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10-22-2013, 06:11 PM   #1
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Are all Pentax DA L 18-55mm this bad?

I've been dissatisfied in the sharpness of a lot of my pictures. Especially those that I took on vacation in Colorado this summer. I've since realized that it's just the 18-55 that is so disappointing. Here is a picture that I took of a bridge in pittsburgh with the 18-55 and one with a Pentax A 50mm 2.0. I wasn't smart enough to match the f-stops exactly, but this is a huge difference. I also have the 50-200 mm and the sharpness is much better.

These were both taken from the same spot, tripod held.

Any thoughts? If it is just a bad lens I should still be within warranty.

10-22-2013, 06:18 PM   #2
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The A 50 f/2 should be noticeably sharper, but the 18-55 is quite capable of good images too. What camera are you using? Does it have AF fine tuning?

If you can find someone with another copy of the 18-55 do some comparison shots and see if it's just your copy.
10-22-2013, 06:18 PM   #3
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It looks extremely blurry yeah, exif would have been great though!
10-22-2013, 06:23 PM   #4
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There must be huge difference in F-stops yeah, the 50mm is sharp from background to foreground while the 18-55 is noticeably sharper farther away. Is the 18-55 one with manual focus? It almost looks focused past infinity, and if you turn the ring all the way will end up there.

10-22-2013, 06:23 PM   #5
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Both are way shaky IMO....
10-22-2013, 06:45 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Corto-PA Quote
Both are way shaky IMO....
As always, lens comparisons should be done on tripod, SR off, and same aperture using a flat subject at moderate distance.

10-22-2013, 07:05 PM   #7
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Both were tripod mounted with 2 second delay. 18-55 was set at 42 mm f 5.6, 50 mm was at f11. K-01. 18-55 is not any better at f11. Maybe the 18-55 has a focusing issue, the focus ring was set to just under infinite, but most of this image should have been in focus as it was far away.

The images weren't standardized because it wasn't really the goal of the excursion, just something I realized once I got home.
10-22-2013, 07:25 PM   #8
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The first photo looks like it wasn't focused properly.

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10-22-2013, 08:04 PM   #9
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First photo looks back focused. A lot.

Also, not the same spot, try again with a test chart?
10-22-2013, 08:12 PM   #10
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couple things;

#1 Of both the k-30's ive had , they both front focused, One alot, beyond adjustment and the other just a little.

#2 Of both the 18-55mm kit lenses ive owned, the WR version was much sharper than the NON-WR
10-22-2013, 08:13 PM   #11
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Mine works great, always pulls in great shots when the human interface(me) doesn't mess it up! Could be you have a clunker. If this was a bad lens by design, a howl would have gone up years ago. I agree with the other posts,do some controlled testing, and that should give answers.
10-22-2013, 08:22 PM   #12
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18-55mm WR's are great too

10-22-2013, 08:26 PM   #13
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Hello millsware, Welcome to the Forum!
First off, I believe the majority of posters are correct, the first photo is out-of-focus. Not just selectively, everything is OOF. If you look closely at the small railing on the bridge (walkway?) it's fuzzy from near to far, in the 50mm version it's sharp all the way. Same for the bricks, and buildings on the horizon.
Seems clear to me (no pun intended) that the zoom wasn't focused at infinity.
Now, whether that's because of the focus setting or a back-focus issue, is another question. A more controlled test, same f/stops, exact same focal settings, standardized 'target' type subject at the same distance, EXIF data, etc, would help (but not guarantee) a possible fix.
Granted the 18-55mm isn't the sharpest tool, but this isn't sharp anywhere.
A dumb question perhaps, do you have any type of filter on the zoom?
Last, an FYI, you have dust on your sensor, near-middle vertically, far left side. Just above the white houses/black roofs. Time for a Rocket Blower!
10-22-2013, 11:03 PM   #14
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For the record, mine is as sharp as my other more expensive zoom lenses when stopped down by 1.5 stops. It does have more aberrations and a bit softer extreme corners, but you need to pixel peep to see these. Certainly wouldn't see any softness like you're picture above.

You said that you focused past infinity - I don't understand this? I think this sounds like the problem...
I would have focused on the bridge deck at about the centre of the closest span and used around f/8 to f/11.
10-22-2013, 11:43 PM   #15
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It's not the sharpest tool in my shed, but I have the 18-55mm WR and I find it's certainly acceptably sharp, particularly when stopped down a bit.

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