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My Approach to Testing a New Lens

On the pages that follow, I capture as much as possible about what I’ve learned over the years with hundreds of lenses on a variety of cameras. I’ve been doing it so long that I might omit something that should be said, but it is almost hard-wired into me now. So please let me know if there is something not clear.

Remember, renting a lens can be a great way to determine whether you’d like to own it.

My general approach with a new lens

The B&H Photo box has just arrived— my Pavlovian response to seeing the distinctive sealing tape is eager anticipation of a new goody, a new challenge, and possibly the chance for a lens that is a “keeper” for its high contrast or resolution, or maybe a unique “look”. At the same time, I feel a certain unease— how many hours will it take me to see if the lens has a build-quality or other issue? A new box represents a lot of work too!

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Diglloyd Making Sharp Images articulates years of best practices and how-to, painstakingly learned over a decade of camera and lens evaluation.

Save yourself those years of trial and error by jump-starting your photographic technical execution when making the image. The best lens or camera is handicapped if the photographer fails to master perfect shot discipline. High-resolution digital cameras are unforgiving of errors, at least if one wants the best possible results.

  • Eases into photographic challenges with an introductory section.
  • Covers aspects of digital sensor technology that relate to getting the best image quality.
  • Technique section discusses every aspect of making a sharp image handheld or on a tripod.
  • Depth of field and how to bypass depth of field limitations via focus stacking.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • MTF, field curvature, focus shift: insight into the limitations of lab tests and why imaging performance is far more complex than it appears.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • How to test a lens for a “bad sample”.

Intrigued? See Focusing Zeiss DSLR Lenses For Peak Performance, PART ONE: The Challenges, or (one topic of many) field curvature.

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