Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1

Started Jun 16, 2013 | Questions
Mike Sivcevic
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Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
Jun 16, 2013

Aaaaarghhhh, typed 12 paragraphs, clicked "Post" and - puff, the whole thing disappeared!

Anyway, one of these days, a big decision needs to be made and I might need some help.

I won't retype the whole saga again, so just in short words ... I'm getting wide angle lens for my NEX-6, tossing up between SEL1018 and SEL16F28 with ECU1 adapter.

I know all the advantages of 1018 and all disadvantages of the 16mm combo and would love to have 1018, but wondering if there is a point at this price difference. The 1018 is around $1,000, the 16mm + ECU1 around $300 here in Australia.

The question is - is the image quality difference that big that it would be visible when viewing picture in full size on 1920x1200 screen or when printing A4 or even A3 prints?

I know that, when pixel peeping at 100% zoom, there is quite a difference in corners, but what's the "real world" difference.

<note to self: copy this whole thing into a bloody clipboard before it kaks itself again when pressing Post>

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Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake
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mike winslow
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Mike Sivcevic, Jun 16, 2013

My $0.02 worth of opinion  - it probably depends on how well trained that your eye is.  Personally, I have the less expensive alternative, and for what I use it for, such a massive field of view is rather overwhelming..  I guess that if you are like me, and easily overwhelmed then go the cheaper route if money is important to you, and later, as you start to see the faults, then upgrade, and sell your original config if you want to offset the cost..  If money isnt an object, then buy the best that you can up-front.. I'm rather novice, maybe.. an engineer more than an artist.. But imaging since 1980..

In that regard, we've become very picky in the last few years . ;}

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bloomoose
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Mike Sivcevic, Jun 16, 2013

I used the 16 mm + UWA adapter on a trip to Dresden. Stopping down I still wasn´t satisfied with the image quality I got and bought the 10-18. I like it much better, but I am not happy with the "ghosting" of that lens.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200490932610036&l=e8d030069f

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200490960330729&l=7a8ff5928b

I sold the 16 + adapter combo and now use the Sigma 19 2.8 and 10-18 for wide angle and ultra wide angle.

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John Knuhtsen
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Mike Sivcevic, Jun 16, 2013

I found this article quite interesting. It says that the converter is corrected exactly for the pancake and even makes it better than without.

http://www.amazon.com/review/RIL8PLI8OQP10/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B003WO7MZC&nodeID=&tag=&linkCode=

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Keit ll
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to John Knuhtsen, Jun 16, 2013

That is not an article , its a 'customer' review on a commercial website !

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Keith C

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Digital Nigel
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Mike Sivcevic, Jun 16, 2013

I've owned the 16mm ever since I bought my first NEX-5 some years ago, but used it little as it wasn't much wider than my 18-55 and 18-200 zooms. However, I've finally got around to buying the UWA, and am surprised how good the combo is (I certainly don't feel the need to rush out and buy a more expensive replacement).

Here's three examples of it in action:

An indoor shot with lots of sharp edges and straight lines (a good test of sharpness and distortion). It was taken in the Seaton Tramway Riverside depot.

I wish I'd included a bit more sky and less river in this shot! I hadn't noticed all the contrails when I shot it. It's of the River Thames, with the Tate Modern Gallery on the left and St Paul's Cathedral on the right. I needed the wide angle to include them both in the same shot from Southwark Bridge.

This one was on a series to check out the lens quality at different apertures.

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GaryW
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Mike Sivcevic, Jun 16, 2013

Mike Sivcevic wrote:

...

I know that, when pixel peeping at 100% zoom, there is quite a difference in corners, but what's the "real world" difference.

You don't have to peep at 100% zoom to see the difference in corners at wider apertures, which might bother some.  If you're able to step the aperture down there's probably still a difference at 100% zoom, but only you can say whether or not you'll be obsessive about it.  You might notice the difference more indoors when you'll be using wider apertures.  Also keep in mind that the corners also have to have something interesting in them in order to be noticed.

For me, the price difference is enough to stick with the 16/UWA combo.  For some others, knowing that they could do better would bother them to no end; they should get the 10-18.

