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Wednesday, 18 March 2015


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To answer your question, yes, the crowd-sourced review was very interesting and useful. I always skip past all the numbers on more formal reviews and go to the comments and conclusions. Doing it this way, I get to see comments and conclusions from many different people, and I can judge what's relevant to me and what isn't. It was a very good idea, just the kind of thing that the interweb can do well.

It kills me that Fuji can make a lens lineup that's so appealing, while Sony has great bodies, sensors, affordable full frame, but a lens lineup that's so ... not.

Anyway, you asked: "did you like the crowdsourced lens review?"

If it were a lens I was considering, I'd find some value in it; user opinions complement objective tests. I don't know that there's anything here that's not available elsewhere, but it's a little more 'concentrated'. I know that Sony users can see similar reviews crowdsourced over a period of years for dozens of lenses (from obsolete to current) on the website dyxum.com and I have to believe there are similar sources for other mounts. Dyxum has a pretty interesting setup - you can search its database for lenses via mount (A or E), brand, fixed or zoom, etc. For each lens, you can see the reviews (numeric ratings, which I ignore, plus a subjective writeup), you can see links to external reviews, and then a link to a forum thread dedicated to sample images taken with the lens.

The benefit of such a review here is that it's my impression that your readership represents a more skilled/informed group of photographers, on the whole, than those who contribute to other sources. The negative aspect is that it reads like the comments section of any of your blog posts, with "chaff" thrown in (posts having nothing to do with the lens). And the quality sample photos are a nice benefit (especially when inlined with the subjective opinion of the photographer).

The problem is that unless you do this for dozens or hundreds of lenses across multiple brands, it's a resource that's of interest to only a very narrow slice of your readers. Sites that do this via a database or a forum have a huge advantage over a moderated blog is that they can collect data over a long period of time without much/any intervention.

In summary, I don't think this is a good use of your time if it really takes that long to do. Other sites are setup to do it more efficiently.

I missed the lens review too. I've just double checked in my feed reader (feedly) and it's not showing up at all. The list of posts goes from pots and pans straight to the Google doodle one. No sign of it anywhere!

The entertaining "crowdsourced lens review" somehow wasn't published to my Feedly (a web-based RSS newsreader), so I had no idea it had been posted. Thanks for the reminder!

Yes, I liked the crowdsourced lens review. I planned to write some words on the 17mm myself, but didn't get around to it.

What I liked about the review, is that I got to hear a different views, both good and bad. And what people are using the lens for.

I would like to see a review on the three cheap and cheerful lenses from Sigma - the 19mm, 30mm and 60mm f/2.8.

The 27mm was $199 in 2014, which I believe is its "fair market value" given the lens's many shortcomings.

I just received my 27mm today. Bought on EBay, delivered, slowly, from Taiwan, for $265. They seem to be splitting X-Pro1 kits and selling the bundled prime lenses. Would have been a great bargain except for the 47 euro import duty I had to pay in cash before the delivery man would hand over the parcel. I've had my Xt1 for three weeks now - tonight will by the first time I get to play with it with a lens on.

I definitely liked the crowdsourced review. Keep 'em coming!

Yes - I think that crowd sourced lens reviews are the perfect counter-balance to the more technical reviews.

How about the Panasonic-Leica 15mm f1.7 next? (Number one on my desired gear list, or as I call it, my gear lust).


Yes, I found great value in reading the crowd sourced lens comments. Technical reviews are fine for what they are, but they only give me a baseline from which to start my consideration process. I find much more value in hearing what people have to say about how they use a lens and how well it serves them.

Please continue with this idea.

Back in Feb. 2014 the 27mm was down to $199, at that price I couldn't resist.

I liked the idea and its implementation. Many aspects were covered, so I imagine a CSR might be more helpful than either a technical review or singular opinions. It also helps that a multitude of copies of the lens is represented. However, it seems to demand a heavy editorial toll. You must be exhausted.

Personally, I would like to hear more about the Sony/Zeiss 55mm f/1.8. It gets excellent reviews from techies, but the results I see from it seem rather ordinary.

Keep the good work, Mike, but have mercy on yourself.

The crowd sourced review was great. It's wonderful to get away from all the pixel peeling and endless ruminating on this or that specification and just hear how people like the lens out in the field.

For the next lens I'd choose another that doesn't have a completely stellar technical reputation, but may still be of interest to a lot of people. Something like the Fuji 18mm f/2. Also, don't forget that DSLR's and their lenses aren't dead yet. :)

I'm not sure if that sale is anything new. I've bought a few Fuji X lenses (the 14mm, 23mm, and 60mm) within the last few months at different stores (Glazer's in Seattle and Keeble and Shuchat in Palo Alto, CA) and on all three I got discounts of $150 or $200. It seems like there's a sort of quiet discount always going on with these, unless I've just been amazingly lucky.

