Why create another lens rating system?
The answer is as simple as it is unexciting: frustration. Existing lens rating systems are flawed by two severe problems. The first and somewhat less significant problem is that not all lenses are tested on the same camera, making it virtually impossible to compare the results. All lenses should be tested on the same camera. The second problem is that many lenses outperform even the best full frame sensors currently available. It is impossible to determine the performance of a lens if the lens outresolves the sensor used for testing. The sensor used for testing lenses should have more resolving power than the best lens. Based on these findings, we've created a lens testing system based on a custom-built camera using a 200MP super high resolution CCD sensor, an apochromatic high-precision lens group custom-made by one of the world's best industrial optics manufacturers and 5 exchangeable lens mount adapters. The sensor of our measuring camera is very slow and not designed for low light applications, but these restrictions are of no significance when measuring the optical performance of a lens. We test every lens on one and the same camera with a sensor that easily outperforms every full frame lens in existence.
Why are there so few lenses in the database?
The almost fully automated measuring process takes about 16 hours for primes and 48 hours for zoom lenses, data analysis takes another 2 to 6 hours of number crunching. The goal is having all current full frame Nikon, Canon, Sony, Zeiss, Leica and Sigma lenses in the database plus selected Tamron, Tokina and Schneider lenses, but it will take some time to get there.
Can I suggest a lens to be included?
Yes, but F/EF/A/E/M-mount full frame lenses only at the time being.
Why don't you test tele primes with teleconverters?
The maximum focal length our test bench can handle is about 850mm, thus many combinations cannot be measured. We're planning on measuring the 200mm, 300mm, 400mm, 500mm and 600mm Nikkor primes with the Nikon TC-14E III.
Why only test full frame lenses?
The most expensive part of our test bench is not the 200MP digital back, it's the custom-made apochromatic lens group. We neither have the expertise to calculate such a lens group nor are we able to manufacture one. Both tasks have been commissioned to a highly regarded Swiss industrial optics manufacturer. They did a very good job, but they are very expensive. To measure APS-C lenses, or lenses for any other sensor format, we'll need a corresponding lens group. Another investment of this magnitude is currently not an option.
What can we do as a manufacturer if we suspect the lens tested was defective?
Get in touch. We will provide you with the serial number of the measured lens and schedule testing with a different copy. If the results of the second test are significantly better, we will update the database accordingly. We do not test lenses provided by manufacturers. Re-testing will be done with a lens acquired independently. We will not do more than one re-test for any given lens model.