the reason why some people like the kit lens and some don't:

Started Apr 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
Flat view
mkln Regular Member • Posts: 156
the reason why some people like the kit lens and some don't:

Hi everyone again. I'm in the mood for tests.

I recently bought a NEX7 with kit lens.
I already have a 5N with kit that I'm going to sell in the near future.

The reason I bought the kit with the 7 was to have the black kit lens. I like the black version better. it looks amazing on the 7 (and on the 5N too btw)


except that I was puzzled at the first results I got from the black kit lens on the 7 compared to how the silver lens worked on the 5N.

So today I up the best controlled environment I could prepare to test both kit lenses on the Nex7.

My wall became my test chart. I took some pieces of ads paper, put them on the walls so they would appear on the corner at the various focal lenghts, set up the camera to face the wall perpendicularly, 10second auto shutter, ISO 100, auto exposure.

I tested the following settings on both lenses:
18mm: f/3.5 - f/5.6 - f/7.1
24mm: f/4 - f/5.6 - f/7.1
35mm: f/4.5 - f/5.6 - f/7.1
55mm: f/5.6 - f/7.1

I'm not going to post the pictures this time. there's too many of them. I could upload the whole set of raw files online though if somebody wanted it.

It was a qualitative test. based on my eyes, my monitor, my camera, my lenses, far from scientifically precise and controlled.

I focused on the center and took a single picture of the wall. I figured since I'd be using the kit lens as a landscape lightweight lens, I should only take one picture of the wall.

note: this means that I'm not only testing sharpness across the frame, but also field curvature and decentering, which may well come into play (and they do!!)

my eyes tell me that there must be something going on with the kit lenses.
The center performance is almost always the same on both.

The black one is consistently less sharp on the right side of the frames. Closing the aperture reduces the gap, but the black lens never quite gets a whole picture better.

I mean, some part of some frame at some focal lengths could be better on the black lens, but almost all the time, if I had to pick a picture, I'd pick the one from the silver lens.
actually, at 35mm the silver lens is better everywhere, even in the center.

I also think that the silver lens is a quite good kit lens. I've been using it for a while. printed 8x10 with good results.

on the other hand, if I had to base my opinion only on the black lens... I'd say the kit lens is not that good really. I need to test how relevant the lower performance of the black lens is in real life compared to the silver. but I can definitely see the difference!

Tonight I really understood why some people dislike the kit lens and some others like it so much. I guess it's because of sample variation and the decentering problems.

Final consideration:

I may keep the silver and sell the black with the 5n. The black lens looked VERY good though


the kit lens may be AT BEST worth the $150 premium on the body-only. certainly not the retail price (is it $300? LOL!)


at 35mm, the silver kit lens (the better of the 2 kit lenses) at f/4.5 is outperformed by the voigtlander 35/1.2(v1) at f/2.8 by a huge margin across the whole frame.

stopping down the silver kit lens makes it look much better though. not so much with the black one.

 mkln's gear list:mkln's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sony E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Voigtlander 35mm F1.2 Nokton Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS +3 more
Sony Alpha NEX-7
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Flat view
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow