How to shop test a lens?


adwb

Link Posted 25/05/2010 - 10:20
Following the advice given in a previous thread that I started asking for assistance on wide angle choices for general and landscape use, I have narrowed my choices down to a 10- something zoom, and, having read whatever on line reviews I can, the lens I am going for is the Tamron 10-24. Quality, price and current rebate has helped and reading through this thread[ https://www.pentaxuser.com/forum/topic/tamron-10-24-ephotozine-review-by-pete-bargh-15347/p-0] I note, with interest, the comment on going to SRS and testing out their lenses that one member posted, and that leads me to ask again for some advice as how to do this?
What should I be looking for?
Do I look for the sharpness on my K10's LCD or do I ask to review the shots on one of the shops screen.
Lastly, since I can't easy get to SRS from Bristol , if I use a local supplier [I am lucky there are several to chose from although they often don't stock Pentax fit],if they only have on in stock or offer to get one in for me when I test it how do I know if it is a good one or one not?
thanks
Alistair
Assorted Pentax bodies and lenses as well as Sony and Olympus kit

Mannesty

Link Posted 25/05/2010 - 10:44
Looking at images in-camera is most definitely not the ideal way to evaluate images/lenses. It will give you some idea, but I wouldn't base my decision to shell out several hundred pounds on a lens, solely on the images viewed on the camera.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream

Clarky

Link Posted 25/05/2010 - 11:53
Do you have a laptop you can take with you, you can also take the card home with you for evalution and then place the order by phone stating your forum username too recieve free shipping.
Camera:|K-7|
Pentax Lenses:|DA12-24/f4 ED AL|DA35Ltd Macro|FA31Ltd|FA77Ltd|FA50/1.4|F70-210|FA20-35 f4/AL|A*200/f4 Macro ED|A50/1.7|A50 Macro f2.8|1.7xAF adapter|
Voigtlander|125/f2.5SL Macro APO Lanthar|
Sigma Lenses:|EX DG 100-300 f4|2X & 1.4X TC|
Flashes:|AF540FGZx2|RingFlash AF160FC|

jimmoore

Link Posted 25/05/2010 - 12:01
You could drive (M5) up to Clifton cameras as they are Pentax pro dealers.

Jim

adwb

Link Posted 25/05/2010 - 12:42
Thanks, yes I have netbook I use for field use that I can take, and Jim re Clifton Cameras, I don't know what they stock as they never answer their phone, But Bristol cameras, have stock but only one , London Camera Exchange are also Pentax Pro dealers but I have not asked them what they hold in stock..
Alistair
Assorted Pentax bodies and lenses as well as Sony and Olympus kit

Anvh

Link Posted 25/05/2010 - 12:48
I dont think it's a good idea to go with a netbook in the shop to test lenses.
There are enough sites that show which one is sharper and what not so simply go to the shop and test how a lens handles in your hands and you can take some dirty shots of the racks to see the distortion.
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ

adwb

Link Posted 25/05/2010 - 13:16
Anvh wrote:
I dont think it's a good idea to go with a netbook in the shop to test lenses.
There are enough sites that show which one is sharper and what not so simply go to the shop and test how a lens handles in your hands and you can take some dirty shots of the racks to see the distortion.

Stefan, explain "dirty" shots further? I am looking for advice on how to test and what to look for. All my other lenses either came new with a camera or were bought secondhand.This is my first purchase of a new lens and I don't want to waste my money.
Alistair
Assorted Pentax bodies and lenses as well as Sony and Olympus kit
Last Edited by adwb on 25/05/2010 - 13:16

jimmoore

Link Posted 25/05/2010 - 13:20
Clifton had large Pentax stock when I last made a purchase from them.
but if have stockist closer then that would save time and cost.

Jim

Anvh

Link Posted 25/05/2010 - 13:34
adwb wrote:
Stefan, explain "dirty" shots further? I am looking for advice on how to test and what to look for. All my other lenses either came new with a camera or were bought secondhand.This is my first purchase of a new lens and I don't want to waste my money.
Alistair

With dirty I mean a straight forward shot without any thinking about how artistic the photo is.
So take a simple shots of the racks, they are square so it's easy to see any distortions you can expect and than simply take some shots to see how the lens handles and if it's what you expect it to be.
You can always ask if it's al right if you bring the lens back if it didn't fulfil your expectations, most are quite willing to do that, that's the reason I buy lenses from the local shop here.
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ
Last Edited by Anvh on 25/05/2010 - 13:36

Dangermouse

Link Posted 25/05/2010 - 22:31
I find the following pretty handy for testing sharpness:

Wooden panels/cupboard doors (see how far you can crop before the grain looks rough)
Brick walls (same approach, works best with rough bricks)
Lettering (providing that it's sharp to the naked eye - the lens won't help if the printing is fuzzy to begin with!)

