Character lenses, or: There's more to IQ than just sharpness...

Started Dec 5, 2015 | Discussions thread
OP Lightshow Veteran Member • Posts: 6,108
Re: Character lenses, or: There's more to IQ than just sharpness...

Stacey_K wrote:

pb21 wrote:

Certainly the sharpness of a lens is overly weighted when assessing the quality of a lens IMO. The 'character' of a lens is what matters but this is hard to measure and quantify, well it can't be quantified really as it is a subjective feature.

I think the people who make/sell/advertise/test lenses are over reliant on the objective features, like sharpness, as it is easy to say one lens is better than another, which in reality may not be the case.

What is worse, is companies like Sigma are now designing lenses specifically to crush these "test chart" reviews. I can't say I blame them, they sell a LOT of those art lenses specifically because of the resolution numbers they crank out.

I was shopping for "The best" 50mm lens for my Nikon system as I really didn't like the look of the images I got from my 50mm f1.8G, even though it is a very sharp lens. The 58G was released and it looked perfect to me but the price..... I saw the Sigma art 50 was about to be released so I waited, hoping it was going to have fairly smooth bokeh like their non-art EX 50 had. Like a lower cost alternative to the Nikon lens. When I saw some of the first released samples, I ordered the nikon 58G.

Yes the Sigma lens is crazy sharp, especially near the MFD wide open, where test charts are shot, but the rendering and the focus transitions etc are just too harsh. Then again, the Sigma lens -kills- the test charts and that is what sells lenses, so I can't blame them for following this strategy for marketing reasons.

All that said, for some people and uses super high resolution is needed/wanted over other attributes, so it's good to have choices. Also at some focal lengths I look for different things. On a wide lens, I'm more likely to look for sharpness over bokeh due to the way I would typically use a wide lens, doesn't involve shallow DOF.

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I've noticed an interesting trend about my lens preferences, I seem to want a sharp well corrected lens at FL's wider than 24mm, in the 24-60 zone I want options, for sharp perfection, a smooth rendering, a smooth transition from the plane of focus, either smooth or funky bokeh with boat loads of character, then at longer FL's I tend to go back to just the sharp well corrected lens with smooth bokeh.

Finding lenses that complement your style, or help you expand your capabilities are well worth going after.

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I don't have any AF lenses, so if I want a picture, I have to do more than squeeze a button.
My lenses:
You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
-Mark Twain
Reputation is the shadow. Character is the tree
-Abraham Lincoln
####Where's my FF NEX-7 ?????

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