Do you have a problem with Plastic ???

sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
edited February 2014 in General Discussions
In another thread, someone complained about the cheap plasticky feel of the 105 f 2.8 macro

As a general rule. Do you have a problem with plastic ?
have you had a plastic component break or wear out?

Post edited by sevencrossing on


  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 561Member
    I am a very happy Nikon 105 2.8 VR owner. I dont care how they make them as long as they work as they should - and mine does. Got it in 2011. I never use it as a hammer anyway :-)
  • HerreHerre Posts: 6Member
    Absolutely not. It all dependa on quality. Metal has a perceived quality! There are plastics out there that are more durable and have better specs than metals. Plastic in itzelf is not bad, however if it is cheap plastic and it feels like that, the. Yes, I do prefer well machined metal, or high quality plastic for that matter.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    I do not have any problems with Nikon's utilization of "plastic" in their bodies or lenses in any way shape matter or forum. Moreover, the build quality of the lens in question is exceptional. I currently own a number of lens were Nikon usage of polymers are very much appreciated in order to cut down the weight of the lens where "plastic" is the main ingredient. Case in point my: Nikon 24 1.4G, 85 1.8G, and 35 1.8G DX to name a few.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    To the macro thread you mentioned the problem was the comparison of the 200 f4 to the 105 f2.8. The 200 being big and heavy and all metal with the 105 being smaller, lighter (although not paper light) and has some plastic. I have never felt the 105 to be cheap and plastic made. It is worlds different from say the 18-55 kit lens or really any of the variable aperture lenses. I think the 105 is made on par with any of the other gold ring pro lenses and it has that same quality feel.

    Back to using plastic. I personally don't care for the look of the older all metal lenses. They look...well old. I don't find the use of plastic in the gold ring lenses to lessen its durability at all but in fact add to them by saving weight.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all

    "As a general rule. Do you have a problem with plastic ?

    "have you had a plastic component break or wear out?" Specifically, plastic does seem to show age faster more over time, but I think I would expect it, yet it does not have any impact on performance.


    These are two lenses I use a lot, the 17-55 and the 35-135, each has about 100,000 plus on them, and the 35-135 is marred on the left. It isn't loose or damaged in any way, but 'shows' as having wear, but the 17-55 doesn't.

    Both perform well.

    I really think 'cheap plasticky feel' is a subjective comment.

    My best,


  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    OK, I will bite. I was the "the one" complaining about the "cheap plasticky feel" of the 105 macro.

    And just so a newbie does not think that this lens is a cheap consumer grade lens, let me also add the "cheap plasticky feel" of my 85mm 1.4G to this list.

    Do I think plastic means poor optical quality? No.

    Do I think that plastic means a reduced ability to withstand physical shocks? No.

    Do I think that the immediate previous ability will degrade over time? Depends on the plastic. I trust that Nikon has picked a good plastic in this regard.

    Do I think that plastic is less durable? Not really. Though I admit to a nagging suspicion.....

    Does "style" matter. Anybody that says style does not matter in the camera industry (or almost any industry) has there head in the sand. tcole1983 thinks style is important. He thinks that metal "looks old". I think style is important. I think that the metal Nikon lens are "classic" and "not the current fashion that will eventually look dated". In fashion, what looks new today looks old tomorrow. This opinion of mine causes me to see a lessor value in "new".

    So do I like the cheap plasticky feel of the 105? No.

    Do I like the classic metal feel of the 200mm macro? Love it.

    Do I think the 200 is a superior macro lens to the 105. Absolutely!

    All other things remaining the same, if the 200 had a cheap plasticky feel and the 105 had a solid metal build, would I recommend the 105 over the 200 for macro. Nope.

    So while I don't like the " cheap plasticky feel", it is not a deal breaker. Otherwise I would have purchased the 85 1.4D instead of my current 85 and saved money in the process.

    But it is worth something. If Nikon had an "upgrade to metal option" I would pay $500 for that. Some would pay a $1,000, others would only pay $50 and others wouldn't pay a penny. I get that. That is why we have options.

    For anybody that says there is no value in the "classic metal professional build", I only say one thing:

    "Get your hands on two copies of the 50mm 1.2 MF in my signature. One from 1983 when they started building it and one built in the last year. Yes, it has been in production that long! Pick one and move the manual focus ring back and forth. It feels and looks like a jewel. Put it on your camera and start focussing with it. You might start to wonder what all the fuss with auto-focus is about. Shoot it at f2 and compare the sharpness to the current 50mm 1.4G. You will be surprised about which one is sharper. Then pick the other one and do the same. Chances are you won't see a difference."

    And if after this you say, "Meh! I want my plastic.", fair enough.

    But there are those of you that know exactly what I mean. You know who you are........
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    edited February 2014
    No doubt the 50mm f1.2 is a gem of a lens, I have a 50mm f2 built in '67. However the physics of the situation is that unlike film (which this lens was designed for) digital sensors have micro-lenses covering each pixel, and the angle of the light striking the edges of the sensor at f1.2 produces significant vignetting. The way to fix this would be to use offset micro-lenses on the sensor, which to-date I don't think has been done by Nikon on any DSLR. Couple this with strong SA and CA and you have a "meh" lens, other than in the center. Great if you like the effect, but see the recent 58mm f1.4g discussion as to how much some folks like that.

