A quick day out with the Olympus E-M1 and the SONY a7

Started Jan 27, 2014 | Discussions
Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,305
Re: Turning off the LCD in the back

peevee1 wrote:

It takes 50% more power to process 24 mpix picture compared to a 16 mpix picture.

I don't think it's exactly a linear step like that, but certainly the sensor has more photo sites to manage, there's more data to stream to the card, etc, so yes ... the principle is sounds. I wish they'd put a slightly higher capacity battery in it ... The Wasabi batteries I ordered are about 200 mAh more capacity in the same form factor.

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Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,305
Re: Auto-ISO and EC in M mode.

G1Houston wrote:

Godfrey wrote:

  • The biggest thing I miss on the E-M1 is the A7's excellent implementation of manual exposure with Auto-ISO. They've got that down just right, with EV Compensation and the wide dynamic range of the larger sensor you have excellent and fine control.

Wish more and more people can raise this issue so both Panasonic and Olympus can begin to understand how important this is. Not only for still but also for video. Even the lowly Nikon D5200 allows auto-ISO in M-mode when you shoot videos, which give you smooth transition as the light levels change.

It's not that big a thing to me, but it does work well on the A7. I see the E-M1 as primarily a still camera, tho the video capture isn't bad at all.

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dennis tennis Veteran Member • Posts: 3,778
Re: supposed to conclude that

you're going to "dump" all your Sony gear and appologize to Olympus for ever cheating on it and beg to be let back into the camera bag.

Daniel Wee
OP Daniel Wee Contributing Member • Posts: 537
Re: supposed to conclude that

Lol! Good one. Unfortunately I have to apologize to Olympus for my forage into the dark side!!! Actually my hope is that all camera makers compete more to up their game. The E-M1 is certainly the pinnacle of m4/3 cameras and possibly one of the most enjoyable camera I've used (I've got Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Olympus, Sony, so I'm pretty brand agnostic.) The a7, on the other hand, is also ground breaking as far as FF cameras are concerned, not just for the excellent implementation, but also for the price point. So I say to them all - bring it on! May the best camera win.

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Walt - westcoast Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: A quick day out with the Olympus E-M1 and the SONY a7

The E-M1 dials sometimes feel a little unresponsive. One click of the dial does not result in a value change. Sometimes I need to use two clicks to get the aperture, for instance, to change. Rolling the dial vigorously seems to help a bit (maybe cleaning the contacts) but would also wear things out more quickly. They feel great - just that they're sometimes not responsive enough.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you may have a defective EM1. Seems some have a problem with the rear wheel skipping. Its probably minor but still a pain in the A--. It starts skipping occasionally then gets worse, Mine went back for service.

From others: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52867258

Walt......

thk0 Regular Member • Posts: 155
Enough with the power switch complaints

The idea is you switch it on when you leave the house in the morning and switch it off in the evening when you are done. The camera shuts down automatically when idle.

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Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,305
Re: aperture equivalence and the E-M1's power switch

William Porter wrote:

Daniel Wee wrote:

Why don't I just try turning the E-M1 on without looking? Well, I also have my lens cap off on my lenses and swinging my hand to the camera will likely get my prints on the glass. This has happened a few times and I try to avoid this as much as I can. As such, turning on the E-M1 is slightly more involved than turning on the a7, which hardly requires any shift in attention.

As I said, all my comments were minor. (I used the word "quibble".) You said that you found the location of the power button to be a problem; I am simply saying that I don't, that in fact I like the location of the power button on the left of the E-M1. I admit that I do worry a bit about battery conservation, but only a bit. The solution for me is to carry an extra battery. But it's not a big deal. We're all different with different preferences.

As for prints on the glass: This is one of the several reasons I always have a lens cap on my lenses.

Your last point, I don't really get. I had no problems controlling the a7 camera. I was referring to the fact that the EVF display was rather cluttered compared to the one on the E-M1.

Actually, I didn't have a last point here. I was asking a question. In the A99, just about all the info in the EVF could be turned OFF. I was asking you, is that not possible with the A7? Or are you saying that you want the info but because the fonts are bigger or something, you simply find the A7's EVF harder to look at?

I have never put my eye to the EVF of an A7, so I simply don't know.

Will

Seriously, I'm not sure I see any difference between the two EVF displays the way I have the cameras configured. The only thing I found cluttered on the A7 at first was the two axis level, bug I've grown to like it. I use the E-M1's style two EVF display .. It looks very very similar to how I set up the Sony.

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Hwirt Forum Member • Posts: 80
Re: A quick day out with the Olympus E-M1 and the SONY a7

Two fine cameras, deciding between the two depends on what your priorities are. The A7 images to my eyes (viewing originals at full screen) are quite a bit better, both in resolution and shadow detail. Considering the specifications of the two systems this comes as no surprise.

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Angry Panda Forum Member • Posts: 63
Thanks so much!

Really thoughtful, balanced, and helpful comparative review.  (I also appreciate knowing which camera would make a better weapon in case of attack!)

Thanks for the informed perspective.

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Lab D Senior Member • Posts: 6,938
Typical of equivalent fanatics
2

forpetessake wrote:

William Porter wrote:

Daniel Wee wrote:

As I only have the Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.8 on hand, I decided to use the Olympus 17mm F1.8 as a way to bring the match closer. I am aware that as far as depth of field is concerned, the Olympus translates to F3.6 in 35mm terms. Be that as it may, that was the fastest 17mm lens we can readily get so that's what I tested.

Reasonable. I've done much the same thing in my own comparison between the E-M1 and the Sony A850.

Small quibble. Aperture "equivalence" is not a useful concept. The aperture of the Olympus 17 f1.8 doesn't "translate" to anything. With respect to the aperture's most important job — controlling the amount of light that gets to the sensor — f1.7 = f1.7, plain and simple, and it doesn't matter what system the lens was built for.

Here we're going again. Of course, the equivalence is useful, it tells you exactly how the two different formats are related. The Olympus 17mm f/1.8 is equivalent to 34mm f/3.6 in FF in every aspect, and that's what one would observe in real life shooting.

These fanatics keep using words like "exactly" or equal or equivalent. How the heck can they say "exactly" if they are using different aspect ratios! It won't be exact, and it won't be "the same".  And do you really then crop your aspect ratio to make it look like it was from camera "B"???

How often have you gone to take a picture and then said, "first I must decide what focal length and aperture I would use on a full frame camera and then adjust accordingly"?

These are different tools for getting the job done.

And yes! F1.7 = F1.7. You never figure what aperture to use to get the proper exposure and then say, "oh cr@p!" on a Nikon 1 the image may look different!

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LTZ470
LTZ470 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,926
Re: Typical of equivalent fanatics
1

Lab D wrote:

forpetessake wrote:

William Porter wrote:

Daniel Wee wrote:

As I only have the Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.8 on hand, I decided to use the Olympus 17mm F1.8 as a way to bring the match closer. I am aware that as far as depth of field is concerned, the Olympus translates to F3.6 in 35mm terms. Be that as it may, that was the fastest 17mm lens we can readily get so that's what I tested.

Reasonable. I've done much the same thing in my own comparison between the E-M1 and the Sony A850.

Small quibble. Aperture "equivalence" is not a useful concept. The aperture of the Olympus 17 f1.8 doesn't "translate" to anything. With respect to the aperture's most important job — controlling the amount of light that gets to the sensor — f1.7 = f1.7, plain and simple, and it doesn't matter what system the lens was built for.

Here we're going again. Of course, the equivalence is useful, it tells you exactly how the two different formats are related. The Olympus 17mm f/1.8 is equivalent to 34mm f/3.6 in FF in every aspect, and that's what one would observe in real life shooting.

These fanatics keep using words like "exactly" or equal or equivalent. How the heck can they say "exactly" if they are using different aspect ratios! It won't be exact, and it won't be "the same". And do you really then crop your aspect ratio to make it look like it was from camera "B"???

How often have you gone to take a picture and then said, "first I must decide what focal length and aperture I would use on a full frame camera and then adjust accordingly"?

These are different tools for getting the job done.

And yes! F1.7 = F1.7. You never figure what aperture to use to get the proper exposure and then say, "oh cr@p!" on a Nikon 1 the image may look different!

He's just making sure everyone knows how smart he is...lol...eshitalence equivalence...

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Max Pegler
Max Pegler Regular Member • Posts: 414
Re: A quick day out with the Olympus E-M1 and the SONY a7

A very informative thread. Thanks for the comparison, I've been contemplating the A7/A7R as an honorary Olympus with some OM primes.

As to the power switch, it's perfect for me - in the same spot as the Oly OM 35mm series. In fact the handling of the EM1, the weight, size, is very similar to an OM with battery grip.

And as to equivalence debates, yawn. Spoils an otherwise excellent thread.