<note to self: copy this whole thing into a bloody clipboard before it kaks itself again when pressing Post>

I have to do that frequently with DPR, but it's mostly when I forget to finish.  In other words, I come back later to finish, but the website has reached its timeout.  You have to type and submit the whole thing in one session.

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Gary W.

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GeRoche
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Mike Sivcevic, Jun 16, 2013

I guess it depends on how important the extreme wide angle is for your style of shooting.

If a wide angle lens is your main tool ( or will be ) then it's worth getting the 1018 but the price difference between the two is so huge that I would first try the 16mm + UWA to see  if it's good enough for you.

The issue with the 16mm is getting a good copy and even a good one stopped down still blurs the extreme corners - almost every example I've seen here and other forums ( including my own experience ) shows soft blurry bottom left corner.

If you decide to get the 16mm, don't just accept the first one you try ( especially if you buy from a reputable retailer ) - test it and if the corner sharpness is not acceptable, return it and try another one ( I've gone through 3 to find one that is ok ).

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Mike Sivcevic
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Mike Sivcevic, Jun 16, 2013

Thanks guys, really appreciate your input. it seems that general consensus is what my gut feeling tells me, get the 16mm combo and see how it goes. It can always be sold if it sucks.

You're right, GaryW, the corners usually don't have much interesting in, at least not in my style of shooting.

It's a shame to miss out on the extra 2mm, OSS, convenience of a zoom lens and the better IQ, but for extra $700 I might get lots of loving from some fast primes.

Thanks again guys, I'll go with 16mm + ECU1, I hope it all works well.

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Joachim Wulfers
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to GeRoche, Jun 16, 2013

GeRoche wrote:

The issue with the 16mm is getting a good copy and even a good one stopped down still blurs the extreme corners - almost every example I've seen here and other forums ( including my own experience ) shows soft blurry bottom left corner.

I guess I was lucky when I bought my SEL16/2.8. All the air plane pictures in my gallery were taken with it shortly after I got it.

Here is a more recent picture I took with the SEL16/2.8 and VCL ECU1 at f8, 1/800, ISO100.

I don't think I have any issues with blurry left bottom corners

Joachim

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gustabod
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Mike Sivcevic, Jun 16, 2013

Mike

had the same dilemma recently, tried the 10-18 at the shops and ended up with the UWA converter, couldn't justify the extra $$$, no regrets to date, cheers

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tex
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Hi, Pamela. i am very interested...
In reply to bloomoose, Jun 16, 2013

...in your experiences with the 10-18, which I have.  Do you find that the ghosting happens with particular f stops or FL's, or combinations of both?  Would love to read your insights.

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Rome A
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Mike Sivcevic, Jun 16, 2013

But the prize of the 10-18mm includes image stabilization, UWA to WA which is a nice walk around, too. The UWA has less barrel distortion than my 16mm (with Sony ECL-ECF1 fisheye conv).

Shot @10mm:

Shot @ 18mm:

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MrT-Man
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Rome A, Jun 16, 2013

My problem with the SEL16F28 isn't the sharpness or blurry corners. It's the lack of color/contrast. I don't own the SEL1018 but it seems to be considerably better in that regard.

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ijustloveshooting
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pancake + converter + 0 correction
In reply to Mike Sivcevic, Jun 16, 2013

i find my combo is very satisfying, i'm not having annoying distortion at all

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Clayton1985
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Mike Sivcevic, Jun 16, 2013

IMO, the 10-18 is the best UWA zoom for any mirrorless system - it is a great lens.  If you know your style and realize that you would only use it sparingly then making this decision based on the price difference may be prudent.  However, if you know that this would be one of your go to lenses and that you'd use it a lot then I would find a way to justify the cost ..  otherwise you'll regret settling for the option that didn't really meet your needs.

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GeRoche
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Joachim Wulfers, Jun 16, 2013

Joachim Wulfers wrote:

GeRoche wrote:

The issue with the 16mm is getting a good copy and even a good one stopped down still blurs the extreme corners - almost every example I've seen here and other forums ( including my own experience ) shows soft blurry bottom left corner.

I guess I was lucky when I bought my SEL16/2.8. All the air plane pictures in my gallery were taken with it shortly after I got it.

Here is a more recent picture I took with the SEL16/2.8 and VCL ECU1 at f8, 1/800, ISO100.

