Consensus on the 17 1.8?

Started Jan 19, 2013 | Discussions thread
ediblestarfish Regular Member • Posts: 278
Re: Consensus on the 17 1.8?

Asking a bunch of barely connected individuals, some of which have never used the lens, for a consensus, seems a bit far fetched to me.  I can only offer a single testimonial of my experiences with it so far.

Can see my samples of this lens on an EM-5 here.

I like the focus speed--I can open up my E-M5 touchscreen and tap away and take shots in succession, with just a tiny delay.  I like the compact size, light weight, and easy-to-utilize manual focus override.  I like the build quality of the metal body, even though I likely paid a premium for it.

The large aperture is nice for low light, but for most of my images, I shoot at f5.6 to keep everything in focus, which is what I desire, and where it performs best.  You don't get shallow DoF with a 36mm equivalent focal length on m4/3 unless you're really close to a subject, with a very distant background, so it's rare that I pursue it.  As such, the lens' mediocre performance at f1.8 isn't much of a drawback to me, except in the rare circumstance when I do use it.

At low light, especially if you have to jack up the ISO 800+ and open up the lens, loss in the sharpness of the lens at f1.8 is overruled by the ISO noise, so it's a more minor concern.  At least until imaging sensors significantly improve for m4/3.

I'm still on the fence about the sharpness of the lens.  It's not bad--usually sharp, but not so sharp that things look spiky.  It has a sort of smoothness that remains even after PP sharpening, which is desirable at times, like portraits; lines don't look as aliased.  Still, when you want to crop and enlarge a fair amount, and it doesn't deliver that extra resolution, it hurts.  One of the biggest reasons for using a prime is the performance of the lens.  You give up the flexibility of a good zoom, so it's off-putting to have a prime that's no sharper than a good zoom.  That said, it's usually sharp enough for most of my shots, but not all.

Price I'm also unsure about.  It's pricey if you only look at its optical performance relative to the other primes.  There's a lot of other stuff that makes the lens good too, but in terms of pure image quality, it's not quite there.  So it's okay for some, not okay for others.  It's not must have like the 45mm f1.8, so it feels like a sort of smug luxury item.

I say, if you don't mind the price, and use an Olympus body, go for it if you like the 36mm view.  If not, the world isn't ending. 

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