Olympus m.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 first impressions and samples

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We've been shooting with the Olympus 17mm F1.8 lens for a while now and have put together a sample gallery showing the sorts of things it can do. We've also prepared some notes on the experience of shooting with the 34mm equivalent fast prime for Micro Four Thirds and included some shots that match ones we included in our Sony RX1 gallery. Beyond that we've tried to show a the lens at a series of apertures to show how the lens behaves.


First Impressions

The 34-40mm equivalent focal length range is already pretty well served for the Micro Four Thirds system - with users being able to choose between Panasonic's Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH, the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F2.8 and Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN, depending on exactly how much they want to spend. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but it's not immediately obvious that there's a need for another lens in the same territory.

However, our first impression of the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 is that it more than justifies its existence. Spend any length of time with the 17mm F1.8 and it's hard not to conclude that it adds a useful extra option and does a lot to justify its additional cost over the existing models (its list price is $70 more than the excellent Panasonic 20mm, though it's new enough that it currently commands more of a premium than this in most shops).

Build-wise the 17mm shares the high-end metallic construction of Olympus' 12mm F2.0 and 75mm F1.8 lenses, giving a reassuring sense of quality and durability (though they've not been in the wild long enough to know if that perception is correct).

Manual focus behavior

The 17mm also includes the pull-back manual focus ring and distance scale we first saw on the 12mm. This retains its position as one of the best focus-by-wire manual focus implementations we've encountered - the slightly heavier damping and the solid end-stops to the focus travel do a great job of giving the feel and usability of a mechanically-coupled manual focus lens. Sadly this isn't always brilliantly handled by Micro Four Thirds camera bodies.

On both Olympus and Panasonic bodies you have to manually activate magnified focus every time you want to check focus, even if you've already switched the body to manual focus mode and engaged manual focus assist / LV close-up mode. The manual focus is stepped but those steps are very fine, so you have to be really paying attention to spot it.

With the focus ring in the forward position, the 17mm behaves like any other Micro Four Thirds lens - switching the camera body to manual focus provides the usual speed-sensitive manual focusing behavior in which you can continue to rotate the focus ring without ever hitting end-stops. It will also activate magnified focus mode if you've engaged it in the menus.

The 17mm F1.8 isn't as small as the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 pancake but it does feature Olympus' snap ring manual focus system. Pulling the focus ring back reveals a distance scale, engages manual focus mode and gives an impressively mechanical-feeling manual focus experience.

However, the 17mm's focus is actually driven by a linear motor which, combined with a small, light internal focus unit means it autofocuses as fast as the camera can instruct it. Focus is almost instantaneous on both Olympus and Panasonic camera bodies. This gives a clear advantage over the Panasonic 20mm, whose geared motor and unit focus design doesn't offer the snappiness of the latest lenses used on the latest bodies. The 17mm is also extremely quiet when focusing, making it much more appropriate for video work.

We haven't had to opportunity to test the image quality in detail but, while not as sensationally sharp as the 45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8 lenses, the 17mm appears to do pretty well and with neither corner sharpness nor distortion showing much to be concerned about.

Like most fast primes the 17mm F1.8 shows fairly obvious longitudinal chromatic aberration at large apertures, most visible as green fringing around bright areas behind the plane of focus. As usual this reduces progressively on stopping down, and disappears entirely by F4. There’s a little lateral chromatic aberration, visible as red/cyan fringing towards the edges of the frame, but this is easy to remove in raw processing if necessary. However Olympus doesn't include correction information in the lens, so it’s not automatically corrected.

Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 Samples Gallery

Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 preview samples - posted 6th Feb 2013

There are 26 images in the samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.

325
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47
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Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 254
12
disraeli demon
By disraeli demon (Feb 17, 2013)

Unlike many here, I consider the extra depth of field you get with m4/3 to be an advantage. Each to his own.

The thing that strikes me about this lens is how "pinched in" the depth of field scale is - it's something I don't like about the DoF scale on the Olympus 12mm (which I own). There's no room for f8 or f16 marks on either lens and (on the 17mm) the f5.6 marks are so close together I wonder if they'd be useful.

A genuine question: does anyone know if it would have been feasible to give these lenses a longer manual focus throw so that the DoF scales could have been wider? There looks to be the space on the top of the lens for the scales to be nearly 3 times wider than they are, but I don't know if it would have been practical/economic for the focus mechanism to accommodate that.

2 upvotes
Random Royalty
By Random Royalty (Feb 15, 2013)

Having done photography for a very long time and as a onetime photo technician, I find the misunderstanding regarding F, focal length, sensor size, light gathering and bokeh quite amusing.

Basically there is a huge advantage going to a smaller sensor size, and we make a mistake when we equate that with film sizes. I loved shooting medium format because of the added resolution but this is a non issue with digital.

There is no practical reason why we need full-frame as it is a marketing gimmick. Yes we get 1:1 crop but who cares?

As many have pointed out quite correctly, F is the function of lens opening vs. focal length and will let in a constant amount of light. Adjustments are made, however for the light gathering capabilities of lens and other factors (number of lens elements) but it is meant to be a constant like shutter speed so that light metering will produce the same results for the same value. A light meter reading of 1/125 at f8 for ISO 200 is the same for any camera.

3 upvotes
Random Royalty
By Random Royalty (Feb 15, 2013)

The quesion of "bokeh" which I think people are confusing with depth of field. Bokeh is the quality of the out-of-focus areas, and quite tricky to do with digital sensors due to the inherent chromatic aberrations of sensors. I have only seen Kodak sensors that really do this well. Basically longer lenses at normal apertures (e.g. f5.6-11) will give you much better results than a shorter focal length lens with a large aperture. Old-timer film photographers like me know this quite well. By far the best lens for bokeh in my experience was a 150mm Sonnar for the Hasselblad system. This lens was also so sharp you needed to use a No. 2 Softar for portraits.

This brings up the issue of sharpness. I prefer high sharpness but only because I can dial it back when I need to in the camera. In fact on my old E300 that still use from time to time, I have the in-camera sharpness dialed all the way back as far as it will go. And guess what... photos looks like film!

0 upvotes
Random Royalty
By Random Royalty (Feb 15, 2013)

Having put in my $0.02, I must say I am not very impressed with the sample images, but the shots look poorly metered and artificially sharpened. This is a low light lens and I would have liked to see how it performs in those conditions (duh).

I love Olympus optics and many of their lenses have the characteristics I seek. I think they kind of blew it with this one, especially considering how good the Panasonic 20mm really is.

1 upvote
Random Royalty
By Random Royalty (Feb 15, 2013)

Just to add something about depth of field. One thing I miss on modern digital camera lenses is an aperture ring and depth of field guide on the lens. You learn real fast how distance to subject is also a factor in range of depth of field when you have the focus marks lining up to the depth of field gauge on the lens. What most people don't realize is you can get shallow depth of field in M43 just by moving closer to your subject.

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 17, 2013)

> Having done photography for a very long time and as a onetime photo technician

you do not have to claim that if you have a sound story.

0 upvotes
DavidWth
By DavidWth (Mar 8, 2013)

"Basically there is a huge advantage going to a smaller sensor size, and we make a mistake when we equate that with film sizes. I loved shooting medium format because of the added resolution but this is a non issue with digital.

There is no practical reason why we need full-frame as it is a marketing gimmick."

I, and I suspect others here, would be interested to hear a factual argument to support this. I'm skeptical but uncertain. I assume your arguing that pixel count alone regardless of area they are distributed over is all that matters?

0 upvotes
photohounds
By photohounds (2 months ago)

I agree that bricks and bazookas with FMF (Full Marketing Frame) are only required in extreme cases.

The technobabble used to "justify" the "must have" myth for dinosaurs as more than a nice collector's item falls flat.

Many users actually prefer to take pictures and have their camera gear WITH THEM.

I know that I do!

I had a Mamiya RB-67 outfit for when I needed extra resolution (wedding formals etc.) and DOF was rarely 'enough'. Macro? Forget it.

As for quality, the EM-5 with about 16th the sensor area absolutely DUSTS the RB-67 for image quality.

I was astonished by how MUCH it beat the RB-7.
35mm (FMF) is a 2x crop of THAT.

As for Micro Four thirds, It seems close to ideal (often the subject of heated quasi religious discussion).

FACT: shallow DOF when you want it, and adequate DOF, when you want THAT.

Plenty shallow DOF here:
http://photohounds.smugmug.com/Performing-arts/Music/
and here
http://photohounds.smugmug.com/Performing-arts/Eurobeat-by-Supa/
|
.. tbc ...

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
photohounds
By photohounds (2 months ago)

.. continued
Plenty of DOF when you DO want DOF. That's WAY more often when you are not playing and the customers are paying.

Hint to measurebators ..
('disappearing ear' portraits don't PAY)

With razor sharp lenses, micro four thirds is also an advantage with macro where DOF is wafer thin. I generally don't kill what I am shooting, just so I can focus stack.

I'll do a review of this lens with of pics I shot the morning I pulled it out of the box. It enabled candid, hand held shots, much liked by the listeners of the radio statio I shot them for.

The 17 works very well, on an OMD 1 or 5 (I have both).

It is a great walkabout, pocketable in colder weather and giver the OMDs a cool retro look while keeping the size down.

You can get immediate, natural pics as people are more comfortable.

We DO get a 1:1 'crop'(as did the Mamiya RB-67)
Four thirds is not a subset of any format, let alone legacy FMF.

FWIW, I BOUGHT reversible the hood and shot rather than whine "it isn't free".

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 15 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
GuptaD42
By GuptaD42 (Feb 13, 2013)

In good daylight, will this be substantially better in IQ than the 14-42mm m34 kit zoom at 17mm as a general walkabout lens?

0 upvotes
mark power
By mark power (Feb 12, 2013)

Do any of you ever take pictures?

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 12, 2013)

Oh enlightened one! Thank you oh elevated master of photography.

I visit DPR when I have some spare time left during working hours. I'm guessing that goes for 99,99% of the users in here.

Do you have a job? Why aren't you out shooting?

One thing that doesn't seem to change on DPR are the classical "I'm above you lot" comments.

It's a freaking gear site. We look, salivate, analyse and decide.
What's wrong with that?

1 upvote
Infared
By Infared (Feb 12, 2013)

But mark power, there is only ONE photo in your gallery!!!!!
..and you have been here since June 1, 2005??????????
HUH?
LMAOROTF!
(I come here to give and take abuse...that is basically all that goes on here!!!!! LOL!)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Camp Freddy
By Camp Freddy (Feb 11, 2013)

Very underwhelmed with the examples apart from the bored bloke with the beard shots, which show a use for this focal legnth at least.

faster than zooms, for those who must change lenses IMHO. 12mm a better bet .

