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Archive 2013 · lens issue / please help
  
 
warpedwoof
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · lens issue / please help


My secondhand Zeiss 16-35mm f2.8 lens has an issue that seems obvious to me that I would heartily appreciate your thoughts about. I bought this lens so that I could take full-frame, urban/architectural, low-light, wide-open shots if necessary. Printed to large sizes. The issue exists from 20mm on. The seller thinks there is nothing wrong with it. I won't say what I believe the issue is to avoid biasing the response.

I've provided links to 4 full-size, unprocessed jpgs from RAWs of a textured-brick wall, trees, house and horizon. Because they are large files they'll take a moment to fully show in your browser. Please increase page size so that the image is substantially larger than your screen size because they were taken on a 24mp camera. They can also be downloaded for view in your image processor.

I know I'm asking a lot, but your response could make a difference with a costly lens. As many responses as possible will substantiate my concern about the issue. Thank you very kindly.

wall
house
trees
marsh

Edited on Apr 28, 2013 at 01:53 AM · View previous versions



Apr 25, 2013 at 05:42 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · lens issue / please help


Well, it's certainly less sharp in the corners than in the centre, but there's nothing unusual about that, especially for a zoom lens. The two images I looked at (wall & trees) are both at f/2.8. Try f/5.6 or f/8, and it'll likely be a lot better.

If you want significantly better IQ in the corners, then you might want to look into a Zeiss prime, although it might require distortion correction for some subjects. I own/have owned the ZE 18/3.5 and 21/2.8 for my EOS cameras. They're both excellent, right into the corners.

I notice that you've probably applied some distortion correction to the wall, as the left and top edges are canted in.



Apr 25, 2013 at 06:36 PM
warpedwoof
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · lens issue / please help


I appreciate your thoughts. Cheers. But the issue isn't the far corners. I expect them to be evenly less sharp than the centers. The wall was rotated 2 degrees. That's it.

The images have to be seen large. Remember, this is a professional lens intended for large-size prints.

Paul



Apr 25, 2013 at 06:40 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · lens issue / please help


I've been looking at them on my Dell U2711.

If you want feedback on something specific, then tell us what it is. I'm not going to play guessing games.




Apr 25, 2013 at 07:44 PM
warpedwoof
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · lens issue / please help


I understand your frustration with me. But I'm trying to not lead the discussion. The image of the house probably shows the issue most readily. It's more subtle in the other images, yet would show up miserably in any large-printed image.

And it isn't cured, by the way, by stopping down even to f8. It exists from 20mm on.

Thanks..... Paul



Apr 25, 2013 at 07:50 PM
Taylor Sherman
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · lens issue / please help


It's decentered. The left side of the image is never sharp / in-focus as far as I can tell. It's most noticeable in the "house" photo, looking at the sidewalk. Or lots of things: everything just to the right of center is sharper than anything to the left of center.



Apr 25, 2013 at 07:57 PM
jotdeh
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · lens issue / please help


(Didn't see Taylor's response)
On the house pic - you mean that the left side is softer than the right side?



Apr 25, 2013 at 08:40 PM
warpedwoof
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · lens issue / please help


My thanks to Taylor and jotdeh for their impressions. I won't say what I see because I don't want this to be about me. Could anyone else give their views please?


Apr 25, 2013 at 08:56 PM
jotdeh
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · lens issue / please help


I'm with Jim now...
Just tell us what you think is objectionable, other than some softness.



Apr 25, 2013 at 09:13 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · lens issue / please help


You seem to be getting inconsistent sharpness, even centrally. The house looks softer than I would expect, although I am not personally familiar with the Sony DSLRs, so I cannot say what is normal. The extreme, extreme corners also don't look so wonderful, although with a lens of this spec, that may be normal. I recall that when this lens came out it was a bit controversial for not being quite as stunning as the 24-70, with some field curvature, IIRC. The left and right sides also seem quite soft, especially the left.

Maybe you should post some shots with other lenses on the same camera?



Apr 25, 2013 at 09:30 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



philip_pj
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · lens issue / please help


Ed liked it (with CF reservations) way back when:
http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1224/cat/83

Pretty high tech specs, very heavy, never popular.



Apr 25, 2013 at 09:42 PM
warpedwoof
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · lens issue / please help


In reply to jotdeh. Okay, agreed. Apparently, I'm being too picky about the fact that I was sold a professional lens for $1425 that is noticeably soft on the left side from 20mm to 35mm - without disclosure in the listing. The decentering is bad enough that it is still visible after stopping down to f8 in any image larger than web size, which means it can't be used for professional prints. The seller claims to be semi-professional, has shot with other Zeiss lenses and posts his work on the Zeiss images forum, but argues there is nothing wrong with this lens. Even one of his processed images on that forum taken at f7.1 shows softness in the heart of the left side.

So I've been letting the evidence speak for itself, with no desire to lead anyone on. I'm upset, and he's shown no remorse, responsibility, or willingness to compromise in offering any reimbursement. Sony has quoted me a cost of over $400 just to work on it - under the assumption the decentering can be fixed. Perhaps I could have bought a new, warranted lens for that price, yet that is beside the point.

