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Gear Talk => Lenses => Topic started by: Marsu42 on January 10, 2013, 05:37:41 PM

Title: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Marsu42 on January 10, 2013, 05:37:41 PM
I just bought a new 17-40L, and I'm happy that I didn't get it from ebay (the offers weren't good enough vs the current Canon rebate program) because the lens shows visible decentering - see attached 100% crops of bottom vs. top, my first thought was that the chart was tilted... but it wasn't me or the camera and now I'm going to get a replacement from Amazon.

I wonder how many times your lenses were exchanged (or how many copies you tested side by side) until you received a lens that was a good copy?

Looking at the crops, would you also have returned the lens, or is something like this to be expected and I'm spoiled by better lenses?


Btw, if anyone wonders: As far as I tested it the 17-40L is a good (landscape) zoom lens for the money even on crop, it's just the corners and that it doesn't reach max. sharpness wide open but needs to be stopped down a little to f5.6+

Edit: afma should be no issue @f4+ and my 60d doesn't have it anyway ... with this 17-40L copy I couldn't tell lv from phase af. The crops are of course focused with contrast af and shot on tripod with mirror lockup.
Title: Re: How many times did you return lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: rs on January 10, 2013, 05:50:17 PM
Sigma 50/1.4, once. The first copy front focused so much that even thumbnails of the images appeared badly OOF. My second copy nails the focus.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: neuroanatomist on January 10, 2013, 06:12:42 PM
10 L-series lenses bought new (and thus, able to be exchanged), all of them good copies (at least, based on resolution testing with an ISO 12233-type chart, etc.).  Next lens will likely be the 24-70/2.8 II, hope my streak holds...
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Dark Reality on January 10, 2013, 06:20:22 PM
I've never returned any of my lenses for a new copy. I rarely even test them to the degree that many seem to. I take a bunch of test shots before buying, but that's pretty much it.  I have the first versions of the 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8, and have owned at one point several other L lenses,  and honestly, I know I didn't have a "bad" copy, but I couldn't tell you if it was good, or just average or whatever.  I've never noticed a problem and either has anyone else. Maybe I'm lucky, idk.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Meh on January 10, 2013, 07:30:38 PM
10 L-series lenses, all of them good copies (at least, based on resolution testing with an ISO 12233-type chart, etc.).  Next lens will likely be the 24-70/2.8 II, hope my streak holds...


I'd suggest a trip to the casin0 but I suspect the odds of getting 10 good L lenses are more favorable than most card games.

I have 4 L lenses and as I can tell they are all good.  Never shot a test chart though... perhaps I should.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Meh on January 10, 2013, 07:31:48 PM
FYI... c a s i n o   appears to be a blocked word in comments... Security Alert!!!
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: CharlieB on January 10, 2013, 07:41:12 PM
I own eleven Canon lenses at the present.  I've owned sixteen in total - some having gone to friends.

Gotta say, I've never had a bad one.  I have had ONE lens - a 50/1.4 that had some issues which Canon cheerfully took care of in their usual expedient manner (about two weeks as I recall).

I have a  7D that was a real hoot for focus... it simply would not focus... but Canon also fixed it up, and while some lenses still need AFMA on that body, as they do on other bodies for absolute best performance, it has become my focusing favorite now that Canon has massaged it a bit.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: jeffabbyben on January 10, 2013, 07:49:28 PM
I had to return a 16-35 that was absolutely unacceptable in the left and right lateral 1/4-1/5 field of view at f8 and beyond.  Second copy was much much better.  Didn't even need a test chart for that one ;D  I have owned/own 5 different L lenses so I feel I have had a very good experience.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: mrmarks on January 10, 2013, 08:12:31 PM
I have 5 L lenses and never had any "real" issues with them to justify a return, even after thousands of shots. I did AFMA tests on all of them and none really had any need for any adjustment with my 5D2 and 5D3 bodies.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: East Wind Photography on January 10, 2013, 08:33:38 PM
Tried 3 copies of the 100-400L and ended up returning the last one in favor of the 70-200  2.8l is II and 2xiii extender.  At 400mm the 100-400 was soft enough wide open that it interfered with AF lock.  It also focused slower than the latter with the extender.

I didn't see the point of suffering.  I don't believe they were all bad copies but rather a design "flaw"
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: birtembuk on January 10, 2013, 08:55:38 PM
Got 4 so far, and all are just fine. I don't order but buy from what I would call a pro shop. The guys there let me try and test with 100% view on comp. I prefer to pay some premium for those premium lenses rather than to take the risk to have a copy that doesn't satisfy me. My next is 16-35 and then 24-70/II and I will sure take the time to check those babies fine. Heck, when we get our plastic to overheat so much, we want to ensure the best, don't we?
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: neuroanatomist on January 10, 2013, 08:58:37 PM
Tried 3 copies of the 100-400L and ended up returning the last one in favor of the 70-200  2.8l is II and 2xiii extender.  At 400mm the 100-400 was soft enough wide open that it interfered with AF lock.  It also focused slower than the latter with the extender.

