How long do camera lenses last

How long do camera lenses last? 

How long do camera lenses last? This is a question that many photographers have, especially those who are just starting out. There are a number of factors that contribute to the lifespan of a camera lens. Manufacturers give a specific warranty for two to three years. Actually, the camera lens can last for longer than that or less than that. Appropriate maintenance can make camera lenses last for 5 years or decades even. Generally, after a decade, the camera lenses will not last and will make noises as they get loosened gradually. 

As camera lenses are expensive, we photographers want to get the most out of them. As said above, there is no factual time when a camera lens lasts, yet there are factors that affect its durability. 

Factors that decide how long do camera lenses last:

The lifespan of a camera lens can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as usage frequency, environmental conditions, and how well the lens is maintained. In general, high-quality camera lenses are designed to last for many years, often outliving the camera bodies they are used with.


The construction material will determine the durability of the lens. You can not expect a regular 18-55 mm budget-friendly lens to be as durable as professional lenses such as Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM. The price will also be affected but for a long-lasting camera lens, a high-end lens is necessary. An inexpensive lens may last for 3 years maximum, whereas weather-sealing lenses last for decades. 

Know camera lens qualities 

Understand camera lens features, if the picture has few black or white spots then you do not have to change the whole lens. Just clean it and it will be as good as new. But if weather sealing is damaged or removed from the camera lens then it can no longer be used. Such conditions affect how long the camera lens will last. Cleaning increases durability whereas the wrong way of cleaning lessens it. 

Handling of the camera lenses 

Another important factor is where you are using your camera lens. Well, if you use one lens under studios and the other for wildlife photographs, it is obvious studio one will last longer. Although many lenses shave weather sealing coating, the rain, storm, and harsh weather shooting will affect the longevity of the lens. Also, how regularly you handle the lens or how moderately you use also determines durability. 


Lenses are mechanically structured and have a number of intricate parts. As durable as they are, they have the potential to break. Accidental damage from dropping or banging your lens against things is the most obvious thing that could damage the functioning part of the lens.  

Avoid dust unless you have a specific need to shoot in dusty conditions, we would not want you to leave the lens at home merely to keep it safe when you could be shooting the photograph of your dream even if it requires using the lens in harsh conditions. Just use the proper seals and protective gear. 

When to change camera lenses? 

Once you experience any of the under-given issues, it’s probably time to go shopping and get new camera lenses. 

Wearing out of the lens

When the usage surpasses the design value then the camera lens’ various elements eventually wear out. The metal contacts on the camera lens will begin to wear out if you repeatedly attach the lens to the camera.


Using a camera lens for a period then you will feel the mount being wiggly. It will cause your camera to loosen up so it’s better to get a new lens for stability. 

When to change camera lenses


Another issue is with the zooming feature of the camera lens. If you experience jamming during zooming in or zooming out then it’s time to maintain the internal parts of the lens. Or you can get a new lens if it can not be solved. 

Jerky motions

If there are jerky motions along with a useless autofocus button then you need to get a new camera lens. Any type of issue in image stabilization units is a concern so it’s the best way to get a new lens for high-quality pictures. 

Dirty lenses 

Not only do dirty lenses decrease the durability of your camera lenses but they also tamper with the picture quality. 

  • Scratches:

Scratches on the front or rear glass part of your camera lens indicates that it is damaged and needs to be repaired. Fortunately, the back element is not that exposed to damage; the front element can be protected by utilizing UV or clear screw-on filters.

  • Sand, water, and dust accumulation:

Aside from front and rear parts, sand, dust, and water can get into the moving parts of the camera lens. Upon the addition of dust particles in the lens, it’s best to get it cleaned or clean it at home. When water gets into the weather-resistant part of the lens, it destroys it so it’s best to avoid water access. 


All lenses have electrical or mechanical problems that make them defective. The failure of electronic focus, opening, and image stabilization in modern autofocus lenses is a major source of concern. As a result, they may have a limited lifetime, unlike regular lenses. 

Expiry date

Lenses do not have an expiry date but they have a warranty. No matter how much you take care of it, the equipment of the lenses is prone to wear out. We have given a few tips as to how to make the camera lens last longer. But the other parts will wear out even if the lens stays maintained. 

Tips to make camera lenses last long:

  • Keep the camera lens in a dry place and avoid humid or moisturized places. 
  • Make sure that there is no fungus in the internal part of the camera lenses. 
  • Store them with the front elements faced down. 
  • When not in use, set them to the smallest aperture. 
  • Clean it gently and moderately. 
  • Like any other spring, the springs in your lenses will wear out over time. Set your lenses to their shortest aperture (the maximum point on the lens). Or simply close the aperture with the camera before turning it off.

Final words

We hope this gave you the answers regarding the lifetime of the camera lens. We did thorough research and answered all the questions that arose in our minds when we thought about camera lenses lasting a period. Our take on this is to buy an expensive camera lens if you want a lens to last for 5 years. Lastly, treat it preciously even when not in use. 


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