Spurred by the recent posts by those entering into DSLR photography I wanted to pass along a few online resources for those who may have the question: Which lens should I get....? Seasoned photographers likely already know about these but new DSLR users may not.
Personally, I really like to look at photos taken with the lenses rather than specs alone. Granted I do realize that many factors contribute to the image (camera movement, post processing, etc.--as well as photographer's skill level). But all the sample images give me a better overall feeling for what a lens is a capable of for color, sharpness, bokeh (character of blur), and angle of view.
Image databases with lens model categories (with helpful exposure information or exif)
1. P-Base: http://www.pbase.com/cameras
- select a camera or lens brand and scroll to find the lens
- mid page will show some samples from members
- to refresh the samples Click the "more" link at the right of the Section heading
(e.g. Random Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D AF Samples from 14219 available Photos more)
2. Motley Pixel: http://www.motleypixel.com/
- Easy interface....
- Just select brand and lens
3. Pixel Peeper: http://www.pixel-peeper.com/lenses/
- I just found out about this site. The term "pixel peeper" is usually derogatory but I guess they use it anyway.
- This uses Flickr images but presented in a different way allowing an easy search by specific lens
4. Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/cameras/
- Difficult to sort by specific lens but possible
- Use Search menu
>>Type in lens and brand as keywords (e.g. "50mm" "Canon")
>>Choose "Tags only" >>may have to weed through the find out if the lens is the correct model.
- Or choose camera or lens brand (lenses are in "See a list of all brands" pulldown)
Of course for those who are spec hounds or like reviews here are some of my top sources other than the manufacturer (....there are tons of others)
1. Fred Miranda's site: http: //www.fredmiranda.com/ Great Great site.
2. Luminous landscapes: http: //www.luminous-landscape.com good side-by-sides compros
3. The Digital Picture, for Canon and 3rd party lenses: http: //www.the-digital-picture.com A very well done site! Samples in Gallery
4. Bjørn Rørslett site for Nikon: http: //www.naturfotograf.com/lens_surv.html
5. Ken Rockwell: http: //www.kenrockwell.com
Lastly, seeing other photographers use the same lens that one already owns sometimes helps you understand the capability of that lens. Which usually means that if one is finding fault with their own images then some other things need to be addressed rather than the gear. That's what I got out of my research anyway.
Edited 01-24-10 to correct problem with too many links. From Fred Miranda link down remove space from link and paste the URL.... work arounds!