My lens tests are pretty simple. And I don't test all my lenses. Some of 'em I just evaluate based on how the routine photos look.


Last year I tested all of my manual focus Nikkors (35mm film format). I also evaluated a Vivitar Series 1 70-210/2.8-4 zoom.

I don't think I've ever bothered testing the S-K Xenotar in my Rollei 2.8C. I figured any deficiencies would show up during routine photography. So far, so good - no problems, no apparent need to test.

I do the brick wall test on TMX in bright sunlight and open shade at the closest focus range, some arbitrarily selected middle range and at infinity. I'll usually go downtown for the infinity test since the tall buildings make for better testing conditions.

That's about it. I check the negatives for resolution and distortion. If I see obvious problems such as edge soften, falloff wide open, barrel distortion, etc., I may not bother enlarging that negative. The best frames I'll examine more closely with enlarged test strips.

Most of my lens *types* have been evaluated ad infinitum by other sources. All I want to know is whether mine deviates significantly from the expected performance. I've seldom been disappointed by a lens that other reviews had praised. I have been surprised by the performance of lenses that I hadn't expected to perform so well, such as my 50/2 Nikkor mounted on an M2 extension tube. Can't tell the difference in b&w photos between it and my 55/3.5 Micro-Nikkor on the M2.

The Vivitar Series 1 performed about as expected: very good at the short end, even wide open; soft at the long end until stopped down; very good at moderate focusing distances, not so hot at infinity at the 210mm focal length.