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Archive 2013 · How do you test your lenses?
  
 
rajan11
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p.1 #1 · How do you test your lenses?


Do you have any preferred way of testing your lenses - new or pre-owned bought on this forum or else where?
I go to an old antique place and try my lens out - the test subject has lots of texture and colors. Do you have any other (may be controlled) way of testing your lens?



Mar 21, 2013 at 11:47 AM
sjms
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p.1 #2 · How do you test your lenses?


photography. you got it right. I try not to practice ART trying to prove a negative. the only caveat here is if i'm getting consistently bad results I do need to prove it's the lens/camera and not me (which is more the likely culprit)


Mar 21, 2013 at 12:56 PM
ange
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p.1 #3 · How do you test your lenses?


I never had a tendency to do serious pixel peeping (I tried to just do real life photography), but after my last two lenses, I've started recommending it.

When I got my Canon 70-200 f/4, I just shot pictures and fought the temptation to take test pics of brick walls, etc. I did notice that there was some very 'slight' softness to my images, but everyone thought they were fine.

Then I got a 1.4x tcon and all the shots were soft to almost blurry. I found out there was indeed a problem with the lens and the tcon magnified it. Canon calibrated the lens and now it's perfect. The same type of thing happened with my 17-55. Luckily I caught it before it was out of warranty.

I'll bet a huge number of lenses go out that need calibrating. So now I shoot those straight on shots of brick walls, blow up the images and pixel peep the heck out of them for softness, especially on the edges. Then I take test shots using a very well lit focus chart to test for front/back focus issues.

Andy



Mar 21, 2013 at 01:32 PM
Ben Horne
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p.1 #4 · How do you test your lenses?


Those who spend much of their time testing their gear, rather than using their gear, most likely have a misguided interest in photography. The vast majority of lenses out there will perform extremely well. If in your normal course of photography, you find something seems wrong with one of your lenses, take care of it. No lens is perfect, and if you are obsessed with proving that your equipment is flawed, you will have nothing to show for it. If Ansel Adams spent much of his time testing his gear by shooting images of brick walls, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have advanced as far as he did.


Mar 21, 2013 at 09:06 PM
rajan11
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p.1 #5 · How do you test your lenses?


Ben Horne wrote:
Those who spend much of their time testing their gear, rather than using their gear, most likely have a misguided interest in photography. The vast majority of lenses out there will perform extremely well. If in your normal course of photography, you find something seems wrong with one of your lenses, take care of it. No lens is perfect, and if you are obsessed with proving that your equipment is flawed, you will have nothing to show for it. If Ansel Adams spent much of his time testing his gear by shooting images of brick walls, I'm pretty sure
...Show more

Ben, you got it wrong. no body is suggesting that you spend all your time testing your gear. But if you buy a new lens (with the prices of good lenses sky rocketing) it is not a bad idea to test it to ensure that you haven't got a lemon. This is especially true if you buy a used lens.



Mar 21, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Ben Horne
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p.1 #6 · How do you test your lenses?


rajan11 wrote:
Ben, you got it wrong. no body is suggesting that you spend all your time testing your gear. But if you buy a new lens (with the prices of good lenses sky rocketing) it is not a bad idea to test it to ensure that you haven't got a lemon. This is especially true if you buy a used lens.


While it's enlightening to know that my opinion is wrong, I wish you the best of luck with your testing. While you're working on that, I'll be out shooting some photos with mine. Good Day.



Mar 21, 2013 at 09:35 PM
Sunny Sra
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p.1 #7 · How do you test your lenses?


Rajan,
You can do MA on your camera/lens combo by using lensalign or FoCAL. Atleast thats what i think you mean by testing lenses...



Mar 21, 2013 at 09:45 PM
ange
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p.1 #8 · How do you test your lenses?


Ben, I don't think it really takes all that much time away from shooting to see if there is an issue with a lens. When I got my lens back from Canon last time, it took me all of an hour to see if the issue had been solved.

Given the fact that I had to send the lens back 3 times (IS was failing) for issues that Canon admits were not addressed, I'd say some testing was in order. So sometimes, there a place for it.

Great shots at your site BTW.

Andy



Mar 21, 2013 at 09:59 PM
trenchmonkey
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p.1 #9 · How do you test your lenses?


I take pictures of things I normally shoot (95% of the time they're moving) I'll know in 1/2 a dozen
shots if "something's amiss". I can fine tune on the fly and I've sent exactly 1 lens back in over 40 yrs
in this business. It was a Sigma 120-300 f2.8 that lost AF lock while zooming...the IQ when "on" was stunning.
I shoot, I sell, I drink, I smile....a lot.



Mar 21, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Sunny Sra
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p.1 #10 · How do you test your lenses?


trenchmonkey wrote:
I take pictures of things I normally shoot (95% of the time they're moving) I'll know in 1/2 a dozen
shots if "something's amiss". I can fine tune on the fly and I've sent exactly 1 lens back in over 40 yrs
in this business. It was a Sigma 120-300 f2.8 that lost AF lock while zooming...the IQ when "on" was stunning.
I shoot, I sell, I drink, I smile....a lot.


Amen...

what you drinking these days?



Mar 21, 2013 at 10:23 PM
 

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trenchmonkey
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p.1 #11 · How do you test your lenses?


Malpais Stout from a local microbrewery, and Crown Black when I'm sippin' Sunny.


Mar 21, 2013 at 10:45 PM
rajan11
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p.1 #12 · How do you test your lenses?


Sunny Sra wrote:
Rajan,
You can do MA on your camera/lens combo by using lensalign or FoCAL. Atleast thats what i think you mean by testing lenses...

Sunny,
I was just curious what people do to be certain that the lens that they have just purchased is not a lemon - mainly sharpness - center and corner, IS working properly et al. MA is probably another step.

Like I mentioned, I have a nice antique shop near by that provides me very good opportunities to shoot and test my lenses. I was wondering what others out there do - that's all.

Rajan



Mar 21, 2013 at 11:58 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #13 · How do you test your lenses?


Most of the observable issues are slight decentering or other optical defects that are often asymmetrical and worse in the corners. A nice, uniform test target is desirable to compare various lenses over time and will allow you to quickly spot the ocassional dud or just "not quite right" lens with experience.

I do agree that a field use test is good for finding some defects, such as AF and general mechanics, but if a lens group is slightly decentered or tilted, you want to find that quickly and obtain a replacement lens before roughing it up in the field or the return period expires, etc.

EBH



Mar 22, 2013 at 12:17 AM
aborr
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p.1 #14 · How do you test your lenses?


I agree that you should do at least a few 'controlled tests' before you take a new (to you) lens into the field -

I tack an unfolded newspaper on the wall and take a series of shots at various apertures, first with the camera square to the wall , and then at an angle.

I then go outside and repeat the process aiming at the side of a building. (Not many brick walls here in California earthquake country, but lots of patterned siding.)

Finally, I take a few shots of a very distant scene to verify that infinity focus is OK.

The whole process only takes a few minutes -

If the frames are the same density with different shutter/aperture combinations the diaphragm's probably working OK.

The head-on shots point out any major de-centering issues.
The angle shots help spot any gross front/back focus issues at near and mid distances.

When I'm done looking at the results, I do what most FM'ers seem to do with a new lens - I go outdoors and, depending on the focal length of the lens, photograph the heck out of the nearest cat and/or take a bunch of pigeon-in-flight shots.

(Friends and family seem to sense when I've got a new lens to test, and suddenly find the need to be somewhere out of camera range.)

Al





Mar 22, 2013 at 01:55 AM
justruss
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p.1 #15 · How do you test your lenses?


rajan11 wrote:
Do you have any preferred way of testing your lenses - new or pre-owned bought on this forum or else where?
I go to an old antique place and try my lens out - the test subject has lots of texture and colors. Do you have any other (may be controlled) way of testing your lens?


Don't these threads come up about once a month? If you don't want to draw the patronizing comments you're sure to draw from starting one yourself-- I suggest teh search feature.

Now, on to the patronizing: Testing lenses against getting a lemon is silly... unless what you do is test lenses instead of shooting other subjects. Yes, even with used lenses.

Like most of the people who chime in here will probably suggest: I mount the lens to my camera, I go out and shoot (I mean, that's why I bought the lens, right?), and if something doesn't look right I might inquire deeper. But that rarely happens.

What's ironic is that it seems the people most obsessed/worried about getting a lemon are also concerned with testing against brick walls or something. Ironic because if you're so obsessed over image quality-- you should notice any real issues from normal shooting. If you don't notice any issues from normal shooting, then I guess whatever range of in-spec your lens corresponds to just isn't an issue.

Furthermore, unless you're comparing multiple copies in order to cherry pick-- which I think is pretty despicable if you're buying from a retailer and intend to return all but the best to the retailer (I don't really care if you're re-selling)-- you're not going to have a very strong basis for determining that your lens is at the top/bottom of a given in-spec range.

If it's a lemon-- your stated fear-- then you're going to notice it within a couple real-world shots. If it's in-spec but not the best example ever made... you won't notice it shooting in the real world, and you probably won't notice in controlled tests unless you have a lot of experience with multiple copies of that exact lens.

Ergo: Go shoot in the real world.

Hey... you asked.



Mar 22, 2013 at 08:10 AM
rajan11
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p.1 #16 · How do you test your lenses?


justruss wrote:
Don't these threads come up about once a month? If you don't want to draw the patronizing comments you're sure to draw from starting one yourself-- I suggest teh search feature.

Yes I searched. I found 0 matches. May be the search criteria that I used wasn't correct but I tried.

justruss wrote:
Now, on to the patronizing: Testing lenses against getting a lemon is silly... unless what you do is test lenses instead of shooting other subjects. Yes, even with used lenses.

Like most of the people who chime in here will probably suggest: I mount the lens to my camera, I go out and shoot (I mean, that's why I bought the lens, right?), and if something doesn't look right I might inquire deeper. But that rarely happens.

That is what I mentioned in my original post - I go t one of my favorite antique shop and shoot. It provides me with nice subjects.

justruss wrote:
What's ironic is that it seems the people most obsessed/worried about getting a lemon are also concerned with testing against brick walls or something. Ironic because if you're so obsessed over image quality-- you should notice any real issues from normal shooting. If you don't notice any issues from normal shooting, then I guess whatever range of in-spec your lens corresponds to just isn't an issue.

Furthermore, unless you're comparing multiple copies in order to cherry pick-- which I think is pretty despicable if you're buying from a retailer and intend to return all but the best to the retailer (I
...Show more
Hmmmmm cherry picking - that is going too far. That was not the intent here. I am not a pro, so buying some of those expensive lenses is a big investment in my hobby. I just want to be sure. I asked an honest question and I got (or not) my answers.

Time to go out and shoot, I guess.

Rajan



Mar 22, 2013 at 09:48 AM
sjms
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p.1 #17 · How do you test your lenses?


yes it is. no need to be a "doomsday prepper". but wow what a another really interesting cable show that could be: "Lens Analysts ART"


Mar 22, 2013 at 01:12 PM
justruss
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p.1 #18 · How do you test your lenses?


Rajan: I wasn't implying you were cherry picking. Just exploring the logical extension of what it would take to make sense of more analytical "lens testing" to determine getting a so-called good copy.

My ultimate point was this: Shoot what you shoot-- because it's what you shoot.

Now I shall return to the tedious task of tending my rock garden. Ohhhmmmmm.



Mar 22, 2013 at 01:19 PM
StanOPhoto
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p.1 #19 · How do you test your lenses?


I twist my lens onto the camera body and head out for an assignment to use it in the real world. I can care less how brick walls and printed crosshair sheets look.


Mar 27, 2013 at 08:49 AM
zesto
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p.1 #20 · How do you test your lenses?


It doesn't take much of your time to see if a lens has an AF slightly out or some other warranty issue. Not a big deal, but worth doing especially in this age of QC shortcomings. I've never had a dud Nikon lens in over thirty years but these days I do a quick test.

All the egocentric talk about taking pictures while someone else takes test shots is quite amusing. If some people want to spend even all their photographic time testing lenses or shooting brick walls, then so be it. No right or wrong.




Mar 27, 2013 at 09:29 AM
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