0 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 12, 2013)

CFred.

Have a look at R.Wongs post about this very lens.
Might change your mind?

He has nothing but positive things to say about sharpness. With regads to AF accuracy and speed.. Every single snap was apparantly in focus - immediately. Thats a hit rate of 100%.

Comment edited 40 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
photohounds
By photohounds (2 months ago)

Easy:
In time, get both - I did and no regrets.
Might get the new 25/f1.8 too

As they are not bazookas, and the cameras are not bricks, you could even take them all with you AND use them.

These were shot the morning I pulled it out of the box.

http://photohounds.smugmug.com/Behind-the-scenes-with-ABC-loc/

The listeners I shot them for were very happy.

The fact the samples appear to reflect disinterest on the part of the tester is irrelevant to the lens itself.

I LIKE the instant AF/MF via the slide 'n' click focus ring. Reminiscent of the shutter speed dial being on the THROAT of the OM lens mount instead of a dial to twiddle on top.

Oly were always pretty good with ergonomics - more shooting, less fiddling.

This new gear appears to be no exception.

I'm glad I ditched Canon early on, they are OK, but less suitable to fast, accurate shooting, to me.

And oh the DUST PROBLEMS!
On my 4th Oly digital camera, change lenses anywhere I want, never noticed ANY dust spots.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Marathonianbull
By Marathonianbull (Feb 10, 2013)

The 17mm f/1.8 is a great lens, but those samples are plain ugly! At that point, it could have been done with any of the best Leica I'm sure...

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 9, 2013)

> Another bokeh-less fast lens for m4/3.

like it or not, at the same angle of view (forget focal length), more bokeh means faster and less bokeh means slower. this is physics that no one can break.

this is because both bokeh and light collecting capability are controlled by a single factor, the aperture size (diameter or area). they just change accordingly as the aperture changes so we cannot separate them. they change exactly the same way regardless of whatever format we use.

at the same angle of view, the lens cannot be fast if there is no bokeh.

look at all the cameras from 645 to mobile phones, you can see all of them line up straight, that the depth of field is hard-wired with image quality (resulted from light collecting capability).

more depth of field, less light/more noise collected.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ksgant
By ksgant (Feb 9, 2013)

is there an ignore feature for filtering out people that are full of BS? I think there used to be, but I can't seem to find it anymore. They need to put that feature back in.

15 upvotes
James70094
By James70094 (Feb 9, 2013)

Wrong. accroding to you, if I put a FF lens on my E-30, I will get a faster shutter speed for the same aperture, focal length and iso. before buying the Olympus 50mm f2.0 lens, I used a 50mm f1.8 FF ens via a simple metal adapter. I did a comparison between the two lenses. Amazingly, there was no difference. Both lenses at 50mm, set to f2.0 and iso400 provided the same shutter speed. Where did all that extra light go?

The difference in field of view and depth of Field is not a function of the lens. Rather it is the crop sensor of the camera. Take a picture on a FF camera using a 50mm f2.0 lens at iso 400. Now, take that picture and crop it to the same field of view a crop sensor would give. The depth of field now matches perfectly. What you just did manually cropping the image is what a crop sensor does automatically. As a result, the depth of field difference has nothing to do with the lens, it's the crop sensors. That's why a f2.0 is constant no matter what camera you use.

6 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 10, 2013)

@James70094

I didn't say it. however you can avoid wasting the lens light collecting capability by using a "Speed Booster" adapter. but this is no "booster" because it can get no light other than through the original lens aperture. it just let you waste less, and make use of most light collecting capability of the original lens.

sensor is no lens. micro lenses do not change the projected image. by cropping you cut off light (the image as the result effect of that part of light) thus you get a less quality image.

but if you insist, you can think cropping changes the effective aperture of the lens. if 3/4 of light through the aperture is cut off, effectively we waste 3/4 of the aperture area of the original 35mm-format lens which the "Speed Booster" tries to bring us back.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 10, 2013)

btw, there is a flaw in your theory that you tried to compare photos of different angle of views which is against the basic photography. you claimed something doesn't change in two different photos.

do you think it's a problem to compare lenses at the same angle of view? and what's the point to compare at different ones?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
attomole
By attomole (Feb 10, 2013)

There are ways around it technically, using multiple images and post processing, or in camera/lens focal plane movement. or simply use more glass and open up the aperture like the latest generation of small sensor compacts.
The light gathering is more a function of sensor size all else being equal, But if say, the Canon 1.2 fifty was re-designed with rear elements to have a smaller circle you could get back the low light performance lost by sensor size considerations, Still wont get it all back though for the OOF areas though as I understand,

So there are comprises you make for a smaller system overall for travel when your main objective is business or backpacking etc, i think the MFT system is great, i don't think the lower DR and noise is significant pictorially in most circumstances
But If you want to do big OOF effects, and shoot black cats in the cellar at midnight, FF is the way to go.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 10, 2013)

> light gathering is more a function of sensor size all else being equal,

this will give you all the different results.

actually the light gathering capability has nothing to do with the sensor size at all. the so called "Speed Booster" adapter is the proof (people who do not like calculations can do a quick experiment with it).

the "Speed Booster" does not only give you back the original lens' light gathering capability, it preserves everything controlled by the aperture, including the depth of field, for example, and excluding nothing.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 10, 2013)

@yabokkie

Bokeh is the aesthetic QUALITY of the background (or foreground) blur, not the blur itself.

The size of sensor, lens aperture, and camera-to-subject distance dictate DOF.

In general, size of aperture determines the light collecting capabilities of a given lens. Changing formats does not alter this property.

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 10, 2013)

@marike6, to make things clear,

the size of sensor has no say here.
the angle of view and aperture do.

most people have problem to comprehend aov when it's given in degrees. but we can get it instantly when given in equivalent focal length (= another expression of angle).

most people have problem to understand aperture at a certain aov like "36mm at 47 deg" but this equivalent f/1.4 at 50mm.

once again, the aov and aperture decided things already (light collecting capability ("speed"), depth of field (at certain perspective settings), and diffraction limited resolution (per ph or sqrt(area)).

anyone can use a positive or negative "speed booster" to project the image to any other format size and nothing in the output image will change (as long as the adapters are perfect).

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
attomole
By attomole (Feb 10, 2013)

@ yabokkie

the "Speed Booster" does not only give you back the original lens' light gathering capability, it preserves everything controlled by the aperture, including the depth of field, for example, and excluding nothing.

As I sort of agreed, you will intensify the light down to a smaller circle, which as you say will speed increase the lens, however having done so the light will need attenuating to match the exposure, as you have intensified it (all else being equal, scene detector gain etc) by stoping down or selecting a faster shutter speed, therefore you still will have less light overall gatherers than a larger sensor. with the same intensity of illumination

0 upvotes
James70094
By James70094 (Feb 10, 2013)

"the size of sensor has no say here.
the angle of view and aperture do. "

And that's why you are wrong. It's the sensor that changes the field of view, not the lens. That's why a 50mm lens has a different field of view on a crop sensor.

There is no flaw in my crop comparison. The crop sensor does the cropping in the camera instead of post. I have done it. The fact is aperture remains the same for exposure regardless of camera format. The same was true for medium format film vs. 135 film.

3 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 11, 2013)

@attomole

that intensified light is the only way that we can get a quality output with no worse noise level. it's not lens' fault the sensor cannot handle the incoming light at a certain shutter speed, and if the sensor cannot, there is no way to improve image quality ("ISO" limited).

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
LJ - Eljot
By LJ - Eljot (Feb 11, 2013)

This is simply not true. You talking about depth of Field. Bokeh does not mean the amount of DoF, it is a term for the look of parts being out of focus. It is about the shape of the discs made by out-of-focus points. It is caused by spherical aberration. An technically perfect Lens has very bad bokeh.

3 upvotes
attomole
By attomole (Feb 11, 2013)

@ LJ - Eljot.
However one might observe less distracting background ie better Bokeh with a lower depth of field, even if the rendering of the highlights is equally smooth by virtue of them being more diffuse, therefore as I perceive it the quantity of DOF does contribute to the Bokeh

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 12, 2013)

> This is simply not true.

what is simple not true? your imagination?
or the last two claims in your post?

0 upvotes
tjbates
By tjbates (Feb 9, 2013)

Here are some very nice samples.

http://robinwong.blogspot.de/2012/11/olympus-mzuiko-17mm-f18-review.html

1 upvote
zerlings
By zerlings (Feb 9, 2013)

I have this lens and I love it!

It is small, tactile and super fast AF with the OM-D.
I use the touchscreen as shutter and it auto-focuses almost instantaneously.

I think this lens is sharp, but because the bokeh is not very shallow (can't expect too much as it is a 17mm 1.8, not 45mm 1.8), the subject doesn't stand out as much and hence makes it look relatively less sharp.

4 upvotes
Thorgrem
By Thorgrem (Feb 9, 2013)

It's a good thing there are lenses to choose between in the m4/3 world. This is still a nice lens for some people to bad it did not exceeded the high expectations. In a few months this lens ail be a little bit cheaper and maybe than it has a good price/IQ balance.

To bad there are so many people here that feel like their system of choice is threatened by m4/3 so they think they must troll in every m4/3 topic on the front page.

5 upvotes
Musicjohn
By Musicjohn (Feb 9, 2013)

I have never been able to understand why people include high ISO shots in sample galleries meant for judging the quality of a lens. What an I seeing in an ISO 2000 shot? Lots of grain and loss of detail and color. High ISO means loss of quality, so what's there to be judged? If you want to get a real impression of the quality of a lens, they should always use the base ISO of the camera used. So, in my opinion high ISO pictures are totally useless when judging the qualities of a new lens.

6 upvotes
pareho
By pareho (Feb 27, 2013)

And no post processing of images please when it comes to sample images for judging the quality of lens.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 9, 2013)

What I'm sensing from these comments is many users seem to be needing to convince themselves about the quality of this lens. That not necessarily a good thing, especially in a standard 35 or 50 mm wide-to-normal lens. These are the bread and butter focal lengths that absolutely must be tack sharp from corner to corner when needed. Shooting with the PL 25 1.4 or my 50 1.8G on FF there is a feeling of confidence that the lens will not let you down.

