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

Started Sep 2, 2013 | Discussions
Sergey Borachev
Senior MemberPosts: 2,632Gear list
Like?
Re: What a disappointing situation with the 17mm lens! Why?
In reply to Silvernitrate, Sep 2, 2013

Sergey Borachev wrote:

Still waiting for a meaningful reply.

This is a discussion of the need of a better 35mm equivalent FL lens, not about whether you like the lens that you have bought (if not based on tests that are reliable for comparisons), or whether I have bought this lens or can take good photos, or how many people have decided to buy the lens, ... They are all irrelevant.

For example, one of my many points is this.

If a much wider 12mm lens can be made to clearly outperform the 17mm, then the 17mm is not so stellar, even though there is a small difference in maximum aperture. It should be possible to make the 17mm at least as good if not better, since it is not as wide and it is not constrained otherwise (by size restrictions like with pancakes), or by other considerations.

It should be clear also that a better lens is possible if a zoom is overall sharper than it, except for particular apertures. It is disappointing to me if not to the owners who for various reasons bought it that its optical qualities are give and take not any better than pancakes in sharpness, distortion, vignetting and certainly not in field of curvature characteristics. All these are well documented in detailed test results. I don't think Lenstip, DXOMark, Photozone, etc all conspire to bash this lens.

I have as yet no meaningful arguments on any of these, or on why the wide apertures of this lens is useless in many situations due to problems arising from its poor field of curvature property, which means such a fast lens not much better than a slower one like a 18mm f/2.8. It is also strange is that no one apparently would wish for a better performance, which should be quite possible.

While it is fine to say you like your lens and can get excellent pictures out of it (so can many P&S or compact camera lenses), it should be clear that a 17mm with better IQ would make it possible for you to do even more, easier, and have sharper pictures, more keepers, less problems. And it should be entirely possible to make it better, much better.

While it is fine to say you like your lens and can get excellent pictures out of it (so can many P&S or compact camera lenses), it should be clear that a 17mm with better IQ would make it possible for you to do even more, easier, and have sharper pictures, more keepers, less problems. And it should be entirely possible to make it better, much better.

Lenses are just not designed to give the performance your looking for at wide apertures, I don`t own the 17mm f1.8 but I bet its performance is better than the average anyway.

I see.

Thanks for your explanation. You made my day.

Yeah, I expected too much from a lens and from members on this forum

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Moti
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,633
Like?
I don't think so...
In reply to Sergey Borachev, Sep 2, 2013

Sergey Borachev wrote:

...It is time for someone to make a weatherproof and convenient to use 17mm f/1.8 with good IQ now, don't you think?

No. I think it is time for someone to learn how to use a lens that the majority of the users can take beautiful photos and are very happy with it.

Blaming the tool was always a big speciality for those who can't use it properly.

Moti

-- hide signature --
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Brian Mosley
Forum ProPosts: 20,406Gear list
Like?
Possible solution for you...
In reply to Sergey Borachev, Sep 2, 2013

The Fuji X100s?

I haven't tried the 17mm f1.8 yet, and will probably buy the E-M1 with 12-40mm f2.8 next, since I bought the X100 before a decent 35mm EFL option was available for m4/3rds.

If you're looking for the best possible option right now for that focal length, I honestly don't think you could beat the X100s for ergonomics, features and image quality.

It's nice to have choice!

Brian
--
Join our free worldwide support network here :
http://www.ukphotosafari.org/join-the-ukpsg/
UK, Peak District Local Olympus Safari Group : http://snipurl.com/bqtd7-ukpsg
Keep up with me here : http://twitter.com/alert_bri

 Brian Mosley's gear list:Brian Mosley's gear list
Olympus E-M1
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Vinc T
Regular MemberPosts: 164
Like?
New - SLR Magic 17mm
In reply to Sergey Borachev, Sep 2, 2013

Available Spring 2014:

http://www.43rumors.com/first-slr-magic-17mm-t1-6-cine-lens-test-available-in-spring-2014-for-499/

May be you can come back in another 6 months or so?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
EvokeEmotion
Contributing MemberPosts: 882Gear list
Like?
Re: Possible solution for you...
In reply to Brian Mosley, Sep 2, 2013

Brian Mosley wrote:

The Fuji X100s?

I haven't tried the 17mm f1.8 yet, and will probably buy the E-M1 with 12-40mm f2.8 next, since I bought the X100 before a decent 35mm EFL option was available for m4/3rds.

