Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion

Started 11 months ago | Questions
vgonis
New MemberPosts: 9
Like?
Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
11 months ago

Hello, some months ago I bought a used Canon L 24-105 IS lens. The lens is solid, the AF and IS work fine but after a couple of days I realised that there is something wrong. The lens produced some images that looked like they had a color/light/movement distortion. (see here an example:http://vassilisgonis.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/help-needed/#comments)

The problem was somehow reduced with the lens stopped down, but never disappear completely. I bought this lens because of the excellent reviews and I was surprised after a long search, to find other people (few I guess compared to the units sold) that had the same problem, or quite similar. Some call it diffusion, others lack of sharpness and these descriptions fit my problem somehow. I use it stopped down to do my work and try to fix it with programs, but since I bought this lense for use during the night with f:4 aperture and the IS, stopping it down is no good for me.By the way I can't see any distortion when I look through the lens.

I have a 5dII but it produced the same results with all my digital cameras (D300, Rebel Xti) and I even used it on a 60 D with the same dishearting results. All my cameras produce crystal clear photos with all the other lenses I have (17-40 L, 50 f:1.8, 24 f:2.8, etc)  Could this be a lense with an old firmware? Or any coatings for colour aberration? Any ideas what it could be or if it is fixable? I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

ANSWER:
This question has not been answered yet.
victorian squid
Senior MemberPosts: 1,952Gear list
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to vgonis, 11 months ago

Sorry, it's really hard to tell from the image you've got the link to exactly what's going on there. My eyes just aren't that good!

I got this lens a couple of months ago. My first copy was soft - too soft as it turned out and I returned it. The second one is certainly sharp, but it seems only in certain conditions. And I can definitely say f4 isn't its strong suit. In comparison, my 17-40 is sharper wide open even with my shaky hands.

I don't know if it's because of the legendary status of this lens I'm expecting too much - and conversely because of the lack of love for the 17-40 I'm amazed at how good it is. Either way, I've got other lenses that are consistently sharper. It's performance is similar on my 60D.

I think you should try posting some photos here (full size) of long and short shots. That would help in determining if its a focus issue or what. As it is, a low resolution shot of a bunch of buildings in the distance makes it hard to tell just what may or may not be in focus - or if something else is to blame.

It could be a matter of a slight MFA which made a world of difference for me. But that won't help your other bodies. Closer subjects (or a battery test) will help determine if it's a front/back focus issue.

Have you tried shooting with IS off/on?

Is it always at f4?

Any speed?

 victorian squid's gear list:victorian squid's gear list
Canon EOS 60D Canon EOS 6D Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM +27 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Fog Maker
Senior MemberPosts: 1,121
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to victorian squid, 11 months ago

victorian squid wrote:

I don't know if it's because of the legendary status of this lens I'm expecting too much -

Legendary?

You must be kidding...

Its always been an mediocre performer,

much inferior to, say,  the 24-70 I

and just about every other L lens.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
vgonis
New MemberPosts: 9
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to victorian squid, 11 months ago

Thank you for the reply victorian squid,

OK, here they are, three more, the first one stopped down to f:8, the second is f:4 and I have included the one of the previous post in a higher resolution. (if exif data are included you will be able to see them)

Shooting  subjects in closer distances, like portraits, tend to hide the problem a bit more, but still the sharpness is not even close to that of 17-40, even using f8 or higher. Especially with lots of light an aura like thing is created (see second photo)

The problem is not always on and it appears randomly (but alas most of the time) with and without IS. With the IS on it sort of looks like a motion blur, while without they look like colour aberations. Sharpness is missing either way.  So I really can't tell if it is a back/front focus situation or a coating thing or ...

By the way, I bought this lens after reading excellent reviews. I guess I had to find out myself, because after seeing the problem , I dug deeper and I found many disatisfied owners...

Hope that gave you more clues

Once again thank you for your help.

Sincerely

Vassilis

f8  1/1600s ISO 1250

f4 1/4000s ISO 500

f4 1/8000s  ISO 500

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
vgonis
New MemberPosts: 9
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to Fog Maker, 11 months ago

Hi Fog Maker!

You mean to say that this is a common problem? I just want to know if it is just my lens or a common theme with this lens.

Thank you

Sincerely

Vassilis

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
billythek
Senior MemberPosts: 3,775
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to vgonis, 11 months ago

Funny, your additional pictures showed up on the mobile site, but not here, so I can't directly respond to them.  But anyway...

Those pictures look terrible, and not what I'd expect from the 24-105.  The 24-105 is not the absolute best Canon L lens, but it is better than that.  Those pictures look like they were taken with an older model camera phone with vaseline smeared on the lens.

Return the lens if you can, or send it in for repair.

Of course it is also possible that your technique was bad, but if you are taking sharp pictures with other lenses it is probably the lens.