Regards

Max P

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SaltLakeGuy
SaltLakeGuy Forum Pro • Posts: 13,608
Re: A quick day out with the Olympus E-M1 and the SONY a7

I find it so funny so many criticize the position of the power switch on the EM1. I happen to love it right where it is, wouldn't have it any other way. Some fuss budgets just can't stand the fact it's not on the right side. I have NO idea what their issues are. I'm glad it is where it is.

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Daniel Wee
OP Daniel Wee Contributing Member • Posts: 537
Re: A quick day out with the Olympus E-M1 and the SONY a7
3

<rant>Well, I can totally understand why some people prefer it one way or another - that's human diversity. Would be weird if every single one liked it the same way, wouldn't it? It's a bit like arguing over why some people are left-handed shooters and why they can't be like us right-handed shooters. The whole exercise is fundamentally pointless and unproductive. We certainly don't need to turn this into either:-

1. a "religious war"
2. an apologetic/defense for one particular view

As it is, we already have enough self-appointed opinion police around, which really kills the fun of sharing things around here. So my answer - Yes, I CAN totally understand why someone prefers things differently than I do. It's not a matter of right or wrong, just a matter of preference. It's great if each shares why they like things they way they do, since this will help others learn a few things if possible - but without the need of directly or indirectly dismissing the opposing position.
I think quite a few people here in the forums could really use with some rules of engagement, and in some cases (not yours) reading skills.
And since I'm ranting, some people seem really hung up on words people use, as evidenced elsewhere in this thread. It would be really nice if people came to these forums with less of an antagonistic mindset, and more of a desire to just enjoy things. Look, none of us own these forums. The specific words chosen here isn't going to kill or hurt any of us. Add to the fact that not everyone articulates themselves well using English as a medium. Given these things, nit-pickers should really find better things to do. </rant>

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blue_skies
blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 11,331
Re: A quick day out with the Olympus E-M1 and the SONY a7

Daniel Wee wrote:

I had some time today and wanted to see how the E-M1 and the a7 compares in real world usage. As I only have the Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.8 on hand, I decided to use the Olympus 17mm F1.8 as a way to bring the match closer. I am aware that as far as depth of field is concerned, the Olympus translates to F3.6 in 35mm terms. Be that as it may, that was the fastest 17mm lens we can readily get so that's what I tested.

Right off the bat, let me just say that both cameras and lenses are mine so I have no vested interest in promoting one over the other. The a7 setup costs quite a bit more than the E-M1 setup, primarily because of the cost of the Carl Zeiss lens.

In terms of handling - the two feels about the same weight with the a7 possibly a little lighter. The E-M1 felt very solid in my hands and if I had to defend myself, I'd swing the E-M1 at my assailant with confidence of scoring more damage points. This is not to say that the a7 is not well built. It certainly is quite a nice camera in my hands - not uncomfortable. Yet, having both in my hands, I'd say that the E-M1 inspires just a bit more confidence in terms of build quality.

I love the fact that the a7 has the power switch just under the shutter release button. This was how I was used to having things on my Nikon, and basically allowed me to turn the camera on as I raise it up to my eyes. As everyone already knows, this is not the case with the E-M1. I had not noticed it as much but with both cameras hanging off my neck, it became quite apparent that I preferred the a7 layout for the power switch. As for the rest of the buttons and dials, I think they're probably par for the course. Both feel good and easy to switch, although I had to get used to having two dials on my thumb on the a7 (which I have set for aperture and exposure compensation.)

The E-M1 powers up just a bit faster than the a7 but in all honesty, you'd have to be splitting hairs if that little difference would influence your preference one way or another. On the other hand, the a7 wakes up from sleep more quickly. With the E-M1, I found that I had to give the release a half-press and wait a bit before the image comes back into the viewfinder. Speaking of viewfinders, both EVFs look great. I did like SONY's use of more colours and their nice level indicator. The E-M1's EVF display seems less cluttered though, whereas the a7's EVF display is littered with all kinds of indications. On the other hand, I didn't really find that it got in the way of my shooting.

Once you start shooting though, the E-M1 feels so much more responsive than the a7. The camera obeys your presses instantly and without hesitation. The a7, by comparison, takes a more leisurely pace, forcing you to be more deliberate and less instinctive in capturing an image. I found myself taking more opportunistic images with the E-M1 than with the a7. The E-M1 also does it a whole lot more quietly compared to the a7 (which is already quieter than the a7r). Nevertheless, I imagine that I could learn to like the satisfying shutter-noise of the a7. This has the additional effect of announcing to the world that you're taking a photo, causing many subjects to look up to see what was going on. The E-M1 sounded like it's getting on with business, while the a7 seems to be ambling along.

