Is my lens defective? ("Ultra Wide-Angle Buyer's Remorse")

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by akadmon, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. akadmon Suspended

    Aug 30, 2006
    New England
    First some background. I recently got my first dSLR (Canon T1i) and after using it for a little over a month I decided that I need a wide-angle lens to compliment the kit lens (18-55) and the Canon 55-250 I bought for it (I also bought the Canon 50 f/1.8). So on Monday night (after one too many glasses of wine) I went ahead and bought the Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM ($699 from Adorama).

    I got the lens on Wednesday (shipped to my office, since I didn't want my wife to know I bought another lens, costing almost as much as the camera!), and took it out on the town (Boston) at lunchtime, seeing it was a beautiful, sunny day. I took about a hundred shots in a span of an hour, and while there are quite a few that I am very pleased with, many leave a lot to be desired.

    As I said, it was sunny day, with plenty of blue in the sky, as evidenced by the first shot attached at the bottom (statue of George Washington). This (and a few other shots) notwithstanding, a lot of the other shots came out like the other three you see here, with the sky looking almost white, as though the picture was overexposed, which it clearly is not, judging by other elements (buildings, cars, people) in the photo.

    At this point I'm leaning toward returning the lens (a hassle and an expense, more so since I'll have to insure the shipment back to Adorama), because even though I've taken some amazing shots that I would not be able to take with any other lens (e.g, a picture of my wife's 6' circular flower bed while standing right beside it, which looks as though it was taken from 15 feet up!), the inconsistent color/exposure is a deal breaker for me.

    Now it's possible that I could improve this by using a polarizing filter, but I seriously doubt it. All the attached shots were taken in P mode with auto ISO, auto f, auto speed, the only adjustment to full auto being a little bit of in-camera sharpening. I feel the lens is not worth $699 for the few keepers that I could not otherwise get with my other lenses, of which I like the 50-250 mm the best (very sharp, consistent IQ)

    I'm trying to decide between these three courses of action:

    1. Keep it and see what happens after I put the polarizer on the lens.
    2. Return it and live with the lenses I have, until I gain more experience with the camera.
    3. Return it and buy something not as wide as the 10-22, but more versatile and sharper than the kit lens (which I like the least of the 3 lenses I have)?

    I would appreciate any advice, especially from those who own or have used the 10-22.

    Attached Files:

  2. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
  3. akadmon thread starter Suspended

    Aug 30, 2006
    New England
    Yes it is. You see them all over Boston this time of year.
  4. JKitterman macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2006
    Try getting closer to your subject. Maybe uncomfortably close for you.
  5. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Ultra wide lens are good for certain type of things. If you don't know how to use it, you don't need it.

    Perhaps a skylight filter, but since sky is much brighter than the shadow area, sky would be over exposed without a polarizer filter.
  6. zuma022 macrumors regular

    May 18, 2008
    I have the same lens and I absolutely adore it. It does depend on what you like to shoot though as it is very wide. It's a lens that needs some practice.
    Three of the shots are over-exposed, 12 noon is really about the worst time to shoot landscapes/cityscapes as the light is so harsh. Overexposure is not the lens' fault though, it's the camera settings.
    I'd recommend to invest in 'Understanding Exposure' by Bryan Peterson before spending more money on lenses. I know the lens lust all to well, trust me on that, but I think it'd be much more important to not rely on the auto settings and learn the camera to avoid blown highlights like that.
    That said I'd keep the lens, it's a great piece of glass and a lot of fun.
  7. thomahawk macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    Osaka, Japan
    maybe a UV filter might help?

    if anything there is always post production processing using programs like lightroom or aperture to tweak the photo.

    it can also come from not having a hood on your lenses. hoods tend to help you block the sunlight or light from around the lenses that might mess with your picture.

    i say check out on getting a UV filter and a hood. lets see that works. hoods has always helped me out in certain bright situations
  8. dmb70 macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2004
    I'm not an expert but from what I see there, I would say it has nothing to do with the lens.
    What mode are you shooting in, P, Av, Tv, M, what is your metering set to, whay ISO?
    Looking at picture #2 with the black Mercedes SUV, the right hand side of the pix has a lot of shadows & the exposure seems to be set for that dark area, which would blow out your highlights. The other 3 seem the same to me, the exposure is set to keep the shadows open & properly exposed, which in turn over exposes your highlights.
    I'd say keep it, I have one myself & it's a great lens.
  9. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    My suggestion......

