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

Started Sep 2, 2013 | Discussions thread
Sergey Borachev
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Re: I fully agree on that bit of 12/17 comparison.
In reply to Paul De Bra, Sep 2, 2013

Paul De Bra wrote:

I agree that the 12mm lens shows that Olympus can do better. The 17mm being less wide should have been equally good at just a bit lower price. But I guess sharpness isn't everything in judging the value of a lens. The 12mm and 17mm f/1.8 both get the same overall score of 19 on dxomark, with the 17mm showing less sharpness.

But especially in these lower focal lengths so much goes into engineering a lens design... who knows what makes one focal length just that bit easier to get right and another much more difficult. Lens design is a very complicated matter and to some extent it gets easier with longer focal lengths, once you exceed the lens elements to sensor plane distance by enough. For short focal lengths I wouldn't be able to tell which focal length is easiest to make, 12, 14, 17, 19, 20, 25... but after that it starts getting better.

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Slowly learning to use the Olympus OM-D E-M5.
Public pictures at http://debra.zenfolio.com/.

I am no expert and I hope someone can confirm this.

My understanding is that FL around 50mm is the easiest to make good. That is why 50mm was the "standard" lens for decades in SLRs and FFs, although that FL is not really IMO the most versatile, especially given the extra high resolution we have nowadays with FF cameras. 35mm would be much better as a standard kit lens to include as it is more versatile and a little cropping should give a 50mm FOV and still have heaps of IQ. The only problem is, again, 50mm or thereabout lenses, are much easier to make fast and cheap and reasonably good, hence their use as kit lenses in the film days. This is also the reason I believe that Olympus 45mm f/1.8 M43 lens can be so good and cheap, or the Sigma 60mm f/2.8 can be dirt cheap and just as good or even better, though not as fast. Going away from 50mm makes it progressively harder and costlier to make the lens fast and good. This is why the 12mm is such a nice lens, considering its width, and why the 17mm f/1.8 is not good as it is not as wide and still tested worse. While we gain in cheap quality portrait lenses (50mm or so) in M43 when compared to FF, we lose out particularly in the UWA lenses, as evident from the lack of really fast UWA lenses in M43. This is obviously very different from your understanding.

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