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Understanding Lens Performance

Interpreting comparisons is not a trivial exercise; it’s not enough to just take two crops and compare them; an entire mental assessment must be made based on the entire frame.

Here are just some of the issues, assuming that a rigorous test protocol is followed to begin with. And even so, results should be cross-checked by shooting more than once (I did).

Sample variations

Len samples can very significantly. See Brand-new Blur. After years of experience, I’ve learned to recognized lens faults that aren’t inherent to the design, but special attention must be paid here.

Field curvature

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Since 2006, Diglloyd Advanced Photography is the authoritative review and reference for DSLRs and their lenses: Canon and Nikon primarily, but also Pentax and some medium format. Reviews of key DSLRs are included, but the primary focus is on lens performance. Also included is a wealth of technique and workflow approaches.

DAP includes thousands of pages of exclusive coverage and high resolution Retina-grade examples detailing Canon and Nikon DSLR bodies and their lenses, with in-depth analysis of sharpness and contrast, color, bokeh, vignetting, distortion, MTF, and flare, behavioral and practical usage.

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