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Thread: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

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    Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    As somebody that was very interested in "full frame NEX" and thus pre-ordered A7R once they were announced I have, naturally, followed posts related to them and lenses for them on some of the major forums. I have heard quite a few praises of 55/1.8 so I went and ordered it. During shooting with it I started feeling something seems to be off with the lens. At approximately same time I became aware of posts with people complaining that their copies of 35/2.8 were arriving optically decentered/misaligned and that they had to return more than one before they got one that was more or less OK. For example, posts in threads like this one http://www.getdpi.com/forum/sony/497...-who-else.html

    That made me pay closer attention could it be that my copy of 55/1.8 is decentered. Checking for that showed that it is, which was easily visible when I compared it against second copy of same lens. Naturally first copy went back and second one was kept (even though second copy too indicates it might be bit off as I just wasn't in position to focus anymore on that). At that moment I attributed experience to bad luck with one copy and didn't give it any further thought.

    Some time later I decided I want to get 35/2.8. Moment my copy arrived it was obvious it is a bad copy and it went back faster than it arrived. To make long story short it took way more than one try to end up with copy that is (almost) OK (I say almost because even one I kept is not completely as it should be, it was just one with least amount of "issue").

    While I was going through my experience with 35/2.8 I started becoming aware of posts with people complaining that their newly arrived copies of 24-70/4 were optically decentered/misaligned and that they had to return them to get "OK" copies.

    Which brought me to question that is the reason of why I am starting this thread: I am wondering who else had issues with their copies of 35/2.8, 55/1.8, 24-70/4 or 28-70/3.5-5.6, what that issue was, did you end up resolving it or you gave up, what it took to resolve it, if resolution was to get another copy how many tries it took you before you stopped further trying and accepted it or gave up, and was final copy completely OK?

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Hello Zoran,

    Not to get in the way of your thread (as a very happy 1.8/55 user), but rather to add to the knowledge of the issue more generally, here are two excellent articles on the subject by Roger Cicala, the lensrental man.

    LensRentals.com - There is No Perfect Lens

    LensRentals.com - The Limits of Variation
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    Senior Member Slingers's Avatar
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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    I looked at your post history to see your images with the A7R but I couldn't find any. Would you be able to share some of images you are unhappy with as I'm sure that would help readers more than just writing about your complaints. The 55 fe is on its way to me at the moment and I am hoping I don't need to send it back.

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Zoran, I, too, think the Lens Rentals articles sum up 'where we're at' with lens QC..

    It took me three 35 2.8 and two 55 1.8 and three 24-70 lenses to get good copies and only the 55 is perfect. Sadly this is more or less normal I think. Some Nikon lenses took me a few attempts and I have had issues with Leica and Zeiss and Sigma and Tamron and others. early shooting with a Canon TSE 24mm I bought yesterday indicates a possible problem.

    I think the statistical chances of getting an effectively perfectly assembled copy of any given lens are probably less than 50%. It's is, I'm afraid, par for the course and the pursuit of a good, rather than perfect copy, is enough in itself to stretch sanity sometimes. Testing is very difficult to do well, too.

    But these Sony lenses, when you get a good one, really are worth it!

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Well my 35 and 55 were fine first time round, Have just got the 24-70 which is complex lens and will take more testing. That being said I don't do testing using test sheets etc but just put the lens through my normal working routine. I feel I will have some difficulty accurately assessing the zoom as i am so used to using primes and may come to expect to much of it

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by philip_pj View Post
    Hello Zoran,

    Not to get in the way of your thread (as a very happy 1.8/55 user), but rather to add to the knowledge of the issue more generally, here are two excellent articles on the subject by Roger Cicala, the lensrental man.

    LensRentals.com - There is No Perfect Lens

    LensRentals.com - The Limits of Variation
    Hi Philip, I am aware of these articles but thank you for the links on behalf of those that are not. You are correct in that I hope posting them will not derail this thread off the topic.

    Regards,

    Zoran

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by Slingers View Post
    I looked at your post history to see your images with the A7R but I couldn't find any. Would you be able to share some of images you are unhappy with as I'm sure that would help readers more than just writing about your complaints. The 55 fe is on its way to me at the moment and I am hoping I don't need to send it back.
    Slingers, while your post has tone of trolling bait I will for now give you benefit of a doubt and just say one doesn't need images from me that illustrate the problem. Those that know what optical misalignment is know what it looks like. Plus, they were not requested from those that reported issues with their copies on this very forum before, thus there is no need that you demand them in such manner from me either.

