Being on Pacific time surely doesn't help with catching up with all the answers:-)
Your trust in just one site's review is confusing to me. I'll never understand the justification you are looking for as I'm sure you could never understand mine - which is perfectly fine as long as we both keep shooting images. I do think expanding your review sites and more importantly testing equipment at a camera shop or at a club would benefit you.
Best of luck with your search.
Let me repeat once more that I don't take your opinion lightly ; I truly believe there must be a different overall " feeling " in photos taken with pro glass .
But does it mean they are sharper ?? That is what I am currently after - after all ...
Taking the Stradivarius example , is the sound really better or is it actually the feeling of playing a few hundred years old violin that makes the difference ? I am no musician but I hardly find it possible that the same sound can not be created with today's technology and all developments in material science. However , I am also sure I wouldn't change the feeling of owning and playing a Stradivarius to a better end result.
Same is true for me in photography ; I do indeed take more pleasure during the time I spend shooting photos than looking at/sharing the end result. And if I buy pro glass , it might be more for the sake of having that "feel"/ confidence rather than the fact that it may produce sharper photos.
Your trust in just one site's review is confusing to me.
It is not one site (DxO) Tao ; all resolution/MTF results are similar in other test sites.
And one last thing ... We both agree the 28mm f2.8 D is crap . It cost me $ 175 to see that. Had I done my homework ( rather than get excited on ebay ) and looked at a resolution test , I would never have bought the lens .
@studio .... I do run my own lens tests though probably not as detailed as you . I have a carpenters ruler which I bend to cover center/borders/corners . I started doing them after I found it hard to believe some primes could not be as sharp as my simple kit 18-135 zoom . I'm sure it must have felt funny for you to see the $100 18-55mm kit being sharper than most :-) .
Paperman: What conclusions have YOU drawn from these numbers, and why do they "trouble" you? Let's make sure you're drawing supported conclusions.
As I said earlier , I only shoot landscapes and I'm purely an amateur.( I have 50 photos on a stock site which brings me $10/month :-)) ). I share my photos online but it can be said I am just trying to satisfy myself with the result.
Coming to what "troubles" me ; I stated many times it is the sharpness in my images . I started believing this is as good as it gets with a kit zoom so I started looking . The more I looked , I saw that there weren't many sharper lenses around .
If you are talking about what "troubles me in the test figures " - nothing is ... It is "surprising " rather than "troubling" to see a $200 kit zoom surpass the 10x more expensive pro glass in sharpness ( and also in CA/vigneting as seen example #2 ).
The only conclusion I can reach looking at these lens tests is that this is as good as it gets with the 12 Mp APS-C . Since I don't plan to part with my D300 , I must live with it and at maximum should invest in a 12-24mm .
I am looking to see if there are others that feel like me and also if I can be proved wrong - with concrete "measurable" results other than personal perceptions/feels which can always be biased . I am talking only about sharpness - let's not forget ( even though the CA & vignetting also seem to be no better in the 17-55mm f2.8 )
Is there any other conclusion that can be reached looking at these 2 sets of results ?