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Author Topic: Bad luck with Canon lenses?  (Read 17957 times)
Huib
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« on: October 23, 2007, 02:05:12 PM »
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This year I bought a 16-35mm F2.8 M2 to use it on a 1Ds2. I compared the files with the old M1. The old lens was much sharper then the new one. I got back to the shop and after testing 3 lenses the fourth was better than the old one.
I bought also the new 85F1.2 M2. This was immediately a little better then the 85mm F1.2M1
I also bought at the same time the 50mm F1.2. This was really shocking. This lens had a lot of CA. Even at f5.6 I went with the lens to Canon service. After the service the lens was much better but still the lens had at F5.6 more CA then all other (zoom) lenses I have, including the cheap Sigma 50mm macro.
I went back to the shop and after trying 4 lenses, the 5th was the best one. But at home I compared the lens again with other lenses I have and I am not happy, Still some CA at F5.6. At F1.4 the lens is in one corner not sharp at all.
I have no problems to spend even more money but is this bad luck that I attrack bad lenses? Is this problem going to be worse with the 1Ds3?
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2007, 03:41:41 PM »
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This year I bought a 16-35mm F2.8 M2 to use it on a 1Ds2. I compared the files with the old M1. The old lens was much sharper then the new one. ........................ Is this problem going to be worse with the 1Ds3?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148172\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I've also experienced variable quality of Canon lenses. It is real and they know it. Lenses are "acceptable" (to Canon of course) within a defined range of quality and what is acceptable to them is acceptable period - it doesn't matter what the customer thinks. So it is important to buy from a shop where you can swap continuously until you are happy. The problem will only be worse with the 1DsIII to the extent that the higher resolution of the sensor will reveal the shortcomings of inferior lenses more readily.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2007, 08:31:43 PM »
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I bought four 70-200 f/4 IS lenses in an unfruitful effort to get two good ones. In the end I just send the two "best" ones in to Canon for calibration. For the record, one has mis-aligned elements and the other had a loose lens mount. Both sucked when I sent them in. Both completely rock now. I had originally taken two in a row back to Samy's but quickly saw a complete waste of my time in testing. Just buy it and send it in is what I do now. Incidentally, I've also had one substandard 135L which was exchanged with no questions, and two 20mm 2.8's one of which was much worse than the other and neither of which was good enough for my use.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2007, 08:43:48 PM »
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I bought four 70-200 f/4 IS lenses in an unfruitful effort to get two good ones. In the end I just send the two "best" ones in to Canon for calibration. For the record, one has mis-aligned elements and the other had a loose lens mount. Both sucked when I sent them in. Both completely rock now. I had originally taken two in a row back to Samy's but quickly saw a complete waste of my time in testing. Just buy it and send it in is what I do now. Incidentally, I've also had one substandard 135L which was exchanged with no questions, and two 20mm 2.8's one of which was much worse than the other and neither of which was good enough for my use.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148252\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I don't know where you get your Canon service from, but you are lucky if they do that for you. I brought a 17~40 L to Canon Canada here in Toronto because I thought the alignment could be improved. They agreed with me that it could be improved but they insisted that because it is within their "tolerance range" and because they are less equipped than in Japan to make such adjustments they wouldn't touch it both on account of company policy and for fear of making it worse. I wasn't a happy camper. I bought the lens from B&H because the Canadian price from Canon within Canada was outrageously higher, so I took the risk of long-distance shopping - which is the cost and inconvenience of swapping merchandise forth and back accross an international boundary. That won't happen again. In future, I'll buy and test right at B&H where the price is right - unless of course Canon cleans up its Canadian pricing policy, in which case it would make sense to buy retail here in Toronto.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2007, 09:16:30 PM »
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Why do you guys keep trying? The very idea of spending so much money on a lens and not having it work per the spec is un-acceptable to me, and I am not a pro. As a pro I would never have the luxury of trying 4 or 5 different lenses before finding one that is correct. The truth is that many of those pros just accept to work with gear not meeting the spec because:

- they don't really care for ultimum image quality,
- they just assume that - since Canon is said to be the best - what they get is just what the current technology can deliver,
- it is what everybody else is doing,

In a few months, competition working with Nikon and Sony FF gear will produce images using true high quality glass that works mostly per the spec. Those Canon shooters willing to keep their edge might want to put a bit more pressure on their gear supplier and have them deliver the goods if they want to stay on top.