I didn't see the point of suffering.  I don't believe they were all bad copies but rather a design "flaw"

Interesting. My 100-400 at 400mm is slightly sharper than my 70-200 II + 2xII or 2xIII, which is consistent with the TDP data (ISO 12233 crops).  I find focus speed in simple situations (bird on an isolated branch or flying with open sky behind) to be faster with the 100-400 at 400mm, but in complex situations (small bird in a thicket, for example) the 100-400 has trouble locking whereas the 70-200 II + 2x does not.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: RC on January 10, 2013, 09:00:30 PM
First copy of my 24-105 had an air bubble in the outer element.  Replacement copy was just fine. 
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: distant.star on January 10, 2013, 09:08:27 PM

.
All my lenses are the real things. I'm not putting out that kind of money for copies!
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: RC on January 10, 2013, 09:41:29 PM

.
All my lenses are the real things. I'm not putting out that kind of money for copies!
:)
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: East Wind Photography on January 10, 2013, 09:42:50 PM

Might also have to do with the body it's used with.  The AF issue is related to diffraction when the lens is wide open.  Images taken wide open show halos on highlights softening the edges.  The AF system has trouble getting a good lock due to unsharp edges.  It's a good test up front when a lens produces soft edges wide open it will often have difficulty locking on images that have noisy backgrounds or low contrast.  The 70-200 was sharp wide open so the AF system works more efficiently.

Tried 3 copies of the 100-400L and ended up returning the last one in favor of the 70-200  2.8l is II and 2xiii extender.  At 400mm the 100-400 was soft enough wide open that it interfered with AF lock.  It also focused slower than the latter with the extender.

I didn't see the point of suffering.  I don't believe they were all bad copies but rather a design "flaw"

Interesting. My 100-400 at 400mm is slightly sharper than my 70-200 II + 2xII or 2xIII, which is consistent with the TDP data (ISO 12233 crops).  I find focus speed in simple situations (bird on an isolated branch or flying with open sky behind) to be faster with the 100-400 at 400mm, but in complex situations (small bird in a thicket, for example) the 100-400 has trouble locking whereas the 70-200 II + 2x does not.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Badger on January 10, 2013, 09:46:30 PM
I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I'm not even sure what to do to test a lens. I have had lenses I was frustrated with, but always assumed it was me. Can you all give me some guidance on how to test lenses? I do have two L lenses including a new 25-105 IS that I got with my 6D. I am honestly not too excited about it when it comes to sharpness.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: East Wind Photography on January 10, 2013, 09:52:16 PM
Look up Reikan FoCal Pro.  See if your camera is supported.  You can run focus tests and recalibrate yourself.  It also can run through all F stop settings to determine which stop provides the sharpest image.  It's not 100% but its nice to know where your lens sweet spot is.

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I'm not even sure what to do to test a lens. I have had lenses I was frustrated with, but always assumed it was me. Can you all give me some guidance on how to test lenses? I do have two L lenses including a new 25-105 IS that I got with my 6D. I am honestly not too excited about it when it comes to sharpness.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: crasher8 on January 10, 2013, 09:54:55 PM
Believe it or not I just returned a 135 f/2. Bad copy, soft. Turns out I'm not the only one this has happened to. I Gogled it.

I also have returned 2 17-40's. I take that back, I sold one and returned the other. I have an outstanding 24-105, 100 Macro , 40 pancake and 50 1.4. An UWA zoom for me is the toughest decision I have ever made. I am tempted by budget to try for a better copy of a 17-40 but I can't take the soft corners any longer. The 16-35 isn't good enough to justify the price and I would pick up the Tokina 16-28 in a heartbeat if the front element was protected and took filters. What to do?

Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: rpt on January 10, 2013, 09:56:08 PM
I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I'm not even sure what to do to test a lens. I have had lenses I was frustrated with, but always assumed it was me. Can you all give me some guidance on how to test lenses? I do have two L lenses including a new 25-105 IS that I got with my 6D. I am honestly not too excited about it when it comes to sharpness.
http://www.canonrumors.com/tech-articles/how-to-test-a-lens/ (http://www.canonrumors.com/tech-articles/how-to-test-a-lens/)
Hope this helps :)

Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: tphillips63 on January 10, 2013, 09:59:25 PM
I have had eight and returned none of them.  Maybe I should look at them again with some test screens, but I've never seen anything that stood out in my photos.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Dylan777 on January 10, 2013, 10:10:22 PM
In 2012:

1. 24-70 f2.8 II, tried 2 copies. Returned one and kept one
2. 50L, tried 4 copies. Kept 1 @ -1 AFMA and sharpness is above 800 at f1.2 with Focal. Returned lenses were -6 to -8 with sharpness below 780 in FoCal.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: infared on January 10, 2013, 10:29:05 PM
Hmmm...I have 8 lenses and I have never tested ( with a chart), any of them. I did go out and run them thru the paces and give a real close look to the clarity, sharpness across the frame, and AF accuracy...but only real world images.
That's good enough for me....if you have a great shot...nobody notices any of the super, analysis tweaking anyway....
Just a fact.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: LetTheRightLensIn on January 10, 2013, 10:31:42 PM
At times, the 17-40L has been notorious for that (a few years ago many people complained about one side being worse and every single person always mentioned the same side so I wonder if there had not been some bad runs on it a few years ago). I exchanged my first one. Pretty huge difference.
Also exchanged a 24-70 II, they do seem to vary a bit in terms of how even all the edges are and how f/2.8 performance is, difference wasn't as radical as with the 17-40L though where one was just awful on one side and DOF was configured really weirdly.
Haven't returned anything else, L or not.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: victorwol on January 10, 2013, 11:24:27 PM
16 L lenses so far, I have never have to return or repair one....
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on January 10, 2013, 11:36:41 PM
The only "L" lens I returned was a 24-70mmL.  It was average, which is to say not very good.  I owned five total of them before giving up on the likelyhood finding one I thought was excellent.
Now, I prefer primes and have not tried the new 24-70L.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: pdirestajr on January 10, 2013, 11:39:28 PM
I wonder how many people were shooting test charts and returning lenses in the film era.

