‘Lens vs Lens’ Site Lets You Compare Lens Quality Using Flickr Photos

There’s a new Web app in town, and it might just help you pick between those two lenses that are battling it out for your next paycheck. The app is called ‘Lens vs Lens,’ and it might be the most comprehensive real world comparison tool out there.

Lens vs Lens has a lot to recommend it, and despite the site being a bit slow to load when you update settings (probably more so now that this article is published), the amount of comparison control it offers is impressive.

At its core, the app simply lets you pick two lenses and compare them using photos pulled from Flickr using the photos’ EXIF data and the photo sharing site’s API. But that’s just the beginning. Lens vs Lens stands out further by letting you refine your comparison with aperture and focal length values.

This allows you to compare zoom and prime performance, see if one lens is softer than another wide open, or compare the same zoom lens at different focal lengths.

Below, for example, we compared the popular Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L with the Canon 35mm f/1.4L II. But since that’s hardly an apples-to-apples comparison, we refined the search by allowing only photos taken at 35mm and f/2.8 on both lenses:

Once you’ve selected your parameters, you can browse through a plethora of Flickr photos that match—real world results, not test charts and “photos of brick walls,” as the site’s creator, Peter David, told PetaPixel.

“I found that when I was geeking out and trying to find out which lens to buy I would search through pools on Flickr to try and get a gauge for what a regular, non-pro photographer like me would expect from the lens,” explains Peter. “Lens reviews are great to a certain extent, but I don’t find that photos of brick walls, odd assortments of junk on a shelf, or weird eye-charts helpful when choosing how to spend my hard earned dollars on a new lens.”

Lens vs Lens is Peter’s answer to this problem: a pragmatic, simple way to compare the real world performance and quality of two lenses at a time.

The only real down side, beyond the still-clunky design, is that the site limits you to the main brands: Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Leica, and Olympus. No Sigma, Tamron, or Samyang for those of us who love the third party lens makers, but we have a feeling that’ll change soon.

So check out Lens vs Lens for yourself here, and let us know what you think of this helpful new tool in the comments.