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Bad photographer or broken lens?


some time ago I asked you for your advice on the sd14. Now I have bought a brand new camera along with a used 18-50mm kit lens. My first results however are shockingly bad.
I have read somewhere how someone complained about upgrading from sd10 to 14, saying it felt like he had to learn to make photos once again. Now I have shot an Olympus E1 for some time and I have some experience with analog photography (Lubitel, old 6x6 camera).
Nonetheless, perhaps I just have to learn shooting again. But then I can't quite stop thinking the lens might be a real stinker....

I have chosen three of my more than 100 first shots to show you. Those are the best shots so far. Believe me the rest is far worse.

So if you could be so kind as to take a look at the images and tell me what you think, that would be most helpful.

Thanks in adavance!


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Well I have found a thread started be leegold in the meantime, which sounds eerily familiar to my problems:
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Lots of good advice in there... I will try to do more systematic testing.

Guest .

Hi Newsig,

well, pictures 1 and 2 look rather underexposed?! Picture 3 looks flat and liveless in a way.

It is hardly possible to define why?! SIGMA results look rather different normally. Have a look through the forum. :)

What I would need for further help is the SPP-settings and a screenshot of the respective SPP-histograms.

See you with nice pictures



Thanks for your reply, Klaus. You are right, the first two are underexposed. I find the camera to be far more sensitive to correct exposure than the E1 I used to shoot.
But anyway, I don't think it's worthwile to analyse those pics in detail. I guess I'll first will get used to this cam. I'm still not convinced my lens is all that great, but that remains to be seen.
I have a 35mm Flektogon coming, m42 adapter has already arrived, so then I'll have a lens to compare!

Thanks again for your willingness to help.


Well-Known Member


It does take a little time getting used to the SD14.
It might help having a look at some SD14 info I have compiled:
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Exposure is critical. Better expose on the +EV side than -EV.
The camera will do absolutely nothing to help you (no fancy internal "helpful" algoritms).

You shoot RAW, I hope? Even if the JPEGs can be outstanding, it is better to have full control. If PP speed is vital, you can always extract the in-RAW JPEG.

Also, you do not write which post processing program you use. RAW + CS2 does not work well.

good luck

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Hello Øyvind,

thanks for your reply. I shoot raw only, used the sigma program, which is ok but pretty slow and doesn't give too much control.
I used Raw Shooter Essential in my Oly days and liked it, will see if I still have that somewhere on the machine.

About exposure: I had done some shots in bright sunshine and had huge problems with what looked to me like overexposure, though the cam found it to be just right. Blown out highlights, halos on edges between bright and dark areas...
That's why I did some underexposed shots yesterday with the cam showing values like -0,5, and they turned out much better.

But apart from the lens: It has become absolutely obvious that I have to learn this camera first. Looking forward to this long weekend with hopefully some decent light!


Getting better...

So the question bad photographer vs bad lens has not been resolved, but there's progress on both ends: I did get used to the camera and was able to take some satisfactory pics. Yes the camera is a bit finicky, you have to take care what you do. But then that was I was looking for: a camera that forces me to work as deliberately as with film.
Also I got my 35mm Flektogon and that lens is so much better than the 18-50mm sigma kit lens! Finally there's contrast, there's sharpness - it's great!
Just a small test shoot attached...


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Well-Known Member

I personally try to stick with the Sigma EX lenses...I have found them to be a lot sharper and more accurate than the regular lenses...

If you have a copy of the receipt for the 18-50mm you might want to send it to sigma for a tune-up...if you don't have a receipt it might not be worth the expense.....

I like your picture with the 35mm...

Good Luck...

Tony C.


Hello Tony,

thanks for your comments. The 18-50mm was a used lens, it is not the best lens indeed, but if used correctly it works ok. However it had been my plan from the beginning to go the manual focus route. I have in the meantime sold the Flek and bought the zebra version. The first couldn't focus to infinity, the zebra version can. I also have a 35mm Takumar, but prefer the Flek by far. Next will be a Pancolar 50mm. So all is fine here, just wish I had more time for taking pictures!