Podcast Episode

The Lensrentals Podcast Episode #38 – Ask Lensrentals: Lenses, Sensor Cleaning, and Sharpness Testing

Published February 11, 2021

Each week Roger Cicala, founder of Lensrentals.com, hosts conversations about the art and science of capturing images. From photography to videography, film, history, and technology, the show covers a wide range of topics to educate and inspire creators of all kinds.


Ask Lensrentals: Lenses, Sensor Cleaning, and Sharpness Testing

We’ve spoken about the start of Lensrentals before, with our founder Roger starting it all in his home as a way to loan out his photo gear to his friends. From there, we’ve grown quite a bit in size, and now rent out hundreds of thousands of pieces of gear to help photographers and videographers alike achieve their vision. Over the years, Roger’s skills have grown quite a bit as well, and he has become one of the biggest banks of knowledge for optical testing in the world. So it felt time to ask him a series of questions submitted by our customers and give you his no-nonsense advice that we’ve come to love.

From sensor cleaning to scratched lenses, Roger joins us again on the podcast to give you the answers to questions submitted by you. What’s the best ultra-wise for the price? What is the proper way to test for lens sharpness? Roger answers all these questions and more in this week’s podcast episode. 

Gear & Resources Mentioned in this Article



00:50 – Betsy wants to try out the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II and the Canon EF Extender 1.4x III, she owns the Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD for Canon and the Canon 6D Mark II and wants to know how she can smartly test the difference between the two lenses.
3:05 – Roger explains how to test your equipment at home. It all starts with taking pictures on a tripod.
4:55 – Stevin wants to know a little bit about how we do things around here and asks specifically how we rotate through lenses and if we sell them to customers directly. Yes, we do! If you fall in love with your rental we have Keeper you can utilize to buy your rental.
6:25 – Why don’t we carry vintage lenses?
7:35 – Cody wants to know if we offer lens repair or camera sensor cleaning? We have resources for him, and you!
Here is a video to walk you through it: How to Clean a Camera Sensor
9:00 – How concerned should you be about scuff marks on your lens?
10:20 – Intimidated at the thought of cleaning your own sensor? Here’s an article about it: Guide to Cleaning a Camera Sensor
11:10 – DO NOT USE COMPRESSED AIR ON YOUR CAMERA SENSOR. DO. NOT. This is our favorite sensor cleaning tool.
12:15 – Rolle is in the market for a 2.8 zoom telephoto, has rented both the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS and Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD G2 for Canon, they prefer the weight of the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD for Sony E and owns a
Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OS and Sony Alpha a7R IV, where does Roger weigh in on all this? Quality and sharpness of the Tamron? Sony overpriced, not a fan of the Sony 70-200 f/2.8, Roger would go Tamron.
13:50 – What changed so that third party lenses are actually competitors now? Roger’s thought on Tamron, Sigma, and other third party lenses over the last 5 or 6 years as they’ve improved by leaps and bounds.
17:00 – BREAK
17:45 – What’s the best wide-angle lens for Sony and Canon full-frame? Roger answers by not answering, in his classic style. Lensrentals separates wide angle from ultra wide-angle and we explain why in answering this question.
-Discussed: Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS, Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art for Canon, and the Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM
22:00 – What does Roger think of the Canon 11-24mm f/4L
23:20 – Howard wants to know how to best test a lens once dropped and Roger tells us why he prefers sand or grass instead of a brick wall.
24:30 – When testing the sharpness of a lens you want to make sure you eliminate as many variables as possible, hence using a tripod and manual focus.
27:20 – Test your zoom at different focal lengths. We’ll check 3 places if it’s a 3x zoom, 70mm, 125mm, and 200mm. If it’s a 2x like a 12-24 we’ll test near and far.
27:00 – If you’re really worried about testing at home you could get a chart, but that can get expensive and introduces another variable with the chart itself if it’s not an expensive one. Here is an article we wrote about this topic.
29:15 – Jose has heard that Samyang, is also branded as Vivitar, Falcon, Rokinon, Walimex, Bower, Opteka, Bell and Howell, Polar and Pro-Optic and wants to know if that’s why Lensrentals.com doesn’t list Samyang. Rokinon will service some of the lenses, which need frequent servicing, so that’s why we carry them.


The Lensrentals Podcast is a production of Lensrentals, founded by Roger Cicala. Our production staff includes Drew Cicala, Ryan Hill, Sarah McAlexander, SJ Smith, Julian Harper, John Tucker, and Zach Sutton. Other contributors include Roger Cicala, Joey Miller, Ally Aycock Patterson, Joshua Richardson, and Philip Robertson.

Thanks to Jacques Granger for our theme song.

Submit a topic idea, question, or comment, leave us a voicemail at 901-609-LENS, or send us an email at podcast@lensrentals.com.


Author: Lensrentals

Articles written by the entire editorial and technical staff at LensRentals.com. These articles are for when there is more than one author for the entire post, and are written as a community effort.

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