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07-25-2010, 11:02 PM   #1
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Mystery Lens Experiment (warning: lots of photos)

I'd like everyone to humor me by taking part in a simple experiment. I'm going to display roughly 30 images taken with a mystery 28mm lens. Each image was edited differently in Lightroom in terms of color balance, contrast, noise and saturation. No sharpening was applied. The images are purposely compositionally mediocre in order to judge the rendering by the lens and not the photograph itself.

So what are people's opinions on this lens? Venture a guess on the brand name. Don't try to cheat, I only got this lens two days ago and haven't mentioned it anywhere.





















































Last edited by hangu; 07-26-2010 at 07:27 AM.
07-25-2010, 11:47 PM   #2
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I dont see the point of judging the lens' rendering if you had made the adjustments that changes it's rendering. contrast, color balance and saturation are essential elements in judging one's lens rendering. sharpness is one factor that you left untouched. is your purpose is to judge it's sharpness alone?
07-26-2010, 12:45 AM   #3
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gotta agree with Pentaxor...on what level are these images comparable if you have done anything more than some standard sharpening thanks to shooting RAW? If you buggered up an image in post on purpose just to demonstrate you can take a high end lense and make it look like crap...the point of that is...???

Maybe if the OP elaborated some more on what the point is and why everything but sharpening was applied it might help for us "morons" out here to understand why these are worth the bandwidth....

BTW, nothing in any of those shots screams quality lense...there might be one or two with potential but who knows since you fiddled with the settings. Heck most look like there was no point of focus...or was the idea here about MF lenses?
07-26-2010, 01:04 AM   #4
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IMO a waste of bandwidth, and a pointless excercise. YMMV

07-26-2010, 02:22 AM   #5
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Unfortunately, "Each image was edited differently in Lightroom in terms of color balance, contrast, noise and saturation." makes the "mystery" impossible to solve as each lens has it's own impacto on color, contrast and saturation

I, for one won't play
07-26-2010, 04:34 AM   #6
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I'll play! The documents show quite a number of hints, disregarding the PP question:
- low contrast,
- mediocre sharpness
- color rendering mediocre
- highly prone to flare
- global rendering mushy and ugly

My first guess is the IMHO worst lens ever: the ALBINAR

However in this difficult challenge, I would'nt eliminate the possibility of some very old, uncoated lens.
07-26-2010, 05:11 AM   #7
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A NOTE FROM THE MODERATORS....

Please delete about 3/4 of these images down to 6-8 comparable ones. As has been mentioned, with the variety of edits you've done and a lack of explanations for each image, the challenge is first figuring out what you did and then judging the original image underneath the edits. In addition, 36 images is tough on people with dial-up or slow connections. No harm no foul here, but just remember to be thoughtful on what you are posting and considerate of your fellow forum members.

Mike
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07-26-2010, 05:50 AM   #8
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Well, I'm going to guess (non-SMC) Super Tak 28/3.5 and that you didn't use a hood, but that's only because it's the only 28mm lens (for Pentax) that I own and I can see some similarities.

07-26-2010, 06:39 AM   #9
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I'll say Pentax-A 28mm 2.8, since mine at least is not very good and it is a Pentax forum Seems to suffer from serious loss of contrast issues.
07-26-2010, 06:57 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MRRiley Quote
A NOTE FROM THE MODERATORS....

Please delete about 3/4 of these images down to 6-8 comparable ones. As has been mentioned, with the variety of edits you've done and a lack of explanations for each image, the challenge is first figuring out what you did and then judging the original image underneath the edits. In addition, 36 images is tough on people with dial-up or slow connections. No harm no foul here, but just remember to be thoughtful on what you are posting and considerate of your fellow forum members.

Mike
PF Moderation Team
Ditto. Please reduce the thread. First thing I did was look at the first 5-6 pictures and then scrolled past all the B&W's which hide huge flaws in many types of images.
Like everyone else has said, editing the images made those unfit to evaluate the lens. Just looking at the colour images. I'd say 2 things:

1) most of these are underexposed by a stop and in some cases more. So those images are of no help.

2) almost all the images are mushy, lack detail and just flat (low contrast). I hope this isn't an expensive purchase.
07-26-2010, 07:23 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
I dont see the point of judging the lens' rendering if you had made the adjustments that changes it's rendering. contrast, color balance and saturation are essential elements in judging one's lens rendering. sharpness is one factor that you left untouched. is your purpose is to judge it's sharpness alone?
My changes weren't drastic and I think it's an important part of this experiment. PP is part of every photo taken nowadays and the rendering or signature of the lens is always in the underlying image, even with some heavy editing. Also people often state that "a lens has low contrast but it's not a problem because it can be fixed in PP." I'd like to run with that statement and see a lens judged by its potential, not its direct output.

