m.zuiko 9-18 general optical quality or decentring...?

Started May 26, 2010 | Discussions
oluv Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
m.zuiko 9-18 general optical quality or decentring...?

just got my 9-18 and the first thing i did was to take some testshots to see how it performs.

before i had already noticed in the SLR-gear review ( http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1321/cat/15/date/1128024847 ) that their 9-18 seemed to be decentered quite a bit on the right side. but when looking at dpreview sharpness-graphs their particular sample looked ok with a constant sharpness-falloff in all corners.

now my sample seems to have exactly the same problem like the one from SLR-gear. wide open i have extreme softness on the right side, which gets a bit better when stopped down to f/5.6, but still worse than to the left. at f/8 the whole image already gets softer due to diffraction, but the corners don't improve a lot.

here a crop (left/right) from a symmetrical building taken wide open at 9mm:

here the full-size image:
http://daten-lager.net/files/file1274818375P1030425offen.jpg

here another one at f/4:
http://daten-lager.net/files/file1274817414P1030310-f4.jpg

f/5.6:
http://daten-lager.net/files/file1274817716P1030311-f56.jpg

f/8.0:
http://daten-lager.net/files/file1274817933P1030312-f8.jpg

the problem is especially visible with 16:9 shooting on the GH1. unfortunately this is my preferred aspect-ratio for wide-angle and landscape. maybe the lens is just not designed to cover the width of the 16:9 format?

is this a normal performance one has to expect from this lens and should i live with it, or did i get a dud and should i send it back?

i could live with the slight softness on the left side, which is see rather normal, but the right side is noticeable softer which would be a sign of decentring.
what do you think?

 oluv's gear list:oluv's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS +1 more
Brian Mosley Forum Pro • Posts: 20,709
I think you should get an exchange.

It looks pretty clear in your sample there's a problem - I would definitely get it exchanged for a good one.

Thanks for flagging this up - worth checking.

Cheers

Brian
--
Join our free worldwide support network here :
http://www.ukphotosafari.org/join-the-ukpsg/
UK, Peak District Local Olympus Safari Group : http://snipurl.com/bqtd7-ukpsg
Keep up with me here : http://twitter.com/alert_bri

 Brian Mosley's gear list:Brian Mosley's gear list
Sony RX100 IV Sony RX1 Olympus E-M1 Fujifilm FinePix X100 Olympus OM-D E-M5 +1 more
OP oluv Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: I think you should get an exchange.

thanks brian, i already asked for exchange. let's see how the new one will perform.

 oluv's gear list:oluv's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS +1 more
PC Wheeler
PC Wheeler Forum Pro • Posts: 17,902
Re: m.zuiko 9-18 general optical quality or decentring...?

Agree on it probably being a sample issue. So far as I've tested it my Oly 9-18 looks quite good.

I love my 9-18 for its small size. But with a GH1 the Panny 7-14 may be a better choice since the G-series cameras deal with CA and distortions.

-- hide signature --

Phil .. Panasonic GH1 (14-140, 7-14, 20 f/1.7, 45 Macro, 45-200)
Oly E-PL1 (9-18, 14-42, P14-45); Canon 40D, S90
http://www.pbase.com/phil_wheeler

 PC Wheeler's gear list:PC Wheeler's gear list
Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 HS Sony RX10 IV Panasonic ZS100
OP oluv Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: m.zuiko 9-18 general optical quality or decentring...?

CAs shouldn't be such a problem, if you correct it in RAW. i noticed that in lightroom for red/cyan correction values from -30 to -40 work quite well. i didn't do any corrections on the sample images though.

the 7-14 is definitely a better perfomer, but thank to the lens-hood it is also a bit bigger and not so suitable as an all-around carry lens. the price is also quite a bit steep, therefore i decided to go for the 9-18.

 oluv's gear list:oluv's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS +1 more
NuFonaut Senior Member • Posts: 2,211
Re: m.zuiko 9-18 general optical quality or decentring...?

If you find the time while waiting for the replacement you could check how the right side looks in 4:3 format. Though i doubt your lens will be very good then either.
--
What´s that noise?

