SEL20F28 impresses and puzzles at the same time

Started Apr 10, 2013 | Discussions
blue_skies
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SEL20F28 impresses and puzzles at the same time
Apr 10, 2013

In the next post, I'll show some images, but first something that still stumps me.

I used a tripod, and remote to capture a series of images of different scenes.

Only the CV21 was focused manually, the others were E mounted and were focused using AF.

With the remote, each shot is re-focused. Remote shutter is different from a normal shoot, as that it complete refocuses before the shot - a normal shot will go from the pre-focus position.

Anyways, I see consistent differences with the E20 and the S19, in that the E20 front-focuses (more sharpness in foreground), and the S19 back-focuses (more sharpness in background). This happens in different scenes at different apertures. (I shot in JPG+RAW, but only looked at the JPG results).

Also, there was little wind at times, and this could perhaps also explain some of the weirdness, although, I used the Nex-7 and a Nex-6 for this, and both cameras show identical behavior. E.g. I have a shot where the E20 focuses very sharp at the left edge, but not at the foreground, whereas the S19 focuses sharp on the foreground, but not at the (very) left edge.

DOF does not explain this. Camera (tripod?) and possibly decentering perhaps, but for now, I am betting on in-camera lens corrections that may have a hand in this (straightening of lines), and are caused by the different optical formulas of both lenses.

Also, I am convinced that the center resolution in CDAF causes the two lenses to pick a slightly different focus point. The E20 seem sharper in the center, and picks a better focus point than the S19, given DOF in the shots I considered.

I have to go back and try some more differences (I have 2 S19, 1 E20, 2 E16, 2 ECU1 - as I am splitting the sets - one set will be a gift) when I have time to make some more comparisons.

Aside from this strange quirk, I find the E20 and S19 fairly comparable. The E20 does seem a tad softer at the corners, but it seems sharper in the center.

I wonder what RAW processing yields ...

  • Different lenses (E16, S19, E20, CV21, E24) f/2.8 images in next thread, down-sampled to 16Mp.

Quirks highlighted below:

Scene 2 - tripod setup

Scene 2 left edge - E20 on left, S19 on right

Scene 2 bottom right far corner - E20 on left, S19 on right

Scene 2 center - E20 on left, S19 on right.

Scene 1 - E20 on left, S19 on right - clearly visible that E20 front-focuses and S19 back-focuses

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blue_skies
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Re: SEL20F28 impresses and puzzles at the same time
In reply to blue_skies, Apr 10, 2013

E20 with ECU1 at f/2.8

E16 at f/2.8

S19 at f/2.8

E1650P at 20mm and f/4.0 (min aperture)

E20 at f/2.8

CV21 at f/4.0 (min aperture)

E24Z at f/2.8

From scene 2

S19 at f/2.8

E20 at f/2.8

Quirks below - E20 always at left, S19 always at right

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DtEW
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Re: SEL20F28 impresses and puzzles at the same time
In reply to blue_skies, Apr 10, 2013

Do you have any particular thoughts on the SEL16F28 vs the SEL20F28?

(In my currently ignorant opinion, Sony missed an opportunity to nab upgraders by neither increasing the speed nor including OSS in the new lens. But not being an optics engineer, this might not even be something that was possible. Going to 20mm was a good move now that there is the SEL1018, though.)

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blue_skies
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Re: f/5.6 images
In reply to blue_skies, Apr 10, 2013

E16 at f/5.6

S19 at f/5.6

E1650P at 20mm and f/5.6

E20 at f/5.6

CV21 at f/5.6

E24Z at f/5.6

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nrcole
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Re: SEL20F28 impresses and puzzles at the same time
In reply to DtEW, Apr 10, 2013

Canon made an F2 22mm pancake, wish Sony had done the same. The time that I want to have a tiny lens and slip the camera in my jacket pocket is usually when going out at night, so with no real low light advantage this is a tough sell. OSS would have been a deal maker big time.

I like the rendering though, even over the CV21 which has always been a lens I love to see samples from.

