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what do YOU want in a lens/camera test/review?
Old 04-07-2006   #1
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what do YOU want in a lens/camera test/review?

I am poised to begin building up my review of the RF645 by posting a series of lens tests and further commentary of the camera's performance.

When you look for a review of a camera or lens, what do you hope to find?

What information do you find most useful?

What about a lens is the most important to you?

Do you prefer the cold, hard facts or do you appreciate some personal commentary?


any advice on building a great review is very welcome.

thank you
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Old 04-07-2006   #2
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Glad to see you got your nic back.

As to the review I would prefer just the facts in a lens review. I'm not sure how one's personal feelings relate to performance of an optical device.

1. The "sharpness" of a lens

2. The contrast when exposing medium speed film for a normal negative.

3. The fall off (if any) at the edges of the frame.

4.Examples of the lens's performance at wide open, f-8 and fully stopped down on a subject that lends itself to portraying the qualities (or lack thereof) of the lens.

I think that would cover it.
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Old 04-07-2006   #3
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I don't read many lens or camera reviews since I'm not much of a camera buyer. But when I do read reviews, I want all conclusions to be clearly based in fact... and the data/evidence clearly presented. I hate reading just "opinion" or "trust me" conclusions. I like graphs; I like factory data; I like comparative examples; I like pictures. Most of all, the pictures have to be varied and interesting.

How about illustrating your reviews with some pics of your sister... that would incentivize me to read them!
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Old 04-07-2006   #4
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I want enough technical stuff to choke a horse. The Japanese magazines appear to
be very thorough, but i can't decipher kanji.
The "old" Popular Photography when Norman Goldberg was technical editor were the
best camera and lens reviews ever published in English. Some of what he measured
on cameras: Noise; vibration; shutter trip force; shutter trip length; shutter release
time lag; dirt/dust sealing. For lenses: Contrast using MTF measurements; coma;
lateral chromatic aberration; longitudinal chromatic aberration, vignetting; T-stop;
spherical aberration; centering; flare; % transmittance.

As amazing as that list is, it's conceivable I've missed something. For the past 15+
years Pop Photo has used "SQF": Subjective Quality Factor. What is that? I think
they give ratings based on how many people would rate a picture taken with the lens being tested at various enlargement sizes might give grades of "A" through "F".
Huh? Sound stupid enough? But they derive this convoluted measurement from
the findings of their MTF tests--SO...why not just show us the Freaking MTF graphs?
Are they afraid the retards will complain and threaten to cancel their subscriptions?

"Subjective" MY ASS. I want untainted, unweighted, unbiased readings, just like
the ones the great Mr. Goldberg used and the ones Leica and Zeiss continue to use.

Fred (calm and rational, as always)
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Old 04-07-2006   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw

How about illustrating your reviews with some pics of your sister... that would incentivize me to read them!

ha ha, well, she may end up being my model to use when I set up the lens lest for the RF645 as a portrait camera.

I do intend to shoot a complete test, shooting the same subject in the same light, on a tripod with all three lenses at F4(4.5), 5.6, 8, 16, 32 all on the same film.

I don't have the tools or the knowledge to discuss and measure the physics of the glass, or to measure the trip pressure of the shutter release, so I think my best strategy would be to just do some recordings, maybe some little vids of hte camera in action, a nice full set of sample images, and some brief personal commentary that describes my reflections on how it is to travel with, etc.

I think it would make sense to do some demonstrations of the metering accuracy and consistency of the camera, and of the consistency of the shutter timing at the extremes - 7 seconds and 1/500.

I mostly just want to create a very comprehensive review that allows those without the physics degrees or years of photographic experience to learn ALOT about the camera without renting one for the weekend.
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Old 04-07-2006   #6
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I like to be able to see how a lens behaves in several light situations, in addition to the usual sharpness and contrast issues mentioned above.
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Old 04-07-2006   #7
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I get turned off by charts, technical data etc, mostly because I have math dyslexia.
I like the personal experience, anecdotal type of reviews, as long as the specifics of the shooting is made clear. I.E. "I'm testing this lens for low-light portraits" etc.
I wil read a review if I believe the reviewer is using the equipment in similar situations as I would. I also like to know what his/her qualifications/background is so I'm not wasting my time.
I hope to learn something truthful that wouldn't be found in the manufacturer's press release.
An amusing story about how ther reviewer screwed up the test in some way (if they did) also helps to keep the article grounded and fun to read!
Great idea. The Bronica RF is a wicked camera!
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Old 04-07-2006   #8
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Thanks for the input - I hope more will add to this, it will be very useful advice.

My review is (will be) sort of homage to the camera while also being critical and informative.

I just hope my web host will give me a little more bandwidth/disk space.
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Old 04-07-2006   #9
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I like photos. Easy to see on one page, like such.....

http://www.takanet.com/hobby/camera/Lens/LensTest/

Nice to see out of focus areas, in focus areas, variety of f-stops maybe on other pages, color and black and white film would be good too.

I don't want to see text. Like the saying goes a picture speakes 1000 words. I can decide which lens I like the best from the shots.

