Olympus 17 1.8 Review from Lenstip

Started Nov 20, 2012 | Discussions
marike6
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Olympus 17 1.8 Review from Lenstip
Nov 20, 2012

In case you don't speak Polish, here is the Lenstip version of the Olympus 17 1.8 Review.

http://www.lenstip.com/index.php?test=obiektywu&test_ob=357

When the 17 1.8 was announced, a lot of people here were throwing the 20 1.7 under the bus, which I thought a bit premature.  How many will still change from the 20 1.7 to the 17 1.8?

Best, Markus

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Kim Letkeman
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Re: Olympus 17 1.8 Review from Lenstip
In reply to marike6, Nov 20, 2012

marike6 wrote:

In case you don't speak Polish, here is the Lenstip version of the Olympus 17 1.8 Review.

http://www.lenstip.com/index.php?test=obiektywu&test_ob=357

When the 17 1.8 was announced, a lot of people here were throwing the 20 1.7 under the bus, which I thought a bit premature. How many will still change from the 20 1.7 to the 17 1.8?

Yeah ... if you take a look at this lens versus the Panny 20 1.7, you will see that the Panny is better everywhere ... center resolution at 1.7 is a hair worse than the Olympus at 2.8 ...

Not much of a contest, although if you want 34mm versus 40mm the choice is obviously the Oly ...

What is really amusing is how the review of the Panny 14mm 2.5 is lukewarm because it does not reach the dizzying heights (75) of the Panny 20 ... yet this Oly does not even get past 65 ...

The two Pannies make a lot more sense than the very expensive Oly I'm afraid ...

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alatchin
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Re: Olympus 17 1.8 Review from Lenstip
In reply to marike6, Nov 20, 2012

While people go on about resolution for the lens as the benchmark of performance, the excellent control of flare, fast AF, and lack of LoCa along with large aperture combined with unique build quality should make this lens desirable to many users.

This could very well be a very highly regarded lens. As for the 20mm, I have the 25mm and havent really considered it.

Abraham

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duckling
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Re: Olympus 17 1.8 Review from Lenstip
In reply to marike6, Nov 20, 2012

I'm going to replace mine. The ease of zone focusing makes the new 17 most appealing to me despite its (apparent) numerous shortcomings. The slightly wider angle of view is an added bonus. The 20mm has always been slightly too narrow for the perspective I seek when photographing people. I know it's optically superior, but it's less useful to my needs.

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amalric
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Different charts...
In reply to alatchin, Nov 20, 2012

alatchin wrote:

While people go on about resolution for the lens as the benchmark of performance, the excellent control of flare, fast AF, and lack of LoCa along with large aperture combined with unique build quality should make this lens desirable to many users.

This could very well be a very highly regarded lens. As for the 20mm, I have the 25mm and havent really considered it.

Indeed. I am not sure how to read the makers' resolution chart, by comparison,  here:

http://www.openpn.com/15/11/2012/olympus-m-zuiko-digital-17mm-f1-8/

It looks very similar, even better than the 12/2. LensTip conclusion is a bit off the top, although there is a grain of truth:

"To sum up, in my opinion it wasn’t senseless to launch such a lens on the market, it is needed, but certainly not at a current price. When the price tag is reduced by two or even three times the users of the Micro 4/3 will get a cheap, well-made and optically decent “prime” which can be a nice supplement of the 14-42 kit lens."

It will go down but not that much

I am not sure what types of targets Lenstip uses to determine resolution, but after seeing Robin's pictures in real life, I am beginning to wonder if above 50 LPMM the human eye can detect any difference.

Therefore other factors might come into play: evenness across the frame, absence of aberrations, colour signature, microcontrast, and the lens seems to have them in spades.

Was it HCB who said that sharpness is a bourgeois concept?

Am.

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Starred
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Re: Different charts...
In reply to amalric, Nov 20, 2012

Lenstip conclusion:

This lens is not exactly a successful construction and it should have been thought out better – I write it without scruple. I could even call it ill-considered. Why? Because it repeats some features you can already find in the Micro 4/3 system. When Panasonic and Olympus companies announced the launch of a new system I thought they were going to support each other, filling in their respective gaps. Meanwhile the Olympus 1.8/17 occupies a place already taken by the Panasonic 1.7/20 - a faster, smaller and better lens. If Olympus wanted to have an equivalent of a full frame 35 mm device in its line-up it could have offered its customers an expensive, solid lens, made in Japan, with f/1.0 or f/1.2 aperture (f/1.4 in the last resort) which would supplement the existing 2.8/17 and 1.7/20 devices nicely. If they didn’t want to deal with such a fast aperture, in my humble opinion a 1.8/14 instrument would be much better and I would accept it more gladly. It is true there is the Panasonic 2.5/14 but it is noticeably slower so launching a lens by 1 EV faster would be more than justified.