I think it's crazy when people say things like, "my lens was a little soft at f/1.4 so I exchanged it", or "my ultra wide-angle lens' edges are soft wide open".  At what point are people chasing unrealistic and unnecessary expectations?
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Seanlucky on January 10, 2013, 11:49:47 PM
Hey there, I'm a Productions Manager at Flashpoint Photographic Rentals based out of Vancouver, BC. Since we don't primarily rent camera equipment, we don't have the same numbers of Canon gear as an establishment like LensRentals. That being said, we do have 20 L series lenses in our rental pool. While we've never done an official testing on our gear (though I'm considering it with the slow winter months in the shop), We've never had a single complaint regarding sharpness on any of our lenses from any of our professional clients. I myself use many of these lenses extensively for my personal shoots, and have no complaints with any specific glass.

The only problem we've ever had (in the past 3 years that I've been on board) in the shop was a brand new (out of the box) EF 24-70mm f2.8L II, and that was a mechanical issue where the zoom was jamming up around 28mm (This lens was quickly replaced with no charge to ourselves).

Hope this helps your choices! We of course are dealing with a situation where AFMA is not an option because almost all of our clients are using their own cameras. Perhaps I can give you guys a followup if I get around to doing a full test as laid out by Roger Cicala.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: victorwol on January 10, 2013, 11:50:03 PM
I don't test them... either I'm happy or not... I have checked and adjusted backfocusing on a few.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Dylan777 on January 10, 2013, 11:56:21 PM
I wonder how many people were shooting test charts and returning lenses in the film era.

I think it's crazy when people say things like, "my lens was a little soft at f/1.4 so I exchanged it", or "my ultra wide-angle lens' edges are soft wide open".  At what point are people chasing unrealistic and unnecessary expectations?

We should use today technology(Reiken FoCal, photoshop, or lightroom) as our advantages. Why settle with a  -10 back focus lens when you can select a better copy.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: victorwol on January 11, 2013, 12:06:07 AM
Of course. You paid for it you have the right to demand what you expect from it. It is just some people expect unreal things. Of course a lens is a +/- 10 has a serious problem. I tested 5 with focal and no one was more than +/- 1 so I stopped because got bored of testing them.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Botts on January 11, 2013, 12:23:48 AM
Of course. You paid for it you have the right to demand what you expect from it. It is just some people expect unreal things. Of course a lens is a +/- 10 has a serious problem. I tested 5 with focal and no one was more than +/- 1 so I stopped because got bored of testing them.

Really?  Every one of my lenses is out by at least 4.

My 50mm f/1.4 is out by +7, my 70-200mm f/4 is out by +5 wide, and -1 tele.  My 40STM is a +4.

My 70-200mm f/4 is tack sharp, and even before the +5 fix, it took fabulous photos.  Some of which grace my office walls at 20x30".  There's no reason I'd send it back for being out by 5.

Similarly, the 50 f/1.4 is a great lens, it just needed a little adjustment.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: victorwol on January 11, 2013, 12:40:11 AM
Yop.... But I have to try the 600 I just got, I have the feeling that one is a bit off.....
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: RustyTheGeek on January 11, 2013, 01:04:17 AM
I got a 35/1.4L used (eBay) that was pristine in box and at first I thought was perfect.  Then I shot with it and noticed front focusing.  It was bad enough to notice in normal photos being soft that I knew something was wrong.  At the time, all I had was a 30D, 40D and 5D so no way to do AFMA either.  Ended up eventually selling it off.  The buyer thought it was fine, didn't know what I was talking about.  Weird but fine with me.

I'll eventually get another 35L lens, I really liked that lens.  Having loads of fun with my 24L-ii for now though.  I'm burned out on spending money on this stuff for a while.  I need to sell some stuff!

Wish CR would start a buy&sell area.  eBay is too risky to sell on anymore for the seller.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: victorwol on January 11, 2013, 01:10:34 AM
eBay risky? Why? I have sold so much gear lately... How can a place like this be less risky with all the protections eBay have in place? Just wondering. Not looking for a debate.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Botts on January 11, 2013, 01:42:00 AM
eBay risky? Why? I have sold so much gear lately... How can a place like this be less risky with all the protections eBay have in place? Just wondering. Not looking for a debate.

As long as you meet eBay/PayPal's conditions for seller protection you're pretty much ok.

It'd be way safer than a CR buy/sell area.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Richard8971 on January 11, 2013, 01:53:18 AM
Well, I don't know if this is a true "confession" as I bought my EF 70-200 f/4L IS USM used (from a good friend of mine).

I had to send it back to Canon 2 times for blurry photos. The second time it came back I sold it promptly and bought the 70-300 f/4L IS USM.

Now when the 200mm was working it took fantastic photos, and each time Canon said the "problem" was due to "electronic" adjustments of the AF system. I couldn't take the chance so I sold it while it was under warranty of a Canon repair.

I love my 70-300 so far and I wish I had gotten one sooner.

D
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: BL on January 11, 2013, 02:12:40 AM
6 L lenses.  All purchased new.

No returns.  No bad copies here
Title: Re: How many times did you return lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Marsu42 on January 11, 2013, 02:58:41 AM
I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I'm not even sure what to do to test a lens.
Testing for absolute sharpness is difficult unless unless you have some lenses of the same type, but you can roughly compare to the iso crops from the digital picture. Adjusting afma is easier (or more expensive if using focal pro) - but looking for decentering is really easy and that's what I did above: Shoot a test chart so that fine patterns at the edges and corners, then compare the relative sharpness of the outer areas.

