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11-24-2010, 09:15 AM   #121
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I like your idea Lowell, but I don't think it would be very useful without some more real-world information. The subjective content of the review is important too.

The reason I posed that picture is because I hear so much bad-mouthing about the Takumar Bayonets. Granted, they are not the best. However, if someone was to only read those opinions, and never see a shot... well they might never give it a chance. A shot like the one above might temper that criticism: "Looks good enough to me". Not everyone will feel that way, but I suppose what I am asking for here is the opportunity for the view to judge for him or her self. Real world images are the best way to do this IMHO, and for a select number to end up in the review section would be very helpful and far from misleading.
no argument, I like the shot, and it does show what any lens is capable of, in the hands of someone who knows how to use it. As I said, being the worst out of a great lot of lenses does not make a lens bad.
QuoteQuote:
It is specifications like "3/4 EV vignetting" that can be misleading. It's better to see those things than to simply read them. Otherwise you might turn someone off of a good lens for their purposes, for no good reason whatsoever other than a compulsion to measure and quantify.
true, and maybe this is the real cause of the problems and debates.

people need to understand that for example, vignetting that is noticible in photos darkened corners, is 2-3 EV and many lenses vignette wide open, which is the case with all my 50F1.4's and it is gone by F2. Now a purest will argue that that makes F1.4 useless, and many have used this exact argument to try and justify pentax producing an F2.4 35mm, BUT, if you don't note the presence of the issue when you notice it, and if, in some cases, that 3/4 stop makes a difference, people will bitch the other way that the reviews are poor.

The same is true of a lens I have that at each F-stop meters and exposes properly but 1 stop (in shutter speed) below the others at that focal length. While the lens may be useable otherwise, and all exposures may work properly, having a lens marked F2.8 that really shoots like an F4 is misleading and needs to be noted.

Although posting a picture would not show it, it needs to be noted.

11-24-2010, 09:23 AM   #122
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I second the opinion that most Pentax lenses are darn good. The few really terrible lenses I've ever had were all third party lenses, and most of the lenses I would call "not that great" were as well. The Takumar bayonet 135mm is a good example of a Pentax "dud" that is much nicer than a lot of the 3rd party 135mm lenses you might consider in its price range. Similarly, my F 35-80 made some very shots for me, so much so that after I gave it away I got another. (Well, an FA, but still). For $10-20, you could do a lot worse.

Plus, the nicest lenses are the most expensive. If people are doing reviews as they acquire lenses, they are probably reviewing their newest, most expensive and thus "best" lens. From the kit to the M 28/2.8 - wow! From the M to the FA 35/2 - Wow! From the 35 to the 31 - WOW! So conceivably all those lenses could be given 9s or 10s from the same person. I don't know.
11-24-2010, 09:33 AM   #123
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nick Siebers Quote
I second the opinion that most Pentax lenses are darn good. The few really terrible lenses I've ever had were all third party lenses, and most of the lenses I would call "not that great" were as well. The Takumar bayonet 135mm is a good example of a Pentax "dud" that is much nicer than a lot of the 3rd party 135mm lenses you might consider in its price range. Similarly, my F 35-80 made some very shots for me, so much so that after I gave it away I got another. (Well, an FA, but still). For $10-20, you could do a lot worse.

Plus, the nicest lenses are the most expensive. If people are doing reviews as they acquire lenses, they are probably reviewing their newest, most expensive and thus "best" lens. From the kit to the M 28/2.8 - wow! From the M to the FA 35/2 - Wow! From the 35 to the 31 - WOW! So conceivably all those lenses could be given 9s or 10s from the same person. I don't know.
I thought once it would be nice to some how establish a rating of +/- compared to a "gold standard". Perhaps setting the K series pentax lenses at 5. Maybe it still is, but as opposed to 5 set the K series at zero. leave the top and bottom open ended, reviews should only be compared against like apertures, to make it fair.

if the K50F1.4 is the standard, are the taks above or below, same as the M's, A's FA's etc,

all you need is someone with the lenses you own, to have posted a review, then you can see where you place your lens. Let's say you have a super tak 7 element and an FA and someone rated the FA lower than the K, you can at least say closer to K or lower than FA and grade the lens. Not perfect but something,.
11-24-2010, 09:39 AM   #124
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
The same is true of a lens I have that at each F-stop meters and exposes properly but 1 stop (in shutter speed) below the others at that focal length. While the lens may be useable otherwise, and all exposures may work properly, having a lens marked F2.8 that really shoots like an F4 is misleading and needs to be noted.

