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11-19-2010, 05:54 AM   #46
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In reading all the posts here, I think there are a couple of points that should be reiterated and expanded upon, perhaps even considered as "rules" for ratings.

First of all, ratings are relitive, but generally relitive to what each poster knows, or has paid, and therefore highly variable.

The problem is, within the database, and this is no fault of Adam's or anyone involved in setting it up, because when you start something like this, you have no idea where it is headed.

It would be useful to have specific prompts, so that people can consider all the points, making the reviews more consistent. little things, that people often forget.

On the usability side, these things should cover the mechanics,
- aperture ring, full or half stops
- focusing throw, approximate rotation in degrees from infinity to minimum focus
- focusing collar and if appropriate zoom collar resistance
- zoom creep if applicable
- tripod mount if applicable
- controls (focus and aperture) opposite to pentax or the same.

On the lens performance side,
- How the lens meters on your camera, across all aperture stops
- comparison to other lenses under same lighting, i.e. an indication of light transmission (I have one lens that is a full stop slower shutter speed at each aperture for example)
- vignetting at all apertures or at least wide open
- CA if present


you can see where this is headed, it takes a lot of time and testing to properly review the lenses, we don';t spend this time but should for reviews

It might also be possible to consider for each lens multiple ratings, i.e. Image quality, Build quality, Useability, for example.

A lens that can produce tack sharp images but is a bitch to focus, due to focus throw being too short might score high on one scale but low on the other.

Lastly, but this may be impossible because no one owns enough gold, is to set a gold standard for each focal length or focal length range. That lens would be a 5. lenses that are better would score higher, lenses that are worse would be lower. The problem, As I started out, is no one has enough gold, to do good comparisons, and who reviews the gold standard. but I coud see an argument for using the K series lenses as the gold standard, and comparing everything to them. This would allow much more headroom to differentiate between different excellent lenses.


Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 11-19-2010 at 06:16 AM.
11-19-2010, 06:10 AM   #47
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I have also contributed and used a good many reviews. Frankly, I don't have a big problem with the section. It is what it is--the (often subjective) opinion of users collected in one location. I tend to look whether someone on the board with whom I am familiar has an opinion, and that may figure into my decison about a lens. If we wanted to make this into something more objective, we would have to require a lot more from reviewers than in makes sense to expect. To me, the review section is simply an organized place to find the comments of other PF members about a lens.
11-19-2010, 08:34 AM   #48
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I'm reading lens reviews and comments here in the Lens Discussion section as often as I can trying to learn the ins and outs of the lenses. I find the Reviews very helpful overall.

While reading this thread it occurred to me to look at the DA 18-55 reviews. The DAL has different features but shares, per many comments I have read here, the same optical formula with the DA 18-55 II and WR models. Discounting the DAL reviews due to the plastic nature and features that are absent (it does garner a 7.90), the II & WR models ought to be fairly similar in the reviews. The II is rated overall as 8.23 while the WR is rated 7.56. Its not the optics that are causing this difference in overall ratings between the two lenses.
11-19-2010, 08:45 AM   #49
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It’s a fine line when we are asking people to do a “free” review of a lens. If we make it to complicated then no one will bother. People who do lengthy reviews of items usually get paid for it and its part of their job.

I’m not sure what the percentage of PF members who own a specific lens and have contributed a review is, but I bet its low. Numerous times I’ll be looking through the “Pentax SLR Lens Discussion” section and read a post about a specific lens, but the member has never done a review on the lens.

Another option would be to scrap the rating system and just have the reviewer post their comments about the lens. It would be more like the reviews on the “Stan’s Pentax Photography Site”.

Stan's Pentax Photography

Phil.

11-19-2010, 09:27 AM   #50
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Simply remove the ratings since they are useless and will never be made useful. There is nothing wrong with having the textual part of the review, of which people can make what they will.