This one is very good for this purpose: http://www.bealecorner.org/red/test-patterns/EIA1956.pdf (http://www.bealecorner.org/red/test-patterns/EIA1956.pdf)

At what point are people chasing unrealistic and unnecessary expectations?
Good question, that's why I attached the crops above. But for even for €670 (which actually is also a lot of money to me, I could nearly buy another 60d for that) I expect the lens to perform at the top 1/3rd of the potential - and it's frustrating to see that one side of the lens is visibly sharper than the other.

At times, the 17-40L has been notorious for that (a few years ago many people complained about one side being worse and every single person always mentioned the same side so I wonder if there had not been some bad runs on it a few years ago). I exchanged my first one. Pretty huge difference.

Thanks, that probably explains it (my 100L and 70-300L are just fine with the first copy), I hope the next 17-40L will be better :-o because since the lens isn't the sharpest on the block I'd really at least get the max. possible lens performance. On the 100L a small difference wouldn't matter because that one is incredibly sharp anyway.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: picturesbyme on January 11, 2013, 03:06:08 AM
Might also have to do with the body it's used with. 
I'm sure everyone here know this http://www.canonrumors.com/tech-articles/this-lens-is-soft-and-other-myths/ (http://www.canonrumors.com/tech-articles/this-lens-is-soft-and-other-myths/) by heart but for those who missed it its a useful read.

"By the way – for those of you who are screaming “for $2,000 my zoom lens should be perfect” let me introduce a bit of perspective. A nice, cinema quality (read the best it can possibly be) prime lens runs anywhere from $8,000 to $25,000, while a top quality cinema zoom runs from $25,000 to $70,000. And even at that price a technician will need to spend an hour or so adjusting the lens to the camera that’s using it to get the absolute best results. The best SLR lenses don’t even approach the quality (or quality control) of an entry level cinema lens. Not to mention you probably don’t have a full-time camera tech."

I know (mostly) it's easier to replace the lens however I was wondering if anyone tried the same lens with another  (same model) body and found that the lens was good on that one and replaced the body instead.. :).
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Rienzphotoz on January 11, 2013, 03:17:44 AM
Never! ... over the past few years I bought 7 L lenses and never returned them ... but I sold a few to upgrade to faster glass, like 17-40 f/4 L (sold to upgrade to 16-35 f/2.8 II).
Title: Re: How many times did you return lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: rs on January 11, 2013, 04:11:35 AM
Sigma 50/1.4, once. The first copy front focused so much that even thumbnails of the images appeared badly OOF. My second copy nails the focus.
I was half asleep when I wrote my first reply, and missed the L bit.

I did also get my 70-200 II replaced for a more minor issue. At 70mm wide open the mk II was softer than the mk I which I still owned at the time. I even tried tripod mounting it and manually focusing with live view - I was unable to improve on what AF had done (either with or without IS), so AFMA would not have helped. From looking at the test chart shots on TDP, I knew what the lens was capable of. I got the mk II replaced, and the new one is better than I could have hoped for.

All my other Canon lenses (purchased 2 L, 2 non L) have been fine.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: bycostello on January 11, 2013, 05:39:14 AM
never, but i don't have interest in photos of lens targets...
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: FunPhotons on January 11, 2013, 05:58:21 AM
Never tested, never returned. Such anal-retentiveness is not for me. And now my lenses are my friends. I don't even sell anything anymore, if a lens isn't getting any time I make it my job to figure out why and do something about it.

I would like to do a check though just to see sometime, maybe there are some focus issues I can correct for.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Badger on January 11, 2013, 07:35:38 AM
Thank you all for the feedback!
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: madspihl on January 11, 2013, 08:04:56 AM
Actually I'll be going to the post office in 5 minutes to send back my new Sigma 35mm 1.4 because it can't lock focus properly (changes between front, back, and no proper focus at all), and AMFA seems to be unable to correct the irregular focus (obviously since the lens can never decide what to do). But I am definitely getting a new copy and not just making a return - the shots I did manage to get were amazing, and the lens holds a lot of promise.

Btw - that was my first Sigma lens in a lineup of Canon and Tokina lenses - none of which have ever had to be returned.

(But judging from the general comments all over the place I got a very rare lemon).
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: victorwol on January 11, 2013, 08:33:19 AM
My first and only Sigma lens went back for exchange too... Right out of the box could not focus at all
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: neighborsgoat on January 11, 2013, 09:52:40 AM
Had troubles only with the first version of the 24-70 f2.8. Went shopping in a pro shop, and always will do, due to the following facts: First copy of the lens was focus hunting right out of the box, in the shop. Tried a second copy, thought that was "the one". Went home, took about 60 pictures, went back the next day to exchange it, again for focusing problems. Tried two more copies and the last one worked as expected. And, thank God, still is :)
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: 7enderbender on January 11, 2013, 09:57:14 AM
None. They're all good out of the box and AFMA adjustment turned out to be unnecessary. Maybe I'm just lucky. Maybe I'm not picky enough. Maybe buying locally helps? Don't know.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: eyeland on January 11, 2013, 11:24:48 AM
Are there any open source or free alternatives to Focal or the likes out there?
I don't care enough about these issues to pay top dollar for a testing suite, but I wouldn't mind playing around with it a bit on a rainy day :)
It is also worth noting, that a lens in need of adjustment is a bigger problem when used on a non-afma body :)
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: silat shooters on January 11, 2013, 11:36:38 AM
The only L lens I have ever returned has been the 50mm f1.2L.  I just couldn't get past the focus shift.  No matter how many micro adjustments I made on the body, I never seem to get the focus where I wanted.  It was disappointing because I sooo wanted that creamy blur action.

I have to say that the most surprising L lens I own is the 16-35 f2.8 II L, that just delivers the goods every time!  I didn't expect it to be great as I continually read the Canon wide angles are weak with the TS-E lens being the exception.  But I'm very impressed and pleased with it.

The 300mm f2.8 IS II L is just magnificent.  Superb in every way.

Would love to get the new 24-70 but having a hard time with the price.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: drmikeinpdx on January 11, 2013, 11:53:13 AM
I shot with a 5D classic for a few years.  It did not have MFA so front and back focus was a big problem.  I gave up using lens resolution targets, because the problem wasn't absolute sharpness, it was poor focus.

I had to learn where each lens focused and compensate by putting my focus point either in front of or behind the actual target.  Of course if your lens shifts as you change focal length, aperture or distance, it gets more difficult. :(

After much experimentation, I ended up with a target like the one you see in the link below, although mine is a cheaper cardboard version.  You just throw it on the floor, put your camera on a tripod and aim your lens downward at about 30 degrees from horizontal.  I put a short length of black friction tape across the center of the sheet to create a solid target for the autofocus to lock onto.

http://www.hayneedle.com/sale/sewezboard.cfm?source=tellapart (http://www.hayneedle.com/sale/sewezboard.cfm?source=tellapart)

I like this approach over other focus calibration systems, because I feel it is more like real world shooting.  I can vary the distance from one meter to maybe 10 meters.  I can take it outside and test in natural daylight or indoors to check for low light focus accuracy.  You don't even need to uploadload the images to your computer to see exactly where the lens is focused.  Just use the LCD screen and magnify as needed.

I normally do this in my studio using the strobes, so I don't even need to use a tripod if I don't want to.  For a quick and dirty focus accuracy test, it works fantastically well.  It just takes me 5 minutes to test a lens for autofocus accuracy.  You can also easily see the effects of tilted or misplaced lens elements.  Grrrr...  >:(   I hate it when that happens!

With my lovely 5DIII, all my Canon primes focus right on the money with no MFA.  I have a 28, 85, 100 and a 135L.  My 50mm prime is the Sigma 1.4 which needs a tiny bit of MFA.

Zoom lenses are another story.  I've tested Canon, Sigma and Tamron zooms.  Most of them have an annoying amount of focus shift with changes in zoom.  The best one I've found is my beat up old Tamron 28-75 that I paid $260 for via Craigslist.  I will keep that lens till it dies and probably buy another.  I tried a copy of the new Tamron 24-70 OS and it was less accurate than my old Tamron.

I am not compulsive about absolute sharpness or corner-to-corner sharpness, because I mostly photograph people.  I spend a lot of time with Photoshop blurring wrinkles and hiding blemishes.  Sometimes I wish my lens was softer!  LOL
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: ashmadux on January 11, 2013, 12:18:54 PM
Once for my beloved 70-200 mk2. Ill be damned if im paying thousands for anything and its only 'okay'. Not happening.

Twice for my 24-105 but the first two copies were from the used section, then i just exchanged for a new, superior sharpness copy.

I need more L's :)

PS- I rented a 24-70mk2 to shoot a show as a press guy- and it sucked in sharpness. Never again considered it. Yuck.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: ashmadux on January 11, 2013, 12:24:27 PM
I wonder how many people were shooting test charts and returning lenses in the film era.

I think it's crazy when people say things like, "my lens was a little soft at f/1.4 so I exchanged it", or "my ultra wide-angle lens' edges are soft wide open".  At what point are people chasing unrealistic and unnecessary expectations?

I really dilsike this argument. Lenses should be sharp, unless they are just not made that way. Period. At these prices? Cmon man. What possibly could be unrealistic about that? Who cares if others are not pixel peepers, or if soft i okay for some...that isnt nor should be the standard to judge by.

It took 4 copies for me to find a 50 1.4 that could focus consistently/beyond 10 feet. 2 from canon refurb, 2 from the shop. Ridiculous.  Even now, its temperamental...someday it behaves, other days its so off that i just put it away.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: jthomson on January 11, 2013, 02:22:48 PM
Of course. You paid for it you have the right to demand what you expect from it. It is just some people expect unreal things. Of course a lens is a +/- 10 has a serious problem. I tested 5 with focal and no one was more than +/- 1 so I stopped because got bored of testing them.

Really?  Every one of my lenses is out by at least 4.

My 50mm f/1.4 is out by +7, my 70-200mm f/4 is out by +5 wide, and -1 tele.  My 40STM is a +4.

My 70-200mm f/4 is tack sharp, and even before the +5 fix, it took fabulous photos.  Some of which grace my office walls at 20x30".  There's no reason I'd send it back for being out by 5.

Similarly, the 50 f/1.4 is a great lens, it just needed a little adjustment.

Maybe its your camera that's out by 4 and all your lenses are pretty much okay .
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Marsu42 on January 11, 2013, 02:57:47 PM
Never tested, never returned.

I'm surprised to read how many people don't care if they've got a bad copy - but on the other hand there have to be customers who end up with the returned lenses like the 17-40L I just sent back :->

However the 17-40L might really be a special case because it's older and the cheapest L in the linup so problems are visible on the current 18-22mp sensors while newer, sharper zooms outresolve these sensors anyway.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: V8Beast on January 11, 2013, 04:18:55 PM
0 :)
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: V8Beast on January 11, 2013, 04:32:40 PM
However the 17-40L might really be a special case because it's older and the cheapest L in the linup so problems are visible on the current 18-22mp sensors while newer, sharper zooms outresolve these sensors anyway.

Canon may have very well had quality control issues with the early versions of the 17-40. When that lens first hit the market, there were lots of unhappy customers. In the last couple of years, however, the reviews seem to be overwhelmingly positive. I've had mine for four years now and absolutely love it. Gotta stop it down to f/8 for optimal sharpness, but I don't think that's unreasonable for an f/4 lens.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Rienzphotoz on January 11, 2013, 05:14:46 PM
Once for my beloved 70-200 mk2. Ill be damned if im paying thousands for anything and its only 'okay'. Not happening.