Although posting a picture would not show it, it needs to be noted.
This is a good point which I had not considered. My tak bayonet does exactly that (and the DA 2.8 does exactly the opposite, exposing brighter than other f2.8's I have tried).

All in all, I suppose the most useful review would do the following:

A) Quantify the pros and cons of a lens.
B) Give photographic examples of notable strengths and weaknesses.
C) In light of Nick's comment, the review should also give an indication of what lenses the reviewer is comparing their sample to.

All in all, maybe the easiest way for the review section to improve would be:

1) A gear-signature that is exclusive to the review section.
2) Some sort of incentive (maybe an extra +1 rep) if the review contains photos from the lens.
3) And a quantitative analysis of the lens' pros and cons, which is arguably done to the best of many reviewer's (but not all) abilities.

Hopefully this has been helpful for those who have the option of implementing changes o how the review database is run. I do think it is one of the more important Pentax resources out there for e-shoppers, regardless of it's flaws and shortcomings.

11-24-2010, 09:53 AM   #125
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
This is a good point which I had not considered. My tak bayonet does exactly that (and the DA 2.8 does exactly the opposite, exposing brighter than other f2.8's I have tried).

All in all, I suppose the most useful review would do the following:

A) Quantify the pros and cons of a lens.
B) Give photographic examples of notable strengths and weaknesses.
C) In light of Nick's comment, the review should also give an indication of what lenses the reviewer is comparing their sample to.

All in all, maybe the easiest way for the review section to improve would be:

1) A gear-signature that is exclusive to the review section.
2) Some sort of incentive (maybe an extra +1 rep) if the review contains photos from the lens.
3) And a quantitative analysis of the lens' pros and cons, which is arguably done to the best of many reviewer's (but not all) abilities.

Hopefully this has been helpful for those who have the option of implementing changes o how the review database is run. I do think it is one of the more important Pentax resources out there for e-shoppers, regardless of it's flaws and shortcomings.
Your list above is a good starting point, and when the dust settles from this thread maybe what will come out of it is a guide on writing lens reviews, to be posted as a sticky, in the review database,

As for points, I would settle for giving points to people that post reviews. Because there surely are not enough expecially for the unique finds.

The other side of this needs to be a sticky, of suggested tests / test shots to exhibit behavior of a lens. Otherwise people won;t know how to achieve some of the things discussed.
11-24-2010, 09:55 AM   #126
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One thing which Lowell mentioned which is important to remember is that "value" changes as prices increase. I got a DA 35 for 375, which was quite a bit more than the FA 35 was selling for at that time, but a really good deal compared to what it is selling for now. Would I feel the same about the lens if I paid 600 dollars for it? I don't know. I think it is a great lens, but it would probably make me feel differently about it. Still, probably better to evaluate things based on their quality (build, image quality, flare resistance) and leave cost out of the equation since it is constantly changing anyway.
11-24-2010, 11:30 AM   #127
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Ease of use, limitations of the technical points, such as full or half stops, focusing resistance, focus throw, and how easy to aquire focus, vs precision, how the lens behaves on the camera, are the things that should be stressed more in the ratings, because the technical detail can't be easily measured by users.
+1

I completely agree with this. Most primes are more capable in terms of IQ than the users, but the aesthetics of a lens and how it behaves in the hands of the user are really important. But then one man's meat is another man's poison. I love the M series lenses, but imagine there are K series users who look down on the M, and equally FA users who could not imagine being without AF.

QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
B) Give photographic examples of notable strengths and weaknesses.
the trouble with this is that photography is not particularly easy, and most people lack the discipline to really test a lens' capabilities, for instance shooting handheld at 200mm on a cropped sensor and posting the photo clouds over the lens CA and contrast qualities
11-24-2010, 12:04 PM   #128
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoojammyflip Quote
+1

I completely agree with this. Most primes are more capable in terms of IQ than the users, but the aesthetics of a lens and how it behaves in the hands of the user are really important. But then one man's meat is another man's poison. I love the M series lenses, but imagine there are K series users who look down on the M, and equally FA users who could not imagine being without AF.
Re ease of use, you are right, big hands and little hands view the same lens very very differently,

As for M series lenses, I have 3 and passed on a 4th because compared to the K mount lenses the feel was different, focus resistance specifically is stiffer and inconsistent on the M's I own or tried, The only exception is the M100F4 macro.