DPR did a good job with these samples, but unfortunately in many of them this lens is not doing the EM-5 any favors, not making it shine.

4 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 9, 2013)

in practice 35mm should be a normal lens. someone call it wide because it's shorter than the fange-back of SLRs thus more difficult to design and make. this is not an issue for Sony, Fuji, and Canon mirrorless mounts and is less if any an issue for m4/3".

Nikon's 50/1.8G and 85/1.8G are very good handy lenses that 4/3" lenses can never match until we can have standard f/0.9 primes. btw, I would prefer plastic since these lenses should be low cost and high cost-performance ones, and plastic is in many ways better than metal.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 15 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ediblestarfish
By ediblestarfish (Feb 9, 2013)

I have both the 20mm and the new 17mm, prefer the 17mm on the E-M5.

It's just more transparent in usage for me. Maybe because I'm just a P&S person, but I like the snappier feel. Of course I'd love to have the 20mm's sharpness with all the good things the 17mm brings, but I find that the 20mm only works well when I had ample time to setup a shot before I took a picture. There's also the annoying banding issue with the E-M5 at higher ISO.

Have a handful of snaps in my gallery (with polarizer). It's PP-ed, but that's the end result what I actually get, instead of some banal test shot with nothing applied (which I never seem to do).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ediblestarfish/sets/72157632580082505/

3 upvotes
Navman
By Navman (Feb 9, 2013)

Yes, I'd be happy with those as a real-world test! Perhaps not quite as sharp as some I see off my Olympus 45 or my Summilux 25, but unless you're printing extraordinarily large, sharpness seems more than satisfactory. Some nice pics there.

And just as an aside, I wonder if the optical engineers at Olympus (the real experts) ever bother to read the comments of the DPReview 'experts' - they'd have a few laughs I guess!

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Marathonianbull
By Marathonianbull (Feb 10, 2013)

Beautiful (real-life) samples, 1000x THKs!

0 upvotes
historianx
By historianx (Feb 9, 2013)

Wow it's getting to be an interesting exercise in human psychology scanning over these comments. Strange: I use the 20mm F1.7 Panny on the GX-1 (a cam which I dislike) and it misses focus maybe 50% of the time. But when it's on the EP2, which does not have a touch screen and much simpler focus control, almost every one is spot-on. And it's a nice lens for the $$. This one, however, just doesnt do it for me like the other outstanding O m4/3 primes. I would rather have the Summilux.

0 upvotes
SDPharm
By SDPharm (Feb 11, 2013)

I think there's something wrong with your GX1. The 20mm on my GX1 is always spot on, producing some very sharp images. The combination is a very good walk around street shooter, especially with the LVF finder on.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 11, 2013)

I agree with SDPharm re: the GX1/20 1.7 combo. With that combo, AF is not blazing, but fast enough and extremely accurate where misfires are extremely rare (at least for me). The 20 1.7 probably has the best price/size/performance ratio of any m43 lens. Sharpness and bokeh of the 20 1.7 are extremely close to the PL 25 1.4, but it focuses twice as close as both the 25 1.4 and 17 1.8 making it a better choice for some types of photography including food photography, detail shots, and close-up portraits.

0 upvotes
SDPharm
By SDPharm (Feb 11, 2013)

Not trying to beat a dead horse too much, but the current crop of m43 cameras all have very fast and accurate focusing systems. To marike6's comment, I would like to add the Leica 45/2.8 macro lens. With these nice lenses, and cameras like the OM-D and GH3 (my current weapon of choice), I am selling all of my Canon gears.

0 upvotes
Samuli Pulkkinen
By Samuli Pulkkinen (Feb 8, 2013)

This 17/1.8 is a lovely little lens and a perfect pair for OM-D. I'm totally in love with the combo. And it's a bargain too, if I count price per images I'm going to take with it. I'm as happy as I was when I got Panny 20mm to E-P1 after kit lens. Micro 4/3 system gets better and better.

For yabokkie and his friends: I also have FF-Canon and bag full of L-lenses, including i.e. 50/1.2 or 24/1.4 for shallow DOF and nice bokeh. I cary those when I'm paid to, but there is less and less reasons to pick those up. And from time to time there also are things I miss from OM-D, like deeper DOF or IBIS, when using FF systems.

9 upvotes
historianx
By historianx (Feb 9, 2013)

I know quite a few Canikon pros that've gone two-system with m4/3 as their small walkabout "prime" kit. but it's usually Olympus not Panasonic kit unless it's the Lumix/Leica primes.

1 upvote
historianx
By historianx (Feb 9, 2013)

I use digital as my "Polaroid back" for my medium and large format film shots.

0 upvotes
mosc
By mosc (Feb 8, 2013)

Sometimes I feel like Olympus aught to put out a 17.5mm f0.9 lens for $2000 that weighs a f-in pound just to end the debate. Would anyone actually want the thing? Here's your truly fast glass... that's so big and heavy your entire purpose for buying our camera bodies is kind of out the window.BTW, it also costs as much as a FF body does to begin with. Does anyone actually think it would sell? What purpose would it serve? Yes you have equivalent light gathering to a 35mm f1.8 on a D600 or something but... you paid just about equivalent and it weighs just about equivalent too. What, exactly, is the point of that?

2 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 8, 2013)

Voigtlander have both a 25mm f0.95 and 17mm f0.95 for m43, and they're actually quite reasonable both in price (maybe 50% more expensive than the Pana 25mm f1.4) and in size (around the same physical size as a 50mm f1.8 + adapter but a bit heavier)

They're manual focus only but they're nice lenses, auto-focussing without PDAF with large elements like that would probably be a problem tho.

5 upvotes
JRSchmid
By JRSchmid (Feb 9, 2013)

I just don't get how that gobbledygook keeps on spreading - the light gathering capabilities of a m43s f0.9 lens would be f0.9 exactly when compared to a FF system.

What changes is only field-of-view and pronouncedness of out-of-focus effect (bokeh).

Please stop spreading these untruths about light gathering being only half that of FF cameras/lenses.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 9, 2013)

17.5mm f/0.9, a 35mm f/1.8 equivalent,
will be a handy entry-level large aperture one that
may worth about 700 US.

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
SpikeT
By SpikeT (Feb 9, 2013)

Mosc,
You need to read this:
http://admiringlight.com/blog/full-frame-equivalence-and-why-it-doesnt-matter/

2 upvotes
ksgant
By ksgant (Feb 9, 2013)

yabokkie, you really REALLY need to stop with the "f-stop equivalent" nonsense because that's exactly what it is.

17.5mm f/0.9 is a 35mm f/0.9 focal length in m4/3. You may be talking about "depth of field", but you're talking about a different animal. Exposure is the same. You hold a light meter up, get an exposure for like 1/60th at f/2.8 and you put that into your FF cam or m4/3 cam. You do NOT go "oh, i must add two extra stops to the m4/3 to get the right exposure".

5 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 10, 2013)

@yabokkie So you can have a $1000 m4/3 camera + $700 lens, or a $2000 FF camera + $300 "entry level" lens. Take your pick.

0 upvotes
mosc
By mosc (Feb 11, 2013)

FF is 4x the photons at the same aperture and equivalent focal length as 43rds. Smaller sensors may be more efficient on a per pixel basis, but they also typically have lower pixel counts (OM-D is 16mp vs the D600's 24mp)

Quoting from your own article: "If you look at the DxO Mark sensor comparison, you will see that if you compare the Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the Nikon D600 and the Canon 5D Mark III (both of which are full frame sensors), they measure roughly 1 2/3 stops better in ISO performance. Not two like you’d expect. You may be thinking ‘that’s close enough, but it speaks to the further point:"

nearly 2 stops on the same generation. Yes, flexible ISO settings in cameras make the equivalent aperture roughly proportional to crop factor. You can compare some some ancient FF camera to a state of the art 4/3rds if you want to cut that, but that's not fair to FF lenses. If you're after comparing lens with body irrelevant, you should correct aperture by crop.

0 upvotes
cooldavy
By cooldavy (Feb 8, 2013)

I owned NEX-5N and E 24mm f.18 which offers a 36mm equivalent focal length. I end up sold most of my NEX gears due to unreliable AF performance at low light environment. I cannot even get one well-focused shot in a 4-hour event!

Then I started looking for a mirrorless format with fastest and the most reliable AF in market, no doubt I got the MFT. I first got OM-D with Panny 20mm f1.7. Panny 20mm pancake is razor sharp, as it's what it gains reputation for. But I still failed to achieve my goal of switching from E-mount to MFT.

I preordered 17mm f1.8 at the very first day it showed up on websites. I am happy with the blazing fast AF speed. So when we talk about lens performance, please be take AF speed into account.

4 upvotes
mosc
By mosc (Feb 8, 2013)

Do you just not know how to manually focus a camera or are you just trying to photograph sports, at night, while playing the sport yourself? Auto focus is great and all but expecting it to always work and have no ability to deal with it when it doesn't... seems silly.

2 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (Feb 8, 2013)

Panny 20mm AF speed is a known issue and many reviews/hands-on mention that. Sadly Panny doesn't seem to be planning an update. Even the older Oly 2.8/17mm, though optically inferior, focuses faster than the 20mm.

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 8, 2013)

The Panasonic/Leica 25 1.4 is such a great performer, is f1.4, and includes a lenshood, so few people complain about it's cost because price/performance ratio is quite high. This lens has a great build quality, but with weaker optics like lower absolute resolution, suspect corners and high vignetting, coupled with it's smaller max aperture and expensive lenshood, price/performance is comparatively low.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 8, 2013)

@yabokkie I'm talking about the PL25 1.4 within the context of m43 lenses not DOF equivalence or other comparisons with larger formats. Price/performance ratio as compared to the 17 1.8 is the point.

And where do you get 770? The PL 25 1.4 is 499 USD, at least here in the US. Can't speak for other markets.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (Feb 8, 2013)

@yabokkie: native support (no adapter needed) and AF (both AFS and AFC for filming).

on the other hand, i congratulate you for your successful trolling.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Feb 8, 2013)

$360 lens on an $2000 minimum body is lower price?

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 8, 2013)

@marike6

sorry I was thinking of the old one that I tested before. good they abandoned the Oly 4/3" mount. the m4/3" version doesn't have the back-focus issue thus should be much cheaper.

> $360 lens on an $2000 minimum body is lower price?

you can save money by choosing 4/3" if you would have one lens and five bodies. but if you need five lenses and one body, well, you can still choose 4/3" of course.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 15 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 8, 2013)

@yabokkie
> would you call the price-performance of a 50mm f/2.8 lens at 770 US high if you can get two-stop larger aperture 50mm f/1.4 at 360 US?

