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Archive 2012 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue
  
 
Daan B
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p.1 #1 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


I notice some weird softness issue on my new 16-35L II. Sometimes it is there, sometimes it isn't. Some kind of glow against high contrast areas. But it doesn't look like fringing. It happens mostly in the 20-28mm range.

See this example at 24mm, f/2.8, 1/1000th

Here the whole snapshot:






Here is a 100% crop of the area in focus:






Zoomed in to 200% to make it more visible (top side of cup and white chair):






While I really have to zoom in to see the phenomenon clearly, the whole picture itself lacks contrast and clarity, making it soft looking. Shall I return the lens to the seller? Sure would help if I have some idea of what is causing this. It doesn't seem to be focus related.

What do you make of it?



Jul 28, 2012 at 05:19 PM
mttran
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p.1 #2 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


Dann B, have you tried one without the filter


Jul 28, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Daan B
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p.1 #3 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


No filter. Stopping down seems to resolve the issue.


Jul 28, 2012 at 06:05 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #4 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


Did you sharpen in post? If not, try amount 12, radius 50.

If you have to look at 200% to see the "problem," it really isn't a problem. I would not have noticed what you are describing here if you hadn't described exactly where to look for it, and even then I feel like it is probably simply normal lens performance.

Take care,

Dan



Jul 28, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Daan B
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p.1 #5 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


I did sharpen the output in LR (for web). But it isn't so much sharpness that is bothering me, because that seems fine, but rather the glowing effect on high contrast areas. It reduces (micro) contrast considerably IMO. I only showed the 200% image to make it visible. But viewing at normal sizes you can see a distinct difference between f/2.8 and f/4 for example. And I find it strange that this glowing on high contrast areas doesn't appear at 16mm f/2.8 and 35mm f/2.8.


Jul 28, 2012 at 07:36 PM
thinkpadfans
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p.1 #6 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


It looks like a bit out of focus. My $0.02.


Jul 28, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Daan B
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p.1 #7 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


thinkpadfans wrote:
It looks like a bit out of focus. My $0.02.


Yeah, maybe I should drop it off at Canon Service for a good old calibration.



Jul 28, 2012 at 08:44 PM
thinkpadfans
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p.1 #8 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


Daan B wrote:
Yeah, maybe I should drop it off at Canon Service for a good old calibration.



I am curious too. Seems for the 16-35 II there are a lot of mixed reviews. Of course even more for the 17-40. Obviously a lot of people are saying that the 17-40 has horrible IQ and softness, that is the reason that drives me to buy a 16-35 II. My experience with 16-35 II was fine, it is sharper than what I expected, definitely something to keep.

I was a bit too critical about your image. I am sure with that distance the picture looks fine. Maybe try it on a tripod with something still, and see if it looks sharper. If not try MF and live view - to rule out AF issues.



Jul 28, 2012 at 10:53 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #9 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


Daan B wrote:
I did sharpen the output in LR (for web). But it isn't so much sharpness that is bothering me, because that seems fine, but rather the glowing effect on high contrast areas. It reduces (micro) contrast considerably IMO. I only showed the 200% image to make it visible. But viewing at normal sizes you can see a distinct difference between f/2.8 and f/4 for example. And I find it strange that this glowing on high contrast areas doesn't appear at 16mm f/2.8 and 35mm f/2.8.


The type of sharpening I suggested (which, if you use Photoshop, would be done using USM) works to enhance edge contrast across some pixels and will lessen precisely the effect you are concerned about.

I'm not a LR user, so I'm afraid I cannot give you an idea of how to do this in that program, but a general sort of sharpening that I apply in Photoshop uses:

1. A "smart sharpen" operation with a small radius (between .5 and 1.0 in general) and a fairly large amount (starting at around 150). The effect of this is to sharpen small details and fine edges. There are other options that do something similar. For example, a few years back I heard that Canon was recommending something like amount:300 and radius:.3. I might use that or something like it for a very finely detailed image.

2. An unsharp mask (or USM) layer to generally increase contrast near edges such as those you are concerned with. If you have a dark area against a light area, this slightly darkens the already dark side of the border and slightly lightens the light side. (E.g. - it would make the upper edge of your cup lighter and darken the area right above that edge where you see your "glow.") My starting point for this is to go to the USM option and use a relatively large radius of 50 with a relatively small amount of 12. Again, there are numerous variations on these values depending upon the nature of the image and what lens you use and so forth, but these can be a good starting point.

I often see that "sharpness issues" can be resolved by using more effective sharpening operations in post.

If you can do this, it is worth a try. If you started with a raw image, I think it is more or less necessary.

Take care,

Dan



Jul 29, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #10 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


Daan -- This type of haloing is common on high contrast areas, even with high quality fast primes (f/2.8 and faster) when shot wide open. It radically diminishes when stopped down one stop (sometimes even 1/2 stop) less than wide open, and is usually gone completely by two stops. Your lens performance looks "normal" for the lens -- in other words, exceptionally good.

Certainly check with Canon if you have concerns. If there is a problem it will get fixed under warranty.

Looking forward to more examples, and your feelings about the lens IQ.



