New Olympus 17mm 1.8

Started Mar 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
Anders W Forum Pro • Posts: 21,466
Re: New Olympus 17mm 1.8

Mark Chan wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Mark Chan wrote:

Anders W wrote:

texinwien wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Jolly Oly wrote:

By your standards this is very unscientific and shallow I guess.

Ming says: "The 20/1.7 has the highest overall scene contrast, but the 17/1.8 wins out in microcontrast and reproduction of fine detail structures – personally, I prefer this as it gives me more latitude for processing before the shadows and highlights block up."

My comment: It's clearly evident from Ming's samples that the 20 does better with respect to global contrast and microcontrast (the contrast between smaller details) alike. When Ming says that he has "more latitude for processing [with the 17] before the shadows and highlights block up" he means that he can apply more sharpening. But the point here is that the 20 simply needs less sharpening by virtue of having more microcontrast in the first place. And not having to sharpen (much) is preferable on all counts. It doesn't increase the noise level and yields a cleaner, more natural look.

Ming's conclusion about microcontrast seems bizarre to me, in light of his 100% comparison crops. The superiority of the 20mm f/1.7 in terms of sharpness and microcontrast is plain as the light of day (to me) in his samples. It's hard to understand how he could look at the same comparison photos and reach the conclusion he did.

I've always found that completely incomprehensible too. It is extremely clear to my eyes that the 20 does noticeably better in his samples not only with regard to global contrast but also with regard to sharpness/microcontrast. I've seen similar differences in other places as well, but this is about the clearest example I am aware of, yet with the wrong conclusion drawn by the reviewer. Truly ironic.

Another ironic fact is that Jolly Olly is certainly not the first to refer to this review to support the claim that the 17/1.8 is superior to the 20/1.7. Happens all the time. So quite a few are willing to buy the views of the "expert" although it is there for everyone to see that "the emperor is naked". And if they don't manage to see what is actually going on here, what reason do we have to pay any attention to their subjective impressions of their own images.

steve huff here agrees with you on sharpness on 20mm, on micro contrast on 20mm v2, and with me and others on af speed of 17mm.

calling it a day.

Like many others who makes claims about AF speeds, it looks like Steve Huff never tested it.

Never tested it? hmmm; he did; here:

Others have tested the difference between the two versions:

I saw no real tests in either of those links. Just a report of impressions. Let me know if I have missed something.

But I am certainly not arguing that anything has changed with regard to AF when going from version I to version II of the 20/1.7.

and I quote:

"But over time, more lenses have appeared and all recent lenses used faster auto-focus motors. Out of all M43 lenses currently available, the PANASONIC 20MM f/1.7 is now considered one of the slowest when it comes to auto focus speed. So despite having multiple positive traits, some consider this lens unacceptable, which is really unfortunate."

This video for your 'visual study': And yes the initial try was with f5.6 for the pana; since changed to f1.7 later on

Yes I saw that. He makes the same mistake (from a practical-relevance point of view) as I have seen others make. He sets the lens to the minimum focus distance (0.2 m) and then focuses out to a distance of a meter or so. What that means is that the AF mechanism has to travel a very long way. While the distance between 0.2 m and 1 meter is short as measured in meters, it is very long in terms of "focus throw" (how far the AF mechanism has to travel), much much longer than the distance between 1 meter and infinity.

As recognized in this thread here

and further explained here

and in many threads before the present one, the 20 will indeed be significantly slower than other lenses when you rack focus between something extremely close and infinity (or the reverse) as well as when it hunts. The reason is that in these cases the main bottleneck is the focus mechanism of the lens, which does have a lower max speed for the 20 than for other lenses.

But when you AF between more normal distances (as in the test of mine that I linked to in this thread, where I go between infinity and 0.75 m), the main bottleneck is body processing time, which means that you will get roughly the same result as with other lenses (just as my test shows).

In short: If your need for fast AF includes the range of 0.2 to 0.5 meters (or so), then the test you linked to is relevant. If your need for fast AF doesn't include that range, its results do not apply.


Which quotes:

"There is no draw here, the Olympus 17mm simply crushes the Panasonic 20mm when it comes to autofocus speed. In terms of autofocus, I think this may be the fastest lens in the M43 lineup. If autofocus speed is critical to you, then there is no doubt that the 17mm is the way to go for you."

So yeah, I'd say that the 17mm f1.8 actual exceeds the focus speed of the 12mm and 45mm. I will have to stand 'corrected' of my previous claim that the 17mm f1.8 is on par with the 45mm. Its better.

Now of course given that these are ALL secondary sources, you are free to view otherwise.

I have absolutely no problem with the fact that you refer to the tests of others. All I care about is whether they are good and relevant tests.

1. we can agree that IQ wise the PANA wins

We certainly can.

2. I disagree that the Pana has fast AF speed. It doesn't, especially in comparison with the 17mm.

I am not claiming that the 20/1.7 has fast AF. Rather, what I am saying is that its slow AF mechanism is only a problem under certain specific conditions, like those described above.

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