Better sharpness according to Lenstip, even at f1.4 compared to other 50mm 1.4s at f2.8

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 8, 2013)

a typo in your post. not sharpness but shameless.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 8, 2013)

@yabokkie

citation needed

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 8, 2013)

@Andy Crowe

Lenstip MFTs cannot be translated across formats as sensor size and pixel density are also responsible for MTF scores. So because the PL 25 1.4 reaches 75 lp/mm and a Nikon 50 1.4 46 lp/mm, it doesn't mean the m43 lens is 30 lpmm sharper than the FF lens at that aperture. It's because the smaller detector E-PL1 sensor was used vs a FF DSLR sensor.

The m43 MTFs are always 10 lp/mm or more higher than APS-C, and APS-C MTFs 10 lp/mm higher than FF, but MTF graphs cannot be directly compared.

0 upvotes
nenox
By nenox (Feb 8, 2013)

@yabokkie

You must be kidding. I have the 25mm 1.4 and 50mm 1.8 both and comparetively the 50mm 1.8 is crap.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 9, 2013)

lp/mm numbers give you no clue whether you can get a sharp high-resolution image, without linking it to the format size.

it's standard to use lp/ph (for picture height), but
I suggest use of lp/sqrt(area) as a standard
to compare resolutions (sharpness) across different formats.

actually Oly gives MTF charts tested at twice the frequncies used for 35mm-format. the factor 2 works well here, too, to get the equivalent figures.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Feb 8, 2013)

I love the guy still assigning arbitrary cost values bases only on aperture size.

8 upvotes
ozturert
By ozturert (Feb 8, 2013)

Very good but overpriced

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 8, 2013)

> but overpriced

3 to 5 times.

0 upvotes
Infared
By Infared (Feb 8, 2013)

Yabokie...that is just not realistic in the marketplace. You are not going to get a relatively fast prime lens for $99. (maybe if the body and lens are plastic? :-))

0 upvotes
BingoCharlie
By BingoCharlie (Feb 8, 2013)

Like a first grader who learned a new dirty word, yabokkie seems hell bent on rehashing the equivalent aperture argument every chance he gets. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. Still chose m43.

5 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 8, 2013)

@yabokkie you clearly don't know what "two stops faster" means, because all f1.8 lenses are the same speed period. You must be thinking of depth of field, which is shallower on the 50mm because it has a longer focal length.

Now if you actually compare the 17mm f1.8 to that 50mm f1.8 the 17mm is a fair bit sharper wide open, so if you want a sharp image and not just a shallow image by the time you've stopped the 50mm down enough you've got almost the same DoF anyway.

6 upvotes
mosc
By mosc (Feb 8, 2013)

Andy Crowe, you are assuming identical ISO, which is moronically stupid in a digital system with variable ISO selectable at the touch of a button. You put the FF at ISO 400 and you put the 4/3rds at ISO 100. Then you look at exposure times for each using f1.8 lenses with the same viewing area. Guess what? The FF lens is two stops faster. Faster as in shorter shutter times. Faster as in takes in more light given the same shutter time. Faster as in every single meaningful way... unless you stupidly think that ISO should be judged as a static thing on all cameras regardless of sensor size.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 8, 2013)

@mosc aperture stops are, by definition, completely focal length and iso agnostic. All f1.8 lenses have the same "speed". You're thinking of the better high-iso noise handling of FF sensors because of their much larger pixels (as they have a larger area of light their pixel density is much lower for their pixel count).

Of course if you want to take sensor size into account when comparing lenses you have to factor in the additional cost and weight of a full frame camera too, suddenly your "cheap" full frame lens becomes $1500+ more expensive.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 9, 2013)

> because all f1.8 lenses are the same speed period.

but this won't give you the same result. you may prefer some numbers in the middle, I want good photographs as the result.

you can have same film, say Fujichrome Velvia 100, on a half-frame, 135, 120, 4x5", and 10x8" formats but every photo will be different. because they got totally different exposures in lumen-second.

a half-frame camera will need ISO50 to match the image quality of ISO100 on 35mm-format, or ISO50 on 35mm-format but one-stop "underexposed" (actually this gives the same exposure to the whole photo as the half-frame).

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 9, 2013)

whatever ISO is not important even for film, though if you "underexpose", you won't be able to use the standard chemical processing.

0 upvotes
kadardr
By kadardr (Feb 8, 2013)

If the results here are similar to those at lenstip, well, you better never finalize this test. So we know now why the unfinished tests

0 upvotes
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Feb 8, 2013)

I don't see much sense in that expenive lenses for m43. For a FF or APS-C you get those lenses for 1/3 of the price, why on earth does this thing cost 550 Euro? It is smaller (less glass), it is for smaller sensor (you dont have problems in corners as on FF), there is no stabilisation, but yet this simplest prime costs more than a camera...
I have FF and m43, but untill prices on m43 lenses will stay unconnected to reality, I will continue to broaden my FF lens collection, while Oly Pen will live with its kit lens.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
9 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 8, 2013)

Because it has better sharpness? No test results for this lens yet, but if you compare the Panasonic 20mm it's sharper at wide apertures (especially in the corners) than equivalent cheaper APS and FF lenses until you've stopped those right down, and it's likely (as a premium lens) that this lens will be the same.

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 8, 2013)

@Andy Crowe
Better sharpness? You don't have to look very hard to find a FF or APS-C wide-to-normal with significantly better optics than the 17 1.8 (See Sigma 35 1.4, Fuji 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.8 DX). Not saying it's a bad lens, just that it doesn't equal the others in price/performance.

There are test results as Lenstip tested the Oly 17 1.8 so you can see exactly how it performs relative to the other m43 lenses:

http://www.lenstip.com/357.1-Lens_review-Olympus_M.Zuiko_Digital_17_mm_f_1.8-Introduction.html

2 upvotes
Infared
By Infared (Feb 8, 2013)

The lens is overpriced (based on sharpness performance)..especially with the additional $90 hood?..in the end I think that everyone was expecting more from Olympus on this lens. I agree, I think Oly could have done a MUCH better job (@f/1.4) with sharpness at this focal length . I own the lens and for now I am going to keep it...because of the super-fast AF..it still has a lot of good qualities...but it should definitely cost less.

4 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 8, 2013)

> especially with the additional $90 hood?...

the lens should worth a little bit more than $90.

> @f/1.4

an f/2.8 equivalent lens doesn't look sexy at all.
nor a 35/2 equivalent or 17mm f/1.0.
but 17mm f/1.0 should be a good, handy, and reasonable cost (400 US or so) lens for most of us.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HDF2
By HDF2 (Feb 8, 2013)

You know people, it isn't written anywhere that if you like photography you have to be ignorant in economics. It is actually OK for you to read and learn a bit instead of spouting off irrational comments about price.

It is very simple - think of it as economic 101 - a manufacturer will produce the goods at the lowest price possible and which still allows him to meet his product offering objective (in this case a 17mm f1.8). He will sell it at the highest price the market will accept.

You can't afford or don't find interest in this product at that price, don't buy it. If enough people follow your lead, it will drop in price or disappear. However, if other people buy it in sufficient quantity the manufacturer will keep selling it at that price.

The cost of the raw materials for the lens are only a small part of the pricing decision - it serves to set a bottom price threshold, nothing more. They don't care that you think it ain't worth €550 as long as others do.

Class dismissed.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
25 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 8, 2013)

No class is not dismissed. Raw materials aside, if the price/performance of the 17 1.8 is not competitive with other lenses on the market, then people have a right to complain.

And if Olympus wants to nickel and dime loyal users for non-optional accessories like the lenshood, then they run the risk of further alienating their user base and turning m43 into a niche/boutique format for people with more money than sense.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Haider
By Haider (Feb 8, 2013)

Also how many you will sell. Canikon 35mm/APS can share R&D cost between many more users.

Hi Marike6,

You must remember Canikon does not have a m4/3rds camera, so you cannot compare. 35mm and APS camera much bigger, you won't get them in m4/3 size. If you want m4/3rds size and 28mm f1.8 lens bringing in 35mm camera with 28mm f1.8 lens is nor here nor there...

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 8, 2013)

some people trust their misunderstanding of photography than the reality they can see in the output image.

this is the source of profit and the fundamental of business that Oly and Pana are doing.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 8, 2013)

@Haider It is more expensive to manufacture a FF or APS-C lens as they are designed for larger sensors, so they require more glass and larger barrels. FF and APS-C don't use as much software correction as m43 so optics have to be more highly corrected adding to the cost.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 8, 2013)

actually it's not the larger sensor area that makes a lens difficult to design or make. it's the aperture size (by far the single most important factor).

then, it's SLR's mirror box in the way of wide angles and it's the telephoto design for compactness.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 8, 2013)

@marike6

> You don't have to look very hard to find a FF or APS-C wide-to-normal with significantly better optics than the 17 1.8 (See Sigma 35 1.4, Fuji 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.8 DX)

Your own lenstip link shows the Olympus 17 1.8 performing better than the Nikon and Sigma lenses in terms of lpmm, and the Sigma lens is quite a bit more expensive as well.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 8, 2013)

> in terms of lpmm

we compare image resolutions at per picture height.
I suggest using of per sqrt(area) for different aspect ratios.

0 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (Feb 8, 2013)

" If enough people follow your lead, it will drop in price or disappear. " ----------------- that explain where 4/3 went and that would be used to explain m43 too.

0 upvotes
Mal_In_Oz
By Mal_In_Oz (Feb 8, 2013)

Some example comparison shots here between the Oly 17 and the Panny 20. They are not a perfect comparison with slight framing differences but should help people make up their own mind if it is close enough to the 20.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50819838

0 upvotes
itsastickup
By itsastickup (Feb 8, 2013)

Another bokeh-less fast lens for m4/3.

And paying a lot of money for it too.

No bokeh no buy.

4 upvotes
Paul JM
By Paul JM (Feb 8, 2013)

wharrrttt ?
not quite like using a FF SLR, but there are plenty of these lil' lenses that produce very nice B on a regular basis. Have you actually used any of this equipment ?

4 upvotes
itsastickup
By itsastickup (Feb 8, 2013)

Well, obviously there is enough for you, but for my purposes (contextual portraits) there is really no usable bokeh.

0 upvotes
mferencz
By mferencz (Feb 8, 2013)

Why would you want lots of Bokeh in Contextual Portraits???? I am of the opinion having the backround in focus is traditional in terms of this discipline. If you blur the backround there is no context? This lens is perfect for what you do.