As for AF, have you ever tried to use an FA in MF? it is one thing I notice, many FA lenses have the focusing collar right at the front. somewhat out of the way, and focus throw is shorter in many instances than MF making it difficult to be accurate. MF is possible but many times not practical. This should be pointed out in reviews

11-24-2010, 12:21 PM   #129
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoojammyflip Quote
the trouble with this is that photography is not particularly easy, and most people lack the discipline to really test a lens' capabilities, for instance shooting handheld at 200mm on a cropped sensor and posting the photo clouds over the lens CA and contrast qualities
You are absolutely correct, and I think this would be a problem if only one person was reviewing a lens. However, it's open season, and a considerable number of lenses have over 10 reviews. If 90% of these reviews has at least one picture, then it would become apparent which reviewers are using the lens properly or not.

I guess my thinking is, the more pictures we collect, the more accurate a representation of the lens we might capture. No picture will tell you how a lens will perform, but a sampling of photos from many different photographers will get you much closer. Of course, this would be in conjunction with a textural review, otherwise people would miss out on 2/3rd of the important information (ergonomics and price/performance).
11-24-2010, 01:18 PM   #130
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Lowell, I had a long A zoom for a while (70-210?) and loathed it. It was as if it had been made by a different manufacturer. It was like night and day in comparison to the M lenses.

In a way, I am kind of glad the heart ache of working out what lenses suit me is over. I've basically settled upon primes within 1.4-0.7 ratios of each other. Missing a 70mm but its covered by a normal zoom. Its nice to just use something rather than look over your shoulder and wonder what if I had this lens. Its a bit like my car, its a banger of an Audi A3, 10 years old, but it gets from A to B. I am glad I did not waste a year looking through the car magazines. Maybe thats confirmation bias, I dont care, its got an engine and 4 wheels.

There is an old book I've started reading called "the lonely crowd", written by some US professor about 30 years or more ago, regarding the phenomenon in the states where people are shifting from being "inner directed" to "outer directed". People started looking to others for support for their decisions, as the emphasis in society shifted from industry to services and consumption. I think this structure can be imposed on the lens purchasing phenomenon. I think its better to be inner directed with lens choice, as the pictures one intends to make are entirely personal, unless they are going to be sold, and even then, maybe its better to cut out a niche for your own style.

James
11-24-2010, 01:26 PM   #131
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I've never used the rating system in the few years I'm buying lenses. What I do use are the comments of known old guys with lots of experience (as far as I can judge on these forums). Read the comments of the experienced photographers......
11-24-2010, 01:31 PM   #132
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just a quick observation regarding rating reviewers in the lens database.

while not convenient, you can view each reviewer's statistics, in their profile, inccluding reputation points.
11-24-2010, 01:34 PM   #133
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
just a quick observation regarding rating reviewers in the lens database.

while not convenient, you can view each reviewer's statistics, in their profile, inccluding reputation points.
I wouldn't trust myself....
11-24-2010, 01:40 PM   #134
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rense Quote
I wouldn't trust myself....
Yes, but others do not have your first hand knowledge
11-24-2010, 02:24 PM   #135
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I like your idea Lowell, but I don't think it would be very useful without some more real-world information. The subjective content of the review is important too.

The reason I posed that picture is because I hear so much bad-mouthing about the Takumar Bayonets. Granted, they are not the best. However, if someone was to only read those opinions, and never see a shot... well they might never give it a chance. A shot like the one above might temper that criticism: "Looks good enough to me". Not everyone will feel that way, but I suppose what I am asking for here is the opportunity for the view to judge for him or her self. Real world images are the best way to do this IMHO, and for a select number to end up in the review section would be very helpful and far from misleading.

It is specifications like "3/4 EV vignetting" that can be misleading. It's better to see those things than to simply read them. Otherwise you might turn someone off of a good lens for their purposes, for no good reason whatsoever other than a compulsion to measure and quantify.
well, the other part of the dilemma would be those people who never owned the lens but rather used or tried/tested them in a short while. technically, they are still users and their opinions are still valid. for the most part or overall, they would tend not to post a review either due to the lens not being able to meet their expectations nor worth talking about or posting images that they would had probably deleted in an instant since it is more likely a waste of time for them. it is probably up to those who still own the Takumar Bayonets to post images, although those who don't own them and don't have images would equally be valid due to their first hand experience, setting aside the clamor for real-world images and test shots.

I will be happy to post reviews on some of the lenses that I had tried, without images but would rely on my knowledge and experience of the lens, especially those which lacks reviews and testimonies. we need all the info we could get, if that is our goal.
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