Twice for my 24-105 but the first two copies were from the used section, then i just exchanged for a new, superior sharpness copy.

I need more L's :)

PS- I rented a 24-70mk2 to shoot a show as a press guy- and it sucked in sharpness. Never again considered it. Yuck.
Maybe all your purchases are cursed ;D ... the witch doctor might remove the curse  ;D or you could read this article by canon rumors: "http://www.canonrumors.com/tech-articles/this-lens-is-soft-and-other-myths/"
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: skitron on January 11, 2013, 06:02:37 PM
My experience is pretty limited but no insurmaountable issues that required return so far. Lets hope it holds up since a new 70-200IS2 should be here in about 30 minutes now...

100L - only issue is IS causes some subtle blur using some AF modes on 5D3, but using AF spot is fabulous, so I'm happy with it. {EDIT} further testing shows this one is a dud and has to go back for service since it is out of warranty. If I knew as much about testing when I bought it as I do now, this one would have gone back...

200L - did the eBay lottery and scored a razor sharp copy with zero issues for not much $. Will be up for sale soon if the 70-200 checks out - turns out the zoom and IS are big deals with my use scenario.

24-105L - got in a kit, as far as this lens goes mine is a good one with no issues. But to me it is a bit of a yawner, so will probably do a 24-70 2.8 II at some point to replace it.

As for 3rd party lenses:

Sigma 50 1.4 - mine had the "lens rental" syndrome of front/back focus. Recently sent to Sigma and they actually fixed it. Nail focus at any distance/apeture now. Still has a hint of shift between 1.6 and 3.2 but is manageable.

Rokinon 35 - bought it as a "new/returned merchandise" off eBay and it may be my favorite lens in how it renders. This one is Nikon mount and requires adapter. Unfortunately none of the programmable AF confirm chips that do AFMA (to account for the thickness of the adapter) will work with 5D3 (but do work with 5D2) so not sure what I'm going to do with this one. LOL, maybe buy a D600 body?
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Zen on January 11, 2013, 07:26:11 PM
In some ways, this is a surprising thread for reasonably intelligent people to be engaged in. We all know, for example, that there is no such thing as absolute perfection. Yet we look for it and expect it. Moreover, we tend to measure how close we come to it in our "stuff" by the amount of money we pay for the stuff. We do this with cars, houses, gadgets and . . . cameras and their accessories. We pay $65-75K for a BMW or Merc and expect that it will never break down, get 60 MPG while carrying all sorts of loads at all sorts of speeds. Nevermind that the $800,000 someone might pay for a Rolls or Bentley or Ferrari also gets the buyer an occasional breakdown. So it is, I think, with our photo gear. When we put down $2500 for a new lens or $3500 for a new body, we expect them to be perfect. After all, we argue, we paid 'top dollar'! Nevermind that there are lenses out there that cost 4-5 times what ours did, and even they are not perfect, have an occasional flaw, etc. They are no more than a collection of hundreds of mechanical parts that are supposed to work together, but sometimes do not. No matter what some of us might like to believe, there is no such thing as absolute perfection.

To put it another way, we want, and expect, far more than we are willing to pay for. If we are willing to pay $7500 or $10K or more for a completely hand built lens, in which all the components are hand made, individually tested prior to assembly then hand assembled and tested, adjusted and retested, we might come closer to perfection. But, alas, we're not willing to pay for all that.

I agree with pdirestajr in reply#27 and victorwol in #31 above. Our expectations, for the price we are willing to pay, are flatly unreal. Seems to me that we get a pretty good product from Canon for the prices we pay. Let's stop carping and get on with the business and enjoyment of taking pictures.

As for me, I now own 6 L lenses, have bought and sold 1/2 dozen more as my needs have changed, mounted at times on a 50D, then a 5D2 and now a 5D3, and have never had a problem with any of them.

Best wishes to all.

Zen
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Marsu42 on January 11, 2013, 08:02:13 PM
Gotta stop it down to f/8 for optimal sharpness, but I don't think that's unreasonable for an f/4 lens.

From the quick chars I've shot with the 17-40L I'd even say on crop stopping down to f5.6 is nearly sufficient and a big improvement in comparison to f4 (which unfortunately makes Tv operation a hassle). The problem with my first copy was that no matter what aperture it was *never* sharp on the bottom, thus I'd say it's decentered.

To put it another way, we want, and expect, far more than we are willing to pay for.

I have to admit I disagree - if I buy an L lens I expect equal performance across all lens sides, i.e. no decentering. Other "issues" are ok for me like the fact that the 17-40L is not sharpest wide open, afma can be corrected (except for the 60d, thanks, Canon) and overall sharpness will be much more important on upcoming ~40mp sensors.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: East Wind Photography on January 11, 2013, 08:34:18 PM
I expect to see a lot of lens returns once those 40MP cameras come out.  Most lenses are going to "fail" the test.  ;)

Gotta stop it down to f/8 for optimal sharpness, but I don't think that's unreasonable for an f/4 lens.

From the quick chars I've shot with the 17-40L I'd even say on crop stopping down to f5.6 is nearly sufficient and a big improvement in comparison to f4 (which unfortunately makes Tv operation a hassle). The problem with my first copy was that no matter what aperture it was *never* sharp on the bottom, thus I'd say it's decentered.

To put it another way, we want, and expect, far more than we are willing to pay for.

