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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss same lenses different quality?...Hi all, i've recently picked up on a lot of comments about lenses being a decent example/bad copy/best of the ...
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Old 12-02-2008, 23:15   #1 (permalink)
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same lenses different quality?

Hi all,

i've recently picked up on a lot of comments about lenses being a decent example/bad copy/best of the batch type things.

is there a high chance of getting a less sharp lens than what it could/should be? is there usually comeback if this is the case (assuming the lens is bought from a good supplier)?

the sigma 10-20 i bought recently is good but it doesnt produce 100% crisp sharp images, maybe its just me and i know i haven't used it enough to say there definitely is a problem with it!

any help?!

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Old 12-02-2008, 23:21   #2 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

Sigma had a bad rep for disappointing QC, I don't know if this is true anymore.

I think poor technique, not looking after lenses, not servicing lenses after not looking after them, using them outside their optimum conditions probably figure more often than "bad copies".
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Old 13-02-2008, 00:19   #3 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve400 View Post
the sigma 10-20 i bought recently is good but it doesnt produce 100% crisp sharp images, maybe its just me and i know i haven't used it enough to say there definitely is a problem with it!
depends on the aperture probably.

Coz I shoot pretty much only landscapes with mine and I am at F11 - F16 and it's absolutely fine in that range. That said, i've used it at F29 and it was appauling. I've heard tho that that's down to diffraction and is common on most lenses when used at their smallest aperture.

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Old 13-02-2008, 00:48   #4 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

Steve, can I suggest that you do a little test with your 10-20 ... Set it up for a (landscape) shot, then shoot at each f/number (using aperture priority mode), then compare the shots on pc. This may answer your question, i.e. if none of the shots are sharp (even after taking care to set up properly + focus properly, of course) then maybe you got a dud. If, however, it's sharp at one or more setting/s, then you've found your lens' "sweet spot" (very often the second- or third-smallest aperture setting)

The one lens in particular I read a lot of comments like this in the reviews, was the 70-300 VR. Some said it's sharp all the way through 70-300, while others said it's a bit soft. Some said there's no lens creep (when pointing the camera downward) while others said there is.

So yes, I believe there is such a thing as a 'bad batch' of lenses, and if you're not 100% happy with your 10-20 then it's worth testing it and, if necessary, see if you can return it, if it's really bad. If you're going to return it, don't leave it too long to do so Also check the supplier's terms + conditions re: returns, e.g. are they likely to 'repair' it or replace it. Their terms + cond's should stipulate this (probably repair, which will leave you without the lens for a fair time, especially if it's a HK supplier; although some HK suppliers designate a local dealer for repairs - again, see their terms + cond's).

Next plan of action, if your own testing doesn't enlighten you, is to take it to a local photographer or dealer to test for you (in your presence, of course).

Hope it turns out to be your technique that's off ... well, you know what I mean
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Old 13-02-2008, 01:22   #5 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

It's not just Sigma. The first Canon 10-22 I bought was not up to scratch, so I returned it and the replacement was a whole lot better. With anything mass-produced there is bound to be some variability, and I'm not sure how you get around this other than by having an array of lenses in front of you and sampling each one.

We're also more prone to dissatisfaction by 'pixel-peeping' with digital. Most lenses/cameras look a bit soft, especially at the edges, if you view at 100%, but that's not how you see photos in reality. If the image looks soft at the centre at around f/8 or f/11, and there's no risk of camera shake, you may have a bad lens.
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Old 13-02-2008, 15:13   #6 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

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It's not just Sigma.
Indeed, the 70-300 VR I mentioned is Nikkor.
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Old 13-02-2008, 16:11   #7 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

I originally considered the Sigma 10-22mm but a number of reviews (2 years ago now) found examples of problems due to poor quality control. It appeared that a good examples of the lens did perform reasonably well. Several responding to the reviews had returned their Sigma's and had them replaced. Partly because of these reviews, I bought the Canon version as Canon were reputed to have much better quality control. However, you can get the odd faulty lens from almost any manufacturer.

If you are not able to conduct a lens resolution test, try photographing a Newspaper at various aperture settings and also compare with a lens of known performance. Make sure that you use a tripod.

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Old 13-02-2008, 19:34   #8 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve400 View Post
Hi all,

i've recently picked up on a lot of comments about lenses being a decent example/bad copy/best of the batch type things.

is there a high chance of getting a less sharp lens than what it could/should be? is there usually comeback if this is the case (assuming the lens is bought from a good supplier)?

the sigma 10-20 i bought recently is good but it doesnt produce 100% crisp sharp images, maybe its just me and i know i haven't used it enough to say there definitely is a problem with it!

any help?!

