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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality...Hi all, I've been quiet for a while since joining but hoping to be more active from now on, as ...
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Old 12-03-2007, 21:01   #1 (permalink)
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EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Hi all,

I've been quiet for a while since joining but hoping to be more active from now on, as last week I purchased my first DSLR, as titled a Canon EOS 400D.

I know the quality of the kit lens is often ridiculed however I thought for the neglegible difference in cost it would be worth picking up.

However since taking a few test shots I've been pretty shocked by the terrible quality of the images I've been getting - truly substandard to what I can achieve with my compacts.

I'm wondering if I have a very bad copy of the lens (or are all the kit lenses really this bad) and if anyone would be kind enough to take a look at a sample image to see if they can provide some feedback on the lense's performance (especially compared to any other experiences with the standard 18-55mm kit lens?

Link to image - Please choose "Download Photo" to get the full size jpg. The image was taken at largest size, with JPEG compression set to fine.

Any feedback greatly appreciated, to me the image is attrociously soft.

Thanks,

Flockheart
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Old 12-03-2007, 21:20   #2 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

I downloaded the file and edited it a bit.
It is not that bad actually, I do agree that it's a bit hit and miss with the kit lens.
A couple of things have not helped your cause.
1/30th of a second shutter speed is a bit slow at a focal length of 55mm.
f5.6 is the lens wide open, no lens works best at it's max aperture, if you want to squeeze the best out of the kit lens try and get it as close to f8 as possible.
Whilst it's not a huge problem, I would not use a digital camera of any type/brand at iso levels above it's minimum.
People are going to say they can see no difference in noise between iso 100 and 400, they are either partially sighted or lying!

That's my take on it, my only other comment would be, bite the bullet and get a better lens.
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Old 12-03-2007, 21:24   #3 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Well to be honest Flockheart I wouldn't call that atrocious. Don't forget you were shooting in low light and your shutter speed was 1/30 when really a minimum of 1/50 ought to be used for that focal length -- I would have gone to 400 or more to get a fast shutter speed in that light. I think you just got lens movement.

Before condemning the lens why not try some test shots in daylight with good sunshine.Also a good ROT is to have a shutter speed at least the same as the focal lenth - 50mm needs 1/50, 100mm needs 1/100 etc HTH.
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Old 12-03-2007, 21:27   #4 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

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Originally Posted by Soupdragon View Post
People are going to say they can see no difference in noise between iso 100 and 400, they are either partially sighted or lying!
Depends how you are viewing the image. Full size in CS2 you may be right but for a 7x5 print or for web-viewing there's no discernible difference. I can go to ISO 1600 on my 30D no problem.
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Old 12-03-2007, 21:34   #5 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Thanks for the quick reply Soupdragon, shot the image this evening as the sun was going down so bumped up the ISO to deal with the fading light.

Camera was just set to P mode as I was just wanting a quick dirty test of the lens, not sure I would have been able to get decent exposure at f8 and a slower shutter speed to be honest.

Been considering biting the bullet and getting a better lens, but the decision on what to buy will be based on what information I can gain from this thread on either improving the kit lens' performance or writing it off as a lost cause.

I may see if I can pop away from work at lunchtime tomorrow and do some shooting at f8 (weather permitting).

I'd still be gratefull to hear a few different take on the lens' performance if anyone has any other advice?

(Also thanks to Stepheno for the reply - I saw your responce after I posted my first reply!)
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Old 12-03-2007, 21:44   #6 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

There is a article that I have written that might give you some good basic instructions to allow you to get the best from not just the kit lens but any lens either now or in the future. Understanding the information in it and making sure you follow the points should allow you to assess accurately if your kit lens is up to your quality requirements.

The basics of sharp photos

Hope that helps
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Old 12-03-2007, 21:52   #7 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

if you hand held the shot then sharpness cannot be judged,.

dSLRs can be quite unforgiving of incorrect technique / too slow a shutter speed, the 400d is 10mp on a 1.6 fov crop sensor,. the slightest movement will translate directly to softening of the image,.

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Old 13-03-2007, 10:25   #8 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Thanks for the further replies, I have brought my camera into the office with me to hopefully pop out at lunchtime and shoot in brighter sunlight (typically the weather is gray and overcast right now!) I will read then sharp photo guide this morning in preperation and hopefully post up the results tonight for further review.

