The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)

Started 10 months ago | Photos
nrcole
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The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
10 months ago

A few shots from hiking the other weekend. First time I really gave the 18-55 a chance since I got my 5N, and whaddya know, I ended up leaving it on most the day.

The lens didn't magically get better in the past year, but I certainly did. We don't want to leave these lenses on all the time because they're not particularly fast and don't have a fancy distinction, but in most applications they perform admirably. With it's smooth manual ring, tight build, and metal casing, plus pretty decent sharpness and contrast, I think this lens punches above its weight in the 18-55 3.5-5.6 category. 
Anyways. Between that trip and all the hubbub about no premium zooms, I've been thinking about this a lot lately.

Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to nrcole, 10 months ago

I totally agree. This is a GREAT lens. I do not hold the same opinion on the 55-210 which is not in the same league.

I went cycletouring last week (normally use Panasonic G1 for that) and used NEX-7 with 18-55. Brought 55-210 as well but only took a few pics with that. Left other lenses at home.

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expireduser
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to nrcole, 10 months ago

Beautiful shots! Looks like a fantastic trip too.

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Keit ll
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to expireduser, 10 months ago

In my opinion the standard kit is a good lens but not a great one.... It can take a lot of sharpening , great lenses do not need so much sharpening.

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Keith C

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Elyharbour
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to Keit ll, 10 months ago

Different meanings for different people I guess. But having the Sigma primes as my alternatives, I still default to the 18-55 most of the time. Real-world shots are indistinguishable and although the primes are a (little) smaller, in reality it makes no difference to me. I'll probably keep the Sigmas, but my "go to" lens is the 18-55. In the end it doesn't matter whether it's GOOD or GREAT, but am I happy with the results - answer is yes.

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wwwOKCOMEONcom
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to nrcole, 10 months ago

the 2nd one is HDR ,right ?

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kerpan
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to nrcole, 10 months ago

When ob vacation in Rome, I used my 18-55 for around 80 percent of my shots.  For the rest, I used mostly the 16mm + UWA, with some occasional shots with my Nikon 100mm, Series E lens (the original Series E -- which was sort of an analog precursor of Nex).

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Chris 1
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to Elyharbour, 10 months ago

Nice shots! I totally agree, it is a great lens. is there a better kit zoom? After almost exclusively using the Sigmas, I too am using the kit routinely.

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Jonathan_Whiteman
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to kerpan, 10 months ago

Agreed, as a "city break" lens 18-55mm is hard to beat and the kit lens is particularly good (at least mine is).  I'm going to force myself to try the 20mm only for an upcoming trip to Prague but I might sneak the kit lens in the bag (it's so small and light I might as well :))

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nrcole
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to wwwOKCOMEONcom, 10 months ago

Just one shot. I've seen it called the lazy man's HDR. Take out the highlights and the shadows and bring back the detail with the black and white sliders. Shameless PP, but here I like the result a lot.

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Mel Snyder
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to nrcole, 10 months ago

nrcole wrote:

A few shots from hiking the other weekend. First time I really gave the 18-55 a chance since I got my 5N, and whaddya know, I ended up leaving it on most the day.

The lens didn't magically get better in the past year, but I certainly did. We don't want to leave these lenses on all the time because they're not particularly fast and don't have a fancy distinction, but in most applications they perform admirably. With it's smooth manual ring, tight build, and metal casing, plus pretty decent sharpness and contrast, I think this lens punches above its weight in the 18-55 3.5-5.6 category.
Anyways. Between that trip and all the hubbub about no premium zooms, I've been thinking about this a lot lately.

"The lens didn't magically get better in the past year, but I certainly did. We don't want to leave these lenses on all the time because they're not particularly fast and don't have a fancy distinction, but in most applications they perform admirably."

Of course. You got better. So of course, the "lens got better" too. Your images are well composed. I didn't view the originals, but I am sure they're fine, probably better than that.

This is a gear-head forum where one of the coins of the realm is to bash the kit lenses. Perceptive newbies come here before they've even purchased a NEX with kit-lens-bashing comments.

You've laid waste to their blanket criticism. The art is in the artist, not the brushes.

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Jim Funston
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee, 10 months ago

Gary you must have a bad copy of the 55-210........ Sadly there seems to be variances in the lens to lens quality-control at Sony because back in the early era of NEX the 16mm was severely bad mouthed as pure garbage. My 16 and several other owners got lucky I guess and had decent 16mm when used within its sweet spot(all lenses work better at some apertures than others as you surely know already).

I recently did a water lily shoot at Longwood Gardens in PA and used my NEX 7 with the 55-210 and a Contax G 90mm (a great lens as are all my usable CG glass sadly on the 7 my 21, 28, and 35mm's all sit in my Contax G2 film camera bag because of corner issues leaving me only the 45 and the 90 to use on my NEX..... nothing I have found beats the IQ of my 45mm CG on my NEX7). When reviewing the shots (all were taken supported on a overcast day with rain off and on) the 55-210's images were every bit as good and a few were even better than the CG90's. That is saying a bunch and I am a very picky person about IQ.

