoom lenses ever made. I’ll be able to carry it around in a pocket, and will probably use it for hikes when carrying a couple wide angle primes or my 16-45 zoom.

Yet the fact remains that I don’t desperately need the lens and would not have purchased it if it hadn’t been so cheap. I already have a couple of zoom lenses that cover that range: a 35-105 and a 28-105. Although I do plan to eventually sell the 35-105 (I don’t use it any more), that still leaves the 28-105. Why would I need the 35-70? Well, I’m hoping the 35-70 is better. The 28-105 is pretty good between 45 and 90, but it’s not so good at the wide end of the lens, where I tend to shoot with it when it’s attached to my camera. The 35-70 has the reputation of being very good throughout its focal range, which is part of what drew me to it. Hopefully, I won’t be prompted to make any more purchases like this. There are people online who have hundreds of lenses. There’s an Australian photographer (not Mr. Blackburn) who owns 170 50mm lenses. Another Pentaxian owns over 200 lenses, most of which he paid less than $20 for (including the F 35-70, which he paid $17 for). Hopefully, I will not end up like any of those unfortunates, positively drowning in lenses!