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Archive 2012 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??
  
 
SSISteve
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


I just returned from Rocky Mountain NP and had my first chance to shoot a few shots with my Olympus EM-5 & the 12-50mm kit lens. To be honest the lens to me doesn't appear to be real sharp. Take a look at the unprocessed images below and let me know what your thoughts are. Anything I am missing here? Would the 9-18mm make a huge difference in these images? Thanks much.

These were all shot at around ISO 200 and f/11-f/16.

















Oct 02, 2012 at 02:26 AM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


The last one doesn't look too bad. What is your technique? Are you using a tripod? If you are, did you turn off IS?

The 9-18 is sharper but not extremely sharper. It's slightly less sharp in the corners than the 7-14 but it can use filters.

The 45 1.8 is sharper still but not extremely super sharp.

The 45/2.8, the 60/2.8, the 75/1.8, the Voight 25/0.95, the PL25, and the high grade 4/3 lenses are all much, much sharper.



Oct 02, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Jman13
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


I agree with the above with the exception of the 45/1.8, which I would definitely say is super sharp. It's not quite as sharp as the 75/1.8 or 60/2.8, but it's not far off (and I find it just as sharp for everyday subjects, if not sharper, than the PL 45). I mean, this is the 45mm wide open:







The 12-50 is a decent lens with OK sharpness but a lot of versatility. I find it pretty sharp on the wide end, and average at the long end, but pretty good in the middle as well. The macro mode is also decent, but not at the level of a dedicated macro lens.

What the 12-50 does well is versatility...it really is a single lens that can do a LOT. From very wide to decently long with very good closeup ability. I use my primes and 7-14 more, but for a daylight hike with one lens, I'd take the 12-50.



Oct 02, 2012 at 02:50 AM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


Perhaps what I found with my copy of the 45/1.8 is that it didn't have a lot of micro contrast.

Maybe that's an intentional decision though, it was meant to be a portrait prime and who wants a lot of microcontrast in a portrait prime.



Oct 02, 2012 at 02:51 AM
mdraege
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


SSISteve wrote:
These were all shot at around ISO 200 and f/11-f/16.


Agree with the above comments. Also, your choice of aperture is probably not doing you a lot of favors either as far as sharpness goes. Most of these lenses are at there best closer to f5.6.

The 12-50 is alright, very versatile but not the sharpest. For a midrange zoom, the 14-45 and much more expensive 12-35 are sharper.



Oct 02, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Jman13
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


Yeah, on m4/3, you're going to max out sharpness on this lens at around f/7.1 on the long end and f/5.6 on the wide end. (and most lenses at around f/4-f/5.6) f/11 will see a small effect from diffraction (though usually not too bad...this is the last aperture where I don't feel it really impacts the overall image). f/16 will definitely be softer than larger apertures.

Remember that on Micro 4/3, your depth of field is double what you would get for the same FOV and aperture on full frame, so if you're used to shooting at 24mm and f/16 on full frame, then you can shoot at 12mm and f/8 and get the same image. Shooting at f/16 is equivalent to shooting at f/32 on full frame, which isn't a good idea.



Edited on Oct 02, 2012 at 03:06 AM · View previous versions



Oct 02, 2012 at 03:05 AM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


Try not to shoot at higher than F8 when using micro four thirds. Keep in mind in terms of Depth of field, the 35mm equiv is like F16 or something like that.


Oct 02, 2012 at 03:06 AM
SSISteve
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


FlyPenFly wrote:
The last one doesn't look too bad. What is your technique? Are you using a tripod? If you are, did you turn off IS?



Thanks for the response. All were shot from a tripod and I may have not turned IS off.


Steve



Oct 02, 2012 at 03:47 AM
 

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millsart
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


Question isn't so much one of gear/technique or post processing, of which your using a pretty cheap kit zoom, stopped down to the point where diffraction is an issue, at slower shutter speeds with IS perhaps still active and your not even sharpening the files, but rather one of did you enjoy shooting the images.

Are you happy with the versatility and range of the lens and the money you paid ?

Would you be willing to spend more money and/or lug more gear for sharper photos ?

12-50 isn't a great lens and its not a horrible lens, but it cost just a few hundred bucks, is a useful range and weathersealed to boot.

Its not going to deliver world class sharpness, but was that your goal ? Are you making huge prints, or just posting to the web where its not even going to matter ?