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blue_skies
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Re: SEL20F28 impresses and puzzles at the same time
In reply to DtEW, Apr 10, 2013

DtEW wrote:

Do you have any particular thoughts on the SEL16F28 vs the SEL20F28?

(In my currently ignorant opinion, Sony missed an opportunity to nab upgraders by neither increasing the speed nor including OSS in the new lens. But not being an optics engineer, this might not even be something that was possible. Going to 20mm was a good move now that there is the SEL1018, though.)

Yes, I have always found the E16 quite usable  but it usually comes in my bag already mated with the ECU1 adapter, to make for a 12mm effective FL - I like the 12mm view at times.

By itself, I find the 16mm not a good FL for a prime lens - it is too wide. I also did not like the distortion that it shows if people faces are near the edges. The E20 solves this, imho, it is a perfect lens to bring as the sole lens to social gatherings.

Both lenses make the camera extremely compact. With the 5N, I can put the camera with either E16 or E20 in a belt pouch, and it goes unnoticed.

I did bring the E24Z to indoor parties, but at f/1.8 the DOF is simply too narrow for a number of shots (when people are not standing in the focal plane). Better to use flash sometimes.

I don't like f/2.8 per se, based on my travels with the Sigma 19 and 30, but it is better than e.g. f/4 to f/5 that you get in the kit lens.

I think that the E20 is very expensive for what it is, and I agree with you, that for the price delta to the Sigma 19, the E20 could have added more than simply 'pancake'. E.g. OSS or f/2.0 would have been a big bonus, imho.

I am not sure that the E20 will be an 'upgraders' target, given its cost. I also do not think that it will be a kit lens, also given its cost. But, if the cost is not an issue, the lens is a nice addition.

For those that have the compact 'almost pancake' E1650P, the E20 does not add much indeed (1 stop, no OSS), I would recommend the E35 (f/1.8) for $100 more.

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007peter
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Do NOT use AF in Lens Test. ReShoot with Peaking in MF. Fix that Focus
In reply to blue_skies, Apr 10, 2013

blue_skies wrote:

I I have a shot where the E20 focuses very sharp at the left edge, but not at the foreground, whereas the S19 focuses sharp on the foreground, but not at the (very) left edge.

Sound like wrongly focal point between each lens swap

DOF does not explain this. Camera (tripod?) and possibly decentering perhaps, but for now, I am betting on in-camera lens corrections that may have a hand in this (straightening of lines), and are caused by the different optical formulas of both lenses.

You should have DISABLE IN CAMERA CORRECTION to reduced outside factor (cpu/in camera software corner sharpening) that is ruining your test results

Let the chips fall where they may. Don't HIDE or MAKE EXCUSE for Sony.  Please show each lens "raw & uncorrected" image.  This is the only way we can compare a lens optics.

Otherwise, we never know if Sony is sharper due to in-camera-corner-sharping as part of its software corrections, or as your own result show, make it worst and produce mushy corners.

Either way, your test is ruin by enabling the in-camera-correction

Aside from this strange quirk, I find the E20 and S19 fairly comparable. The E20 does seem a tad softer at the corners, but it seems sharper in the center.

I cannot say which is lens is sharper because as you indicated, CDAF shoot different AF points after each lens swap.  The only valid way to compare lens is to MANUAL FOCUS with peaking.  This way, you take the "AF ERROR" out of the testing equation

I'll look forward to your re-shoot.  The current results are invalidated and I cannot form any conclusion when I doubt the test results itself.

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wb2trf
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Please stop shouting
In reply to 007peter, Apr 10, 2013

007peter's comments are way too harsh.  For openers, stop shouting, get rid of the underlining, all caps and bold.  We can read.  Your emphasis doesn't improve your argument.

If there is an interaction between the lens and the AF that causes problem, why wouldn't we want to know that?  Maybe, like most people, we want to use the lens with AF and JPEG, not raw and MF.  If it doesn't work well when used as AF JPEG, that's important.

Secondly why do I care if "in camera corner sharpening" is at work or not?  "Lens optics" is a vanishing idea in a world of software correction, af and IS.  It isn't as though someone is going to mount this lens on a 1970's slr.

