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08-29-2012, 07:05 PM   #1
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Bad copy of a DA 15mm Limited?

Hi All,

I need advice on if my lens should go back to the seller.

I picked up a DA 15mm Limited (as I was having so much fun shooting at 16mm on my DA 16-45). My first "get to know you" snaps were awful. Images appeared soft, perhaps veiled and smeary across much of the frame. So I plunked my camera on a sturdy tripod and did some brick wall type shots (mirror up, stabilization off, hood out, no filters, no post processing) and things don't look great to my eye. I can't see how my 15mm copy, in talented hands, could produce even half as good images as those in the 15mm mind control thread.

I don't have a lot of experience with lens tests and so I'd appreciate opinions from experienced DA 15mm Limited users on the IQ of my particular copy or how to correct my user error.

Thanks,
Mark


Last edited by sinjin; 09-01-2012 at 09:23 PM. Reason: Fixed bad links
08-29-2012, 07:09 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by sinjin Quote
Hi All,

I need advice on if my lens should go back to the seller.

I picked up a DA 15mm Limited (as I was having so much fun shooting at 16mm on my DA 16-45). My first "get to know you" snaps were awful. Images appeared soft, perhaps veiled and smeary across much of the frame. So I plunked my camera on a sturdy tripod and did some brick wall type shots (mirror up, stabilization off, hood out, no filters, no post processing) and things don't look great to my eye. I can't see how my 15mm copy, in talented hands, could produce even half as good images as those in the 15mm mind control thread.

I don't have a lot of experience with lens tests and so I'd appreciate opinions from experienced DA 15mm Limited users on the IQ of my particular copy or how to correct my user error.

Thanks,
Mark
Im not sure, the wall you are shooting has almost no contrast/detail so at these magnifications cant see anything. Some of the other shots are overexposed (and taken in harsh overhead noonish sun by the looks of it).

Its likely fine. f4 is soft period, f5.6 and f8 are razors, but that doesnt mean everything will be sharp. It can be a difficult lens to shoot well with sometimes.

Id say go have fun with it and forget the tests for now, see how those shots turn out. Sometimes I look at my own shots from my 15 and say hmm thats not sharp, but then I turn around and it (or rather I) produces some very nice images

What mode are you shooting in, are you focusing and recomposing? (better to select AF point)

EDIT:

your lens is fine: http://www.flickr.com/photos/msinjin/7891097634/in/set-72157631305418626/

stop shooting at f4, use f5.6-8+, go and have fun

Last edited by Deimos; 08-29-2012 at 07:27 PM.
08-29-2012, 07:26 PM   #3
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Thanks Deimos.

Ya, not the best conditions. I'll try to get some shady expanses (or an overcast day) thrown in the mix. I hope you are correct!
08-29-2012, 07:34 PM   #4
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Shoot normal things. Problems will show up if there are any.

08-29-2012, 07:35 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by sinjin Quote
Thanks Deimos.

Ya, not the best conditions. I'll try to get some shady expanses (or an overcast day) thrown in the mix. I hope you are correct!

Also are you shooting jpeg? If so any processing (or resaving the file) after the inital save will degrade the image as jpeg is not lossless
08-29-2012, 08:00 PM   #6
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Thanks SpecialK. I shot normal things (as you say) and became concerned; leading to me taking these (what are evidentially poor) test shots. I'll put in a couple more days of my usual subjects and see how it goes.

Deimos, these were shot raw and put through Aperture with minimal PP to output the jpegs.
08-29-2012, 08:04 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by sinjin Quote
Thanks SpecialK. I shot normal things (as you say) and became concerned; leading to me taking these (what are evidentially poor) test shots. I'll put in a couple more days of my usual subjects and see how it goes.

Deimos, these were shot raw and put through Aperture with minimal PP to output the jpegs.
Id say you are fine. Play with it for a week (normal shots! ) and see how it goes, stay away from anything under f5.6
08-29-2012, 08:04 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Deimos Quote
your lens is fine: http://www.flickr.com/photos/msinjin/7891097634/in/set-72157631305418626/

stop shooting at f4, use f5.6-8+, go and have fun
I like the sounds of that, thanks!

08-29-2012, 08:34 PM   #9
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You will never get a good shot of a brick wall with that lens. It is not designed to give a flat field like a macro lens. It is known to have a fairly significant curvature of field. So I suspect your copy is likely well within manufacturers specs. Focus on your main subject, and stop down to f8 and you'll likely be happy with your images.
08-29-2012, 08:36 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
You will never get a good shot of a brick wall with that lens. It is not designed to give a flat field like a macro lens. It is known to have a fairly significant curvature of field. So I suspect your copy is likely well within manufacturers specs. Focus on your main subject, and stop down to f8 and you'll likely be happy with your images.
there it is a proper explanation
08-29-2012, 08:44 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
You will never get a good shot of a brick wall with that lens. It is not designed to give a flat field like a macro lens. It is known to have a fairly significant curvature of field. So I suspect your copy is likely well within manufacturers specs. Focus on your main subject, and stop down to f8 and you'll likely be happy with your images.
I can live with that; user error is easy to fix and cheap, too Thanks for the advice!
09-01-2012, 09:18 PM   #12
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A drag; I'm mostly homebound while getting to know the lens. The first two days were terrible, but things are getting better as advised!

















09-01-2012, 09:23 PM   #13
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Looks pretty good to me.

I'm glad no-one here advised you to immediately AF-adjust the crap out of your lens the first time you shot a soft image with it.
09-03-2012, 08:35 AM   #14
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looks like its working now
09-04-2012, 10:14 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Deimos Quote
looks like its working now
Ya, much better!

In a nutshell, I'm relaxed about the 15mm copy I have now and am settling in to seeing what we can do together. Thanks everyone for the support! Some additional thoughts...

So far the 15mm seems more difficult to use than my DA 16-45 was at 16mm (I sold it to buy the 15mm). I felt I shot the 16-45 with reckless abandon and things were mostly good; but, I probably forget how much experience I needed to use that lens well.

My 15mm seemed to produce veiling flare in most of my shots the first couple days, but my mid-day beach pictures appeased me that flare-resistance really is top-notch. And so much fun, too. I'll have to practice restraint from including the sun in all my photos.

I'm not 'blown away' by my 15mm's sharpness, yet (not that sharpness is everything, just that it seems to be one of the strengths of this lens in general). In the 15mm's defense, I'm used to shooting with a razor-sharp DA 35mm Macro Limited, which is a very high bar indeed. My 15mm outdoors and handheld produces shots that look comparable to my 16-45mm, which was pretty good. On the other hand, my 15mm shots taken indoors, on a tripod and with controlled lighting were very impressive. So with practice and better technique I imagine I'll be joining the chorus of praise the 15mm provokes in many.
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