Does my editing affect the efficiency of the experiment? You seem to think so even though you don't know the premise of the experiment.

QuoteOriginally posted by brecklundin Quote
Maybe if the OP elaborated some more on what the point is and why everything but sharpening was applied it might help for us "morons" out here to understand why these are worth the bandwidth....

BTW, nothing in any of those shots screams quality lense...there might be one or two with potential but who knows since you fiddled with the settings. Heck most look like there was no point of focus...or was the idea here about MF lenses?
If I elaborated more, then that would compromise the experiment. Again, I must reiterate the fact that these are not compositionally strong so that it's easier to judge the rendering. This has nothing to do with AF vs MF.

QuoteOriginally posted by MRRiley Quote
A NOTE FROM THE MODERATORS....

Please delete about 3/4 of these images down to 6-8 comparable ones. As has been mentioned, with the variety of edits you've done and a lack of explanations for each image, the challenge is first figuring out what you did and then judging the original image underneath the edits. In addition, 36 images is tough on people with dial-up or slow connections.

PF Moderation Team
PMed you.

QuoteOriginally posted by keithlester Quote
IMO a waste of bandwidth, and a pointless excercise. YMMV
That's great. I like how you assumed all that without seeing the result.

Is bandwidth fresh water or something? Are we conserving it for some reason?

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Unfortunately, "Each image was edited differently in Lightroom in terms of color balance, contrast, noise and saturation." makes the "mystery" impossible to solve as each lens has it's own impacto on color, contrast and saturation

I, for one won't play
You're not going to be penalized or awarded anything. This is just a poll. It's not even going to test how knowledgeable you are in terms of lenses. You can relax knowing that your dignity and ego shall remain intact afterwards.

QuoteOriginally posted by danielausparis Quote
I'll play! The documents show quite a number of hints, disregarding the PP question:
- low contrast,
- mediocre sharpness
- color rendering mediocre
- highly prone to flare
- global rendering mushy and ugly

My first guess is the IMHO worst lens ever: the ALBINAR

However in this difficult challenge, I would'nt eliminate the possibility of some very old, uncoated lens.
Thanks for the best answer of the day! This isn't a challenge though, you don't get a prize if you win and you're not penalized if you lose, just a poll.
07-26-2010, 07:38 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
Ditto. Please reduce the thread. First thing I did was look at the first 5-6 pictures and then scrolled past all the B&W's which hide huge flaws in many types of images.
Like everyone else has said, editing the images made those unfit to evaluate the lens. Just looking at the colour images. I'd say 2 things:

1) most of these are underexposed by a stop and in some cases more. So those images are of no help.

2) almost all the images are mushy, lack detail and just flat (low contrast). I hope this isn't an expensive purchase.
I've reduced the images per request.

This isn't your standard lens test where all images have to be untouched RAW, it's my own little poll/experiment. So I find it odd that people are just assuming they know what I'm testing for and criticizing me for running it wrong.

1) My monitor is color calibrated and so is yours most likely. I strongly disagree with your assessment of exposure. It's all relative.

2) Now this is what I was looking for, thanks!
07-26-2010, 08:48 AM   #13
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I'll just add from the comments above.
1) Bandwidth does cost money. Anyone who owns a web site pays for the server use based on traffic. A big site can pay a bundle for bandwidth uses. It also puts pressure on equipment. I can't count how many times Adam has upgraded servers and related stuff to serve the cost of this site. Remember when (for long time mebers) that his cost to run the site was around $100/month? Now it's nearing $1000/mo. The other issue is speed, downloading files etc can slow things. Go to other forums and you'll watch the pages load really slowly (think PPG). We're lucky here that Adam has constantly upgraded things to keep pace with the size of the site.

So I don't want to suggest that we should limit the number of photos posted in any way. Just consider if they actually add to what you are trying to present.

As for us assuming what types of replies you were looking for, well the OP was somewhat vague. You asked for opinions and that exactly what was posted so far. Opinions could be almost anything and will be full of assumptions. If you wanted a narrow and specific set of replies, then post a list or poll.

As for the lens and correcting images. Here's my opinion on that. When I get a new lens, I want to see the RAW untouched images from it to see what it is good at and what it lacks. It's like a house, is it built on cement, wooden piles, sand, whatever. If it's built on sand, then it will never produce a solid foundation for a good image no matter what PP work I do. If it's built on concrete, then that's the basis for some great images.