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Zoran, I, too, think the Lens Rentals articles sum up 'where we're at' with lens QC..

    It took me three 35 2.8 and two 55 1.8 and three 24-70 lenses to get good copies and only the 55 is perfect. Sadly this is more or less normal I think. Some Nikon lenses took me a few attempts and I have had issues with Leica and Zeiss and Sigma and Tamron and others. early shooting with a Canon TSE 24mm I bought yesterday indicates a possible problem.

    I think the statistical chances of getting an effectively perfectly assembled copy of any given lens are probably less than 50%. It's is, I'm afraid, par for the course and the pursuit of a good, rather than perfect copy, is enough in itself to stretch sanity sometimes. Testing is very difficult to do well, too.

    But these Sony lenses, when you get a good one, really are worth it!
    tashley, thank you for your very valuable input. I am sorry to hear that you too went through same experience. At least it tells me my experience is not an exception. I, as an engineer, very well know difference between "perfection" and "good enough / within reasonable tolerances", which I often use term "as it should be" for. Which brings me to hit ratio of "within reasonable tolerances" copies. In other words, what are the chances of random person reaching for random copy of the lens off some shelf and getting copy that is "within reasonable tolerances". Didn't you feel that having to go through 8 copies of lenses to end up with three acceptable ones is way too low of a hit ratio?

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    I did feel that but as I observed elsewhere, to get lenses of these design complexities on the shelf at the right price for the consumer to be interested and with enough profits for the manufacturer and the retailer, seems to mean that QC is where costs are cut.

    Think of it this way: a lot of lenses that don't perform well in real world use will actually pass the sorts of QC that manufacturers can afford to do. It takes me several hours to be sure a lens is duff. Even my new 'quick setup' test for asymmetry takes at least an hour from start to finish with a zoom, and half an hour with a prime. They just can't afford to do that with every lens and it is quite hard to automate in any way.

    What this means I think is that there is a normal distribution of quality on the shelf - a few clunkers, a few pretty much perfect, and a lot which aren't great but which to most punters aren't 'clearly and immediately wrong'. What that means is that if you're one of they guys who buys,tests, returns until you get a really good one, then you're being paid for your testing because if all lenses were tested that well, they'd cost a lot more - an amount you save by doing the testing yourself!

    That's how I make myself happier after a day of tough testing. Today I returned a Canon 24mm TSE and the dealer let me try another three copies including one from they display cabinet that was in a different serial number range. They were all soft on the left, on two different bodies, even at F8. So I took at 17mm TSE instead and it seems good so far but I haven't done the full test yet.

    SO yes, it is tremendously boring and time consuming and I hate it. But it make the stuff cheaper.

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    Troll bait? Is it unreasonable to ask a stranger for an example of the effect of a faulty lens? I suspect there may be some people posting about the faults of various cameras and lenses whose standards are so high that their criticisms might be taken with a grain of salt.

    I don't know the OP or the alleged "troller;" just saying that one shouldn't be insulted when asked for a sample.
    Please notice topic of this thread is not "is my lens decentered" but "questions to those that also got decentered copy". If responder to my original post is not in position to provide input on actual topic then his point is pointless.

    Also please notice I don't need to establish proof for a purpose of this thread, nor do I need to establish at which level are my standards, especially when others were not asked to do same when they posted comments about their copies. Did responder to my post, or you, question Guy Mancuso or tashley to establish what level their standards are at when they commented on their misaligned copies? No? My point exactly, thank you.

    So, if you don't mind, I would like to go back to the topic of the thread without further derailing. Do you own/use lens in question? If yes have you checked your copies for misalignment and found misalignment?

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    I did feel that but as I observed elsewhere, to get lenses of these design complexities on the shelf at the right price for the consumer to be interested and with enough profits for the manufacturer and the retailer, seems to mean that QC is where costs are cut.

    Think of it this way: a lot of lenses that don't perform well in real world use will actually pass the sorts of QC that manufacturers can afford to do. It takes me several hours to be sure a lens is duff. Even my new 'quick setup' test for asymmetry takes at least an hour from start to finish with a zoom, and half an hour with a prime. They just can't afford to do that with every lens and it is quite hard to automate in any way.

    What this means I think is that there is a normal distribution of quality on the shelf - a few clunkers, a few pretty much perfect, and a lot which aren't great but which to most punters aren't 'clearly and immediately wrong'. What that means is that if you're one of they guys who buys,tests, returns until you get a really good one, then you're being paid for your testing because if all lenses were tested that well, they'd cost a lot more - an amount you save by doing the testing yourself!