007peter wrote:

blue_skies wrote:

I I have a shot where the E20 focuses very sharp at the left edge, but not at the foreground, whereas the S19 focuses sharp on the foreground, but not at the (very) left edge.

Sound like wrongly focal point between each lens swap

DOF does not explain this. Camera (tripod?) and possibly decentering perhaps, but for now, I am betting on in-camera lens corrections that may have a hand in this (straightening of lines), and are caused by the different optical formulas of both lenses.

You should have DISABLE IN CAMERA CORRECTION to reduced outside factor (cpu/in camera software corner sharpening) that is ruining your test results

Let the chips fall where they may. Don't HIDE or MAKE EXCUSE for Sony.  Please show each lens "raw & uncorrected" image.  This is the only way we can compare a lens optics.

Otherwise, we never know if Sony is sharper due to in-camera-corner-sharping as part of its software corrections, or as your own result show, make it worst and produce mushy corners.

Either way, your test is ruin by enabling the in-camera-correction

Aside from this strange quirk, I find the E20 and S19 fairly comparable. The E20 does seem a tad softer at the corners, but it seems sharper in the center.

I cannot say which is lens is sharper because as you indicated, CDAF shoot different AF points after each lens swap.  The only valid way to compare lens is to MANUAL FOCUS with peaking.  This way, you take the "AF ERROR" out of the testing equation

I'll look forward to your re-shoot.  The current results are invalidated and I cannot form any conclusion when I doubt the test results itself.

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DtEW
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Re: SEL20F28 impresses and puzzles at the same time
In reply to blue_skies, Apr 10, 2013

I feel the need to concur a little bit (although not the "this is totally useless!" tone) with 007peter in asking about uncorrected images (although I will also remember to apply this in an egalitarian fashion, esp. when we get to talking about correction-needy m43 lenses).

Aside from the blurred 2-3% extreme corners, I feel that weakness of the SEL16F28 is its progressively worse CA from the center of the frame to outwards.  I am very curious whether this might have been improved with the SEL20F28... but that does require an uncorrected image.

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blue_skies
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Re: Do NOT use AF in Lens Test. ReShoot with Peaking in MF. Fix that Focus
In reply to 007peter, Apr 10, 2013

007peter wrote:

blue_skies wrote:

I I have a shot where the E20 focuses very sharp at the left edge, but not at the foreground, whereas the S19 focuses sharp on the foreground, but not at the (very) left edge.

Sound like wrongly focal point between each lens swap

DOF does not explain this. Camera (tripod?) and possibly decentering perhaps, but for now, I am betting on in-camera lens corrections that may have a hand in this (straightening of lines), and are caused by the different optical formulas of both lenses.

You should have DISABLE IN CAMERA CORRECTION to reduced outside factor (cpu/in camera software corner sharpening) that is ruining your test results

Let the chips fall where they may. Don't HIDE or MAKE EXCUSE for Sony.  Please show each lens "raw & uncorrected" image.  This is the only way we can compare a lens optics.

Otherwise, we never know if Sony is sharper due to in-camera-corner-sharping as part of its software corrections, or as your own result show, make it worst and produce mushy corners.

Either way, your test is ruin by enabling the in-camera-correction

Aside from this strange quirk, I find the E20 and S19 fairly comparable. The E20 does seem a tad softer at the corners, but it seems sharper in the center.

I cannot say which is lens is sharper because as you indicated, CDAF shoot different AF points after each lens swap.  The only valid way to compare lens is to MANUAL FOCUS with peaking.  This way, you take the "AF ERROR" out of the testing equation

I'll look forward to your re-shoot.  The current results are invalidated and I cannot form any conclusion when I doubt the test results itself.

Although I agree with you, I did this test to quantify the differences in my preferred workflow - which is AF with E-mount lenses, using JPG capture. I do use DMF a lot when snapping around, to make sure focus is critically adjusted, but with the Nex-6 I am more inclined to rely on AF in social settings than with the previous Nex cameras.