Plus when I have a lens built on concrete, that gives me the solid basis to create an image, I don't have to do much PP work. I'd much rather see a great shot that was rendered naturally than one which took me an hour to fix. Absolutely nothing makes me happier than opening a file and saying, "There is Sweet F*** all I can do to make this better". When the gear and I am in sync, then I'm where I want to be as a photographer. On the opposite side, the more correcting I have to do, the more I wish I was better at this.

The fixed version will only begin to approach the untouched image from a solid lens and will never exceed it no matter how good you are with PS. Otherwise why in the name of whatever deity you hold dear would you buy an FA*, DA* or a Limited lens. In fact why would you buy a DSLR? Your iPhone images can be fixed in PP to replicate an M9.
07-26-2010, 09:10 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
I'll just add from the comments above.
1) Bandwidth does cost money. Anyone who owns a web site pays for the server use based on traffic. A big site can pay a bundle for bandwidth uses. It also puts pressure on equipment. I can't count how many times Adam has upgraded servers and related stuff to serve the cost of this site. Remember when (for long time mebers) that his cost to run the site was around $100/month? Now it's nearing $1000/mo. The other issue is speed, downloading files etc can slow things. Go to other forums and you'll watch the pages load really slowly (think PPG). We're lucky here that Adam has constantly upgraded things to keep pace with the size of the site.

So I don't want to suggest that we should limit the number of photos posted in any way. Just consider if they actually add to what you are trying to present.

As for us assuming what types of replies you were looking for, well the OP was somewhat vague. You asked for opinions and that exactly what was posted so far. Opinions could be almost anything and will be full of assumptions. If you wanted a narrow and specific set of replies, then post a list or poll.

As for the lens and correcting images. Here's my opinion on that. When I get a new lens, I want to see the RAW untouched images from it to see what it is good at and what it lacks. It's like a house, is it built on cement, wooden piles, sand, whatever. If it's built on sand, then it will never produce a solid foundation for a good image no matter what PP work I do. If it's built on concrete, then that's the basis for some great images.

Plus when I have a lens built on concrete, that gives me the solid basis to create an image, I don't have to do much PP work. I'd much rather see a great shot that was rendered naturally than one which took me an hour to fix. Absolutely nothing makes me happier than opening a file and saying, "There is Sweet F*** all I can do to make this better". When the gear and I am in sync, then I'm where I want to be as a photographer. On the opposite side, the more correcting I have to do, the more I wish I was better at this.

The fixed version will only begin to approach the untouched image from a solid lens and will never exceed it no matter how good you are with PS. Otherwise why in the name of whatever deity you hold dear would you buy an FA*, DA* or a Limited lens. In fact why would you buy a DSLR? Your iPhone images can be fixed in PP to replicate an M9.
All of this is hosted on my server, which I am paying for out of my own pocket every month. I don't think it should negatively affect Adam's server in any way. As far as I know, very, very few people are paying their ISP based on their monthly bandwidth amount, even if they were, they would have images turned off and steer clear of my thread given its warning.

Duly noted on the vague request I made. I did however ask for opinions on the rendering of the lens, not how I'm conducting the test. Some members have instead responded with how they refuse to participate in this "challenge" because it's hard and unfair. Yeah OK.

I think we're agreeing on some points here. PP will only take you so far. However, some lenses benefit more from PP than others, which I think is an important characteristic.

I'm fairly experienced in PP so it's fast for me to adjust massive amount of images. I have custom profiles for all my most used lenses, so how far a lens will go in PP is how I ultimately judge the lens.

I'm just a tad tired of defending my little experiment from people who think they know what I'm testing for and decide to berate me for it. They can choose to take part or not, criticizing something they know little to nothing about is just silly.
07-26-2010, 10:32 AM   #15
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I'll bite.

1) It is a "nice" lens that is generally well regarded. I'll go with the 28mm A SMC because there really isn't much to go on. As we know, pretty much no one can tell what lens a photograph was taken with.

2) It is a lens that has some damage. A cracked/scratched mistreated front or rear element ala this wonderful test by lensrentals LensRentals.com - Front Element Scratches


Perhaps the reason for the test/poll/mystery will become clear once what is going on is revealed. I do admit though that for those looking from the outside in it does seem to be a futile exercise.

Last edited by lowspark86; 07-26-2010 at 10:47 AM.
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