I have never had any such problems with any of my Nikkor (pro or consumer), and I own a lot of those! It must be luck, just like the luck those lucky Antartica Nikon shooters had with their bodies a few months ago.  

Cheers,
Bernard
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2007, 10:01:03 PM »
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Bernard, I was a long time Nikon user before I went for digital capture, where up to very recently there was no viable full frame high MP alternative to Canon. Although this is completely impressionistic, I was more impressed with the quality of the Nikon lenses I was using in those days than I am with some of the Canon lenses I am using now - the 24~105 and the 50/f1/4 being exceptionally sharp ones. The 70~300 DO and the 17~40 L are acceptable but nothing to knock your socks off.  As far as working to spec, this is where the problem is: Canon's "spec" is like an elastic band, so there is a stretch between what is fine for Canon and fine for their customers. For a given price range, I wonder why it should be any different for Nikon, but perhaps it is.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2007, 11:09:40 PM »
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As far as working to spec, this is where the problem is: Canon's "spec" is like an elastic band, so there is a stretch between what is fine for Canon and fine for their customers. For a given price range, I wonder why it should be any different for Nikon, but perhaps it is.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148274\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You know me, although I use Nikon (less and less actually - I have shot 40 frames with my D2x in 2007 so far vs several thousands with the Mamiya), I don't care much about brands.

I don't know if Nikon is really better, but I know that all the lenses I have bought from them have always been outstanding with no obvious issues.

Regards,
Bernard
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pfigen
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2007, 11:31:49 PM »
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"I don't know where you get your Canon service from, but you are lucky if they do that for you"

I'm sending or actuallly driving them down to Canon in Irvine, Ca.

"Why do you guys keep trying? The very idea of spending so much money on a lens and not having it work per the spec is un-acceptable to me, and I am not a pro. As a pro I would never have the luxury of trying 4 or 5 different lenses before finding one that is correct. The truth is that many of those pros just accept to work with gear not meeting the spec because:

- they don't really care for ultimum image quality,
- they just assume that - since Canon is said to be the best - what they get is just what the current technology can deliver,
- it is what everybody else is doing,"

Acceptable or not, it IS the reality. I don't find it acceptable either, but I don't see any equitable way around the situation. I must be one of those who does care about quality. That these lenses can easily be brought into spec but somehow slipped through probably says to me that Canon expects to have a few picky people send their lenses in but they count on a majority either not knowing the difference or not caring.

I think in the film days, we just sort of accepted what we got, and because the film itself masks a lot of optical defects, we never really knew the difference. I too, used to shoot Nikon, and have adapter to use some of those venerable old lenses on the latest digital bodies. What I've discovered is that most of those Nikon lenses are pretty good, some are even amazing by today's standards, but some suffer from the same sample variation as the new Canon we've been talking about. I have two 24mm 2.8 Nikkors and have also tested a third one, and all three are vastly different, but have one thing in common - very sharp in the center but never getting crispy in the far corners - at any aperture.

Lenses like the 18mm 3.5, 28mm 2.0, 105 2.5 and 180 2.8 ED are all right up there with the best new lenses. An 80-200 2.8, which was a great lens in its day, just is not up to the level of the new Canon zooms. Interesting to find all this out.
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thompsonkirk
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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2007, 11:42:22 PM »
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I've found that what some people might regard as 'bad copies' of Canon zoom lenses just need a bit of adjustment.  If you send them in under the warranty, they'll check it out & adjust the "best focus point" or "ideal focus point" - i forget which they call it - for you.  I've had this done to both 17-40L & 24-105L, & it made qall the difference in the world.  A friend had to send in both the camera body & the lens for re-alignment, but now has good results.

Of course this shouldn't be necessary - quality control should have taken care of it in the first place - but now I regard sending zooms in for an adjustment as a matter-of-course.

Kirk
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2007, 01:41:05 AM »
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Hi!

Lateral chromatic aberration is not really affected by stopping down, AFAIK. It can be fixed in raw conversion. Chromatic aberration is a design related issue and cannot be fixed by adjustment.

Hi aperture lenses are seldom really best at maximum aperture. Leica lenses are intended to be used at maximum aperture but even they do improve when stopping down.

The fact that the 1Ds2 uses full frame sensor and that pixel peeping is so easy makes a very heavy demand on edge/corner performance of the lens. You can just click "view actual pixels" while in the film days you needed a microscope to that!