-- hide signature --

- Bill

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Fog Maker
Senior MemberPosts: 1,121
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to vgonis, 11 months ago

vgonis wrote:

Hi Fog Maker!

You mean to say that this is a common problem? I just want to know if it is just my lens or a common theme with this lens.

Thank you

Sincerely

Vassilis

Sorry, I haven't really checked your images yet -

I just replied to a stray comment

EDIT: Nah, those images doesn't look right at all. Follow Billy's advice.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Henrik Herranen
Senior MemberPosts: 1,659Gear list
Like?
Are you using a filter? Or shooting through a window?
In reply to vgonis, 11 months ago

OK, here they are, three more, the first one stopped down to f:8, the second is f:4 and I have included the one of the previous post in a higher resolution. (if exif data are included you will be able to see them)

Your images look all wrong and not at all like what the 24-105/4 should look. What you are talking about is not (geometric) distortion in the traditional sense, but a weird kind of hazing.

Some suggestions:
1) Are you using an UV filter with your lens? If so, remove it and retest.
2) Did you shoot your images through a window? From inside a car, house, or similar?
3) Are the lens front and back elements clean? Check them from different angles to be sure.

The weird smeary bokeh screams to me "shot through glass / plexiglass / something semitransparent". Hope I am right, though I reserve the right to be wrong!

If my suggestions don't help, I'm afraid it's time to get the 24-105 repaired. When working properly it's an excellent, sharp, contrasty lens and not at all like what your images show.

Kind regards,
- Henrik

-- hide signature --

And if a million more agree there ain't no great society

 Henrik Herranen's gear list:Henrik Herranen's gear list
Canon PowerShot S110 Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Canon Extender EF 1.4x II +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
vgonis
New MemberPosts: 9
Like?
Re: Are you using a filter? Or shooting through a window?
In reply to Henrik Herranen, 11 months ago

Thank you Henrik!

One of my first thoughts was the filter. Removed it, cleaned the lens and kept it off. Still the same results. After all such distortions would be visible with the naked eye, wouldn't they?

And the peculiar thing is that some times the hazy effect disappears completely!

All these images are from walks, so no other material  between subject and lens.

I guess it is repair time after all.

Thank you for your suggestions, it is after all just my lens.

Sincerely

Vassilis

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
vgonis
New MemberPosts: 9
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to billythek, 11 months ago

Thank you Bill,

It has become obvious that my  lens has a flaw somewhere. I wish the photos could reveal somehow the source of the problem, so when I give it for repair, I can describe and have a clue, but it is good enough that I found out what sort of problem isn't.

Oh, my technique is not that bad!

Once again thank you very muck

Sincerely

Vassilis

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Henrik Herranen
Senior MemberPosts: 1,659Gear list
Like?
Re: Are you using a filter? Or shooting through a window?
In reply to vgonis, 11 months ago
One of my first thoughts was the filter. Removed it, cleaned the lens and kept it off. Still the same results. After all such distortions would be visible with the naked eye, wouldn't they

I'm quite certain it would show to the naked eye if there was some dirt/gook/something on the lens. However, if there is an alignment issue, it would (usually) be invisible.

And the peculiar thing is that some times the hazy effect disappears completely!

That sounds really weird. Of course, if there is an alignment issue in the IS group which would make it not align exactly most of the time, but sometimes work properly, that would explain it. But I'm certain there are many other (better) explanations, too.

All these images are from walks, so no other material between subject and lens.

Ok, that's settled then.

I guess it is repair time after all.

Afterwards, you'll be happy that you did. It will be so much better!

A few suggestions, though:
When you send the lens for repair, send some of the failed images (e.g. the group of men is very good) with the lens. Also explain exactly what you see that is wrong so that they understand your problem. Perhaps it'd be good to call it "smearing" or something like that rather than "distortion", because the latter word may throw the repair shop off. Also remember to explain that you did not use a filter or shoot through a glass, because that's what they'd perhaps think first. Also remember to say that it doesn't happen always, so that they won't return the lens as "working" if they cannot immediately reproduce your issue.

Thank you for your suggestions, it is after all just my lens.

Yes, the 24-105 certainly looks a lot better than that. It's not a prime but as far as >4X general purpose zooms go, it's very good.

Kind regards,
- Henrik

-- hide signature --

And if a million more agree there ain't no great society

 Henrik Herranen's gear list:Henrik Herranen's gear list
Canon PowerShot S110 Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Canon Extender EF 1.4x II +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Howard S
Senior MemberPosts: 1,849
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to vgonis, 11 months ago

Nothing looks to be in focus.

Here's an example of mine on a 5D2

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
vgonis
New MemberPosts: 9
Like?
Re: Are you using a filter? Or shooting through a window?
In reply to Henrik Herranen, 11 months ago

Hi Henrik,

Thank you for your kind suggestions and taking the time.