After all that work, the E-M1 battery was in better shape than the a7 battery. This is, of course, non-scientific, but after about 50-60 shots, walking around with the cameras sometimes on, sometimes off, and sometimes in sleep mode, shot mostly through the EVF, the a7 battery showed 2/3rd full, while the E-M1 battery was still full.

Okay, now for some comparison images before I finish this off. Everything was shot in RAW mode and processed in Lightroom 5.3. I did tweak the images to my own liking (high contrast, high saturation) so please forgive me if that was excessive. While I shot at ISO100 (and some ISO125 on the a7) mostly, I found that I had to add some NR to the E-M1 photos since I had it turned OFF in-camera. The a7 didn't need this but I had the NR set to LOW in-camera rather than OFF. I also had to desaturate the red channel on some of the E-M1 photos as I found the reds to be too strong with my current settings.

E-M1

a7

E-M1

a7

E-M1

a7

E-M1

a7

E-M1

a7

I have more comparison shots but I think I'll just stop here for now. The colours can always be tweaked to one's own preference. I found the exposure of the E-M1 to be a bit high with center-weighted mode and had to dial in a -0.7EV on most of the shots. It also had a tendency to blow the highlights more (possibly due to it being used with ISO100) while the a7 exhibited much better dynamic range and held the highlights better in high-contrast situations.

Where the lenses are concerned, I must say that the 17mm F1.8 performed admirably. I would be quite happy to go with the DoF offered by it as I would with the Carl Zeiss. Since this was pretty much shot in daylight, I didn't have any problems with AF nor with the lack of IBIS (SONY calls theirs OSS) on the a7.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the E-M1 held up against the full-frame a7. The a7 does perform very well in its own regard - nice colours, good AWB, EVF, DR, and of course, sharpness. At the same time, I don't feel like I'm suddenly transported into a whole new league with the a7. In many situations, the E-M1 would have been the better camera to use, while for critical image quality, I might resort to the a7.

Of course, one would expect a bit more from the a7 given how much more you pay for the overall setup. the a7r costs even more and has slower max. shutter speed, flash sync, etc. On the other hand, the a7 seems to suffer from some internal sensor reflections. I've not seen this happen and in shots with the sky, the 17mm flared (possibly due to not having any lens hood attached) while the 35mm held steady. I'm looking forward to see what both Olympus and SONY come up with next. Both the E-M1 and a7 are impressive cameras that I don't think anyone would be too disappointed with.

Nice write-up and images, and some insightful comments. I agree with your conclusion.

I would have shot the A7 at f/3.5 to get a closer (equivalence) match between the two cameras. And the setup could be more similar - as a photographer you quickly learn what works best on your particular model - differences get highlighted in comparisons.

At low ISO, and equivalent apertures (f/1.8 on Oly, f/3.5 on Sony), I would expect near identical results. Because the M1 has IBIS and the A7 (with the FE35) does not, you should be able to keep the M1 images sharp at longer exposure and lower noise levels. With the A7, you'll want to use a faster shutter speed, which, imho, makes the cameras more or less equivalent at low ISO.

Of course, as you pointed this out, the A7 images can be down sampled to M1 levels, which is a pro for the A7.

The A7 gives more in terms of resolution, (faster equivalent) aperture, shallow/creative DOF control, and full FOV with a plethora of adapted lenses.

The M1 gives more in terms of ease-of-use (AF, DOF, IS), handling speed, and lens-compactness.

There is a plethora of additional pros and cons.

Generally, I see people being more successful in getting sharp images from M1/m43 than from A7/FF formats. Each shot on FF is work - the casual shots that I have seen (and taken) do not work for me, but a shot taken with care wows.

I moved to the A7 mainly for social shooting - indoors, friends & family. I can get much better shots with the A7, and I can manage the more shallow DOF. Outdoors, I am still on the fence - I find the A7 (and the M1) a rather large camera, and I liked having a tiny compact bag prior - I may keep the Nex (don't have smaller m43 cameras) just for that purpose.