Consistancy is good too. Stick to the scientific method. Make all variables the same as possible except what you are testing. Tripod camera, take picture under the same lighting conditions, within a close time frame so that the sun does not move a lot, keep all the photos on one roll of film, etc
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Old 04-08-2006   #10
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Although it's on digicams, I like the criteria set by the reviews in imaging-resource.com on photo quality. And probably some commentary on the ergonomics, as well as size and weight comparisons.
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Old 04-08-2006   #11
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II have an attitude here that comes from the fact that for decades I tought and made research in the Academy on Automatic Control (among other fields) and this lead me to say that 90% of the truth lies in MTF. Many other parameters of image quality can be derived from MTF. Flare is, I think, largely additional information because it should show up in the measuring condition for MTF as much as in particular shooting conditions. And in fact I notice that equivalent lens in terms of MTF may behave differently in terms of flare and ghosts
My opinion is that everybody should publish their measurement and that even those which do make a very lousy job in this respect. A lens is a low pass filters and we should see the transfer function in a curve as a function of frequency for various orientation and positions (Zeiss can you hear me?) because the definition of TF is as function of frequency. And not transfer function as a function of position or at least give us both! .
In my experience the photos show exactly what I expect when I see the transfer functions and this is confirmed by tens of cases of different lenses. The rest is signature and rendering of colours. There is a personality of a lens that can be different for a same tranfer function. I can see the planar personality so neatly different from the summicron one that I decide what to use according to the cases. I remember when I was young that I used to go to a processing shop where the owner played constantly the game of guessing the lens looking at the negative. And with a good hit rate!
Two more interesting things. In the rare cases where I could see the curves published by different authors they do not exactly agree, This may be expected to some extent, I do not expand on this topic that would make this post too long
Second I A THOUSAND TIMES AGREE WITH YOSSARIAN. Pop photo instead of explaining MTF, which is not difficult intuitively, invented a nonsense criterion of their own, which is an insult to reason, science, and their readers.
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Old 04-08-2006   #12
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Oh yes I forgot to say that (I want the curves) for all apertures, not jus for a couple. Actually when the publish say max aperture and F 5,6 I keep wondering; what happens at F 8? What happens at F 11? Because I strive to maximize DOF I HAVE TO KNOW WHERE IS THE POINT AT WHICH DIFFRACTION DEGRADES IMAGE QUALITY!!! This is a very very major point. Now why those wonderful people that makes the Zeiss, the Leitz are not helpful i to us in this repect?
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Old 04-08-2006   #13
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I like the technical stuff okay, but I also want a commentary, because some things are hard to quantify. I had SLRn Kodaks, and I could deal with the chip problems, which weren't nearly as bad as some critics claimed. What I had a terrible problem with, however, was the ergonomics. If you wanted to look at a shot (chimp) for example, you had to unlock a monitor switch; if you then forgot to relock it, it was easy, even for short-nosed people, to press part of the selection dial with your nose, and move the focus selector. Since you locked and unlocked it a lot, you inevitably forgot sometimes to make sure it it was locked, and you'd move the focus selector and not notice until you came up with a whole run of out-of-focus shots. That kind of thing does not show up in the specs. The same is true with the Epson R-D1, which has some odd trigger-related problems involving the monitor, though the problems are not nearly as bad as with the SLRn.

So I'd urge you to provide a commentary on usage. I read a commentary yesterday on the differences between the 50 summilux and the 50 summicron, in which the reviewer said that there were testable differences in sharpness, but there were no practical sharpness differences in real-world use. There might be some disagreement on that point, but I appreciate somebody making it anway.

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Old 04-08-2006   #14
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Real world results. I don't really care for bench tests of shots of test patterns.

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Old 04-08-2006   #15
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I would be interested in the most engineering info you could find/research. Materials and construction from the frame up. History of the design. What was their inspiration that guided the design? What corners may or may not have been cut? I am also interested in each lens, the design formula, glass types, history, relative performance.
Hope this helps and I will read your page for sure.
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Old 04-12-2006   #16
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Which film would be the best to use for this? Color, obviously, but which?

I'm thinking whatever scans best. . .
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Old 04-12-2006   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shutterflower
Which film would be the best to use for this? Color, obviously, but which?

I'm thinking whatever scans best. . .

My first thought was something with a very low asa for the finest grain. But your answer is probably more practical.
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Old 04-12-2006   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remrf
My first thought was something with a very low asa for the finest grain. But your answer is probably more practical.
yeah . . but what scans best? Anyone using a dedicated scanner could tell me. I think NPH scans well. I don't think slide film is going ot work because it is so dense. C41 . . . what?
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Old 04-12-2006   #19
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For me in Az. Shooting C-41 is a crap shoot. Even if I take it to the "pro lab" I frequent. Just last weekend I shot a fresh roll of Kodak C-41 B&W in one camera and a fresh roll of Kodak asa 200 color in another. I've shot both before with good results. But both of these rolls (granted I used a Walgreens one hour to process and make the cd) came out as if I had pushed the hell out of them. The color was grainy, the look edgey and almost blown out on both rolls. The same Walgreens has done both types for me before with much better results. My best results come with slide film. And yes my scanner does slide film very poorly if at all.

I've attached one shot from each roll. The B&W shot is from my new Yashica Electro 35 GS. The other shot is from my Minolta X-700. To me they both look bad.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg bgbf1.jpg (699.7 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg lpv2.jpg (666.1 KB, 6 views)
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Last edited by remrf : 04-12-2006 at 18:30.
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