A few words about site logics

2. What a awkward website. How does it operate, where to click?

- Everything is simple, we have circumstantial info on listed below topics:

4. Can you draw a line between lenses suitable for portrait and architecture (landscape) pictures?

- Yes and no. There is a small reading ahead to clarify issues.

Why does method has to be "blind"?

Evaluation of optics artist characteristics is close to delicacies degustation. Differences between lenses (especially of same price category) is very subtle. You won't be able to do this easily by reading MTF charts or viewing sample photos, while degustation helps to feel and decide, what's closer to your artistic taste.

Degustation would be pointless without experience objectification. Exactly for this reason we "blindfold" our eyes. Wihout the emotional bias we could judge upon parameters, that we consider to be important here and now - everything else is discarded.

In general blind experiment method is universal and can applied even to the choice of spouse. The only urgent need is to understand its limits - photography is about learning to make great images, optics can not obstruct or help greatly. Lens can only punch a little to obtaining better results.

This site reaches aim to help in understanding, how your eye reacts to artistic features of optics.

If you have any taste preferences, service will make no mistake about finding proper optics and proving it by choice statistics.

Site structure

Left menu presents thematic sections:

Section «Comparison» - main feature, service, that helps to determine, which lens is diamond in your eye. Yeah, and there will be statistics to show choice accuracy.

Section «Crop Vs Fullframe» helps to find true answer, if your eye can see difference between photo-sensor sizes. This sacred knowledge lets you settle the eternal conflict: selling old cropped-sensor camera or dumping it for earthshattering magic Fullframe.

Section «FAQ» holds answers to main problems. And you are now reading it.

Section «Credits» tells about tension bringing it alive, about robots and humans, who helped to make dream real.

How to initiate optics matching

For start choose lens models from the list (click upon its name and optics will be added to the right column).

Additional parameters are situated under chosen optics list. There you could choose:

- aperture: open, fully open, closed (if you choose 'fully open' site will show only maximum diaphragm, for example, for Canon 50/1.4 service will only pick photos, shot wide open at 1.4).

- genre: you could narrow genre if you do not want to jump over different types of photos. If it is not a problem, you could leave «---» as the most diversified option.

Genre is also very convenient option if you are determined to focus on one kind of photos. And it is advised to consider that lens popular genres differ from one lens to another - portrait genre could be popular for long focuses, while wide-angle optic fans may have no use for it.

- image sensor format: choice between fullframe sensor (equal size to film factor 35х24mm) and cropped ones (lower size).

- quantity of photos in single series: it's that simple: lower the amount - faster you'll see results).

Methods of comparison

Speaking briefly, all what you need - make decision whether you like photo or not.

At the same time process is a bit harder than hitting one of two buttons.

For detailed view hit right mouse button (on mobile device - press and hold screen).

Left mouse button (click screen) opens navigation menu (lower panel).

In navigation panel you could choose destiny for photo:

don't like - you see optical defects on photo and have no intention to put up with it.


убрать - photo leaves no chance to test optical features (no background, heavily photoshopped or completely falls out the genre).


like - image matches aesthetic taste in terms of optics (creepy smiles and crooked horizon should not be taken into account).


Results - what things matter

After end series application counts likes and dislikes for each lens.

Does this sound boring? That's why this is done by computer.

As result you get statistics for each of the lens: starting from most praised and ending at disliked.

I will explain a little bit more about reading results.

This service won't give you final answer, which lens you should buy. Previous generations of photographers did not need that - they just put an aim to make exact composition better and switched lenses until they got decent results. Yeah, life was easier a bit.

But testing looks so slow now. Today you have means to solve Buridan's ass paradox without standing up out of chair: program will let your eye choose what's better, proved by bold statistics.

Certainly, all those statistics give you nominal answer... But is there any other not hardcore way to tell you, that this very piece of plastics suits your eye better than another?

Using this site you could easily find out, whether your cheap old plastic friend so much behind top-notch pumped by media monster or not? And if you can't see difference is there any reason left to sell kidney?

Optical artistic "defects"

From my dusty trash bucket point of view, search for appropriate optics is a long-long way. 70% of positive experience with optics is achieved by usability and taste, while techical parameters take no more than 30%. Well, frankly 30% at maximum... while comparing cheap plastic kit lens and magnificent Zeiss Otus.

Why my experience leaves so tiny room for perfectionism

Because all heavy-weight champions after year or two take a seat on the shelf, while more cheap and lightweight focus siblings go for camera mount. Weight is only one of reasons. Let's not start our long story about price, manual focus, lens filter size, dimensions, center of mass and other highly disrespected by photoreviewers topics.

Well, if you are not so sure, what to dislike in optics, I can mention these easy be seen "defects":

chromatic aberrations. They vividly emerge in form of color stripes on the edge of contrasty objects (branches of trees, windows, mime costumes).

low contrast becomes apparent, when object in focus starts to look no-so-punchy, merging with background. In some situations, when objects has shiny areas - you can see soapy blur (although this aberration is classified as a separate type - lens coma), while matte surfaces lack color (look gray and dull, miss details).

unpleasant bokeh - unaesthetic blurring: shapes of object out of depth of field swirl, double lines and attract attention more than focus object.

⦕ uneven transition of acute part of image into fuzziness. In other words it looks graceless when object is grossly cut out of background. Object out of focus looses its geometric form, becomes flat - "melts", not "blurred", as it has to be.

well, and ultimate argument - you just don't like it.

It goes without saying that all abovementioned "defects" (for some they could be pros) mostly emerge on open aperture. Shutting it make most of those beasts run away. Technical (not artistic) difference between lenses on small apertures mostly can be seen in extreme situations or in lab under loupe tests.

Architecture Lenses VS Portrait ones

Let's not play fools, optic demands for architecture and portrait use are completely different.

For portrait work most of defects may be more kind of a praise, if photographer knows how to handle them for artistic benefit.

In architecture-landscape world everything is a bit on a strict side:

⦕ optic aberrations should be brought to minimal.

⦕ lens sharpness should be brought to maximum and contrast most not fall substantially from center to corners (this is inevitable but should not be drastic).

⦕ bokeh should be neutral - without special effects and shape deformation.

To make it simple, optic for landscapes (rural or urban) does not have to perform on open aperture (pictures are mostly made from tripod with filters), but has to show maximum performance stоpped down. Artistic lens characteristics win last place in the line. It means that you could rely on technical tests (MTF charts and etc) here, but be cautious - many of popular sites have strange interpretations when it comes to conclusions.

At the same time, all these technical values do not sum up like school equation (minor defects can overweight huge advantages in all the other parameters).

Due to this reason comparing photos, shot on small apertures has sence. There is only one problem - distinguishing results will be one level harder than on open aperture.

There is good news for cheap lens supporters - due to the fact that architecture photography usually lives small apertures, most of ugly plastic lens characteristics vanish. It's true, that you won't get much resolution either, but is this so importrant for you? Test your kit lens against top performer and find out for yourself.



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