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12-20-2012, 11:07 AM   #1
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Testing sharpness on 55-300

Hello!
I am here to bother you guys again, if thats not a problem
As i posted, i just acquired a DA 55-300, and i'm on the deep pixel peeping stage. (i believe it is important to pixel peep a lot when you buy something, because you can still exchange). I would like to see if my crops are as sharp as they should be with the 55-300.
Here they are :
PS : They are unsharpened raws taken with a K-30, tripod mounted and 2s delay







What do you guys think?

12-20-2012, 12:18 PM   #2
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IMO, it's pointless to judge a lens or camera until you've applied your best post-processing efforts to the images. Post-processing of RAWs or adjustments to JPGs is as much a part of the "equipment" as film selection, color filtration and wet darkroom work was for film photography.

If you can't find a way to make the images satisfy your needs, and you're sure the gear isn't being handicapped by your own skill set, it would make sense to sell it and find a better match for your needs.
12-20-2012, 12:33 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
IMO, it's pointless to judge a lens or camera until you've applied your best post-processing efforts to the images. Post-processing of RAWs or adjustments to JPGs is as much a part of the "equipment" as film selection, color filtration and wet darkroom work was for film photography.

If you can't find a way to make the images satisfy your needs, and you're sure the gear isn't being handicapped by your own skill set, it would make sense to sell it and find a better match for your needs.
Hi pacerr!
I love post processing, and actually have a lot of fun doing it, but i'm just posting it unsharpened because it is tough to compare sharpened shots because not everyone applies the same sharpening techniques.
12-20-2012, 01:18 PM   #4
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Hi, Gabriel. Your shots look on-par with my copy of the 55-300. Honestly, I've been a little disappointed with its sharpness, despite reviews to the contrary. So, either yours is okay, or we both have bad copies.

12-20-2012, 01:55 PM   #5
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Hi there.

A couple of things come to mind:

1) Sharpness with far away subjects often isn't as good as when you're closer because of haze.
2) Your AF calibration might be a little off.
3) My particular copy is sharpest from about 80mm all the way out to 300mm. It's even pretty sharp wide open in that range. From 55-80, it's less sharp, but still "ok".

Here's a 100% crop (with the entire frame thumbnailed in the center for reference) of a shot I took handheld, with the following settings:

Camera: Pentax K-x
Lens: 230 mm
Exposure: Aperture-priority AE, 1/750 sec, f/6.7, ISO 200

This is a pretty standard indicator of the sharpness I get out of it. I rarely get a soft shot, and when I do, it's my fault. I'd check your AF calibration settings and maybe shoot something a little closer to negate the possible effect of haze. If that doesn't do any good, then you might have a substandard copy.
12-20-2012, 02:27 PM   #6
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Are you using a hood on your lense. Those shots look to be lacking a bit of contrast. Actually, after looking closer at them, you should be getting sharper images.

If you are using the hood, then either you are having tripod shake and/or focusing issues.

I have the DAL 55-300, and although I have only used it for a few shots on my K-01, it is sharper/contrastier than what your images are showing. The same with using it on my K-10. And that is with it being hand held.
12-20-2012, 02:43 PM   #7
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Yes, i am using the hood.
I am almost completely sure that it is not a focusing problem, because i tried focusing with liveview and got the same results.
Yep, i guess it got lucky again...another defective lens...
(I suspect that this might have something to do with the mail service, perhaps they dropped the box or something like that)
12-20-2012, 02:58 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by GabrielFFontes Quote
Yes, i am using the hood.
I am almost completely sure that it is not a focusing problem, because i tried focusing with liveview and got the same results.
Yep, i guess it got lucky again...another defective lens...
(I suspect that this might have something to do with the mail service, perhaps they dropped the box or something like that)
I wouldn't worry about it getting bumped around in the mail unless there was some physical damage.

The 55-300 I have had a broken mount when I bought it as well as having a cracked filter ring.

Replaced the mount and it works like new :-)

Try taking some shots handheld and see what the results are. You can also try turning off shake reduction when using a tripod.

It could also simply be because of the lighting conditions. Try something with not so much white in it.