Also, with FL around 20mm, I did not expect AF to be critical - the DOF is already larger than that of longer FLs.

I am sure that there will be more comparisons - I did expect the S19 to be optically stronger than the E20, meaning that the E20 relies on software correction or lens profiles. Showing this in the RAW has no value to me - I would still compare the difference after post (meaning that I would need a E20 lens profile which not yet exist). To me the post-edit, or OOC JPG, are most meaningful.

This does bode for both the S19 and S30, they are two impressive lenses, and definitely a must have for sharpness.

But I plan to use the E20 in lieu of the E16 to make for a very compact Nex setup.

I am satisfied that the E20 yields acceptable images. I did not upload f/8 images, but I can already confirm that both the S19 and the E1650P beat the E20 in sharpness at the edges for sure.

The CV21 seems to be the sharpest overall, but it is in the center only, and this lens has the most field curvature, so it is a dichotomy, if edge-to-edge sharpness is desired, it is not a stellar lens. The odd thing is that the E20 seems to mimic some of the CV21's behavior: sharp center and soft corners/edges.

Performance wise, I would rank these lenses as follows:

  1. S19
  2. E1650 (at 20mm) (f/4)
  3. CV21 (f/4)
  4. E20
  5. E16

Size-wise, this list is of course inverted Both the CV21 and the E20 seem to suffer from field curvature. Neither are as bad as the E16, but the effect is more noticeable than on the E1650 or the S19, and it never really goes away.

At first, I thought that it was DOF related (2mm extra makes a difference), but the S19 remains sharp at said corners and edges.

I was hoping for a (much) closer gap between the S19 and the E20 (after corrections), but it is what it is. I guess the S19 will live on in the camera bag, yet I somehow expect the E20 to see more (social) action.

For landscape and architecture type of shots, I would definitely take the S19!

The lens that impresses me more and more is the E1650P - with the lens corrections applied it does rival the Sigmas for sharpness, both at 20 and at 30mm settings. (Note - I did not disable the OSS on the tripod, ah well.)

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BigG30
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Wow - 16-50PZ impresses!
In reply to blue_skies, Apr 10, 2013

I've found the 16-50PZ to be very sharp from 20mm to 30mm, and it's fair to say it rivals prime lenses at stopped down apertures based on your results too.

Great lens by Sony.

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Annex
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Re: Wow - 16-50PZ impresses!
In reply to BigG30, Apr 10, 2013

BigG30 wrote:

I've found the 16-50PZ to be very sharp from 20mm to 30mm, and it's fair to say it rivals prime lenses at stopped down apertures based on your results too.

Great lens by Sony.

Agree.

However widely panned by miss-informed people (including on this forum) based on uncorrected Raws.

16-50 is a great lens.... but only when corrected....

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GaryW
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Re: Do NOT use AF in Lens Test. ReShoot with Peaking in MF. Fix that Focus
In reply to 007peter, Apr 10, 2013

007peter wrote:

blue_skies wrote:

I I have a shot where the E20 focuses very sharp at the left edge, but not at the foreground, whereas the S19 focuses sharp on the foreground, but not at the (very) left edge.

Sound like wrongly focal point between each lens swap

DOF does not explain this. Camera (tripod?) and possibly decentering perhaps, but for now, I am betting on in-camera lens corrections that may have a hand in this (straightening of lines), and are caused by the different optical formulas of both lenses.

You should have DISABLE IN CAMERA CORRECTION to reduced outside factor (cpu/in camera software corner sharpening) that is ruining your test results

You are just assuming that that is the problem.  Unless the distortion is very extreme, I don't think it would be so severe.  It could be extreme field curvature, not all unlike the 16mm and some other lenses.

Let the chips fall where they may. Don't HIDE or MAKE EXCUSE for Sony.  Please show each lens "raw & uncorrected" image.  This is the only way we can compare a lens optics.

It would help to determine whether or not it is contributing to any artifacts, but it has nothing with hiding or making excuses.  In its final form, people will want to use the lens after corrections, so at the end of the day, that is what needs to be compared.

