Thursday, October 25, 2012

Olympus E-M5 Has Focus Peaking! (Sort of)

We know the the E-M5 has a whole bunch of goodies locked up in its firmware. Why they did this is anyone's guess, especially considering how the E-M5 could have been an amazing photography and videography tool if they had not completely borked the video implementation.

While there were many issues, the biggest one for me was the lack of focus peaking. After Sony introduced it in their NEX line of cameras, it immediately became a must-have feature for photography and videography nuts. For photographers because it allows the easy use of non-AF lenses, and for videographers because AF during video blows chunks.

Importantly for m4/3 was that it allowed for easier implementation of Olympus' and Panasonic's 4/3 legacy lenses, some of which are some of the best lenses ever made. AF on this lenses is sometimes so slow that manual work with focus peaking is actually faster.

Everyone was hoping for it in the E-M5... and were disappointed. Everyone was hoping for it in the GH3, and were even told it was true... only to be disappointed.

Today, though, we are not disappointed. Today, we find that focus-peaking is secretly in the E-M5 in the form of one of its stupid "filters."

This works well for photographic work, although shooting in JPEG+RAW reduces the continuous shooting abilities significantly. Sadly, though, this is useless for video work. Again, we are left to wonder what the hell Olympus was thinking with all this. It's no surprise that Vitaliy Kiselev didn't even bother touching the E-M5.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Used Panasonic 12-35mm X Lenses Available For Less Than $900

The Panasonic 12-35mm lens is something of a disappointment. It's good, no doubt about that. But it's not great. And it really needed to be great. Worse still, it's priced as though it was great. $1,299 is too rich for my blood, but it is tempting. The thing stopping me is that Fuji has some incoming lenses of similar length that are cheaper and bound to be exceptionally sharp, and Olympus has its 12-60mm that outperforms the Panny in all ways except speed. The value equation just doesn't work out in Panasonic's favor.

But the same lens at $900? Now we're talking! And guess how much the lens costs, lightly used, on Amazon? Just about $900. At that price, even with the lens' rather severe distortion, I think it a good deal. If you're invested in the m4/3 system, this is a solid deal.

Monday, October 22, 2012

E-PL5 Gets First Full(ish) Test, Dynamic Range Unsurprising

Tech Radar is the first out the gate with some significant data. Granted, how they do their tests is a bit flattering to many cameras, and indeed, produces completely incomprehensible results for other cameras. Their results are at least comparable internally.

Most importantly is that the rumors of the sensor performing significantly better as regards dynamic range are unfounded, be it in JPEG or RAW. The E-PL5 performs identically to the E-M5. This is not a bad thing. It costs $300 less than the E-M5, and considering that it will probably be a sales failure, those who are interested in the m4/3 system will be able to net themselves a good deal.

I'm interested in the camera because the limitations of my trust GF1 have been becoming more apparent to me after having used so many exemplary cameras like the NEX-5n, Pentax K-5, and Fuji X Pro 1. At the same time, the superb size and ergonomics of the GF1 mean that the X Pro 1, K-5, and 5n are ersatz replacements. The NEX-6 is tempting, to say the least, but that would require investing in a new system.

So while seeing some test that blew away the E-M5 would have been seriously cool, it's not a huge disappointment to see results that don't. The E-M5 was already good and the much-needed performance upgrade that m4/3 was lacking. We now know that the E-PL5 will be the E-M5 in different clothes.

First E-PL5 ISO Comparison

DSLR Check, as is frequently the case, is the first website to post an ISO comparison of a new camera. The camera of course being the Olympus E-PL5. The camera performs identically to the E-M5. Both cameras do very well in retaining detail up to ISO1600, but ISO3200 and 6400 show significant loss of fine detail, with many areas turning into smudges of color.

Neither camera quite stands toe-to-toe with the compared Nikon D3200. It's close, and there seems to be less difference at 6400 than 1600 or 3200, but the difference is there. This is expected, seeing as Nikon really pushed boundaries by putting Sony's already-legendary 24Mp APS-C sensor in what's essentially an entry-level SLR.

