The "kit" lens revisited, is it as bad as they say?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by jean, Aug 25, 2005.

  1. jean

    jean Guest

    I have taken 2 pictures, one at f8 and the other at f16 with the following

    Canon EFs 18-55 f4,5-5,6 ("kit" lens modified to fit on a 10D)
    Canon EF 50mm f1,8
    Canon EF 24-85 f3,5-4,5
    Canon EF 35-80 f4-5,6
    Canon EF 24-70 f2,8 L

    So we have 4 zooms, 3 plastic cheapie lenses, one middle of the road zoom
    and a primo pro lens. The "kit" lens is one of the early ones which came
    with my Drebel, the newer ones are said to be better. I tried to put all
    lenses at 50mm and not move the tripod but there are still some slight
    changes from one lens to the other.

    The pictures are at

    Now which is which?


    PS These are all TIFF files and at about 4Mb each so a broadband connection
    is better for download. There is no EXIF to make sure no one cheats (unless
    I missed something embedded in the files which is quite possible)
    jean, Aug 25, 2005
    1. Advertisements

  2. Lens 1 Canon EFs 18-55 f4,5-5,6 ("kit" lens modified to fit on a 10D)
    Lens 2 Canon EF 50mm f1,8
    Lens 3 Canon EF 24-85 f3,5-4,5
    Lens 4 Canon EF 35-80 f4-5,6
    Lens 5 Canon EF 24-70 f2,8 L

    Lucky guess?
    Dave R knows who, Aug 25, 2005
    1. Advertisements

  3. jean

    David A Guest


    Is this a good test? .JPG being the great web equalizer. Print might show
    stuff worth looking at.

    The quality of the Kit lens isn't tested (hardly) in this picture. Niether
    are any of the other lens.

    If you really want to test these lens, shoot my daughters basketball games.
    Low light action no flash. The only lens that has a chance is the 50mm f1.8,
    but its a prime so your composition choices will suck. The 24-70 f2.8 L
    might have a chance if it has IS and its on a tripod.

    I agree, the kit lens is sufficient for a lot of things, your test shows it.

    But it tests *web .jpg's* and this isn't a very demanding environment. It's
    like web jpg's are a static picture of a car, and you took a picture of 64
    Bronco, 69 Mach One, 2005 Boss and a Ferrari (any year) and said "see, which
    one is faster" You can't tell from the static picture. The Bronco would kick
    on the off road, the Ferrari would kick on back roads, the Boss on... well
    lots of things and the Mach One would kick at an old timers 1/4 mile retreat
    and car show circuit scene.

    David A, Aug 25, 2005
  4. jean

    frederick Guest

    It's also shot at f8 & f16. The former at an aperture where a lens made
    of recycled coke bottles might be expected to perform well, the latter
    at the level on a 10d where diffraction would be a great leveller of
    frederick, Aug 25, 2005
  5. jean

    Tony Polson Guest

    This only proves one thing: that if the comparator is dumbed-down
    shots for web use, it doesn't matter which lens you use. They are all
    bad enough.

    Tony Polson, Aug 25, 2005
  6. jean

    jean Guest

    20% You got one right!


    jean, Aug 25, 2005
  7. jean

    chris Guest

    If you don't see the faults in full size JPEG, you won't see it in
    print. If you compare the print to the screen, you'd notice that the
    screen has more vibrant color. This is _not_ a test of the printer, so
    on screen JPEG in original size is fine for comparison.

    And why do you want to test how fast a lens can capture your daughter's
    basket game? This is a lens quality test, not a test of how wide or
    expensive the lens is.

    There is indeed one problem with the test, why choose f/8 and f/16? It
    should be at the lens widest aperture and also one taken at the common
    aperture of all the lenses, possibly f/5.6.
    chris, Aug 25, 2005
  8. jean

    jean Guest

    f8 was to equalize the slow lenses which would probably be at 5,6 nearing
    full zoom (the kit lens). f16 I thought would help the bad lenses. I was
    really surprised at the 35-80, for a plastic cheapie it's better than the
    kit lens (another plastic cheapie).

    jean, Aug 25, 2005
  9. jean

    eawckyegcy Guest

    It's easy enough to put the sharpest and softest images at each end.
    The interior is borderline undecidable -- a machine can probably rank
    them though. But who cares? f/8 or f/16, the above differences (with
    perhaps the exception of image #5) can be ascribed to simple lack of
    focus in the absence of other data.
    eawckyegcy, Aug 25, 2005
  10. jean

    jean Guest


    I guess so, for travelling by bicycle it would be just the thing, wide and

    jean, Aug 25, 2005
  11. jean

    jean Guest

    ? I should have shot raw? I can try it again with 4 lenses this time and
    more colors in the picture.

    jean, Aug 25, 2005
  12. jean

    Colin D Guest

    Autofocus, or manually focused, with good eyesight? If autofocus,
    forget comparisons.

    Colin D.
    Colin D, Aug 26, 2005
  13. jean

    Dirty Harry Guest

    You could also show a 100% crop of the same area in each image. Something
    with some backlighting in places would be a good way to see vingetting/
    color fringing.
    Dirty Harry, Aug 26, 2005
  14. jean

    eawckyegcy Guest

    This is the other problem with the test: since only you know the
    answers, you can (if you wish) simply make it up as you go along. Who
    can tell? You may wish to publish a hash of the results prior to
    revealing the 'answer', though this can't remove all doubt.
    eawckyegcy, Aug 26, 2005
  15. jean

    RichA Guest

    Does that mean autofocus is erratic or never accurate?

    "Bittorrents are REFUNDS for all the BAD movie products Hollywood
    never gave us refunds for in the past"
    RichA, Aug 26, 2005
  16. jean

    RichA Guest

    It won't matter what you do, if the results don't agree with the
    Canon cranks preconceived opinions, they won't buy it.
    It's just outragious to suggest that you have to shoot RAW to
    make a comparision when dealing with full sized images.
    Unless Canon's JPEG conversion is so terrible, and there is some
    evidence it is.
    The sad fact is, apart from maybe 2 or 3 lenses, Canon products do
    not measure up to the best from Nikon or Olympus. Canon does not
    produce lenses to be ultimate image makers, because the main
    users of their high quality products are people like sports photogs
    and they definitely do not need top quality. They need speed
    (f-ratios and focusing) and a good range of focal lengths.
    And THAT is who Canon produces equipment for.

    "Bittorrents are REFUNDS for all the BAD movie products Hollywood
    never gave us refunds for in the past"
    RichA, Aug 26, 2005
  17. jean

    jean Guest

    The slow lenses are wide open at f5,6, in order to give them half a chance,
    I closed them down a bit and closed all the others to the same aperture to
    have the same depth of field on all lenses so that would not be a factor.

    jean, Aug 26, 2005
  18. jean

    jean Guest

    And to me too, I like my Canon stuff. I don't have a Nikon so I can't say
    which is better or if it is better.

    jean, Aug 26, 2005
  19. jean

    jean Guest

    You can doubt my honesty if you want, but why should I fudge the results? I
    have nothing to gain or to lose. Since I don't want to drag this on for
    months, I can tell you right off that the only person bold enough to venture
    a guess had lens 4 right.

    jean, Aug 26, 2005
  20. jean

    jean Guest


    jean, Aug 26, 2005
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.