Otherwise, we never know if Sony is sharper due to in-camera-corner-sharping as part of its software corrections, or as your own result show, make it worst and produce mushy corners.

But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter a lot why it is, as that is the way it is.  It's not like we're going to hack the lens and make it work differently.

Either way, your test is ruin by enabling the in-camera-correction

Hardly, the test is correct as far as in-camera correction-- it's testing in the way we would use it.

Now, there may be other things about the test that are wrong.  (Where was it focused?  Were all of the settings the same or was something forgotten?)

Aside from this strange quirk, I find the E20 and S19 fairly comparable. The E20 does seem a tad softer at the corners, but it seems sharper in the center.

I cannot say which is lens is sharper because as you indicated, CDAF shoot different AF points after each lens swap.  The only valid way to compare lens is to MANUAL FOCUS with peaking.  This way, you take the "AF ERROR" out of the testing equation

But if one tends to use AF, it would be good to note AF errors if they are common.  So here again, there is value in testing as-shot.

Now, if Henry is willing to do FURTHER testing, then, yes, manual focusing might  help determine if it really is back-focusing too much.  But without his test, how would you know that there was an issue in the first place?

(Is this difference something to do with PDAF vs. CDAF?)

I'll look forward to your re-shoot.  The current results are invalidated and I cannot form any conclusion when I doubt the test results itself.

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cxsparc
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Re: Do NOT use AF in Lens Test. ReShoot with Peaking in MF. Fix that Focus
In reply to blue_skies, Apr 10, 2013

AF is alright, but when you do comparison tests you do have to select a fixed AF section, otherwise the multi-AF will probably select different focal points in your scene. If you haven't checked where the camera focus-locked, your entire test has been - sorry- a waste of time, at least in making any claims on lens characteristics.

With the 5N, i use the touch-selection of the AF point, with other cameras you can select this in a different way.

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BigG30
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I compared mine to my Canon 17-55mm f/2.8
In reply to Annex, Apr 10, 2013

Annex wrote:

BigG30 wrote:

I've found the 16-50PZ to be very sharp from 20mm to 30mm, and it's fair to say it rivals prime lenses at stopped down apertures based on your results too.

Great lens by Sony.

Agree.

However widely panned by miss-informed people (including on this forum) based on uncorrected Raws.

16-50 is a great lens.... but only when corrected....

It rivaled my Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 (considered one of the best crop fast zooms) at f/5.6 to f/8, and was even sharper than the Canon in the middle around 20mm to 30mm. I did find the Canon was perhaps very slightly better in the corners, but I was blown away by how good this cheap, compact and lightweight the powerzoom was. A hugely underrated lens.

I'm going to post some comparisons with my Sony E 35mm f/1.8 and Sony E 50mm f/1.8 this weekend.

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Keit ll
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Re: I compared mine to my Canon 17-55mm f/2.8
In reply to BigG30, Apr 10, 2013

I would like to comment on your tripod setup. Unless it is unavoidable it is not a good idea to have the top centre column extended the way your picture shows.

This makes the whole tripod more prone to instability & shake particularly when using the shutter directly without any timer mode. Even when using a remote shutter release the setup is more liable to sway even if there is only a slight breeze or it can pickup vibrations from footsteps.

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007peter
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Not Harsh, I like Underlining, Bold, and every RICH TEXT option out there
In reply to wb2trf, Apr 10, 2013

wb2trf wrote:

007peter's comments are way too harsh.  For openers, stop shouting, get rid of the underlining, all caps and bold.  We can read.  Your emphasis doesn't improve your argument.

Sorry about that, but NOT everyone here TALK the way you do.  I'm not shouting, but I LOVE playing with Bold, Italic, Underlines, and every RICH TEXT options available.  If DPR add the color options, I'll be all over that too

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007peter
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I have Canon 17-55 f/2.8, I need to see PZ16-50 "uncorrected" image to
In reply to BigG30, Apr 10, 2013

BigG30 wrote:

It rivaled my Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 (considered one of the best crop fast zooms) at f/5.6 to f/8, and was even sharper than the Canon in the middle around 20mm to 30mm. I did find the Canon was perhaps very slightly better in the corners, but I was blown away by how good this cheap, compact and lightweight the powerzoom was. A hugely underrated lens.

