A Lens cannot be good and bad.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Denny B, May 25, 2006.

  1. Denny B

    Denny B Guest

    Many times in this newsgroup a question will be asked
    about a particular lens for a Nikon or Canon or Pentax
    or Olympus and other brand name cameras.

    Most times a group of answers will be it is a very good
    or good lens, in the same thread others will answer it is a poor
    lens.

    How can this be? This is confusing and just plain stupid.
    Assuming the picture takers know how to use their respective
    cameras, light metering, focusing, hold camera steady or on
    a tripod, use a flash if necessary etc. How can you have conflicting
    answers. This cannot be, something is wrong.
    Is it because some posters want to knock others. Or the Canons
    want to belittle the Nikons. Or is it just to give a foolish answer?

    A particular lens CANNOT be good and bad. Most people have
    the ability to tell if a picture is good or bad.
    Is it only the latest and most expensive D-slr bodies and lenses
    and their owners that can take good pictures?

    Denny B
    Denny B, May 25, 2006
    #1
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  2. Denny B

    J. Clarke Guest

    Denny B wrote:

    > Many times in this newsgroup a question will be asked
    > about a particular lens for a Nikon or Canon or Pentax
    > or Olympus and other brand name cameras.
    >
    > Most times a group of answers will be it is a very good
    > or good lens, in the same thread others will answer it is a poor
    > lens.
    >
    > How can this be? This is confusing and just plain stupid.
    > Assuming the picture takers know how to use their respective
    > cameras, light metering, focusing, hold camera steady or on
    > a tripod, use a flash if necessary etc. How can you have conflicting
    > answers. This cannot be, something is wrong.
    > Is it because some posters want to knock others. Or the Canons
    > want to belittle the Nikons. Or is it just to give a foolish answer?
    >
    > A particular lens CANNOT be good and bad.


    Good for one purpose is often not so good for another.

    > Most people have
    > the ability to tell if a picture is good or bad.
    > Is it only the latest and most expensive D-slr bodies and lenses
    > and their owners that can take good pictures?
    >
    > Denny B


    --
    --John
    to email, dial "usenet" and validate
    (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
    J. Clarke, May 25, 2006
    #2
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  3. "Denny B" <> writes:

    > Many times in this newsgroup a question will be asked
    > about a particular lens for a Nikon or Canon or Pentax
    > or Olympus and other brand name cameras.
    >
    > Most times a group of answers will be it is a very good
    > or good lens, in the same thread others will answer it is a poor
    > lens.
    >
    > How can this be? This is confusing and just plain stupid.


    1. Some things are a matter of opinion.

    2. People have different levels of expectations from their equipment,
    either because of personal stylistic differences, or because
    they've never had a chance to use good equipment.

    3. Lenses exhibit considerable sample-to-sample variation, and the
    posters with differing opinions have almost never examined the
    same sample. (In fact one of the hallmarks of a "professional"
    lens model is that the quality control is very high, that is, the
    sample-to-sample variation is small.)

    4. Lenses are good for different things, and the different
    photographers may have evaluated them in different uses; the guy
    using the lens for something it's good at will think it's better
    than the guy using the lens for something it's bad at. (Some
    lenses have flat fields, but less contrast. Some have more
    contrast, but bad bokeh. Some are great at longer focus
    distances, not so good focused close. Etc.)

    5. Sometimes people post something claiming to be an evaluation who
    have never actually used the lens.

    No doubt there are additional reasons that have not occurred to me.
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
    RKBA: <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
    Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/> <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
    Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/>
    David Dyer-Bennet, May 25, 2006
    #3
  4. Denny B

    Pat Guest

    Ditto.

    In particular:.

    1. All lenses are good at certain things and bad at others. Use a good
    lens for the wrong thing and it's a piece of crap. For example, you
    don't want a 300mm f2 "football lens" to take pictures for your Ebay
    store. Also, the world's greatest "soft focus" lens will look horrible
    to most people.