If you're looking for the best possible option right now for that focal length, I honestly don't think you could beat the X100s for ergonomics, features and image quality.

It's nice to have choice!

Brian
--
Join our free worldwide support network here :
http://www.ukphotosafari.org/join-the-ukpsg/
UK, Peak District Local Olympus Safari Group : http://snipurl.com/bqtd7-ukpsg
Keep up with me here : http://twitter.com/alert_bri

Or this:

Cheap, fast, great IQ. Now let's just hope for a better body from Canon. Whatever you do, you don't need to take the snorty attitude some of these folks are throwing at you.

 EvokeEmotion's gear list:EvokeEmotion's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS M Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM +9 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
MT
MT
Senior MemberPosts: 1,838
Like?
Re: Possible solution for you...
In reply to EvokeEmotion, Sep 2, 2013

I agree with the OP.

I have the mft primes in 14, 20, 25, 45, 75 and the Rokinon 7.5mm.  However, not the 17mm though I love that focal length. I do feel that it should have been better and could have been.

So I'm with you and am not a whiner...:)

MTMT

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
deleted-13120401
Regular MemberPosts: 212
Like?
Re: What a disappointing situation with the 17mm lens! Why?
In reply to Sergey Borachev, Sep 2, 2013

Sergey Borachev wrote:

I created a thread about this disappointing situation but it got nowhere. It's been 6 months and we still have the same disappointing situation. The following is extracted from the previous thread and updated.

M43 is known for the best lens range for mirrorless cameras and there are many stellar lenses. Now, 35mm equivalent is a very important FL, and what most people would regard as the the FL to get if they can have only one single prime, hence its popularity throughout camera history.

However, there is nothing at all in M43 if you want a really good 35mm equivalent lens for general purposes.

1. Olympus 17mm f/2.8 - Inadequate IQ. Better than nothing, I suppose. The only reason for having the lens is small size, but the Panasonic 14mm is even smaller, cheaper, and I bet still as sharp after cropping to the same FOV, based on test results.

2. Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 - Very good resolution. It is however slightly wide but OK. This lens is a bit slow, but very good value given its low price. I am however trying to find better than a basic lens.

3. Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 - Very sharp, though slight,y uneven across the frame, but still impressive in IQ. Very good speed too. There are however some flaws, banding from ISO 1600, noisy and sluggish AF.

4. Sigma 19mm f/2.8 - Also quite sharp, fast and quiet AF too and good value. But it is a bit slow, more than 1 stop slower than the 20mm.

5. Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 - Excellent speed and bokeh. A very nice lens indeed. All good, except that it is 50mm equivalent FL, which is not ideal for a general purpose walk-about lens and restricting for buildings, landscape, travels or when you want to get closer and more intimate with your subjects.

6. Nockton 17.5mm f/0.5. - Beautifully piece of metal and glass and great specs. Excellent dreamy bokeh. The lack of AF plus the weight and size make this not enjoyable for many situations, including street shooting or parties, etc Too niche and expensive.

7. Olympus 17mm f/1.8 - An expensive but underperforming lens. Significant field of curvature problem and sub-standard sharpness (even worse than 12-35mm, the 12mm, and also the 20mm and 14mm, which are supposed to be harder to make sharp, being respectively a zoom, a much wider lens, and pancakes). Except for flare control, it does stand out in any optical measurements compared to much cheaper lenses.

So, here we have all these lenses around that FL, but not even one really good general purpose 35mm equivalent lens, even at a high price, if you want excellent IQ and reasonable features like decent AF, decent speed, and build. With the OMD and GH3 supposedly like pro, and its weatherproof and alloy build, its great sensor and features, I think there should be something better for a lens in this important FL. The 17mm f/1.8 seems the best at this time, but that is a risky assumption as it is really very average, to put it politely. Check reviews like Lenstip, Diglloyd***, DXOMark, Photozone and LensRental to confirm how ordinary this expensive lens really is.

It is time for someone to make a weatherproof and convenient to use 17mm f/1.8 with good IQ now, don't you think?

Sources:

*** The Diglloyd.com review is only available by subscription. The main comments can be seen in this thread below.

The other reviews mentioned should be easy to find by googling.

There are also threads about the problem with the field of curvature in 17mm f/1.8 on this forum, especially Sigala1's threads. The problem makes the lens unsuitable for numerous low light landscape or travel shots, as objects on a plane cannot all be in focus. It also makes it hard to AF accurately, e.g. when you AF and then reframe.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52080936

Seems you don't like MOST m43 lenses that others like. All of the above and some of the ones cited within the comments like the 12mm and the 12-35. Why not switch systems? Seems like a miserable way to spend six months.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Sergey Borachev
Senior MemberPosts: 2,632Gear list
Like?
Re: Possible solution for you...
In reply to Brian Mosley, Sep 2, 2013

The Fuji X100s?

