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Are there any sharp 14-42X lenses?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by WoodWorks, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Mu-43 Regular

    180
    Oct 10, 2011
    Ashland, OR USA
    David
    I posted this over at the "other" µ4/3 forum, but got zero responses. So I thought I'd give it a shot here.

    I'm trying to see if there is anyone that has received a "good" 14-42X lens. What I mean by "good" is one that doesn't exhibit the blur/focus problems at 42mm, handheld, with OIS engaged in the 1/100 to 1/320 sec. range. I've seen examples of decent images at shutter speeds both higher and lower than that. And my sample does a fine job as long as I keep it out of that range, or use it on a tripod. But as you can see from these post-firmware upgrade images:

    Update: I spoke too soon -- mine's soft too: Micro Four Thirds Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

    it's fairly awful under those particular conditions.

    Before I send it back to Panasonic, I need to decide whether to exchange it or just ask for a refund. If there are "good" copies out there, then I'll exchange it and hope for the best. But if the problems I've encountered are just part of the design, then I can't see how it's worth what I spent on it.

    So if anyone can point me to some good handheld images from this lens at 42mm in the 1/100 to 1/320 sec. range, I'd love to see them.

    And if you have the lens, but haven't tested it handheld at those shutter speeds, you may want to give it a try. I was convinced that my lens was fine until I got a little more rigorous with my testing.

    David
     
  2. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    989
    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    It's not the lens, it's the OIS. Sending it back for an exchange won't help you in any way. Either just sit on your lens and wait for an update, or refund it and wait for another lens to come along, or for the problems to be solved via firmware update. If I were in your position, I'd just turn off OIS and wait for Panasonic to fix it. In fact, I already turn OIS off during most of my shooting.
     
  3. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Mu-43 Regular

    180
    Oct 10, 2011
    Ashland, OR USA
    David
    There have been reports of users encountering the same problem with OIS turned off. But I haven't yet been able to verify that myself.

    David
     
  4. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    563
    Sep 3, 2011
    L.A.
    I'm holding off purchasing the 40-175 X lens until Panny fixes this same problem. Their latest firmware was supposed to have addressed it, and some owners are reporting improvements, but no definitive cure. What would scare me as an owner is if the issue was one of hardware design that could not be fixed through a firmware update. I'd say send it back until they've finally fixed it.
     
  5. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Mu-43 Regular

    180
    Oct 10, 2011
    Ashland, OR USA
    David
    I just did yet another test:

    OIS on OIS off: Micro Four Thirds Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

    It looks like you're right, shnitz, it is the OIS.

    Thing is, I have no trouble hand holding this lens at full zoom down to 1/80 sec. So I may just keep it and use it that way all the time. At least until Panasonic decides to fix the problem with another firmware update.

    David
     
  6. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    989
    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Yup, here's a pretty good article on image stabilization. It is in relation to Nikon's VR, but the facts are mostly true for any image stabilization system, with the caveat that in-body IS doesn't affect bokeh like lens-based IS systems do.
    Nikon VR explained
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    What conditions require OIS at shutter speeds of 1/100-1/320 for an 84mm EFL lens?

     
  8. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Mu-43 Regular

    180
    Oct 10, 2011
    Ashland, OR USA
    David
    Well, I can think of a few, like if you're an older person with shaky hands, for instance. But given that there's no external OIS switch on this lens, don't you think that Panasonic intended for OIS to be engaged pretty much all of the time?

    David
     
  9. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Essex
    John
    Thanks for that link, it's a superb explanation of how VR/IS works and is most effectively used. Most importantly, Thom offers clear advice on how it should not be used. Very helpful and enlightening. :smile:
     
  10. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    My bad...I have the 14-45 and assumed that the -42 had the same external switch...withdrawn & apologies.

    The article by Thom Hogan was an interesting read for me earlier this year...I now keep OIS off on my GF-1 and LX-5 most of the time.