Why the tested lens is nothing to be proud of? Although it can provide more or less sharp images, useful even at the maximum relative aperture, it lags behind everything you were used to when dealing with Olympus optics. That company can construct really outstanding lenses and they have proven it more than once. I don’t really grasp what they counted on, presenting such an average instrument as the 1.8/17 at such a price.

A lot of half measures is the next reason which makes me say the tested lens is ill-considered . The Olympus is noticeably bigger than the 1.7/20 Panasonic “pancake” but not much faster; it doesn’t use the potential of the Micro 4/3 sensor to the full (high vignetting, an average image quality on the edge of the frame, weak correction of such aberrations as astigmatism or distortion). It seems that, compared to the Panasonic, the augmentation of dimensions didn’t bright any good effect so what was the point of it?

To sum up, in my opinion it wasn’t senseless to launch such a lens on the market, it is needed, but certainly not at a current price. When the price tag is reduced by two or even three times the users of the Micro 4/3 will get a cheap, well-made and optically decent “prime” which can be a nice supplement of the 14-42 kit lens.

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amalric
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Re: Different charts...
In reply to Starred, Nov 20, 2012

Since it is a quote you forget the "".

Surely you can do a better effort than copying and stay mum - expose a personal opinion, anyone? LOL.

Am.

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Adventsam
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Re:Lenstip maybe need a new body?
In reply to marike6, Nov 20, 2012

marike6 wrote:

In case you don't speak Polish, here is the Lenstip version of the Olympus 17 1.8 Review.

http://www.lenstip.com/index.php?test=obiektywu&test_ob=357

When the 17 1.8 was announced, a lot of people here were throwing the 20 1.7 under the bus, which I thought a bit premature. How many will still change from the 20 1.7 to the 17 1.8?

Best, Markus

Maybe their camera body is faulty, all recent reviews seem to say m43 has poor iq?

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tt321
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Re: Different charts...
In reply to amalric, Nov 20, 2012

amalric wrote:

Since it is a quote you forget the "".

Surely you can do a better effort than copying and stay mum - expose a personal opinion, anyone? LOL.

Here comes a personal opinion of mine: The Olympus camera division seems disconnected within itself, the marketing and price setting division seemingly having little common language with the engineering one. We have fantastic optics such as the 45/1.8 and more than decent ones like the 40-150 dressed up in cheap plastic and sold for almost nothing, and so-so optics all pimped up and sold for bundles. All the better for people like me who don't care about how lenses are dressed up so we could pick out the excellent optics for small cost, all subsidized by buyers of the more expensive ones...

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Gregm61
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Re: Different charts...
In reply to Starred, Nov 20, 2012

Starred wrote:

Lenstip conclusion:

This lens is not exactly a successful construction and it should have been thought out better – I write it without scruple. I could even call it ill-considered. Why? Because it repeats some features you can already find in the Micro 4/3 system. When Panasonic and Olympus companies announced the launch of a new system I thought they were going to support each other, filling in their respective gaps. Meanwhile the Olympus 1.8/17 occupies a place already taken by the Panasonic 1.7/20 - a faster, smaller and better lens. If Olympus wanted to have an equivalent of a full frame 35 mm device in its line-up it could have offered its customers an expensive, solid lens, made in Japan, with f/1.0 or f/1.2 aperture (f/1.4 in the last resort) which would supplement the existing 2.8/17 and 1.7/20 devices nicely. If they didn’t want to deal with such a fast aperture, in my humble opinion a 1.8/14 instrument would be much better and I would accept it more gladly. It is true there is the Panasonic 2.5/14 but it is noticeably slower so launching a lens by 1 EV faster would be more than justified.

Why the tested lens is nothing to be proud of? Although it can provide more or less sharp images, useful even at the maximum relative aperture, it lags behind everything you were used to when dealing with Olympus optics. That company can construct really outstanding lenses and they have proven it more than once. I don’t really grasp what they counted on, presenting such an average instrument as the 1.8/17 at such a price.

