Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Lorimer

Firstly, how do people do their own lens tests? I have read somewhere about putting a sheet of newspaper on the wall and shooting at all apetures - is this how it is done? Or do people prefer to test out in the field?

Also, do you shoot 100asa slide to test the lens, or print film - (given the inconsistancy of print processing I'm guessing slide)?

In lens 'tests' the word "soft" will often be used, especially when talking about a lens wide open. Is this softness a perceptable thing in 8x10 enlargements, or more of a scale thing that you would have to be a scientist to appreciate and identify?

But then there are those lens test again that talk about "softness" in the sigma's and tokina's, and that scares the hell out of me. Does anyone have any experience with these lenses (or other sigma's, tokina's, tamron's etc).

Does anybody test their lenses before they buy?

Sorry about all the questions, but this whole lens question gets me uptight - especially since it's the lens that determines image quality (yeah, I know - buy the most expensive one you can afford - right)? But how good are Sigma's etc... if that is what I can afford?


Start with that then I'll give my opinion which is worth about 2cents less then you'll pay for it.

If you're going to test test the same way you'll use the lens. If you're going to use the lens with slide film then test it with slide film. If you're going to photograph test charts then test with them-) Unless you're looking for numerical numbers I'm not really sure why so many people test with test charts. I'm not talking about people trying to collect data to compare lenses but the average person that seems obsessed with testing over photographing.

When you hear a lens is soft wide open ask yourself. How often are you going to use the lens wide open?

Then understand softness isn't a fault. Some people pay big bucks for soft lenses. So what are you going to use the lens for? Will you need super sharpness or will you be better off with softness?

All I'm trying to say do what makes you happy and what you can. The lens you can afford is 100x better then the lens you're lusting after but can't afford. The pictures you take with a bad lens will be better then the photos you don't take while dreaming about a great lens.