What should be included with a lens purchase

random ramblings

I know the topic of what should be included with the purchase of a lens has been raised in the forums around the web time after time and up until about 12mths ago I really never paid too much attention because as an olympus user in the *old* four thirds system all the lenses that I purchased just seemed to include what i needed.  Today I had a new lens from Panasonic and a new lens from Olympus made for the micro four thirds system and I was getting set up to do a little video and a few still photographs with my students. The Panasonic lens included a lens hood and a pouch with a great fitting lens cap while the Olympus lens included nothing but a slim little lens cap (both lenses of extreme good quality).  Surely a lens hood is not too much to ask to be included with a lens especially a wide angle lens (though many will argue it is good for most lenses).  Lens hoods have a couple of functions but primarily they are used to prevent light from hitting the front lens element from the sides and creating flare when shooting in bright conditions.  I also find the lens hood to offer good all round protection to the front element.  One could argue that is what lens caps and filters do and this is a discussion that could go backwards and forth forever.I would personally prefer to replace a lens hood then damage my lens and I have been in many situations where the lens hood has saved me.

Now when it comes to filters and lens caps - I do use them and some of my photography friends even prefer to travel with screw in metal lens caps as extra protection.  I know that on countless flights I have often found my lens caps laying in the bottom of my camera bag (and sometimes rubbing on the actual filter (which I generally use for another layer of protection).  As for a lens pouch which comes with the panasonic lenses - I dn't think they are really that necessary, but its a small cost to keeping a happy customer.  In all practicality you don't really want to be taking a lens out of a pouch when it is stored in a camera bag and your in the midst of a shoot.  However, having said that i do often put my lenses in pouches when travelling on a plane to protect them a little.  There are countless stories from travellers about how their lenses and cameras have become damaged in transit so I tend to be as cautious as possible when packing my gear (especially when also carrying underwater housings with me. 

Here are a couple of pcis from the Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the Panasonic 12-35mm lens and the Olympus 60mm macro - more pics to come shortly.

Panasonic 12-35mm lens @ f/2.8 iso 640

Olympus 60mm macro @ f/2.8 iso 1600

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