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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 24 Oct 2013 (Thursday) 19:29
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Leaves look like watercolors...Normal? with a wide angle zoom?

 
Darhawk
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Oct 24, 2013 19:29 |  #1

Hey shutterbugs!
I recently purchased copy of the EF-S 17-55 lens and was out testing it in the field and I have notice that whenever I had taken an image with trees the leafs/leaves at 100% zoomed in looked un-sharp and reminded me of the look of watercolor paintings. There was no wind and shutter speeds were around 250th to 400th of a sec handheld with IS on.

Is it normal for wide angle zooms to have this effect on trees? I haven't had a wide angle for about 1 year now, as I have become addicted to primes lately. I used to have a 17-40 L and thought it did the same thing, but not as bad. Plus my primes are any smaller than a 50mm.

I just think texture shouldn't be lost on the leaves, but perhaps since it is very wide, that I should expect it. I just don't know. Any tips or thoughts are appreciated.

P.S I've now had 2 copies of the EFS 17-55 and had to return them. Both were having focusing problems + other functioning issues. So now I am struggling as to which lenses I am going to get. I really, really, wanted to get the 17-55 but after two attempts, thinking of the 24-105L or the 10-22 + 18-135STM


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xarqi
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Oct 24, 2013 19:33 |  #2

Post an example.




  
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Darhawk
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Oct 24, 2013 19:44 |  #3

Shot unedited : F 5.6 / 1/400th / 17mm / 800ISO

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100% crop with center focus point
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Oct 24, 2013 19:50 |  #4

Can you also post an example at 100% crop, so we can see what you're seeing?


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Oct 24, 2013 19:54 |  #5

KirkS518 wrote in post #16396764 (external link)
Can you also post an example at 100% crop, so we can see what you're seeing?

Ok I put it up!


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xarqi
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Oct 24, 2013 19:54 |  #6

The flat lighting isn't helping. I'm not sure how sharp the 17-55 is at 17, but stopped down a bit as you've done it should be more than acceptable.

Apply a bit of sharpening (or "clarity" if you use LR) and see where that gets you. What comes out of the camera is just the start of the process.




  
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Darhawk
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Oct 24, 2013 20:08 |  #7

Here is another example of the lens with the 17-55 on top and a 50mm 1.8 prime on the bottom.
Both shot @ 50mm @ F11 100% crop

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MalVeauX
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Oct 24, 2013 20:09 |  #8

Heya,

Really wide angle doesn't produce the sharpest image compared to something up close. You're taking your view, and crushing it down so that more fits the field of view. That distortion is going to lose edges as things are tightened and bent into your lens, when wide angle.

Also, try a smaller aperture, like f8 or f11 even, and slow down the shutter, with focus set to infinity, on a tripod with a remote shutter.

As for your 50mm vs 50mm example, looks to me like you're seeing what a zoom does compared to a prime. Though I admit the zoom looks really soft, even for a zoom.

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Darhawk
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Oct 24, 2013 20:18 |  #9

MalVeauX wrote in post #16396825 (external link)
Heya,

Really wide angle doesn't produce the sharpest image compared to something up close. You're taking your view, and crushing it down so that more fits the field of view. That distortion is going to lose edges as things are tightened and bent into your lens, when wide angle.

Also, try a smaller aperture, like f8 or f11 even, and slow down the shutter, with focus set to infinity, on a tripod with a remote shutter.

As for your 50mm vs 50mm example, looks to me like you're seeing what a zoom does compared to a prime. Though I admit the zoom looks really soft, even for a zoom.

Very best,

I can understand that, the crushing down part. I know it's only 1 example, that I put up to show, but almost every image I shot came out like the above. Unless I was close to the image and even then the images are super soft with a large amount of CA with the 17-55 that I have tried.

So with tree leaves this will be common when shooting wide at large distances?

I did shoot some other test shots with how you described above. I know this sounds like a test on the 17-55 but it's really not. I am trying to figure out what to expect when it comes to Wide Angle lenses. What should I expect at 100%. Can I get the clarity from a prime in a Zoom?