The seller frequents this forum, so I'm hoping he'll understand that I'm not the only one who sees the issue. Again, many thanks to those who reply.

Paul




Apr 25, 2013 at 09:43 PM
wfrank
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · lens issue / please help


@OP, You have to be more specific here. What I see is a bunch of unimpressive shots that looks pretty soft to me. What are you looking for?


Apr 25, 2013 at 09:48 PM
RCicala
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · lens issue / please help


The trees picture seems to show it best to me - there's more astigmatism and left sided softess than I'd expect from a good copy of that lens. I can see the seller's point, though: the problems are subtle, although I think the lens isn't performing where it should be. If it's from 20mm on then you most likely have a slightly tilted focusing element.

That being said, I'm a firm believer that unreasonable expectations are a down payment on disappointment. Your quote "Remember, this is a professional lens intended for large-size prints" is not one I'd agree with wholeheartedly. It's a good lens, a bit dated in design (and very dated in internal electronics), at best comparable with the Canon 16-35 f/2.8. The Sony-Zeiss 16-35 f/2.8 is NOT the sharpest pencil in the box and speaking as someone who keeps a couple of dozen copies in service, it has a lot of sample variation and Sony factory service isn't very good at fixing optical issues.

As someone said earlier, if you need side-to-side high resolution at f/2.8, this probably isn't the lens you want. To get this wide an angle, f/2.8, and edge to edge (relatively) sharp your options are probably a prime or switch to Nikon and get a 14-24 f/2.8 (before the flaming starts, I'm not a Nikon shooter, but facts are facts). At f/5.6, though, the Sony should give you very nice performance.



Apr 25, 2013 at 09:53 PM
warpedwoof
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · lens issue / please help


I realize wide zooms are a compromise and no lens is perfect. Unfortunately, this is about the best lens for super wide-angle shooting on the full-frame A99 in low light. I bought it for hand-held shooting because that's often crucial for many scenarios in my urban photography. Please take a peak at my website to get a sense of what I do.

It isn't a camera or focus issue because I've tried both my Zeiss 24mm prime and my Zeiss 24-70mm lenses without problems, as well as my other lenses.

my best....... Paul



Apr 25, 2013 at 09:55 PM
warpedwoof
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · lens issue / please help


Thanks for replying, Roger. Your view is valuable.

As I said earlier, though, the softness doesn't go away at any point stopped down. It's that bad. If this lens were fairly uniform across the frame, I'd have no qualms with it. I'd accept the compromise for what I need to achieve.

I don't think any buyer of a $1425 lens would be satisfied with performance like this. Would anyone be okay with it considering a reasonable level of expectation from the lens?

Paul



Apr 25, 2013 at 10:06 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · lens issue / please help


Roger touches on a good point: if this is not abnormal on this particular lens model, and Sony is not even necessarily able to fix it, then I don't feel that it is reasonable to expect the seller to guarantee to you that this copy is sharper than normal. If you really want this lens model, and you really want a sharp copy, I don't see any way around buying a few copies and keeping the best one. This is not that unusual a procedure, even for some new lenses.


Apr 25, 2013 at 10:09 PM
warpedwoof
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · lens issue / please help


Okay, I didn't want to do this because I don't like being antagonistic, but this is a quote from a person with a lot of day-to-day experience with this lens who just made a comment in this thread:

"I spent a day with this lens on the A900 and came back quite impressed. Itís not perfect, so letís get the downers out of the way: Like for most wide zooms on full frame cameras, thereís some noticeable corner softness, and thereís also a bit more chromatic aberration than I see on Canon and Nikonís pro level wide zooms. Itís easily corrected in Photoshop, but I would suggest shooting images in raw, so you can get the very best correction.

With those two minor notations out of the way, I have nothing left but the positives: Itís sharp throughout the zoom range, very nice colors and contrast, autofocuses with the quickness of a rattlesnake and the persistence of a bulldog. Overall, a world-class wide angle zoom, the best in Sonyís lineup."

So those of you who think that my expectations are too high believe I should have ignored every positive review of the lens since it was released, including those by pros in the field, and instead have had enough wisdom to know that it was susceptible to such horrible manufacturing issues - a Zeiss lens - that I should have seen this coming from this seller?

Folks, I asked if I received a bum lens from a seller who thinks the issues are my problem. A reasonable question. Does the rest of this discussion have anything to do with that?

Paul

Edited on Apr 26, 2013 at 01:20 AM · View previous versions



Apr 25, 2013 at 10:28 PM
scottam10
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · lens issue / please help


It sounds as though the lens is performing within expectations

Did the seller claim that this was a 'Super Sharp Copy?'

If not, I suggest you read some reviews of the lens, and see if the performance of your lens is normal.

As Roger says, the Nikon 14-24mm seems to be the best option, most other ultrawide lenses are not perfect optically (regardless of price)



Apr 25, 2013 at 10:35 PM
scottam10
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · lens issue / please help


This review suggests that it is good at 16mm but gets worse as you zoom in

http://www.photozone.de/sonyalphaff/495-zeiss_1635_28ff



Apr 25, 2013 at 10:36 PM
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