14 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (Feb 8, 2013)

I don't quite get all the complaints about DoF, considering that this is hardly an ideal portrait lens. I've seen plenty of nice portraits with satisfactory subject isolation taken with m4/3 cameras at longer focal lengths.
I don't get either, why so many confuse bokeh with DoF. You can't have more or less bokeh, only good or bad bokeh. It's a quality, not a quantity.

18 upvotes
itsastickup
By itsastickup (Feb 8, 2013)

I use bokeh, as many do, as shorthand for out of focus areas. Yes, I know, technically it is the quality of the OOF, but these days it is interchangeable.

Longer focal lengths are fine for wedding style pics or newspaper candids, but not for intimate portraits.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 8, 2013)

Since when are moderately wide-angle lenses known for shallow depth of field?

6 upvotes
BingoCharlie
By BingoCharlie (Feb 8, 2013)

Razor thin DOF can certainly be beautiful, but too often it is used a a crutch to save sloppy composition. Also, nobody really uses 35mm lenses for portraits.

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
Scott Mac
By Scott Mac (Feb 8, 2013)

Click on this guy's name and check out his profile. Lots of negative comments aimed at m43 cameras and lenses. No photos in his gallery to show his photography credentials. There are a few of these types lurking around dpreview, unfortunately.

Comment edited 48 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
itsastickup
By itsastickup (Feb 8, 2013)

Thanks for that, Scott. Rather I consider myself a lobbyist for a decent normal or just-wide thin DOF m4/3 lens. There really isn't one other than by going off piste and accepting compromise. This is the one area that m4/3 is seriously lacking and why I simply cannot contemplate these otherwise very attractive cameras.

And there's not enough negativity in the world, so I'm just doing my bit. :)

35mm equiv is fine for portraits but obviously not head-n-shoulder shots. Anything between 35 and 55mm equiv is just what I use for my portraiture, other than weddings. In the FF world I inhabit, fast 35mm lenses have plenty of OOF/Bokeh.

0 upvotes
ptox
By ptox (Feb 8, 2013)

@itsastickup: The 25mm f1.4 PL is an excellent normal with thin DOF wide open. What are you waiting for? Unless it's eyelash-thin you're after... :-)

1 upvote
Ropo16
By Ropo16 (Feb 8, 2013)

Itsastickup. You are typical of the 35mm amateur. I suggest you educate yourself:-

http://soundimageplus.blogspot.be/2013/02/limited-depth-of-field-what-use-is-it.html

1 upvote
mosc
By mosc (Feb 8, 2013)

Ropo16, is that your article? I liked it. I agree with most of it but for me, the room is always too dark and flashes are either illegal or at the very least burdensome and jarring. I don't use fast apertures for bokeh, I agree it's rather silly. I DO use them though for low light. And it is in low light, particularly up close like with a 35mm equivalent, that I can just never have enough aperture. We can take high ISO pictures with detail that film never dreamed about but they're still a whole lot worse than shots with a reasonable ISO.

Low light, no flash, and lowest possible ISO just demands as much aperture as you can get a hold of. That has nothing to do with bokeh.

0 upvotes
itsastickup
By itsastickup (Feb 8, 2013)

Ropo16, bokeh and the liking of a lot of it is a matter of taste not technicalities. It's got nothing to do with professionalism. You use it according to the situation. But it is needed by some photographers, and this rules out the m4/3 for the timebeing.

Sure, some people hate bokeh, my brother for example, but people who employ me know what they will get.

For my photography I need maybe half of my pics with lots of bokeh. Having said that I agree that too much is too much and usually shoot at f2 and above. But that's still a lot more bokeh than these lenses can provide.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 9, 2013)

...

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
FrankS009
By FrankS009 (Feb 8, 2013)

This evaluation seems very kind and generous about IQ and price, given the reviews that I have read. I do not have the lens, and won't be buying it - am happy with the Panny 20mm.

F.

5 upvotes
steven_k
By steven_k (Feb 8, 2013)

I purchased 2 of them hoping the first one I got was a dud, but it wasn't.
I shot the lens at F4 optimal setting for this lens at infinity focus for landscapes on my OMD and I can tell you hands down this is not a good lens for landscapes.
No where near as good as the 12, 25, 45 or 75mm lenses.
My opinion is that this lens is probably a good street shooter lens.
Not what I has hoping for.
I guess the problem is at the end of the day it is a 17mm lens, and to make a tack sharp 17mm lens for 500.00 is probably almost impossible.
Though the Oly 12 which is by far not perfect, I feel does perform better over all yet again a 700.00 lens.

Oh we'll.

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 8, 2013)

Thanks for sharing Steven.
I'm afraid I see it as a street shooting lens as well.

And glad someone sees the 12mm for what it is. Based on what your read on the web, people will have you believe that it's a freakishly sharp wonder lens.

It's not. Not by a long shot. It's a good 12mm. That's about it. Oh - and pretty on a silver body.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 8, 2013)

Why should it be mostly impossible to make a tack sharp 17mm on m43, when both the Pany 14 and Oly 12 are tack sharp?

0 upvotes
kewlguy
By kewlguy (Feb 8, 2013)

Why impossible? it's 17mm with much smaller image circle than FF lens - esp at more than $500. Oh wait, I forgot, $300 of the price went to cosmetic parts...

0 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 8, 2013)

Kewlguy - At that price point?

It's a wide angle lens - a very wide angle lens.
Look a CaNikons offerings. Do you see any 17mm's?
You'll most likely find good old 24 and 28mm's - both are not as wide.

0 upvotes
ptox
By ptox (Feb 8, 2013)

@SnapHappy: er, what? On m43 a 17mm lens has the same FOV as 34mm on a full-frame camera. It's not that wide at all.

1 upvote
mferencz
By mferencz (Feb 8, 2013)

Marik6 do you work for Fuji? Seriously... The topic is of no importance. Work in a little Fuji her a little Fuji there all with the utmost endearment.

0 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 8, 2013)

Ptox. I get the focal length multiplier.

EFOV is not the same as the focal length.
The lens does not magically realign its glass to become a 34mm, when mounted on a M43 body. It works as a 34mm practically. Agreed. But Oly built a 17mm lens. Should make it a bit trickier to make well.

It's a 17mm lens. No matter what system you design it for. If you could mount it on a FF you'd get 17mm.

I learned this on DPR. From a snarly b@stard. But he was right.

Trust me. Before he goes crazy on you too :-)

Comment edited 14 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
anchorite64
By anchorite64 (Feb 8, 2013)

What you've just said is right, but previously you were wrong calling it "very wide angle". The term "wide angle" applies to the angle of view and takes the intended format into account, not only the absolute focal length. Otherwise, you would call all the p&s lenses "fisheye".
We all know 17mm would be very wide on FF, but FF isn't a magical format, just an arbitrary reference point.

0 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 9, 2013)

Arbitrary? FF? Why is the focal length multilplier calculated according to this?
Split hairs much good sir?

Have a nice day.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
steven_k
By steven_k (Feb 9, 2013)

on the other hand, I did try a NEX 7 with there Zeiss 24/1.8 and to be honest, very sharp in the center and yet soft corners, again not a good landscape lens. A great street shooter lens.

I think at 17mm focal length ,the designer has to choose on what it will be good for, more close subject images where corner performance is not an issue, or try to design something more flat field.

Yet at the end of the day as others have pointed out, it is a 17mm lens, not a 34mm lens. To produce a high quality 17mm lens would I assume would cost a lot more money, like the Oly 75mm, and be much large

0 upvotes
anchorite64
By anchorite64 (Feb 10, 2013)

SnapHappy32, of course FF is arbitrarily taken as standard. It was the most popular for years so it was chosen. We could pick anything else just as well, for example 43 format, then FF would have 0.5x focal length multiplier.

0 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 8, 2013)

If this is close to the performance of the Panny 20mm - I'll gladly give up my X100.

I've carried two bodies on most "shoot-what-you-see" walkabouts.
Good to see Oly covering this focal length with a prime - I shoot my 12-35 on the OMD. No distortion correction..

It's still a wideangle lens optically - so I guess it'll perfom better than said zoom if the Oly can compensate for distortion.

Bravo, Olympus.

Now that you lot have covered every practical focal length with primes (save telephotos) - how 'bout some native OLY fast zooms?

0 upvotes
harold1968
By harold1968 (Feb 8, 2013)

is that the panny 12-35mm f2.8 ?

how sharp do you find it ? especially at f2.8

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 8, 2013)

Carrying two bodies aside, being familiar with the X100, I can't imagine anyone would trade away the razor sharp X100 IQ and beautiful rendering for this lens.

0 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 8, 2013)

Hi Harold -yes.

Sharpnesswise good - but I'm concerned about CA. Loads of it wide open

For more critical sharpness - I stop down to f/4 - then it's (25mm) not far from the Panny 25 at same aperture. Oh - and loads of CA as well at 1.4

It's not a nikon 24-70 - although it doesn't nescessarily have to be.

0 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 8, 2013)

Marike6 - take comfort in knowing that my X100 is in my backpack today. Not the Oly. :-)

As mentioned - I much prefer it to shooting with my 12-35 on 17mm. It's fine - but in no way, shape or form close to larger 24-70's. The most appreciable leap I've ever taken IQ-wise, was buying the Nikon 24-70 (replacing the 24-105). First shot blew me away. The 12-35 not so much.

Maybe the way to go is the EX-1...

0 upvotes
mfj197
By mfj197 (Feb 8, 2013)

You do get distortion correction with the Panasonic 12-35 on the OMD. The only thing you don't get is CA removal as you've noticed.
Michael

0 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 8, 2013)

Thanks for the tip Michael.

Two things:

The 12-35 was released after the OM-D. Any correction would have to be updated via firmware in the Oly, right?

I've misplaced the freaking USB-cable - maybe that's why I'm not seeing it. Haven't updated firmware since purchase.

Thanks again.

0 upvotes
acahaya
By acahaya (Feb 8, 2013)

I can't remember a mFt fw update for Olympus or Panasonic that was about lens correction. At least not aince 2010. Imo this is a parameter driven algorithm and the lens provides the lens specific data data when attached, i.e. no need for a fw update.

BTW: which fw version is on your cam, the latest one increases battery time, Fw 1.1 fixed a bug when using some lenses with IS .... might be a good idea to look for the USB cable ;-)

0 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 8, 2013)

I'm getting old...