From one of the Canon Forums:

'I just came back from my first holiday with the 5D II (I think my wife was there as well). '

Ehrik Veteran Member • Posts: 8,014
designed to cover the width of the 16:9 format?

oluv wrote:

the problem is especially visible with 16:9 shooting on the GH1. unfortunately this is my preferred aspect-ratio for wide-angle and landscape. maybe the lens is just not designed to cover the width of the 16:9 format?

Well, the lens is obviously designed and manufactured with the goal to be symmetrical. Then it's I suppose possible, if Oly never intends to have anything but 4:3 sensors, that the quality control only looks at the 4:3 performance. But not very likely.

-- hide signature --

Just my two öre,
Erik from Sweden

ChrisKramer1 Regular Member • Posts: 332
Re: m.zuiko 9-18 general optical quality or decentring...?

Sorry to hear about your problem. I had the lens for one day but returned it because of the image quality. Maybe my model was defective too, but the clouds turned out pink (another user also reported this). Also, I found the sharpness was pretty poor overall. Owing to the positive reviews, I started to doubt my opinion. However, checking my test photos confirmed the bad impression. My camera was a GF1. I've decided to wait for the Panasonic 14mm 2.8 coming out in the autumn.

OP oluv Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: m.zuiko 9-18 general optical quality or decentring...?

overall i was quite satisfied with the 9-18. there are lots of CAs though, which should be dealt with during raw-conversion or in post processing.

CA-correction should be even applied before demosaicing to improve rendering and avoid artefacts. you can even see that the GF1 jpeg-engine struggles to render lines smoothly near the edge of the frame. not sure how well the EPL1 does...

if not the softness on the right side i would definitely like this lens as it is so small and the zoom range is perfect if one likes wide-angle.

i have still too little experience with wide-angle shooting, but the 9-18 is the cheapest solution to get into it. the 7-14 is too expensive for me and i don't like the built-in hood, which makes the lens quite bulky.

 oluv's gear list:oluv's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS +1 more
brws - Photography Education Junior Member • Posts: 45
tested mine the other day. Just perfect

I tested mine out the other day and found the shots at every focal length to be perfect. Processed the files in Raw Developer on the Mac - (made for the mac) and it does not recognize the lens corrections. So I was more than satisfied with the results.

Elliot

OP oluv Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: tested mine the other day. Just perfect

could you post some shots at 9mm wide open or at least crops from the corners?

 oluv's gear list:oluv's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS +1 more
tinternaut Veteran Member • Posts: 7,805
Re: Good luck

And thanks for posting with sample images. Fingers crossed you get a replacement you're happy with.

The issues at f8 look too pronounced to be diffraction to me. I regularly f7.1 and f8.0 on my Pen (not with this lens though) and see no issues. Diffraction tends to be a quite subtle and you should be able to get away with f11 or f12 IMHO.

-- hide signature --
 tinternaut's gear list:tinternaut's gear list
Olympus E-30 Olympus E-510 Olympus PEN E-PL1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 Olympus PEN E-P5 +13 more
OP oluv Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: Good luck

depends. on mFT you can already see diffraction kicking in from f/5.6.

just have a look at dpreview's sharpness graphs from the 20mm pancake. you can see that it is sharpest below f/4.0 and becomes softer upwards.

also the 14-140 is already sharpest wide open at f/4.0 in the center (the corners are soft though), then stopping down to f/5.6 improves corners a bit without sacrificing too much sharpness, but from f/8 you can already notice an overall softness.

i usually don't like to go above f/8 with mFT except for macro maybe.

 oluv's gear list:oluv's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS +1 more
Pete Berry Veteran Member • Posts: 3,468
Re: m.zuiko 9-18 general optical quality or decentring...?

I had a problem with a decentered element in my 9-18mm that was shipped by Amazon with very poor packaging. I returned it and the replacement from B&H was perfect.

But there is likely another problem also with the GH-1 used with WA 4/3 Oly lenses (the 9-18 and 12-60mm at the wide end) as detailed in my recent post with edge crops:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1041&message=35423136

I've mentioned this several times, but so far either no one has looked critically or I have a unique problem, which seems unlikely with two very sharp lenses on the E-30 showing unacceptable edge softness, but very sharp centers, on the GH-1.

