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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 11 Sep 2010 (Saturday) 23:37
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How do you test your lens sharpness?

 
six4
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Sep 11, 2010 23:37 |  #1

I'm just curious - how does everybody test their lens sharpness?

Does everybody use the ISO 12233 charts? Something else?




  
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Chrisku13
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Sep 12, 2010 00:47 |  #2

I use a process called photography, in which I go out and test the lens in various situations and come home to see if it looks alright.




  
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dmnelson
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Sep 12, 2010 00:47 |  #3

Chrisku13 wrote in post #10892898 (external link)
I use a process called photography, in which I go out and test the lens in various situations and come home to see if it looks alright.

Agreed, that is the ultimate test. :)

What I've done is stick my camera on a tripod and take the same shot with multiple lenses with the same settings and focal lengths (to whatever extent they overlap) as well as at their biggest apertures and min/max focal lengths. Then I "pixel peep" the resulting images and see how the new lens stacks up against the others that I know I've been happy with. It's still rather subjective, but to me that's OK because the important part is that I am pleased with the results.

Besides sharpness, the smoothness of the bokeh is something I personally look at if I'm trying to judge a lens. Not that you asked about that, but it matters a lot to me. The subject could be extremely sharp but I won't like it if the circles of light in the background have hard edges or look more like hexagons than circles.


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six4
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Sep 12, 2010 01:57 |  #4

Chrisku13 wrote in post #10892898 (external link)
I use a process called photography, in which I go out and test the lens in various situations and come home to see if it looks alright.

Not a very objective method but I guess you were just trying to be funny.

I was looking for an objective way people tested their lenses. I understand that there are other aspects of lenses besides sharpness, but I am specifically referring to sharpness.

Going out and shooting is great - but sharpness cannot be quantified or compared in situations which are not controlled.

I guess I'll just stick with the ISO 12233 charts.




  
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six4
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Sep 12, 2010 02:08 |  #5

dmnelson wrote in post #10892902 (external link)
What I've done is stick my camera on a tripod and take the same shot with multiple lenses with the same settings and focal lengths (to whatever extent they overlap) as well as at their biggest apertures and min/max focal lengths. Then I "pixel peep" the resulting images and see how the new lens stacks up against the others that I know I've been happy with. It's still rather subjective, but to me that's OK because the important part is that I am pleased with the results. .

I've tried this as well. Seems to be pretty good way to compare sharpness outside of charts.




  
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Kiwikat
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Sep 12, 2010 02:11 as a reply to  @ six4's post |  #6

I can take both my 300mm L and 100 macro out into nature and bring home shots. It is obvious which is sharper. Of course if you don't have another sharp lens to compare it to, that doesn't work too well.

So basically I test all my lenses' sharpness by comparing them to a lens they can't possibly be as sharp as... :p :cool:

(OT: I am absolutely blown away that Canon is selling that lens so cheap. 519 dollars on Amazon now! Whoever doesn't own one of these is nuts!)


Seriously though, you shouldn't have to shoot charts to tell if you've got a sharp lens or not. Go out and shoot insects or still life. If you're pleased with the results after pixel peeping for a few hours, you've got a good copy.


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malla1962
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Sep 12, 2010 02:19 |  #7

Chrisku13 wrote in post #10892898 (external link)
I use a process called photography, in which I go out and test the lens in various situations and come home to see if it looks alright.

And thats just how I do itn no test charts or MA, if it looks sharp then its good enough for me, I've never had a bad one yet.


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six4
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Sep 12, 2010 02:23 |  #8

Perhaps it's that my novice eyes can't tell "very sharp" from just "sharp" and the only way I can really validate my subjective (and naturally sometimes biased opinions) is through some type of controlled comparison.

Between the lenses I have - I don't think I can really say which lenses are obviously sharper than the next. Maybe I'm just getting old.




  
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SiaoP
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Sep 12, 2010 02:26 |  #9

I had a lot of trouble telling which lens was sharper than the other. All the Ls are very sharp. I don't look at the pictures at 100% and peak at each pixel, but I can tell they are much sharper than the kit lenses I had. The new 70-200 f/2.8 IS II is noticeably sharp though, I was able to easily tell it was much sharper than the mark I.


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neil_r
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Sep 12, 2010 02:28 |  #10

six4 wrote in post #10892692 (external link)
I'm just curious - how does everybody test their lens sharpness?

Does everybody use the ISO 12233 charts? Something else?

Everybody doesn't


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six4
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Sep 12, 2010 02:30 |  #11

neil_r wrote in post #10893146 (external link)
Everybody doesn't

lol. Clearly that is that case. In fact, it seems like quite the opposite - I'm in the "few and far between" category.

Don't I feel like a novice. :o

I suppose this is why photography is a hobby and not a profession for me




  
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bigpow
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Sep 12, 2010 03:05 |  #12

don't get too obsessed with lens sharpness - you might want to read about the "people with their pillars"
- same category as people worshipping red ring, white barrel, full-frame, the list goes on and on


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six4
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Sep 12, 2010 03:20 |  #13

bigpow wrote in post #10893211 (external link)
don't get too obsessed with lens sharpness - you might want to read about the "people with their pillars"
- same category as people worshipping red ring, white barrel, full-frame, the list goes on and on

well - I'd say I'm not unreasonable about it - hence why I try to have some type of objective approach to the matter.

It seems sharpness is one of the main reason why we are willing to pay more for glass therefore it is important (to me) to distinguish between glass.




  
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Supertac
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Sep 12, 2010 03:22 |  #14

I see if it will cut the hair on my arm. If not, I sharpen in some more.


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bigpow
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Sep 12, 2010 06:00 |  #15

six4 wrote in post #10893239 (external link)
well - I'd say I'm not unreasonable about it - hence why I try to have some type of objective approach to the matter.

It seems sharpness is one of the main reason why we are willing to pay more for glass therefore it is important (to me) to distinguish between glass.

I think most people would just use the lens, and they usually found out if they like it or not after several shots. Unless you suspect your lens is a bad copy, I think you could also just try it out the normal way.

I used to worry too because my buddies would only recommend certain lenses, that kit lenses don't produce sharp good images, that primes are superior over zooms, etc. Needless to say, I went through several lenses, only to figure out that most people automatically associate expensive lenses with good image quality. Vice versa, a sharp at wide-open lens, but cheap (from 3rd party), would automatically get associated with bad image quality, bad AF, etc.

Be happy with what you have, go out and have fun.
If you have some time, read this article:
http://gapingvoid.com/​2004/07/31/pillar-management/ (external link)


[5DM2: 50L, 100L, 24-105L, 70-200/2.8IS L II, Zeiss 2/35 ZE]
[Fuji X100S] [Sony A7 II: 55/1.8, 28-70]

  
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How do you test your lens sharpness?
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