Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

Started Mar 7, 2013 | Discussions
Erational Regular Member • Posts: 184
Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.
1

Pouring over MTF charts saying the Fuji 18-55 was the equal of the Fuji X 35mm F/1.4 at 35mm, I reluctantly bought  a zoom over a prime.  Many internet comments had said the zoom was the equal to the prime only loosing-out to the 35mm in low-light abilities. In those first 2 days I wondered why people were heaping praise for the X E-1 at all, the resolution I saw was nothing to write home about. I had seen far better qualities from Sony's NEX kit lens. My new Fuji zoom locked-up after 3 days on the camera and it was returned as defective. With a second Fuji 18-55, I shot with the camera on a tripod, OIS off,  timer on.  Again, resolution was sub-par to other APS-C cameras, although color was great and metering was superior. My thoughts started to turn to what camera make would replace my new Fuji X E-1.

Bringing the 2nd 18-55 was returned to a *very* patient retailer. This time I got the Fuji X 35mm F/1.4 .  Wow. This is what people were talking/writing about ! Super resolution with great correction. Sorry I do not have comparison shots here of the same scene shot with the two different lenses. This is just my opinion.

So, for any tripod shooter out there just relying on the charts or who reads the laudatory reviews about the Fuji 18-55, keep in mind that the conventional wisdom still applies- a prime beats a zoom nearly every time.

cptrios Senior Member • Posts: 1,352
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.
5

Well, I don't have the 18-55, but having used several copies of the NEX kit lens on my NEX-7, I find it very hard to believe that Sony's lens outperforms any standard zoom. I can definitely see the 18-55 not being as good as the 35/1.4, but if it's not as good as the Sony I can only imagine that you managed to get two bad copies.

And in defense of some of the people you mentioned...I think the prevailing opinion isn't so much "the 18-55 is just as good as the 35/1.4" as it is "the 35/1.4 isn't better enough than the 18-55 to merit owning both unless you need the extra f-stops."

baobob
baobob Forum Pro • Posts: 13,610
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.
2

And in defense of some of the people you mentioned...I think the prevailing opinion isn't so much "the 18-55 is just as good as the 35/1.4" as it is "the 35/1.4 isn't better enough than the 18-55 to merit owning both unless you need the extra f-stops."

I own both

The sharpness of the 18-55mm is impressive for a "standard" zoom, much better than my Sigma 2

8 24-70 mm macro EX on the 5D2

My copy is a good one without centering obvious defect

The 35mm is as the 60mm interesting to be able to play with DOF and it's small and unintrusive

The 18-55mm plus the body allows to have a compact package with super IQ for allround photography

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deednets Veteran Member • Posts: 9,726
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

Erational wrote:

Pouring over MTF charts saying the Fuji 18-55 was the equal of the Fuji X 35mm F/1.4 at 35mm, I reluctantly bought a zoom over a prime. Many internet comments had said the zoom was the equal to the prime only loosing-out to the 35mm in low-light abilities. In those first 2 days I wondered why people were heaping praise for the X E-1 at all, the resolution I saw was nothing to write home about. I had seen far better qualities from Sony's NEX kit lens. My new Fuji zoom locked-up after 3 days on the camera and it was returned as defective. With a second Fuji 18-55, I shot with the camera on a tripod, OIS off, timer on. Again, resolution was sub-par to other APS-C cameras, although color was great and metering was superior. My thoughts started to turn to what camera make would replace my new Fuji X E-1.

Bringing the 2nd 18-55 was returned to a *very* patient retailer. This time I got the Fuji X 35mm F/1.4 . Wow. This is what people were talking/writing about ! Super resolution with great correction. Sorry I do not have comparison shots here of the same scene shot with the two different lenses. This is just my opinion.

So, for any tripod shooter out there just relying on the charts or who reads the laudatory reviews about the Fuji 18-55, keep in mind that the conventional wisdom still applies- a prime beats a zoom nearly every time.

Have shown this in another thread but you might (or not??) find this interesting. Shots hand held on my first week end with the X-E1 & 18-55. The second shot is a crop ...

X-E1 18-55 @ F5 200ASA

Crop of the above image

... honestly it beats me how you can come to those conclusions??

Here is another one, crop only ...

X-E1 & 18-55 @55mm F4 1/280 ...

Images reduced to 1800px

Good luck with your NEX or 35/1.4!