    That's how I make myself happier after a day of tough testing. Today I returned a Canon 24mm TSE and the dealer let me try another three copies including one from they display cabinet that was in a different serial number range. They were all soft on the left, on two different bodies, even at F8. So I took at 17mm TSE instead and it seems good so far but I haven't done the full test yet.

    SO yes, it is tremendously boring and time consuming and I hate it. But it make the stuff cheaper.
    I hear your points. At the same time I don't agree with premise that "QC has to be cut to cut the costs to be able to deliver these lenses at the right price to a consumer".

    First, $800-ish for a non-premium lens (35/2.8) is anything but inexpensive.

    Second, examples of recent Sony's fire sales (including ones where employees were allegedly allowed to buy lenses and bodies at 50% off) indicate that there is quite a lot of profit margin in these lenses which further indicates cost of QC doesn't need to be cut into to deliver them "inexpensively" to consumer.

    Last, but not least, you and I are testing in manual way. These lenses are (should be) IMHO high precision components made on modern production lines with sophisticated tools and thus "quality control" is not a "manual after the production" deal, it is a part of a process from beginning to the end. If lenses that are rolling out off such line are in such shape that only one out of three or so would pass check of knowledgable consumer then something is off big time.

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Just to help: I hereby define what I think is an unnaceptable amount of asymmetry in a brand new lens:

    These are the same file, left and right hand sides, of a very carefully setup outdoor shoot at my dealer today of a Canon 24 TSE on A7r. The results were very similar on a 5DIII so I don't think my otherwise well-behaved adaptor is to blame.


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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by ZoranC View Post
    I hear your points. At the same time I don't agree with premise that "QC has to be cut to cut the costs to be able to deliver these lenses at the right price to a consumer".

    First, $800-ish for a non-premium lens (35/2.8) is anything but inexpensive.

    Second, examples of recent Sony's fire sales (including ones where employees were allegedly allowed to buy lenses and bodies at 50% off) indicate that there is quite a lot of profit margin in these lenses which further indicates cost of QC doesn't need to be cut into to deliver them "inexpensively" to consumer.

    Last, but not least, you and I are testing in manual way. These lenses are (should be) IMHO high precision components made on modern production lines with sophisticated tools and thus "quality control" is not a "manual after the production" deal, it is a part of a process from beginning to the end. If lenses that are rolling out off such line are in such shape that only one out of three or so would pass check of knowledgable consumer then something is off big time.
    We will have to disagree. Sony isn't profitable, the industry is under great pressure, the margin on an individual products tells you nothing and fire sales don't indicate margin. I believe from doing a lot of lens testing that it can be a slippery beast to pine down and prove: it can come and go at different subject distances and apertures and in zooms it can move from side to side.

    Build tolerances to get a perfect copy are tighter than the cost and profit balance of these manufacturers can allow to be made perfectly tight. Manual QC to find the problem lenses would be extremely time consuming. And because something is expensive, doesn't mean that it has high margin. They're expensive to make.

    I don't excuse the manufacturers at all but I do pity them. Even the best of them is not immune, and that refers to some people who live, sleep, eat and breath lenses.

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by ZoranC View Post
    I hear your points. At the same time I don't agree with premise that "QC has to be cut to cut the costs to be able to deliver these lenses at the right price to a consumer".

    First, $800-ish for a non-premium lens (35/2.8) is anything but inexpensive.

    Second, examples of recent Sony's fire sales (including ones where employees were allegedly allowed to buy lenses and bodies at 50% off) indicate that there is quite a lot of profit margin in these lenses which further indicates cost of QC doesn't need to be cut into to deliver them "inexpensively" to consumer.

    Last, but not least, you and I are testing in manual way. These lenses are (should be) IMHO high precision components made on modern production lines with sophisticated tools and thus "quality control" is not a "manual after the production" deal, it is a part of a process from beginning to the end. If lenses that are rolling out off such line are in such shape that only one out of three or so would pass check of knowledgable consumer then something is off big time.
    You know, I don't even know how to start but you are entering into the world of POOR quality control by Sony. I've never seen anything quite like it.... especially with their boasting about the ultra high quality of their lenses. Bottom line is if you want really good lenses then you have to pay more money and if the lens doesn't meet your standards then make sure you have purchased from someone who will take it back. I'm done with Sony/Zeiss lenses. Wouldn't consider owning their zoom and won't buy any more primes. Comments have been made regarding f stops not influencing DOF when increased. Odd.... don't you think?? I experienced the same thing and was more than curious but.... again I'm done with this stuff. And if you think you can go to the Leica camp...... well good luck!! You'll just spend more money for mediocre lenses. The only company making any effort forward is Zeiss and they should be applauded. Otus is their first effort and will be expanded. But even their legacy lenses, ie 100mm Macro Planar, are extraordinary and work extremely well on the A7r. So there is hope. Also, the Zeiss prime lenses for the Alpha cameras have tested well and should perform well on the A7r. But, once again, those lenses are expensive and heavy and..... will deliver files that you will be happy with.