I haven't tried the 17mm f1.8 yet, and will probably buy the E-M1 with 12-40mm f2.8 next, since I bought the X100 before a decent 35mm EFL option was available for m4/3rds.

If you're looking for the best possible option right now for that focal length, I honestly don't think you could beat the X100s for ergonomics, features and image quality.

It's nice to have choice!

Brian
--
Join our free worldwide support network here :
http://www.ukphotosafari.org/join-the-ukpsg/
UK, Peak District Local Olympus Safari Group : http://snipurl.com/bqtd7-ukpsg
Keep up with me here : http://twitter.com/alert_bri

The answer I like best so far.

With nothing really nice in M43, this may be the only and the best option at this time.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Sergey Borachev
Senior MemberPosts: 2,632Gear list
Like?
Re: Possible solution for you...
In reply to EvokeEmotion, Sep 2, 2013

Brian Mosley wrote:

The Fuji X100s?

I haven't tried the 17mm f1.8 yet, and will probably buy the E-M1 with 12-40mm f2.8 next, since I bought the X100 before a decent 35mm EFL option was available for m4/3rds.

If you're looking for the best possible option right now for that focal length, I honestly don't think you could beat the X100s for ergonomics, features and image quality.

It's nice to have choice!

Brian
--
Join our free worldwide support network here :
http://www.ukphotosafari.org/join-the-ukpsg/
UK, Peak District Local Olympus Safari Group : http://snipurl.com/bqtd7-ukpsg
Keep up with me here : http://twitter.com/alert_bri

Or this:

Cheap, fast, great IQ. Now let's just hope for a better body from Canon. Whatever you do, you don't need to take the snorty attitude some of these folks are throwing at you.

Thanks, but I am not so desperate yet to go Canon. I think there is still hope for a good 17mm in M43. I am going Olympus will take note of this unsatisfactory situation. Or Tamron, Sigma? With the E-M1, GX7, E-M5, GH3, E-P5, and soon another OM-D, surely these high end cameras deserve something better than existing lenses with this FL.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Sergey Borachev
Senior MemberPosts: 2,632Gear list
Like?
Re: New - SLR Magic 17mm
In reply to Vinc T, Sep 2, 2013

Available Spring 2014:

http://www.43rumors.com/first-slr-magic-17mm-t1-6-cine-lens-test-available-in-spring-2014-for-499/

May be you can come back in another 6 months or so?

Thanks, I read something about this cine lens already, but it is too specialised and not so convenient like the CV for general purposes. Beautiful lens though.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Sergey Borachev
Senior MemberPosts: 2,632Gear list
Like?
Re: Possible solution for you...
In reply to MT, Sep 2, 2013

I agree with the OP.

I have the mft primes in 14, 20, 25, 45, 75 and the Rokinon 7.5mm.  However, not the 17mm though I love that focal length. I do feel that it should have been better and could have been.

So I'm with you and am not a whiner...:)

MTMT

Thanks.

Not everyone wants our expects the best. That's certainly not needed for great photos, but it would be helpful to get what advantage one can in the equipment, e.g. more resolution for cropping and less image artefacts for more PP, than spending all one's energy wringing out the maximum IQ just because we were given ordinary products. This is especially so elem it it's clearly possible to have something better.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Sergey Borachev
Senior MemberPosts: 2,632Gear list
Like?
Re: I don't think so...
In reply to Moti, Sep 2, 2013

Sergey Borachev wrote:

...It is time for someone to make a weatherproof and convenient to use 17mm f/1.8 with good IQ now, don't you think?

No. I think it is time for someone to learn how to use a lens that the majority of the users can take beautiful photos and are very happy with it.

Blaming the tool was always a big speciality for those who can't use it properly.

Moti

-- hide signature --

Even the best photog can make use of a lens that is not so ordinary and do even better. Photography is not to me a challenge in getting the best quality from equipment with ordinary performance or limitations.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Ulric
Senior MemberPosts: 2,629Gear list
Like?
Re: What a disappointing situation with the 17mm lens! Why?
In reply to Sergey Borachev, Sep 2, 2013

I have the 14 and 20, happy with both. I think I would be with any of the lenses in that general range with the possible exception of the Olympus 17/2.8 and Sigma 19/2.8 (both too slow).

As for the Olympus 17/1.8, I read the review on Ming Thein's blog when it was released and it really seems like a fine lens too.

 Ulric's gear list:Ulric's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Paul De Bra
Forum ProPosts: 11,392Gear list
Like?
If you just want 17mm, get a Fuji X100, otherwise...
In reply to Sergey Borachev, Sep 2, 2013

You should realize that review sites often test a single copy of a lens model, and at best a few copies. Their results are not necessarily representative for the average copy and most likely not representative for the better copies.

I am rather critical of my lenses. I have the 20mm f/1.7 and it is definitely not uneven across the frame. In fact, its strength is that it is very even across the frame. It seems that Panasonic sacrificed a potentially sharper center for better edge/corner performance. Also, shot to shot this lens is not slow to AF. It is only slow if it needs to go all the way from close to infinity or back. The only flaw I find in this lens is that it isn't 17mm.

When you are overly critical you can never find an affordable lens that satisfies your criteria. Seriously, when you are looking specifically for this focal length, look for a fixed-lens camera with that focal length, like the Fuji X100 (aps-c) or the Sony RX1 (35mm full frame).

-- hide signature --

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

 Paul De Bra's gear list:Paul De Bra's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Sergey Borachev
Senior MemberPosts: 2,632Gear list
Like?
Re: What a disappointing situation with the 17mm lens! Why?
In reply to deleted-13120401, Sep 2, 2013

Sergey Borachev wrote:

I created a thread about this disappointing situation but it got nowhere. It's been 6 months and we still have the same disappointing situation. The following is extracted from the previous thread and updated.

M43 is known for the best lens range for mirrorless cameras and there are many stellar lenses. Now, 35mm equivalent is a very important FL, and what most people would regard as the the FL to get if they can have only one single prime, hence its popularity throughout camera history.

However, there is nothing at all in M43 if you want a really good 35mm equivalent lens for general purposes.

1. Olympus 17mm f/2.8 - Inadequate IQ. Better than nothing, I suppose. The only reason for having the lens is small size, but the Panasonic 14mm is even smaller, cheaper, and I bet still as sharp after cropping to the same FOV, based on test results.

2. Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 - Very good resolution. It is however slightly wide but OK. This lens is a bit slow, but very good value given its low price. I am however trying to find better than a basic lens.

3. Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 - Very sharp, though slight,y uneven across the frame, but still impressive in IQ. Very good speed too. There are however some flaws, banding from ISO 1600, noisy and sluggish AF.

4. Sigma 19mm f/2.8 - Also quite sharp, fast and quiet AF too and good value. But it is a bit slow, more than 1 stop slower than the 20mm.

5. Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 - Excellent speed and bokeh. A very nice lens indeed. All good, except that it is 50mm equivalent FL, which is not ideal for a general purpose walk-about lens and restricting for buildings, landscape, travels or when you want to get closer and more intimate with your subjects.

6. Nockton 17.5mm f/0.5. - Beautifully piece of metal and glass and great specs. Excellent dreamy bokeh. The lack of AF plus the weight and size make this not enjoyable for many situations, including street shooting or parties, etc Too niche and expensive.

7. Olympus 17mm f/1.8 - An expensive but underperforming lens. Significant field of curvature problem and sub-standard sharpness (even worse than 12-35mm, the 12mm, and also the 20mm and 14mm, which are supposed to be harder to make sharp, being respectively a zoom, a much wider lens, and pancakes). Except for flare control, it does stand out in any optical measurements compared to much cheaper lenses.

So, here we have all these lenses around that FL, but not even one really good general purpose 35mm equivalent lens, even at a high price, if you want excellent IQ and reasonable features like decent AF, decent speed, and build. With the OMD and GH3 supposedly like pro, and its weatherproof and alloy build, its great sensor and features, I think there should be something better for a lens in this important FL. The 17mm f/1.8 seems the best at this time, but that is a risky assumption as it is really very average, to put it politely. Check reviews like Lenstip, Diglloyd***, DXOMark, Photozone and LensRental to confirm how ordinary this expensive lens really is.

It is time for someone to make a weatherproof and convenient to use 17mm f/1.8 with good IQ now, don't you think?

Sources:

*** The Diglloyd.com review is only available by subscription. The main comments can be seen in this thread below.

The other reviews mentioned should be easy to find by googling.