Cheers

Deed

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deednets Veteran Member • Posts: 9,726
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.
1

... with a tad more sharpening:

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Highlander77 Regular Member • Posts: 161
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.
1

I used to own nex 5n with the kit lens and the zeiss. While I still think that nex is a great value for its performance I'm really surprised reading comments like this. Fuji's kit lens absolutely trumps Sony's offering in image quality...it's in a whole different league. You must have been REALLY unlucky and got the most defective copy. What Sony has over Fuji is a much better implementation of ois.

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OP Erational Regular Member • Posts: 184
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

Many people have written about how good the old NEX kit lens was at 20-25mm, besides me. The Sony lens was nothing special at other lengths. As an added note; no lens I have ever used bathed shadows in so much blue hue as the Fuji 18-55 . Have seen other posters mention this odd occurrence and I do not know if it is a zoom issue or a camera issue, but I haven't noticed it yet with the 35mm F/1.4

The chances of me having two bad Fuji 18-55 seem improbable. That the lens locked-up after 3 days alludes to some possible QA issues at Fujifilm. I would suggest to all who read this that the company they buy from has a generous return policy. Am glad I bought from a brick-n'-mortar store for once.

Andrea Crema
Andrea Crema Senior Member • Posts: 1,140
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

I concur with Deednets.

I have seen really good performance with the 18-55. Prior to purchasing it I took an SD card to my local retailer.

I shot the NEX 5 & 7, XE-1 for comparison. The XE-1 was significantly better to the point I thought that there was an issue with one of the NEX cameras as it seemed soft.

At the time I had no intention in buying the XE1 until I saw the results for myself. The DPreview shots of the XE1 I think are way too soft and don't do the camera/lens justice.

It doesn't mirror my experience.

Imho the 18-55 is one of the best zooms I've used and compares with my Nikkor 28-70 f2.8.

On the subject of the 35mm, take a look at the link below from my local retailer's blog that shows a comparison shot between the Canon 35mm Prime.

http://blog.castlecameras.co.uk/?tag=35mm

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94
94 Senior Member • Posts: 1,074
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

Andrea Crema wrote:

On the subject of the 35mm, take a look at the link below from my local retailer's blog that shows a comparison shot between the Canon 35mm Prime.

http://blog.castlecameras.co.uk/?tag=35mm

It only takes looking at the fellow's moustache in each image to see the vast superiority of the Fuji 35mm. Although the Canon result is somewhat more contrasty the relative resolution of the two lenses shows the Fuji to be the hands down winner.

As to zooms: they may be better or worse but no zoom will equal a good prime at the prime's focal length. This has always been true and it remains true no matter how seekers of easier photgraphy rationalize their choices of zoom lenses.

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baobob
baobob Forum Pro • Posts: 13,610
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

I own 18mm 35 60  and 18-55mm

It's clear that 35 and 60 are stellar lenses and even if the 18-55mm is the best trans standard zoom I ever had (much better than my big Sigma 2.8 24-70mm Macro Ex)

At 18mm the debate is different : the prime is always sharper in the center

The zoom is better in borders and corners AND shows nearly no CA where the 18mm has got here it's Achille's heel (probably linked to ot's pancake like design...)

But the 18mm is wonderful for street photography

For compact allround package the zoom is an excellent solution

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OP Erational Regular Member • Posts: 184
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

Yes, I do understand the idea "the 35/1.4 isn't better enough than the 18-55 to merit owning both unless you need the extra f-stops".  Not saying the two 18-55's were Coke bottle glass, but I wouldn't have kept the X E-1 if the performance of the 18-55 was all I could squeeze out of the X E-1. The difference between my copies of the prime and zoom was far larger than your experience.

While the classic car 18-55 shots in previous posts attached to this thread are lovely, they do not convince of sharpness or detail over the web.  All the same, thanks for taking the time to post those shots.

Currently, I own no NEX cameras. The old NEX 18-55 was simply a reference point.

cptrios Senior Member • Posts: 1,352
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

Erational wrote:

As an added note; no lens I have ever used bathed shadows in so much blue hue as the Fuji 18-55 . Have seen other posters mention this odd occurrence and I do not know if it is a zoom issue or a camera issue, but I haven't noticed it yet with the 35mm F/1.4

That's really weird. Did it happen in camera JPEGs as well as RAWs? And yeah, it does seem like there are some QC issues with the 18-55 (another area where sony has it rough as well). Perhaps it has something to do with it being Fuji's first foray into large-lens OIS?

OP Erational Regular Member • Posts: 184
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

Check out between the feathers. CA ?

