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10-16-2015, 07:15 AM   #1
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Stand Alone Lens Test's

Curious how much weight one should put on stand alone lens tests.

Seams like there are so many variables it would be tough to accurately represent just "the lens".

In camera settings, RAW verses SOOTC JPG etc...etc..

I see MANY pics from the same lens....some are sharp, some are peach fuzzy...is it really the lens or the camera...and/or in camera settings?

I know some are the actual photographer as well.... but just curious...what review to really FOCUS on.....lol

10-16-2015, 08:43 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by kentster Quote
Curious how much weight one should put on stand alone lens tests.

Seams like there are so many variables it would be tough to accurately represent just "the lens".

In camera settings, RAW verses SOOTC JPG etc...etc..

I see MANY pics from the same lens....some are sharp, some are peach fuzzy...is it really the lens or the camera...and/or in camera settings?

I know some are the actual photographer as well.... but just curious...what review to really FOCUS on.....lol
If it is extremely sharp, you can bet it is PP.
10-16-2015, 10:03 AM   #3
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These are for me examples of good tests:

135mm sonnar lenses tested

DCView

Good because 1. methodical approach 2. care with focus and set up 3. consistency
The actual or subjective character of the images is not relevant what is relevant is the comparison, that is the good information.

When a lens is considered in isolation, well yes I've done that and realised later that a good impression or not so good impression was probably reflecting nothing more than better/not so good light conditions. I can add that most images look similar in terms of detail when a large resize has taken place (to post on this forum for example), add in some sharpening which is normal to do because resizing softens the image a bit, well as a veteran on The Luminous Landscape remarked "95% of lenses are sharper than 95% of photographers".
Finally I am simply irritated by "reviewers" whose review is really nothing more than an announcement that he/she is pleased with their latest purchase.
10-16-2015, 10:51 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kentster Quote
I know some are the actual photographer as well.... but just curious...what review to really FOCUS on.....lol
i think that you have to focus on what is important to you as the shooter.

for example, i've posted a bunch of lens comparisons of wide legacy glass on the ff a7r, but it's all focused on field curvature problems when shooting landscapes, and identifying decentering in lenses.

if you shoot only centered objects with a crop camera, i.e., dogs, people, etc., those two things would be helpful to know, but they don't necessarily address your personal shooting scenarios that well.

the best reviews cover many things: Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM C Lens Review

he compares pq, handling, autofocus, alternative lenses, and even shooting video with the lens, which is unheard of: "This lens is very close to being parfocal. With Live View at 10x, focus acquired at 600mm remains nearly ideal while zooming out all the way to 150mm."

10-16-2015, 02:25 PM   #5
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I've found lens tests that are accompanied by sample shots are useful and accurate. Knowing what you're after is important too. For example, if I'm looking for an airshow lens (as I am now) I'll look at lab results for sharpness and chromatic aberration, (ignoring vignetting and distortion) and then look for the sites with unprocessed sample images to compare different lenses.
10-17-2015, 09:02 AM   #6
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I always look at:

1- Reviewers who have a large body of reviews performed under the same or similar methods (example - photozone.de). This lets you get an idea what the specific reviewer looks for and is ideal for comparing two lenses. It's also handy if they've reviewed lenses you already own so you can compare their tastes to your own. Hopefully they have samples under controlled conditions to rule out user error as much as possible.

2- Reviews submitted by the random masses (like here on PF). This gives you many different viewpoints, and hopefully sample pictures under various conditions/uses. Any consistent problems with the lens should become apparent, but you also need to keep 'outliers' in mind, user error, possible bad copies of a lens or other sample variation, etc.. It's up to you to judge how much to weigh someones opinion, many of the reviewers here have links to their galleries, flickr, 500px etc, so you can quickly get an idea of their experience, as well has what types of things they typically shoot (perspective is important!).
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