I don't read posts more than once, because why should I? They don't change in between readings (except when they do). You posted a "Blog Note" stating when you would post the review so I was waiting for that new post with the review. You could at least make a new post with a link to the old post to let people know that the old one changed :)

I purchased the fuji 27mm along with a used xpro-1. Because the lens was discounted I got the camera w/lens, an extra battery and clear glass filter for LESS than a new xpro-1 body.

I am now using this setup for the One Camera, One Lens, One Year project.

I went to Fuji Cameras because Nikon never offered any wide angle to normal prime lenses for the DX bodies.

Oh sure they have wide and normal lenses that could be used on the DX bodies but they're FX lenses and I'm opposed to using lenses that aren't designed for the DX bodies.

I have been using Nikon DX bodies since August 2007 and I got tired of waiting.

Want a zoom lens no problem but a prime lens like the fuji 23mm for the Nikon DX bodies big problem.

Now I'll spend the next year on OCOLOY project using Fiji camera and lens.

I still have a need for the Nikon D5100 and the 16mm-85mm 3.5/5.6 zoom. I have projects where I need the various focal lengths of the zoom and where I need to use flash. Don't have a flash for the Fuji.

PS: If you buy a used camera from B&H have them send you a picture of everything you're getting with the camera. Unlike eBay they don't show the actual camera that's for sale. That being said I would highly recommend you check out B&H used camera department if you plan on buying a camera or lens.

I would definitely like to see more reviews; lenses and cameras.
I too missed the original post, and after scrolling back, have still not found it!
I'd like to see more m4/3 lenses, and Sony and Fuji appear to be hot picks for this blog. Then the Nikon and Canon people are well represented too. So sky's the limit!
First choice should be a lens that delivers a lot of "bang for the buck". after that, the premiums or the unusual, like the Rokinon or Samyang fisheyes.
I don't mind being surprised either.
For what its worth, that's my two cents.

Well jeez Mike, which one should I buy, all of 'em? Surely you know I can't be trusted to make such an important decision! Or did you already provide the necessary shopping list a few posts ago? I'm also a little concerned that these Fujinons won't work on my Canon EOS 60D, but I'll deal with that later.

Crowd Sourced Reviews: A great idea and an idea well executed. The comments along with the photos were most helpful....and the photos were interesting unlike so many you see on equipment review sites.
Please continue this exercise with additional Leica Lumix, Lumix and Olympus lenses.

Re the 17mm crowdsource, I didn't get any updates using Feedly.

Perhaps CAADD (computer-assisted attention deficit disorder) at work? I've noticed a tendency for some folks to read and reply only to the first topic or question in an email, apparently never bothering to scroll down the page.

If it's important enough, I put in the first line something like, "Three items below ... Please scroll down."

I don't know if there's a remedy for CAADD in blog posts. I had no difficulty with how you handled it.

Since you're in love with it, how about the Fugi 23mm next? Or my fav the Oly 75 (with my E-M1). No that would be 2 Olys in a row.
Or how about a new subject - Review your fav lens and ask why it is your fav.
I found the 17mm review very informative.
I never concidered that lens til this review. How a lens renders remains most important to me not specs.

Mike, the amazing Fuji XF 50-140 f/2.8 pro zoom is also on sale at B&H Photo, $100 off for the first time this lens has been discounted. You have to put the lens in your cart to see the discounted price.

This is a great sale for Fuji lenses and the 27mm is an excellent lens. I have that one glued to the X-E1. A great carry everywhere combo.
Equally nice on the X-T1, if you prefer that form factor body.

Yes, I liked the crowd-review, go on!

Lenses I would be interestet in:
Pana 20 1.7 and 15 1.7
M-Rokkor 40/2 ;-)
Olympus 17 2.8 (no joke, I like that lens)

I keep track of posts by going directly to the site. I found the review without any problems. I use an RSS feed reader for other things, and I can understand how people using one could miss the review. A lot of RSS readers do not notify people of updated posts.

You could do all of your work in the old post the way you did, and make a new post that is only an announcement and a link to the old one, with no commenting allowed in the new post. That would solve the problem.


I got the 27mm for $199 from BH last year, so it has been cheaper. These lenses seem to go on sale all the time...

Oh, looks like the 60mm *is* actually $250 off when you add it to your cart ($399 vs $649).

Thanks for your reply, Mike. In your follow-up "Annoucement" post, you identified the culprit in my case: Feedly. I almost always read posts on the site itself in order to enjoy the comments and not have any content mangled, but I rely on Feedly to let me know about new posts. It's good to know what Feedly doesn't show what you update a post and move it to the top. I'll have to be more vigilant about checking manually. I wonder if there is some way to mark a post as new so that it will get picked up by feed readers again?

I think that a lot if not all of the feeds / readers / aggregators only grab the one version of a post and ignore all subsequent revisions such as edits , featured comment , and other addenda. Each post has a unique ID rh enable this. There are some good technical reasons for this* but the only way to get around it is to create a new post with a new ID. The easy way is to copy and paste the old material into a new post. Moving the post to the top of the blog by making it "sticky" won't make it reappear in the feed. This is also why comments don't show up in the feeds.

