Whatís your new lens testing process?
Old 02-22-2020   #1
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Whatís your new lens testing process?

Iím currently waiting on a brand spankiní biogon 35mm f2 to join my vc nokton 35mm f1.4 and was thinking about how Iím going to assess itís performance.

I figured in these situations I like to shoot about 20 rolls of black and white and around 10 rolls of color to become acquainted with the lenses characteristics. FP4 is especially useful for lens testing as itís clean enough that I can discern things like micro contrast and aberrations at different apertures, and likewise portra 160 is my go-to film for color testing for its neutral palette and high sharpness. Iíll probably end up doing some side by side comparisons between the nokton and the biogon.

Whatís your new lens testing process like?
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Old 02-22-2020   #2
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Honestly, for lenses without a shutter I used to use one roll to see if it was all systems go in terms functionality, and maybe contrast with respect to developing tweaks. If I took a picture of a picnic table and the photo had a picnic table that was in focus in it I was pretty much happy.
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Old 02-22-2020   #3
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I usually put it on my m9/sony a7 to be able to immediately see results, sit in my chair, and make some photos of the windowsill with plants, and garden as bokeh then just check the color, sharpness and out of focus rendering
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Old 02-22-2020   #4
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Once upon a time it was a sheet of newspaper with good lighting. Run through the stops, process and read the negative through a loupe. If the corners weren't smeared, you were good to go.
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Old 02-22-2020   #5
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I use to have a 'go-to' location where I shot all my new lenses... it was a street location with light and shadows. Usually tested just before sunset.

The last lens I picked up was the Nikon Ai-S 105mm f/2.8 Micro w/PN-11... for that lens I just did a series of macro shots on a tripod at different f-stops and hand held without the PN-11.

Very short (one roll) test phase and the lens goes into the rotation under all kinds of conditions... not a professional any more so I don't spot meter and shoot test patterns.
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Old 02-22-2020   #6
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Originally Posted by gavinlg View Post
Whatís your new lens testing process like?
I usually test new lenses first under controlled studio conditions. Second, I test new lenses under field conditions.

In the color images below, I was testing two new 135mm screw-mount lenses.

In the black & white image below, I was testing a new 105mm screw-mount lens under field conditions.

If the lenses pass the tests, I will use them as a secondary lens on paying jobs until I am sure I can trust their performance.

Portrait Lens Test by Narsuitus, on Flickr

New Lens Test by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 02-22-2020   #7
Richard G
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I just put it on a digital Leica, or film before them, and use it all the time. I visit my usual haunts. My only problem with a lens was binding focus helical on a lovely Rollei Sonnar 40. I sent it back. The pictures were as I expected/wanted but the focus was distracting and annoying. The only optical blemish that mattered to me was poor focus in the centre of my 2.8 35 Biogon from the classifieds here. Finger print boxing it up to send to me I presume. Fixed that very quickly. The C Sonnar 50 Zeiss is the only lens I really tested out new.
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Old 02-22-2020   #8
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Verifying QA is all I bother with since I can learn pretty much everything else by waiting for lens reviews and photo samples.

I shoot a test chart to check resolution and decentering:


And a LensAlign for focus calibration.
Ugly Cameras
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Old 02-23-2020   #9
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Real world circumstances are important to me, not lab results. I have a wall covered with colorful metal signs in my backyard. I take pictures of that at various apertures and then do some shots of the trees, flowers, plants, the dog, clouds, whatever. From those photos I can tell if there's something amiss--it has in the past and I've returned lenses. If there's no indication of problems, I'm good to go.
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Old 02-23-2020   #10
Kostya Fedot
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I put it on digital M to determine focus shifts. Then I take pictures with it on digital as bw and color. Then on film, bw, print and color, scan.
I realized I need to keep the lens for the year. To absorb different light and colors.
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Old 02-23-2020   #11
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I make sure the lens focuses to infinity then I go use it. I'm too busy and too poor to be spending time and money on exhaustive lens testing. If I make a bad photo, it's not the fault of the lens.
Phil Forrest
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