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07-09-2015, 11:36 PM   #16
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Nearly all of these reviews are amateur reviews (as in the reviewer doesn't review lens for a living) and so there is no normalised approach to what is good or bad or what the evaluation criteria should be. I approach them much like pentaxus does - discard the outliers and focus on the common middle ground. There can be many reasons for the outlier reviews from a bad copy of a lens through to the reviewer having very little photography knowledge. Discarding the outliers works well for the common lenses where there are lots of reviews. The obscure lenses with only one or two reviews can be a lottery as to what the true qualities of that lens might be. Once you have been on this forum for a while, you also get to know whose opinions you trust and respect and understand what sort of shooting they do. So if I see those people posting with a lens review, I weight that review more highly in my assessment.

As to the M85/2, the blue fringing at F2 outdoors makes me avoid that aperture outdoors full stop. By F2.8, it is down to levels easily dealt with in post processing and near gone at F4. My suspicion is that F2 is intended for indoors controlled lighting situations where the contrast that brings out the blue fringing can be managed appropriately. My copy is seriously sharp and it renders skin tones very naturally. And in a fabulously small package to boot, as you observe. And once you get into the swing of things, green button metering is no hassle at all (unless you are trying to follow a subject moving in and out of different lighting levels which is where automated exposure earns its keep).

07-10-2015, 03:35 AM   #17
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I think it bears mentioning some of these things. To me, it doesn't matter when a lens was made, lack of aperture control from the body and auto focus are a con. Not everybody is familiar with Pentax's old lenses and knows which ones have an A setting. When you are reading reviews if someone put something down as a con that doesn't bother you, then you just pass over it.

I do think it is silly to ding lenses because they "aren't wide enough" or, "aren't long enough" or, as you mentioned "aren't as flexible as a zoom." I think most people know how long a 55mm or 85mm lens is and hopefully they realize that when they buy a prime that is the only focal length they are getting. If you are shooting landscapes, odds are you aren't going to buy a F 135 f2.8. It's a fine lens, but it certainly is a little long for your stated purpose.

In the end, people review lenses based on what lenses they have already used. I'm convinced that was why the FA 50 f1.4 got such good reviews. It was the first lens that many got after shooting with a kit lens and when compared to the kit lens, it seems really sharp. On the other hand, if you are used to the FA limiteds or the DA *55, then you may not give it such a good score.

It always amuses me when folks pull out the average lens review score for a given lens and compare it to another one. I have no idea what that means and wouldn't rate one lenses versus another based on that score.
07-10-2015, 06:55 AM   #18
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I think that listing "obvious" shortcomings (such as no AF on a MF lens, or being a fast and or long lens and also being "heavy", etc.) are OK,

IF the reviewer does not "ding" the lens for those "obvious" shortcomings in the scoring.

However, some seem to, and some seem not to, and some, well, it's hard to tell...

I generally find reading the reviews interesting and helpful (and fun) -- but one has to read reviews (amateur ~or~ professional) with a discerning mind, just as one has to be discerning when reading anything else on the Internet or, in fact, on/in any other medium.

And, the presence of "silly" cons (such as a prime lens not being a zoom - LOL) does serve a useful purpose -- it does help to tip off the reader as to the validity of the rest of the review. [Having to read a Ken Rockwell review somehow comes to mind here...]

Last edited by fwcetus; 07-10-2015 at 07:09 AM.
07-10-2015, 07:25 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
I think it's okay to list features that a lens might be lacking to facilitate comparisons against other lenses. I'll use the example of the FA 43 Limited. That lens has a lot of coma distortion. I never spotted that distortion during daylight photography but it's very noticeable in astrophotography. Should a review mention the coma distortion? I think yes, but the OP could say that the lens wasn't designed to reduce coma distortion so it should not be in the review.

If we only evaluate a lens based on its stated design goals then every lens is perfect. Slow focusing lenses weren't designed to be fast focusing. Lenses that aren't very sharp weren't designed to be. Etc.
You equate the presence/absence of coma on a lens with, for example, the absence of AF on a manual-focus lens?

07-10-2015, 10:36 AM - 1 Like   #20
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I find the use of the word "ding" odd in this context. What is the total score supposed to mean? Is this a contest or just a buying aid? The reality as far as I can see is that most lenses do not get "dinged" enough--lots of very high ratings on the overall part, which do not correspond to the sum of the ratings for individual aspects.