FW 1.1 - must have updated at some point, apparantly.
Lens (panny 25) 1.0

Is there any FW update for that lens?

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Feb 8, 2013)

If you're unaware whether there is distortion correction going on and you're happy with the results, does it matter?

0 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 9, 2013)

I'm happy - not thrilled. Thats why I'm looking at the article in the first place.

Yes. It matters. Especially if you have to fork out for a G5 body to get the best possible results from the lens.

0 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (Feb 8, 2013)

Ha ha, I came to this thread purely to see how far down the "equivalence" argument was- not far! Just take some photos people!

17 upvotes
HarrieD7000
By HarrieD7000 (Feb 8, 2013)

After seeing these pictures I'm glad I don't own the best camera of 2012. My old thing does not need a 30 ft long gangway to create some DOF.

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Scott Mac
By Scott Mac (Feb 8, 2013)

Micro Four Thirds has heaps of DOF. More than APS-C and so-called "full frame".

5 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (Feb 8, 2013)

Err yes, indeed, too much DoF for some photos. Hence some people preferring larger chips.

0 upvotes
kaxi85
By kaxi85 (Feb 8, 2013)

you mean, like, too much dof?

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Spunjji
By Spunjji (Feb 8, 2013)

*yawn*

It's a 17mm lens, what are you expecting? If you want narrow DoF then you use the lens for the job. Go and troll elsewhere please.

Comment edited 35 seconds after posting
12 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Feb 8, 2013)

Since when are moderately wide-angle lenses known for shallow depth of field?

4 upvotes
ijustloveshooting
By ijustloveshooting (Feb 8, 2013)

the shot of the guy, at iso640,,,looks like a canon G15 iso 400 shot...i thought IQ on e-pm2 and e-pl5 is similar to Nex series...no, not even close,,,at iso1600 on nex you still can get much better sharpness, details...thank god, i choosen nex over m43...i just bought sel 50mm f1.8 and sharpness at 1.8 is phenomenal.... bokeh is another heaven on this lens...

i didn't like samples of this 50mm f1.8 and iq of the e-pm2...

3 upvotes
Scott Mac
By Scott Mac (Feb 8, 2013)

I think what you are seeing is a weakness of the lens rather than a weakness of the camera body / M43 system.

2 upvotes
Spunjji
By Spunjji (Feb 8, 2013)

Thanks for justifying your purchase to uninterested bystanders. We really appreciated that.

11 upvotes
ptox
By ptox (Feb 8, 2013)

ramble ramble... kinda sleepy,,, i should write something tho,.. everyone wants to know... what i think... not to much effort thoug,,... cant be seen to give a toss.. mm i need a burger

0 upvotes
dark goob
By dark goob (Feb 8, 2013)

Please don't say this lens is "equivalent" to a 34mm lens. It's not. It has much greater depth of field than a 34mm lens, and substantially different distortion characteristics. Simply put it's a 17mm lens. It's equivalent to a 17mm lens, having been cropped by 50% on 135-format, or by 31% on 6x4.5 120-format, etc.

It gives a 53.9-degree horizontal angle. Why not just say that instead of making false equivalencies? Buck convention and "standard practice." They're stupid and just plain factually wrong!

Please can we move on from the year, 2002? We aren't 135-format film camera owners searching for their first DSLR anymore. Drop the "equivalency" mentions finally, it really feels anachronistic and tacky at this point. Not to mention being wrong.

17 upvotes
dark goob
By dark goob (Feb 8, 2013)

I should have said "cropped to 31%" not "by 31%." See? Self-correction. We must admit when we're wrong and change our ways.

1 upvote
gsum
By gsum (Feb 8, 2013)

Agreed.

And while we're at it can we please have sensor sizes in mm rather than measures such as 1 inch, dx etc. These meaningless measures are use all over the place but come on DPReview, take a lead here.

5 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 8, 2013)

it's equivalent to 34mm (on 35mm format)
that they have the same angle of view (65 deg d).

it's equivalent to f/3.6
that they have the same size of aperture (9.4mm d), and thus
you get anything controled by aperture the same, like
the light collecting capability,
the exposure (in lumen-second) and shot noise,
the depth of field,
the diffraction limited resolution (per ph or sqrt(area)),
you name it and see all the same, indistinguishable result,
with no exception.

like it or not, both Oly and Pana give the 35mm-format equivalent specs, though Pana gives wrong ones, and this is the standard for all camera makers, from Canon, Nikon, to P&S, to mobile devices by Korean, Taiwan, and Chinese makers.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (Feb 8, 2013)

Dark goon you said:

'Please don't say this lens is "equivalent" to a 34mm lens. It's not. It has much greater depth of field than a 34mm lens, and substantially different distortion characteristics.'

Sorry but you are wrong. It is equivalent' to a 34mm lens on a 35mm format camera. DOF does not come into it. That is a separate issue. Think about it for a moment that would mean a 34mm lens on a 35mm format camera could not be compared to equivalent focal lengths on 6x4.5 120 format camera or larger format cameras like 5x4 or 10x8 and it has been for decades.

It was only when formats like 43 and m43 came out that so many people started to make mistakes on comparing different lenses on different formats. Up to then since photography started people understood how to compare much more. Now there seems to to be so much false information out there it is now considered to be faculty correct which it is not.

4 upvotes
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (Feb 8, 2013)

Part 2 Dark goob:

I have cameras with formats from 10x8 down and it is really easy to compare lenses on different formats. Probably as I was taught correctly when I studied photography.

Get a book about lens design from the library and have a read up and then you will realise that there are a lot of false things being said about comparing formats and lenses on smaller format cameras. After all 35mm format is small when compared to 10x8 format.

1 upvote
Spunjji
By Spunjji (Feb 8, 2013)

Stu 5, if it's easy, then why do I see people like yabokkie up there getting it wrong when talking about light-capturing ability? That can be avoided if you talk about angle of view primarily and then add in the "equivalencies" as backup for people who like doing unnecessary calculations.

0 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 8, 2013)

It is still a 17mm lens - I think Darkgoob was adressing that point. Technically, optically - 17mm.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 8, 2013)

> after all 35mm format is small when compared to 10x8 format.

it's the lens, not the format, that decides the fundamentals of your image. all the lens for 10x8's have large f-numbers and some of their equivalent f-numbers will match the large aperture lens for 35mm-format (factor 0.13).

however, there is one reason we need large format that we need lower ISOs to get the same quality of image on smaller sensors but lower ISO films were not popular and lower ISO sensors are not readily available (4/3" need ISO25 to match the image quality of ISO100 on 35mm-format which we don't have now).

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Feb 8, 2013)

Boo.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 8, 2013)

some large aperture lens for 10x8's:

165mm f/8 => 21mm f/1.0 equiv.
(1 stop better than SLR lenses)

300mm f/9 => 40mm f/1.2 equiv.
(on par but cheaper than SLR lenses)

all SLRs have the problem of long back-focus and it's difficult to make large aperture wide angles. this is not an issue of format size (mirrorless lenses, including old rangefinder ones , are cheaper).

not an issue for long ones (50mm and up) currently we have the best for 35mm-formats.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 8, 2013)

many new lenses for 35mm-format that I have delivers best result between f/5.6 and f/8. some old ones (more than 6+ years Nikon or 20+ years Canon) I have to stop down beyond f/8.

on 10x8's you get best result around f/64, or f/8.3 equivalent.

amazing isn't it?

0 upvotes
zigi_S
By zigi_S (Feb 8, 2013)

There should be a function from dpreview which denies equivalence trolls participation in 4/3 article comment areas. Every one is littered with the same ignorance.

0 upvotes
tresemes
By tresemes (Feb 8, 2013)

The performance may not be stellar but any 35mm under 500$ really is, this one is a bit more expensive than its FF counterparts (talking about Canon) but it does have better focus, something similar happens with the Panaleica 25/1.4.

They are a bit overpriced, yes, but I wanted to point that out.

0 upvotes
Infared
By Infared (Feb 8, 2013)

The thing I just can't figure out is WHY the champagne color of the Olympus 17mm lens perfectly compliments my Austin-Martin Silver Panasonic GX1 camera body...but matches nothing Olympus??? :-)

3 upvotes
heypek
By heypek (Feb 8, 2013)

have a look at P3 or PL5 in silver ;)

1 upvote
Infared
By Infared (Feb 8, 2013)

Heypek..it is difficult to see the shade of silver in photos...Do the P3 and PL5 have a champagne tone to the body metal? Silver OMD does not, it is neutral silver with no tint.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Feb 8, 2013)

It's not champagne - it's silver -, and what's an "Austin-Martin"?

1 upvote
Infared
By Infared (Feb 8, 2013)

Manuel..Aston Martin..sorry...I spelled it incorrectly..British car
http://www.diseno-art.com/news_content/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/2012-Aston-Martin-Vanquish-8.jpg

2 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Feb 8, 2013)

I know perfectly what an ASTON Martin is, thank you.

0 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 8, 2013)

Off topic. Can't really help my self..

Manuel - I'm not a native english speaker. Neither are you.
Might not hurt getting a grasp of english grammar yourself.

PS You're missing a word.
PPS You're welcome.

And feel free to spellcheck my post. Christ.

1 upvote
Infared
By Infared (Feb 8, 2013)

Aston Martin...Austin Healey...whatever...I guess I made a hybrid!
At any rate... If the P3 and PL5 are a neutral silver the tone definitely does not match this lens which has a "champagne" tint to it...

0 upvotes
stringendo
By stringendo (Feb 8, 2013)

As an (enthusiastic) newcomer to this forum....can someone help me with this issue....when I look at the samples such as are provided under this lens review....and click on them they still all look blurred....I am looking on a Mac, an iphone 5, and various Ipads. It doesn't matter how much I enlarge them it doesn't help........am I missing something I should be doing???? nothing ever looks half way as sharp as something I have taken myself with a cheap camera!!

thanks in advance.

1 upvote
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Feb 8, 2013)

Try clicking the download original link, this opens the original in a new window, then save that file: On your Mac, right (control) click the image and choose "save image to downloads". On iOS, Tap and hold the image, and a pop-up window lets you save it to the camera roll.

Once saved you can open it in your preferred viewing software.

Your iPhone is definitely retina, your Mac/iPad may or may not be, you don't say. Very little of the web properly supports high res content so when view in a browser on retina, you end up seeing re-sacaled images (which with larger images are already scaled for display). Open it in an App with Retina support and it will look significantly better.