The Swedish monthly "Foto" does MTF-tests at the Hasselblad factory. They seem to know what they do. They have tested two samples of the 16-35/2.8 II and found no real difference between the new and the old version. They found that neither lens was really sharp in the corners (more than 15mm of optical axis) and that the lens needed to be stopped down a couple of stops to give good results. Corners were still not really sharp at aperture 8 between 16 and 24 mm.

It's a bad thing if Canon ships inferior lenses to customers and fixes them if the customers are complaining. It must be much easier for Canon to test their lenses than for their customers. Lots of customers paying for quality they don't get?

Best regards

Erik


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This year I bought a 16-35mm F2.8 M2 to use it on a 1Ds2. I compared the files with the old M1. The old lens was much sharper then the new one. I got back to the shop and after testing 3 lenses the fourth was better than the old one.
I bought also the new 85F1.2 M2. This was immediately a little better then the 85mm F1.2M1
I also bought at the same time the 50mm F1.2. This was really shocking. This lens had a lot of CA. Even at f5.6 I went with the lens to Canon service. After the service the lens was much better but still the lens had at F5.6 more CA then all other (zoom) lenses I have, including the cheap Sigma 50mm macro.
I went back to the shop and after trying 4 lenses, the 5th was the best one. But at home I compared the lens again with other lenses I have and I am not happy, Still some CA at F5.6. At F1.4 the lens is in one corner not sharp at all.
I have no problems to spend even more money but is this bad luck that I attrack bad lenses? Is this problem going to be worse with the 1Ds3?
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« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 02:29:56 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

Huib
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« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2007, 02:38:53 AM »
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Filmdays are a long time ago. I am talking about new lenses which are design for the new coming 1Ds3. I am expecting something good from these new designs.  
You have to be very lucky to get a copy of  the new lenses which are performing better then the lenses of the filmdays.
Why can Canon produce 'state of the art' cameras and very good tele lenses but not good lenses <50mm?
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2007, 03:40:53 AM »
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Why can Canon produce 'state of the art' cameras and very good tele lenses but not good lenses <50mm?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148310\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Because it is apparently a lot easier to design super tele lenses? Put it otherwise, have you ever heard of any super tele from any vendor that is not outstanding? I haven't.

Lens design is not an obvious thing. If it were, we would have Leica quality bokeh in our compact digital cameras, and we obviously don't.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2007, 08:13:40 AM »
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I've found that what some people might regard as 'bad copies' of Canon zoom lenses just need a bit of adjustment.  If you send them in under the warranty, they'll check it out & adjust the "best focus point" or "ideal focus point" - i forget which they call it - for you.  I've had this done to both 17-40L & 24-105L, & it made qall the difference in the world.  A friend had to send in both the camera body & the lens for re-alignment, but now has good results.

Of course this shouldn't be necessary - quality control should have taken care of it in the first place - but now I regard sending zooms in for an adjustment as a matter-of-course.

Kirk
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148290\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Kirk,

This is a stickier wicket than what you describe here. Canon does not necessariy do what you describe - at least not in Canada. They tell me they are simply not equipped to make fine adjustments of zoom lens allignment. They also tell me that within a certain tolerance range of the specs it is company policy not to touch the lens, and as I'll explain below, no matter how loud an individual customer may scream about this, it is talking to the wall. From what I have observed, there would appear to be a noticeable difference in image quality as you move from the outer fringe to the core of their spec range.

Quality control for any manufacturer is an issue of price versus cost and the cost must include for the reject rate. If only ten percent of their lenses are absolutely at the optimum off the assembly line do they reject the other 90%, or do they spend more time and money opening up each unit and fine-tuning it? Do you want to pay 1200 for an L lens or 2500? This is the general nature of the trade-off at play here. They make those decisions, and so they must. No-one can fault them for that.

The big weakness with Canon, however, is that this is a company with layers of wax in its  ears - it takes a very long time - if ever - for customer concerns to seep into their minds. They live in an awesomely defensive and rigid corporate shell, which is reflected in the uncompromising manner in which they handle their customers - in particular if they are outside the Canon Professional Services Program, and there are equally rigid criteria for being accepted into that group. If Canon weren't on top of the heap in terms of DSLR technology (an advantage which Nikon is now eroding), I don't think this company would survive in that arena. They are being carried by technological prowess, not by being nice and accommodating with their customers.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray
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« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2007, 08:21:35 AM »
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I'm also disatisfied with Canon quality control. I'm in Thailand at the moment but I'm scared to buy the 70-200/f4 IS, which I want, in case I get a bad copy.