Gary you are not the only person complaining about the 55-210mm that is for sure but there are quite a few of us very happy with this lens. Look at Zwackiedawg's shots with the 55-210 and a sony 1758 accessory lens (which I too recently picked up a copy of and it is surprisingly good for a accessory lens just as the Sony UWA accessory lens is on a 16mm which has always been a surprise when used within its sweet spot). I have to think it is a build consistency issue between lenses more than a user issue. Something Sony may get better at if Olympus starts building the e mount glass for them.

As far as the OP's statement ... I have always found the 18-55 acceptable in IQ if used correctly... its not in the class of the Contax G Zeiss lenses but very acceptable none the less.

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Keit ll
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to Jim Funston, 10 months ago

Jim Funston wrote:

Gary you must have a bad copy of the 55-210........ Sadly there seems to be variances in the lens to lens quality-control at Sony because back in the early era of NEX the 16mm was severely bad mouthed as pure garbage. My 16 and several other owners got lucky I guess and had decent 16mm when used within its sweet spot(all lenses work better at some apertures than others as you surely know already).

I recently did a water lily shoot at Longwood Gardens in PA and used my NEX 7 with the 55-210 and a Contax G 90mm (a great lens as are all my usable CG glass sadly on the 7 my 21, 28, and 35mm's all sit in my Contax G2 film camera bag because of corner issues leaving me only the 45 and the 90 to use on my NEX..... nothing I have found beats the IQ of my 45mm CG on my NEX7). When reviewing the shots (all were taken supported on a overcast day with rain off and on) the 55-210's images were every bit as good and a few were even better than the CG90's. That is saying a bunch and I am a very picky person about IQ.

Gary you are not the only person complaining about the 55-210mm that is for sure but there are quite a few of us very happy with this lens. Look at Zwackiedawg's shots with the 55-210 and a sony 1758 accessory lens (which I too recently picked up a copy of and it is surprisingly good for a accessory lens just as the Sony UWA accessory lens is on a 16mm which has always been a surprise when used within its sweet spot). I have to think it is a build consistency issue between lenses more than a user issue. Something Sony may get better at if Olympus starts building the e mount glass for them.

As far as the OP's statement ... I have always found the 18-55 acceptable in IQ if used correctly... its not in the class of the Contax G Zeiss lenses but very acceptable none the less.

The point is he didn't claim that the lens gave 'acceptable' IQ , he said it was great. He might have got away with that claim if he had posted great images.

Keith C

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nrcole
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to Keit ll, 10 months ago

What a smug little number you are. I'm remembering why I don't post pictures here.

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Keit ll
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to nrcole, 10 months ago

nrcole wrote:

What a smug little number you are. I'm remembering why I don't post pictures here.

I don't understand the logic of shunning a site because you don't agree with one person's  opinions ? If you want everyone to love you join a Photography club ! 

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expireduser
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to nrcole, 10 months ago

I still do think it's a good idea to be realistic about this lens on an NEX-7. It's a totally decent lens on a 14-16mp NEX, as tests have indicated at sites such as photozone. On the NEX-7, however, it can't keep up with the 24mp sensor very well and has been tested as a pretty poor lens; at 18mm the corners never sharpen up to the levels of the Sigma 19mm wide open, even at f/8. At 55mm it must be stopped down to f/8 for decent corner sharpness. A "great" lens would not have these serious limitations.

Just wanted to throw this out there for any NEX-7 users who are considering buying one. If you are looking for a "great" lens this will definitely disappoint you. It appears that most people happy with this lens are not using it with the very high resolution NEX-7, I understand the confusion there now that I've read up on it more.

Again, great photos posted, it aeems to be a decent lens on the 14-16mp NEX cameras. Best wishes.

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saintz
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to nrcole, 10 months ago

Don't take it personally. The issue is your gear. You should have paid 10x more for the Zeiss 32. Then that first shot would have been ruined by nervous, schizophrenic bokeh great, instead of just good.

Also, I would mention something about people in glass houses, after perusing some user's online albums.

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saintz
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to expireduser, 10 months ago

Nicholas W wrote:

I still do think it's a good idea to be realistic about this lens on an NEX-7. It's a totally decent lens on a 14-16mp NEX, as tests have indicated at sites such as photozone. On the NEX-7, however, it can't keep up with the 24mp sensor very well and has been tested as a pretty poor lens; at 18mm the corners never sharpen up to the levels of the Sigma 19mm wide open, even at f/8. At 55mm it must be stopped down to f/8 for decent corner sharpness. A "great" lens would not have these serious limitations.

These are sensor issues more than lens issues. The NEX 7 sensor has known corner issues. Even  expensive legacy rangefinder glass that works great on film has issues on this sensor, proving it's not the lens, but the sensor.