I have a tripod (not with me today unfortunately) and will aim to take a few test shots utilising it as well.
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Old 13-03-2007, 11:17   #9 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Just to say thanks for this thread, its proved useful for me, I just brought a 350d and am trying to learn how to use it. There is so much to take in when you first start and every little snippet of info helps.
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Old 13-03-2007, 11:42   #10 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Thanks for your thanks, Cenobite
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Old 13-03-2007, 11:43   #11 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Hi there, Iv'e had a look at your (oof) shot and have enlarged it right up to pixel level. My gut feeling is that it is not camera movement. The horizontal movement if there was enough to give blurring would not have produced equal left/right distortion.
Its does appear not to be focused in both plains and there is a bit of "flare" type softening of the shot and therefore I would say that due to the low light level your camera body may have just missed its best focus accuracy.

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Old 13-03-2007, 13:24   #12 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Ok I've taken a few pictures in the office carpark at f8, with faster shutter speeds at ISO 100. Can't check the imagess properly until I get home tonight but will post up the results tonight.
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Old 13-03-2007, 19:37   #13 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

As promised a few test shots I took this lunchtime can be found here:

Examples

(Again the origional large JPEGs can be downloaded)

Sharpness does seem a bit better in proper daylight and taking into account everyone's advice. All were shot at ISO 100, f8 various focal lengths and shutter speeds.

I'm still finding the sharpness a little lacking so would like any other advice and feedback based on the new images if possible, before I start flexing the switch card.
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Old 13-03-2007, 19:59   #14 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

they look ok to me,. any lack of sharpness could still be caused by camera shake,. 55mm @ 125 of a second is still quite easy to shake,.

the fuji you had is 5mp, the new camera is 10mp,. images will look quite different at 100% - if you try both cameras and print both at 8x10 or larger the 400d should win on detail

try some tripod shots perhaps

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Old 13-03-2007, 20:08   #15 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver View Post
they look ok to me,. any lack of sharpness could still be caused by camera shake,. 55mm @ 125 of a second is still quite easy to shake,.

the fuji you had is 5mp, the new camera is 10mp,. images will look quite different at 100% - if you try both cameras and print both at 8x10 or larger the 400d should win on detail

try some tripod shots perhaps

Sil
I also had have a 7.1mp Canon Powershot A620 which I've used as my main camera over the 5mp Fuji. I've been very impressed with the performance of the Powershot, which I'm still feeling is giving me better quality images over the 10mp 400d at the moment. I'm fairly confident that the second batch of images I have posted up are free of shake...maybe I just got an amazing copy of the Powershot...
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Old 13-03-2007, 20:13   #16 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

the building shot with the sign - looks sharp in the apparent plane of focus,. the car / carpark shot it's not clear what is chosen to be in focus

also bare in mind that compact cameras are aimed at point + shoot + print,. dSLRs tend to expect you to process images,. the sharpening on the files from the 400d is likely to be a lot less than you are used to on a compact,. some USM / unsharp mask will make them look sharper

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Old 13-03-2007, 20:23   #17 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Thanks again for the reply Sil, I guess you could be right about the in camera image processing of the Powershot versus the 400d. I believe they both use the same image processor so think I should maybe experiment abit and adjust the in-camera picture style settings too see if that helps to provide what I'm after.
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Old 13-03-2007, 20:36   #18 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

I'd like to ask if you've done any processing with these shots or if they're just straight from the camera?

A compact camera will almost always produce sharper shots straight from the camera due to the higher level of sharpening it applies to them. Shot's from a DLSR often benifit from some level of sharpening, you can do this in camera when shooting Jpegs by raising the sharpening levels in the camera menu, or by using a photo editing program on your PC (eg. Photoshop).
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Old 13-03-2007, 20:41   #19 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

I'll need to reply a bit quicker next time, silver beat me to it
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Old 13-03-2007, 21:09   #20 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Thanks for the reply Sonsey, even if Silver beat you to it!

For the record the first 2 shots were taken with the sharpnest at +3, while the third (the shot of the security camera) was taken with the sharpness at +4 and the saturation at +2.

The 400d's sharpness processing scale goes up to +7.

Have you any idea how the values of +3 and +4 would compare to the amount of sharpening a compact would typically apply by default?
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Old 13-03-2007, 22:06   #21 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

I would suggest shooting RAW, you don't need to think about colour balance and sharpness until you are facing your computer.
I always forget to change the white balance so it's a waste of time from my point of view.
As for in camera sharpening, I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.

