Lens Reviews

CaptMikeCaptMike Posts: 19Member
edited January 2013 in Nikon Lenses
What is your "go to" website for lens reviews?

Comments

  • Thom Hogan, without a shadow of a doubt.

    Anyone who mentions Ren Kockwell, go stand in the corner :))
  • CorrelliCorrelli Posts: 135Member
    I don't have a single "go to" site for reviews, but I use a variety of sites (Thom Hogan, fredmiranda, photozone and yes I admit, I do read KR as well). I think all these tests have to be taken with a grain of salt. After all they are just opinions. There are aspects that are more or less measurable (vignetting, distortion) and others that are not (AF speed - it could be measured but there is no standard that makes tests between different lenses really comparable). So I try to get a general tendency from numerous sites to help me with a decision.
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,693Member
    I check DxOmark, Thom Hogan, Imaging Resource, Ken Rockwell, dpreview and photographylife.com most often. They each have different things to offer. Ken Rockwell can be helpful in finding data on older lenses. One can even find some helpful data about old Nikon lenses on this site: http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/AFNikkor/index.htm
    and
    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/zoomsMF/index.htm
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    My list:

    Photographylife
    Thom Hogan
    FroKnowsphoto and his youtube video's
    ThatNikonGuy and his youtube video's
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    I read several, including all the ones mentioned above but the Mansurovs (photographylife.com) lens testing seems very thorough to me and has a lot of real-life use woven into their reports that I find interesting. Very human too!
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Thom Hogan, Photographylife, ThatNikonGuy, DXoMark, dpreview, photozone, fredmiranda (not much though), digitalrev, and flickr and just general Google and YouTube searches. Mostly I scour flickr for images made with the lens to see how it renders various subjects.

    I really don't think anyone is better than another in a general since. I tend to look for reviewers that focus on the same things I do and have the more "user experience" or real world performance than just silly wall or pseudo technical tests. The reviews I like the most is when they compare the lens to similar lenses in the same range side by side with shooting the same subject in the real world, not staged knick-knacks.

    At this point in lens design, I have yet to find a mid to high range lens that I couldn't use. My focus is more on bokeh, flare control, build quality (weather resistant), close focus distance, distortion seen in the middle 3/4 of the lens, CAs (although this focus is more on older lenses), micro-contrast and color tone the lens creates. To me everything else is easily fixed in post or exists on such a minute amount that any focus on it ridiculous as it has zero effect (read vignetting and resolution.)

    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    Tao.
    I agree with you but these days I think that being able to access trustworthy opinions on something as expensive as a lens has assumed a new importance as all (almost) the camera shops have disappeared. It is far more difficult now to actually get hold of a real lens to try out.
    I used to go into one of the several camera shops within easy reach of me and handle lenses, shoot a few frames, talk to staff, have a look at them and make my own decisions from there, perhaps backed up by expert tests in magazines. This option has sadly largely disappeared for many people.
  • This is sadly very true nowadays - however, living in the South West of France does have it's advantages as I recently discovered. In Toulouse, not exactly known for the quality of it's shopping (quantity yes, but that's the same everywhere) I discovered a Nikon dealer who is A: very knowledgeable about what he sells, B: has a decent stock and C: often sells cheaper than I can buy on Amazon.

    Example, when I purchased the 70-200 f/4 Amazon.fr were selling this at 1300+ € while his price was 1180€ - plus the fact I was able to talk to the guys there, take the lens out of the shop and take some shots etc. He actually uses the gear he sells - this is an important plus point for me, and worth the drive in to speak with him.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    I like to read the online reviews of readers, as well as the official reviewers noted to be good above. What I look for is a pattern of negatives. If several folks find a particular issue, I tend to think it could be true. Actually here on NRF the comments are very helpful.
    Msmoto, mod
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    Darkslide.
    You are fortunate indeed.
    The next time I am in Toulouse I will look for it....unless I get trapped for a couple of hours in a horrendous traffic jam as I did the last time i was there! That was on a motorbike too, so it must have been much worse in a car!
  • @DJBee49 Well it does pay to know the city! Toulouse is now reputed to be the third worst city in France in terms of congestion. My town only has 23,000 inhabitants and it's usually the tractors that cause the jams...
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    @DJBee49 - I come from a pessimist view and the phrase "trustworthy opinions" is where I do note the definitions of "trustworthy" becomes tricky. Many popular reviewers receive test lenses/bodies from companies at or even prior to releases. If those reviewers are harsh, they don't receive them anymore which lowers their viewership, and income. Many other reviewer have a financial gain through being photography stores or on-line referrals and again, if they review a product as being sub-par, they will loose out on what could be some financial gain. Few if any reviewers actually preform reviews without an underlining financial goal. Even Thom has a financial goal, but that is to sell his own review guides and referrals. I don't see anything wrong with it, but it is good to keep in mind and why I think most reviews are usually wish-washy.

    I would like to echo what MSmoto said as that what I feel is the most important thing to look for: "What I look for is a pattern of negatives." Especially with what I said above - that is the real dilemma for any purchases I make - not what it does well, but where it fails or hick-ups. That is what truly will effect my work. CAs, resolutions, all of that hub-bub means nothing - if a lens hunts like crazy for the focus on different bodies- that is the issue I'm looking for.

    Oh and one other thing I look for - if the reviewer does not have my camera/ Pro system or one better (D800/5d mk II+) or an established Professional network (as some are moving to m4/3 for the dual purpose of photo and video), then I don't see them as remotely valid. Sorry to say it, but why in the world would I listen to someone with a D40 review a Zeiss 100 f/2 when it is worth more than all their photo gear put together and they never would think of owning one.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • EmceeEmcee Posts: 48Member
    Surprised no one has mentioned SLRgear, that and photozone are my go to sites with Photographylife in 3rd
    D800 | 14-24 2.8G, 28 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 58 1.4G, 85 1.4D, 24-85G VR
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    Tao.
    Good points and they only emphasise the importance of gathering your information from a variety of different sources.

    I fully accept that there may be hidden agendas in some reviews (magazines used to be notorious for this as they wanted to keep their advertisers sweet) but I think you usually can tell who is telling untruths or glossing over faults. Most of the reviewers mentioned have plenty of critical reviews as well as positive ones. Increasingly they have loads of back up evidence in the form of MTF charts and the like (eg Photozone), rather than just stated opinions. Indeed they are often accused of being obsessed with possibly irrelevant tiny distinctions that no-one will even notice and that lead the gullible astray!

    Some, like the Mansurovs, recommend retailers and suppliers so I guess there might be an issue there but I don't really think so. Thom Hogan certainly doesn't seem to be misrepresenting review items. He is highly critical of Nikon and its products (especially at the moment- read his survey of D800 focus problems!) and seems to take pride in his slightly maverick (he would say objective) views. Perhaps I am just naive?

    In the end, we make our own choices for all sorts of reasons, many of them highly subjective but my own choices of equipment so far have been very much what I expected based upon my research and personal knowledge.
  • KnockKnockKnockKnock Posts: 398Member
    @darkslide - ooh, you're only a few hours from the center of photography in the summer à Arles. Our parent company is there, and they have flown me out every OTHER month than the festival.
    D7100, D60, 35mm f/1.8 DX, 50mm f/1.4, 18-105mm DX, 18-55mm VR II, Sony RX-100 ii
  • :(( sorry to hear that! Yes we've got Arles but also Perpignan in September....
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