A lot of half measures is the next reason which makes me say the tested lens is ill-considered . The Olympus is noticeably bigger than the 1.7/20 Panasonic “pancake” but not much faster; it doesn’t use the potential of the Micro 4/3 sensor to the full (high vignetting, an average image quality on the edge of the frame, weak correction of such aberrations as astigmatism or distortion). It seems that, compared to the Panasonic, the augmentation of dimensions didn’t bright any good effect so what was the point of it?

To sum up, in my opinion it wasn’t senseless to launch such a lens on the market, it is needed, but certainly not at a current price. When the price tag is reduced by two or even three times the users of the Micro 4/3 will get a cheap, well-made and optically decent “prime” which can be a nice supplement of the 14-42 kit lens.

Ming's review is much more useful. Maybe not as technical for the "detal" oriented, but for someone more interested in just taking pictures....

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50301466

It does look like, if the snap/clutch mechanism of the 17/1.8 is not something you want or need, and the improved AF speed is not important, the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 is still an excellent choice for less money.

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enrique santa
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Re: Olympus 17 1.8 Review from Lenstip
In reply to marike6, Nov 20, 2012

You forget to mention other reviews -I think at least three of them of well known photographers- that conclude that the 17.1.8 is better or sightly better than the 20.17 pana. You also forget to take a look at the images of this photographers and take your own conclusión.

I have had the 20 1.7 pana for almost 3 years and it was my favourite lens. I sell it and change for the 25mm PL five months ago.

I also remember the same negative conclusions about de 45mm PL and the 12 mm Oly,  only because they are not cheap.....I have both and my personal conclusion is that they are superb lens.

Is a personal decision to have a ton of mediocre lenses ( and 2-3-4 cams) or have just 3 lens and one cam -this is my case- very good ones........Now with this new Oly I´ll have four, very good ones, and my OMD.

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marike6
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Re: Different charts...
In reply to amalric, Nov 20, 2012

amalric wrote:

I am not sure what types of targets Lenstip uses to determine resolution, but after seeing Robin's pictures in real life, I am beginning to wonder if above 50 LPMM the human eye can detect any difference.

Robin Wong, and indeed most people posting reduced size web samples almost always apply some PP, and sharpening.  You do bring up an interesting point about what the eye can detect, but if you've ever shot with say the PL 25 1.4 vs one of the kit lens like the Olympus 12-50, it doesn't take much pixel peeping to see a clear and significant difference in crispness, bokeh, color/contrast, etc.

Therefore other factors might come into play: evenness across the frame, absence of aberrations, colour signature, microcontrast, and the lens seems to have them in spades.

"Evenness across the frame" and "absence of aberrations", are you sure you read the same Lenstip review?  The list of "Cons" and the second lukewarm entry on the "Pro" list makes me wonder:

Pros:

  • small, very handy and solid casing,
  • decent image quality in the frame centre,
  • slight longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • moderate coma,
  • good work against bright light,
  • efficient and accurate autofocus.
Cons:
  • very high distortion,
  • significant vignetting,
  • huge astigmatism, visible up to f/5.6 aperture,
  • modest accessory kit.
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Kim Letkeman
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Re: Different charts...
In reply to tt321, Nov 20, 2012

tt321 wrote:

amalric wrote:

Since it is a quote you forget the "".

Surely you can do a better effort than copying and stay mum - expose a personal opinion, anyone? LOL.

Here comes a personal opinion of mine: The Olympus camera division seems disconnected within itself, the marketing and price setting division seemingly having little common language with the engineering one. We have fantastic optics such as the 45/1.8 and more than decent ones like the 40-150 dressed up in cheap plastic and sold for almost nothing, and so-so optics all pimped up and sold for bundles. All the better for people like me who don't care about how lenses are dressed up so we could pick out the excellent optics for small cost, all subsidized by buyers of the more expensive ones...

A very fair point ...

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eques
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Oh, please!!
In reply to Adventsam, Nov 20, 2012

Adventsam wrote:

Maybe their camera body is faulty, all recent reviews seem to say m43 has poor iq?

Perhaps you should read their reviews, before you write such things.

They praised the Oly 75 highly, also the 60 and 45. So far to the recent reviews.

