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Old Jun 28, 2008, 11:29 AM   #1
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Guys,

New to the SLR world and have always used Canon point and shoot camera's. I recently purchased the XSI with a Sigma 28-70 lens, as well as some other MCAF High Def Wide Angle with Macro lens that sits on top of the sigma. It is a .48x58mm. My photos that I have been taking in auto mode are blurry all around the edges and appear to have a 'haze' look about them.

The photos were taken outside with mostly sunny skies. Can you guys take a look at the attached and please try to help me with what I am doing wrong? PAY PARTICULAR to the photo of my motorcycle. In the NY photo, the sky looks like 'white out'. Look at the rear of the bike and notice how hazy and blury it is! I paid $1200 for the camera, and the 2 lens' so I doubt that it is an equipment issue. Thanks!

Scott
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Old Jun 28, 2008, 11:30 AM   #2
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Here is the photo of the motorcycle.
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Old Jun 28, 2008, 12:17 PM   #3
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For starters, take that "High Def" Wide Angle adapter off of your lens. If that Sigma is one of the lower priced 28-70mm f/2.8-4 lenses (the latest DG version with improved coatings for digital sells for around $129 brand new from reputable dealers), it's got significant barrel distortion at it's widest focal length anyway from user reports I've seen. Zooming in a bit can help out with that part and improve edge sharpness some. If it's an even cheaper f/3.5-5.6 type lens, quality will be even worse.

By adding a cheap piece of glass in front if it (that so called "High Def Wide Angle.."), you're just making it worse (more distortion, edge softness, etc.), and your going to have optical issues trying to use one.

That combination also looks like it's causing loss of contrast from flare from the brighter lighting, which is the "hazy" look you see (putting cheap, poorly coated glass in front of a lens will cause that).

Avoid those types of add-on lenses. They're junk. Most of the time you see these kinds of junk lenses in package deals from resellers with questionable reputations. They advertise the kits with these types of accessories (cheaper grade consumer quality lenses, very poor quality wide angle adapters, poor quality filters, junk tripods, etc.) showing inflated retail prices for them to make it look like you're getting a better deal on a camera kit.

As for the blown out looking sky, it's overexposed a bit (the camera has a limited range of bright to dark that it's capable of capturing). Using a -EV setting with Exposure Compensation can help out to give you a darker exposure. But, a lot of what you're seeing is just loss of contrast from flare from poor quality optics because of shooting in harsher lighting.

Also make sure to use a hood on your Sigma in harsher lighting (that can help to prevent loss of contrast from flare in harsher lighting by shading the optics), and try not to shoot into brighter lighting. But, that "High Def" add-on lens is likely causing most of the optical issues.


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Old Jun 28, 2008, 12:22 PM   #4
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Actually, I took that hi-def macro/wide angle POS off and took another picture of my scooter. What an improvement!!! See attached!
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Old Jun 29, 2008, 3:50 AM   #5
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Which Sigma lens did you get with the bundle?

I'm afraid there's no nice way to say this, but it looks like you got horribly ripped off.
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Old Jun 29, 2008, 12:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
I paid $1200 for the camera, and the 2 lens' so I doubt that it is an equipment issue.
Expanding on these comments made by peripatetic:

Quote:
I'm afraid there's no nice way to say this, but it looks like you got horribly ripped off.
To put what you paid into perspective, you can buy a Canon XSi kit with a good quality Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS (stabilized) kit lens on it for only $829 now from a reputable vendors like B&H:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Si_a_k_a_.html

You can have the best camera around. But, if you put poor quality glass (lenses) on it, you're going to get poor quality results.

The latest higher resolution digital cameras are very demanding on the lens quality needed for best results, and there can be a big difference in quality between lenses, especially for use on digital (with higher quality lenses having better optics, better coatings to reduce light reflections and scatter internally which can cause loss of contrast, and more).

For example, if you look at the first review of a Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8-4 AF lens on this page, you can see where the first reviewer discussed flare issues using it in sunlight. He's using a film camera, and that kind of issue would be even worse on digital (because of reflections from the sensor).

Review of Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8-4

I found a comment from another user elsewhere that this particular lens is the worse they've ever seen for flare and ghosting, with washed out images in brighter sunlight. If you put something like that wide angle add-on lens in front of it, those kinds of problems will be much worse.

A lens like this is best used in shady areas (or with the sun at your back). You don't want to shoot into a brighter light source (i.e., lots of sunlight) with a lens like that. I've also seen comments that it's a bit soft unless the aperture is stopped down a few stops from wide open. IOW, this is not exactly a pro quality zoom. ;-) The latest DG version of it may be better. But, even some of the larger retailers like B&H have the newer DG version of it for around $129 now, and it's only $84.95 at sigma4less.com

If you look at the front of your lens, you'll see some numbers on it. That would tell you more about which one you have. It's unlikely to be one of the higher grade Sigmas, buying a camera kit a bundle like you're describing, with someone selling add-on wide angle lenses with it (those are usually a very bad idea). Sigma does make some higher grade lenses (for example, their EX series lenses are well liked). But, I doubt you have one of those.

