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11-23-2010, 04:08 PM   #91
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I agree with you Lowell/Pentaxor. I don't think that the 1 in a million shots are useless though. That is a factor of a skilled vs. lucky photographer. However, anyone's best pictures will show what a lens is capable of. I also find that "tests" accentuate lens characteristics in a way that you simply don't see in normal photography, so it can be misleading, albeit more scientific. So your observation that photography is artwork is correct... I suppose I prefer artwork to judge by as opposed to test numbers.

Another music analogy. When I set about acquiring some special effect pedals, I went online to see what my favorite musicians were using on stage. I was often suprised, "wow!", I thought, "they get amazing tone from that cheap delay?". The more I researched these things, the more I realized that artists will often take sub-par, or "technically imperfect" things to create great art with. Sometimes, the deficiencies of the gear actually contribute to the work, instead of detracting from it.

Now the deeper you get into it, you actually start to realize that you could swap gear A for gear B and get the same result... but in a situation where you are still learning, emulating someone else's gear choice is often a very easy way to get yourself into the ballpark.

So this is why I prefer real photos. I want to take a picture like you. You used this lens. Good enough for me!
Lets have fun with the music analogy.

you say you like the sound of a guitar or perhaps not, are you sure it is the guirat, not the strings, use of a pic in stead of fingers, perhaps a raised bridge so you can beat the hell out of it like pete townshend or a low bridge to play cords easily.

put the strings to film or jpeg settings, the pic to post processing and the bridge to a polarizer. how can you really judge by seeing / listening

11-23-2010, 04:27 PM - 1 Like   #92
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It would be nice to have the facility to rate reviews, similar to Amazon's website and to be able to alert moderators quickly to obvious abuse of the reviews. Maybe reviews could be submitted for approval prior to being published, or just removed if they do not meet guidelines. Instead of the reviews being listed chronologically, it would be good to list them according to their usefulness rating. Its a shame to have to sift through banal comments on a normal lens to find any review of any value, and then find there are only two reviews of Pentax flagship MZ-S.

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
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.
I think this is a pertinent point. I've bought a variety of lenses over the last year and been surprised by some of their inadequacies which weren't picked up in the reviews. In fact, I typically now just skip anyone who has submitted less than [X] contributions to the forums, and look out for more regular posters and just read their comments on various lenses they have reviewed. At worst, you can just post a new topic and ask for advice.

The ultimate would be if someone had an optical bench for some MTF testing, I'd be really on for that, running some comparisons against something like Zeiss Contax lenses. Not that this matters that much as we live in a 3D world, where only an infinitely thin plane comes into perfect focus. However, going out, buying a host of similar lenses, and selling on the ones I don't personally rate is an instructive process and cheaper than wasting time reading reviews. I'd encourage others to do the same, develop your own opinion, rather than just following the crowd.

Last edited by whojammyflip; 11-23-2010 at 04:43 PM.
11-23-2010, 04:27 PM   #93
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Lowell I completely understand about the issue of artistic merit and also the fact one has to have that talent to see the image dare I say before it appears, previsualisation is what I have always practiced. The point I make is that had I the funds to purchase an M9 with say the leica 50mm noctilux 0.95 I could and would produce images worthy of its beautiful characteristics.

The analogy with A Adams is a not an accurate one, this was a guy who shot on large format for most of the time and occasionally medium format, he was the an exponent of the zone system.. the formats he used were essential in shooting this way. His choice of exposure and then development would allow him to decide where he would place the zones within the scene he viewed.

The kit he used was the other end of the spectrum and from a qualitative perspective blew holes in what you could achieve with any M series or R series camera. The Leica was a camera to use on the move watching, waiting and then capturing the image which you would anticipate occurring. The large format View camera is the opposite, it is slow, methodical and very measured, you still need to be able to previsualise the final picture but the reality is they are different disciplines.