And at a time, when everyone on this forum and other reviews jubilated about the qualities of the 12 mm, their summary was divided between advantages and shortcomings of this lens. Well, now that the dust raised by the fan-boys has settled, the last opinions on this lens here on this forum were rather lacking this jubilation, as this 12 prime is optically not quite as good as the 12-35 zoom.

So, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese: first read, then think, finally write.

Peter.

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azazel1024
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Re: Olympus 17 1.8 Review from Lenstip
In reply to alatchin, Nov 20, 2012

alatchin wrote:

While people go on about resolution for the lens as the benchmark of performance, the excellent control of flare, fast AF, and lack of LoCa along with large aperture combined with unique build quality should make this lens desirable to many users.

This could very well be a very highly regarded lens. As for the 20mm, I have the 25mm and havent really considered it.

Abraham

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Yup and the resolution is a fair amount higher than the 17/2.8, which is a nice perk (resolution on that is borderline for me. Its okay, but I'd love it better and the 17/1.8 seems to deliver tangibly better resolution). Sure, I'd love it to be bittingly sharp, higher than high, 80lp/mm MTF50 at f/1.8...but it is roughly on the level of the 12/2, which not a lot of people seem to complain about.

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amalric
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Re: Different charts...
In reply to marike6, Nov 20, 2012

marike6 wrote:

amalric wrote:


I am not sure what types of targets Lenstip uses to determine resolution, but after seeing Robin's pictures in real life, I am beginning to wonder if above 50 LPMM the human eye can detect any difference.

Robin Wong, and indeed most people posting reduced size web samples almost always apply some PP, and sharpening. You do bring up an interesting point about what the eye can detect, but if you've ever shot with say the PL 25 1.4 vs one of the kit lens like the Olympus 12-50, it doesn't take much pixel peeping to see a clear and significant difference in crispness, bokeh, color/contrast, etc.

I am not familiar wt Panny lenses, so I leave the comparison to you even if I remember that by your standards the 25/1.4 drops a lot in resolution at the edges.

I raise the point because of this:

http://www.lenstip.com/183.4-Lens_review-Olympus_M.Zuiko_Digital_17_mm_f_2.8_Image_resolution.html

The 17/2.8 reaches 50 LPMM as it top performance against 66 LPM of the 17/1.8.

Do you really think one can detect the difference, unless one spends the evening getting blind in front of a computer screen?

I am pretty sure that HCB's Leica never reached 50 LPMM and yet he took impressive images. Composition is not sharpness.

BTW Lenstip's decency level is only 43 LPMM!

Therefore other factors might come into play: evenness across the frame, absence of aberrations, colour signature, microcontrast, and the lens seems to have them in spades.

"Evenness across the frame" and "absence of aberrations", are you sure you read the same Lenstip review? The list of "Cons" and the second lukewarm entry on the "Pro" list makes me wonder:

Pros:

  • small, very handy and solid casing,
  • decent image quality in the frame centre,
  • slight longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • moderate coma,
  • good work against bright light,
  • efficient and accurate autofocus.
Cons:
  • very high distortion,
  • significant vignetting,
  • huge astigmatism, visible up to f/5.6 aperture,
  • modest accessory kit.

How times change. The same Lenstip was concluding about the 17/2.8:

  • very small, but looking sturdy body,
  • excellent image quality at the center of the frame,
  • good image quality at the edge of the frame,
  • slight astigmatism,
  • quiet and accurate autofocus.

And yet according  to the numberless connoisseurs of this forum the lens was pure crap.

Truth is that Lenstip has opinions like everybody else, and the downturn bites their wallet too, otherwise why would they enthuse about a 50 LPMM lens, and scrap a 66 LPMM one? Where is the consistency?

ROTFL. Polish are known to be moody and rhapsodic, although Lenstip is one of my favourite sites.

I am not going to buy the lens, because I do very well with the 17/2.8, and don't deem myself superior to HCB. So I have no axe to grind.

Just plain sense, LOL

Am.

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bluelemmy
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Re: Oh, please!!
In reply to eques, Nov 20, 2012

I had the 12mm and sold it when I bought the 12-35 zoom because there was little performance difference and therefore no reason to duplicate the focal length.

I have the 20mm and the 25mm and hardly ever use the 25mm because I prefer the feel and convenience of the 20.

Given the cheapness and superb performance of the Olympus 45mm, this lens does seem a bit disappointing at this price by comparison.