You can't go by the lens manufacturer alone. All of the major manufacturers (Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, Canon, etc.) have both very good and poor quality lenses (and lenses that fall somewhere in the middle for quality). You have to take each lens on a case by case basis, as they can vary significantly in many areas (sharpness at various focal lengths and apertures, color, contrast, distortion, flare resistance, AF speed, build quality, brightness and more).

Depending on the exact version you have, it may OK in many conditions as long as you are not shooting with the aperture wide open (and the newer versions of it are probably a bit better). You'd have to try it to find out.

But, if you paid $1200 for an XSi with a consumer grade Sigma 28-70mm lens (either an older f/3.5-4.5 UC version, a newer f2.8-4 version or even the newest f/2.8-4 DG version, you paid way too much. IMO, the only way that much money would be justified for an XSi kit with a Sigma 28-70mm, would be if it's one of the EX series Sigma lenses.

For example, the Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 EX DG sells for around $329 now at some of the larger online vendors. It's very unlikely you've got one of those, and you could still buy an XSi kit with a Canon 18-55mm IS kit lens *and* a Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 EX DG for under $1200 now at a reputable vendor like bhphotovideo.com (and it's very unlikely the Sigma you bought is a higher quality EX series lens).

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Old Jun 29, 2008, 1:06 PM   #7
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This lens says the following on it. Sigma DG 28-70mm 1:2.8-4. Does that tell you anything as it is meaningless to me. Thanks!
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Old Jun 29, 2008, 1:18 PM   #8
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That's the newest version of the Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8-4 (the DG version has better coatings for digital). But, that's not an EX series lens (Sigma's higher quality line).

The one you got sells for $129 at B&H (although you can find them for less).

Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8-4 DG AF lens for Canon at B&H for $129

It may be a bit better for flare resistance compared to the older versions in brighter sunlight. You'd have to try it to find out. Chances are, the optics are not going to be that sharp using one at wider apertures (smaller f/stop numbers) though (and you wouldn't have to use the widest aperture settings).

Use it for a while and see what you think. It does have an advantage of being relatively small and light, with wider available apertures (f/2.8 on the wide end, dropping of to f/4 on the long end) compared to most cheaper lenses (although it's probably going to be a bit soft if you use it that way, sometimes a wider aperture can come in handy for getting faster shutter speeds in low light). In brighter light, you wouldn't have to use the wider apertures (smaller f/stop numbers).

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Old Jun 29, 2008, 1:33 PM   #9
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FWIW, I have seen one user comment that they though the one you have is better than the original Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens (the one they bundled with some of the older dSLR kits).

But, it's probably not anywhere near as good as the newer Canon 18-55mm IS Lens that is bundled in a Canon XSi kit now by Canon (for example, the XSi kit I mentioned that B&H carries with the newer 18-55mm IS lens included for $829). The newer IS version of Canon's standard kit lens has much improved optics compared to the older one without IS. The one you have is brighter than the kit lens, though (your Sigma has f/2.8 on it's wide end, dropping off to f/4 on it's longer end).

It's all subjective, and the conditions you use a camera in, along with the viewing/print sizes needed will come into the equation. But, it does sound like you paid *way* too much for that bundle. Was this an Ebay vendor?

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Old Jun 29, 2008, 2:02 PM   #10
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Again, try it and see what you think. The newer DG version you have may be fine for most conditions. But, I'd leave that wide angle add-on lens off. ;-) That add-on lens is likely what was causing most of your issues.

For future reference, it's almost always a real good idea to go with one of the camera manufacturer's kits, unless you have specific lens needs (especially if you don't have a lot of experience with a dSLR). That way, it's not costing you much to get started, and you can make better informed decisions on lenses needed later, after you've had a chance to use a kit lens for a while and determine it's strengths and weaknesses for the type of shooting you do more often.

The Camera manufacturers kits with a lens included usually add very little to the cost of the camera body. For example, B&H sells the XSi body only for $799. Yet, you can get the camera and the new Canon 18-55mm IS lens for only $829 now. Canon bundles them that way. It's going to be a little higher at a larger retailer charging full price (for example, this kit is $899 at Ritz/Wolf right now)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Si_a_k_a_.html

One reason you usually find kit lenses starting out at around 18mm is because a dSLR model using an APS-C size sensor will have a narrower angle of view (more apparent magnification) for any given focal length, compared to the same focal length lens on a 35mm camera. With a Canon dSLR like your XSi, you have to multiply the focal length of a lens by 1.6x to see what focal length would give you the same angle of view on a 35mm camera.

For example, an 18-55mm lens on your dSLR would give you roughly the same angle of view range that you'd have using a 29-88mm lens on a 35mm camera. So, a lens like the Sigma you have is a popular focal range for film. But, it's not as popular for digital. That's because it will appear to be 1.6x longer (a Sigma 28-70mm lens on the XSi will give approximately the same angle of view you'd have using a 45-112mm lens on a 35mm camera). That's great if you want a longer lens (more apparent magnification). But, sometimes you can only back up so far to get what you want in the frame. So, a lens starting out a bit wider tends to be more popular with digital. Some users are fine with a lens starting out at 28mm. It all depends on the conditions you want to use one in more often. Any lens choice is going to be a compromise in one area or another.

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