    2. People have different expectations. If you don't expect much, you
    don't need much. This also falls into the "price range" category. It
    might be the best lens under $300, but not nearly as good as a $1200
    lens. So the comps might not be similar.

    3. Most people don't have a lot of experience comparing lenses. Most
    people don't have 3 or 4 lenses in a similar length.

    4. People have different needs. If you need an f2 lens, you'll hate
    an f5.6 lens.

    5. And of course, lots of people might be reciting a review or
    something their cousin told them.

    6. Somepeople don't like anything; especially Canon users hating Nikon
    and vice versa
    Pat, May 25, 2006
    #4
  5. Denny B

    Mark² Guest

    Denny B wrote:
    > Many times in this newsgroup a question will be asked
    > about a particular lens for a Nikon or Canon or Pentax
    > or Olympus and other brand name cameras.
    >
    > Most times a group of answers will be it is a very good
    > or good lens, in the same thread others will answer it is a poor
    > lens.
    >
    > How can this be? This is confusing and just plain stupid.


    Good or bad...what?
    You post as though there is some sort of very finite set of needs.
    That's just not the case.

    What are people looking for in their lens...
    -Lack of vignetting wide open?
    -Good bokeh?
    -Sharpness?
    -Flare avoidance?
    -Contrast?
    -Handling?
    -Focus speed?
    -Image Stabilization?
    -Lens coating?
    -Price?
    -Build quality?
    -Weather sealing?
    -Push-pull zoom vs. turning interface?
    -Lengthening during zoom vs. internal focus?
    -Rotating front element, or stationary?

    Those are just the aspects that first popped into my head...ALL of which can
    be important aspects of lenses.

    Some people value particular portions of this list more than other
    portions/aspects.
    So...of course there can be widely differing opinions, just as there are
    widely varying priorities between the needs/desires of different
    photographers.

    -Mark²

    --
    Images (Plus Snaps & Grabs) by Mark² at:
    www.pbase.com/markuson
    Mark², May 25, 2006
    #5
  6. Denny B

    Mark² Guest

    Mark² wrote:
    > Denny B wrote:
    >> Many times in this newsgroup a question will be asked
    >> about a particular lens for a Nikon or Canon or Pentax
    >> or Olympus and other brand name cameras.
    >>
    >> Most times a group of answers will be it is a very good
    >> or good lens, in the same thread others will answer it is a poor
    >> lens.
    >>
    >> How can this be? This is confusing and just plain stupid.

    >
    > Good or bad...what?
    > You post as though there is some sort of very finite set of needs.
    > That's just not the case.
    >
    > What are people looking for in their lens...
    > -Lack of vignetting wide open?
    > -Good bokeh?
    > -Sharpness?
    > -Flare avoidance?
    > -Contrast?
    > -Handling?
    > -Focus speed?
    > -Image Stabilization?
    > -Lens coating?
    > -Price?
    > -Build quality?
    > -Weather sealing?
    > -Push-pull zoom vs. turning interface?
    > -Lengthening during zoom vs. internal focus?
    > -Rotating front element, or stationary?


    And lets not forget the basics...
    -Max aperture
    -Constant max aperture vs. variable max ap over zoom range
    -Fixed vs. zoom
    -Bulk/weight
    -Odd vs. standard filter size
    -Full-time manual focus vs. manual mode switching only
    -More I haven't included.

    :)
    Lottalottalotta reasons why people don't always agree...

