$79 Lens-Is there distortion I'm missing?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by stsinner, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. stsinner

    stsinner TPF Noob!

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    I got my Sigma 70-300 DG Macro new online for $79, and I'm in love with it. But as I'm reading, I keep running into people saying that cheap lenses have things like Chromatic Aberration, Barrel Distortion and other poor qualities. Being new to photography, I've never used any expensive lenses, so I don't have a reference point for quality.

    In most of these shots, I'm zoomed all the way in to 300mm. Is there distortion that I'm not seeing? I was told one of my previous pictures had some distortion, but I couldn't see it. I'm hoping I got lucky and got a good lens.

    These are just test shots for illustration purposes. Thanks for the info.

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  2. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    No, they are just notorious for bad QC, and usually have issues, looks like you got a good copy though, the photos show that.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's often hard to explain or quantify the differences in image quality from one lens to another. But I will say that when you do use a top quality lens and you nail the shot....you will see the difference.

    Now, is that difference worth the extra cost (2, 3, 4 or 5 times as much)? That's up to you.
     
  4. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    Not necessarily for him, these "happy snaps" show that he won't need 10k L glass, nor does anyone except those who know they need it, as of now, I am more than happy with my D90 and 16-85.
     
  5. stsinner

    stsinner TPF Noob!

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    Mike, one thing I do notice is that the barrel of this lens is not easy to turn or fluid at all. I'll bet that's one big difference in the cheap and expensive lenses.

    Here is a picture I took in Boston with my 70-300, and I don't think it's bad. What I'm curious about is whether you can tell that this is a cheap lens, or does it pass muster pretty well?




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    And this one was at 300mm:

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  6. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    To check for distorion, take a picture of a brick wall. Make sure you have it parallel, and level. Use a couple zoom settings of same picture (on tripod).

    If there is distortion it will show up in the lines in the bricks. Will have a curve to them instead of being flat.

    For other tests you can look on line for lens test chart. Print one out and set it up per the instructions.

    But if your happy with it. Why check for problems. Just shoot with it and be happy. ;)
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think they could have more 'pop'.

    Top quality lenses usually give sharper images (hard to tell at this size) but they often have more contrast and better color rendition. Some of this you can replicate with software but there is still a quality that you can see with top quality lenses.
    Do a search for images taken with Leica lenses...

    This shot was taken with my Canon 75-300mm 'consumer grade' lens. I've taken better shots with it, but this is probably typical.
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    This was taken with a borrowed 100-400mm L lens.
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  8. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    The difference is incredible with the stuff I have shot, but for the average consumer, around the house snaps won't require professional "pop".
     
  9. chris miss

    chris miss TPF Noob!

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    I bought this lens in June (just got my xti in May, so I'm a total novice) and I've been pretty happy with it. It was recommended to me because it was reasonably priced and at my level of experience (none), it would give me a good idea of what that focal range was capable of. I've notice and have heard that at 300mm, your pictures will be soft. That disappointed me a little because I really wanted to take close-ups of birds and I can't get close enough with a shorter focal length. It was nice that it had the macro feature as well, so I could get a taste of macro photography. This is one of my favorite macro shots. I'm just learning and this is a good lens for that purpose. I'll probably want to move up to something better as I gain experience. But for the money, you can't beat it. Sounds like you got a great deal at that price!

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  10. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, it is fine for starting, but soon you will be bumping up against a "glass" ceiling, as your skills improve.
     
  11. stsinner

    stsinner TPF Noob!

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    Chris, what lens is it? The kit lens? If you posted it, I read right over it.
     
  12. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    I believe he is referring to your lens.
     

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