What a disappointing situation with the 17mm lens! Why?

Started Sep 2, 2013 | Discussions thread
Sergey Borachev
Senior MemberPosts: 2,535Gear list
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Re: You must have seen (or had) bad copies?
In reply to honeyiscool, Sep 2, 2013

honeyiscool wrote:

I don't get it. There are two very good lenses: 20mm f/1.7 vs. 17mm f/1.8.

The 20mm is the slightly better image quality, but inferior in other things.

OK, is it that hard to put some better motor in the 20mm to make it faster and more quiet, or to use some pretty casing and mark some distance scale etc to make it great?

The 17mm delivers pleasing image quality, I do suppose it's not as special in that regard as the 20mm, but it is beyond excellent at taking pictures in all kinds of difficult situations like few lenses can. Ordinary? Hardly.

Is this 17mm is beyond excellent, what is the 12mm or the 12-35mm?

See, I feel like there are probably two kinds of photographs: 1) those that capture a fleeting moment, and 2) those that are carefully set up. I feel like the technical prowess of a lens is not particularly important when it comes to capturing moments that are passing. It's important to capture a less than perfect image of the moment, as long as it is in focus and basically correctly captured, than to be unable to capture it at all. The 17mm f/1.8 is PERFECT for that. I really doubt you're going to find another 35mm equivalent lens solution right now, aside from DSLR (possibly), that can get you that kind of quick response and fast performance in all kinds of situations. For everything else, there is the 20mm, when the visual quality matters more than getting the picture in the first place.

Yes, it would be great if one day there was a lens that could do it all, but it's not like the Panasonic 20mm is all that dire when it comes to AF speed and hunting. Yes, I complain about it because there is a better solution in 17mm f/1.8 for my kind of shooting, but it is still faster than the Canon 22mm, for instance. And the X100S isn't all that fast or accurate, either. 20mm is about twice as slow as the 17mm, I would say, but that basically puts it on the same level as most other mirrorless solutions at that focal length. Watch any real world test of even the mighty RX1. It's no better than the 20mm at AF speed/accuracy.

No argument at all about the AF performance of the 17mm lens.  I already mentioned it is impressive in AF performance, in flare control, and looks.  Only one of those is an optical quality however.  What I would like to see is something like the 12mm (not just in looks) or the 25mm f/1.4, i.e. all-around excellence, not just some of them and ordinary in others.  I use "ordinary" for its  overall IQ because it is when compared with the 14mm and the Sigma 19mm, both about half its price.  "Overall"" because it is better in a couple of things here and there, but worse in others.

It would be great if owner feedback is supported by test measurements, which happens for all the trully excellent lenses.  Relying on word of mouth alone is not what I want to do.  In this case, the feedback is not only unsupported by optical test measurements of reliable reviewers but it is contradicted by those measurements.

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