There are also threads about the problem with the field of curvature in 17mm f/1.8 on this forum, especially Sigala1's threads. The problem makes the lens unsuitable for numerous low light landscape or travel shots, as objects on a plane cannot all be in focus. It also makes it hard to AF accurately, e.g. when you AF and then reframe.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52080936

Seems you don't like MOST m43 lenses that others like. All of the above and some of the ones cited within the comments like the 12mm and the 12-35. Why not switch systems? Seems like a miserable way to spend six months.

Not that you deserve a reply, but it may help others willing to consider the points I made rationally and understand better, I would like to say that there are numerous other M43 lenses that I like, including the 75mm, 45mm f/1.8, 12-50mm, 25mm, but it's just that none of these 17mm or so lenses are so ordinary, except for the niche ones (which are not suitable for General uses).
And I forgot to mention the 60mm macro, and the absolutely wonderful Sigma 60mm.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
slimandy
Forum ProPosts: 14,659Gear list
Like?
Re: What a disappointing situation with the 17mm lens! Why?
In reply to Sergey Borachev, Sep 2, 2013

Sergey Borachev wrote:

Still waiting for a meaningful reply.

The first line of the first reply summed it up in a nutshell.

 slimandy's gear list:slimandy's gear list
Sony RX100 II Nikon D200 Nikon D700 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Fujifilm X-E1 +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Sergey Borachev
Senior MemberPosts: 2,632Gear list
Like?
Re: What a disappointing situation with the 17mm lens! Why?
In reply to Ulric, Sep 2, 2013

I have the 14 and 20, happy with both. I think I would be with any of the lenses in that general range with the possible exception of the Olympus 17/2.8 and Sigma 19/2.8 (both too slow).

As for the Olympus 17/1.8, I read the review on Ming Thein's blog when it was released and it really seems like a fine lens too.

I read that review too, and also Robin Wong's, and I think every one that had been written. Suffice it to say that there are different standards and expectations in reviews. I would normally take note of the negative comments more than the praises, so as to err on the safe side. And also take note of the comments from reviewers who check more thoroughly more.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Sergey Borachev
Senior MemberPosts: 2,632Gear list
Like?
Re: If you just want 17mm, get a Fuji X100, otherwise...
In reply to Paul De Bra, Sep 2, 2013

You should realize that review sites often test a single copy of a lens model, and at best a few copies. Their results are not necessarily representative for the average copy and most likely not representative for the better copies.

I am rather critical of my lenses. I have the 20mm f/1.7 and it is definitely not uneven across the frame. In fact, its strength is that it is very even across the frame. It seems that Panasonic sacrificed a potentially sharper center for better edge/corner performance. Also, shot to shot this lens is not slow to AF. It is only slow if it needs to go all the way from close to infinity or back. The only flaw I find in this lens is that it isn't 17mm.

When you are overly critical you can never find an affordable lens that satisfies your criteria. Seriously, when you are looking specifically for this focal length, look for a fixed-lens camera with that focal length, like the Fuji X100 (aps-c) or the Sony RX1 (35mm full frame).

-- hide signature --

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

All good points, but in this case I do feel that it should not be hard to get something quite a bit better, especially considering the price and the significance of this particular FL.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
pocketpygmy
Contributing MemberPosts: 697Gear list
Like?
Re: Possible solution for you...
In reply to Sergey Borachev, Sep 2, 2013

OP wrote:

"The answer I like best so far.

With nothing really nice in M43, this may be the only and the best option at this time."

~>
With such an uncompromising attitude

(evident in use of such hyperbolic words like "best", "nothing", "only", "best")

could we not also reject the x100 on any number of demerits

-- hide signature --

of AF slower than an OMD, or lack of lens interchangeability, or the simple fact of the hassle, anxiety, time spent overthinking and stressing out and venting on an internet forum, throwing around a bunch of passive aggression --

which all naturally tarnish the perfection of the potential?

the root of 'device' is 'division'. don't let the device divide you from your essential experience: of making images.

technology can make you, and break you, if you let it.

 pocketpygmy's gear list:pocketpygmy's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm 1:2 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Sergey Borachev
Senior MemberPosts: 2,632Gear list
Like?
x100s
In reply to Sergey Borachev, Sep 2, 2013

More than one member has suggested this as the answer to get a good 35mm. I also thought of that and posted spending about it 5 months ago (using the X100). And I remember someone who had done exactly that. Now. Having to consider such an expensive and inconvenient option is surely an indictment of the current M43 lens line up, isn't it?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads