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09-06-2013, 02:53 PM   #16
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I completely agree. I almost did not consider a lens because of a low review rating. There were only three reviews and when I looked there were two good, competent reviews and one bad one that fell into the "I just don't like it" class. I took the chance, purchased the lens and could not be happier with its capabilities. I am not the best photographer and I know there are more poor photographers than poor lenses. But when I do a review (I have not done many) I like to include some images to demonstrate what I am talking about. The 60-250 review talked about here is just weird. If you had a 17-70 (or even a standard 18-55) and the 60-250 you would have a lot more capability (admittedly at more expense) than with an 18-250. But the 18-250 is a pretty standard format, so most people seem to feel the focal range works. Most of the criticism in the particular review of the 60-250 was irrelevant.

09-06-2013, 03:19 PM   #17
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If I went by the reviews I never would have bought the FA28-90mm (even if I paid cheap for it). I think it was rocking about a 6.5 or so at the time with no photos available for comparison. I was able to snag it cheap and its become my main walkaround lens. Some day I'll snag an 18-135mm or something and retire it, but until then I have zero complaints about the thing.

I look at the ratings with the thought in mind that lenses fall across a huge range of niches, and you have to view a lens as what it is and what category it falls into. The DA18-55mm is considered one of the best kit lenses available across the brands. Compared to other kit lenses, that would make it a 10. Compared to other zoom lenses, it would drop significantly. Throw in competition from primes and * lenses and that 10 is suddenly a 5 or so.

I just check the reviews for general comments about its qualities (slow, heavy, whatever), then head over to the lens photo database here and by doing a search on Flickr and the like for the model and make my mind up from there.

You'd also have to factor in that when I review a lens, I only have one that I paid more than $40 for (and I have... erm... a lot). If I start weighing my cheap LBA-fueled collection against the Sigma 10-20mm, then I have one 'good' lens and a couple dozen pieces of crap by some peoples' logic. That's pretty obviously not true.

EDIT: For example, in the 10-20 f/3.5 reviews, the two before me basically boil down to "I think the 8-16 is better" and then one person gave it a 4 and a recommendation to buy, and the next person a 7 with a 'no'. Obviously the lens is neither a '4' nor is it a lens to avoid just because 'this other lens is better'.

Last edited by Sagitta; 09-07-2013 at 03:28 PM.
09-06-2013, 03:48 PM   #18
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Any lens review without defined parameters and intended use is suspect.

For instance, I do a fair amount of solo aerial photography. Inherent vibration, atmospherics and the inability to easily or economically "zoom with my feet" makes a zoom lens the best choice regardless of the absolute 'quality' of the glass - within reason. A FL that meets the needs of the moment is as perfect as it gets sometimes.

If I compare typical excellent 28-100mm lenses with a DA 18-135 for this use the zoom wins every time based on task accomplishment.

That's why I always advise picking up a cheap zoom and shooting - a lot - as the best way to pick the more expensive lens(es) best for one's intended use.

There's nothing like personal experience - especially when it can be acquired for the price of lunch and a little patience. No amount of+/- reviews is going to steer a new user to the correct lens choice except experience in using the equipment.

H2

[ For anyone that's interested, for my use, I like the Tamron 24-135 as an excellent aerial lens. The DA 18-135 is also a contender. I'm shooting from a 7ECA with an open window which could make a big difference for some. YMMV ]
09-06-2013, 03:57 PM   #19
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I wanted to say that I completely get some amount of 'personal preference in a review - "I like the width of the 16-50 instead of the 28-70", or "I shoot outdoors so a slow lens doesn't bother me". That's cool; in fact, I read the reviews to get those personal, real-life shooting anecdotes from real people who share my real passion.

Just the reviews that unfairly go after a lens for what it isn't... nice to see I'm not alone in my frustration. And yes, that 60-250 review is what got me annoyed.

09-06-2013, 04:05 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
And you can't discount the fact that a great photographer can make a mediocre lens on an OK camera give stunning results. I've seen that recently when seeing some pics taken with a K20D and a non-SMC Takumar budget zoom. I know I couldn't have taken pics as good as those, if I had a K-5 IIs and a Limited prime. In fact, I just found them:

Nos 4 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Angelito | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

If you go by the reviews of that lens, you'd think it's a paper weight.

Edit: for some reason my images didn't work, so I put links instead.
A bit too Photoshopped for my liking. It is not a bad lens - I gave it a 7 (if it is the same lens, there being at least two different versions of it). What really gets me is reviews written a day or two after someone had got a particular lens. I always scour Flickr for example shots in full size, preferably those taken by people who'd not figured out post-processing.

