There’s never been any doubt that buying top quality glass is a good investment. Even if you buy new, you probably won’t lose a lot over the next few years.
However, I believe there are opportunities for the smart buyer to purchase great lenses that will appreciate over time. Here’s my tips:
1) Contax G lenses – Only ever compatible with the excellent Contax G1 and G2 auto focus rangefinders, these Carl Zeiss lenses have now seen a resurgence, and consequent increase in used values. All the available lenses, but in particular the 45mm f2, the 21mm f2.8, the 28mm f2.8 and the 90mm f2.8 are spectacular. The value of these lenses has already close to doubled in the last couple of years, and my bet is that the trend will continue.
2) Older Contax RF – While Leica lenses have taken off, older Contax lenses haven’t got going as fast, being worth about 50% of an equivalent Leica lens.
3) Leica – If there is a sure thing, its the bet that Leica equipment will hold its value. Like blue chip stocks and prime real estate, the right Leica gear will only appreciate in value.
4) Pentax 110 lenses – Remarkably these tiny lenses can be used with great effect on micro four thirds cameras. Buy them up while they are still cheap.