12-20-2012, 04:07 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by GabrielFFontes Quote
Yes, i am using the hood.
I am almost completely sure that it is not a focusing problem, because i tried focusing with liveview and got the same results.
Yep, i guess it got lucky again...another defective lens...
(I suspect that this might have something to do with the mail service, perhaps they dropped the box or something like that)
These certainly do not look like they came from a 55-300, but I would try a few more with a variety of subjects just to be sure, but it doesn't look good. When I first got my 55-300 I thought I had a defective product, and I did. I had also bought a cheap UV filter, I took the filter off and had great results. Cured me of unnecessary UV filters.
12-20-2012, 05:13 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by GabrielFFontes Quote
I love post processing, and actually have a lot of fun doing it, but i'm just posting it unsharpened because it is tough to compare sharpened shots because not everyone applies the same sharpening techniques.
It's even tougher to compare un-finished images.
12-20-2012, 05:24 PM   #11
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I own a DA L version. It generates images in the same par as yours. But I use hand holding
12-20-2012, 05:39 PM   #12
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Wow, it seems like there are a lot of people with copies like mine, and it seems like they are all defective...thats a serious problem.


Pacerr, comparing unfinished images is pretty easy.
Just pick up a raw file, import into the program, don't sharpen, crop and upload


Ramsey, i have UV filters as well, so thats not the problem haha
I guess i got a bad copy :/
I will check for focusing issues, but i don't think i will find anything, since i have tried it already [a little bit]


Hello Cyclone!
I turned off SR when taking those pictures.
I have taken a couple of pictures handheld, and they look just the same.


Ofer, thank you
Yeah, perhaps we got bad copies...oh, well haha


Hey Gibby
I have noticed that atmospheric factors and heat (hell, i live in Rio de Janeiro, heat is definitely a problem!) make images much worse. I will later post a sample of a pic taken at very long distance, and it really shows how the heat distorted everything.


Xinanbei, another copy that seems to be facing the same problem...
I will see if i find something about AF calibration or something.

Thank you all a lot for helping!
12-20-2012, 07:25 PM   #13
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My DA 55-300 on K100dS (6 MP, remember) in RAW feels just a bit soft, even with the best technique that I can do, but then any lens in RAW on the camera feels just a bit too soft for me. I'm mostly a jpeg guy, and then I seem to get acceptably good results. Your raw photos seem not too different than the ones I get.
12-21-2012, 04:48 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
My DA 55-300 on K100dS (6 MP, remember) in RAW feels just a bit soft, even with the best technique that I can do, but then any lens in RAW on the camera feels just a bit too soft for me. I'm mostly a jpeg guy, and then I seem to get acceptably good results. Your raw photos seem not too different than the ones I get.
Thank you, Glen.
I will be travelling today and i'll see what kind of results i will be getting there.
12-21-2012, 09:29 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GabrielFFontes Quote
Wow, it seems like there are a lot of people with copies like mine, and it seems like they are all defective...thats a serious problem.


Pacerr, comparing unfinished images is pretty easy.
Just pick up a raw file, import into the program, don't sharpen, crop and upload


Ramsey, i have UV filters as well, so thats not the problem haha
I guess i got a bad copy :/
I will check for focusing issues, but i don't think i will find anything, since i have tried it already [a little bit]


Hello Cyclone!
I turned off SR when taking those pictures.
I have taken a couple of pictures handheld, and they look just the same.


Ofer, thank you
Yeah, perhaps we got bad copies...oh, well haha


Hey Gibby
I have noticed that atmospheric factors and heat (hell, i live in Rio de Janeiro, heat is definitely a problem!) make images much worse. I will later post a sample of a pic taken at very long distance, and it really shows how the heat distorted everything.


Xinanbei, another copy that seems to be facing the same problem...
I will see if i find something about AF calibration or something.

Thank you all a lot for helping!
Hi, GabrielFFontes,
I tried more shots whit my version today. Actually at the 55mm end, the image could be considered as sharp,but the long ends for shooting either birds or scene, it is hard to get very good pictures. Let us know what you could find.
Thanks
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