The review numbers will always be subjective, given the total lack of any guidance.
09-06-2013, 04:08 PM   #21
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Yeah, there are bad reviews. But having moderators delete reviews will be frowned upon. Maybe the community could rate reviews so that bad reviews get pushed on the last side and have less of an effect on the numbers.
09-06-2013, 04:58 PM   #22
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This is all about human nature. In all reviews, somebody will give it a real crappy score and somebody else will want to marry it! It doesn't matter what the item is; cars, computers, camera's or fine dining. In lenses; when the person reviewing starts to say things like useless or wrong length, I tune out. That's why the more reviews you get, the more accurate the overall opinion is. Personally I think even the lousiest lens made is someone's pride and joy!
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09-06-2013, 05:35 PM   #23
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I don't mind lens reviews that say things like "I wish this lens was a 35mm..." etc. Particularly when the statements are made in context. The reviews that seem pointless to me are the ones written 5 minutes after getting the lens.

"I just got this lens and it's a 10!!!"

09-06-2013, 06:42 PM   #24
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I think people also forget that 5, not 7, is average :-)
09-06-2013, 07:09 PM   #25
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The argument I have is with averaging the ratings of all the reviews. The sample is small, the reviewers aren't held to a common standard (so that the "number" has a common reference point) and the inherent conflict of interest can be irresistible (a troll who wants to drag down the average rates a lens 1, 2 or 3 and alternatively someone who want to move a lens up "overrates" it).

I don't think I've ever written a lens review but I have done K and earlier film bodies. I tired to write a complete opinion and justification, including my preconceptions (I prefer K bodies over all others) and needs and uses, which put my opinions in context. My number rating is ranked among all the cameras I've ever used.

I've been around long enough to recognize the names of most of the reviewers, and to have an opinion of them from reading their posts, so I can add some context into what I'm reading. Newer members unfortunately don't have that perspective.

The reviews have really quite little utility unless the reader can discern consistencies and inconsistencies across the entire lens database.
09-06-2013, 07:52 PM   #26
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I largely agree with the silliness of writing reviews wishng something was other than what it is.
Another silly thing I have seen in some reviews is that someone has reviewed a copy of a lens which they admit is damaged in some material way, such as severely scratched glass, and then make pronouncements about the quality of the lens. How is that giving a fair measure of the performance of the lens type?
09-07-2013, 12:43 AM   #27
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There are very few lenses that are bad. This picture was taken in 1961 with a simple viewfinder Retinette 50mmf3.5, It is only a three element lens, yet one can't complain about it's results. If this lens can do it, what are the complaints about with more modern lenses?



Last edited by arnold; 09-07-2013 at 06:39 AM.
09-07-2013, 02:27 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by striker_ Quote
Yeah. Like the ratings on manual lenses:

Cons: Manual.

Everyone knows it's a manual lens. If it is rated negative for being manual why not get the AF version (if there are) instead?
And, this is one too, an unfair comment noticed on one of the lens review which I don't remember now:

"10 is only reserved for AF and I will give 9 just because lack of AF"
09-07-2013, 03:37 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
And, this is one too, an unfair comment noticed on one of the lens review which I don't remember now:

"10 is only reserved for AF and I will give 9 just because lack of AF"
As long as that is stated, it isn't a big deal. Every reviewer has some biases, it is the ones that are unstated that are hardest to sort out.

As time goes by, I tend to review lenses harder than I did when I first got into photography. I used to assume that any photography problems were the result of user error. I can now tell the difference. But I like Photozone's opinion on grading, which is that you have to be hard on lenses, otherwise your reviewing scale is meaningless. If a "C" is an average score than most people should get Cs. But I think most people have the opinion that an "average" lens will score 7.5 or 8 and that only leaves a couple of points to sort out the above average lenses. (I really hate grade inflation).
09-07-2013, 05:13 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
And you can't discount the fact that a great photographer can make a mediocre lens on an OK camera give stunning results. I've seen that recently when seeing some pics taken with a K20D and a non-SMC Takumar budget zoom. I know I couldn't have taken pics as good as those, if I had a K-5 IIs and a Limited prime. In fact, I just found them:
WHAAAAT did you just call K20D a "OK" camera? Blasphemy!

Alright it might be just "okay" by today's high ISO and AF standard but I think the results from and handling of this camera leaves little to be desired when paired with decent glass like you said
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