    -Mark²
    --
    Images (Plus Snaps & Grabs) by Mark² at:
    www.pbase.com/markuson
    Mark², May 25, 2006
    #6
  7. Denny B

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Denny B wrote:
    > Many times in this newsgroup a question will be asked
    > about a particular lens for a Nikon or Canon or Pentax
    > or Olympus and other brand name cameras.
    >
    > Most times a group of answers will be it is a very good
    > or good lens, in the same thread others will answer it is a poor
    > lens.
    >
    > How can this be? This is confusing and just plain stupid.
    > Assuming the picture takers know how to use their respective
    > cameras, light metering, focusing, hold camera steady or on
    > a tripod, use a flash if necessary etc. How can you have conflicting
    > answers. This cannot be, something is wrong.
    > Is it because some posters want to knock others. Or the Canons
    > want to belittle the Nikons. Or is it just to give a foolish answer?
    >
    > A particular lens CANNOT be good and bad. Most people have
    > the ability to tell if a picture is good or bad.
    > Is it only the latest and most expensive D-slr bodies and lenses
    > and their owners that can take good pictures?
    >
    > Denny B
    >


    "Good" and "bad" are, by their nature, opinions, and different people
    have different opinions about things. A lens may have good features,
    and bad features. For instance, a lens may perform optically with
    satisfactory results, and most users will consider it good, but if it
    tends to make a bit more noise than most when zooming, some users will
    consider it 'bad' because they don't want the lens to make noise. That
    same person may consider a really quite lens to be 'good', even if the
    optical performance is not as good as the noisy one. It comes down to
    what factors are most important, and what the user needs/wants.
    Ron Hunter, May 25, 2006
    #7
  8. "Denny B" <> wrote:
    >Most times a group of answers will be it is a very good
    >or good lens, in the same thread others will answer it is a poor
    >lens.
    >
    >How can this be? This is confusing and just plain stupid.


    No lense is perfect for everything. For the photographer
    using some given lense for what it is indeed good for, it
    is a good lense. For another photographer who needs to do
    something that lense is not good for, it is a poor lense.

    And hence opinions will vary drastically. That is more true
    for less expensive lenses too. A $20 lense that can actually
    be used for _anything_, is a great lense; while a $2000 that
    can't to what the $20 lense does is a real annoyance.

    --
    Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
    Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
    Floyd L. Davidson, May 25, 2006
    #8
  9. Denny B wrote:
    > Many times in this newsgroup a question will be asked
    > about a particular lens for a Nikon or Canon or Pentax
    > or Olympus and other brand name cameras.
    >
    > Most times a group of answers will be it is a very good
    > or good lens, in the same thread others will answer it is a poor
    > lens.
    >
    > How can this be?


    Let's look at the kit lens for the Canon. I consider it a very good
    lens because it is inexpensive to buy, it covers a very useful zoom range
    for most people and general photography, and it produces very good results.
    However it also "feels" plastic and cheap. It does not perform to the same
    level that an "L" series lens would and it is not as fast as some lenses.

    Someone who is critical of each and every photo they take, demanding
    that it be of the highest possible quality would not like this lens. But
    someone who wants good quality and seldom enlarges larger than 8x10 is
    likely to be very happy with it. Myself I seldom find the need for myself
    or my audience for better quality than this lens can produce.

    Is it a good lens or not? You have to read the fine print to find out
    if it is good for YOU or not. Of course someone who simply says it is *(&(%
    does you no service as you know nothing about the lens on which to judge for
    your use.

    --
    Joseph Meehan

    Dia duit
    Joseph Meehan, May 25, 2006
    #9
  10. Denny B

    Rich Guest

    The problem being that if you have two photographers with roughly equal
    talent,
    the one with the L-lens is going to produce technically better
    pictures, solely due to the
    lens's superior technical qualities. Not all pros are producing images
    that are going
    to be blown up to 40x30 but it's highly unlikely a pro would choose to
    use a lesser lens
    for any assignment, unless there was a dire need for the utmost in some
    other lens attribute, such as weight savings, in the case of the
    18-55mm kit lens.
    The real problem with things like kit lenses (some of them) is that
    they narrow the margins of what you can do to produce a decent
    photograph. There are always compromises with them, usually speed and
    aberration control. Even build quality can have an effect on ultimate
    image quality. Another big one, where amateurs would likely suffer
    more than pros because of their inexperience is the lack of IS on cheap
    lenses. If EVER there was a feature amateurs could use, that is it.
    The higher-end lens provides greater latitute which is exactly what an
    amateur needs, not having the shooting discipline of a pro. With
    automated programs becoming more
    sophisticated in cameras, that latitude could be a real asset.
    Rich, May 25, 2006
    #10
  11. Denny B

    tomm42 Guest

    There are some trulyt great lenses, that every one agrees on like the
    70-200 f2.8 VR Nikon and 80-200 f2.8 IS Canon. Now I didn't buy one of
    those because of 1) cost 2)weight. What I bought was a 70-210 f4 Nikon,
    an older lens, 2nd hand, cost 1/10 of the f2.8s. I feel it is a very
    good lens, read a review of it yesterday that said it was an amateur
    lens at best. I know mine is better than that, I have some photos from
    it that have stopped people in their tracks, wow, how clear and sharp.
    I read another rating of the lens that puts it just below the f2.8s. So
    go figure if reviewers can't agree, what are you going to get from news
    groups.
    Certain lenses do have QC problems, folks get a fantastic one others
    get mush. If you buy a 70-200 Nikon and it isn't really good send it to
    Nikon and they will put it in specs, will they do the same for a 18-55
    kit lens, probably not, though if it is really bad they may replace it.
    Watch out for 3rd party lenses, here is where you find the most
    variation.
    Some large format camera makers certify lenses, you pay a +50%-+100%
    cost factor for these lenses. Having accidently come into owning a
    couple of Linhof certified lenses I can say yes there is a difference.
    Leitz is the only company that comes close to this in 35mm.

    Tom
    tomm42, May 25, 2006
    #11
  12. Denny B

    Jeremy Guest

    "Denny B" <> wrote in message news:Xo9dg.19404

    > Is it only the latest and most expensive D-slr bodies and lenses
    > and their owners that can take good pictures?
    >


    You ARE trolling, aren't you?
    Jeremy, May 25, 2006
    #12
  13. Denny B

    Mike Guest

    "Jeremy" <> a écrit dans le message de news:
    toidg.10245$kR6.6232@trnddc05...
    > "Denny B" <> wrote in message news:Xo9dg.19404
    >
    >> Is it only the latest and most expensive D-slr bodies and lenses
    >> and their owners that can take good pictures?
    >>

    >
    > You ARE trolling, aren't you?
    >


    Maybe he was trolling (in those 2 lines only), but this induced a bunch of
    very good, wise and detailed answers!
    Thanks to all, it was refreshing reading!

    Mike
    Mike, May 25, 2006
    #13
  14. Denny B

    Don Stauffer Guest

    Having at one time done a bit of lens design in my career, I would say
    that, yes, it is possible for a lens to be both good and bad at the same
    time.

    Lens design is not an exact science. To those aware of the math problem
    of solving N differential equations in M unknowns, where M is greater
    than N, you should understand the problem.

    There are many criteria that say whether a particular lens design is
    good or bad. Because most lenses do not have enough degrees of freedom,
    one must make compromises, and allow certain aberrations to be larger
    while minimizing others.

    Which aberrations are more concern to you is a very individualistic
    thing among photographers. Don't do much in dim light? Then growth of
    aberrations with aperture is of less bother. Hardly ever shoot extreme
    wide angle? Then you'll accept loss of sharpness at edges of field at
    short focal length to get stellar performance at max focal length.

    Don't care about flare? You'll accept lenses that really bother people
    who don't like flare.

    Distortion at wide angle? Some folks don't care, others never shoot
    much at extremely short focal length. But such distortion drives some
    people up a wall.

    There is NO perfect lens, especially zoom lenses. They are ALL compromises.


