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View Full Version : Zuiko 14 ~ 54 Zoom (Series 1) Not Producing Clear Images


Naughty Nigel
26th July 2012, 08:13 PM
I bought my Zuiko 14 ~ 54 (Series 1) lens together with my E1 way back in 2004, and have always had a high regard for it.

I bought a new E5 body last year, which produces superb images from all of my other Zuiko lenses, but the images from the 14 ~ 54 just don't seem to have the clarity that I remember from when I first owned it.

I usually focus manually, (and have adjusted the camera's eyepiece), but somehow the images fail to show detail that I know I could see in the viewfinder. I would be prepared to admit that I had not focused properly, but nothing looks quite in focus, and as wel all know, depth of field at f5.6 is quite generous on a Four Thirds camera.

The lens is very well used, but clean and scratch free. It has of course had a few bumps along the way, including a fall onto a teak deck which damaged the E1 body, but nothing that has caused any visible damage to the lens itself. (The lens and body were returned to Olympus for examination and repair, but only the body was found in need of attention.)

Is there a recommended or foolproof way of testing lenses of this quality? Would it even be worth returning it to Olympus for service or repair after eight years of service?

I should mention that I particularly like the 'focus by wire' feature on this lens, so I don't think I would be as happy with the newer alternatives, even if I wanted to spend that sort of money. I do quite like the look of the 12 ~ 60 zoom, but it is probably too heavy for my liking (I travel a lot for work), and has the heavier manual focusing system.

Jim Ford
26th July 2012, 09:43 PM
Is there a recommended or foolproof way of testing lenses of this quality?

Try this, Nigel (though I would say I've not used it myself):

http://focustestchart.com/chart.html

Jim

Naughty Nigel
27th July 2012, 09:06 AM
Thanks Jim.

I have printed out the test chart, and will see how the 14 ~ 54 compares with my other Zuiko lenses when set at the same focal length and aperture.

I don't know whether it is a focusing problem (as such) as I usually focus manually, but the images just don't seem to have anything like the sharpness or the clarity that I expect, and recall.

IainMacD
27th July 2012, 09:44 AM
You can manually calibrate individual lenses on the E-5. I have an instruction sheet kindly provided by another forum member that I can forward on if you provide an e-mail address.

Zuiko
14th August 2012, 08:41 PM
Just a thought, Nigel, do the images look unsharp using autofocus?

Naughty Nigel
14th August 2012, 08:47 PM
Sorry for the delay in replying on this.

I have tried photographing the test sheet, hand held at f5.6. Thinking about it, I need to repeat the test at other (wider) apertures. Using a tripod would also be a good idea.

This test was carried out using manual focusing, so the autofocus system and any adjustments to it won't come into this.

So far, all of the test exposures show that focusing is sharpest about 2o millimetres beyond the focusing target on the test charts. I originally suspected that it might be my lens which was at fault, but the test results would suggest to me that either the mirror is not properly adjusted, or that the prism is not properly located in the camera body. I have never come across this before on any camera, and wondered whether anyone else had?

I realise that the focusing screen on the E5 is not ideal for manual focusing, (it's certainly not in the same class as an OM4Ti), but I have many years of experience focusing manually, so I don't think it would be my mistake every time.

I have set the dioptre adjustment to suit my focusing eye, but once again, I don't think this would affect the camera's focus.

Any ideas?

Naughty Nigel
14th August 2012, 09:00 PM
Just a thought, Nigel, do the images look unsharp using autofocus?

You must be telepathic John!

Images taken using autofocus look 'OK' in the main, but then I only use autofocus when the autofocus does what I want it to, (and when focusing is not too critical); but even then I like to fine focus manually if I have time.

The problem I am having concerns technical images taken in the course of my work, where I need to focus on a specific defect or point of interest. I can see exactly what I am photographing through the viewfinder, but when I view the images on computer they are nowhere near as crisp as I believe they should be, and certainly not as crisp as they were in the viewfinder. Which, given the limitations of the Four Thirds viewfinders and comparatively slow lenses doesn't make it very good. :)

Give me an OM4Ti with 50 mm f1.4 or Tamron SP90 f2.5 any time! It's just a pity ou cannot download images from an OM to computer! *yes

Ulfric M Douglas
15th August 2012, 09:09 AM
So far, all of the test exposures show that focusing is sharpest about 2o millimetres beyond the focusing target on the test charts.
It is vitally important you do this next : using E-5 live-view only, manually focus on your test chart,
then compare that LCD image with what you see in your OVF without moving your focus ring.
That'll tell you beyond any doubt whether the prism-mirror assembly is badly adjusted.

Your lens is probably just as good as you remember ...