Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital Cameras (Point and Shoot) > Panasonic / Leica

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Oct 21, 2005, 5:21 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 579
Default

This should have been the first post of my telephoto converter comparisons. The previous comparison for long distance testing can be found here http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=23 and an updated version is available at my to-be-announced FZ-30 user guide: http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam/User-Guide/FZ-30/ The goal of this post is to compare the performance at nearly infinite focusing distance.

The main subject is a historical lighthouse at the north tip of Keweenaw Peninsula in the upper peninsula of Michigan. This light house is about one mile away from the shooting location. Equipment used include a Panasonic FZ-30 and nine teleconverter lenses: Canon TL55 1.4X, Olympus TCON-14B 1.45X, Konica Minolta ACT-100 1.5X, Nikon TC-E15ED 1.5X, Nikon TC-E17ED 1.7X, Olympus TCON-17 1.7X, Panasonic LT55 1.7X, Sony VCL DH1758 1.7X and Sony VCL HGD1758 1.7X. However, the image taken with the Sony VCL DH1758 was not shot in the same day; but, it was shot at the same location a couple of days later.

Shooting parameters are as follows: shooting mode was Aperture-Priority with aperture f/5.6 and shutter speed determined by the camera; SATURATION, CONTRAST and SHARPNESS were set to LOW; and the focusing area was the top portion of the light house near the lamp housing. In general, shutter speed was 1/800 or 1/1000 sec; however, since the Sony DH1758 was used in a cloudy day, the shutter speed used was considerably slower at 1/125 sec, and tonality in the Sony DH1758 image is very different from those of the other cameras'.

In what follows, this comparison will be divided into four parts: center, below center, left edge and right edge. The following image shows the scene:


The Nikon TC-E17ED image was a little different view because of the shooting position change. However, this difference poses no threat to our comparison.

*** CENTER PORTION ***

The following is the 100% center crops of the original image. Since this portion is used for AF, it should be very sharp. Moreover, since lenses are usually sharp in the center, this portion should also be the best in the image of each lens. It is clear that the Nikon TC-E17ED and TC-E15ED captured the sharpest images with the TC-E15ED slight behind perhaps due to a smaller reproduction ratio causing the details not being revealed completely. The Sony HGD1758 is slightly behind but not by much. The problem with the Sony HGD1758, however, is chromatic aberration around the light tower in the form of purple fringes. In terms of sharpness, the Sony DH1758 may be as good as the HGD1758 with less chromatic aberration and less magnification (i.e., captured image being smaller). The Minolta ACT-100 is as good as the Olympus TCON-17; but, the former would be slightly ahead as demonstrated by the fence around the light tower. Moreover, the TCON-17 image has a significant purple fringe that the Minolta ACT-100 does not have. The Panasonic LT55 is slightly behind the TCON-17. The Olympus TCON-14B is also good, slightly better than the Minolta ACT-100; but, it has a trace of purple fringe around the roof of the light tower. The Canon TL55 may be as good as the other 1.5X class converters in terms of sharpness; however, its low contrast makes the Canon TL55 the worst of all converters. Please note the tonality similarity among the Canon TL55, Sony DH1758 and Sony HGD1758 as their colors are more or less in the bluish and cooler side.




*** BELOW CENTER PORTION ***

The next round is the area slightly off center. The following image shows the 100% crop of the small portion below the left window of the front wall. All 1.7X converters performed well with the Nikon TC-E17ED still in the lead position. Due to a higher contrast, TC-E17ED captured the fine texture of the white portion of the wall and none of the other four 1.7X converter came close. The Panasonic LT55 is slightly better than the Olympus TCON-17. Surprisingly enough, the Sony DH1758 also performed well although its contrast is the lowest of these five. Of the four 1.5X class converters, the Nikon TC-E15 and Minolta ACT-100 took the lead, and, IMO, the latter is very slightly sharper than the former. The Canon TL55 is behind these two with the TCON-14B being the worst.