    Denny B wrote:
    > Many times in this newsgroup a question will be asked
    > about a particular lens for a Nikon or Canon or Pentax
    > or Olympus and other brand name cameras.
    >
    > Most times a group of answers will be it is a very good
    > or good lens, in the same thread others will answer it is a poor
    > lens.
    >
    > How can this be? This is confusing and just plain stupid.
    > Assuming the picture takers know how to use their respective
    > cameras, light metering, focusing, hold camera steady or on
    > a tripod, use a flash if necessary etc. How can you have conflicting
    > answers. This cannot be, something is wrong.
    > Is it because some posters want to knock others. Or the Canons
    > want to belittle the Nikons. Or is it just to give a foolish answer?
    >
    > A particular lens CANNOT be good and bad. Most people have
    > the ability to tell if a picture is good or bad.
    > Is it only the latest and most expensive D-slr bodies and lenses
    > and their owners that can take good pictures?
    >
    > Denny B
    >
    Don Stauffer, May 25, 2006
    #14
  15. ? "Don Stauffer" <> ?????? ??? ??????
    news:i8jdg.66$...
    > Having at one time done a bit of lens design in my career, I would say
    > that, yes, it is possible for a lens to be both good and bad at the same
    > time.
    >
    > Lens design is not an exact science. To those aware of the math problem
    > of solving N differential equations in M unknowns, where M is greater
    > than N, you should understand the problem.
    >
    > There are many criteria that say whether a particular lens design is
    > good or bad. Because most lenses do not have enough degrees of freedom,
    > one must make compromises, and allow certain aberrations to be larger
    > while minimizing others.
    >
    > Which aberrations are more concern to you is a very individualistic
    > thing among photographers. Don't do much in dim light? Then growth of
    > aberrations with aperture is of less bother. Hardly ever shoot extreme
    > wide angle? Then you'll accept loss of sharpness at edges of field at
    > short focal length to get stellar performance at max focal length.
    >
    > Don't care about flare? You'll accept lenses that really bother people
    > who don't like flare.
    >
    > Distortion at wide angle? Some folks don't care, others never shoot
    > much at extremely short focal length. But such distortion drives some
    > people up a wall.
    >
    > There is NO perfect lens, especially zoom lenses. They are ALL

    compromises.
    >

    Yeah, I agree.Say you 're shooting portraits outdoors.A 200 mm telephoto on
    a tripod would be a good bet for you.A 24 mm f2.5 horrible (never mind the
    300 euros it would cost you).You would like the 24 mm however, if you were
    shooting landscapes.You're an amateur and you just want one lens, that would
    cover most of your needs, then a kit lens like 70-210 f4.0 will be a wise
    choice.But if you mind the extra weight and slow f-number of a zoom lens,
    and want to take indoor shots at ISO 400 max. without flash then a 50 mm
    f1.4 normal lens is a good choice.(etc.etc.)


    n this newsgroup a question will be asked
    > > about a particular lens for a Nikon or Canon or Pentax
    > > or Olympus and other brand name cameras.
    > >
    > > Most times a group of answers will be it is a very good
    > > or good lens, in the same thread others will answer it is a poor
    > > lens.
    > >
    > > How can this be? This is confusing and just plain stupid.
    > > Assuming the picture takers know how to use their respective
    > > cameras, light metering, focusing, hold camera steady or on
    > > a tripod, use a flash if necessary etc. How can you have conflicting
    > > answers. This cannot be, something is wrong.
    > > Is it because some posters want to knock others. Or the Canons
    > > want to belittle the Nikons. Or is it just to give a foolish answer?
    > >
    > > A particular lens CANNOT be good and bad. Most people have
    > > the ability to tell if a picture is good or bad.
    > > Is it only the latest and most expensive D-slr bodies and lenses
    > > and their owners that can take good pictures?
    > >


    --
    Tzortzakakis Dimitrios
    major in electrical engineering,freelance electrician
    542nd mechanized infantry batallion
    dimtzort AT otenet DOT gr
    Tzortzakakis Dimitrios, May 25, 2006
    #15
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