I don't think I have any issues with blurry left bottom corners

Joachim

Actually, you do! At this angle almost any lens/shot will show some blur. This is not a good example.

I am not criticising the 16mm - I've got it as well and I encouraged the OP to get it but the truth is, it does suffer from corner softness.

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John Knuhtsen
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Keit ll, Jun 16, 2013

Well, yes. But technically it is possible to cancell some aberrations with such a big surface that ecu1 has. So I belived something of the message. Pancake optics puts some very heavy demands on physical dimensions.

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blue_skies
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Mike Sivcevic, Jun 16, 2013

Mike Sivcevic wrote:

Aaaaarghhhh, typed 12 paragraphs, clicked "Post" and - puff, the whole thing disappeared!

Anyway, one of these days, a big decision needs to be made and I might need some help.

I won't retype the whole saga again, so just in short words ... I'm getting wide angle lens for my NEX-6, tossing up between SEL1018 and SEL16F28 with ECU1 adapter.

I know all the advantages of 1018 and all disadvantages of the 16mm combo and would love to have 1018, but wondering if there is a point at this price difference. The 1018 is around $1,000, the 16mm + ECU1 around $300 here in Australia.

The question is - is the image quality difference that big that it would be visible when viewing picture in full size on 1920x1200 screen or when printing A4 or even A3 prints?

I know that, when pixel peeping at 100% zoom, there is quite a difference in corners, but what's the "real world" difference.

<note to self: copy this whole thing into a bloody clipboard before it kaks itself again when pressing Post>

Hi Mike,

I have been looking at the E1018, and am currently considering the Touit 12mm.

Unlike many that complain, I am satisfied with the combo: I have two sets of the E16 with the VCL-ECU1 WA adapter, and both behave rather similar. There is smearing of the corners at f/2.8 (both in 16mm and 12mm view) which can be exaggerated by the image framing. But if you stop this lens down to f/4, the blurring is greatly reduced. Go past f/5.6 and the combo is quite usable.

If you have a scene in which you want to protect the corners, then focus manually, making sure that the DOF covers the corners (the blurring will go away to a larger extent), or shoot two frames (center and edge focus) and overlay them in post.

For $300 it is a very gratifying combo. (If you use it the right way).

The E1018 retains its sharpness (but only has f/4), but I see no real advantage in this lens, other than the zoom-range (which replaces crop in post). If the E1018 was a $500 lens, it'd be a great buy, but I don't think that this lens is up to the SEL18200 or the E24Z price/performance ratio - hence I opted against it. (It is however up to par with the ultra-wide zooms, and requires no special handling, unlike the E16).

I am still on the fence on the Touit 12mm (T12). This lens does show the typical Zeiss sharpness wide open (f/2.8) and this is definitely a step above both the E16+WA and the E1018. It is a pricey lens, but as price/performance go, it scores definitely higher, imho.

Reason I am on the fence is that the E16+WA works for me. I have no need to add another lens at the moment. Translating this for you means that, for me, the E16+WA would be a better path to take than the T12 or the E1018.

Or, to look at it this way: the E16+WA + E35 + E85 equals the E1018 + E50 or a single T12.

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Cheers,
Henry

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Gregory Kemp
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Re: Image quality: SEL1018 vs SEL16F28 + VCL ECU1
In reply to Mike Sivcevic, Jun 16, 2013

I haven't used the SEL1018, but I can share a bit of opinion on the SEL16F28.  I have been using it since I got my original NEX-5, and the IQ is plenty good.  I love the flexibility of the 16, with both of the adapters, and its incredibly small size by itself.  This is great for portability.  If I need a high quality wide, I have my A-mount Tokina 11-16.  The 16F28 has great IQ, with the adapters, you loose some IQ in the corners, and its really about F/4-4.5 when shooting wide open with either the fisheye or wide.  I don't know of any other lens that can be a pancake, a wide or a fisheye, and is that small.  I can fit my NEX5 with all three in just a little more space than my Tokina 11-16 requires in my bag.  So, I think it really depends on what you think you'll like more - do you want the highest IQ possible AND zoom range - then go with the 10-18, but if you want compactness, flexibility and bang for the buck, go with the 16.  For the needs you've described, I don't know that you'll see the difference in IQ.

Greg

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