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11-18-2010, 10:01 AM - 1 Like   #1
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The Lens Review Section is Borderline Worthless

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,


11-18-2010, 10:29 AM   #2
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Good point. I think the rating is essentially how one feels about it and I'd imagine that you are going to get either high marks because it works as you expected it too or low marks because it didn't or failed to impress.

Good point.
11-18-2010, 10:35 AM   #3
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It's not useless, it's just like any other review section for any product.

That is why with just about any review site for any product you read the reviews and get the little details about the item and basically ignore the ratings except to get a very general feel for the product. If something is a 4/5 or 9/10 I usually read the low reviews first to see if anything stands out.
11-18-2010, 10:35 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hannican Quote
............... (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,

I understand the point of your post, but just looking at the Pentax lens reviews, there are 17 categories and 12 of them have more "average ratings" starting with 8 or below than starting with 9 or above.

11-18-2010, 10:36 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hannican Quote
You could ask essentially the same thing about product reviews on Amazon. All I can say is it is human nature, apparently.
11-18-2010, 10:46 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I think part of the problem is that it's not an absolute scale for people. For example. I think the tendency is to rate a superzoom against the superzoom category. The 18-250 seems to get a lot of love and rates very well. Is it even remotely close to the performance of an FA 31, though? Not a chance. So as an absolute, it's rating should probably be at least a few points lower than the 8.6 average it's currently holding. However, compared to the superzoom class, I think the rating fits pretty well, and that's how I read it.

While it's not a perfect system, I think it works at least for me. I don't look at the numerics too much anyways. The comments are of far greater value to me.
11-18-2010, 10:47 AM   #7
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Dont know about years ago but in general people who write reviews are mostly the ones who love the lens or are disappointed with it. More often the former in that kind of forum section. Whereas the complainers tend to stick to the threads...

There are more DSLR users now than in years past and more people who have graduated from P/S and consequently if they get a Prime lens will see a noticeable difference and are excited about it.

Maybe it was the old codgers who wrote the reviews in the past and they had started the journey a while back and would be naturally harder to please. Just a thought. Either way I dont think they are purposely exaggerating. They are stating what they 'feel'.

The other problem is that if you decide to write a review, you are likely to have already seen the ratings that others gave. It would be quite hard to give something a 7 when everyone else has given it a 9.
11-18-2010, 10:48 AM   #8
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Couldn't agree more. In fact I would go as far as to say the rating system has become a bit of a farce. Maybe where a lens has been reviewed by 5 or more users, then one has the advantage of averaging the values to get a better perspective. But generally, a waste of time.
Even the review comments are often not very well thought through.

I suspect a lot of these review posts are made by overly enthusiastic beginners/amatuers who just want to get their name in print or will 'go with the crowd'. An example, I reviewed a previously unmentioned M42 lens some time ago after comparing it with another similar well known make (even provided the photo.). That attracted 3 more reviewers - all saying much the same thing - seemed rather pointless to me

11-18-2010, 10:50 AM   #9
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Don't think of the rating system as a lens quality rating. There is no standard for rating the quality against. Therefore, you need to consider it as a value rating (IQ for the price/weight/focal range).

11-18-2010, 10:59 AM   #10
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The OP is correct to a point.

However, compare the reviews and ratings of the Super-Tak 50 1.4 to a Vivitar 70-210, just for an example. (Bad example, but bad examples are all I've followed throughout my life.)

You're going to see a hell of a lot more excitement and praise for the Tak, so it DOES teach you something about the lens, albeit not very scientifically.

Last edited by Ira; 11-18-2010 at 11:06 AM.
11-18-2010, 11:25 AM   #11
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Just to add a piece of clarity - I only mean the numerical rating system. I still find a lot of value in the comments, but I feel like the numbers are suffering from some serious inflation. It's disturbing to me that people are finding it so difficult to find faults in things. We're approaching fanboy-dom, and once we hit that, it may be impossible to turn back.
11-18-2010, 11:30 AM   #12
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there have been a ton of debates about the ratings, and there is no concensus.

My $0.02 is that the rating is a function of the price.

Lets take a couple of examples.

I consider both my Sigma APO 70-200F2.8 EX (non DG non macro) to be a 9 to 9.5

I consider my series 1 70-210 F3.5 (version 1) also to be a 9 to 9.5.

what is the difference then?

The sigma is the superior lens, but not by much, but the difference is what I would expect for an approximate 4x-6x difference in price (used) for each lens.

The vivitar represents a bargin, for the IQ that you get at the price.

Since everyone rates lenses differently and there are no instructions, I consider the rating somewhat difficult to apply.

What is much more important is the comments made about the lenses.

When you look at some of the reviews I have posted, I make comments regarding the metering on different bodies, aperture stops (full and or partial) focus throw, for zooms if there is an issue with zoom creep, tripod mount or lack of, etc..

It is much more important to highlight useability functions, we are not a lab here wigh resolution charts, most lenses, if focused correctly and used correctly will produce excellent images.

It is more about the simple quirks of a lens, susceptibility to flare, internal reflections inconsistent focusing or zoom action, etc..

At least that is how I view the lens reviews, and I admit, I am woefully behind schedule as I have 33 lenses, but have not done a review of all of them.
11-18-2010, 11:41 AM   #13
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The ratings themselves basicially tell you if the owner is happy, not whether lens A is better than lens B for your needs. That would be gathered from the comments.

For example, the K55 1.8 has pretty much the same rating as the FA 43 LTD. That is preposterous. However if you were to read the comments, it would not take you long to figure out in which areas the FA 43 pulls far ahead of the K55.

User satisfaction also has a lot to do with price... I doubt the K55 would have a similar rating as the FA 43 if they cost the same amount.
11-18-2010, 12:49 PM   #14
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I have the same thought. I was reading reviews of the plastic 18-55mm, when I read one guy saying it's crap because it wasn't as good as his 31 ltd. Like 50 words, and not a decent piece of info. How the hell do you expect a prime costing 1000usd new, to be equal a zoom that costs 50usd new?!
11-18-2010, 01:08 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by shadmanaj Quote
I was reading reviews of the plastic 18-55mm, when I read one guy saying it's crap because it wasn't as good as his 31 ltd... How the hell do you expect a prime costing 1000usd new, to be equal a zoom that costs 50usd new?!
That brings up an interesting point, because a lot of people seem to want rankings based on prices, and rankings based on the value of a lens within its "price class".

I don't care about the price class though. I'm not rich, by any means, but I want to know which lenses are excellent, which are merely good, and which are mediocre. In a lot of cases the cheapos work just as well as the expensive lenses, and it's a matter of having or not having auto-focus, auto-aperture, auto-metering, etc.

I don't care if a lens costs $10,000 or $100 though, I want to know which one performs the best! I'll buy the best one that I can afford.

Don't get me wrong - I see the value in the other side, and probably would have preferred the "price class" system when I first started, but now I'm just looking for the right tool, not at the right price, but period.

Thanks for all the feedback everyone, I had no idea this would get such a big response.

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