I have seen CA before. But if this is CA, I have never seen it on this magnitude. Poor bird... he doesn't deserve this. SOOC JPEG from the X E-1.

Observe the left wing and the tail-feathers of this JPEG.

deednets Veteran Member • Posts: 9,726
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

Erational wrote:

Yes, I do understand the idea "the 35/1.4 isn't better enough than the 18-55 to merit owning both unless you need the extra f-stops". Not saying the two 18-55's were Coke bottle glass, but I wouldn't have kept the X E-1 if the performance of the 18-55 was all I could squeeze out of the X E-1. The difference between my copies of the prime and zoom was far larger than your experience.

While the classic car 18-55 shots in previous posts attached to this thread are lovely, they do not convince of sharpness or detail over the web. All the same, thanks for taking the time to post those shots.

Currently, I own no NEX cameras. The old NEX 18-55 was simply a reference point.

Over the web?? Well the crop is a 100% crop that is 1800pixel taken out of the original image ... there is NO resizing!

The first crop is without any sharpening taken as it came from the original file, the second one uses a mild sharpening algorithm.

If you want a 200% crop all you have to do is copy and resize to 200% ... since the crops are at 100%.

Not sure what else to tell you??

Cheers

Deed

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baobob
baobob Forum Pro • Posts: 13,610
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

To be sure that the 18-55mm is VERY sharp just go the photozone review Analysis section

It's impressive

Regretably they experienced one decentred sample

This is unfortunately a very common disease with lenses even very expensive ones (the Canon 100-400mm has suffered from this didisease.... too)

Assuming that the copy is OK,the sharpness is excellent and the way reviewers test for sharpness are really evidence based vs free comments about "web quality"

Any sample with obvious defects should be returned for replacement

My first copy had a broken OIS Got now a good one without centering issue

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baobob
baobob Forum Pro • Posts: 13,610
Sharp or not sharp, that is the question
1

One interesting answer to this now shakesperian debate :

http://www.photoreview.com.au/reviews/lenses/other-ilc/fujinon-super-ebc-xf18-55mm-f-2.8-4-r-lm-ois-lens

Cheers

Bob

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Asylum Photo
Asylum Photo Senior Member • Posts: 1,277
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

I haven't seen too many people say it's as sharp as the 35, and that there is no point in getting both. But I have seen people say its pretty sharp for a kit lens.

I'm happy with mine, fwiw.

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shigzeo
shigzeo Senior Member • Posts: 2,066
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

baobob wrote:

And in defense of some of the people you mentioned...I think the prevailing opinion isn't so much "the 18-55 is just as good as the 35/1.4" as it is "the 35/1.4 isn't better enough than the 18-55 to merit owning both unless you need the extra f-stops."

I own both

The sharpness of the 18-55mm is impressive for a "standard" zoom, much better than my Sigma 2

8 24-70 mm macro EX on the 5D2

My copy is a good one without centering obvious defect

The 35mm is as the 60mm interesting to be able to play with DOF and it's small and unintrusive

The 18-55mm plus the body allows to have a compact package with super IQ for allround photography

I've never used a 'standard' zoom that isn't bitingly sharp. Sharpness is nothing at all for modern standard lenses. However, most 18-55 cheap zooms have: plastic mounts, rotating front elements, no manual focus grip, and max speeds of 3,5. The Fuji is simply another sharp standard zoom but with faster elements, metal construction, and slightly more ergonomic design.

Its sharpness is nothing out of the ordinary.

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baobob
baobob Forum Pro • Posts: 13,610
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

mmhhh.............

Try the Canon 18-55mm that comes with the EOS 600 series...

Ok it costs 100€ in a kit

remarkable for 100€

Again my big Sigma 2.8 24-70mm Macro EX (1 kg) is far behind

The 18-55mm is especially more constant in all aperture from f4 at all focal length even if the center is not that fantastic borders and corners are always very good without CA

So aprt mechanic the optics is ondeed excellent

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OP Erational Regular Member • Posts: 184
Re: Down on the 18-55 O.I.S.

Deed, it's obvious my Fuji 18-55 shots of the eagle are not nearly as sharp as your shots of the classic car. One of the eagle shots even uses a tripod, if I recall correctly.  I had forgotten that Photozone had gotten a bad copy of the Fuji 18-55mm, glad you brought that up.  It's just odd I would get two lemons in a row, perhaps it was a bad batch sent to the store.  Personally, I find it alarming the swaths of PF/CA/blue hue represented in my eagle photos and I am surprised no-one has commented on that.

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