You should be able to find at least one of those within range of the shop, even if you have to ask if they mind coming outside with you while you take a couple of shots of the brickwork on the building opposite to test it.
Matt

Shooting the Welsh Wilderness with K-m, KX, MX, ME Super and assorted lenses.

mikew

Link Posted 26/05/2010 - 07:17
Camera shake is not your friend so you need high shutter speeds or a tripod.

Really, this ought to be academic as a quality supplier will probably accept evidence that your particular lens is a lemon if that's what it is and replace it. You could confirm this before placing the order.

Mike
---------------------------------------------------

You can see some of my shots at my Flickr account.

Hardgravity

Link Posted 26/05/2010 - 08:31
mikew wrote:
Camera shake is not your friend so you need high shutter speeds or a tripod.

Really, this ought to be academic as a quality supplier will probably accept evidence that your particular lens is a lemon if that's what it is and replace it. You could confirm this before placing the order.

Mike

Jessops didn't!

I've bought several lenses from a local Pro dealer and they're more than happy to let me go outside to try a few 'street shots'.

A quick check on the camera screen for clarity etc. and away I usualy go with a new lens.

It also helps that I leave my lens from the body on the counter, oh and they now know me.
Cheers, HG

K110+DA40, K200+DA35, K3 and a bag of lenses, bodies and other bits.

Mustn't forget the Zenits, or folders, or...

I've some gallerieshere CLICKY LINK! and my PPG entries.

flossie

Link Posted 26/05/2010 - 08:52
Another option would be to mail order the lens - if you don't like it, you invoke the Distance Selling Regulations and send it back for a full refund. You still have to pay postage costs, but taking a day off and driving across the country isn't cheap either - the big difference is, unlike buying something in a shop, if you just don't like it they have to take it back. Having said that, a good shop might offer the same service over the counter if they like you.

The DSR only works with UK suppliers though, doesn't apply to grey importers (e.g. onestop).


However, if you can, its better to go in a shop and try the lens out for weight, feel, and so on, as those are areas only you can decide what you like.

I think it would be almost impossible to tell from a couple of test shots if you like or hate any modern lens... remember forum comments about Tamron vs Sigma vs Pentax etc are based on thousands of shots over a long time in every situation, then coloured by personal taste... unless you habitually shoot brick walls or test charts, you can't tell instantly which is best for you!
Still shooting in the dark (literally and metaphorically)...

Anvh

Link Posted 26/05/2010 - 15:05
flossie wrote:
Another option would be to mail order the lens - if you don't like it, you invoke the Distance Selling Regulations and send it back for a full refund. You still have to pay postage costs, but taking a day off and driving across the country isn't cheap either - the big difference is, unlike buying something in a shop, if you just don't like it they have to take it back. Having said that, a good shop might offer the same service over the counter if they like you.

The DSR only works with UK suppliers though, doesn't apply to grey importers (e.g. onestop).

I believe the EU makes this rule count for every store that does this inside the EU.
So if you order from the Amazon.de for example you got 40 days () to send it back and they must refund you the money.
Of course postage is a bit higher but not so much and you can take advantage of the weak Euro now
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ

rkt

Link Posted 26/05/2010 - 18:13
Like mentioned before, the camera LCD is not a good option...

Since you already have a netbook... a possible way might be to use a card to collect sample snaps with the lenses you are interested in ... again, inside the shop may not be the best idea due to poor light ... so if they allow, and you can step out, then you can try shots of things like brick walls, building fronts etc ... and then take a breather while you put the snaps up onto the netbook and take a better look ... you could look out for things like obvious focus issues (FF/BF) ... relative sharpness (left vs right, top vs bottom, center vs edges) ... distortion (esp. with things grid-like like brick wall, buildings) ... some quick tests like these will help to identify a good sample out of the lot or between options... and it would be easier to compare copies on a netbook screen vs. the LCD ...

Lastly, you could check what's their policy for a return/replace.
regards,
rkt
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