XF 18-55 Soft Corners?

Started Oct 9, 2013 | Discussions
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s200
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XF 18-55 Soft Corners?
Oct 9, 2013

I've just jumped into the X-System, with an XE-1, plus the 14, 35 and 18-55 lenses. The 14 and 35 are sharp across the frame. Contrary to the positive reviews, however, the 18-55 has pretty soft corners at all apertures. This is my second copy, with the first pretty similar in that the extreme corners were verging on blurry.

Did I get unlucky twice? Or are those positive reviews leading me to expect too much? With two copies displaying similar characteristics, I suspect that both were performing as designed. That said, I'd be interested to hear just how soft your 18-55 corners really are. I should say that we're talking pixel peeping at 100pc, in the far reaches of each corner.

jm10
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Re: XF 18-55 Soft Corners?
In reply to s200, Oct 10, 2013

s200,

It is pretty unlikely statistically that you would get "unlucky" twice but not out of the question.

I normally use apertures between F/5.6 and f/11 and corners are pretty sharp even at f/5.6. I have absolutely no complaints.

Do you see a problem even stopped down to say F/8? If you do, perhaps you are that unlucky with your copies or maybe much more demanding as far ar corner softness is concerned than I am.

jacob

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Fujifilm X-E1 Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 R
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Cartwheels MD
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Re: XF 18-55 Soft Corners?
In reply to s200, Oct 10, 2013

Not blurry for me.  Granted, we may have different definitions of what that means, but you have to keep in mind that it's a zoom lens, not a prime.  Comparing this to your 14mm and 35mm is not a fair comparison as a result.  Naturally, those are going to be sharper throughout the aperture range.  Instead, compare it to other 18-55mm kit lenses on the market, and I promise you that you'll be impressed by the difference.  Speaking from experience, I came from the Canon 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS II.

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Jack Bishop
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Re: XF 18-55 Soft Corners?
In reply to s200, Oct 10, 2013

The problem is that you are comparing the 18-55 to the 14 and 35 both of which are GREAT LENSES. The 18-55 is a good lens, but not in the same class as the 14 and 35.  I sold my 18-55 for that reason and went to all primes.

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forpetessake
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Re: XF 18-55 Soft Corners?
In reply to s200, Oct 10, 2013

Everybody's perception of 'soft' is different, practically for every single lens I researched I've heard directly opposite opinions. If you post a test target, I think people would have something objective to compare to their own copies.

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57even
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Re: XF 18-55 Soft Corners?
In reply to s200, Oct 10, 2013

s200 wrote:

I've just jumped into the X-System, with an XE-1, plus the 14, 35 and 18-55 lenses. The 14 and 35 are sharp across the frame. Contrary to the positive reviews, however, the 18-55 has pretty soft corners at all apertures. This is my second copy, with the first pretty similar in that the extreme corners were verging on blurry.

Did I get unlucky twice? Or are those positive reviews leading me to expect too much? With two copies displaying similar characteristics, I suspect that both were performing as designed. That said, I'd be interested to hear just how soft your 18-55 corners really are. I should say that we're talking pixel peeping at 100pc, in the far reaches of each corner.

It depends on aperture and focal length (worst at 55mm). There is some field curvature with this lens. If you are shooting a flat field subject try using one of the edge focus points.

It will never match the best primes, but it's better than the 18mm.

Having said that its better than the huge Nikon 24-70.

A touch of sharpening and it's not visible in prints.

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Absolutic
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Don't like 18-55
In reply to s200, Oct 10, 2013

s200 wrote:

I've just jumped into the X-System, with an XE-1, plus the 14, 35 and 18-55 lenses. The 14 and 35 are sharp across the frame. Contrary to the positive reviews, however, the 18-55 has pretty soft corners at all apertures. This is my second copy, with the first pretty similar in that the extreme corners were verging on blurry.

Did I get unlucky twice? Or are those positive reviews leading me to expect too much? With two copies displaying similar characteristics, I suspect that both were performing as designed. That said, I'd be interested to hear just how soft your 18-55 corners really are. I should say that we're talking pixel peeping at 100pc, in the far reaches of each corner.

I am with you on that.   Although some will scream about 18-55 being the best zoom ever, I found it to be non-remarkable and pretty plain.  I also found that in my estimation it is not really 27mm equivalent, it feels more like 29-30mm equivalent angle.   After 35/1.4 I did not even want to put 18-55 back on my camera.  In fact, I like the 16-50 - plastic lens with plastic mount much better than 18-55.  Just my opinion of course.       But 35/1.4 is remarkable lens that is sharp wide open at F/1.4 which is something special.   Just imagine how great the 56/1.2 will be!

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dengx
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Re: XF 18-55 Soft Corners?
In reply to s200, Oct 10, 2013

s200 wrote:

I've just jumped into the X-System, with an XE-1, plus the 14, 35 and 18-55 lenses. The 14 and 35 are sharp across the frame. Contrary to the positive reviews, however, the 18-55 has pretty soft corners at all apertures. This is my second copy, with the first pretty similar in that the extreme corners were verging on blurry.

My 18-55 - it's an ok lens, good for a zoom but this is not the same league as 35 or especially 14mm.

