Test shot: Sigma 19 vs Sony 10-18 vs Sony 16-50

Started Sep 12, 2017 | Discussions thread
skanter Forum Pro • Posts: 18,731
Re: Test shot: Sigma 19 vs Sony 10-18 vs Sony 16-50

JohnNEX wrote:

skanter wrote:

If you think the OP's 'test shots" are useful and wonderful - base your buying decisions on them. I find them irrelevant. Each to his own.

I feel compelled to write a bit about why I post the test shots, which I do on occasion.

This forum (like other photography forums) receives a steady trickle of requests for comparisons between two lenses (or two cameras). The responses are mostly one of two types.

The first type of response is to lecture the OP on why their request is misconceived, because they need to hone their photography skills before worrying about gear, or that sharpness tests are worthless, or that they need to get out and enjoy life rather than waste time on internet forums, and so on. All of those things may be true and I actually don’t mind the opinions: they are mostly useful thoughts which the questioner – often new to photography – would do well to consider.

The second type of response is to post up photos taken with one of the two lenses in the question, showing that the lens is capable of taking great photos, which should somehow satisfy them. I also see some value in this kind of response, if only to show that the ‘lesser’ lenses can take great photos.

I think that, if possible, these kinds of request should simply be taken at face value. If the request is for a comparison of two lenses, and I happen to have them, then I will try to oblige with the shots. Its hardly a difficult thing to do, although there are mistakes one can make in test shots, and none of mine are terribly scientific, but I would prefer to try to actually answer the question than just provide opinion. In a gear forum, there should be at least some ‘data’ on gear.

Obviously there is a limit – if the question was to see how the a6500 performs after dropping it in a bucket of water then that’s a bridge too far I will not go out of my way to do test shots, but often I have the lenses with me so its pretty easy to do it. In doing the test shots (which I find weirdly fun) I sometimes find out something new about the lenses too. Of course, the actual shots are rarely very good photos from an artistic perspective but they try to illustrate sharpness, which is what the question is usually about.

I should add that it is usually not the case that answers to these comparison questions can be found on review sites. The review sites are frustratingly inconsistent in the testing. For example, they will use the a5000 for one lens and the a6500 for another lens, and the example scenes will be totally different. I don’t think that it is unreasonable for people to simply ask if anyone out there can do a direct comparison, same camera, same scene. The one site that tries to be consistent – dxomark – does not show actual shots and the single score metric is problematic for many, plus it gives the impression that there is a greater difference between lenses than there is in practical use. That said, I find dxomark is usually reasonably close to my testing.

John, you seem to have sensible outlook on this.

People seem to love these comparison tests. I was trying out the 24mm 1.8 and decided it was not suitable to me. Before i returned to B&H I took some comparisons shots at 24mm and f8 with it and the 16-50 kit lens. Didn't say which was which. Huge response, almost everyone guessed wrong. Completely unscientific test, really irrelevant as 24mm strength is it's speed - but people seem to love these comparisons.

I used to test all lenses fully - charts, brick walls, etc. I outgrew all that. I stopped paying attention to DXO or other "pro" testing, as well as doing my own tests years ago. I simply buy the lens (I live a few blocks from B&H), shoot with it (real-life photography, not tests) for a week or so, and return if I don't find it adequate for my needs. B&H has a 30-day policy, as does Amazon and Adorama. Unless they live out of range of these sellers, i suggest people do the same instead of the constant bickering, pixel-peeping and nitpicking about gear that goes on here ad infinitum.

There is an issue with gear-obsession that actually detracts from people learning about and achieving good photography, especially amongst novices, though common with enthusiast photographers as well. This is an unpopular idea on "gear forums" such as this, and usually will result in defensiveness and attacks - so be it.

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