Please Help: Is my Oly 9-18 sharp (enough)?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Julia, Apr 12, 2013.

  1. Julia

    Julia Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2013
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Hi Forum,

    My first post and I hope you guys can help me: after reading so many great things about the Oly 9-18 and seeing some amazing photos shared here and around the web, I purchased a new copy two weeks ago.

    The weather just turned dry enough for me to go outside and try it out. I'm a little torn.

    I'm using the lens on a Panasonic G3.

    + Lens can be sharp in the center.
    + Lens gives me the wide angle I have come to love from my Canon 10-22.

    - There seems to be a LOT of noise in the image and I'm not sure if it's due to the lens or the camera. The Pany 20mm Pancake doesn't produce as much noise.
    - The lens appears quite soft to me.
    - When an image is sharp, then only the center. Pretty much everything else is soft.

    I don't know if I'm expecting too much or if this copy indeed isn't that great. I have attached three unedited RAW images for you to look at. I'd be ever grateful if any of you could compare it to what your copy of the Oly lens produces.

    I also have to add that I could create quite nice post-processed images; I did a couple of bracketed shots and made HDRs which look good enough to me. I just expected that even without pushing stuff through the entire NIK suite (Dfine, Sharpener, etc) my photos would look decent and the examples I attached don't really. At least to me.

    Please find the RAWs here

    Here are the images, exported to 1000px in width; at the end of the post is a link to the raw files.

    Attached Files:

  2. swampduck

    swampduck Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 29, 2013
    Taneytown , MD
    Real Name:
    My eyes aren't the best, and the allergy season is upon me as well, but all except the first one look good to me. The second one starts to get OOF to the left, but judging by the angle it is probably simply focal plane issue.
    The duck is sharp
    They all could use some PP to make them really pop.
    The trees, I can't tell, but it seems to get OOF in the center as you go farther in...again, a focal plane normality.

    The first one lacks contrast to me and does not appear sharp eyes not the greatest
  3. Rob917

    Rob917 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 18, 2011
    jacksonville, florida usa
    Real Name:
    Hey Julia a couple of questions:
    1) Are you shooting raw or jpeg, if jpeg you can increase sharpening in camera;
    2) What ISO are you shooting, however form thes images I don't see noise issues;
    3) What is your aperature and where in the frame are you focusing;
    4) Are you doing any sharpening in post processing?
  4. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    You should do the bookshelf test. Tripod, parallel to the books, adequate lighting. Then you'll know.:thumbup:
  5. Julia

    Julia Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2013
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Hi guys,

    Thanks for taking a look!

    @swampduck: I exported the images without any changes to make sure I wasn't influencing the image quality. I usually do PP in Lightroom and NIK, just thought that it would be best to leave them as-is for this particular post.

    ad 1) RAW, always RAW. I have set the G3 to a internal noise reduction +1, but that's the only adjustment I made from the default settings. I assumed that by shooting in RAW, I would do all the necessary adjustments (if necessary) in PP?
    ad 2) Usually as low as possible, which is 160 in the G3. Still trying to figure out if the Auto or Intelligent ISO setting might be better. If you look at the sky in #1 and the colors of the house in #2 in full resolution, noise is clearly visible, though. If you download and look at the original files, you'll see it. Just not sure if this is normal for ISO 160.
    ad 3) #1 = f9 // #2 = f10 // #3 = f7.1 // #4 = f4. I usually use the pattern (?) focus (sorry, I'm not an English native speaker). It's where the camera puts little squares across the view finder to show where it's focussing. I think I might depart from that and use only one of the focus squares or the pinpoint focus to improve sharpness?
    ad 4) Yes, but as I mentioned, I didn't do any for these images. Since I wanted to see if they appear sharp to you guys OOC, I didn't want to manipulate them.

    @juangrande: good point! Thanks!
  6. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM

    @Julia: Sorry for the off-topic reply but how did you manage to get that close to the duck? ;)
  7. Julia

    Julia Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2013
    Stuttgart, Germany
    I waded into a pond... Just kidding :)

    There was a water fountain on a raised platform and the duck was swimming around it in circles. I stood at the edge of the fountain for a couple of minutes and the duck got curious and swam closer. After I took the photo, I almost dropped my camera in shock - what I hadn't seen were the gigantic fish swimming in the fountain. Scared me crazy for a second :redface:
  8. Rob917

    Rob917 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 18, 2011
    jacksonville, florida usa
    Real Name:
    Sorry I was able to download the files, I have the G3 and while I don't find the files objectingly noisy at ISO 160 I do run them thru DFine at higher ISOs.
    I usually restrict my aperature for landscape to f5.6 to f8, use a single point of focus, focusing on an object that appears to be about a third of the way into the image frame. I always apply a little sharpening before printing.
  9. Rob917

    Rob917 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 18, 2011
    jacksonville, florida usa
    Real Name:
    One more thing, I don't believe the noise reduction setting has any effect on the raw files, only JPEG as produced by the camera.
  10. Julia

    Julia Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2013
    Stuttgart, Germany
    @Rob917: Thank you so much for taking the time to look through the files, I really appreciate it!

    Thanks for sharing this tip, I will try this during the weekend (if it ever stops pouring down).

    Yeah, I thought so too, but at least it didn't hurt either :D
  11. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Real Name:
    Sean Rastsmith
    Looks a bit soft, especially on the left side for the first two. Just tracked straight over from something I saw was in focus and looked at the same depth. Overall, if you are concerned, I would see about swapping it out. Otherwise, you are going to be concerned the entire time you own the lens. If the second copy looks the same, then maybe adjust your perceptions.
  12. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    Were the RW2 files supposed to be 2048x1540?
  13. Julia

    Julia Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2013
    Stuttgart, Germany
    I think Google might have resized them. Didn't make sure to change that setting before uploading, sorry.
  14. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    Julia, your pictures look fine to me.
  15. abucci

    abucci Mu-43 Rookie

    I was about ask that. Lucky I read through the posts first
  16. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    Noise is a function of camera sensor and ISO, not the lens. Of course a wider aperture lens would allow you to use a lower ISO.
  17. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    These RAW files are too small. If Google resized them at all it'd be impossible to tell if it is the resampling or the lens at fault.
  18. Julia

    Julia Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2013
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Can you tell me where I could share the original raw files? I tried uploading them here in the forum first but got error messages.
  19. fuSi0n

    fuSi0n Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 11, 2013
    Bavaria, Germany
    Use sth like Dropbox oder SkyDrive to share the raw files.
    B2t: I was also a bit concerned about the sharpnedd of my 9-18. But compared to my razorsharp Panasonic 20/1.7 and an adapted Minolta its fine for a zoom lens.
    And i remind you to correct for CAs, because they are quiet significant with these lens and UWA in general.
  20. Julia

    Julia Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2013
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Just wanted to thank all of you who took the time to look at the photos. I went out and did some more tests today and got back much better results.

    I think the issue for me was that I had the focus thing wrong -- I used the option where the camera would determine where to focus (out of 23 focus areas). Today, I set it to pinpoint focus (where I would only focus on a specific spot, not even an area) and I liked the result much, much better.