The Sigma lens designs probably attempted to rectify this as much as possible, and the fact that they're slow primes would make this relatively easier. The 18-55 is optically very good, but not designed to alleviate this sensor issue. Sony has attempted to fix the issue with the sensor itself (shown in the move from 14MP to 16MP with better micro lenses). The question is when they'll release a large MP sensor with better corner microlenses. Until that happens you're better using SLR lenses or lenses apparently designed around the sensor issue on the 7, such as the Zeiss and Sigma lenses, if you need corner sharpness.

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expireduser
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to saintz, 10 months ago

Nicholas W wrote:

I still do think it's a good idea to be realistic about this lens on an NEX-7. It's a totally decent lens on a 14-16mp NEX, as tests have indicated at sites such as photozone. On the NEX-7, however, it can't keep up with the 24mp sensor very well and has been tested as a pretty poor lens; at 18mm the corners never sharpen up to the levels of the Sigma 19mm wide open, even at f/8. At 55mm it must be stopped down to f/8 for decent corner sharpness. A "great" lens would not have these serious limitations.

These are sensor issues more than lens issues. The NEX 7 sensor has known corner issues. Even expensive legacy rangefinder glass that works great on film has issues on this sensor, proving it's not the lens, but the sensor.

The Sigma lens designs probably attempted to rectify this as much as possible, and the fact that they're slow primes would make this relatively easier. The 18-55 is optically very good, but not designed to alleviate this sensor issue. Sony has attempted to fix the issue with the sensor itself (shown in the move from 14MP to 16MP with better micro lenses). The question is when they'll release a large MP sensor with better corner microlenses. Until that happens you're better using SLR lenses or lenses apparently designed around the sensor issue on the 7, such as the Zeiss and Sigma lenses, if you need corner sharpness.

No offense, but in this case it is very clearly not a sensor issue. The Sigma 19mm is sharper on the NEX-7, wide open, than this kit lens is at f/8 at 18mm. The Sony 10-18mm lens is good on the NEX-7 as well. Softness in the corners is an optics problem. This is a cheap kit lens, of course it's not going to have sharp corners throughout its zoom range on a 24mp camera. It would be shocking if it did.

The sensor issues you referred to manifested as color shift in the corners, not sharpness issues as with this kit lens.

I'm only trying to prevent NEX-7 users from being misinformed about the kit lens being a "great" lens on their camera. People turn to this site for information, I'm just trying to help out.

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saintz
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Re: The 18-55 is great. (Seoraksan, Korea)
In reply to expireduser, 10 months ago

Nicholas W wrote:

No offense, but in this case it is very clearly not a sensor issue. The Sigma 19mm is sharper on the NEX-7, wide open, than this kit lens is at f/8 at 18mm. The Sony 10-18mm lens is good on the NEX-7 as well. Softness in the corners is an optics problem. This is a cheap kit lens, of course it's not going to have sharp corners throughout its zoom range on a 24mp camera. It would be shocking if it did.

The sensor issues you referred to manifested as color shift in the corners, not sharpness issues as with this kit lens.

I'm only trying to prevent NEX-7 users from being misinformed about the kit lens being a "great" lens on their camera. People turn to this site for information, I'm just trying to help out.

I agree that the 18-55 and NEX 7 is not a great combination, and good to point out.

With regards to whether it's the lens or sensor, the Chief Editor of Photozone.de said: "The camera [NEX 7] drive me nuts. The MTFs have an excessive variation between ultra-sharp center and very soft corners. I'm starting to wonder whether I'm seeing a sensor issue here."

http://forum.photozone.de/index.php?/topic/1904-sony-nex-7/

Point being, it's not just color shift. The NEX 7 has smeared/soft corners with many otherwise optically excellent lenses. He was using a Zeiss 85 f1.4, which is an excellent lens but does not work well on this sensor.

Here he tries a 2nd NEX 7, and says: "They are the same" meaning he ruled out sample variation.

http://forum.photozone.de/index.php?/topic/1992-sony-nex-7-2nd-sample-results/

And here he compares to a NEX 5 (not even the 5N) and determines "I'm now sure that there's a negative border/corner effect on the 7".

http://forum.photozone.de/index.php?/topic/2009-nex-7-vs-nex-5/

The issue here is really the sensor. When Sony improved the 14MP sensor with the new 16MP sensor, they released a slew of bodies (there are two 14MP bodies and six 16MP bodies). They have held off on a 7 successor, and I believe because they don't have a better sensor to go in it yet. When they do, I expect it will solve many of the corner issues we saw with the original 14MP sensors, just like their replacement did.

In the meantime, it is important to suggest what users can do. You can get the NEX 6, which doesn't suffer from corner issues with the same lenses. You can get the NEX 7 and use lenses that perform well on it, such as Alpha SLR lenses with an adapter or the SEL24Z, where both are larger than respective E mount lenses and have recessed rear elements with greater lens to sensor distance (and hence less oblique light). The Sigma's work well, I believe because they are slow for primes and have less angled light paths. Or just get an A65 (larger but much cheaper) or A77 and use SLR lenses, where again the flange distance and lens design negates the sensor issues.

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