New Olympus 17mm 1.8

Started Mar 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
Anders W Forum Pro • Posts: 21,468
Re: New Olympus 17mm 1.8

Mark Chan wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Mark Chan wrote:

FrankS009 wrote:

“Photographers, like few other artists I can imagine, have an insanely personal relationship with their gear. …we can’t help it that our craft is so dependent on gear, but it’s scary how quickly the gear becomes the not the means but the end. “ This statement from David duChemin, one of my favourite authors about photography (and whom I quote in my signature line), reminds me just how attached we can become to our cameras, our lenses, and to the companies that produce them.

This thread began with an ode in praise of a particular lens by an owner. It then became an attack on critics of the lens, and against another lens that was perceived as a rival. A great deal of time has been spent on assertions about whether more people prefer one over the other, or quasi technical analyses of the differences from the points of view of owners, and sometimes of good photographers who write blogs where they give personal judgments not divorced from their own strong feelings and attachments. People feel what they feel.

Throughout the thread, Anders W. has taken a position that infuriates those that oppose him because he simply does not accept untested hypotheses and statements based on personal opinions. He has been called the most intelligent member of the forum; that may or may not be the case, but he certainly is one of the most rigorous in his judgments. He has both Olympus and Panasonic lenses, so he does not speak from the point of view of one company or another. No doubt he is attached to his gear too, but he is willing to stand up for what he thinks. Some of us might agree and let him do the work for us. Others might not. But for one I consider what he has been saying in this thread to be based on good sense, and a certain amount of restraint.


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When no-one else is there, the camera becomes my say to a wider audience, "Did you see that?" David duChemin


I don't deny what Anders has done and his convictions. What I do feel, being one of those speaking from 'personal experience', is that his decision to make a statement based on what 'seems' to be a lack of first hand experience with the lens at hand, distorts his judgement in this particular case.

What is wrong with a lack of first-hand experience if "secondary data sources" are as important as you say below?

Well for one you apply what seem to be 'overbearingly' high standards to secondary sources. e.g. the suggestion that a 'mistake' was made when setting the focus of the 20mm f1.7 from 0.2 to infinity. That is not a mistake. The result is merely a characteristic of the lens - i.e. it is slow to focus across the whole range.

It is a mistake from a relevance point of view, just as I said. He gives the impression in his review that his conclusion with regard to AF applies generally. In reality, it applies to a very small part of most people's actual usage of these two lenses, i.e. when you go from extreme close-up to more normal range or the reverse and need to AF very quickly in doing so. I've never seen anyone argue that this is a significant need until you did here:

And yes, we can easily know something about how people typically use the 17 and 20 through the discussions on this and other sites as well as by just looking at the images we see posted.

I certainly do not deny the value of the publicly available evidence at our disposal. On the contrary, I try to make the best use of it.

Yes you do; to support your own arguments. Not extremely objective here.

I take that as a direct insult. I am a scientist and take scientific conduct seriously. Consequently, I don't take a firm position first and then look around for evidence that might support it. Rather, I first consider the evidence and then arrive at a provisional conclusion. If I encounter new evidence that I consider to be of questionable validitiy or relevance, I never knowingly use it even if it favors my prior conclusion. Likewise, if I encounter new evidence that I find reason to think is valid and relevant, I don't discard it even if it speaks against my own prior conclusion. Rather, I would revise my conclusion.

However, I do distinguish between the evidence produced by others on the one hand and their opinions on the other.

So; seeing that a reviewer videotaping the whole af speed process for 17mm f1.8 and the 20mm f1.8; then concluding that they did a botched job of the study is not opinion?

What I did was to draw a conclusion with regard to relevance. See above.

Their 'conclusion' based on videotaped and irrefutable evidence is 'their' opinion?

No. It is a conclusion of marginal practical relevance, stated as though it would apply more generally, which it doesn't.

That is the issue I have. I can agree that the 17mm has worse microcontrast; but I can't agree that the AF is just the same.

Try to read and comprehend. I didn't say they were the same in all regards.

The evidence is pretty damning yet you seem to say the AF is 'comparable'. Then you add 'in controlled situations.

The evidence is not damning at all

I admire Anders with his attention to detail in the test of the several lens he provided. However, as much as primary data is useful, is not appreciation of 'secondary data sources' as important?

I did quite a bit of study online before deciding to purchase a lens - and indeed many different devices; and in many cases the 'various' secondary sources / reviews etc. have credence.

Owning the 20mm f1.7, I decided to still purchase the 17mm f1.8 precisely because the AF speed was not up to par for my purposes. Upon purchasing the 17mm, I was extremely happy to sell off the 20mm as the 17mm was much faster, just as others have found out.

What is Anders' opinion mean in the face of this?

BTW; we are not 'criticizing' the other lens for anything other than its weakness; its IQ is better (my view); but its AF isn't on par.

As individuals we hate to be corrected when we are actually right.

 Anders W's gear list:Anders W's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH +28 more
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