*** LEFT EDGE ***

Then, we look at the left edge area. The following image shows the lower left 100% crop. Of these nine crops, the Sony DH1758 has the worst result. It is so blurred that we see a halo surrounding the little lake wave in the image. The Nikon TC-E17ED and TC-E15ED are the best for their capability of capturing the details of the rocky lake shore. This is followed by the Sony HGD1758, which is slightly better than the Panasonic LT55. In previous images, the Panasonic LT55 is not as good as the Olympus TCON-17; but, in the particular case, the TCON-17 is slightly behind the Panasonic LT55 because its left most edge is not as good. For the 1.5X class lenses, I still believe TC-E15ED is better. I believe the TCON-14B and Minolta ACT-100 are very similar, and, depending on how you interpret the result you might consider the TCON-14B being a little better. The Canon TL55 is not good, but, it is still better than the Sony DH1758.




*** RIGHT EDGE ***

The last comparison is the extreme right edge as shown in the following 100% crops. I believe the TC-E15ED is the best. While the TC-E17ED is also good, it is difficult for me to make a judgment because its crop does not show the same area. However, the rocky lake shore does not look as sharp as that of the TC-E15ED. In the remaining, the TCON-17 and Panasonic LT55 performed similarly with the TCON-17 slightly better, and both are better than the Sony HGD1758. The Sony DH1758 did not perform as bad as in the left edge case; but, it still is inferior to other 1.7X converters. The Minolta ACT-100 and TCON-14B are better than the Canon TL55, and both show some degree of chromatic aberration along the tree branches (e.g., purple for the TCON-14B and greenish for the ACT-100). However, it is hard to say if one is better than the other.




*** BRIEF SUMMARY ***

Here are a few findings from comparing the images of shooting this scene:


(1) The contrast of Canon TL55 and Sony DH1758 is low. As a result, sharpness also appears to be low. The tonality of the images captured by these two lenses is somewhat bluish.

(2) The Olympus TCON-14B did not perform as good as being used with FZ-10. In many cases, it is no more the best.

(3) Again, the expensive Panasonic LT55 did not perform well against the Olympus TCON-17.

(4) The new Sony DH1758 for the Sony H1 did not perform as good as some owners claimed to be due to its lower contrast, poor corner sharpness, and tone shift. It is perhaps the worst of the 1.7X group. Given its price, the Sony DH1758 seems to have a worse cost/performance index than the TCON-17.

(5) Some people claimed that the lower image quality of the Olympus TCON-14B is due to the use of a step-up ring. I am very skeptical about this claim because a 1mm or so gap will not cause much difference in teleconverters. Additionally, since the TCON-14B consistently performed worse than other 1.5X class converters, it is likely the main reason would be the lens was not designed for higher resolution cameras.

(6) The Nikon TC-E17ED and TC-E15ED are still the best of 1.7X and 1.5X converters, respectively.

(7) If I have to rate the 1.7X, I would suggest (just my personal opinion) this order: Nikon TC-E17ED > Olympus TCON-17 > Panasonic LT55 >> Sony DH1758. The Sony HGD1758 is somewhere between the TCON-17 and Panasonic LT55 if you care more about the center portion. Otherwise, it is rated much higher than the Sony DH1758 and slightly lower than Panasonic LT55.

(8 ) In the case of 1.5X converters, I would rate them (my personal opinion, again) as TC-E15ED > (Minolta ACT-100 >[very slightly] TCON-14B) >>[much better] Canon TL55.
shene is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Oct 22, 2005, 12:23 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
LoveLife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,288
Default

Why does an image have to be examined at 100% I feel it is more important to view it in say A3 size, that is about the limit of the camera or do you think it is higher.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Is this a bad print at this size with all the flaws showing?


LoveLife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 22, 2005, 4:43 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 579
Default

LoveLife wrote:
Quote:
Why does an image have to be examined at 100% I feel it is more important to view it in say A3 size, that is about the limit of the camera or do you think it is higher.

Is this a bad print at this size with all the flaws showing?

When you view an image on print, the image quality is also affected by the printer's printing mechanism. Your printer does not print the pixels in your image exactly. In other words, what you see on a print is not actually theimage taken by your camera. This isidentical to the fact that we should not use a darkroom print to judge lens quality because the quality of enlarge lens and paper being used would alter the original image.

Some sites/magazines chose to use a particular type of film for lens testing. But, the difference between no film and with film has to be very carefully calibrated. This is the major reason that the most commonly accepted lens characteristic tests are usually done in MTF charts.

Unfortunately, for fixed lens digital cameras, it is impossible to use MTF and other more advanced methods. IMO, testing lenses with these purely technical methods may not be very convincing to the general public. I chose to use various scenes that, IMO, can reveal problems of converter lenses.

