Testing lens question

Started 7 months ago | Discussions thread
Fujijitsu Senior Member • Posts: 1,140
Testing in the shop

Really good advice in your replies so far ..... though often the most important test is at the point of purchase, as returning a used lens for example is usually not possible.  Plus where I live, returning anything, new or used, is next to impossible.

So when buying a lens, you normally have to do a quick test in the shop, or in the coffee shop where you met the seller.

I take a camera body I know well, then shoot a series of images of advertising text in the shop displays, or text in the coffee shop menu boards.

I make sure the subject is crisp, printed text with sharp edges, and take photos with the text positioned in the corners and in the centre.  I try different focal lengths if it's a zoom.  I use manual focus with the bright blue focus assist, and make sure the text is nicely blue highlighted.  Then try small single point auto focus and repeat.

Shutter speeds needs to be high enough to minimise camera shake, ISO less important, but not crazy high.  Aperture is in mid range, not wide open, bot too narrow. f5.6 ish.

It sounds a 'faff' - but with a body you know well, you can set it up, fire off the centre/corner shots, adjust, shoot again in a few minutes.  Practice at home with a lens you know first.

I then look at the images in the viewfinder, going to max zoom (press control wheel) and using joystick or track pad to look at the text in the edges and the centre.  The text should be sharp in the centre and equally sharp in each corner.

I then decide if it's sharp enough for my needs.

I also try to bring a friend .... with a face I've photographed before.  Take a few properly exposed and focussed head and shoulder type portrait shots and zoom in to the eye lashes.  If a lens can't resolve eye lashes, it will annoy the heck put of me.

My friend can also chat to the seller while he/she is wondering what the hell I'm up to.

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