I had Canon 17-55 f/2.8 as well.  Its one of the sharpest canon lens I'd ever own, and I owned about 19+ lens in my 8yrs with canon.

I love the fact that canon doesn't cheat and hides lens optical flaw with software correction on barrel distortion and CA. Why is this important?

because I can SEE how superior optic on Canon 17-55 justified its $1200 price tag over my Canon 17-85 IS lens which suffer poorly on barrel distortion.  If I pay over $1200 for any lens, I like to know that I'm paying for pure optical performance, and NOT Software Enhancement.

My Canon 17-85 (really bad Barrel/CA) can be sharper than Canon 17-55 using PT LENS software correction.  But I don't go around claiming that my 17-85 match my 17-55 because that is just cheating.

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BigG30
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The Canon is obviously better, but...
In reply to 007peter, Apr 10, 2013

007peter wrote:

BigG30 wrote:

It rivaled my Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 (considered one of the best crop fast zooms) at f/5.6 to f/8, and was even sharper than the Canon in the middle around 20mm to 30mm. I did find the Canon was perhaps very slightly better in the corners, but I was blown away by how good this cheap, compact and lightweight the powerzoom was. A hugely underrated lens.

I had Canon 17-55 f/2.8 as well.  Its one of the sharpest canon lens I'd ever own, and I owned about 19+ lens in my 8yrs with canon.

I love the fact that canon doesn't cheat and hides lens optical flaw with software correction on barrel distortion and CA. Why is this important?

because I can SEE how superior optic on Canon 17-55 justified its $1200 price tag over my Canon 17-85 IS lens which suffer poorly on barrel distortion.  If I pay over $1200 for any lens, I like to know that I'm paying for pure optical performance, and NOT Software Enhancement.

My Canon 17-85 (really bad Barrel/CA) can be sharper than Canon 17-55 using PT LENS software correction.  But I don't go around claiming that my 17-85 match my 17-55 because that is just cheating.

It's a superb lens (the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8) and clearly has an advantage with the f/2.8 through the whole zoom range. I was just quite surprised that the 16-50PZ was as good, if not better, than the 17-55mm f/2.8 when stopped down between the 20mm to 30mm range. I was expecting the 16-50 PZ to be rubbish, but it's an excellent, inexpensive pancake zoom that Sony have done very well with.

I do miss my Canon 17-55mm, but it's a completely different beast / tool.

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Annex
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Re: I have Canon 17-55 f/2.8, I need to see PZ16-50 "uncorrected" image to
In reply to 007peter, Apr 10, 2013

007peter wrote:

BigG30 wrote:

It rivaled my Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 (considered one of the best crop fast zooms) at f/5.6 to f/8, and was even sharper than the Canon in the middle around 20mm to 30mm. I did find the Canon was perhaps very slightly better in the corners, but I was blown away by how good this cheap, compact and lightweight the powerzoom was. A hugely underrated lens.

I had Canon 17-55 f/2.8 as well.  Its one of the sharpest canon lens I'd ever own, and I owned about 19+ lens in my 8yrs with canon.

I love the fact that canon doesn't cheat and hides lens optical flaw with software correction on barrel distortion and CA. Why is this important?

because I can SEE how superior optic on Canon 17-55 justified its $1200 price tag over my Canon 17-85 IS lens which suffer poorly on barrel distortion.  If I pay over $1200 for any lens, I like to know that I'm paying for pure optical performance, and NOT Software Enhancement.

My Canon 17-85 (really bad Barrel/CA) can be sharper than Canon 17-55 using PT LENS software correction.  But I don't go around claiming that my 17-85 match my 17-55 because that is just cheating.

How is software correction "cheating". It allows otherwise impossible lens designs.

I'm all for "cheating" if the end result is the same.

 Annex's gear list:Annex's gear list
Fujifilm X100S Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony Alpha 7R +1 more
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