Granted, this is almost not news. I don't think anyone was really expecting the E-PL5 to perform much better as regards noise. The really juicy information is the supposed large increase in dynamic range. We'll have to wait for some more tests for that information.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A 1:1 Sensor Is Possible For 4/3

Lloyd Chambers, over at Diglloyd, has posted an analysis of the image circle of Micro 4/3 lenses and found that they are huge. Most of the lenses could cover an APS-C sensor

That doesn't really tell us anything, though. We would need analysis of the degradation of the image, and I suspect that it would be pretty extreme on an APS-C sensor. What excites me about this is the prospect of a 1:1 sensor, which would be completely and absolutely unique in the camera world. I don't think there are even any 1:1 medium format sensors being made.

A 1:1 m4/3 sensor would have a diagonal of about 24.46mm. The smallest image circle was the Panasonic 45mm f/2.8 at 25mm, which just squeaks by. Basically, a 1:1 image circle is compatible with every lens he tested, even the cheap ones.

Considering that this sensor, if implemented, would be in pro-oriented product, the possible confusion associated with degraded image quality at the corners wouldn't need to be much addressed. Pros and enthusiasts understand the principles underlying photography and know quite well what the 1:1 ratio would entail.

I again express my absolute support for this sensor in the upcoming Olympus E-7. It needs a unique calling card. In a market with cameras like the NEX-7, X Pro 1, and full-frame cameras costing below $2,000, any Oly offering that costs in the $1,500 area would die a quick and inauspicious death.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

First E-M5/GH3 ISO Comparison Is Up

Photography Blog, a website I very much dislike, has posted images from the GH3. They are JPEGs, so they don't tell us the full story. This is especially true when one considers how poor Panny's JPEGs usually hold up. Go here for the Olympus E-M5 images, and go here for the Panasonic GH3 images. You can do your own comparison by opening up the images into new tabs/windows.

Obviously, these images tell us little about the dynamic range and full color capability of the sensor at various ISOs, but they do tell us how the camera will perform at just spitting out completed images. Overall, it is a big upgrade from the GH2. It's still something of a disappointment. Noise performance closely matches the E-M5 up to ISO3200, but ISO6400 shows a significant drop in comparison to the E-M5.

This could still be the same Sony sensor, and perhaps Panny's JPEGs just suck, but I doubt it. The difference at ISO 25,600 is so large that it simply has to be a different sensor. This might not be seen as a huge issue, but with the Olympus E-PL5 having even better performance than the E-M5, that puts Panasonic at a large disadvantage, especially going forward.

I remain excited about the GH3. ISO performance is only part of the equation, as we all learned well with the Fuji X Pro 1. That said, this is a disheartening moment. I might be more willing to overlook it if the video performance had been truly outstanding, but everything we have seen thus far has been, at best, whelming.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The NEX Lens Selection Is Getting Bigger

The single biggest issue holding back the NEX system is the crap selection of lenses. We have two. With only one of those being world-class (the Zeiss 24mm). We have a third coming out of the pipes, the 35mm, which is nice, but these lenses should have been available from the beginning. Fuji's X Pro 1 has been on the market for a scant six months and launched with three good-to-excellent lenses, we have a large and aggressive roadmap of other excellent lenses, and we already have another camera in the system!

But back to Sony. One advantage that the NEX system had was its access to Sony's full-frame and APS-C lenses with the SLT attachment. Not exactly elegant, but it did provide lenses. Still, even then, Sony's lens selection isn't exactly brimming over with top-quality glass. And when you have a camera as pixel-packed as the NEX-7, you need top-quality glass.

Enter third-party adapters. There are many problems with adapters working well with the electronics of cameras. First, most cameras are closed systems, meaning for a company to make lenses, they have to "hack" the coding of the cameras and lenses. Second, even though making adapters is a straight-forward enough process, no one wants to do it since, if they have the money to invest, they are also likely making their own lenses that they want people to buy. Thus, they don't want to make adapters for fear that people will use other companies' lenses. With facts like this, you can understand why so much of the camera industry makes me want to shoot people.

What I hope is that, with the rise of digital cameras and the ever-growing market, we will see an increasing number of smaller companies start making the tools, lenses, adapters, and accessories that the intransigent legacy companies refuse to make.

With that point in mind, I present today's video.


Is anyone else as impressed as hell with the NEX-6? I had a short time with it and loved how fast they've made it. It's not as fast as the Olympus E-M5, but faster than anything Panasonic has out. It feels like it flows. I wish I could have kept my images, because I am dying to see the comparison between it and the NEX-7.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wacky Data About The Oly E-PL5 (And Something Amazing About The E-M5)

The time directly after Photokina always seems so dry. No new details jumping out every other minute. No new cameras. All we can do is wait for the various reviews that actually tell us something. These reviews stand in contrast to the millions of blogger reviews, that always come out first, that tell us damn-near nothing about the camera. They do tests with different lenses and at different exposures. They never upload full-res images. It is the equivalent of reading about some other person's afternoon.

