Originally Posted by Wayne Lorimer
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.