I have to admit I disagree - if I buy an L lens I expect equal performance across all lens sides, i.e. no decentering. Other "issues" are ok for me like the fact that the 17-40L is not sharpest wide open, afma can be corrected (except for the 60d, thanks, Canon) and overall sharpness will be much more important on upcoming ~40mp sensors.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: skitron on January 11, 2013, 09:00:51 PM
In some ways, this is a surprising thread for reasonably intelligent people to be engaged in.

I think the reason people respond is to compare notes and maybe discover if a particular lens has issues. At least that's why I bothered. Take the Sigma 50 for instance...mine might be pretty good but apparently a bunch of them are duds. That's a good thing to know if you're wanting to buy a 50, no? Same with the 50L focus shift.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: serendipidy on January 12, 2013, 02:21:45 AM
The enemy of good is best...Voltaire
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: infared on January 12, 2013, 04:33:01 AM
Actually I'll be going to the post office in 5 minutes to send back my new Sigma 35mm 1.4 because it can't lock focus properly (changes between front, back, and no proper focus at all), and AMFA seems to be unable to correct the irregular focus (obviously since the lens can never decide what to do). But I am definitely getting a new copy and not just making a return - the shots I did manage to get were amazing, and the lens holds a lot of promise.

Btw - that was my first Sigma lens in a lineup of Canon and Tokina lenses - none of which have ever had to be returned.

(But judging from the general comments all over the place I got a very rare lemon).

I know this comment is off topic,sorry...but  mad spill did you read the review about your lens at The Digital Picture?

"About auto-focus:

While it is not perfect, I’m finding the Sigma 35 to perform close to the Canon 35 L in AF accuracy. A somewhat consistent and quite noticeable front focus problem on both of my 5D Mark III bodies required AFMA to correct. You may want to capture multiple images in situations with especially shallow DOF – which will be closer to MFD (Minimum Focus Distance). Note that the focus-and-recompose technique can begin to fail as shallower DOF is achieved."
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: rs on January 12, 2013, 04:41:53 AM
Actually I'll be going to the post office in 5 minutes to send back my new Sigma 35mm 1.4 because it can't lock focus properly (changes between front, back, and no proper focus at all), and AMFA seems to be unable to correct the irregular focus (obviously since the lens can never decide what to do). But I am definitely getting a new copy and not just making a return - the shots I did manage to get were amazing, and the lens holds a lot of promise.

Btw - that was my first Sigma lens in a lineup of Canon and Tokina lenses - none of which have ever had to be returned.

(But judging from the general comments all over the place I got a very rare lemon).

I know this comment is off topic,sorry...but  mad spill did you read the review about your lens at The Digital Picture?

"About auto-focus:

While it is not perfect, I’m finding the Sigma 35 to perform close to the Canon 35 L in AF accuracy. A somewhat consistent and quite noticeable front focus problem on both of my 5D Mark III bodies required AFMA to correct. You may want to capture multiple images in situations with especially shallow DOF – which will be closer to MFD (Minimum Focus Distance). Note that the focus-and-recompose technique can begin to fail as shallower DOF is achieved."
I can't comment on the Sigma 35/1.4, but I do have the Sigma 50/1.4. Many reviews slate the AF performance. My first copy was front focusing by a massive margin, but it seemed consistent. My second copy, while slower to AF than the Canon 50/1.4, never misses. I've tried it on four bodies and I've never needed AFMA to get sharp results, even at f1.4.

Expecting results close to perfection from a Sigma prime these days isn't unreasonable.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: skitron on January 13, 2013, 04:46:26 PM
My experience is pretty limited but no insurmaountable issues that required return so far. Lets hope it holds up since a new 70-200IS2 should be here in about 30 minutes now...

Verdict on the new 70-200: no centering issues, AFMA/T = -1, AFMA/W = 0, is now the sharpest lens I own at 2.8.

...Plus I get an upper body workout every time I use it...  ;) :)
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Marsu42 on January 17, 2013, 06:00:15 PM
I just bought a new 17-40L, and I'm happy that I didn't get it from ebay because the lens shows visible decentering

... a quick reply to my own thread if anyone cares:

I just got the replacement 17-40L and it's a lot better with equal performance on all sides, thus I'd really advise anyone interested in good lens performance to do some quick chart shots and look for decentering - imho a €670 L lens must not have this problem.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Dylan777 on January 18, 2013, 04:56:49 PM
My experience is pretty limited but no insurmaountable issues that required return so far. Lets hope it holds up since a new 70-200IS2 should be here in about 30 minutes now...

Verdict on the new 70-200: no centering issues, AFMA/T = -1, AFMA/W = 0, is now the sharpest lens I own at 2.8.

...Plus I get an upper body workout every time I use it...  ;) :)

LOL...and if LRPhoto see this comment, he would tell you to get 135L
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: LetTheRightLensIn on January 22, 2013, 04:06:29 AM
I wonder how many people were shooting test charts and returning lenses in the film era.

I think it's crazy when people say things like, "my lens was a little soft at f/1.4 so I exchanged it", or "my ultra wide-angle lens' edges are soft wide open".  At what point are people chasing unrealistic and unnecessary expectations?

OTOH what is the point of paying twice as much for a 70-200 2.8 II or 24-70 II and whatnot over other versions only to get a poor copy that delivers the same as a very solid copy of some some earlier version?? The only reason you pay that extra is to get that extra bit of quality.

Granted you have to accept that you might not get one of the tippy tippy top copies on a LR plot. But you don't want one of the bottom outliers either once you are into the lenses that are $$$$ solely because they are supposed to be deliver that bit extra compared to all the rest.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: bycostello on January 22, 2013, 05:44:58 AM
I wonder how many people were shooting test charts and returning lenses in the film era.