To me, the score is someone's opinion as to how desirable this lens may be compared to other options. For a DSLR user (probably most of the readers), an M lens which is unusable with P-TTL, cannot use program mode well and gives unreliable exposure readings with some digital bodies is less desirable than an A lens which does not have those disadvantages. If I am looking for a lens for my LX, not having an aperture dial or smoothly damped focus is a big minus. The structure of having an "overall" score not connected to individual scores is inherently subjective. It is what it is, and I can't get too upset about it.
07-10-2015, 11:26 AM   #21
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The better reviews tend to have several paragraphs of text explaining the basis for an introductory sentence (Pro or Con). The rating point of such a review is irrelevant - the text is what matters. In such a review listing MF or no electrical contacts as a 'Con' (as described above by Gene V) is perfectly relevant.

If the review was made by a member whose UID I recognize (so that I also have some sense of 'who the reviewer is') that's even better.

In short, I pay more attention to what I consider 'good' reviews than 'bad' reviews - and very little attention to the Scores.
07-12-2015, 01:53 PM   #22
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I think it's useful to have "cons" list something like manual focus, partly because not everyone reading the review might fully understand the whole M42/K/M/A/F/DA story, and partly because the author might be pointing out that (s)he feels that MF is particularly difficult, or more difficult than anticipated at least, with that model lens.
07-12-2015, 04:38 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by tvdtvdtvd Quote
Looking over the reviews for the SMC M 85/2, I'm struck by the number of reviews which have dinged this
lens for issues which are of no bearing to the lens itself.

Four reviews list lack of aperture automation, (no "A" setting), as a Con.
Two reviews list lack of Auto Focus operation as a Con.
Six reviews list the minimum aperture of f/2, ('could be faster), as a Con.
And One review has dinged the lens for not being a Zoom.

None of the above is relevant to the SMC M 85/2. Remember that this >is< a M series lens. No M series lens
features Aperture Automation. No M series lens features Auto Focus, save for the the anomaly that is the AF 35-70.
(Surely no one is wishing for a SMC M AF 85/2 with battery powered AF that can only work on the ME F??)

The desire for a bit more speed is understandable, but it's still irrelevant to wish the lens were a f/1.8 or f/1.4 or
whatever. It's a f/2. No more, no less. And a marvel at that. Consider that the M 85/2 weighs a third less than
the 85/1.8 or 85/1.9 Super Taks and is less than half the weight of the A* 85/1.4. That's its schtick. Pentax
obviously decided to make an undeniably "M"iniature 85mm for the M series. I marvel that Pentax were able
to make it as fast as f/2 while producing a lens so small. Now, >IF< this f/2 were as big as a f/1.4, then such
a Con might be relevant. Or >IF< it were stated to be f/1.4 but in actuality was only f/1.5, then such a Con would
be relevant.

Not sure what to make of the desire that it might be a zoom.......

To put all this in perspective, all of these Cons are equivalent to dinging the K1000 for not having a USB port,
or the K-5 for not taking 120 film. It's akin to stating the DA15 is too wide for birding or the DA*300 too narrow
for panoramic landscapes. In other words, you can't fault a lens for lacking a feature that was never intended
or available at that time.



The sad thing is that so-called professional reviewers are stooping down to this low-level style of reviewing....

07-12-2015, 07:19 PM   #24
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Right On ! And then a lot of people act so surprised when they see wonderful images with a lens that has a rating lower than what it deserves.
I throw out about half the reviews when selecting a lens to ponder......and ignore most of the other half too !
More nice Glass for those of us who actually..."Think" ! .......lol.
07-12-2015, 07:49 PM   #25
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I 100% absolutely disagree.

User submitted reviews are actual users impressions of lenses. They aren't structured. They don't follow standard formats. They don't include dull test charts. They don't necessarily omit information someone else declares to be obvious.

And they shouldn't. They're someones 2-minute impression of a lens they'd give you while waiting in line to pick up prints at a camera store, the stuff that they personally feel is worth mentioning. These are the things they like and don't like. And you get dozens of such impressions all conveniently from the comfort of your own home. I appreciate the effort everyone puts into submitting reviews whether I found it enlightening to me or not. I'm capable enough to skim over info I personally find obvious and spending more time on stuff that's not obvious to me. Free viewpoints- they're worth at least what you've paid for them.