    GET OUT OF P MODE! Use the magical M and decide your own exposure, your letting your camera decide what is best, this isn't alwasy true! What time of day were the pics taken? Was the sun over your head or the lens near it bleaching out the colour of the skies?

    Have you tried taking an exposure set to the sky to see the difference?
  10. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    i had the 10-22mm on my 20 & 30D bodies, and i absolutely loved this lens. It was really a gem. It does take some practice to master this lens. I am sure when you first looked through the view finder (they still have those on DSLRs:) ? ) , i am sure you noticed just how wide this lens is on the wide end. It is NOT an ideal walk around lens! I believe the 17-55IS would be better than this (24-105L is the ultimate walk around lens, IMHO) .

    I will find and post a few pics that i took with this lens.

    Also, i never shot in anything other than full manual controls. Try that as well. Also, it isnt going to be razor sharp wide open. I found that at 11-12mm is ideal for the wide end.
  11. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    here are some pics.. these were all taken with the 10-22mm and probably a 3 or 4 stop grad filter...
    hope these aren't too large or too small.....

    Attached Files:

  12. TheReef macrumors 68000


    Sep 30, 2007
    NSW, Australia.
    If you look at your second, but especially third and fourth images they all have something black or shadow in the centre of the frame, were you using spot/centre weighted metering? If so the camera is trying to compensate against these very dark areas trying to brighten them up, and effecting the whole scene. Might wanna try some mild HDR for those tricky exposure situations to capture all that dynamic range.

    I'd love to have a lens like that…one day :rolleyes:
  13. jbernie macrumors 6502a


    Nov 25, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Looking at the photos, and I make no claims to being a pro, but there is nothing exceptionally wrong with them, #1 looks fine, #2 is what I would expect from the lens in that scenario. I used a 10-22 on a 30D for a lot of pics around Sydney and had few issues.

    There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the lens at first look, but keeping in mind how wide the lens is you either need to frame the shot well or maybe do some trimming afterwards as at the edges it can stretch objects. To quote my friend who owned the gear I borrowed.. he took some pics at a wedding and "didn't remember those people being so wide" :)

    I "rode the duck" in Seattle last year :) A fun tour in good weather.
  14. rouxeny macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2008
    No offense, but I tend to think that modern day photo equipment are like modern day cars in that it's uncommon for a casual user to exceed the performance capabilities.

    I think your lens is fine. Given that you're now able to see a lot more than you could prior, my thoughts are that you need to adjust your shooting style a bit, perhaps to not include so much sky, or to adjust your exposure some. As somebody mentioned, being in P mode is essentially the same as shooting the green box. You're limited by what the camera will allow you to do. Take back that control.

    If you find that the wide angle shot the lens provides for you is not to your taste or that you don't like shooting that style, then I'd say by all means return the lens. I don't think it is technically deficient though.
  15. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    I'll agree with everyone here. The lens isn't the problem; it looks like it's a pretty good copy (sharp in the corners, low chromatic aberration). The problem is that you're trying to take pretty high dynamic range photos, and the camera appears to be using center-weighted metering so you're metering for the buildings and blowing out the sky. If you would dial the EC down a stop you'd probably be OK with a little PP in Aperture or Lightroom (increased exposure with highlight recovery)
  16. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000


    Nov 16, 2006
    New York City
    It may be defective. You need to find out if its you or the lens.

    Set up the camera and lens on a tripod and choose an exposure mode. Fire one shot, open the aperture up a couple shots, fire another. Repeat 3 or 4 times.

    If the exposure remains constant throughout, then your lens is okay and you're just not used to metering such a large scene.

    However, if it gets brighter as you stop down, that means you have a stuck aperture and its causing the exposure problems.
  17. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    overexposure and a blown-out sky is the camera's fault, not the lens. i suggest you read up on exposure, metering, and metering types (evaluative, center-weighted average, partial, and spot). here's something to get you started: Understanding your camera's built-in metering system.

    also, there's also something called the sunny-16 rule: outside, in broad daylight, the "correct" exposure is about f/16 at 1/ISO seconds, e.g. if your camera is at ISO 100, you should be at f/16 and 1/100, or f/22 and 1/50, f/5.6 and 1/800, etc. this way you can introduce yourself to "M" mode, or to double-check that your camera's metering is reasonably close (if you're using P, Av, or Tv).

    mid-day is a problem for all cameras though, since there's simply too much dynamic range for any film or sensor to record. you can either keep the sky and lose the shadows, or keep the shadows and lose the sky. a polarizer or neutral density filter will not help - they will only reduce the exposure.
  18. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    This is a problem with dynamic range. It has nothing to do with your lens, and nothing to do with your camera being defective. Camera sensors simply do not have as great an ability to "see" really dark shadows and really bright skies at the same time......certainly not as good as the human eye. That's where decent metering skills, and some photo editing come into play.