If I didn't have the 20mm I might consider this a nice match for my 45mm but given the price and performance, I can't see any reason to 'upgrade'.

You could always get a 35mm f1.4 for 35mm film cameras (not always great performance wide open) and this 17mm with an f1.4 aperture might have been a better addition to the M34 arsenal.

Still, more choice is no bad thing.

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Adventsam
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Re: Oh, please!!
In reply to eques, Nov 20, 2012

eques wrote:

Adventsam wrote:

Maybe their camera body is faulty, all recent reviews seem to say m43 has poor iq?

Perhaps you should read their reviews, before you write such things.

They praised the Oly 75 highly, also the 60 and 45. So far to the recent reviews.

And at a time, when everyone on this forum and other reviews jubilated about the qualities of the 12 mm, their summary was divided between advantages and shortcomings of this lens. Well, now that the dust raised by the fan-boys has settled, the last opinions on this lens here on this forum were rather lacking this jubilation, as this 12 prime is optically not quite as good as the 12-35 zoom.

So, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese: first read, then think, finally write.

Peter.

Oh pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeese, how can we take these guys seriously when the use the E-PL1? be  nice to see it tested with a newer body, don't you think?

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Kim Letkeman
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Re: Different charts...
In reply to amalric, Nov 20, 2012

amalric wrote:

The 17/2.8 reaches 50 LPMM as it top performance against 66 LPM of the 17/1.8.

Do you really think one can detect the difference, unless one spends the evening getting blind in front of a computer screen?

Are you serious? Of course differences like that are noticeable ... it's called "bite" ...

I am pretty sure that HCB's Leica never reached 50 LPMM and yet he took impressive images. Composition is not sharpness.

Trite comments about entirely different factors still do not mitigate fairly big differences between two lenses.

BTW Lenstip's decency level is only 43 LPMM!

If you are only interested in a lens that is "decent" then you should just buy what you like and stop worrying about differences, no?

How times change. The same Lenstip was concluding about the 17/2.8:

  • very small, but looking sturdy body,
  • excellent image quality at the center of the frame,
  • good image quality at the edge of the frame,
  • slight astigmatism,
  • quiet and accurate autofocus.

And yet according to the numberless connoisseurs of this forum the lens was pure crap.

That lens is noticeably less sharp than the ones that came later ... there is no surprise when people see differences that are clear.

Truth is that Lenstip has opinions like everybody else, and the downturn bites their wallet too, otherwise why would they enthuse about a 50 LPMM lens, and scrap a 66 LPMM one? Where is the consistency?

Do your opinions change based one what has changed since your last opinion? Or do you never change your opinion, despite evidence that you should?

Most would call the latter "obstinate", not "consistent"

ROTFL.

So is everyone reading what you are writing ...

Polish are known to be moody and rhapsodic, although Lenstip is one of my favourite sites.

Nothing like dismissive classification by culture to really nail down your creds

I am not going to buy the lens, because I do very well with the 17/2.8, and don't deem myself superior to HCB. So I have no axe to grind.

You just ground the living shti out of something ... if not an ax, then what?

Just plain sense, LOL

Yes, we're still laughing ... not at you, just near you

Based on the tests, I would buy the Panny 14 and 20 and give both Oly lenses a miss ... but YMMV because you are not above HCB.

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noirdesir
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Re: Oh, please!!
In reply to Adventsam, Nov 20, 2012

Adventsam wrote:

eques wrote:

Adventsam wrote:

Maybe their camera body is faulty, all recent reviews seem to say m43 has poor iq?

Perhaps you should read their reviews, before you write such things.

They praised the Oly 75 highly, also the 60 and 45. So far to the recent reviews.

And at a time, when everyone on this forum and other reviews jubilated about the qualities of the 12 mm, their summary was divided between advantages and shortcomings of this lens. Well, now that the dust raised by the fan-boys has settled, the last opinions on this lens here on this forum were rather lacking this jubilation, as this 12 prime is optically not quite as good as the 12-35 zoom.

So, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese: first read, then think, finally write.

Peter.

Oh pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeese, how can we take these guys seriously when the use the E-PL1? be nice to see it tested with a newer body, don't you think?

Yes, but it is also nice to have tests that are comparable and that requires the same body for all lens tests. Sure, at some point they need to upgrade to provide more detailed results but sitting out one camera resolution step is probably a good idea.

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