New Olympus 17mm 1.8

Started Mar 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
rhlpetrus Forum Pro • Posts: 25,769
Re: A Tad Soft? OK!

MarkJH wrote:

honeyiscool wrote:

The Jacal wrote:
There has been plenty of criticism about the 1.8 too; being a tad soft.

I'm fairly certain a good percentage of these criticisms come from 20mm fanboys and review trollers who have never even used the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 and just like to pixel peep test charts from reviewers.

I do find that the 17mm f/1.8 is a "tad soft," and that vignetting wide open is somewhat strong. But neither of these characteristics, alone, bothers me. To the contrary: I find the lens's overall render to be exceptionally pleasing and balanced--it's terrific!

Judging the look you get from lenses is at heart a subjective business. While you can objectively measure MTF characteristics, CA, vignetting, AF speed, and other aspects of lens performance, none of these objective measures directly answers the question, "Do you like the photographs you get?" They may not even inform it, depending on your favored photographic subjects or tastes.

What's more, we all know lens designs are complex compromises of size, weight, material cost. There are fast 35mm-equivalent lenses in other systems--CaNikon, for example--that outperform the 17mm f/1.8; but geez, they're huge, cost four figures, and, in the Nikon system, focus as slow as a mollases drip! Even the wonderful Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" lens for those systems costs twice as much as the Olympus and is four or five times larger.

So, the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 seems like a great design, to me--especially so at its recent $399 discounted price.

In Nikonland you can buy some cheap and smaller f/1.8 and f/2 versions, pretty decent lenses btw. I think these comparisons between brands are pointless, mostly. One can find excellent choices in most quarters. The expensive f/1.4 WA primes are specialty lenses actually.

Honestly, I kind of like the 17mm f/2.8, too. Yeah, it doesn't set any performance records, either, but it's at least as good as anybody's kit lens, it has a metal bayonet, it's tiny, and it can be had for $150 or less. Again, it seems like a reasonable set of compromises, to me, for a very useful focal length and reasonably quick aperture at a very nice price.

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