I generally have bad experience with the repair shops in Greece. 15 years ago they ruined one of my lenses, fortunately not an expensive one.  That is one of the reasons I look for an explanation-solution before I turn to them. The other reason is the cost of repair. The cost of just taking a look at it, is around 40 Euros (55$).

I will follow your suggestions for the repair shop and hope for the best.

Thank you once more

Sincerely

Vassilis

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
vgonis
New MemberPosts: 9
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to Howard S, 11 months ago

Hi Howard,

Thank you for the nice photo example. True, this haze,blur, smear seems to be all over, nothing like your sharp image. I guess it is repair time.

Sincerely

Vassilis

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
meland
Senior MemberPosts: 3,516
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to victorian squid, 11 months ago

victorian squid wrote:

Sorry, it's really hard to tell from the image you've got the link to exactly what's going on there. My eyes just aren't that good!

I got this lens a couple of months ago. My first copy was soft - too soft as it turned out and I returned it. The second one is certainly sharp, but it seems only in certain conditions. And I can definitely say f4 isn't its strong suit. In comparison, my 17-40 is sharper wide open even with my shaky hands.

I don't know if it's because of the legendary status of this lens I'm expecting too much - and conversely because of the lack of love for the 17-40 I'm amazed at how good it is. Either way, I've got other lenses that are consistently sharper. It's performance is similar on my 60D.

I think you should try posting some photos here (full size) of long and short shots. That would help in determining if its a focus issue or what. As it is, a low resolution shot of a bunch of buildings in the distance makes it hard to tell just what may or may not be in focus - or if something else is to blame.

It could be a matter of a slight MFA which made a world of difference for me. But that won't help your other bodies. Closer subjects (or a battery test) will help determine if it's a front/back focus issue.

Have you tried shooting with IS off/on?

Is it always at f4?

Any speed?

Have you tried Vic Squid's suggestion of shooting with the IS off?  Obviously if you try this use a tripod or support to reduce the effect of camera shake.

Generally IS is fairly reliable but if the IS compensation group is out of alignment, or the IS actuators are not operating correctly, then IS can destroy the lens performance with a kind of smearing, hazy effect.   Establishing whether this is the cause will at least help the service centre track down the cause and with the IS off may at least enable you to use the lens until you can get it fixed.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
vgonis
New MemberPosts: 9
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to meland, 11 months ago

Hi Meland,

Thank you for the reply. I tend to think that it is the IS, as well. The unfortunate thing is that the lens produces the same results even when the IS is off. And it doesn't appear through the lens, and it somehow gets better with the lens stopped down,  so it is quite puzzling.  So it has to go for repair.

Thank you once againI will come back with the results from the doctor!

Sincerely

Vassilis

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
vgonis
New MemberPosts: 9
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to vgonis, 8 months ago

Hi, I am back! I took the lens to the technician. The lens seems to work fine, although the softness of the lens is always there. The technician told me to avoid using filters (someone mentioned it!) and that the softness I notice is common to the lens and disappears if stopped down (I know it does but what good is it to have an f4 lens that should be used in f8...) Anyway. will have to find a sharper lens... Thanks for the help everybody!

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Philippe Castagna
Regular MemberPosts: 384Gear list
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to Fog Maker, 8 months ago

Fog Maker wrote:

victorian squid wrote:

I don't know if it's because of the legendary status of this lens I'm expecting too much -

Legendary?

You must be kidding...

Its always been an mediocre performer,

much inferior to, say, the 24-70 I

and just about every other L lens.

Hi Fog Maker,

this lens is a pure compromise.

yes high level of distorsion at 24mm but going up to 105mm.

yes only f/4 but constant and highly usable wide open.

CA and flare are really well controlled.

The case is plastic but top one and weather sealed.

did I forgot to mention the IS

Definitely not legendary but hard to beat for the ratio quality/flexibility/usability.

cheers

-- hide signature --
 Philippe Castagna's gear list:Philippe Castagna's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
GordonAtWork
Regular MemberPosts: 446Gear list
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to vgonis, 8 months ago

The 24-105 is rarely off my 1Ds2 and I like it a lot. Sure it has a couple of quirks but not as bad as a lot of people say. Perhaps I was lucky and got an excellent example. I have had some poor results but that was down to me.

-- hide signature --

Moderator wannabe !

 GordonAtWork's gear list:GordonAtWork's gear list
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Canon EOS D60 Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM +9 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
artistguy
Contributing MemberPosts: 716Gear list
Like?
Re: Canon L 24-105 IS lens image distortion
In reply to vgonis, 8 months ago

Certainly seems like a fault somewhere in that lens.

The 24-105 is one of those lenses that offer just enough at the price for Canon to keep offering it as a kit, to have that focal range with IS and build quality is hard to beat, a little like the VW beetle or Mini, get it right first time and it's really hard to improve on it without asking the customer for a lot more cash.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads