Camera versus Lens for Quality


Today’s Question: Generally speaking, what contributes more to the sharpness of one’s images, the quality of the camera or the quality of the lens?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In general, I would say that the lens has a more significant impact on image quality than the camera, especially in terms of the latest camera models.

More Detail: Both the camera and the lens have an impact on image quality, but I would say the choice of lens is more important than the choice of camera, all things considered. In other words, if you were going to invest a bit more money in one over the other, I would prioritize getting lenses of higher quality before opting for a better camera.

Of course, there are many variables to consider when it comes to cameras and lenses. For example, if you tend to print your images very large, then investing in a camera with greater resolution and overall image quality can certainly be beneficial.

These days, however, most cameras offer adequate resolution and image quality for printing images at relatively large sizes. Therefore, I would say that the choice of lens is going to have a greater impact on image quality for most photographers. That’s not to say that the choice of camera isn’t important, but that the choice of lens is often going to have a greater impact.

Most lenses offer very good image quality and resolution these days. But there are still considerable differences between the very best lenses and the lower-end lenses. Therefore, if you’re trying to optimize image quality especially in the context of making large prints, I would start by choosing the best lenses you can afford.

You still want to make sure you’re capturing images at an adequately high resolution for the size output you typically create, but I would prioritize lens choice over camera choice if you had to choose one over the other.