Jul 29, 2012 at 05:20 AM
 

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Daan B
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p.1 #11 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


thinkpadfans wrote:
I am curious too. Seems for the 16-35 II there are a lot of mixed reviews. Of course even more for the 17-40. Obviously a lot of people are saying that the 17-40 has horrible IQ and softness, that is the reason that drives me to buy a 16-35 II. My experience with 16-35 II was fine, it is sharper than what I expected, definitely something to keep.

I was a bit too critical about your image. I am sure with that distance the picture looks fine. Maybe try it on a tripod with something still, and see if it looks
...Show more

I bought the 16-35L II for event work mainly. The performance at 2.8 is very important to me. More important than extreme corner sharpness, which seems to be what most people are concerned about.

The images have plenty of shutter speed. I tried MF and AF (tripod, same position) and there was no difference. It seems to be calibrated fine.



Jul 29, 2012 at 07:59 AM
Daan B
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p.1 #12 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


Gunzorro wrote:
Daan -- This type of haloing is common on high contrast areas, even with high quality fast primes (f/2.8 and faster) when shot wide open. It radically diminishes when stopped down one stop (sometimes even 1/2 stop) less than wide open, and is usually gone completely by two stops. Your lens performance looks "normal" for the lens -- in other words, exceptionally good.

Certainly check with Canon if you have concerns. If there is a problem it will get fixed under warranty.

Looking forward to more examples, and your feelings about the lens IQ.


I didn't expect this. I have other lenses that show fringing wide open, but never with so much decrease in contrast. So, it basically falls under the category of fringing? Indeed, stopping down resolves the issue completely.

Here is another set of 100% crops (area in focus). Would you say, based on your experience with the lens that this looks normal, or even exceptionally good? Images are RAW converted in LR3 with default values.

24mm, f/2.8






24mm, f/4






28mm, f/2.8






28mm, f/4






35mm, f/2.8






35mm, f/4






35mm seems to be the best, as is 16mm (no samples included). 28mm the worst. In low light this isn't as much an issue as it is in hard contrasty light.



Jul 29, 2012 at 08:09 AM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #13 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


Every lens that I own (especially fast lenses) is like this more or less. Even my best Zeiss lenses or the most expensive Canon lenses. With a subject like yours. Black background and silver/white subject that even are a bit hot it's nearly impossible to avoid it


Jul 29, 2012 at 08:24 AM
Daan B
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p.1 #14 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


Lars Johnsson wrote:
Every lens that I own (especially fast lenses) is like this more or less. Even my best Zeiss lenses or the most expensive Canon lenses. With a subject like yours. Black background and silver/white subject that even are a bit hot it's nearly impossible to avoid it


I agree up to some point. My former 24-70L and my 24-105L don't show as much fringing. Fast primes do, even though it looks somewhat different. Mainly because with the 16-35L II it decreases contrast for the whole image, whereas with the 35L (for example) decrease in contrast is very localized.

What is also strange is that the 16-35L II doesn't suffer from the fringing at 16 and 35mm as much as at 20-28mm.

Oh well...



Jul 29, 2012 at 09:03 AM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #15 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


Do you use the latest PS or Lightroom with correction for lenses, CA and a lot of other things. It's rather helpful


Jul 29, 2012 at 11:28 AM
Beni
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p.1 #16 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


Looks OOF to me. My 16-35LII certainly doesn't look like that but OOF regions often do with many lenses.


Jul 29, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Monito
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p.1 #17 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


It is called "birefringence". It is a consequence of angle the light makes with the sensor microlenses.

It is common with mild fast telephotos and relatively fast wide angles, since the latter are really reversed telephotos to get clearance from the SLR mirror. The 85 f/1.8 is particularly prone to it at wide apertures.

When the lens is stopped down, the rays make less of a shallow angle and a greater percentage of them are closer to making a right angle with the sensor. Hence less or no birefringence.



Jul 29, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Daan B
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p.1 #18 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


Lars Johnsson wrote:
Do you use the latest PS or Lightroom with correction for lenses, CA and a lot of other things. It's rather helpful


PS CS5.5 and LR 3.6.



Jul 29, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Daan B
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p.1 #19 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


Beni wrote:
Looks OOF to me. My 16-35LII certainly doesn't look like that but OOF regions often do with many lenses.


Your 16-35L II doesn't look like this wide open? The more I look at the soft images, the more I am convinced it isn't suppose to do that. But if it is OOF, shouldn't there be an area that is in focus (and doesn't show the softness)? I can't detect anything that is without the glow in these soft shots. I am not convinced a proper calibration would do the trick. Maybe I should just return it for another.



Jul 29, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Daan B
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p.1 #20 · 16-35L II softness/glow/fringing issue


Monito wrote:
It is called "birefringence". It is a consequence of angle the light makes with the sensor microlenses.

It is common with mild fast telephotos and relatively fast wide angles, since the latter are really reversed telephotos to get clearance from the SLR mirror. The 85 f/1.8 is particularly prone to it at wide apertures.

When the lens is stopped down, the rays make less of a shallow angle and a greater percentage of them are closer to making a right angle with the sensor. Hence less or no birefringence.


But why does it do this in the 20-28mm range, but not (so much) at 16mm and 35mm?



Jul 29, 2012 at 07:44 PM
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