There's a camera shop in China Town, Bangkok, called 'Camera World'. Their prices on lenses are much less than the best internet prices in Australia, but the last lens I bought from them, the Canon 50/1.4 was actually slightly worse than my Australian bought 50/1.8, which means it was a complete waste of money.

I'm going to repeat for the 25th time on this forum. There's only one solution to this problem. All lenses should ship with detailed MTF charts describing their performance.
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Ronny Nilsen
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« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2007, 08:29:54 AM »
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This year I bought a 16-35mm F2.8 M2 to use it on a 1Ds2. I compared the files with the old M1. The old lens was much sharper then the new one. I got back to the shop and after testing 3 lenses the fourth was better than the old one.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148172\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

If you buy from a shop that lets you test lenses and leave with the best, you aren't  testing
Canons QC, you are testing an accumulated collections of rejects from other customers
and it's more or less guarantied that over time all lenses in stock will be crap imho...  

I have never had a problem with a Canon lens, but then my shop will not let the customers test
the lenses, and any faulty equipment is sent back to the manufacturer, and not sold to other
customers. I'm not saying this is the case with you shop, but...
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2007, 08:36:00 AM »
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You know me, although I use Nikon (less and less actually - I have shot 40 frames with my D2x in 2007 so far vs several thousands with the Mamiya), I don't care much about brands.

I don't know if Nikon is really better, but I know that all the lenses I have bought from them have always been outstanding with no obvious issues.

Regards,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148285\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Bernard, we're in the same camp on that - I have no brand allegiance for anything. Either it performs properly or it doesn't regardless of who makes it.

Now, I'm interested in your Mamiya experience. Are you talking about the ZD, medium format 20 MP model? I saw it and handled it at the Mamiya booth at Photo Plus East in New York last week. Sweet piece of merchandise I must say. When one is at the cusp of buying a 20MP 1DsIII, this is a decision point one needs to consider. Here's how it stacks up in my mind so far:

Canon 1DsIII:
Price USD 8000 in the US, and due to Canon Corporate price differentiation policies, CAD 9200 in Canada (eventhough the Canadian dollar is now worth 3% more than the US dollar - OK some add-on is justified for the probably higher unit cost structure of a Canadian distribution and service outlet, but 15% seems a stretch).
Like many others in my situation, I have a suite of Canon lenses so need to spend more on that. Most of my work is with the 24~105. Great range for a high percent of my work and I have a superb copy of this lens.
From what I've seen the resolution and image quality are highly satisfactory, but it's prelim. Great noise performance, high speed, self-cleaning sensor, etc. etc.

Mamiya ZD:
Price 10000 USD with one lens. To replicate the same range as the 24~105 I would need two additional lenses costing a total of another USD 5500. Using all this means changing lenses as one progresses through the range. It's more and heavier gear to trudge around with.
9 micron (versus 7 for Canon) pixel size. What difference in image quality does this produce? Mamiya of course says it is huge. Perhaps - I don't know.
Bit depth: Canon 14, Mamiya 12. Does this make a practical difference? I don't know. Theories are no good here. One needs to see actual results from valid test images.
Noise: at the booth they admitted noise is an issue from 200 ISO. (I've heard another opinion that it is an issue beyond 100 ISO) The Canon hardly shows any noise up to ISO 800. Does the additional noise reduction requirement eliminate the pixel size advantage? I don't know.
Both have AA filters.

So, where does all that leave me? (1) I'd love to hear about your experience with it, because there is nothing more valuable than expert advice from an extenisve and intensive user. (2) So far it tells me I may as well stick with Canon for a number of reasons that are custom to my circumstances. But this is a real decision point - I think.

Cheers,

Mark
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2007, 09:02:06 AM »
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Now, I'm interested in your Mamiya experience. Are you talking about the ZD, medium format 20 MP model?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148348\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yep, I have been using the ZD for about a year now. I am overall very happy about it. I posted this months ago already, but the image quality is plain outstanding up to ISO 100. Above, it remains usable up to 200, but I use it at ISO 50 95% of the time, the remaining 5% being ISO 100. I am a tripod guy anyway, so not a problem for me.

Other problems are:

- noise for exposures longer than 5 sec, acceptable until 10 sec, needs work beyong. silkypix is far ahead of raw developper and Lightroom in this area,
- non existant battery life in cold weather. Down to 10 images per battery at -10 - -15C.