We finally got a smidgen of data about the Oly E-PL5 of all things. The data is incredibly interesting though. Basically, the new baby brother of the E-M5 has over a stop of extra dynamic range. A stop! Where the hell did they find that? I always said that the E-M5 was the camera that Oly should have made three years ago, and because they are so far behind schedule, I was going to wait for the next version of the E-M5 before really considering a purchase. Even if the test turns out to faulty, Olympus would have a huge victory with merely a half-stop improvement. After years of the same damned sensor, we appear to be getting some actual development. Depending on the price, this might finally be the replacement for my trusty GF1.

The E-M5 isn't left in the cold, though. A rumor cropped on that website of rumors,; to wit, the E-M5 can be hacked. First off, Olympus is still just as fucking stupid as it always was. I'm glad to see that some things never change. Why such vitriol? Basically, a major problem with hacking the camera is that hackers do not have direct access to the firmware files. Olympus sends you a program that then connects to servers to deliver the firmware. Considering that the only reason why anyone ever bought the GH2 was because it was hackable, one has to wonder WHAT THE HELL OLYMPUS IS THINKING.

But that's neither here nor there for the purposes of this post. What is here and there is what can be done with hacking. If the tipster is to be believed, the E-M5 is an amazing little powerhouse of a camera. It has clean 4:2:2 HDMI output, can handle 120fps 1080p, and already has focus peaking in the firmware. If this is true, the E-M5's status has just skyrocketed.

I want the GH3 because it is a hybrid camera. I want extensive video and photographic functionality. The E-M5's biggest problem was that the video functionality was crap. The sensor was good. The IBIS was good. The codec and overall implementation of the software was awful.

If these features are implemented by hackers, it could all but kill any interest in the GH3. I don't consider that an overstatement. The only consideration that comes to mind is heat. The E-M5 is small, and 1080p is hot. Here's hoping some experiments come out soon, because inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Panasonic Should Be Concerned About The GH3

As a writer of camera schtuff, I have a bit of insight that many don't. Namely, I can watch when traffic jumps, indicating interest in a particular camera. For example, I am still getting attention for posts about the Canon G13 that I wrote when I was predicting the release of a G camera with larger sensor... the camera that would become the G1X.

Similarly, when I wrote about the Fuji X Pro 1 or Nikon D800, I saw huge spikes in traffic for those keywords. I also see spikes now and then for my mentions of the Olympus E-7, and saw decent spikes when the Olympus E-M5 was announced.

I have seen no such spikes regarding the GH3. None. Zip. Barely a bubble. Now, obviously, I am not the ideal metric by which to gauge these things. I only get about 10,000 views per month, if I'm lucky. But I think that while I cannot be compared to other websites, I can be compared across my own posts. If one post only sees 100 views, and another 1,000, I think that indicates something significant.

I don't know what to make of this. Is it the price? Is it the lenses? To me, the GH3 is a success--a powerful tool, including most of the things for which anyone could ask. Obviously, the true test will come when video and RAW photo samples are released, but no one currently knows those variables. That shouldn't be affecting people's interest now.

But here we are. Is it the design? The Olympus E-M5 saw a spike and generated solid interest. Were people simply taken by its retro looks? Is it the brand? Has Panasonic simply lost any cachet it may have once had? The last success they've had was the GF1, and that was three years ago.

I'm sorry if I appear to be belaboring the point, but this has me legitimately confuzzled. Panasonic needs to do... something to kick up the interest in this camera. Their market share is dwindling badly, and this should be their knight in shining magnesium alloy, destined to save them from the dragon that is Sony.

Because Sony is weakened right now! As I mentioned in an earlier post, the video quality out of the new Sony A99 and NEX cameras is a big disappointment! The added dynamic range of the GH3 should be the ingredient necessary to push Panasonic into a league of its own, outgunned only by the Blackmagic Camera. Whatever it takes, Panasonic, generate more interest in the GH3.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Disappointing Results From The First Impressions of the Sony A99

EOSHD has posted impressions of the upcoming Sony A99 and VG900 and they are very negative. This is a huge disappointment. I have not been quiet in my support of Sony on this website; I think that they are the most innovative, the most willing to take risks, and the most technologically advanced. In most cases, they have been hitting balls clear out of the park.