Oh the price section is useless, out of date, and sometimes pure fiction. Unfortunately readers are misled into using them as a baseline for comparison. Purge that as well.
11-19-2010, 10:25 AM   #51
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I have to say I would agree with a lot of what has been posted, I'm a newbie regarding the Pentax brand and would love good advice regarding the lenses. I'm looking at buying the K% with the kit lenses as it's a no brainer not to, the body on its own is nearly as dear so it makes sense to buy the kit.

That said what are the kit lenses like? I have looked at them and the seem to me at least to be better quality than my Olympus kit lenses. They exude quality and felt very robust, that's not to say the Olympus kit lenses were crap far from it, the difference aside form aperture compared to the expensive 2.8 variety was on tests negligible. I have viewed the forum for info and I'm in a quandary, the 17-70 and the 50-135 look to be the ones I will go for but what about the old stuff the manual K mount as used on the mx, lx et al.particulary the 50mm and the 28mm?

I have moved over to Pentax primarily as I intend to buy the new K5, I have handled it and I am smitten, the shutter is as quiet as a leica, and it feels hewn from granite. My e620 was excellent but struggled in fading light and I feel it's the right time to change.

I shoot mostly portrait and wedding as well as fine art imagery, I also have a blog which showcases some of my work, pop and look it's at http://www.martinyeates.com

Please feel free to give advice as it will be gratefully received.
11-19-2010, 10:28 AM   #52
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I just think it is important for those who make lens reviews to say what other similar lenses they are using. If someone is using the kit lens and then gets the FA 50 f1.4, they think it is the ultimate in image quality, whereas, someone who has use the FA limiteds, may point out deficiencies.

Look at Canon's 50mm lenses: the f1.8 lens is rated higher than the f1.4 lens in Amazon reviews. Which has better image quality and construction? The f1.4 lens clearly, but the people rating the f1.8 lens have only used kit lenses and off brand telephoto lenses and so to them, it looks a lot better, those getting the f1.4 lens have often used more up scale lenses and so they mention the deficiencies.

As Mr Paperbag says, the ratings really tell you if the users are happy with a lens, not if it has great image quality. If you want to know image quality, look at Photozone, or one of the other sites that actually really evaluates this sort of thing in a rigorous fashion.
11-19-2010, 01:21 PM   #53
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All many of the comments here indicate is that different users have different expectations and experiences regarding lenses. Just because I haven't used every Pentax lens made doesn't invalidate my experiences with a certain lens. Of course those with a broader experience are going to have more to offer, but on the flip side there is a certain snobbishness that can creep into the discussion at times too. I've asked it directly and never gotten a straight answer - is the DA35 Macro Limited worth 5x the list price (and 3x the street price) of the DAL 35/f2.4?

I guess if you're wealthy the difference between $219 and $699 is meaningless, but for the rest of us its not inconsequential. Sure we can have purely theoretical discussion on the perfect lens or how one is better but the bottom line is often that cost is an overriding factor. Sure people lie, they even lie about the price they paid for a lens. That doesn't invalidate the overall process of listing prices and they do serve as a guide for those of us newer to the area.

Anyway, perhaps the reviews could be geared to have both quality and value ratings. That might better serve the novice and experience users among us?

11-19-2010, 01:58 PM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
It would be useful to have specific prompts, so that people can consider all the points, making the reviews more consistent. little things, that people often forget. On the usability side, these things should cover the mechanics, - aperture ring, full or half stops - focusing throw, approximate rotation in degrees from infinity to minimum focus - focusing collar and if appropriate zoom collar resistance - zoom creep if applicable - tripod mount if applicable - controls (focus and aperture) opposite to pentax or the same. On the lens performance side, - How the lens meters on your camera, across all aperture stops - comparison to other lenses under same lighting, i.e. an indication of light transmission (I have one lens that is a full stop slower shutter speed at each aperture for example) - vignetting at all apertures or at least wide open - CA if present
QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
many of the comments here indicate is that different users have different expectations and experiences regarding lenses.
I think these (and similar comments) are precisely why I appreciate the lens review section here at PF. I know that the ratings are relative, so I've learned how to interpret them to my shooting style.