    Good luck with your quest......

    Victor

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Just to help: I hereby define what I think is an unnaceptable amount of asymmetry in a brand new lens:
    tashley, thank you for posting these. I personally don't believe in "pics or it doesn't exist" but still thank you.

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    We will have to disagree.
    ... and that's OK

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Sony isn't profitable, the industry is under great pressure, the margin on an individual products tells you nothing and fire sales don't indicate margin.
    Lack of profitability and pressure can't be an excuse for slips/cutting in manufacturing, such roads are very slippery as they can end up in even less profitability. This is capitalism, consumers are not there to cut some company slack just because they are not profitable. It is true that fire sales don't indicate marging but I doubt Sony would be giving 50% off if that meant they are selling at loss.

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    I believe from doing a lot of lens testing that it can be a slippery beast to pine down and prove: it can come and go at different subject distances and apertures and in zooms it can move from side to side.
    Yes, it is very hard to pin down and yes, over the years I have seen all these factors you mention influence it.

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Build tolerances to get a perfect copy are tighter than the cost and profit balance of these manufacturers can allow to be made perfectly tight.
    We are not looking for perfect, are we? We are just looking for "as it should be". What is "as it should be"? That can be very hard to define but yet I think there can be a simple definition: "As it should be" is what allows you to take photo, print it at size MP count allows for and that flaw is not visible to those looking at that print from normal viewing distance. Were you looking for your TS Canon to be "perfect"? Or you were looking for it to be "as it should be"?

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Manual QC to find the problem lenses would be extremely time consuming.
    I agree. But during manufacturing QC is not "after the fact manual for each and every lens", it is part of a process, and not every copy gets tested, you are supposed to do statistical testing, and if two out of three copies were not acceptable to tashley or Zoran statistical testing should have caught that easily.

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    And because something is expensive, doesn't mean that it has high margin. They're expensive to make.
    I agree as a general rule. But please take look back at my comment at 50% off sales and Sony very unlikely to be doing that at loss. Which means margin needed for better QC is there.

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    I don't excuse the manufacturers at all but I do pity them.
    Sometimes I do pity manufacturers as many things that are non-issues get blown out of proportions but sometimes I don't pity them at all and pity consumers (for example: sensor oil issues on Nikon D600).

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by vjbelle View Post
    You know, I don't even know how to start but you are entering into the world of POOR quality control by Sony. I've never seen anything quite like it.... I'm done with Sony/Zeiss lenses. Wouldn't consider owning their zoom and won't buy any more primes.
    Victor, thank you for your input. Would you mind please sharing what was your (sounds like bad) experience with Sony lenses?

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    A key aspect to the matter is that no one outside the makers really knows the 'fail rate', however it is measured. We can also expect a huge variation in the judgments of buyers as they range from the extremely picky to the blase, and I am guessing most web forum members - being enthusiasts - are closer to the former than the latter, and they are often early adopters to boot, when defects are most likely to surface.

    Two other factors loom large:

    In the web era bad news travels fast and hard, good news crawls along at snail's pace and keeps its own counsel. One can only guesstimate the number of disaffected buyers at his peril, and 'becoming aware of posts' won't pass any validity test in a statistical muster.

    High megapixel cameras have given more exacting consumers much more powerful forensic means in the search for perfection, which as Brian Ferry so rightly pointed out, goes on and on. Seek and ye shall too often find.

    Market capitalism has its own checks and balances of course - a maker with an excessively high return rate loses profitability and reputation quickly. You might expect a feedback loop to result in better process design and QC. If expectations are rising, you could expect this to happen in a short period of time. These are all general statements as they apply to all manufacturers, even Toyota who today find themselves relieved of a considerable sum (!)