0 upvotes
Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (Feb 8, 2013)

What's the point of a shiny metal lens with fancy focus ring and high quality looks (and price) when its performance is just adequate? This lens should have been made cheap in plastic like the 45mm, if at all (since there is another olympus 17mm lens that does not impress already). And there is also a good Panasonic 20mm. So, why bother? Any wonder why this lens is such a disappointment to most? 35mm equiv is the most essential lens, the lens that most would pick is they can only have one single prime. Yet, with all the lenses already in its range, Olympus chose to release another somewhat better 17mm but expensive lens after the failure in the earlier version. You excited by this lens?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (Feb 8, 2013)

With expensive under-performing primes like these, why not use a zoom instead?

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 8, 2013)

shiny metal, like also found on Pana and Sony lenses, means cheap. a good lens should not shine as much as possible and should have satin finish or similar coatings that someone may call "plastic".

the current Oly, Pana, and Sony lenses are made for users who have more money than knowledge, the best customers you can find.

this Oly 17/1.8 may worth up to 150 US thus is not a cheap one.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
kewlguy
By kewlguy (Feb 8, 2013)

Why do you say that? This lens makes a good accessories hanging on your neck!! Who cares about muddy rendering?

0 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Feb 8, 2013)

Adequate seems a little deliberately understated. Most reports are placing it in the Very Good category, rather than Exceptional. Not really the same thing as Adequate.

The point of Very Good lenses is they can help you make Very Good photos. Combined with the fast and very quiet AF, and you perhaps can find 3 meaningful points for the lens.

7 upvotes
c_henry
By c_henry (Feb 8, 2013)

Where did it say it was "adequate"? I saw it say it's not as sharp as two of the sharpest lenses available for m43, the 45mm and 75mm.

I've got both the 17mm and the Panasonic 20 and will be selling the 20mm, the 17mm is sharper and the AF much faster.

I've also got the old Oly 17mm and there's no comparison between the old and the new, not "somewhat better".

2 upvotes
harold1968
By harold1968 (Feb 8, 2013)

many pick 50mm
the 25mm f1.4 panny is not only one of the best performing lenses for m4/3s, it is as compared to any format

it would be nice to have a good bright 35mm. Lets wait and see what Panny does for the next generation

0 upvotes
Marathonianbull
By Marathonianbull (Feb 10, 2013)

Serge, Everything you say would be right IF it were true, but it's SO FARFETCHED given that the 17mm f/1.8 is actually quite satisfying: adequately sharp, very bright, producing neutral colors, low ghosting & flare , with a smoother bokeh than with the aforementioned Lumix 20mm, and a MUCH faster, quieter AF engine. Technically, the Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4 isn't any better and yet most peole agree that it's a joy to use. Stop reading lab tests, just go out and shoot! For better samples, check out Robin's excellent pictures taken that new m.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 at: http://robinwong.blogspot.ca/2012/11/olympus-mzuiko-17mm-f18-review-street.html

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
1 upvote
DeFinitive
By DeFinitive (Feb 8, 2013)

I started with the 45 1.8 on my E-M5 and just recently added the 17 1.8 when visiting Hong Kong last week (US$485). I had been waiting many months to get my hands on it and decided against the panny 20 1.7. I'm very happy with my two lens set up at the moment but will definitely add one or both of the new Oly 2.8 zooms coming out later in the year.

My first impressions are that the 17 1.8 is not as sharp as the 45 1.8 but as others have mentioned, it's sharp enough. I really needed the wider FOV for a lot of the street shots and environmental portraits I like to take. The 20 1.7 die hards will defend that lens, I have used it on my E-M5 but I still decided to wait for the 17 1.8.

4 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Feb 8, 2013)

Wow, I find value shooting it side by side with the RX1. It was a revelation about the RX1 in terms of jpeg processing and choosing exposures. Don't you agree it would be useful to include it in the RX1 review?

0 upvotes
wakaba
By wakaba (Feb 8, 2013)

Looks muddy

3 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Feb 8, 2013)

People criticize this lens for not being razor-sharp. Well, that's one of the reasons I like Olympus lenses: they're sharp, but not clinically so. People tend to like exaggerated sharpness nowadays, but Olympus has struck the right balance with this lens.
However, tone has a somewhat recessed quality that reminds me a lot of the 17mm-f/2.8 Pancake lens. Colours are pleasing and accurate - just like the Pancake -, but not deliriously vivid as the OM primes I use. These pictures are inconclusive when it comes to chromatic aberrations, which is the Pancake's Achilles' heel, but I read at lenstip it has high levels of geometric distortion.
Speed and build aside, I don't see much to differentiate this from the Pancake lens in terms of image quality. Of course I must qualify it by saying I could think differently if I actually tried it on my camera, but that's the impression I get from these samples.
(n. b. I'm one of those who believe "bokeh" isn't so important with wide-angle lenses...)

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Feb 8, 2013)

C'mon, man! Nobody's buying that you like less sharp lenses.

4 upvotes
AG
By AG (Feb 8, 2013)

given the time Olympus took to offer some alternative to Pany 20/1.7, given the fact that Olympus had Pany 20/1.7 as a benchmark to beat, given the fact that it cost well above 20/1.7, Olympus did a miserable job to develop alternative optically better offer...

7 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Feb 8, 2013)

Not "less sharp". I like "sharp". I just don't like "über-sharp", the kind of sharpness that renders the images unnatural. I didn't think I could be misinterpreted, but I seek sharpness as much as any other amateur. Just not *too* sharp.

1 upvote
wakaba
By wakaba (Feb 8, 2013)

Sharp? I like to shoot sharp at low ISO and not having to do much sharpening on my RAWs.

This thing retails for 500$.

This retails for 200$:
http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-35mm-1-8G-Digital-Cameras/dp/B001S2PPT0/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1360323831&sr=1-5&keywords=nikon+50mm+1.4

Go for full frame lens and you are at 400$.

Both are waaay better, extremely sharp, almost perfect. Serious glass. Why wasting time with muddy Zuiko, may I ask?

0 upvotes
jkrumm
By jkrumm (Feb 8, 2013)

I have the 45 and 20 with an OMD and this lens looks very much in the ballpark with those two sharpness wise. I don't know what people are seeing when they look at these images, but here's a tip: look for the area that is actually in focus when judging how sharp the shot is. It's not always the eyes. Olympus eye detection is not perfect, especially in dim light.

3 upvotes
Scott Mac
By Scott Mac (Feb 8, 2013)

I have the 45/1.8, the 60/2.8 Macro, the 12/2.0, the 40-150 ED, the 14-42IIR, and the Rokinon 3.5 Fisheye. I've examined the first dozen sample photos. To me, they look soft. They are much softer than the 45/1.8, 60/2.8 Macro and 7.5 Fisheye and a fair bit softer than the 12/2.0. They are a bit sharper than the 14-42IIR at the equivalent focal length. Hard to compare with the 40-150 ED.

1 upvote
Jim Evidon
By Jim Evidon (Feb 8, 2013)

Before we can make a judgement about this lens, it would be useful to have a head to head comparison with the Panasonic Lumix 20mm /1.7.
I have the Lumix and have found it a wonderful little lens with few faults aside from it's plastic lens barrel. I bought it for my GF1 and kept it when I bought my Olympus OM-D. But is it worth it to buy the Zuiko 1.8 instead of the Panny?

I would think that it is a question worth pondering and can only be answered by an objective comparison.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Feb 8, 2013)

I won't have time to do it today, but I'll see if we still have a Panasonic 20mm and try to add it over the next few days if I can.

As well as faster focus, the Olympus 17mm doesn't appear to cause the strange high-ISO banding that can appear with the Panasonic 20mm on an OM-D.

5 upvotes
Scott Mac
By Scott Mac (Feb 8, 2013)

There are quite a few comparisons between the two lenses already on the 'net. Google and ye shall find. One of the more comprehensive ones is on Ming Thein's website. Advantages of the 20/1.7 include superior sharpness, smaller size and cheaper cost. Advantages of the 20/1.7 are nicer build quality and faster focusing. Both suffer from CA, but the 20/1.7 appears to be worse.

0 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (Feb 8, 2013)

None of the images has that impressive 45 f/1.8 sharpness. Whether that's the photographer or the lens or both I don't know, but I was hoping for a better given the price. I'd like to see more shots first before committing. Might just get the Panasonic 12-35, even though it is much slower.

0 upvotes
Donald Duck
By Donald Duck (Feb 8, 2013)

You cannot expect much better sharpness at f/1.8, WA. If they manage to squeeze a bit more but this would hurt the bokeh.

I am an FF shooter but I like what I see. The bokeh is superb. Sharpness is adequate. The fist thing that catches the eye is not the sharpness because you still did not have the time to pixel peep. The portrait photos look very good.

4 upvotes
StanRogers
By StanRogers (Feb 8, 2013)

Something in the 45-50mm f/1.8 range is *incredibly* easy to get right. You don't have to piddle around with retrofocus designs to get a good acceptance angle at the sensor, you don't have to start attending to apochromatic corrections (as you do with longer focal lengths), the glass elements themselves are reasonably compact (intergroup spacing can be based entirely on optics without much concern for the mechanics of the arrangement) and the lens isn't fast enough to require heroic corrections for aberrations. It's sort of the sweet spot for optics, provided that you don't require an image circle significantly larger than a 135 frame. There's a reason why the cheap-as-chips 50mm/1.8s in the 35mm/APS-C/DX DSLR ranges are also among the sharpest lenses in a given line: it's almost impossible to get it wrong no matter how much you scrimp on the build, etc.

1 upvote
Scott Mac
By Scott Mac (Feb 8, 2013)

Olympus has dropped the ball with this one. They have packaged average-quality optics into a premium-quality casing. The result is an average lens at a premium $500 price. They should have housed it in plastic, like the optically superior 45/1.8, which can be had for $330, and they should have sold it for the same price as that lens. That would leave room for an f1.4 version with metal body, snap focus ring, etc, which they could have sold for a similar price to the 12/2.0, which goes for $700 or so.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
Erik Johansen
By Erik Johansen (Feb 8, 2013)

Do you think a lower price raise the quality?
If so, buy the Sigma 19 empty box.............

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Scott Mac
By Scott Mac (Feb 8, 2013)

No, I don't think a lower price raises the quality. How on Earth did you get that impression? What I do think is that matching the quality of the optics with the quality of the build and housing allows a lens to be sold at a realistic price. In other words, it allows better value for money. This lens sells for $500 but the quality of the optics does not justify that price. At $330, the price/performance ratio is more realistic. Olympus might have achieved $330 with a plastic body like the one on the 45/1.8.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 8, 2013)

I agree with Scott. I'll take optical ability over fancy casing any day. Both like the 12 f2 is nice, but one or the other doesn't work at this price point.