The NEX-5, 5n, and 7 have put their still-new NEX camera system on the top of the mirrorless market in every country except Japan. And while their video hasn't compared to the GH2, their photographs are the top of the heap. The RX100 was a sensation, immediately becoming the compact camera to beat upon its release, and it had fantastic video quality to boot. Indeed, Sony has almost all hits and no misses.

Sadly, today, Mighty Casey has struck out. The problem? Moire, and loads of it. Mix in a healthy dose of jagged edges and compression issues and you have a wholly disappointing hybrid camera. As EOSHD pointed out, these issues are simply unacceptable in a $3,000 camera aimed at a premium market. When the GH2 has been producing world-class 1080p for over two years, to say nothing of the Blackmagic camera, this is absolutely unacceptable.

It wouldn't be as much a problem if Sony hadn't been touting the video aspects of the camera. In fact, almost every feature and doodad that a videographer would want on an SLR is there! One could say that Sony was trying to segment their product lines and leave alone their pro-level cameras like the VG900, but apparently the video from that camera sucks just as bad! What in the world happened, Sony?

Video isn't the only issue at hand, no. Luminous Landscape, while being more than a bit conservative with their viewpoint, has posted an only mildly-conservative early take on the A99. Remember, the primary writer over there was a Sony/Minolta guy for many years, building up a large set of lenses around an A900. He's no Sony hater. That said, he has a big problem with the camera's main feature, the SLT design.

I've made no bones about my dislike for Sony's SLT tech. I know that many people say they don't notice the difference, but I do. The images are soft and the light performance is reduced, as nearly every online review will show you. I could accept the softness, since at most sizes it's not noticeable, but the reduced noise performance is not something that I can accept. If Sony allowed us to move the mirror, this would be moot, but Sony does not seem to be interested in offering that feature. I shoot primarily free-hand, which means that I need a minimum 1/500th on many lenses, which means that in almost every environment, I'm going to be pushed up into the ISO200-400 range. Give me more ISO!

Luminous Landscape dislikes the SLT and accompanying electronic viewfinder for another reason: it disconnects you from the scene. I agree with this. It's an unavoidable consequence. I suspect that the experience is an accumulation of small, almost imperceptible things: the slight lag from event to display; the eye focusing on something near the face as opposed to distant through optics; the fact that no EVF will ever reproduce the full breadth of colors as seen through a glass. Regardless, this is very much a problem with the sensation, the art, of photography. My problems are more geeky and technical. What can I say? Once a pixel-peeper, always a pixel-peeper.

That said, his criticisms don't fall on deaf ears. I don't mind EVFs, but I must admit, that when jumping between EVFs and optical viewfinders, the old-fashioned optical ones are in a different league. There is a jarring and noticeable difference. Just naturally, I have always found myself preferring the optical equipment to the electronic. And remember, this is coming from a board-certified geek and technophile. I can never have enough gadgets.

And while I haven't used the EVF on the A99, he says that in a comparison of EVFs, the Olympus E-M5 would actually come out on top. If that's true, than his final point rings very true to me: staring through to a screen does not a premium experience make. It does not make the camera feel like a $3,000 camera. This disconnect is fine on the E-M5 since it is one-third the cost. One does not pick it up and expect to feel a certain je ne sais quoi. For me, and this is weird to say, the Nikon D600 looks like it will be the better choice, especially considering the huge price difference. Video sucks for both of them, and the Nikon will likely make better use of the same sensor.

As it stands, in the price category in which the A99 is competing, I have to admit that I think it outclassed. This is the first time that Sony has flubbed its market point in many years, and I hope that they adjust. Because currently, Sony is up against the Goliath that is the Nikon D800 and D800e, and Nikon's lenses are both better, more varied, and equipped with a mount that enjoys far wider third-party support. If the video quality had been a cut above the D800, which isn't very good, I'd be singing a different tune. But with crap video, the A99 has one hell of a fight ahead of it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Canon EOS M Gets First Review

Engadget of all places is the first to review the EOS M. Perhaps Canon gave it to them in hopes that their less photographically-critical writing base would go easy on the product that someone, somewhere in the company must know is total garbage.