11-23-2010, 05:40 PM   #94
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In thinking about the responses and the need to see the extraordinary shots in order to judge a lens, it occurs to me that if you can't understand how to apply lens characteristics and how to apply them to a shot you will never be happy reading reviews because you won't be able to reproduce the great shots that you see

11-23-2010, 06:25 PM   #95
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I have a feeling that there are going to be 2 areas for Lens reviews soon. The current area and a 'Professional' lens review area. Those with the time, patience, skill and equipment will be invited to the latter and the rest of us can carry on giving typical user reviews and impressions in the former. Might be the best option, start again from scratch with a set definition of what is expected to be allowed to submit while keeping the original as it still is a valuable resource no matter what some say.
11-23-2010, 06:40 PM   #96
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
no, but there can be many specific operational things that reviewers could easily put down, which would help a prospective purchaser. For example - F stops in half or full stops - focusing collor rotation - front element moves/turns when focusing - zoom creep if presnet
I stand by my initial comment that these things have more of a place in a lens spec sheet (whether or not they actually are!) or a professional review.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
A reviewer profile is not a bad idea, but you disqualify a ton of people who have perhaps bought really good lenses, take excellent photos (the 1 in a million you want to see in reviews) and have never tried anything else, hence they don't get the credit the review is really worth evem if their likes and dislikes are valid....
Maybe their rating could automatically improve as they review more lenses, or maybe they could go back and re-review their lens as they go, and their review would take more weight.

QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
I mean, just because the samples does not seem to fit one's own taste can one simply form a conclusion that this lens is only good for cats, this is a dogs only lens, flower lens, people lens, etc... it's a fallacy logic.
My main thing with looking at pictures to judge a person's opinion is: I don't want to read the opinions of someone who has just taken their new lens out of the box and stuck it on their camera and gone into the backyard to take some sample shots. Of course they will be happy with their new lens... they've just paid a large sum of money for it! It's human nature. It's part of the way we've been trained to think in a consumeristic society.

No, what I want to see is the review by someone who has some road experience with the lens. They have had the lens for long enough to know both the strengths and weaknesses. They have accumulated a collection of good shots with the lens which they can select from and share. That's the sort of reviewer I want to listen to.

They will still have their own opinion based in their own specific requirements and expectations from a lens. And I can judge what sorts of things they photograph most often and what situations / subjects the lens excels at.

QuoteOriginally posted by hoojammyflip Quote
It would be nice to have the facility to rate reviews
I really like this idea. +1
11-23-2010, 06:42 PM   #97
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
How about an optional profile? It is simple - anyone can create a "reviewer profile", it's basically a second signature. In this signature you list the lenses and other equipment you use. Maybe this list could be limited to lenses that the owner has already reviewed. These only appear at the end of reviews. Therefore someone could say "well, this guy really loves lens X, and he would know because he's tried all of these!" another could say "well, this guy really loves lens Y, but he only has the kit lens, so his opinion is not as refined".
I also think this is a good idea. +1
11-23-2010, 06:45 PM   #98
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
In thinking about the responses and the need to see the extraordinary shots in order to judge a lens, it occurs to me that if you can't understand how to apply lens characteristics and how to apply them to a shot you will never be happy reading reviews because you won't be able to reproduce the great shots that you see

in a way, this is true. some are caught up in the false pretenses that just because some people are able to reproduce awesome pictures, that they would automatically be able to do such with a lens. it is no different from selecting a camera. the reader must understand that one must have the necessary skills to produce such images, apart from equipment. the lens can only do so much depending on how the user is able to tap it's potential. otherwise, it might do worse than a kitlens (if compositional skills are considered).

11-23-2010, 07:02 PM   #99
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QuoteOriginally posted by secateurs Quote



My main thing with looking at pictures to judge a person's opinion is: I don't want to read the opinions of someone who has just taken their new lens out of the box and stuck it on their camera and gone into the backyard to take some sample shots. Of course they will be happy with their new lens... they've just paid a large sum of money for it! It's human nature. It's part of the way we've been trained to think in a consumeristic society.

No, what I want to see is the review by someone who has some road experience with the lens. They have had the lens for long enough to know both the strengths and weaknesses. They have accumulated a collection of good shots with the lens which they can select from and share. That's the sort of reviewer I want to listen to.