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Actually the thread should be renamed to Why the camera industry lack of quality control. No OEM is immune to this unfortunately. I have owned just about every system out there and it has become a buy 3 return 2 industry. Hate to say it but the only system I have seen better quality is in tech cam lenses and even there problems exist. I honestly can't say I had a system that was free from a mechanically, optically or electronically issue of some sort. I worked in the Aerospace business for many years in the avionics arena and there everything was so much better but it had to be. Here no one dies over it.
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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by ZoranC View Post
    Slingers, while your post has tone of trolling bait I will for now give you benefit of a doubt and just say one doesn't need images from me that illustrate the problem. Those that know what optical misalignment is know what it looks like. Plus, they were not requested from those that reported issues with their copies on this very forum before, thus there is no need that you demand them in such manner from me either.
    Sorry I think you took my post the wrong way. What I was after was seeing your real world images to see for myself the quality of your lens so I could make a judgement. I agree with everyone that no lens maker is without fault and sometimes some shocking examples make it for sale.

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Actually the thread should be renamed to Why the camera industry lack of quality control. No OEM is immune to this unfortunately. I have owned just about every system out there and it has become a buy 3 return 2 industry. Hate to say it but the only system I have seen better quality is in tech cam lenses and even there problems exist. I honestly can't say I had a system that was free from a mechanically, optically or electronically issue of some sort. I worked in the Aerospace business for many years in the avionics arena and there everything was so much better but it had to be. Here no one dies over it.
    Agreed on some level. Even Leica has had quite a few problems with the 50 APO-Summicron and it costs about $7500.
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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    Agreed on some level. Even Leica has had quite a few problems with the 50 APO-Summicron and it costs about $7500.
    How much does leica charge to recalibrate a lens and body together?

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by ken_vs_ryu View Post
    How much does leica charge to recalibrate a lens and body together?
    About $350 last I heard but luckily all of my lenses have just worked.
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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Actually the thread should be renamed to Why the camera industry lack of quality control. No OEM is immune to this unfortunately.
    That very well may be the case. My post was not meant to single out Sony, I was discussing Sony lenses just because that is what I am currently dealing with. My experience with Nikon lenses hasn't been flawless but I haven't had anywhere near this much issues. Could it be that I would have same kind of experience with Nikon's if I was not using 12MP body with them but 36MP one? Possibly but I can't speculate on that. All I am trying to do is find out is my experience with this particular setup common or unusual.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I have owned just about every system out there and it has become a buy 3 return 2 industry.
    ... which is sad. And part of it is, I feel, due to bed industry made for itself and now they have to lay in it. First, they are focused on throwing new models on the market without stopping to address what was wrong with previous ones, not even when it is a firmware feature. Next, they keep raising MP count but didn't give themselves enough time to address demand increase on manufacturing tolerances etc that will result in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I honestly can't say I had a system that was free from a mechanically, optically or electronically issue of some sort.
    I don't think we are looking for something that is perfect or very close to perfect. But question has to be raised when enough is enough and when too much is too much. Especially because resellers are far from happy, to a point of punishing customer, when we return them more than one copy. They want us to just bend over and take it regardless of what kind of quality manufacturer is pumping out, to pay with our hard earned money if manufacturer is doing sub-par job.

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by Slingers View Post
    Sorry I think you took my post the wrong way. What I was after was seeing your real world images to see for myself the quality of your lens so I could make a judgement.
    I might have but I still don't see how is that in any way related to my original post and what is there for you to "judge". But to defuse any further time wasting on that below you can find crop of upper right corner from "kinda OK" 55/1.8 copy on the left and "IMHO misaligned" copy on the right.


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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Initial testing on the FE24-70 seems to show it to be OK with no appreciable decentering. So it looks like I made it good with all 3 lenses first time round

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Lucky chap - because they are all such nice lenses when you luck out!

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Thanks Tim. Yes the 55 is truly amazing, the 35 is very good and the 24-70 good for a Zoom

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by ZoranC View Post
    Victor, thank you for your input. Would you mind please sharing what was your (sounds like bad) experience with Sony lenses?
    All of the Sony lenses I owned had serious decentering issues. One side would focus far the other near. Its not that I haven't had other lenses with those issues but never to that extent. A real shame for the Sony lenses since they have real potential.

    Victor

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    [I]Originally Posted by stephengilbert
    Troll bait? Is it unreasonable to ask a stranger for an example of the effect of a faulty lens? I suspect there may be some people posting about the faults of various cameras and lenses whose standards are so high that their criticisms might be taken with a grain of salt.