The review is not kind. In fact, I would say that it is one of the most negative reviews of a product from a major company that I have ever read on Engadget. That's big. Because remember, Engadget is part of the old guard of blogs. The only gadget blog that is older, that could really be called a blog, is Gizmodo. Unlike Gizmodo, Engadget, along with the entire collection of Weblog Inc. sites was purchased by AOL in 2005, making Engadget part of an odd mix of old and new tech.

Sadly, Engadget has had less of an effect on AOL than AOL has had on it. In early 2011, Joshua Topolsky and almost the entire lead staff quit the site in protest of AOL's meddling with the website. Long story short, the end result is an Engadget of today that is no different from the print magazines of old--owned by advertisers, publisher of reviews where everything is great, and more interested in headlines that sell copies than headlines that talk about subjects in which the dedicated audience is actually interested.

They are willing to bash products from small companies, but big companies like Canon? They practically walk on water. This means that if a product from Canon receives any significant criticism, the product must actually be borderline unusable.

This may sound like paranoia, and perhaps there's a little of it in there, but the state of product-oriented magazines and their decline into wards of advertisers is well-documented and known. And when my own experiences with products diverge so wildly from some reviews that are published, I know that there is something going on.

But back to the camera. We know that Engadget wants to say nice things. So if they say something negative, it must be very negative. So digest these quotes.

...had the camera offered full DSLR functionality, including an advanced user interface, a $799 sticker might be justified. But the company has crippled its new compact shooter so as to avoid cannibalizing its still-successful full-size APS-C DSLR lineup...

Only the black model, which drops the glossy plastic housing in favor of a matte coat, offers the look and feel of an $800-plus mirrorless compact.

So, does $800 and up deliver direct access to shooting modes, advanced or otherwise? No, it does not. And, well, we can't express our disappointment enough here.

Now, back over to those rather horrid controls.

We were devastated to see that the EOS M's focusing performance falls just shy of that latter grouping -- the cameras that just plain stink at bringing a subject into focus quickly.

It's not the most sluggish focusing we've seen, but it's darn close.

Battery life, meanwhile, is far from stellar.

And this is my favorite quote, because it shows that even Engadget knows that Canon is releasing crap on purpose.

Canon surely could have done better here, but it didn't, and we can't help but think that call was made far up the food chain, amid some decidedly heated engineering debates.

This is a disaster for Canon, because it confirms beyond any doubt that they are a dead company. They are a lumbering zombie, fueled purely by the momentum that it has built up. Mirrorless represents a massive part of the new market, and Canon has just said without any equivocation that they have no interest in competing in it. Hell, the underwhelming 6D, the wildly overpriced 5D, and their ridiculous Cinema series of cameras shows that they are not interested in competing anywhere. They think that they are indestructible, and as such can do whatever they please.

I can scarcely wait to see them get punished for that arrogance.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Please Olympus, Make The E-7 Great

I loved the Olympus E-5, I really did. Its ergonomics, build quality, design, work-flow: everything was great. The truly amazing element was, of course, its lens selection. I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that Oly's Zuiko lens line represents, in many cases, the best lenses available. Obviously, designing lenses for the smaller sensor is easier, so Canon and Nikon get a bit of a pass, here. But still, even if we take everything into account, Oly's lenses remain at the top of the top-pro heap. If only the E-5 was a worthy companion to those lenses.

At very low ISO, and I mean no higher than 400, the E-5 produced good images. The OOC JPEGs were bright and punchy, if perhaps a bit oversaturated. Unfortunately, Olympus' lenses would only truly sing at longer focal lengths. Oly's 150mm was the equivalent of 300mm on full-frame. That means that you would need a minimum of 1/600th to guarantee a sharp image. Even the extra stop of speed compared to FF lenses (most of Oly's top-pro lenses hit f/2.0, while Cankon rarely drops below f/2.8) frequently wasn't enough to get the camera exposed correctly at low ISO.

Basically, in all but the best light, the E-5's sensor just wasn't up to the challenge. The new Sony sensors change all that. They more than double the ISO performance of the old Panasonic sensors and make ISO 1600 usable. If they combined this sensor with the design of the E-5, I would be very tempted.

That said, with the release of the GH3, Fuji X Pro 1, NEX 6, and others, the E-7 cannot be simply an E-5 with a Sony sensor. It needs to be wholly different. First, it needs to take everything that it does to a pro level. If the camera has a feature, it needs to match other cameras three times the price in that feature. The E-M5 already has hints of this philosophy with elements like the 1/250th flash-sync.