Most important of all, did you enjoy the process of shooting, which for many seems to take a backseat to the results at times.

All too easy to forget the fun of actually being out in the fresh air doing photography rather that sitting inside the house staring at a computer monitor and 100% crops.




Oct 02, 2012 at 04:40 AM
philip_pj
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


Yes, definitely stick to f5.6 or f8 depending on FL. I suggest you go outside and do a test on the tripod with a shot at each FL at say f8 with no IS, then repeat with IS on - to put your mind at rest.

It's possible that diffraction will kill off IQ faster on m4/3 - I have no knowledge of this but would be good to know, the data in the link below look good however:

http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1479/cat/15

"As the kit lens for the OM-D E-M5, you couldn't really ask for more; the lens offers excellent results for sharpness, corner shading and distortion."

But really, these look as poor as the images Bifurcator shot to try to show how the ZE 21/2.8 was no better than some other lenses. They are flat as a tack, no contrast at all to speak of. Jpeg or RAWs? If the former try RAWs I believe LR now supports this combo. If jpeg dial up contrast and 'sharpness' in cam..for web jpegs they should be much better...they are poor front to rear, which suggests diffraction, but perhaps the IS. Or a poor copy.



Oct 02, 2012 at 05:33 AM
Makten
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


#1: The 12-50 isn't a supersharp lens.
#2: f/11-16 makes it a dull lens. It's actually close to peaking already wide open.



Oct 02, 2012 at 06:05 AM
SSISteve
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


millsart wrote:
Are you happy with the versatility and range of the lens and the money you paid ?

Would you be willing to spend more money and/or lug more gear for sharper photos ?

12-50 isn't a great lens and its not a horrible lens, but it cost just a few hundred bucks, is a useful range and weathersealed to boot.



I have always said I enjoy just being outside and taking in my surroundings as well as the photography. I like the versatility of the lens but sharpness is important to me and I don't mind spending more to get sharper results. I am used to using my Nikon D300 and getting sharp results with the lenses I have. The purpose of getting this camera was to get a lighter camera setup and still getting top notch results. I do plan to print some of these images I get from the camera and usually don't print larger than 10x15. As others have suggested I will give the lens a try at a different aperture and turn of IS on the tripod. I do like the versatility of a zoom and would probably would want to stay with zooms. Thanks for your input.

Steve



Oct 03, 2012 at 04:29 AM
SSISteve
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


philip_pj wrote:
Jpeg or RAWs? If the former try RAWs I believe LR now supports this combo. If jpeg dial up contrast and 'sharpness' in cam..for web jpegs they should be much better...they are poor front to rear, which suggests diffraction, but perhaps the IS. Or a poor copy.


They were all RAW images. I plan to do some more testing this weekend. Thanks for your input.


Steve



Oct 03, 2012 at 04:35 AM
darrellc
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


I find the 12-50 zoom results kind of blah, kind of a stopgap measure for me until a better weathersealed zoom option comes along, or price of 12-35 drops more, then it is gone. OM-D with good m4/3 primes shines, no comparison. I used to have the 14-45 and that gave excellent results (sharp, but more importantly a punchy contrasty lens for a zoom), just a slow (aperture) lens.

I happen to have the 14-150, 14-140 and 12-50 at the moment, and I just did a quick set of comparison shots this last week. The 14-150 and 14-140 seemed no worse than the 12-50. Strangely, I actually liked the 14-150 best - the color seemed better and it seemed like the effective focal length at 150 was much greater than the 14-140 @ 140 (more than you'd expect going 140 to 150). I'm tempted to get rid of the 12-50. Not sure the macro and weather sealing benefits outweight the much smaller focal range and no IQ gain.



Oct 03, 2012 at 05:24 AM
kewlcanon
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


I'm just going to be bold as usual, this lens is no good .


Oct 03, 2012 at 12:59 PM
khollister
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Olympus EM-5 & 12-50mm Sharpness??


The 12-50 is not bad at the shorter focal lengths. 12-14mm @ f5.6 it is pretty good. It is pretty poor at 50mm. As mentioned, f11+ is way into diffraction territory for m43. I shoot landscapes at f5.6, which is the same DOF as f11 on FX.

The 12-50 is weatherproof, has a decent semi-macro mode (fixed at 43mm) and is is pretty good on the wide end as a cheap 12mm (as part of a kit). Other than that I don't use it much.



Oct 03, 2012 at 01:16 PM





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