    Get a grad (gradient) filter so that you can get a dark sky and still expose the lower half of the photo with no problems. That, or learn to use your camera and meter. I would have gone for a bit less exposure so that the sky could still be saved, and then raise the exposure in the shadow region (just move one slider in Aperture or Lightroom). If you photograph it so that the buildings aren't completely dark, the buildings will still look good after editing.
  19. j/k/Andy macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2007
  20. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
  21. akadmon thread starter Suspended

    Aug 30, 2006
    New England
    Thanks all for your replies. I'm going to give the lens another try in the next 2-3 days (hopefully we'll get some sun around here). I'm still leaning toward returning the lens because it seems to require a lot more manual adjustments than I'm willing to play with at this point (or know how to apply without trying a dozen combinations before finally getting the perfect shot). I can already see what's going to happen on my upcoming European vacation: stopping to change lenses every 5 minutes and then playing with the camera settings will annoy the hell out of my wife and kids. :eek:
  22. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Like I said before, I doubt it's the lens. The problems you're having will happen in any situation where there's extreme light (sky) and dark (shadow). You either expose the photo so that the streets look good, or you expose for the sky so that the sky looks good. The other solution is a gradient filter, which will make the top half (or top portion) of the photo darker than the bottom. That way, you can expose so that the buildings look good, while the sky will also look good because you're not getting too much light exposure from the sky.

    So get another lens, or get a refund. It won't help whatsoever. You'd have the same problem with any lens under the same conditions, but since you say that getting good photos requires too many manual adjustments of the lens (??????), perhaps you could learn a few things about photography before you go on your trip. That, or buy a film camera. Or just go without a camera.
  23. Doylem macrumors 68040


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    As others have pointed out, there's a 'learning curve' with any new piece of kit. Picking exposure values that render land and sky 'correctly' is a problem that's been confronting photographers for, oh, at least 150 years. :)

    Your results look consistent with what happens when you let a camera make up its own mind. Don't blame the equipment till you've given it a thorough workout. Have patience and learn about the potential of your new lens: what it does well... and less well. Every lens has a slightly different 'personality'...

    There are many 'workarounds' to get foreground and sky correctly exposed. All require a bit of effort (ie not leaving it to the camera... with a 'programme' setting), with a grey grad filter being one of the simplest & cheapest.

    If a camera and a bagfull of lenses is going to "annoy your family", on your trip to Europe, why not stick to just one lens. the 18-55, and concentrate on getting memorable shots in this 'mid-range'...
  24. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2004
    Ahh your lens most likely isn't the problem! Start shooting manually! It helps A LOT, trust me. You'll be able to get better photos if you start learning how to manually compose the photo. Sticking in auto never means that the camera knows exactly how to expose the image.

    Learn how the aperture affects the light and DOF, and how the shutter speed and ISO speed also affect the outcome of the quality of the image. I recently purchased a Canon 16-35mm L lens (the full-frame equivalent of the 10-22mm), and I have to say, it's AMAZING if you know how to use it. :D I used my buddies 10-22mm, and it was amazing as well. I always shoot manually, and you should too!
  25. dmb70 macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2004
    You will get the same kind of results with any lens under those lighting conditions, just using auto mode. Mid day is a horrible time of day for outdoor photography in general.

    Personally I think that lens would be great to have on hand in Europe, with all those great old buildings, courtyards & town squares.

    You really shouldn't have to make a ton of adjustments or be constantly messing with your camera, assuming lighting conditions are relatively similar as you & the fam walk around in an afternoon. In M, pick an ISO, shutter speed & f stop, take a shot, check your histogram, increase or decrease one of the 3 until you aren't completely blowing out the highlights. From there you should be good with only minor shutter adjustments, as long as the light is fairly constant.

    This is no where as cool as the shots HBOC posted, it's really just a snap shot, but I think it shows that this lens is perfectly capable of taking pix on a bright sunny day & still maintaining a decent amount of detail across the spectrum. Park Spring 08/IMG_0207.jpg
    Good Luck.

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