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03-26-2012, 12:31 PM   #16
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I don’t take a new lens out immediately. Why? Because in the past I missed a few very good shots due to badly FF/BF issue of a brand new lenses. My precious shots came out blurry.
The lesson: You never know what’s waiting around the corner. It’s better to be prepared to your rare opportunity shot beforehand.

First of all I shoot brick wall/fence/floor or tiled roof edge (any repetitive pattern what you can find) at approx. 45o to check for FF/BF. If there is an issue, I do AF micro adjustment.
Second – I do a few shots of 2-D target on the wall to check for de-centering.
Third – After de-centering shots, utilizing the same tripod set-up, I shoot a $5-20 bill from the distances what I think would be most common for me and this particular lens (it usually applies to long FL lenses, though). When evaluation of the resulting images and 100% crops is done, I’m ready to send the lens back immediately or take it out for real world shooting (just kidding)

P.S. The AF micro-adjustment used to be for me the most painful and uncertain thing, requiring very subjective multiple image comparisons. Recently I learned easy and elegant AF lens micro adjustment procedure via LiveView AF. There is no even need to go to computer and check for the sharpest point before final IQ check. The whole process takes 15-20min instead of hours before. And don’t forget to set a distance at least 25 focal lengths for the long telephoto lenses and 50 FL for regular glass.

Happy shooting!


Last edited by Greyser; 03-26-2012 at 01:15 PM. Reason: update
03-26-2012, 12:59 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikeSF Quote
i do a mix of technical and practical tests. first i do AF testing and dial in a compensation if needed. then use a newspaper or brick wall test for decentering and field curvature at 3 or 4 aperture settings. after this, i take it around to my familiar subjects (rusty hay rake) to look at bokeh, flaring, CA. finally, just shoot with it for a week or so and look for anything in the photos that bugs me.
once i know where the lens excels, i make a mental note in my mind of when to best use it.
i forgot to also mention that i like to see if the lens goes a little past infinity focus because i often shoot in total darkness and sometimes have to set the focus ring by feel when shooting star trails, etc.
03-26-2012, 01:09 PM   #18
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99% of my lens purchases are of old stuff, so I don't have any "new lens" testing regimen. I do have a simple standard pass-fail-test: I sit at my desk and aim at a CF light peeking above a corner cabinet, illuminating some figurines up there. I can easily see any fringing, and judge sharpness and ability to capture detail in nearby shadows. Other than that it's the old throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks usage test. (By which I mean, use it and see if I like it. I usually do.)
03-26-2012, 01:59 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Greyser Quote
I donít take a new lens out immediately. Why? Because in the past I missed a few very good shots due to badly FF/BF issue of a brand new lenses. My precious shots came out blurry.
The lesson: You never know whatís waiting around the corner. Itís better to be prepared to your rare opportunity shot beforehand.
although aside from my exposure test, I recommend going out and shooting, I agree that you should not shoot anything important with a new lens (or any other peice of kit for that matter) until you know how it performs.

My only difference in approach is I prefer to see how it performs with real images, as opposed to targets. I think targets might be useful to some extent in making adjustments, but I have not seen anything that makes me believe by looking at a target and shooting it, it will tell me what I need to know about how a lens performs in the real world.

03-26-2012, 02:22 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
although aside from my exposure test, I recommend going out and shooting, I agree that you should not shoot anything important with a new lens (or any other peice of kit for that matter) until you know how it performs. My only difference in approach is I prefer to see how it performs with real images, as opposed to targets. I think targets might be useful to some extent in making adjustments, but I have not seen anything that makes me believe by looking at a target and shooting it, it will tell me what I need to know about how a lens performs in the real world.
Lowell - to a large extent I agree about using real images and that is what I've been trying to do. But my shooting time has been limited, and usually I can only take one lens with me. Also, given all the discussion about back/front focus or the impact of overly large focus points, I had been wondering whether I should try a few fixed targets like a brick wall, which I should be able to do with all my lenses fairly quickly. Another question that has been lurking in my mind is whether 2 lenses set at the same aperture will give roughly the same depth of field, and this is something else I was thinking of putting into the tests.

Fortunately the replies I've gotten here have given me a lot of good ideas.
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