During my recent bout of gearlust, I read a lot of reviews and counter-reviews, insults and absurdities, and plain old silliness on the usual websites and forums.
As it happens, my gearlust got sated on the cheap, as an opportunity arose to pick up a Nikon 24mm f/2.8D lens. I looked through a lot of reviews and discussions, but most of the information was not useful to me. People debated sharpness, measured light falloff, decried (or praised) distortion, and attempted to reach their respective destinations faster by beating a whole team of dead horses.
I only had one question as I considered the lens purchase: Does it suit? It’s a question I picked up from Jacques Barzun’s great book on writing: Simple and Direct. And whether we’re writing, shooting, editing, or buying a lens, it’s a great question. Does it suit? The specs on the lens are less important than the images YOU make with it. Only those images can tell you if the lens has a place in your work.
For me, the answer came from a reviewer who said the overall look of the lens reminded her of some of its contemporary Nikon “D” lenses, such as the 35mm f/2.0 and 50mm f/1.8. Boom, I was sold. I like the look of those lenses. Some combination of color, contrast, resolution, and magic produces images that suit my taste. So I got the lens. I’ve only taken a few pictures, but so far, so good. I’ll be carrying this as my “walk around” lens for a couple of weeks and we’ll see how it goes.