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  1. #1
    Senior Member

    DIY lens testing

    Greetings,

    Second post on this forum so I am a newbie. My first post led me to write this question.

    I have been going back and forth between several Nikon lenses. I also have Cannon gear which perhaps I shouldn't mention on this forum, but with the Cannon glass I have relied to a degree on Dxomark and find that helpful.

    With cropped sensor lens Dxomarks doesn't do a great job of keeping up to date. I just got a Nikon D5600 strictly because of the low weight and size and want to use it for travel. I also bought a 18-400 Tamron because I tried it out in a camera store along with an 16-80 and found the Tamron to be sharper to my eyes. Nothing scientific mind you. I was and am thinking of sending back the 18-400 Tamron because I would prefer something that is a more moderate zoom even though it is quite sharp in many respects.

    My question is, is there a method of testing a lens that is more DIY. Some of the lens charts are quite expensive. Someone told me to use a newspaper but that didn't work out too well.

    Any thoughts on how to make up something to take photos of for comparison purposes? A DIY chart of scene that doesn't change so the results don't have that variable?

    Hope this isn't a silly question. Thank you.

    SM


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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    480sparky's Avatar

    Re: DIY lens testing

    My test subject for any lens is a local courthouse that is only a block away from where I grew up. I've taken so many photos of it since the 60's I know every crack, scratch and pit on it.

    As far as a 'scene' that anyone can use any where, there's these:







    But personally, I wouldn't put a lot of the rent money on Joe Schmoe's test results.
    Don't mind me... I'm out roaming around somewhere between Zone III and VII.


    Go forth and actuate!


    My Website.

  3. #3
    Senior Member

    Re: DIY lens testing

    Do you just go by the bricks or the entire courthouse?

    Thanks
    SM

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    480sparky's Avatar

    Re: DIY lens testing

    Depends on the lens.

    Judging corners of an 8mm lens is a bit different than a 1000mm.
    Don't mind me... I'm out roaming around somewhere between Zone III and VII.


    Go forth and actuate!


    My Website.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    pforsell's Avatar

    Re: DIY lens testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Smorton View Post
    Greetings,

    Second post on this forum so I am a newbie. My first post led me to write this question.

    I have been going back and forth between several Nikon lenses. I also have Cannon gear which perhaps I shouldn't mention on this forum, but with the Cannon glass I have relied to a degree on Dxomark and find that helpful.

    With cropped sensor lens Dxomarks doesn't do a great job of keeping up to date. I just got a Nikon D5600 strictly because of the low weight and size and want to use it for travel. I also bought a 18-400 Tamron because I tried it out in a camera store along with an 16-80 and found the Tamron to be sharper to my eyes. Nothing scientific mind you. I was and am thinking of sending back the 18-400 Tamron because I would prefer something that is a more moderate zoom even though it is quite sharp in many respects.

    My question is, is there a method of testing a lens that is more DIY. Some of the lens charts are quite expensive. Someone told me to use a newspaper but that didn't work out too well.

    Any thoughts on how to make up something to take photos of for comparison purposes? A DIY chart of scene that doesn't change so the results don't have that variable?

    Hope this isn't a silly question. Thank you.

    SM
    Just my humble opinions, take them as you like.

    My suggestion is to either go with the basic kit lens 18-55VR which is superb for the price, or if it is not good enough then it's better to forego all the variable aperture plastic fantastic lenses. The plastic 16-xx or 18-xx lenses are nothing but a variation of the same theme and the differences between them are academic at best, never to be realized in real world shooting. Nobody can tell a 5% difference in sharpness or vignetting between these lenses when the user error is always 50 times higher: misfocusing, camera shake, bad composition, boring subject, bad perspective, wrong lighting, bad timing, wrong exposure, motion blur, wrong depth of field, not understanding curvature of field, wrong time of the day, too much photoshopping, sloppy camera handling and whatnot ...

    Testing lenses requires a lot of rigor and I don't see the point in it for the general public. Without proper equipment, preparation, and skill set the results will be random.
    Best Answers Marcel voted best answer for this post
     
    9 Nikon single-digit pro bodies from D1H to D5.
    12 Nikon three-digit consumer bodies from D100 and up.
    56 Nikkor prime lenses from AIS 8/2.8 to AFS 400/2.8VR
    4 Nikkor zoom lenses: 14-24/2.8, 17-35/2.8, 28-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8VR
    My fastest lens is f/1.2 (x3) and slowest f/2.8


  6. #6
    Happy to be Canadian
    Super Mod
    Marcel's Avatar

    Re: DIY lens testing

    I'll second @pforsell and say that lens sharpness is way over rated when looking at travel pictures. Even the sharpest bad picture will be a bad picture. Light, composition, proper exposure and timing, choice of subject are way more important than the actual lens sharpness.

    But I can understand that as consumers become more and more aware of tests and results they always seem to want more for their money. But best and cheapest don't necessarily go together well.

    Instead of using your time testing different lenses and wearing out your eyesight in front of a computer monitor, maybe your time would be better spent taking photos, going to a local photo club to see what others are doing and learning what makes a great photo.

    For travel, I took 3 lenses when I was using the D7000. 18-200, 35 1.8 and a 10-20. I was able to carry all of them in a hiking fanny pack that I wore in front, camera in the pouch and lenses in the bottle holders on each side. This made it very comfortable to carry all I needed for almost any situation encountered.

    Safe travel enjoying your Nikon.
    Thanks/Like Dawg Pics Thanks/liked this post
     
    I'm beginning to see the LIGHT!
    Please visit my Gallery and my Flickr Gallery

  7. #7
    Senior Member

    Re: DIY lens testing

    DIY lens testing
    One thing you can do by yourself is to find the sharpness "sweet spot" for each lens. I used to believe that higher f-stop meant a sharper picture because of a larger depth of field, but then I discovered that really small apertures can be less sharp because of the way light bounces off of the aperture blades.

    Basically, just put the camera on a tripod and set a fixed ISO. (Don't use auto-ISO because the added noise will decrease sharpness.) Shoot a brightly lit target at every f-stop on your lens, then zoom in and compare. For most lenses I found the sharpest spot to be somewhere between f 7 and f 11. Here's an example I shot on a 50mm lens:


    DIY lens testing-fstoptest.jpg





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