I think it's crazy when people say things like, "my lens was a little soft at f/1.4 so I exchanged it", or "my ultra wide-angle lens' edges are soft wide open".  At what point are people chasing unrealistic and unnecessary expectations?

OTOH what is the point of paying twice as much for a 70-200 2.8 II or 24-70 II and whatnot over other versions only to get a poor copy that delivers the same as a very solid copy of some some earlier version?? The only reason you pay that extra is to get that extra bit of quality.

Granted you have to accept that you might not get one of the tippy tippy top copies on a LR plot. But you don't want one of the bottom outliers either once you are into the lenses that are $$$$ solely because they are supposed to be deliver that bit extra compared to all the rest.

aren't you paying for better IS, faster focusing...  IQ was the least concern when i went from 70-200 mk1 to mk2
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: rs on January 22, 2013, 06:25:42 AM
I wonder how many people were shooting test charts and returning lenses in the film era.

I think it's crazy when people say things like, "my lens was a little soft at f/1.4 so I exchanged it", or "my ultra wide-angle lens' edges are soft wide open".  At what point are people chasing unrealistic and unnecessary expectations?

OTOH what is the point of paying twice as much for a 70-200 2.8 II or 24-70 II and whatnot over other versions only to get a poor copy that delivers the same as a very solid copy of some some earlier version?? The only reason you pay that extra is to get that extra bit of quality.

Granted you have to accept that you might not get one of the tippy tippy top copies on a LR plot. But you don't want one of the bottom outliers either once you are into the lenses that are $$$$ solely because they are supposed to be deliver that bit extra compared to all the rest.

aren't you paying for better IS, faster focusing...  IQ was the least concern when i went from 70-200 mk1 to mk2
I fully agree with LetTheRightLensIn. I spend more than I can really afford on expensive lenses because they're meant to out perform cheaper lenses, and as a result I want to know I'm getting what I paid for. If I didn't care about having equipment that can perform well, I'd save a lot of money by getting cheap lenses, or just use a compact camera instead.

I set my expectations by reading various reviews, having a look at it in person if possible, and also reading forums for feedback about QC issues etc. Only if I'm happy with that will I order it. When I get a lens delivered, a simple check that all is in order when I first get it is all I put it through - I don't shoot test charts at regular intervals or anything like that. If its up to my expectations, great. If not (as has happened twice, one of which was a 70-200 II which was noticeably softer than the mk I at 70mm wide open), I get it replaced.

The end result is I know I've got equipment as good as I can get. That means any problems with my images are down to me, not my equipment.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: garyknrd on January 22, 2013, 08:37:16 AM
I've only had four Canon lenses two L series I lenses I bought used, and two L II lenses I bought new. All have been very good with no complaints. IMHO the new II lenses are the best out there hands down. Light weight, sharp as a tack, well balanced. Just a joy to use. IMO even if you get a de-centered copy or whatever. Canon would of fixed it very fast and efficiently.
I have taken my lenses in for testing and calibration and the service dept. in Bangkok is very nice and professional.
Doesn't get any better IMO.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Marsu42 on January 22, 2013, 10:08:29 AM
Canon would of fixed it very fast and efficiently.

Unfortunately that's not true for the cps service I had tried in Berlin - if you're not a cps member (the EU system is other than US, you *have* to own at least two camera bodies) then anything takes about two weeks. And they'll probably tell you that there either is no real problem or (after 6 month of EU warranty) it was your own fault so the extended warranty doesn't cover it. That's why I'm so set to get a "good" lens from the store in the first place.

Btw Tamron service seems to be more lenient, you can have a free lens-body adjustment, service takes less time than Canon and the warranty is 6 years :-o
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Arthur Morris on January 22, 2013, 01:35:36 PM
I have owned probably 30 different L series lenses, mostly super-telephotos (including three different 100-400s) over the past three decades.  I never do any tests and I have never returned a lens.  For the past few years I have been micro-adjusting all of my long lenses with the LensAlign.  I have done OK over the years with my bird photographs.  I think that it might have been Micheal Reichmann who said, most lenses are sharper than most photographers. 

I just checked.  He said, "Most lenses are better than most photographers.   In either case, I agree whole-heartedly.
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Arthur Morris on January 22, 2013, 01:41:12 PM
ps:  If anyone can tell me why it says Powershot G-15 below my name I would appreciate it.  Went to edit my profile but could not find that....
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: rpt on January 22, 2013, 01:45:02 PM
ps:  If anyone can tell me why it says Powershot G-15 below my name I would appreciate it.  Went to edit my profile but could not find that....
Try harder. More responses under your belt and you may see a "better" camera under your alias...
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: Marsu42 on January 22, 2013, 01:50:19 PM
ps:  If anyone can tell me why it says Powershot G-15 below my name I would appreciate it.  Went to edit my profile but could not find that....

:-) It's the equivalent to other fantasy names on other boards and simply changes with the number of posts you've written ... the most senior members that obviously have nothing better to do than to write on CR have a 1DX besides their name :->
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: ewg963 on January 22, 2013, 03:37:24 PM
ps:  If anyone can tell me why it says Powershot G-15 below my name I would appreciate it.  Went to edit my profile but could not find that....

:-) It's the equivalent to other fantasy names on other boards and simply changes with the number of posts you've written ... the most senior members that obviously have nothing better to do than to write on CR have a 1DX besides their name :->
LOL
Title: Re: How many times did you return (L) lenses to get a good copy?
Post by: ewg963 on January 22, 2013, 03:40:18 PM
I have 3: 24-105, 70-200 2.8, 100-400. So far so good.  :)