    There is a reason Nikon hasn't made any new f1.2 lenses since the intro of the DSLR. I'll stick with modern optics and lightweight plastics, unless I want to grab my FTn and a roll of film.
    Post edited by Ironheart on
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    edited February 2014
    You are bang on with the vignetting at 1.2. I was wondering why there seemed to be more of it than I expected at F1.2. However I have to wonder if the difference between 1.2 and 1.4 is significant in this regard.

    But notice that I said shooting at F2. It is superior to my 50mm 1.4G at F2.
    Post edited by WestEndBoy on
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    A lot depends upon what one means by holding up or being rugged. Some of my students are workers for the Army Cold Regions Testing Center in Alaska and shoot cameras in weather that is regularly under -45° F, and the plastic mounts have held up better than metal. It's the same folks who also work at the Yuma Proving Grounds - the opposite and the Tropic Regions Testing Center (which is clear by name).

    Plastic holds up. It's not a fashion statement with these folks - not that there's anything wrong with that, but these guys and gals have work to do and get it done with tools that work in extremes.

    My best,

  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    There are many types of "strength" and "wear" as well. The best material in one situation may not be the best in another situation.
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    "There are many types of "strength" and "wear" as well. The best material in one situation may not be the best in another situation."

    True... That's why the US Army has all three testing centers for combat readiness for extremes in cold, heat, humidity, dryness, and for extreme in combat conditions and duress.

    There may be other tests for strength and wear, even NASA uses these centers for some equipment tests. ;-)

    My point was simply that plastic has come a long way. I would rather wear Kevlar than steel, and I've worn both.

    Kevlar is far better.

    My best,

  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    i got no problems with it at all, on the barrels, but i would prefer metal mounts, and metal screw threads where the filters etc go

    many kinds of plastic these days .... some terrible, some great
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,229Member
    edited February 2014
    I started off on a D40 anyway, so I'm used to plastic. I have no problems with a plastic mount lens. I have an 18-135 as well. All my lenses have plastic on it to some degree, some more than others. The 35mm 1.8 and the 18-135 have plastic screw threads, I think the 105mm macro has a metal thread mount.

    Good quality plastic can do a lot and take a lot of force too- try and find a metal bodied F1 car- none of them are any more, they're all carbon fiber reinforced plastic.

    If you guys complain about plastic lenses, you should look inside your cameras. I'm sure a lot of the components are plastic. The buttons are most certainly plastic too.
    Post edited by NSXTypeR on
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    edited February 2014
    Think "glock". I'm sure these are used in those proving grounds Mike mentions.

    Even stainless rusts...
    The Glock's frame, magazine body and several other components are made from a high-strength nylon-based polymer invented by Gaston Glock and called Polymer 2.[36] This plastic was specially formulated to provide increased durability and is more resilient than carbon steel and most steel alloys. Polymer 2 is resistant to shock, caustic liquids and temperature extremes where traditional steel/alloy frames would warp and become brittle.
    Post edited by Ironheart on
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    This photo was taken by one of my students recently (a couple of years ago) in -40 weather with camera made with a lot of plastic.


    They are close to the Stryker and he told me the sound is deafening.

    My best,

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,450Moderator
    I suffer with Reynard's Syndrome so nice warm plastic lenses are good for me. ;;)
    Always learning.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,437Member
    I haven't had any issues with "plastic" lenses. If anything I like plastic, because the lenses tend to be lighter and are more comfortable to use in cold weather.

    I think some of the issues with plastic comes down to how the surface is finished. I'll use the example of the D800 and D700. IMO the plastic shell over the metal on the D700 feels better, in terms of finish. The actual quality of the plastic is likely identical, but that isn't what the user feels. Some of the newer light weight plastics have a cheap feel, but that has nothing to do with the actual quality of the plastic used.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 5,526Member
    I don't have an issue with how plastic is used for many things. Agree with PB_PM, some of the newer light weight plastics have a cheap feel.

    I do object to the use of plastic lens mounts, like the 18-135 and many other lens. I prefer metal. However, for kit lens where price is so important, I understand why they use it. If I was looking at buying a lens and it came in plastic; I would not buy it.

    On the other hand. When I bought my wife a D90 several years ago the kit lens does have a plastic lens mount. Did it bother me...No. Did I have a conversation with my wife about picking up the camera with the better believe it. So the proper response to the question is "it depends".
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,229Member
    You do being up a good point. Sometimes when I set down my camera and pick it up again I grab it by the lens by the throat area. With the D40 it was relatively light, but with the D7000 I don't know how much of an effect that torque action has on the mount.

    It'to not like I'm dropping the camera on the lens, but that doesn't seem like I'm doing the lens any favors.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
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