Just how bad is my SEL 10-18mm?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by mrwinter, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. mrwinter

    mrwinter TalkEmount Rookie

    May 7, 2013
    I recently took the plunge and ordered the SEL 1018. The Sigma 6-18mm also interesed me, particularly given the price and good reviews, but the SEL1018 won out on weight and usability.

    Given all of the reports of poor quality control and de-centering probelems, I decided, rather than just enjoying my new purchase, to give to give it a quick test and check for decentering.

    I'm a bit of a novice, but I figured that if I take a picture of some pattern, then invert the camera and take the same picture, then I can directly compare opposite corners.

    Sure enough, the bottom left corner is consistenly soft.

    My quesion now is, does this softness justify an exchange on warranty?

    I mean its obviously a construction fault and a quality issue, but lenses are not delivered with any sort of measureable tollerance values so I find it hard to quantify. Also, what are the chances that the next lens is just as bad or worse?

    Samples below. What do some of you experts think?

    Right Way.jpg
    SEL1018 on nex-6 18mm f4 iso400 1/500s

    Test_3 18mm F4 100% Lower Left Vs. Upper Right.jpg
    Bottom Left corner Vs. Top Right corner (of upside-down image) at 100% crop

    Test_3 18mm F4 100% Upper Right Vs. Lower Left.jpg
    Top Right corner Vs. Bottom Left corner (of upside-down image) at 100% crop

    (Btw. I zommed in until the % indicator said 100%. Is this a "100% crop" or am I missing something?)
  2. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    Mar 25, 2013
    That sort of variation is common in consumer grade lenses. Especially wide lenses.

    The question is if you can live with it or if it will continue to annoy you. In the latter case you should try to get a replacement. But chances are that the next lens will have some similar issue.

    If it bothers you too much then ask for a refund.

    On a side note, my EF-S Sigma 10-20mm is all over the place in the corners. Much worse than your lens. But I still love shooting with it for the overall look of the photos.
  3. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Yep, unfortunately that kind of decentering is common in consumer grade lenses, especially at wide angles and zoom lenses. You simply can't sell such a lens for its price if you add quality control to every produced lens - just look at the Zeiss Touits, they do 80 steps of quality control for every lens, but they charge accordingly.
  4. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    Yeah, that's fairly typical, I'm afraid. Viewed at 100%, mine's noticeably softer on its left side.

    FWIW, I bothered to send it in to Sony's Laredo service center, but they claimed that they couldn't find any fault with it.

    It does irk me a little that an US$850 lens doesn't perform better than it does. But I think Poki's right, we'd have to pay a LOT more for perfection in an ultra-wide zoom lens. And unless I view my images at 100%, I really can't see anything wrong at all. So, I'll continue to happily click away with it. I love shooting wide and/or ultra-wide. And after all, in a well-composed ultra-wide image, the last thing anyone is going to notice is how soft the edges might be.

    Except people like us. :p
  5. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    - Ansel Adams
  6. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    Klaus from photozone was complaining about decentering on Sony lenses and saying oss might be the issue:

    Photozone - Sony E 10-24mm f/4 OSS review delayed once more - Sony -

    I think the first problem lens was 10-18mm. Now they start to put it in their first page as "Tests delayed due to defects and miserable service ...":

    Defective Lens: Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS
    Problem: Centering Defect

    Welcome to Photozone!

    It might be better if you can exchange it...
  7. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    And still everyone complains why Zeiss charges €800 for a non-stabilized 32mm 1.8 lens ...

    If you know the basics of lens designing, you know how hard it is to stabilize a f/1.8 lens (that's why Canon only stabilizes f/2.8 primes - and still charges over €800 for them). Selling a stabilized 35mm f/1.8 lens for about €400 sounds like a great deal, but you should know that Sony can't reach such a value without making cuts somewhere in the supply chain - here, it seems to be the quality control, like mentioned earlier.
  8. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur Subscribing Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Ad Dieleman
    Mine (second sample) is more or less the same in terms of corner sharpness, just like the others said yours is not especially bad. My first one was really bad.

    Another thing: you should try to make some test shots with OSS switched off, on a tripod to avoid motion blur if your shutter speeds would go below 1/125 s or so. I noticed that my sample has a more even and predictable performance with OSS off.
  9. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur Subscribing Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Ad Dieleman
    I don't complain because I didn't buy one. I have no problem with paying good money for excellent lenses, but I will only buy those when Sony gets their PDAF act together. The Zeiss lenses offer PDAF and that means that you're forced to use it with the NEX-6 and NEX-5R unless you switch to manual focussing.
  10. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Don't know what you mean, my 12mm Touit AF works fine on my NEX-5.
  11. Hypocaffeinic

    Hypocaffeinic TalkEmount Regular

    Jun 16, 2013
    Qld, Australia
    What is PDAF please? Something-something-auto-focusing? Does this mean my not-here-yet-24mm Zeiss will not autofocus with my NEX-7? :|
  12. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    Mar 25, 2013
  13. tuwinkk

    tuwinkk TalkEmount Rookie

    Dec 26, 2012
    I'm 1 of the "unsatisfied" SONY E10 18mm..and sold after a month....
    i compared with my fellow Canon EFS 10 22 mm
    the IQ is inconsistent and yes, "soft picture"
  14. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Trey Ratcliff is very happy with his 10-18. ;)
  15. mrwinter

    mrwinter TalkEmount Rookie

    May 7, 2013
    Thanks everyone for your answers and comments!

    Based on the general consensus that this sort of corner performance is within the normal range, I will keep the lens. I don't have a lot of time to spend on this, and if the next lens will probably have similar issues, it doesn't seem worth the effort to send it back.

    @ Jaf-Photo - I don't think it will bother me. It would probably bother me if I was under the impression that I'd received a dud lens and not sent it back, but the softness seems most apparent at 18mm f4, so I should notice it less in other photos.

    @ addieleman - thanks for the comparison with your first and second sample. The results of your fist sample prompted me to check out my new lens more critically in the first place. I will try turning OSS off (I already turned all the auto-corrections off, but forgot this one), but my next priority is to go an take some photos of things other than floor tiles.

    @ WoodWorks & Poki - yeah I though I could expect more for a 800EUR lens, but as long as I get what I am paying for. If its a choice between putting up with a small bit of fuzzy corner at certiain settings, or forking out an extra 300EUR for the Zeiss, I'm still sticking with the Sony (for me, the 800EUR was already a bit on the silly side).
  16. lowbone

    lowbone TalkEmount Regular

    Oct 21, 2012
    I would either send the lens back to the retailer or send it back to Sony repair in Laredo Texas with a letter explaining what is wrong and include these photos. I had this issue with a Canon lens once. It was sharper on one side then the other. I sent it in to Canon repair and they corrected it.