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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 15 Feb 2015 (Sunday) 12:49
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Is my 50mm "soft"?

 
jeljohns
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Feb 15, 2015 12:49 |  #1

I just did a focus test on my 50mm 1.4. It focuses fine (no back or front focus) but to me just looks soft. This is the same way most photographs taken with this lens look too. When I look at the 100% crop of this next to my 35mm 1.4 it just looks BAD.


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P4ulG
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Feb 15, 2015 12:55 |  #2

If you printed the focus chart on to ordinary print paper it will be a tad porous and the edges will show slightly fuzzy i.e. not crisp defined edges. This will give the impression of soft focusing.


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jeljohns
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Feb 15, 2015 13:08 as a reply to  @ P4ulG's post |  #3

That makes sense. It was printed on copy paper on an inkjet printer. Is there a better test to do to see if the lens has indeed "gone soft"?




  
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DreDaze
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Feb 15, 2015 18:08 |  #4

jeljohns wrote in post #17432901 (external link)
That makes sense. It was printed on copy paper on an inkjet printer. Is there a better test to do to see if the lens has indeed "gone soft"?

what do regular shots with the lens look like?


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jeljohns
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Feb 16, 2015 06:19 |  #5

To me they also look a little soft.

Here is a 100% crop. Top image is now. Bottom image is this same lens 6 months ago. Both taken at f/3.5 SOOC.
I see a clear difference in sharpness between the two photographs.


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yogestee
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Feb 18, 2015 05:14 |  #6

jeljohns wrote in post #17433988 (external link)
To me they also look a little soft.

Here is a 100% crop. Top image is now. Bottom image is this same lens 6 months ago. Both taken at f/3.5 SOOC.
I see a clear difference in sharpness between the two photographs.

thumbnail
Hosted photo: posted by jeljohns in
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forum: Canon EF and EF-S Lenses


thumbnail
Hosted photo: posted by jeljohns in
./showthread.php?p=174​33988&i=i245762313
forum: Canon EF and EF-S Lenses


Are you trying to say your lens deteriorated over the last six months?

BTW,, both pics look sharp to me. Now stop pixel peeping ;)


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titi_67207
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Feb 18, 2015 05:33 as a reply to  @ yogestee's post |  #7

Even with peeping, I don't see any sharpness differences between the two shots. Maybe it's the dog which is softer...

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smythie
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Feb 18, 2015 05:54 |  #8

The bottom image is helped by the higher contrast lighting in the scene. They both look similar, particularly if you take into account the different lighting


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amfoto1
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Feb 18, 2015 10:02 |  #9

When is the last time you cleaned your camera's sensor?

Yes, it's possible for a lens to "go soft" by losing calibration over time with wear and tear or if it were bumped and an element got de-centered.

More likely would be gradual accumulation of dust and other "stuff" on your camera's sensor, increasingly degrading resolution.

Even more likely would be some slight camera shake blur effecting one of the images.

Also, are you making a fair comparison? Frankly I'd expect a $1500 L-series lens to out-resolve a $400 non-L.

However, I really don't see much difference between the two 50mm images shot 6 months apart.

One solution... stop looking at 100% crops. At least don't use that high magnification to evaluate sharpness. If, say, you have an 18MP camera, viewing it's images at 100% is like making a five foot wide (or tall) print and evaluating it from 18-24" away. You normally wouldn't view such a large print anywhere near that closely. Back off to 35% for more reasonable evaluation. Even at 35% an image from an 18MP camera is equal to approx. a 16x24" print.

Your test shot of the focus target is significantly underexposed, too... which I often think gives the impression of softness, too.

Plus, the test shot with the focus target is at f1.4 (which is widely known to be softer in the EF 50/1.4), while the two dog shots are done at f3.5, which is a much sharper aperture with that lens.


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Sdiver2489
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Feb 18, 2015 20:31 |  #10

Shots near MFD can be softer as well....not that I think either is unacceptably sharp


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Charlie
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Feb 18, 2015 20:35 |  #11

There are only a handful of sharp wide open 50's, most from zeiss, leica, and sigma.


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ejenner
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Feb 18, 2015 22:43 |  #12

It should be decent in the center at f3.5 though. But I've never compared mine against a 35. It's a bit sharper than the 24-105 in the center at f4 and about the same at f5.6+. And it's not very sharp at f1.4 compared to my sig 85.

I guess I test my lenses against others that I have mainly so I know what to expect. Then if something does happen I have a reference to go by. The problem is unless it is way out, it's hard to tell and for a $300 lens unless it gets way, way out, what are you going to do? The best way I have observed of seeing if a lens it likely way out is looking at the corners of a flat object and just checking that they are equally soft. I know there are other things that can make a lens soft without the corners looking weird, but it's the most obvious check to make and if the corners all look the same, it is pretty unlikely to be way off.


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CheshireCat
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Feb 19, 2015 14:52 |  #13

jeljohns wrote in post #17433988 (external link)
I see a clear difference in sharpness between the two photographs.

They are two different dogs. One of the them is probably sharper than the other :D

Jokes apart, lens performance is usually impacted at shorter focusing distances (second image).

The 50 is also a longer FL than 35, therefore:
- It will have a shallower DoF at the same distance.
- User error (camera/subject motion blur) is more likely to happen.

The 50/1.4 is an old low-cost design, you get what you pay for.
But you can get amazing images with it... if you are an amazing photographer.
Stop bothering the dogs, and go shooting ;-)a


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Is my 50mm "soft"?
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