A different kind of view – A different take on a generic lens test article

Often generic lens test articles can be lacking in definitive and non-biased information. Articles can read as a “cut and paste” of technical reviews and the specifications brochure. Although providing accurate information on technical specs, nowhere in the article is there a reference to print quality, which the Colour Factory team believes to be imperative in evaluating lens performance.

Accompanying test shots seem barely related and have little to offer in assessing the lens. Often the conclusive paragraph contradictorily sings its praise while suggesting it is only an amateur ‘family vacation’ lens. However, to be fair we must also keep in mind the target audience.

Optical Evaluations

After all our imaginations it is the ability to reconcile the differences of our ideas imagined to those of reality we have created. After all, often what you see is not often what you get.

Yet another lens review bogged down in the Holy Trinity of photographic equipment evaluation systems ( P.E.E.S.)

i. Design & Construction
ii. Optical or Image Quality (IQ)
iii. The Bottom Line

Design & Construction is generally just a green flag to spew verbatim, without prevarication, word for word the brochure of the manufacturer. This technique is used to expand the length of the article by focusing on features that are so numbingly commonplace one wonders if anyone actually cares that the product has a:

0.95cm focus ring AND a 1.9cm wide zoom ring”  and also ” a  (somewhat small) distance scale positioned at the extreme front of the lens barrel, and  incorporates markings in both feet and metres. The focus ring travels slightly past the infinity mark, apparently to allow for the effects of ambient  temperature variations.”

We have turned headfast now into the land of absolute babble and drivel!

Optical or Image Quality testing involves the now commonplace procedures of the almighty “Pixel Peeping” and “100 % zoom crops”.  Our assemblage of image mercenaries will ravage and relish any signs of aberration, flaring, flanging, or fringing and mightily proclaim remedies for such inflictions much in the way of the travelling medicine man of the Old west would peddle snake oils and Indian pills.

“one product is all you need
“it’s an emergency room in a bottle”  –
Clayton Tedeton

Yeee Haaaa Photoshop cowboys lets lock -N- Load !!!!

The Bottom Line is where it hurts. Here we must marry our desire for the “Best freaking lens ever invented man! ”  with the fundamental obligation to our existence……. our wallet. This is where our Bestman is “convenience” and our Bridesmaid is “multi-purpose”. 18 – 200mm superzoom compact best of the group single barrel burden free all round good time best buy bargain of the year. Only to be informed the “Serious shooters” would never hitch themselves to such an ambitious multi talented harlot of a lens! Thus wasting a large wad of the good stuff on something that could never be what it wanted to be.

“A different kind of view”
i. Design & Construction
ii. Optical or Image Quality ( IQ)
iii. The Bottom Line

Design & Construction

How does it feel?…quite simple really. Hold it in your hands and shoot. Does it excite and inspire you? Is it comfortable, can it be your new close companion?  This is the vibe.

Optical or Image Quality. This is also the vibe

For this we need to materialize the image, then judge the elements that establish the basis of the work. Testing needs to take into account the ability of the lens to resolve detail that can be resolved by the media. Full screen zooms will not tell us how the image will appear once printed and displayed on a wall. Certain images will be definitely be off limits and or the lens will have flaws. However the computer will not tell us how the image will interact with materials used. Elements like size, scope, space and context cannot be transported via computer screens.

We do not want to become bogged down in matters that obstruct our ability to “see” the image. Our enemies here are the pixels. It is time to transform them into light or dots and evaluate their performance.

The Bottom Line

We must honestly ask ourselves ‘what kind of work are we shooting’ and do we really need the extra length for a compromise in quality? Does multi-purpose override beauty? What is more important? Will a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ lens satisfy our desire in a long term relationship or should we divorce all round performance, walk the extra mile ourselves and not be lazy photographers. Is it worth paying a little extra to get a red hot number that continues to inspire and instill awe for a lifetime of rewarding photography?

And finally the bottom line is also the vibe and the print quality!

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