    I think the OP's topic is valid and encourage more discussion about QC. SG, you seem to be the one who is provoking, but it's not the first time. It so subjective as to how a photographer needs or wants a tool to function that the validity of their experience is not yours to ponder.
    Last edited by johnnygoesdigital; 20th March 2014 at 15:47.
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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    What's worrying me is that I'm waiting out the Sony wide angle, not sure however whether the heart ache of the testing and returning will be worth it in a country where it's probably going to be a special order lens. Maybe I shouldn't bother waiting and just get the Zeiss 18mm.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Hmm,well, personally I haven't had a bad experience with Sony.
    Nikon; problems (a while ago now),
    Sigma; really good - never a problem
    Tamron; dreadful
    Leica: mostly good
    Zeiss; 50-50
    Olympus; excellent

    I could go on - but lets face it, none of us present anything like a statistical sample - all manufacturers make good and bad copies of the same lens (read Roger Cicala's excellent articles linked above). It's the luck of the draw, and the 36mp sensor and all the publicity means that there is a whole lot of pixel peeping going on.

    Just this guy you know
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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Well after a day out with the 24-70 I my copy does have some problems with it seeming to be softer on the left hand side on the wider settings (from 35-24) even at f8. Bummer

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by Viramati View Post
    Well after a day out with the 24-70 I my copy does have some problems with it seeming to be softer on the left hand side on the wider settings (from 35-24) even at f8. Bummer
    I am sorry to hear that you too are having a bad experience. Lens being noticeably decentered even at F8 is IMHO definitely bad.

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    ... lets face it, none of us present anything like a statistical sample - all manufacturers make good and bad copies of the same lens (read Roger Cicala's excellent articles linked above). It's the luck of the draw ...
    Arguments "none of us makes good statistical sample, it's the luck of the draw" have been used since ever in discussions like these. I am not statistician by profession, and I assume neither are you, and even though I do have some statistics training it is rusty, but I would like to suggest approach of such argument is flawed and that instead question should be phrased differently: "If five random customers pull three different random copies from different retailers at different time and each of those customers ends up with only one copy that passes their scrutiny is that just a bad luck or sign that it is very likely this is not isolated and that only one out of three lens out there will on average pass the scrutiny". I personally feel it's very likely it's the later and that bad luck has nothing to do with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    ... and the 36mp sensor and all the publicity means that there is a whole lot of pixel peeping going on.
    Are you saying people should not test their gear thoroughly, that they should close one eye? Or you are saying that when manufacturers want you to get their camera because it's full frame 36 MP that they shouldn't assure rest of the components in the system are up to such ante and that it is OK if they are not? I don't know a single person that pays premium for certain features but is fine with it if they are not delivered. I wanted full frame and I wanted 36 MP. If I am actually fine with less than that then I wouldn't have bought A7R, I could have stayed with my NEX6 or my m43. Manufacturer that doesn't comprehend their customer base is bound to alienate their customers and consequently lose future business and end up in financial trouble.

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by ZoranC View Post
    "If five random customers pull three different random copies from different retailers at different time and each of those customers ends up with only one copy that passes their scrutiny is that just a bad luck or sign that it is very likely this is not isolated and that only one out of three lens out there will on average pass the scrutiny". I personally feel it's very likely it's the later and that bad luck has nothing to do with it.
    ZoranC,

    I am not the one to usually get in the way of a good rant, however, as someone who designs machine learning algorithms, where statistics is a necessary evil, I must point out that the sample set of 5 that you talk of is extremely skewed. It is well known most of online responses are when the user has found a problem. Very few of those who buy and are happy will post online, most of them will be quietly happy with their purchase. The sample set ends up being the 5 people who respond online (most of them are the ones who detect a problem). Additionally the users here also have their tolerances close to or tighter than the manufacturers tolerance.

    That being said, I dont think any camera company is worse than Canon when it comes to manufacturing, having had to buy 4 lenses before 1 usable was found from a sample set of 1 :P

    Cheers,

    N
    A and E mount Too many lenses.
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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by BackToSlr View Post
    ZoranC,

    I am not the one to usually get in the way of a good rant, however, as someone who designs machine learning algorithms, where statistics is a necessary evil, I must point out that the sample set of 5 that you talk of is extremely skewed. It is well known most of online responses are when the user has found a problem. Very few of those who buy and are happy will post online, most of them will be quietly happy with their purchase. The sample set ends up being the 5 people who respond online (most of them are the ones who detect a problem). Additionally the users here also have their tolerances close to or tighter than the manufacturers tolerance.