Secondly, make it a hybrid 4/3-m4/3 camera. Based on comments by Olympus reps, this is absolutely one of their intentions. While the traditional SLR design may not be feasible, it's not needed. All they need is a PD focusing system in the camera. Sony's SLT technology gives an idea of how this can be achieved. Apparently, Olympus is thinking of implementing some optical adapter. Whatever it turns out to be, it better be good.

Thirdly, release updated lenses. Olympus was the company that started the autofocus wars, back when they were trying to convince people to buy their overpriced-and-underperforming Pen line of cameras. Now, the speed of the AF is a major marketing point. The performance of AF, whether it be phase or contrast, is predicated on two things: the processing speed of the camera and the speed of the lens' motors. Old lenses simply don't compare anymore. Is the difference small in many cases? Hell yeah. But this is about both actual quality and perceived quality. If Oly can't advertise the speed, then they need to make it faster.

And finally, make the E-7 different in some key way. A hybrid camera is a start, but it needs to go much further than that. Include extensive video features, as Panasonic is doing with the GH3. For the love of Pete, give it a 1:1 sensor; talk about unique! Take a page from Sony's NEX design book and step outside of the bounds of traditional camera design. Because your current tack, excepting the decent success of the E-M5, is getting the shit kicked out of you.

I liked the E-5. I liked the design philosophy behind it, and that's something that a company has a hard time ejecting or adopting, which means that I am only ever likely to get that philosophy from Olympus. That means that I want the E-7 to be great in every way--to be great enough where I have to come up with reasons to not buy it. Make me want the E-7, because I want to want it, and I absolutely want more Zuiko lenses.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Our Fears Confirmed: The Panasonic 12-35mm Is Not Optimized For Video

I mentioned in my earlier discussions on the Panasonic lenses that I considered them too expensive. I've read some people defending the pricing in various forums, and I guess I need to remind everyone that m4/3 is a LOT cheaper to design everything for than APS-C or Full Frame. Fewer materials are required and both the design and manufacturing are easier. Moreover, all of the other major brands --Canon, Nikon, Zeiss, etc.-- have the advantage of significant systems with millions of fans. For lack of a better word, their customers will tolerate higher prices for the sake of the brand.

But back to the lenses. I qualified my statements by saying that if the lenses were video optimized in some way, that may negate my criticisms on the price. Video has some significant considerations when designing good lenses, which is one of the reasons why cine lenses cost as much as many cars. Considering that Panasonic has been stressing the video capabilities of the GH3, I thought it reasonable to at least give them the benefit of the doubt vis-a-vis the lenses.

I have been sadly disappointed. The lenses are not at all optimized for video, and in fact have a crippling limitation: non-constant aperture size.

This is a lethal problem. Unless the focal length is adjusted before recording begins, this lens is useless for pro-level video. In fairness, it would be fine for amateur or "soccer mom" type recording, but THAT IS NOT PANASONIC'S MARKET. The market to which Panasonic is selling this camera, and the only market that will ever be interested in this camera, will not and cannot accept this.

DxO Mark And DPReview Tie The Knot

Two of my favorite camera websites are teaming up to analyze lenses. DxO Mark and DPReview are joining forces, with DxO opening a physical office next to the DPR's offices. The tests will be done by DxO and then the data will be translated into DPR's super-fantastic lens analysis tool. I assume that this means that DPR will no longer be doing their own tests, but that's fine. Data be data, regardless of who collects it... alright, don't point out to me how wrong that is. I know that data collected by different people can be different. But just go with me for the sake of... sake of... sake of not not going with me.

I hope with the hope of a thousand Obama voters that they go into DxO's database and begin translating all of their lenses into easy-to-use DPR charts. No one on the net has a database of lenses as large as DxO Mark. And while they certainly have some big holes in their selection, it is a huge and useful tool. Currently, if you're interested in the performance of lenses, you have to go to Lenstip, Photozone, The Digital Picture, DxO Mark, SLR Gear, and a dozen other smaller websites in hopes of garnering a complete picture, pun intended, of a lens' characteristics. Even worse, since they all use different testing methods, it is impossible to compare results across systems and websites. Combined with the fact that some websites and some lenses, and some websites have other lenses, it becomes almost impossible to figure out the lens landscape. It's less than ideal.