I love 35, I love and hate 60, 18-55 I always think of as "average" and use only when I need to.

Regards

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s200
s200 OP
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Re: XF 18-55 Soft Corners?
In reply to dengx, Oct 10, 2013

I certainly wouldn't dream of judging a zoom lens by prime standards. But the blurry (not soft, definitely blurry) extreme corners I'm seeing on landscape shots at f8 are not quite as described in some reviews.

That said, centring seems perfect, both copies I've owned have been sharp across 90pc+ of the frame and both have exhibited similar performance. So, I think I was wrong to return the first copy and was expecting too much.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone else is seeing blurry corners on their copy of the lens. Again, 100pc pixel peeping required, which is not something I'd generally encourage

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ryan2007
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Re: XF 18-55 Soft Corners?
In reply to s200, Oct 10, 2013

s200 wrote:

I've just jumped into the X-System, with an XE-1, plus the 14, 35 and 18-55 lenses. The 14 and 35 are sharp across the frame. Contrary to the positive reviews, however, the 18-55 has pretty soft corners at all apertures. This is my second copy, with the first pretty similar in that the extreme corners were verging on blurry.

Did I get unlucky twice? Or are those positive reviews leading me to expect too much? With two copies displaying similar characteristics, I suspect that both were performing as designed. That said, I'd be interested to hear just how soft your 18-55 corners really are. I should say that we're talking pixel peeping at 100pc, in the far reaches of each corner.

Did you do all of the firmware updates? Fuji X does not ship with up to date firmware. The 14 mm comes with a memory card that has an older FW update on it, but their are new ones past that.

FW on these lenses should be ver 3.0 and XE-1 is 2.0 if I recall.

I have the same lenses you have and same body and all is good.

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dengx
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Re: XF 18-55 Soft Corners?
In reply to s200, Oct 10, 2013

s200 wrote:

I certainly wouldn't dream of judging a zoom lens by prime standards. But the blurry (not soft, definitely blurry) extreme corners I'm seeing on landscape shots at f8 are not quite as described in some reviews.

Did you try to disable OIS? When I turn OIS on with higher shutter speeds (like 1/125s or shorter) it becomes unpredictable for me to the point that some shots are blurry.

And as for the extreme corners - yes, they are blurry because the lens is corrected in software, in RAW where there's no correction (C1, dcraw, mostly everything except Lightroom) it's a little better but at the price of distortion. 35mm and 14mm are not corrected at all I believe, no need to do so.

And as for the reviews - 'extreme' corners are usually not in the really extreme corners. Look here for example:

http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/lens-test-faq

Regards

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baobob
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Re: XF 18-55 Soft Corners?
In reply to ryan2007, Oct 10, 2013

Same here

18-55mm is the best standard zoom i ever had

You might want to read :

//slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1540

which IMHO gives a good in depth analysis of the lens performance

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Good judgment comes from experience
Experience comes from bad judgment

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Ed B
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Re: XF 18-55 Soft Corners?
In reply to s200, Oct 10, 2013

Have to say that I'm a little surprised by some of the negative comments about the 18-55 lens.

I agree it's not quite as good as a prime lens but no zoom lens is, optically, as good as a prime at each focal length.

I may not be looking close enough but my 18-55 is very good and, considering it is a zoom, I have no complaints. I'll admit that I hardly ever enlarge a picture to 100% because I see no valid reason to look at something no one will ever see in a printed picture or when viewing a picture at normal sizes.

I just don't see the problems most people are talking about and think the Fuji 18-55 lens is one of the best available in that zoom range.

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forpetessake
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less talking, more testing
In reply to forpetessake, Oct 10, 2013

forpetessake wrote:

Everybody's perception of 'soft' is different, practically for every single lens I researched I've heard directly opposite opinions. If you post a test target, I think people would have something objective to compare to their own copies.

I did the tests and didn't see any corner softness issues worth mentioning even compared to the primes. The photozone tests also confirm my findings, at 35mm f/4 the 18-55mm lens is pretty much identical to 35mm/1.4 prime at the same aperture.

So do a controlled testing, you might have a decentered or defective copy.

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fluxism
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Re: XF 18-55 Soft Corners?
In reply to Jack Bishop, Oct 10, 2013

ironically, Thom Hogan said the 18-55 was sharper at the edges than the 35, I believe

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CAcreeks
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Very sharp corners in XF 18-55 test
In reply to s200, Oct 11, 2013

At slrgear.com the XF 18-55/3.5-5.6 looks really excellent. I guess you got a dud - twice.

http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1540/cat/108

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Red5TX
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Re: Very sharp corners in XF 18-55 test
In reply to CAcreeks, Oct 11, 2013

CAcreeks wrote:

At slrgear.com the XF 18-55/3.5-5.6 looks really excellent. I guess you got a dud - twice.

http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1540/cat/108

I've never understood that about DSLRs. Excellent sensors paired with utterly middling kit zooms. I know you can upgrade, but with Fuji you don't have to.

I also wonder about this when DSLR users crow about how many lenses are available. Yes, but how many of them are both optically excellent and not exorbitantly priced?

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