    Sorry -
    John
     
  11. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Mu-43 Regular

    180
    Oct 10, 2011
    Ashland, OR USA
    David
    No apology necessary, John. It was a fair question.

    David
     
  12. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Thanks, David, but it was also uninformed. :D

    My experience with the 14-45 is that under "normal" outdoor conditions it is much sharper with OIS turned off. If I had to do that via the menu rather than a switch on the lens...I would be...very frustrated...or worse!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    989
    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I'm very glad that this realization is coming about here. A thread came up here a while ago, the issue of shooting with IS always on came up, and it seemed like pretty much no one else around here was noticing the quality loss that it causes in normal everyday shooting (i.e. not 1/5 of a second or slower shutter speeds). If your photo would otherwise not have handshake, like at the 1/100 second and faster that confounded jnewell, or the 1/80 second that Woodworks can handhold his kit lens, don't have image stabilization engaged. You're just shooting yourself in the foot, losing image quality and sharpness that you paid good money for, and are taking around a noticeably larger camera to try and achieve.

    Going into a menu to change IS-mode on my G2 isn't too bad. Page 2 of the shooting menu; it's no more of a hassle than changing metering. Plus, once you use it, the last-adjusted setting becomes the menu item for my Q.menu button.
     
  14. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Mu-43 Regular

    180
    Oct 10, 2011
    Ashland, OR USA
    David
    OK, everything you say is true, shnitz. But it begs the question: did the Panasonic lens designers intend for the Power-OIS setting on the 14-42X lens to be an always-on setting? It would appear, given the lack of physical switch on the 14-42X lens, that they did. And if that's true, why does the lens perform so badly with OIS on? Is this the best that they can do right now, or is there a design flaw in the firmware that can be fixed?

    Yes, it's not a deal-breaker, but I'd just as soon not have to fiddle with the OIS setting, other than perhaps switching it off when using a tripod. But in all other circumstances I'd rather just not have to consider whether 1/80 sec is beneath the OIS threshold, or whether I should just hold out for 1/60 or even 1/40 sec. Should we really have to do test shots before deciding when to turn the OIS off or leave it on?

    Maybe it's asking too much of present-day technology. But don't you think that this highly-touted Power-OIS technology should work a whole hell of a lot better than it seems to?

    David
     
  15. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    +1 to have IS off in most situations.

    On my DSLR, I only turn on VR when shooting at speeds slower than 1/500 - and even that is a stretch at times...
     
  16. angusr

    angusr Mu-43 Regular

    79
    Sep 21, 2011
    Presumably Panasonic could design some firmware which turned IS off under certain (even user specified) circumstances such as fast shutter speeds. I've no idea if could do it fast enough for shot to shot changes, but the general concept could surely work. I'd be fine with that, but my hands are reasonably steady and I only have the 14 and 20 anyway on my GF3. Never miss OIS because my 2 year old daughter's movement is the main issue.
     
  17. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    989
    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I don't think that because there's no physical switch, Panasonic intended for it to not be changed. Removing the switch was most likely a costcutting measure, and to simplify the controls for more inexperienced users; just as we've seen loss of on-body controls from GF1->GF2->GF3, and from G2->G3. Again, my G2 doesn't have a dedicated selector for metering, so should I infer that Panasonic didn't want me to change it? The G3 doesn't have a switch for focus mode, so should we assume that Panasonic decided that it shouldn't be changed, or should we just realize that they didn't think it was a big deal for those that wanted to change it to dive into a menu and quickly adjust it? I'd think you were changing the IS mode less than any of those above-mentioned functions, so I'd say just deal with it and go into a menu when you have to.
     
  18. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Possibly Panasonic engineers think that people who care about the sharpness loss will take the trouble to change the menu setting and that those who don't won't notice?

    I missed Shnitz's earlier thread, but found out on my own that using OIS on the 14-45mm when it wasn't needed caused a real loss in sharpness. :(