* they involve nasty feedback loops , if you have ever been cc'd on a group email where two recipients have their email set up to do a "reply all" saying that they are on vacation , you have an idea what I'm talking about.

I think this format really ties back to a concept you talked about a long time ago regarding buying two cameras, and a wide and tele lens, and not shopping again for five years. Reading reviews on lenses takes a long time. So having a curated review with examples of good photography help reduce shopping time I would think.

Thats just me. I hate reading about tech in photography. I know im in the minority. Tell me what its like to work with a lens, not what the resolving power wide open is.

Hopefully on the new site (where is it? ;-) you'd have a section for reviews.

Since you asked. The main thing I got out of the review, based on the Italian market shot, the icecream stand shot, and the woman and cat looking at the laptop shot is... Most people who whine about sharpness don't know what the fuck they're talking about. While the inline sample of woman,cat, laptop was meh, if you clicked thru the large sample was WAY better, similarly for the others.

I read the full entries on the website, because that's the only way I can see the photos, but I rely on a feed-reader to let me know there are new pieces on TOP.

Just replying to say that I really enjoyed the crowd-sourced review of the Olympus 17mm f/1.8. Interesting to see so many positive comments about a lens that met with such a lukewarm reception from professional reviewers. It really seems to have character. I had one very briefly, it (or its angle of view) didn't inspire me, but I barely gave it a chance. I'm reconsidering, but my OC/OL/OY had turned into three lenses, PL25mm f/1.4 (love it), 12-40mm f/2.8 (thoroughly competent) and 75mm f/1.8 (still getting to know it). Four would be too much. I'm trying to stay focused on making images and not worrying about rules.

I missed the updated post in my feed reader too. I use Reeder 2 on iOS. I almost always use the rss reader unless I comment like so.

I had no issues with the way the review was posted, but I read the site itself, no through a reader.

I liked the review and found it surprising. Apparently the lens has some tricks up its sleeve that some review sites are missing. Barrel distortion is a pet peeve for me and that makes this lens problematic for my tastes, but the nice selection of pictures posted does make a strong case.

I am very curious to know how pentaxians are using the 21mm limited prime.

Oh, and I'd definitely like to see more crowd-sourced reviews, though I suspect they have a pretty high administrative overhead. No suggestions off the top of my head, though controversial or unsung lenses seem the best pick. Universally praised lenses would make for comparatively dull copy.

There was actually a rebate early last year that dropped the 27mm's price by $250 to ~$199. Was fortunate enough to get the lens at that price.

For that price, I thought the lens was a no-brainer purchase. $250 would be fine, but $300, for some reason, strikes me as too much for a f/2.8 lens, the wonderfully compact form-factor notwithstanding.

I do like your choosing to preserve all the comments, and I can believe it would be a huge pain to move them.

mike, I saw the crowd sourcing 17mm lens review when you posted it. But I do check your actual site pretty much every day, no matter your posts - on or off topic! How many blogs can claim the eclectic range that TOP has: cook pots, cutlery, speakers, albums, pool tables, home purchasing... and that's just scratching the surface! Plus, of course, great writing on photography to boot. Keep it coming.

I got my 60 and 27 combo last time around and they have been two of my best purchases.
The 27 vexes me! It is as sharp as the 23 I have, but I find it hard to take it seriously compared to the other lenses as it is sooo small and has no aperture ring, but on the otherhand the 23 is equally big in comparison and the clutch focus system does not suit my style as well as the mf/af on the ael buttom combo.
Maybe if I lock them in a small cupboard with some mood music I may get the perfect love child (the 18mm with the 27mm optics)?

I use the left hand sidebar to navigate to posts, and go upwards so I'm reading the posts chronologically. I missed the 17mm review at first because the sidebar showed it as a post I'd already read.

Back when I was running my blog, the way feed-readers worked was that if I posted something, then pulled it, then re-published the same post, it would not be seen as "new." I had to copy everything from the old post into a new one, rather than republishing the old one in order to get it to show in the feeds.

Mike - you've got to stop saving me money! Thanks for the heads up.

Just following up to report that I've now read the 17mm review and really enjoyed the review and format. (Perhaps it helps that I've been considering the 17mm off and on for a while.) I think I'd enjoy enjoy reading more CSRs in the future if you can swing the workload.

I got it. But not intuitive to find. Worth doing but only because your blog has an intelligent and interesting - not to mention good looking - audience.

Well if you had a recent comments section people would have seen the current activity on the post...
Still working away at that.

I liked the crowd sourced review very much, even though I'd not consider it.

For instance, I found important one reviewer's opinon on how he "didn't trust" the lens despite the good results.
It's also nice to judge on images from different users in the same posts. DIfferences in post processing will give you a range of how the lens does in different hands.

Doesn't have to be the latest lens released either, so that people can actually give us a long term idea.


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