Quote
Canon 1DsIII:
Price USD 8000 in the US, and due to Canon Corporate price differentiation policies, CAD 9200 in Canada (eventhough the Canadian dollar is now worth 3% more than the US dollar - OK some add-on is justified for the probably higher unit cost structure of a Canadian distribution and service outlet, but 15% seems a stretch).
Like many others in my situation, I have a suite of Canon lenses so need to spend more on that. Most of my work is with the 24~105. Great range for a high percent of my work and I have a superb copy of this lens.
From what I've seen the resolution and image quality are highly satisfactory, but it's prelim. Great noise performance, high speed, self-cleaning sensor, etc. etc.

Mamiya ZD:
Price 10000 USD with one lens. To replicate the same range as the 24~105 I would need two additional lenses costing a total of another USD 5500. Using all this means changing lenses as one progresses through the range. It's more and heavier gear to trudge around with.
9 micron (versus 7 for Canon) pixel size. What difference in image quality does this produce? Mamiya of course says it is huge. Perhaps - I don't know.
Bit depth: Canon 14, Mamiya 12. Does this make a practical difference? I don't know. Theories are no good here. One needs to see actual results from valid test images.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148348\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The Mamiya is in fact 14 bits D/A converter also, the following steps are 12 bits. Either way, it is miles ahead of the D2x in terms of DR and highlight rollout smoothness.

Quote
Both have AA filters.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148348\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

In fact, the AA filter is an option on the ZD, there is none by default. The sharpness by pixel is outstanding, clearly ahead of my d2x, that I consider to be one of the sharpest 35 mm DSLRs.

Quote
So, where does all that leave me? (1) I'd love to hear about your experience with it, because there is nothing more valuable than expert advice from an extenisve and intensive user. (2) So far it tells me I may as well stick with Canon for a number of reasons that are custom to my circumstances. But this is a real decision point - I think.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148348\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The ZD is a very specific camera, and I feel that its image quality will remain significantly ahead of that of the 1ds3 in the narrow range of applications where it excels:

- ISO 50,
- exposures less than 5 sec,
- temperature above freezing point,
- tripod use with MLU,
- no ultra wide, little tele capability,
- slow shooting by person with good knowledge of exposure. The LCD is very slow and measuring accurately first saves a lot of time.

If any of these conditions is not met, then the 1ds3 will offer clear advantages.

Regards,
Bernard
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2007, 09:04:37 AM »
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repeat for the 25th time on this forum. There's only one solution to this problem. All lenses should ship with detailed MTF charts describing their performance.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148342\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

This is not going to happen.

- few people will want to pay more for this,
- this would force lens manufacturers not to sell poor samples... which they obviously do today. This would also increase cost, and therefore price.

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2007, 09:11:52 AM »
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I'm also disatisfied with Canon quality control. I'm in Thailand at the moment but I'm scared to buy the 70-200/f4 IS, which I want, in case I get a bad copy.

There's a camera shop in China Town, Bangkok, called 'Camera World'. Their prices on lenses are much less than the best internet prices in Australia, but the last lens I bought from them, the Canon 50/1.4 was actually slightly worse than my Australian bought 50/1.8, which means it was a complete waste of money.

I'm going to repeat for the 25th time on this forum. There's only one solution to this problem. All lenses should ship with detailed MTF charts describing their performance.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=148342\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ray, I'm familiar with the Bangkok shopping scene, and I would be wary. I've found that high-end brand-name equipment is generally not cheaper in Thailand than it is from B&H in New York City. So if the price looks too good to be true, maybe it is and one always must be concerned about where the merchandise is sourced from and exactly what it is.

Apart from MTF charts, not a bad idea, the other insurance policy is only to buy lenses from an outlet that makes it easy and convenient to swap copies until you get the one you like. Canon won't play that game - it is up to the retailer.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2007, 09:16:40 AM »
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This is not going to happen.

- few people will want to pay more for this,
- this would force lens manufacturers not to sell poor samples... which they obviously do today. This would also increase cost, and therefore price.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Bernard, you are most probably correct about this. Those are the implications. But what about the idea of a price premium on the best samples? Some people would bite if the difference were reasonable, don't you think? You know, people who are willing to pay let us say 50 dollars per metre for the highest quality silk are not the same people who will pay no more than 10 dollars per metre for average quality silk. Perhaps the market can be differentiated this way - legitimately.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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