Pete

OP oluv Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: m.zuiko 9-18 general optical quality or decentring...?

interesting effect. thanks for pointing this out. the GH1 looks really bad here. i wonder what the reason could be.
did you shoot 4:3 with the GH1?

 oluv's gear list:oluv's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS +1 more
Pete Berry Veteran Member • Posts: 3,468
Re: m.zuiko 9-18 general optical quality or decentring...?

oluv wrote:

interesting effect. thanks for pointing this out. the GH1 looks really bad here. i wonder what the reason could be.
did you shoot 4:3 with the GH1?

It must be some property of the GH-1's unique sensor, as it has not come up in any other m4/3 body I'm aware of. The Panny m4/3 7-14mm has a bit of edge/corner softness wide open, but its rear element is much closer to the sensor than, Oly's 9-18 and 7-14mm, which would be interesting to compare on the GH-1. And it would be interesting for those with other m4/3's and the Oly 9-18mm to show some edge crops.

I generally shoot 4:3 format, but the corners of all formats, including 16:9, have the same radius from chip center, thus the same angular coverage with the same lens, so this could not explain the Oluv's findings.

Pete

OP oluv Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: m.zuiko 9-18 general optical quality or decentring...?

Pete Berry wrote:

I generally shoot 4:3 format, but the corners of all formats, including 16:9, have the same radius from chip center, thus the same angular coverage with the same lens, so this could not explain the Oluv's findings.

my softness problem with the 9-18 is much more obvious with 16:9 than 4:3.

usually when i test my lenses i shoot both formats at various apertures to see how the lens performs and if it has flaws. (3:2 is just in between, so i usually ignore it).

so far nearly ever lens i had, did show some stronger softness on one side. most of the time it is really slight, but i also had samples where it was pretty obvious so that i asked for an exchange.

i have a GF1 and GH1, so i could test both cameras with the same lens if they perform differently. unfortunately i don't have any fourthirds lenses.

 oluv's gear list:oluv's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS +1 more
kiri Senior Member • Posts: 1,632
Re: m.zuiko 9-18 general optical quality or decentring...?

How is the 9-18 on your GF1 then?

I have read that the GH1 sensor actually captures a slightly wider image when used in 16:9 mode. So it could be that the softness on the sides is more apparent in 16:9 because the extra (soft parts) at the sides would normally be cropped out on the standard 4:3 format.

oluv wrote:

Pete Berry wrote:

I generally shoot 4:3 format, but the corners of all formats, including 16:9, have the same radius from chip center, thus the same angular coverage with the same lens, so this could not explain the Oluv's findings.

my softness problem with the 9-18 is much more obvious with 16:9 than 4:3.

usually when i test my lenses i shoot both formats at various apertures to see how the lens performs and if it has flaws. (3:2 is just in between, so i usually ignore it).

so far nearly ever lens i had, did show some stronger softness on one side. most of the time it is really slight, but i also had samples where it was pretty obvious so that i asked for an exchange.

i have a GF1 and GH1, so i could test both cameras with the same lens if they perform differently. unfortunately i don't have any fourthirds lenses.

OP oluv Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: m.zuiko 9-18 general optical quality or decentring...?

kiri wrote:

How is the 9-18 on your GF1 then?

I have read that the GH1 sensor actually captures a slightly wider image when used in 16:9 mode. So it could be that the softness on the sides is more apparent in 16:9 because the extra (soft parts) at the sides would normally be cropped out on the standard 4:3 format.

i can also shoot with 4:3 on the GH1 which is what i did. i did tests at both 4:3 and 16:9 to see if there are any problems.

you are indeed right that the problem is not that obvious with 4:3, but nevertheless it is noticeable that the right side is softer.

if i get my exchange i will try shooting both side by side to see if there are any differences. the worse one goes back then!

 oluv's gear list:oluv's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS +1 more
Pete Berry Veteran Member • Posts: 3,468
Re: m.zuiko 9-18 general optical quality or decentring...?

Somehow I missed it that the OP has the m4/3 9-18. My previous comments related to the older 4/3 version and it's unacceptable performance on my GH-1.

Pete

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads