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Thread: Testing lenses

  1. #1
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    Testing lenses

    I'm wondering how best to test each of my lenses to determine which one is better in various situations.

    I have one lens designed for APS-C (a sony SAL18250 18-250mm 3.5-6.3 zoom) plus two kit lens from my old Minolta days (a 35-70mm with macro f4 and a 70-210 4.5-5.6) which I assume would work on FF cameras.

    The 18-250 is what I carry around as it is the most versatile of the lot for the type of photos I take. But I'm starting to wonder if the 35-70mm would take as good as or better photos at ~50mm due to its FF and constant f4 design.

    I hope to get a 50mm prime soon (still trying to decide on which one) but in the meantime wondering which lens I should be using at the wider end.

    At the telephoto range I have given up on the old minolta 70-210 with the assumption that the sony is better due to it begin physically larger, not a kit lens and newer.

    Rather than assuming things should I be setting up the camera (sony A65) on a tripod and snap away in manual mode? Most of the photos I take are portraits of my kids and landscape.

  2. #2
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Use a focus test chart : http://focustestchart.com/chart.html
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Mark mpb's Avatar
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    The Minolta 35-70 f4 is a highly regarded lens and should perform well for the portrait shots, however you will probable miss the wider end for landscapes.

    The sony 18-250 is also a good lens and very versatile. As you said it is a modern lens and has coatings designed for digital cameras.
    I must say I do not really notice any problems using my "old" minolta lenses designed for FF film cameras on my digital APS-c cameras.

    I would recommend testing them in real shooting situations and looking at the results and compare the feel of of each.

    You can also see the various ratings of each lens at http://www.dyxum.com/lenses/index.asp
    Mark


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    The only way to know for sure is to test the lenses. It's a good thing to do in any case because knowing your lenses ultimately helps you to get the best from them.

    JJ

  5. #5
    It's all about the Light!
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    Nike it... "Just do it" ... take lots of photos using the lens you think is required for that, post the images for CC and get feedback.

    There are no perfect answers and other conditions affect the image so just taking photos is the best way to learn (and posting to get feedback).
    CCing others also helps as it makes you thing about how they got their shot.

    Avoid being a techo gearhead... be a photographer instead.
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
    Digital & film, Bits of glass covering 10mm to 500mm, and other stuff



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    Additional to Kym's comments - i would also take one lens on your usual travels and then see whether you miss not having the other lens with you.
    Also I would then carry all lenses and then take the same shot (as same as possible) using the different lenses and see which looks best.

    ..and There are two additional statements -
    1. the best lens (or camera) is the one you have with you.
    2. Some people swear having prime lenses will make you a better photographer because it virtually forces you to think about composition, aperture etc rather than being confused by zooms, diff lenses and settings options.

    So if you take these to heart, you will realise that the basics of photography are much more important than the gear and then once you have the knowledge you can make your own informed choices on what gear is best.
    Last edited by knumbnutz; 09-01-2012 at 1:21pm.
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    Thanks for all the tips, I'll keep snapping away :-)

    One thing that test chart did show me was just how much difference in minimum focus distance there is at 50mm between the two lenses. The newer Sony lens was able to get much closer which I found interesting.

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