No other photo website apart from LensRentals.com has the possibility to test more than one copy of a lens. The reason is easy to explain: while other review-pages have to rely on test samples from manufacturers or retailers and usually only get one copy to test, LensRentals, being a rental business for photography equipment, can fall back on their own lenses. And they do not only have one, two or five, but ten or more copies of each lens. This is why Lens Rentals can make well-informed statements on lens variation.
Image source: Lensrentals.com
Even though he only started at the end of June, Roger Cicala – the boss of Lens Rentals – has already tested more than fifty lens-types and 500 copies (10 per lens type). Among them are a number of wide angle, 35mm, 50mm, and telephoto prime lenses. If you do not have time to read all the articles, you can click on the link to the last one, where you will find a chart with all test results. Detailed information on the measuring methods and test procedures can be found here.
This series of articles is especially interesting because it busts a lot of wide-spread myths like the one that particularly expensive lenses (that is, “L”, Golden-Ring Nikkor, and so forth) are supposedly tested more rigorously before they leave the factory. Surprisingly, it’s the cheap lenses – at least some of them – that stand out because of their very low lens variance. It is also interesting to note that all manufacturers offer both excellent lens-types with very low lens variance, as well as “duds” where variance is extremely high: in this sense, no manufacturer is really better than the rest.