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amfoto1
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Oct 24, 2013 20:21 |  #10

Do you have a "protection" filter on the lens? If so, try taking it off and reshoot your test shots.

1st image example: low contrast, and micro contrast is necessary to give the appearance of sharpness. Image would likely improve with some boost in contrast and perhaps some sharpening.

2nd image example: better contrast, but f11 on an 18MP camera is starting to get into diffraction territory. Try f8 or f5.6. They should appear sharper.

Don't evaluate sharpness looking at the images at 100% magnification. If you are using a modern monitor set to its native resolution, that's like looking at a print four and a half feet wide, made from an image sensor less than 1 inch wide, and viewing that large print from aroudn 18" away. It's sort of like making a massive amount of enlargement, then inspecting the results under a microscope.


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Oct 24, 2013 20:23 |  #11

xarqi wrote in post #16396784 (external link)
The flat lighting isn't helping. I'm not sure how sharp the 17-55 is at 17, but stopped down a bit as you've done it should be more than acceptable.

Apply a bit of sharpening (or "clarity" if you use LR) and see where that gets you. What comes out of the camera is just the start of the process.

I've tried all kinds of combination with the lens and nothing came out clear at all. I tried all the F-stops and found it was best around f4.5 to f8.0. My first copy wouldn't even get sharp until and only at F8.0.

Yeah it was overcast, which could have something to do with the watercolor effect to the image. But the lens itself wasn't getting the focus correctly either. Even with IS on or off. It didn't matter.


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Darhawk
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Oct 24, 2013 20:25 |  #12

amfoto1 wrote in post #16396860 (external link)
Do you have a "protection" filter on the lens? If so, try taking it off and reshoot your test shots.

f11 on an 18MP camera is starting to get into diffraction territory. Try f8 or f5.6. They should appear sharper.

Don't evaluate sharpness looking at the images at 100% magnification. If you are using a modern monitor set to its native resolution, that's like looking at a print four and a half feet wide, made from an image sensor less than 1 inch wide, and viewing that large print from aroudn 18" away. It's sort of like making a massive amount of enlargement, then inspecting the results under a microscope.

Nope no filter on the front. I have always had sharp lenses, but this one was a dud. I am just wondering more about the level of clarity on wide angle lenses. I am not really trying to test out my lens or ask about if it's a sharp copy or not. I believe I know how to do that well.


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Oct 24, 2013 21:51 |  #13

Looking at these shots, especially the last one, sth is definitely not right. 17-55 produces crisp images at 17mm.




  
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MalVeauX
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Oct 24, 2013 23:02 |  #14

Heya,

Well in general, wide angle isn't going to produce the sharpness of a single subject in your photo the way a 35mm~50mm will. Leaves will be soft, if you look at them at 100% crop on a monitor (as someone said above). It will be sharp, but only if you look at it the way it's going to be printed.

When I first got my 11mm Tonk, I thought it was way too soft because I was inspecting tree bark details, and the leaves seemed soft. Then I had to retrain my thought process, because I was used to hitting 50mm focuses with a prime, and had to remember that I was not using a really sharp prime anymore that was also mid range focal length. I was ultra wide angle. There was going to be some distortion and individual subjects were going to be softer, even if focused at infinity. Now I look at the images from my wide angle 11mm like they were going to be viewed, which is a lot smaller than if you look at them at 100% crop on a 1080p monitor for example, that's now how they look printed. But this is why pixel peeping and all is about.

I still think your lens seems pretty soft, especially compared to a basic prime lens. I expect some softness. But yours does seem to be quite soft. It could just be a defective copy. Any chance you can trade it in and get a new one?

Very best,


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Oct 25, 2013 09:01 as a reply to  @ MalVeauX's post |  #15

I have the 17 55 and I find it needs a tripod to give really sharp images but maybe it's just me shaking the camera when pushin the shoot button


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Leaves look like watercolors...Normal? with a wide angle zoom?
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