Steve

The general rule with Sigma is buy it and then send straight in for calibration - 9/10 when it comes back it will be stellar and for the other 1/10 send it again........
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Old 15-02-2008, 13:50   #9 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

thanks for all the replies!

i havent tested the sigma enough to say for sure. i may do one of them 'Av' tests as recommended!

i take it the lens is expected not to be pinsharp at the edge of the photo when shooting at 10mm?

i really need to get out with the camera more!!!

Steve
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Old 22-03-2008, 21:49   #10 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

i had the sigma out today and can now say it was my poor skills that were the problem not the lens!

it worked well today!
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Old 22-03-2008, 22:24   #11 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve400 View Post
i had the sigma out today and can now say it was my poor skills that were the problem not the lens!
Oh good! I think

Quote:
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it worked well today!
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Old 23-03-2008, 18:47   #12 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

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Originally Posted by Charlotte View Post
Oh good! I think
yea i had more faith in the lens than in myself! i tried a lot of different apertures yesterday untill i worked out what was best!

would using the circular polariser affect the sharpness of a photo? even slightly?
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Old 23-03-2008, 18:58   #13 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

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would using the circular polariser affect the sharpness of a photo? even slightly?
Well it's an extra layer of glass so it will have some effect. The amount depends on the quality of the glass. Having said that, I don't notice a marked dropoff in quality when I use the Hoya CP on Sigma 10-20mm - had a mix of CP on and off this morning so will take a long hard look
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Old 23-03-2008, 19:22   #14 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

yea, more than likely a mix of not using the best aperture and not using the CP correctly was the problem!!!
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Old 23-03-2008, 20:11   #15 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

Actually, I'd say a CPL would help with sharpness rather than decrease it, since a CPL increases contrast, and sharpness is effectively to do with contrast.
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Old 23-03-2008, 22:08   #16 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

I can't remember the last time I got a CP out of my bag
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Old 23-03-2008, 22:23   #17 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

Something to think about....

Stand very close to a window - a few inches away. OK, maybe a little more, and yes you can wipe the mist off the glass now.

Look straight ahead. Everything is fine if you've cleaned the windows.

Now turn one way or the other by about 50 degrees. That's about the angle of view at 10mm focal length each side of the lens axis (actually 102.4 degrees in total).

You're now looking through a greater thickness of glass, and refraction and diffraction effects come into play. Almost certainly the quality won't be as good as looking straight ahead.

A decent filter will be better quality than window glass, but you're still going to get some of the same problem, especially at very wide angle. Also the polarising effect depends on the angle at which the sun strikes the subject, and that will vary considerably across the width of the frame with an ultra-wide lens.

So, all-in-all, I'd suggest that the best place for a polariser when using a 10mm lens is where Stepheno keeps his.
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Old 23-03-2008, 22:59   #18 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

Good point + exercise Silky

You really have to weigh up how badly you want the effects of a polarizer for a particular shot, as against the disadvantages that it undoubtedly has.
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Old 23-03-2008, 23:13   #19 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

Something else to ponder...

If you think that your wide-angle lens suffers from CA (fringing) at the edges, and if you use a UV filter for protection, try it without the filter before blaming the lens. Filters, especially cheaper ones, can act like prisms and split light that comes through them at an angle.
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Old 24-03-2008, 09:29   #20 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

Are Jessups own label filters regarded as cheaper ones, even if they are expensive if you see what I mean?
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Old 24-03-2008, 10:52   #21 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

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Are Jessups own label filters regarded as cheaper ones, even if they are expensive if you see what I mean?
I'd say yes. I suspect that they are the same as you can get on the internet a lot cheaper, but with Jessop's packaging and mark-up on them.

I've heard good things about Kood filters if budget is a factor.
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Old 24-03-2008, 12:53   #22 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

great discussion and great advice there! silkstone - the lens works the best with a UV filter so i have no complaints in that department!

thanks!
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Old 24-03-2008, 13:34   #23 (permalink)
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Re: same lenses different quality?

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i take it the lens is expected not to be pinsharp at the edge of the photo when shooting at 10mm?
Pin sharp is relative but it's a 10mm zoom mine is not pin sharp but acceptable above f5.6 at the edges.

A lot of people think it smears at the edges or corners and have said that is because of a bad copy etc. But that's not appreciating the limitations of a 10mm (The nikon fisheye is 10.5mm). Hard to explain but obvious when you see the "examples". Taken at head height then tilting the focal plane down so as to include the foreground almost up to one's feet but also including the horizon at infinity. This is not smearing just distorting the view so much that it will blur or stretch the edges and corners.
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