Why do we talk such rubbish about lenses?
A review of some Zuiko standard lenses from the humble £10 50mm f1.8 to the £350 50mm f2 macro.
One should be clearly better than the other, right? Oh, and a 1950s Takumar thrown in for good measure…
I don't talk rubbish about lenses, I believe that the majority of lenses are better lenses than the majority of people are photographers, and what you point your lenses at is more important than it's absolute optical quality.
Most lenses are perfectly fine, and the lens should never be an excuse for making poor photographs. The more I photograph, the more I want to get away from lens talk, which is a distraction at best.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
Most prime lenses from makes you've heard of are very good. Don't shoot brick walls, and you'll never know the difference between a £30 and a £300 one. At f8 all primes lenses are as damn near equal as makes no difference.
I agree with all that's said above, more or less, but I'm not sure a set of modern SLR primes from the same manufacturer is the best place to make such comparisons. I'm certainly not an expert on these newfangled SLR thingummies, but aren't those lenses likely to represent variations on a common basic design, rather than entirely different designs as one might see in the rangefinder world? (To say nothing of large format, but I realize we're in the 35mm forum here.)
San Diego, CA, USA
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The article is drivel because it is subjective and not based on careful resolution tests. There is a difference between lenses which is usually reflected in their relative costs. Years ago photographic magazine routinely published useful tests making it easy for people to determine whether a lens would be of value to them. BTW, this is something that each person must decide for themselves.
This is the second time that someone has published an article from this source. The author typically goes for shock value. Ignore him.
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Any photography blogger knows that if you want to increase short term traffic to your website/blog, just do a gear review. Drooling over gear is the crack of photographers. Or at least most of them that have time to spend on the internet rather than out actually making photographs. I do it myself on my blog. The last blog I did on pixel peeping got me hammered with traffic. Blog postings on technique or art appreciation don't do as well. Just my 2 cents.
Sorry to have disappointed you, Gerald.
Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch
I've looked a plenty of resolution tests and sample images intended to show the relative merits of one lens or another.
I'd say that it's probably the least useful way to determine whether or not a given lens is valuable.
Go out and make your own pictures with a lens, then decide. Or else just make pictures and adapt your vision to what the lens can do well, and forget about what a given pixel or film grain looks like.
As for the article, after reading it, I'm not sure what the core point was supposed to be, but the usual bokeh, pincushion this, resolution that, and creamy highlight talk makes me want to scream sometimes. And I agree with him that it's too easy to obsess over what are often very subtle differences.
The blogger says Geoffrey Crawley would be turning in his grave at the review, so it clearly isn't aimed at lines per millimetre addicts or corner definition fundamentalists. The problem with those 'serious' reviews were they were so uninspiring, with images of such singular dullness that one didn't care how sharp the thing was.