    That being said, I dont think any camera company is worse than Canon when it comes to manufacturing, having had to buy 4 lenses before 1 usable was found from a sample set of 1 :P

    Cheers,

    N
    N,

    #1 It is not a rant, it's a discussion, if I was actually ranting it would be very obvious, trust me.

    #2 I am glad to hear you are familiar with statistics, thus you should know why this is not a sample set of 5. You can also consider following: What is there to assure us sample set it not much bigger but we just didn't hear about it? What makes you confident that we didn't hear about it because owners do know how to test for it, did test it, and it did pass the test? Could it be that people are having them without being aware there is an issue? Wouldn't be the first time.

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by BackToSlr View Post
    ZoranC,

    I am not the one to usually get in the way of a good rant, however, as someone who designs machine learning algorithms, where statistics is a necessary evil, I must point out that the sample set of 5 that you talk of is extremely skewed. It is well known most of online responses are when the user has found a problem. Very few of those who buy and are happy will post online, most of them will be quietly happy with their purchase. The sample set ends up being the 5 people who respond online (most of them are the ones who detect a problem). Additionally the users here also have their tolerances close to or tighter than the manufacturers tolerance.

    That being said, I dont think any camera company is worse than Canon when it comes to manufacturing, having had to buy 4 lenses before 1 usable was found from a sample set of 1 :P

    Cheers,

    N
    N:

    You've got a point we need more data. I'll add my experience. I've only got the 35 F2.8 and the 55 F1.8. Both appear to me to be well centered and of very high optical quality. I've also purchased several high end Sony lenses (A-mount 135 f1.8, 70-200 f2.8; E-mount 24 f1.8 & 50 f1.8, and won't count the Minolta lenses that were also very good) and only one had to be returned (the 70-200 f2.8 had a funky sliver of the coating inside the front optic). For the most part I think Sony is OK for QC, not great but OK. I do think that some retailers send returned lenses back out to other customers as new (won't mention any names).

    Regards,
    John

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Have to say that I am having difficulty accurately assessing the 24-70.
    Question.
    1.Are others still finding it soft on edge/corners even when stopped down to F8 at the wide end of the range (24-32.
    2. Does having OSS off make a difference to IQ when at higher shutter speeds. In other words is it better to have it switched off.
    Thanks

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by Viramati View Post
    Have to say that I am having difficulty accurately assessing the 24-70.
    Question.
    1.Are others still finding it soft on edge/corners even when stopped down to F8 at the wide end of the range (24-32.
    2. Does having OSS off make a difference to IQ when at higher shutter speeds. In other words is it better to have it switched off.
    Thanks

    1) Yes, but much less so than the Nikon 24-70 F2.8 - one thing to try: because of odd DOF and possible midl focus shift and changing field curvature effects, the wide end often has better edges at F4 than F8. Try it on a couple of scenes and see how yours is.
    2) it seems not to make any difference I can see. It even seems fine with a tripod and OSS on. But I do try to remember to switch OSS off when using tripod or higher shutter speeds, just in case!

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by ZoranC View Post
    N,

    #1 It is not a rant, it's a discussion, if I was actually ranting it would be very obvious, trust me.

    #2 I am glad to hear you are familiar with statistics, thus you should know why this is not a sample set of 5. You can also consider following: What is there to assure us sample set it not much bigger but we just didn't hear about it? What makes you confident that we didn't hear about it because owners do know how to test for it, did test it, and it did pass the test? Could it be that people are having them without being aware there is an issue? Wouldn't be the first time.
    HI Zoran
    Look at it this way -

    About 10 years ago I took 5 successive copies of the Nikon 17-55 lens back to a professional camera supplier in Cambridge - they quietly replaced them, agreeing with my samples that it was definitely not OK (I wasn't familiar with the term 'decentered' then, but I sure knew what 'soft' meant )

    When I finally got a good one, I asked their Nkon specialist if they often got lenses returned from customers - he said that I was the only person that year who had returned one.

    Of course, I can't prove it, but it seems likely that there were lots of sub-standard lenses going out (or at least less than optimal). It's just that people weren't looking, added to which, back then, most pros were using film, and it was less easy to realise.

    Whatever - I have quite a lot of statistics as well, and as N says - these are not statistical samples.

    In this case lots of people are buying these new lenses, and they have been warned about sample variation and are looking for it.