The 45 1.8 is such a great lens because it's great optically and doesn't break the bank. Same with the 20 1.7 or even the Sigma 30 2.8.

2 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Feb 8, 2013)

You can have a 17mm micro 4/3 lens from Olympus for roughly $300: it's the 17mm f/2.8 Pancake lens. Much better value than this one, and IMHO unfairly underrated. It wouldn't make much sense if the f/1.8 version cost the same as the Pancake lens.

0 upvotes
lighthunter80
By lighthunter80 (Feb 8, 2013)

The price might not be 'fair' or very good value for money but this lens is in every aspect a great performer. Super quick AF, tack sharp and all metal construction with a great AF/MF mechanism. I paid $550 here in Australia and am very happy with this lens.

And to those who are talking about shallow dof with a lens like this haven't understood the concept of m4/3. This is a very compact portable fast and sharp lens for traveling and it's just perfect for this. If I want shallow dof I take my 5D.

2 upvotes
Scott Mac
By Scott Mac (Feb 8, 2013)

With respect, lighthunter80, the lens is not "in every respect a great performer". It has very high distortion (in excess of 5 per cent in Raw), an above-average amount of vignetting at wide apertures, large amounts of astigmatism between f1.8 and f5.6, no lens hood, is not weather sealed and is not as bright as some other lenses at the same price (eg. the Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4 DG). It is also less sharp than the Panasonic 20/1.7, which is brighter and cheaper. Finally, the snap-ring implementation is something of a gimmick, as the aperture markings are too close together to allow accurate focusing.

Comment edited 48 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
lighthunter80
By lighthunter80 (Feb 8, 2013)

Well, I tend to use my stuff in the field and didn't have the slightest issue. Also how can you compare a 25mm lens and a 17mm lens?

0 upvotes
Scott Mac
By Scott Mac (Feb 8, 2013)

How can you indeed? There is only one other autofocus 17mm available for m43 and it is nothing great, so we are forced to compare it with the 25/1.4, 12/2.0 and 20/1.7 because we have no choice. All of those lenses appear to be sharper than the 17/1.8, even the 12/2.0. I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying your lens, and no doubt it does have its strengths, but independent reviewers have found faults with it - the ones that I mentioned.

2 upvotes
Erik Johansen
By Erik Johansen (Feb 7, 2013)

Paint it black Oly, please.

5 upvotes
nikoj
By nikoj (Feb 7, 2013)

They will, for $200 more!

1 upvote
Erik Johansen
By Erik Johansen (Feb 7, 2013)

Then I do as I have done with the 45. Masking tape and a spray can ;-)
It's a bit fiddly though........

2 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (Feb 8, 2013)

Or just gaffers tape- you'd be in good company with other photographers that do that as well.

1 upvote
Dave Knadler
By Dave Knadler (Feb 7, 2013)

Wish I had waited a bit longer before buying the 20mm f/1.7. Now I suppose eBay will be filling up with the Pannies.

2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 7, 2013)

Not likely, since the 20 1.7 is a much sharper lens at pretty much all apertures. And there's the little matter of price.

Personally I wouldn't switch for 4 mm wider FOV, especially since the 17 1.8 doesn't perform as well.

5 upvotes
Erik Johansen
By Erik Johansen (Feb 7, 2013)

How do you know? Tested your self?
Sharpness is not the whole world.
Are you satisfied with contrast of the 20-Panny?

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (Feb 7, 2013)

I sold my 20mm for the 17mm- I haven't regretted it since. The 20mm is super sharp, while the 17mm is merely very sharp. The AF on the 20mm is pretty terrible, I've missed many shots because of it, the 17mm is silent and very fast.

4 upvotes
Gregm61
By Gregm61 (Feb 7, 2013)

+2 on taking the 17mm f1.8 over the 20/1.7 every time. The 17 is plenty sharp, easily as good as 12mm f2 I am now using with it. I now have both the 20 and 17 and do not see the 20 getting much use going forward.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Scott Mac
By Scott Mac (Feb 7, 2013)

marike: I don't think this is true. The 20mm is not "much" sharper. According to reviews and examples I've read, it is sharper in the centre of the frame through all apertures. However, the 17/1.8 is more consistently sharp across the frame into the corners and also has more microcontrast. This means that the 17/1.8 can handle more sharpening in PP. Also, the 17/1.8 focuses much faster and has a manual snap-focus ring.

4 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 8, 2013)

@Scott Mac The 20 1.7 is one of the highest resolving m43 lenses. In the center it's very close (- 5 lp/mm) to some of the sharpest m43 lenses like the 75 1.8, 25 1.4, 25 0.95.

As far as corners, download some of Richard landscape samples above done at f5.6. How do the corners look to you?

@Erik Johansen Pretty much every lens test online confirms this including Lenstip who tested both lenses on the exact same body. But no I haven't tested the 17 1.8 because I'm thrilled with the performance of the 20 1.7 so I wouldn't think of changing for a more expensive, less sharp lens. YMMV.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Makinations
By Makinations (Feb 8, 2013)

Yeah, mine's going up. The handling of the 17 f1.8 is just wonderful, better bokeh and better contrast. The 20 is sharper.

0 upvotes
c_henry
By c_henry (Feb 8, 2013)

I'm also putting my Panny 20mm up for sale. I bought the 17mm the other day and it's a really good lens, especially the IQ.

0 upvotes
Infared
By Infared (Feb 7, 2013)

OK..just got this lens and shade yesterday..Have done a little testing and the lens is good...but does not WOW like the 12mm and the 75mm. The images do sharpen up nicely in LR and it is "I think" the best offering in this focal length range with its build quality, extremely fast focus, snap focus ring, 1.8 aperture.
I read a review some where and the reviewer mentioned that "as soon as he saw the small glass opening of the lens he knew that it could not be a "great" lens...

1 upvote
Infared
By Infared (Feb 7, 2013)

...but I am going to settle for now with this and am selling my 20mm on ebay this week.....The focus speed of the 17mm lens is enough to make me keep it.
Funny...the beginning of the review talks about whether there is room in this focal range for another lens...as far as I am concerned there still is. Give me an AF lens that is ultra sharp, with better contrast and I would be willing to pay more for it, if it is exceptional. This is a classic focal length for so many things..we should have a "Leica-Like" choice. MFT is getting so good...we deserve that option. So...somebody..make that WOW lens in a 17.5mm ...I think it would sell if it is heads above the rest.

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 7, 2013)

If you don't need AF and have a few extra coins in the couch, Voigtlander has already made a WOW 17.5 0.95. Very few lenses in m43 are much sharper than the two Voigtlanders.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 7, 2013)

Beautiful metal casing, and like the other MSC lenses, AF should be a step from older lenses.

Not as high of a resolving lens as the 20 1.7 (nor is it a screamer like the new FF Sigma 35 1.4), but seems to be a fairly complete package and DPR has made a wonderful gallery of samples.

I do wonder why Olympus didn't correct vignetting better. To have such high vignetting seems odd since it's designed for the smaller four-thirds sensor. This is unfortunate for LR4 users as there are no Olympus Lens Profiles, but I suppose manual correction is not at all difficult.

Good job, thanks.

1 upvote
Simon97
By Simon97 (Feb 7, 2013)

Lens has high center sharpness at wide apertures but is a bit dreamy near the edges and there is a bit much lateral color fringing. Still a great general use focal length.

I wish Nikon would make a 13mm f/2 for the N1 series.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 7, 2013)

Agree with pretty much everything you've said, except I'd prefer a 13 f/1.8 or perhaps faster for my V1.

The 18.5 1.8 is an excellent lens, and is extremely small, so Nikon should be able to make a wide faster than f2.

I'm waiting for the announced 32 1.2. N which should be great.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Aaron Tsuru
By Aaron Tsuru (Feb 7, 2013)

This lens is perfect for my Pen! I love the 17mm f/2.8 (and the lens cap lens)... I'd replace the 2.8 with this in a heart beat, but I think it's just going to be too expensive to justify for the "2nd camera", even if I use it as my 1st more often than not these days.

0 upvotes
BBking83
By BBking83 (Feb 7, 2013)

I understand that for DPRev's reviews, you want to give examples of how an "average" photographer would use the camera. A VERY average photographer.

But "selfies"? Seriously? OK...

@LetsDoTheStapler I can tell you are a follower.

"Oh look, iPhones are better!!"
"Oh look, that's a better photo because of teh bokeh!!"

BTW, your iPhone does not do true DoF as it's done with software but you probably wouldn't know that...

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Feb 7, 2013)

There are no self-portraits in this gallery.

12 upvotes
BBking83
By BBking83 (Feb 7, 2013)

Fair enough.

These look very much like they do, though:

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/reviewsamples/photos/2317647/p1060002-acr?inalbum=olympus-m-zuiko-digital-17mm-f1-8-preview-samples
http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/reviewsamples/photos/2317658/pb250002-acr?inalbum=olympus-m-zuiko-digital-17mm-f1-8-preview-samples

Because of the office background.

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Feb 7, 2013)

... and even if there were, they'd still tell you something about distortion behaviour of the lens.
So, why not?

1 upvote
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (Feb 7, 2013)

Be nice.

Comment edited 10 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
BBking83
By BBking83 (Feb 7, 2013)

For a better idea on lens distortion behaviour on this lens, have a look at this: http://www.lenstip.com/357.6-Lens_review-Olympus_M.Zuiko_Digital_17_mm_f_1.8_Distortion.html

I don't know, what do you want me to say? Sorry?? Geez... :P

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Feb 7, 2013)

I can see what you mean - the way he's got his shoulder to me does make it plausible that his arm is also connected to the camera. I can assure you it wasn't, though.

1 upvote
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (Feb 7, 2013)

Wide angle (ish) + close head shots will do that- give distortions to the face.

0 upvotes
Scott Mac
By Scott Mac (Feb 8, 2013)

Granted the photos in this gallery have little artistic merit, but they are useful for guaging the quality of the lens. There are photos of trees and foliage, for example, which allows us to look for chromatic aberration. The head-and-shoulders photo is pretty average, but it allows us to check out the background bokeh. Some of the other photos allow us to check other features of the lens, such as sharpness (which appears to be rather poor).

0 upvotes
Total comments: 254
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