I shake my head at some of the comments in this thread that cast disparaging remarks at some of these volunteer reviewers. Thumbs down.

---------- Post added 07-12-15 at 10:51 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
The better reviews tend to have several paragraphs of text explaining the basis for an introductory sentence (Pro or Con). The rating point of such a review is irrelevant - the text is what matters.....In short, I pay more attention to what I consider 'good' reviews than 'bad' reviews - and very little attention to the Scores.
100% agree with this. I give very little weight to the numeric scores, the words are where the valuable stuff is.
07-13-2015, 05:39 AM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
User submitted reviews are actual users impressions of lenses...
Problem is, we don't know the writer's standards. This is somewhat like listening to someone's opinion of a restaurant, without knowing if the person prefers McD or 3-star Michelin cuisine.

We repeatedly hear how everybody is entitled to an opinion. This does not mean that everyone's opinion is equally valid or worthy of attention.
07-13-2015, 06:33 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by bxf Quote
Problem is, we don't know the writer's standards. This is somewhat like listening to someone's opinion of a restaurant, without knowing if the person prefers McD or 3-star Michelin cuisine.

We repeatedly hear how everybody is entitled to an opinion. This does not mean that everyone's opinion is equally valid or worthy of attention.
A good reviewer will mention lenses that they are comparing the lens to. If I would review the FA 77, I would compare it to the DA *50-135 and the DA *55 as my lenses that are closest in focal length to it. If I am comparing it only to the 18-135, then that makes my opinion a little more shaky, I suppose.
07-13-2015, 06:49 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by bxf Quote
Problem is, we don't know the writer's standards. This is somewhat like listening to someone's opinion of a restaurant, without knowing if the person prefers McD or 3-star Michelin cuisine.
This is an inherent property of any crowd sourced review system. In the context of this thread, calling it out as a Con of the system risks meta-reviewing yourself into a puff of smoke.

More seriously, you can also look at a users history, past posts, photos, etc. to get more of an idea of where they're coming from, and weigh their review accordingly.

QuoteOriginally posted by bxf Quote
We repeatedly hear how everybody is entitled to an opinion. This does not mean that everyone's opinion is equally valid or worthy of attention.
Of course, everyone is also entitled to weigh everyone else's opinions as they see fit.

The review system here does allow you to 'Like' peoples reviews and others can sort reviews according to 'likes'. It doesn't get used much here, but this reviewing of the reviews is very useful on other sites that have hundreds or thousands of user submitted reviews (such as on Amazon). Maybe they need to include the option to 'Dislike' reviews here, I'd bet that would get used more than the current positive minded Like option.
07-13-2015, 06:50 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by bxf Quote
Problem is, we don't know the writer's standards..........We repeatedly hear how everybody is entitled to an opinion. This does not mean that everyone's opinion is equally valid or worthy of attention.
My sentiment exactly. If I based some of my lens purchases on PF lens reviews , there would have been alot of Glass I passed up as being significantly inferior for invalid reasons.

Lenses are what they are.....and should be reviewed as such , and as they were made , and the features they had at that time.
Other ratings such as .......sharpness , bokeh , flair , CA , etc. , are very relevant on any lens review and should be included because that's at the crux of the matter. But to downgrade or de-rate a lens because of something it never had , or never was designed with feature wise is like saying.....I don't like my 57 Chevy because its heavy , gets bad gas mileage , Has No GPS or On-Star , and it needs a tune-up every 5000 miles !

There are reviews on lenses that I doubt the poster could even set the aperture value on a manual lens.....and then they gripe about it being soft when they only shoot it wide open and then leave a bad sharpness rating ! NO.....reviews like that are redundant , Invalid , and not worthy of inclusion as far as Im concerned.....Yet....they are here.
Now.....I think Im going to go subtract 1 point in my overall rating of all DSLR Pentax bodies.....after all they have a "Crippled Mount" and don't work properly with M42 lenses !

Last edited by Dlanor Sekao; 07-13-2015 at 07:06 AM.
07-13-2015, 07:22 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
More seriously, you can also look at a users history, past posts, photos, etc. to get more of an idea of where they're coming from, and weigh their review accordingly.
And when all is said and done, this is about all we can do.

As an aside, I would note that I often suspect that people's need to validate their purchases has an influence on the ratings they assign.
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