You can certainly use A3 prints. But, what you see on prints, as mentioned above, is not what the actual images are.

CK
shene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 22, 2005, 7:15 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
HarjTT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,535
Default

Dr Shene

Thanks for the explanation - very well put and I was completely unware of the issue involved. On another note, do you have any idea why the panasonic teleconvertor for the FZ30 is inferior to the the Nikon and others, when for the FZ10/20 the LTZ10 was clearly "head and shoulders" the better product?

Cheers

Harj


HarjTT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 22, 2005, 5:09 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 579
Default

Hello Harj:
Quote:
Dr Shene

On another note, do you have any idea why the panasonic teleconvertor for the FZ30 is inferior to the the Nikon and others, when for the FZ10/20 the LTZ10 was clearly "head and shoulders" the better product?
In fact, I really don't have an answer to your question. After a number of test shooting trips and exclusive use of the Panasonic LT55, I also have the same question. I kept asking my self: is my LT55 a bad copy? I hope other people who will have the LT55 in hand help us figure this out. A person indicated on DPreview that he will be receiving a LT55 soon in earlier November and will post additional images.

Anyway, if my copy is not a lemon, Panasonic screwed up their reputation in making the best teleconverter for their FZ cameras. On the other hand, if my copy is a lemon, Panasonic has a quality control problem. Worse, once people figured out their copies are lemons, it would too late for them to make an exchange.

CK


shene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 22, 2005, 5:45 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
LoveLife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,288
Default

HarjTT wrote:
Quote:
Dr Shene

Thanks for the explanation - very well put and I was completely unware of the issue involved. On another note, do you have any idea why the panasonic teleconvertor for the FZ30 is inferior to the the Nikon and others, when for the FZ10/20 the LTZ10 was clearly "head and shoulders" the better product?

Cheers

Harj

Maybe I did not make myself clear I was not suggesting using prints to evaluate telephoto quality. I was referring to using computer image the approximately size of A3 prints to evaluate lens quality. In my opinion this makes more sense. I believe that if you dig deep enough you can always find flaws. I also understand a print in the same size will be different and more forgiving. If flaws show up in that size they are much more significant. I would like to see this done with the first 9 images. The picture above was taken with the FZ10 at 4 MP. That level of detail in this size is not the norm. The sharpness held up because of the intensity lumens in this middle-east flea market. The reason I bring this up is that test samples need to be controlled and done in a short time frame because the light intensity has a large impact on the results.
LoveLife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 23, 2005, 7:24 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 579
Default

Just wanted to make sure those who saw the first prelim test report would also see this second one. Lenses could (and usually will) perform differently at infinity, long distance, short distance, and close-up. This portion is about the "infinity" component. I am still working on the short distance portion and have not been able to find free time to complete my 3rd report.

CK
shene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 23, 2005, 6:33 PM   #8
jcr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 152
Default

Would be interesting to see Raynox DCR-2020 2.2x in a such good comparison...
jcr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 30, 2005, 1:21 AM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1
Default

Shene - Thanks so much for these FZ30 tests. It was truly BRILLIANT of you to use the same lighthouse scene that was used for the FZ10 (?). You read my mind and found your way to that location as well. I was totally pleased!

I've also done some tele converter tests - though I do not have all of the lenses that you do - and have not tested for such an extreme distance.

If you are interested, I will send you a CD of all I've done - all high resolution images.

I was mainly comparing the Tcon-14B, Tcon-17, Sony HGD1758, and the Wcon-07 and the Sony HGD-0758. For short distances - I have not found any real advantage in the Sony lenses over the Olympus lenses which are cheaper and so much lighter. The Sony telephoto does not seem to do any better on moon shots either.

It would be interesting to see how a tcon-300 would fit into this lineup.

Incidentally, for the Nikon TC-E17ED - which adapter did you use on your FZ30?
(Name, Model #, etc.) Thanks!

Send me your mailing address if interested.

Meanwhile, keep up the good work. Dave Talbott ([email protected])
darkhors4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 1, 2005, 12:23 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
LoveLife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,288
Default

jcr wrote:
Quote:
Would be interesting to see Raynox DCR-2020 2.2x in a such good comparison...
Check out this linkhttp://tinyurl.com/dn6rg they have pictureswithdifferent lenses including the Raynox DCR2020. Exploding pictures way past their normal use to find flaws is is not productive.
LoveLife is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 2:43 PM.