    Back to Roger Cicala's excellent article at lens rentals: All of these lenses vary quite widely in quality, and they are all going to be decentered to a greater or lesser degree - only you can decide what you find acceptable, but I'd be really surprised if Sony's QC was worse than others (especially since long personal experience (not statistically significant sadly) has shown me how reliable their cameras seem to be).

    all the best

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by Viramati View Post
    Have to say that I am having difficulty accurately assessing the 24-70.
    Question.
    1.Are others still finding it soft on edge/corners even when stopped down to F8 at the wide end of the range (24-32.
    2. Does having OSS off make a difference to IQ when at higher shutter speeds. In other words is it better to have it switched off.
    Thanks
    HI David
    I'm finding mine pretty hard to evaluate as well - but mine is softer on the edge/corners even when stopped down (perhaps more so) - but not very soft, just not as sharp as the centre. Mine is also very slightly less sharp on the right edge at 70mm, but seems to be even at other focal lengths. On the other hand it seems to come up with the goods. I do feel that curvature of field is often the problem, but that doesn't seem to be very consistent either!

    It's a difficult balance between being realistically careful and pointlessly picky. Generally speaking mine sounds to be similar to Tim's.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    1) Yes, but much less so than the Nikon 24-70 F2.8 - one thing to try: because of odd DOF and possible midl focus shift and changing field curvature effects, the wide end often has better edges at F4 than F8. Try it on a couple of scenes and see how yours is.
    2) it seems not to make any difference I can see. It even seems fine with a tripod and OSS on. But I do try to remember to switch OSS off when using tripod or higher shutter speeds, just in case!
    Thanks Tim. I had oddly found that sometimes edges are better at F4 but it seems to vary so I was wondering about OSS. I will go back and look at some of my old D700 and 24-70/2.8 images to try and get an idea of what I am looking for. It could also be that I have only used primes for the last few years and am just expecting to much.

    P.S. Have started to look at my old nikon images and I have to say that the Nikon 24-70/2.8 is one hell of a lens (at least on the D700)
    Last edited by Viramati; 22nd March 2014 at 11:08.

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI David
    I'm finding mine pretty hard to evaluate as well - but mine is softer on the edge/corners even when stopped down (perhaps more so) - but not very soft, just not as sharp as the centre. Mine is also very slightly less sharp on the right edge at 70mm, but seems to be even at other focal lengths. On the other hand it seems to come up with the goods. I do feel that curvature of field is often the problem, but that doesn't seem to be very consistent either!

    It's a difficult balance between being realistically careful and pointlessly picky. Generally speaking mine sounds to be similar to Tim's.
    Yes i also wonder about field curvature as this is obviously a very complex design and seems to have some significant distortional defects that need correcting in PP. Back in the good old days of film they wouldn't have been able to get away with a lens like this !!!

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by Viramati View Post
    Yes i also wonder about field curvature as this is obviously a very complex design and seems to have some significant distortional defects that need correcting in PP. Back in the good old days of film they wouldn't have been able to get away with a lens like this !!!
    . . . but then we wouldn't have the lens, it isn't just that they couldn't have got away with it, they couldn't have made it at all.

    Let's face it, the results are pretty sparkly

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    And all of this is one reason I choose to shoot with 30 and 40 year old lenses. Nothing is without its pitfalls, but I have found that many of these legacy lenses were manufactured to higher standards originally and have stood the test of time well.
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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    By the way, here's an article written by Roger on a fairly simple test for determining if your lens is decentered. I though this might help some of us.
    LensRentals.com - Testing for a Decentered Lens: an Old Technique Gets a Makeover

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Kott View Post
    By the way, here's an article written by Roger on a fairly simple test for determining if your lens is decentered. I though this might help some of us.
    LensRentals.com - Testing for a Decentered Lens: an Old Technique Gets a Makeover
    HI Jeff
    Thanks for that - It's actually the first test I used with the 24-70 (flying colours). not absolutely certain it's good for all distances, but it's certainly a start.

    What would we do without Roger - a jewel of common sense and information in an internet world of misconception and disinformation.

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by f/otographer View Post
    And all of this is one reason I choose to shoot with 30 and 40 year old lenses. Nothing is without its pitfalls, but I have found that many of these legacy lenses were manufactured to higher standards originally and have stood the test of time well.
    Yes, a good lens is a good lens . . . . . but vintage lenses have their fair share of pitfalls too (including decentering). I wonder whether QA was really better in the good old days?

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Sony's (lack of?) lens quality control

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    . . . but then we wouldn't have the lens, it isn't just that they couldn't have got away with it, they couldn't have made it at all.

    Let's face it, the results are pretty sparkly
    I take your point.

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