Every user has different expectations and needs regarding lenses. Going over some of these lists of features, there are things I care about and things that matter very little relative to how I shoot. Gathering together the collective experience of many users in both a simple numerical rating and comments, paints a very broad picture that helps me evaluate each lens to my specific needs. We each have different preferences, and would need a thousand categories to quantify everything that matters to each of us. We are dealing with an ART, and we are all going to see this differently.

One of my favorite lenses (FA 28-105/3.2-4.5) is rated just over 7 here, but it suits my needs very well and I continue to go back to it and get great results. One of the highest-rated lenses (FA-77 limited) is nearly a perfect 10 after 40 reviews, but it didn't really meet my needs. Is the 28-105 a better lens? Not on paper, but it works for me, and my ratings for each lens would have to reflect that.

I assume that very few of us have owned and used only one lens, and I also assume that none of us have owned and used every lens available. Given those assumptions, the reviews must be relative to each user's experiences over several lenses, and represent how the lenses compared to other pieces of kit. With the number of used and out-of-production lenses available, and with prices rising, I appreciate having this resource available to help me best determine what will work for me.
11-19-2010, 02:53 PM   #55
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as a frequent user of the lens review database, i have to disagree that it is useless. it's not gospel, but it's far from useless. i've made several purchasing decisions based on information in the review section and have yet to be disappointed. of course i do look at other sources of opinion, as well. but the pf database is one of the most straightforward and accessible.

one thing i do agree on: pictures from the lens that substantiate a rating are invaluable.

other than that, thanks to pf members who have taken the time to contribute their reviews. keep at it!
11-19-2010, 02:54 PM   #56
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There appears to be a lot of discussion and little consensus.

Previously, I rather slated the review system without offering helpful comments/alternatives. It now seems to me that presently we have as good a system as may be expected (bar a few tweaks here and there). I remember the earlier remark by Lowell Goodge - "there have been a ton of debates about the ratings, and there is no concensus." You must have a wry smile on your face at this moment Sir.

I have only contributed one lens review so far but have used the review system many times myself. I can say that it is possibly the first source I turn to for an honest opinion and I suspect that many others do the same. I've even seen eBay adverts quoting our reviews so we can assume that PF opinions are well respected and we must be doing something right. Maybe just tidy up the ratings and carry on ?

Last edited by fotaki; 11-19-2010 at 03:00 PM.
11-19-2010, 03:04 PM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by fotaki Quote
There appears to be a lot of discussion and little consensus.

Previously, I rather slated the review system without offering helpful comments/alternatives. It now seems to me that presently we have as good a system as may be expected (bar a few tweaks here and there). I remember the earlier remark by Lowell Goodge - "there have been a ton of debates about the ratings, and there is no concensus." You must have a wry smile on your face at this moment Sir.
can't you see it?
QuoteQuote:

I have only contributed one lens review so far but have used the review system many times myself. I can say that it is possibly the first source I turn to for an honest opinion and I suspect that many others do the same. I've even seen eBay adverts quoting our reviews so we can assume that PF opinions are well respected and we must be doing something right. Maybe just tidy up the ratings and carry on ?
Considering we can't reach a concensus, just how do you propose to go about "cleaning up the rating system"

Actually, what really gets me, is that there are lots of great reviews or posts that would, for the text part of the review, be very very good, yet those posters do not submit to the reviews. It is really a shame, because it is not as easy to find these great posts by searching the forum as it would be if they were done as reviews.
11-19-2010, 03:06 PM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hannican Quote
At least the part about "Rating" has become essentially a waste of time. Why does everyone keep giving all of their lenses 9s and 10s? Look at the K mount Primes, or the DA Primes sections. EVERYTHING is a 9 or higher.

People will even complain about things within the comments, but then give their lenses a 9 or a 10 anyway. I don't get it... if we're not going to tell the truth about our lenses, or if every lens really IS a 9 or a 10, then what's the point of even continuing to review them in this way?

