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06-05-2007, 02:00 PM   #1
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Consumer Reports - Lens Ratings?!?

The latest issue of Consumer Reports just rated lenses for SLR cameras. I was dismayed that the Pentax 18-55mm only scored 52 out of 100, while the Nikon, Canon and Sigma counterparts all received much higher scores.

Is the Pentax kit lens really that bad compared to the others? I was always under the impression that it was quite good.

I'm sure exactly what the testing involves, and when it comes to "niche" products such as audio gear I sometimes feel that CR reports on what is best for the "average buyer" rather than for the enthusiast.

In fact, the only lens which scored lower than the Pentax in this category was the Olympus Zuiko

06-05-2007, 02:54 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by storm Quote
The latest issue of Consumer Reports just rated lenses for SLR cameras. I was dismayed that the Pentax 18-55mm only scored 52 out of 100, while the Nikon, Canon and Sigma counterparts all received much higher scores.

Is the Pentax kit lens really that bad compared to the others? I was always under the impression that it was quite good.

I'm sure exactly what the testing involves, and when it comes to "niche" products such as audio gear I sometimes feel that CR reports on what is best for the "average buyer" rather than for the enthusiast.

In fact, the only lens which scored lower than the Pentax in this category was the Olympus Zuiko
I have taken many beautiful shots with th kit lens. As long as you use it within its limitations, it can produce some stunning images. I have several examples in my gallery.
06-05-2007, 03:47 PM   #3
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CR suffers from CaNikonitis and tends to report more favorably on their "name-brand" hype... The 18-45 kit lens is quite capable and while it isnt the best lens on the block it can produce quite good images. That said though, I have to admit that I just ordered the 16-45mm f4 because I want the (little) extra wide angle and the constant aperture.
06-05-2007, 05:05 PM   #4
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Pentax's kit lens is a far cry from the Canon's kit lens, that's for sure.

The build of the Pentax is much more solid. It features an all-metal mount. The focus ring is much wider, and so is easier to turn than the iffy thin affair on the Canon lens. Also, the focusing ring on the Canon locks when the camera is in AF, while the Pentax one allows for final, manual adjustments even when in AF.

The Nikon lens is also solid. It's just the Canon that feels plasticky.

All give good pictures, though, and I'm not too sure if CR really tested the lenses all that well.

06-05-2007, 05:17 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by storm Quote
The latest issue of Consumer Reports just rated lenses for SLR cameras. I was dismayed that the Pentax 18-55mm only scored 52 out of 100, while the Nikon, Canon and Sigma counterparts all received much higher scores.

Is the Pentax kit lens really that bad compared to the others? I was always under the impression that it was quite good.

I'm sure exactly what the testing involves, and when it comes to "niche" products such as audio gear I sometimes feel that CR reports on what is best for the "average buyer" rather than for the enthusiast.

In fact, the only lens which scored lower than the Pentax in this category was the Olympus Zuiko
The lens is not bad, the pentaxians are more rigorous than others
06-05-2007, 06:42 PM   #6
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I have not seen the Consumer Reports article to know what methods they employed in testing. Getting a 2nd and/or 3rd opinion is never a bad idea. Photozone reviews all three (pentax, N and C) and the Pentax holds ups well, especially in build. The Niikon appears at quick read to have the best accross the board optical performance, though. But you are welcome to crunch the numbers: http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/index.html

I do not make a major appliance/automobile purchase without consulting Consumer Reports among other reviews. If anyone has a subscription or access to a copy of the articel, I would be interested in their criteria...before I critique it. That said, I have not been overly impressed with their camera reviews in the past.
06-06-2007, 03:02 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by storm Quote
The latest issue of Consumer Reports just rated lenses for SLR cameras. I was dismayed that the Pentax 18-55mm only scored 52 out of 100, while the Nikon, Canon and Sigma counterparts all received much higher scores.

Is the Pentax kit lens really that bad compared to the others? I was always under the impression that it was quite good.

I'm sure exactly what the testing involves, and when it comes to "niche" products such as audio gear I sometimes feel that CR reports on what is best for the "average buyer" rather than for the enthusiast.

In fact, the only lens which scored lower than the Pentax in this category was the Olympus Zuiko
If you're really concerned you should take a look at the Photozone.de tests. A test can only measure so much but it is interesting to see. I also observed that the site specifically says tests results are not comparable between systems (so comparing the results of the 10-20mm Sigma on a Nikon versus a Pentax body would not be meaningful).

PhotoZone

I am curious how CR performed their tests. Did they shoot a bunch of photos, make prints and then sit around looking at them? Did they manually focus the lenses or were they also testing the autofocus system of the cameras? Did they perform the type of testing Photozone.de did and then compare them when apparently such a comparison is invalid?

I don't put much stock in CR but it is unfortunate as it seems like many trust them. I'm "rash" enough to like an automotive manufacturer that constantly gets dinged for defects. At least they did in the past and I no longer pay any attention to CR for anything except perhaps household appliances. Even then it seems like their testing methodology has been taken to task too many times to put much faith in their recommendations.
06-06-2007, 07:30 AM   #8
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I don't think many people here would base a lens or system decision on CR (or Popular Photography for that matter!) but it is sad as Pentax could really do without large publications perpetuating the myth of Pentax inferiority. That being said, it is also disappointing to see that several of the Pentax zooms get rather low marks for CA in the recent photozone.de reviews.

06-10-2007, 12:05 PM   #9
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I repeatedly read that the Pentax kit lens is the best kit lens of all, and the Canon is the worst (see dpreview.com, where they recommend not using it, but upgrading), while the Nikon is close to the Pentax.

Consumer Reports repeatedly proves they have no idea of the products they are testing. I remember the disastrous tests of video camcorders - their results were far off anything anybody who works with digital video knows.

They also think a Honda Accord is a better car than a Mercedes, post three vacuum cleaner reviews per year, and two or three paint reviews (they obviously like to watch paint dry).

Their method of "rating" gives high points for ease of use, manuals, so only a relatively small percentage is left for the main thing: the quality of the product.

I cancelled this pennywise and poundfoolish magazine, and they still took money out of my credit card account without authorization. (they had to give it back, of course).

Forget those guys. Their claim of not-for-profit is not to be taken seriously. (IKEA, for example, is also a not-for-profit company, "dedicated to the improvement of interior design" - if you don't believe it, google it).

So I wouldn't worry about their test results. They are meaningless.
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