When I am contemplating buying a lens, one of the first things I do is read up about it to see if it is worth buying. Is it sharp? Does the AF work well? Is there lots of light fall off? If you can buy a lens, its likely someone has written a review about it, so here’s my pick of the sites that I refer to when looking to evaluate lens and camera performance.
- Photozone – The go to guide for lens test performance. The site has very scientific lens test analysis and no BS – it is what it is. If you want to know how good a lens is before you buy, read their test results first. The author is also not at all afraid to call out a manufacturer on production defects either.
- SLR gear – Another scientific site that is well written with strong analysis. Worth checking as a counter point to Photozone
- SLR Lens Review – This site is interesting as it give critical and scientific analysis to some unusual lenses. It’s worth reading just for the early Leica lens test results.
- Steve Huff – A very interesting website by an enthusiast whose writing and reviews is far more “touchy feely” than the scientific reviews by other websites. However, Steve doesn’t claim to be much more, so the reader enjoys his writing and very obvious enthusiasm. You get the feeling the guy can’t believe his luck that camera companies are sending him all this cool gear to try out. The blog focuses on Leica and mirror-less cameras, and as much on camera and lens usability as image quality. A great counter point to the scientific results of some other lens test sites.
Special mention – Ken Rockwell. The guy comes across as very arrogant in the way he writes, and you strongly suspect his writings have external influence from his sponsors. The guy loves jargon and delights in telling others about how good his technique is. Bizarrely, he focuses almost as much time on measuring California’s radiation levels (as a result of the tsunami that destroyed Japan’s Dai Ichi nuclear reactor) as he does writing about photo equipment. However there is good classic camera information on this site particularly for Leica and Nikon. I use it for the serial number list to date the manufacture and origin of Leica lenses.
|Sony NEX3 with Voigtlander 35mm Nokton|