I understand what you want as a valid basis and it is a good one and would be the most credible one so to speak. however, there are a few instances that some certain users are credible enough or know what they are talking about in the absence of samples and in-depth review. a few people such as myself, have confidence on them and that upon discovering the capability of the lens, hold true to what they say on a consistent basis. any other fault-findings would either be in reference to the previous review or with the reader/owner's own discovery.

in most situations, I would agree and concur with the previous reviewers would say. sometimes I add more depending on what is needed to know or taken into consideration by any future buyer or simply a heads-up for them. and sometimes, I somehow disagree with certain aspects. if I were a buyer, I would consider the lens review section as the first area where to get some information. if I find the info insufficient, I would look elsewhere to get some answers. in my experience, the lens review section has been most of the time, helpful in my purchases and non-purchases.
11-23-2010, 07:18 PM   #100
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QuoteOriginally posted by robbiec Quote
I have a feeling that there are going to be 2 areas for Lens reviews soon. The current area and a 'Professional' lens review area. Those with the time, patience, skill and equipment will be invited to the latter and the rest of us can carry on giving typical user reviews and impressions in the former. Might be the best option, start again from scratch with a set definition of what is expected to be allowed to submit while keeping the original as it still is a valuable resource no matter what some say.
Not to be a defeatist here but it is hard enough to get people to do reviews now, just who do you think will be the "professionals"
11-23-2010, 11:03 PM   #101
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Ansil(sic) Adams didn't have a leica, did he?
I think he owned a Leica (M4) in his later years and am fairly certain that he had a Contax back in the old days. Just because he did most of his shooting with medium and large format does not mean that he never shot with anything else.


Steve
11-24-2010, 01:25 AM   #102
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Not to be a defeatist here but it is hard enough to get people to do reviews now, just who do you think will be the "professionals"
The complete lens addicts for one , those with an agenda to push their own favourites, those that love the numbers game more than anything else! We see so many arguments for this lens verses that lens, which I love by the way but the perfect answer would be to say review it then!
Adam is putting a review of the DA18-135 up later today hopefully, maybe that will be the new PF standard.
11-24-2010, 02:46 AM   #103
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
You mean those who think the reviews are useless do a review of their lenses and use the useless tool to post them?

Good idea.

they can use whatever methodology they choose. but the object is to demonstrate that existing reviews of one (and preferably several) of the lenses in the database have produced an erroneous conclusion, thus lending substantiation to the claim that the current reviews are borderline worthless.

otherwise i don't see the reason for the fuss. and i certainly don't see any basis for jettisoning the contribution those who have participated in writing reviews have made thus far, which is really where this is leading.
11-24-2010, 05:50 AM   #104
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Lab testing is useful for sharpness and vignetting, etc, but it really doesn't tell you about "real world" shooting. That is where reviews are helpful and I think most people can tell pretty quickly on reading a review if the person really knows what he/she is talking about or not.

For instance, the DA 70 has some vignetting wide open. I have shot with it a lot and have never seen a real life situation where this negatively impacted a photo. However, Klaus does mention it in his evaluation on Photozone and rightly so. This is the difference between a lab test and user review.
11-24-2010, 06:02 AM   #105
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Lab testing is useful for sharpness and vignetting, etc, but it really doesn't tell you about "real world" shooting. That is where reviews are helpful and I think most people can tell pretty quickly on reading a review if the person really knows what he/she is talking about or not.

For instance, the DA 70 has some vignetting wide open. I have shot with it a lot and have never seen a real life situation where this negatively impacted a photo. However, Klaus does mention it in his evaluation on Photozone and rightly so. This is the difference between a lab test and user review.
As I have written elsewhere, I'm to the point of saying that lab tests are useful but overrated with today's lenses. It seems to me like 30 years ago, when you bought an off-brand lens, which tested as a less than stellar performer, there was more of a chance that the performance was truly abysmal so as to get in the way of your photos. Now, it seems like I can take a lens that legitimately tests "poorly" compared to others, and have to work hard to find the situation in which the difference in the lens resolution or vignetting or CA makes a difference in my photo. I like the reviews posted here, and the comments in threads, as a way of getting a feel for how much people really like the lens. For example, if I read that people tend to get rid of the lens, that means something.

BTW, the DA70 is such a fine lens, that its imperfections are some of the most difficult to find in real shooting.
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