The commentary part, and especially the sample pics that people post, are still excellent, and incredibly useful, but I think it's time we bring a little more truth back to this section (I don't remember it being this way a couple years back... there were lots of 7s and 8s two years ago).

A Concerned Forum User,

-Tim
Always drink the Pentax kool-aid before signing onto the forums.
I agree. Fanboy reviews are pretty worthless.
Photozone is the best source for Pentax reviews, but I wish Lens tips and SLR gear would test more Pentax glass.
11-19-2010, 04:18 PM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
is the DA35 Macro Limited worth 5x the list price (and 3x the street price) of the DAL 35/f2.4?
The problem here is that "worth" implies "value" which involves price which is relative to income, so these sorts of questions are hard to answer. The real problem is that people expect a real answer on something that is purely relative. Grading lenses is pretty hard to do in a scientific fashion, and in fact, the more scientific you make it, the less useful it is. You can test resolution and CA all you want, but you will never be able to sum up a lens' rendering with a chart. Thats where subjective opinion and samples come in handy... and I think actually lead to wiser purchases. All you need to do is look at pictures taken with the 35 macro and the DAL 35 to determine whether you can see a difference... and even PERCEPTION is subjective, so one person will prefer the rendering of one lens over the other. Terry Richardson shoots with a Yashica T4... a point and shoot. He likes it because it's "easier to work with, and looks just as good". He made a lot of money with that look. Now, when he needs the convenience of digital, he shoots with a prime and the onboard flash so that it will look like his point and shoot!

I also don't think the price listing of the lenses is bad - even if they are skewed to the right. They give someone a general idea what a lens is worth and, more importantly, whether they should be reading the review in the first place.

When I first started buying lenses, I knew it had to be manual focus for price considerations. I ran through the lists and noticed all sorts of lenses I could not afford - so I didn't bother reading the reviews. Amongst the 50-100 dollar lenses, I was able to make a fair comparison. I was also able to use that pricing knowledge to negotiate with second-hand sellers.

So eradicating the prices would likely do more harm than good, even if they are *all* inaccurate. Prices in the used market are going to fluctuate all the time. As popularity of Pentax increases (which has apparently been happening steadily since the k10d), those lenses are going to be snapped up more and more by people who actually use them, and therefore, aren't selling them.

I still think we should use median prices in the market, but that is a whole other discussion. In the end, I think the best way would be have people rate along two ines (at least): price performance, and optical quality. Those seem to be the two biggest factors.

Last edited by paperbag846; 11-19-2010 at 04:26 PM.
11-19-2010, 05:06 PM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by patk Quote
as a frequent user of the lens review database, i have to disagree that it is useless. it's not gospel, but it's far from useless. i've made several purchasing decisions based on information in the review section and have yet to be disappointed. of course i do look at other sources of opinion, as well. but the pf database is one of the most straightforward and accessible.

one thing i do agree on: pictures from the lens that substantiate a rating are invaluable.

other than that, thanks to pf members who have taken the time to contribute their reviews. keep at it!
Agree. The review section seems basically fine to me. You do have to read all the comments and ratings and not rely on the average - it can be distorted by one eccentric rating, particularly with a less mainstream lens and a smaller sample of users. Certainly for the lenses I own, the comments taken as a whole seem to give a reasonable picture of what they are like. Equally, as long as you don't take the prices too literally, you'll get a general sense of whether a lens is 'expensive' or not.

However - I do wonder how many people are going to give a really stinking review to a lens that they might one day want to sell. Cynical, moi?

Two wishes: firstly I wish there was a site where you could find samples taken with lenses arranged more systematically and where they are posted full-size. Most of the shots posted on this forum tell you very little about the technical quality of the lens - anything looks great 800 pixels wide.
Secondly, I wish people would always note the aperture and ISO settings when posting shots with manual lenses. In the absence of that information you can't make much a comment, except 'wow' or 'yuk', which isn't very helpful.

Tim
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