New Olympus 17mm 1.8

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
micksh6
Senior MemberPosts: 2,551Gear list
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Re: New Olympus 17mm 1.8
In reply to FrankS009, 6 months ago

FrankS009 wrote:

“Photographers, like few other artists I can imagine, have an insanely personal relationship with their gear. …we can’t help it that our craft is so dependent on gear, but it’s scary how quickly the gear becomes the not the means but the end. “ This statement from David duChemin, one of my favourite authors about photography (and whom I quote in my signature line), reminds me just how attached we can become to our cameras, our lenses, and to the companies that produce them.

This thread began with an ode in praise of a particular lens by an owner. It then became an attack on critics of the lens, and against another lens that was perceived as a rival. A great deal of time has been spent on assertions about whether more people prefer one over the other, or quasi technical analyses of the differences from the points of view of owners, and sometimes of good photographers who write blogs where they give personal judgments not divorced from their own strong feelings and attachments. People feel what they feel.

Throughout the thread, Anders W. has taken a position that infuriates those that oppose him because he simply does not accept untested hypotheses and statements based on personal opinions. He has been called the most intelligent member of the forum; that may or may not be the case, but he certainly is one of the most rigorous in his judgments. He has both Olympus and Panasonic lenses, so he does not speak from the point of view of one company or another. No doubt he is attached to his gear too, but he is willing to stand up for what he thinks. Some of us might agree and let him do the work for us. Others might not. But for one I consider what he has been saying in this thread to be based on good sense, and a certain amount of restraint.

I like seeing these "Anders vs the World" fights because I'm always wondering how it's possible to put so much time and energy to defend some rather minor point. Especially if the point is wrong.

When 20mm lens reputation is in danger everything goes into a fight including double standards. If one of very few tests confirms Anders's point of view it doesn't matter if the test was scientific or controlled.

Anders likes referring to Pekka Potka's test, but there is no mentioning of subject magnification in that test. I highly doubt that Pekka Potka kept FOV the same between different lenses, and other conditions are unknown.

On the other hand, when test results are opposite to Anders's view, the tests are put under unprecedented scrutiny, my tests are no exception.

I did several tests of 20mm, 45mm, 25mm F1.4, 17mm F1.8 and other lenses and all tests show 20mm F1.7 measurably slower than other lenses. Precisely - about 100 milliseconds slower when 20mm doesn't hunt, but it also hunts more often in the same conditions when other lenses don't:
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51100254
Another test few months later, fixing flaws of previous method:
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52045407

Of course I was accused in bias and all deadly sins because I didn't position focus box at exactly the same place in the first test. But, later I showed that such small errors don't matter:
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52049352

20mm F1.7 will be slower than other lenses anyway, regardless of test method. What matters more - focus target surface. 20mm mostly has problems with curved targets like human faces (where we often want to focus), that is at least on Olympus cameras. Focus tests on flat walls may not show 20mm slowness that clear.

To summarize - lenses like 25mm F1.4, 45mm F1.8 and even 14-42mm IIR zoom (when it can focus) all focus significantly faster than 20mm F1.7 unless you shoot brick walls.

But, 17mm F1.8 is just instantaneous, it's much faster than all lenses above. Both tests and my personal experience show that. So, I am glad I replaced 20mm F1.7 with 17mm F1.8, even though 20mm was slightly sharper.

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