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Old 13-03-2007, 22:53   #22 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flockheart View Post
Have you any idea how the values of +3 and +4 would compare to the amount of sharpening a compact would typically apply by default?
I'm sorry I don't, like Soupy I shoot only in Raw and as such use a photo editing program for any sharpening that need's done. Personally, even if I was shooting Jpegs I would set all the levels in the camera to zero and use a dedicated program, you will always get better results.
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Old 14-03-2007, 09:05   #23 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Sorry I didn't reply earlier I played golf. I think the focus is ok. Other short comings would be more worrying to me.
The car prk with signs looks ok. The other file 0424 looks as though it prime focus area is the centre blue car ,its fine.. The white van is just in focus but I would be more concerned at the rather hard WB. is it set to auto.?. There is also very bad aberrations on the left hand side of the shot,look at the railings. This is quite common in less expensive lens.
I hope these comments help. I haven't checked the spelling I'm off golfing again.
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Old 14-03-2007, 09:59   #24 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

don't let the raw-mongers put you off using jpegs - they do just fine for many situations

for jpeg sharpen settings try them out,. take the same scene with different settings and see what you like,. I think I would start with +7, if it looks nasty / has sharpening halos or artifacts then knock it down a bit

sharpening in camera doesn't always produce the best results but a little sharpen on jpegs won't hurt much

Sil

PS,. 'sharpness' is to taste and depends on your final output, printing is v diff to monitors
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Old 14-03-2007, 10:15   #25 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Thanks again for the replies, I'm not planning on shooting RAW at the moment (still weighing up the pros and cons, perhaps this is for another discussion though it's probably been discussed numerous times before!) but purchased a 4gb compact flash so I have still have the option too.

The white balance was set to automatic, which has created the harsher looking image.

I was wondering if you would be kind enough to explain exactly what you mean by bad aberrations, I did some googling but am still a little unclear about exactly what I am looking for in the image?
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Old 14-03-2007, 10:38   #26 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

one of the best tutorials I've seen for sharpening is at Sharpening -- Part I - most image editing apps have USM / unsharp mask so it's not really photoshop specific mostly

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Old 14-03-2007, 15:48   #27 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flockheart View Post
Thanks again for the replies, I'm not planning on shooting RAW at the moment (still weighing up the pros and cons, perhaps this is for another discussion though it's probably been discussed numerous times before!) but purchased a 4gb compact flash so I have still have the option too.

The white balance was set to automatic, which has created the harsher looking image.

I was wondering if you would be kind enough to explain exactly what you mean by bad aberrations, I did some googling but am still a little unclear about exactly what I am looking for in the image?
Yes, its the errors concerned with the way that the shot you are taking is transferred through the lens onto the cmos chip (sensor) in the camera body. If it were a film camera its the same path but onto the surface of the film. There seems to be slighly more problems with digital cameras because of the slightly rough surface of the cmos chip compared with the surface of film. Light gets distorted and reflected onto adjacent pixels on the cmos sensor especially when there is high brightness near dark parts of the picture. With a lens the aberrations are usually associated with the edges of the lens as it becomes difficuly to transfer all of the colour spectrum uniformly.

Generally its not too much of a problem but manifests itself should you be cropping and enlarging the cropped image. If this is the case I use a cheap software called
E-paperPress PT LENS. This allows Red/Cyan and Blue /Yellow errors to be corrected.

Your 0424 shot ,enlarge it enough so that you see enough of the right hand side railings in half the picture , the bit where the sky is in the background and you'll see the blue halo on the left and yellow on the right of the vertical poles. The software allows convergence of the blue & yellow .

But I say to you, don't get too bothered about these little errors just take pictures and enjoy.
Regards Brian

Last edited by brian wright22; 14-03-2007 at 16:34. Reason: spelling
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Old 14-03-2007, 16:25   #28 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Thanks again for the reply Brian I've read up on chromatic aberrations but got a bit confused as I was looking at the railings on the left of the shot not the right!:

Quote:
Originally Posted by brian wright22 View Post
There is also very bad aberrations on the left hand side of the shot,look at the railings.
I had assumed that there were various different types of aberration and I was unsure what I was looking for on the left!

Guess I'm going to have to experiment a bit more with the lens (if the sun ever comes out in Scotland!) and look at investing in some better glass.
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Old 14-03-2007, 16:37   #29 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Very sorry , in my first post I did say left hand side and meant RHS. Thinking too much of my golf match!!.
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Old 14-03-2007, 17:15   #30 (permalink)
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Re: EOS 400D Lens Kit Quality

Quote:
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Very sorry , in my first post I did say left hand side and meant RHS. Thinking too much of my golf match!!.
Regards Brian
No problem, I appreciate the effort you've taken to help! Hope the golf went well!
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