Our philosophy

Identical Setup – Comparable – Transparent

There are numerous camera tests on the market, many of whom in our opinion suffer from various problems:

  • Many bodies are tested with just kit lenses of lower quality, not nearly fit to show the full potential of the tested camera.
  • Often visual inspection and metering data lead to totally different results.
  • Recurring advertising by manuafcturers leads to a certain dependency for testing magazines. This influences the quality and honesty of test results.
  • Some parameters are very subjective, testers might judge them different from what potential buyers might feel.

Of course this does not mean that every test suffers from one or all of these problems. Nevertheless we want to provide as many comparable tests as possible.

How we work

Aside of ideal environment setting in general we strive to test camera bodies with the best possible lenses available. Also we try to use these lenses for not only one brand, if they are available in more than one mount. At least we use lenses of the same class and similar quality for comparison. Lens tests are performed with a top of the line camera of each manufacturer. This makes it easier to compare different lenses on one specific camera model. Due to technical progress, ideal conditions will also evolve. This means that reference class lenses and cameras will be adapted from time to time. This evolution is also a must since we want to show the maximum possible result a lens and camera can deliver.

We do not measure anything on the final images but indeed present them exactly the way they come out of the camera. What you see is what counts to you!

We want to stay independent. Thus we refinance our work with the sale of the test pictures and not via advertising. Our philosophy is that this concept is the better deal for potential buyers, because they can place their high price investments exactly where the higher price is warranted by a visible difference.

The Test Setup Explained

Trust Your Eyes Testaufbau

Our TYE-target is positioned upright on a massive metal easel. In front of the TYE-target are IGUS tracks. The test camera is mounted on our high end in-house developed camera head. This helps in mounting every camera with the optical axis precisely at the image center of the TYE-target. The Slieder is then pushed back and locked in a position where the TYE-target fills the frame completely. Below a certain focal length the camera will be so close to the TYE-target that the camera and lens will drop a shadow on the TYE-target. We do not change the light position to avoid this, because that would also effect the angle of the subject shadows.

All lenses are used with the manufacturer's dedicated lens shade, if available. Image stabilizer and autofocus is switched off. Focusing is done with the lens wide open in live view mode at maximum magnification. Focusing target are the metal parts of the brushes in the image center. This works with varying efficiency, depending on camera brand and model. On the other hand this is what a user will have available in the field as the most precise focusing method available with acceptable effort. Mirrors will be locked up if possible, and cameras will be released by cable or tethered to a computer.

The first image in every lens test is shot wide open, the second shot is the next full f-stop number and one more full f-stop stopped down each for all consecutive images until the minimum full f-stop number is reached.

The TYE-target is lit by studio flash in order to achieve consistent exposure times and a continuous daylight like color spectrum. The flash is always at the same distance and height. Since no modern studio flash has enough power range to cover all achievable f-stops, we use a Hensel Expert D 500 compact flash for wider apertures (e.g. f=1.2) and a Hensel Nova D 2400 power pack with a Hensel EH Mini flash head for smaller apertures (f=8.0 and up). Both will be equipped with a 9" reflector. Flash power is metered with a Gossen flash meter and controlled for every single shot. Depending on switching points of the flashes and the meter, it is not always possible to achieve a full f-stop meter reading. Adjusting the flash from 5.6 + 9/10 of an f-stop up 1/10 might lead to a meter reading of 8.0 + 1/10. Adjusting it down 1/10 again might again result in a reading of 5.6 + 9/10. This variation of 1/10 of an f-stop is tolerated because this is what is available to the user the same. Another influence on the result is the precision and repeated precision of setting a certain f-stop value. The f-stop markings are calculated values that may differ from the real lens transmission. This is often visible at max. open aperture. Cine lenses are marked in t-stops to compensate for this difference. We do not calibrate the flash power to t-stops, so the difference between nominal f-stop and real t-stop will be visible in the picture.

Cameras are set to the lowest possible ISO sensitivity (without ISO expansion values). The images are recorded in both RAW and largest finest jpeg, white balance is set to daylight/sunny. Color space is set to sRGB to maintain comparability also for browsers without color management.

Zooms are tested at min/max focal length and a popular middle value. The middle value is set by inspection on the numbers and indicators on the zoom ring. This means that it is possible that EXIF data say 68 mm or 72 mm when we tried to set the lens to 70 mm. We do not reshoot the lens then, because that is the same precision users can expect in the field without a laptop tethered.

Preview Images

The 1:1 preview images are cropped from a neutral unsharpened developed shot at two full f-stops (rounded up) stopped down from wide open. The 20 MP preview images are cropped from a camera jpeg that was scaled up or down to 20 MP in order to compare different sensor sizes accordingly. All 20 MP preview images are shot at f=8.0 and scaled up or down in bilinear scaling mode without added sharpening.

For zoom lenses, the preview image will be taken at the selected middle zoom position.

The preview images of the body tests are all taken with ISO 6400, if available. Otherwise the highest possible ISO of the camera.

Lens Tests Contain:

  • Raw files and camera jpegs at every available full f-stop the lenses offer plus the max and min values if these are not full f-stop values.

Body Tests Contain:

  • RAW files and camera jpegs of the minimum and maximum regular ISO setting plus all full values between ISO 100 and ISO 12800 (if supported by the camera).

Lens tests start with lens names, camera tests start with camera names in the product designation.

Who we are

Trust Your Eyes is a project by Visual Pursuit and Picture Instruments. Michael Quack, Visual Pursuit's technical director contributes the expertise and experience of more than 30 years of professional photography into this project. Robin Ochs, certified engineer media technology and CEO of Picture Instruments draws from a profound scientific education and his experience in developing signal processing and image processing software. Roland Rittau completes the Trust Your Eyes Team with his extensive technical, marketing and distribution know how. The 1600 sqft foot print of Visual Pursuit's studio 1 provides a controlled environment for our tests.