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Cheers,
Henry

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forpetessake
forpetessake Veteran Member • Posts: 4,892
LOL

Lab D wrote:

forpetessake wrote:

William Porter wrote:

Daniel Wee wrote:

As I only have the Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.8 on hand, I decided to use the Olympus 17mm F1.8 as a way to bring the match closer. I am aware that as far as depth of field is concerned, the Olympus translates to F3.6 in 35mm terms. Be that as it may, that was the fastest 17mm lens we can readily get so that's what I tested.

Reasonable. I've done much the same thing in my own comparison between the E-M1 and the Sony A850.

Small quibble. Aperture "equivalence" is not a useful concept. The aperture of the Olympus 17 f1.8 doesn't "translate" to anything. With respect to the aperture's most important job — controlling the amount of light that gets to the sensor — f1.7 = f1.7, plain and simple, and it doesn't matter what system the lens was built for.

Here we're going again. Of course, the equivalence is useful, it tells you exactly how the two different formats are related. The Olympus 17mm f/1.8 is equivalent to 34mm f/3.6 in FF in every aspect, and that's what one would observe in real life shooting.

And yes! F1.7 = F1.7. You never figure what aperture to use to get the proper exposure and then say, "oh cr@p!" on a Nikon 1 the image may look different!

A religious sect of "F1.7 = F1.7" is accusing scientific community in fanaticism. That's just too funny!

Just a simple question, do you know what the meaning of F1.7 is?

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Lab D Senior Member • Posts: 6,938
Re: LOL
3

forpetessake wrote:

Lab D wrote:

forpetessake wrote:

William Porter wrote:

Daniel Wee wrote:

As I only have the Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.8 on hand, I decided to use the Olympus 17mm F1.8 as a way to bring the match closer. I am aware that as far as depth of field is concerned, the Olympus translates to F3.6 in 35mm terms. Be that as it may, that was the fastest 17mm lens we can readily get so that's what I tested.

Reasonable. I've done much the same thing in my own comparison between the E-M1 and the Sony A850.

Small quibble. Aperture "equivalence" is not a useful concept. The aperture of the Olympus 17 f1.8 doesn't "translate" to anything. With respect to the aperture's most important job — controlling the amount of light that gets to the sensor — f1.7 = f1.7, plain and simple, and it doesn't matter what system the lens was built for.

Here we're going again. Of course, the equivalence is useful, it tells you exactly how the two different formats are related. The Olympus 17mm f/1.8 is equivalent to 34mm f/3.6 in FF in every aspect, and that's what one would observe in real life shooting.

And yes! F1.7 = F1.7. You never figure what aperture to use to get the proper exposure and then say, "oh cr@p!" on a Nikon 1 the image may look different!

A religious sect of "F1.7 = F1.7" is accusing scientific community in fanaticism. That's just too funny!

Just a simple question, do you know what the meaning of F1.7 is?

F-stop is often called "relative aperture".  Maybe that will hep you.

This might help too:

A fat lady and a thin supermodel are laying on the beach. Who will get sun burnt faster? Answer: both will burn/tan (both have the same exposure) the same despite the fat lady having 4x the skin area.

Anyway, Four Thirds is the hot supermodel.

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blue_skies
blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 11,331
Re: LOL

Lab D wrote:

forpetessake wrote:

Lab D wrote:

forpetessake wrote:

William Porter wrote:

Daniel Wee wrote:

As I only have the Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.8 on hand, I decided to use the Olympus 17mm F1.8 as a way to bring the match closer. I am aware that as far as depth of field is concerned, the Olympus translates to F3.6 in 35mm terms. Be that as it may, that was the fastest 17mm lens we can readily get so that's what I tested.

Reasonable. I've done much the same thing in my own comparison between the E-M1 and the Sony A850.

Small quibble. Aperture "equivalence" is not a useful concept. The aperture of the Olympus 17 f1.8 doesn't "translate" to anything. With respect to the aperture's most important job — controlling the amount of light that gets to the sensor — f1.7 = f1.7, plain and simple, and it doesn't matter what system the lens was built for.

Here we're going again. Of course, the equivalence is useful, it tells you exactly how the two different formats are related. The Olympus 17mm f/1.8 is equivalent to 34mm f/3.6 in FF in every aspect, and that's what one would observe in real life shooting.

And yes! F1.7 = F1.7. You never figure what aperture to use to get the proper exposure and then say, "oh cr@p!" on a Nikon 1 the image may look different!

A religious sect of "F1.7 = F1.7" is accusing scientific community in fanaticism. That's just too funny!

Just a simple question, do you know what the meaning of F1.7 is?

F-stop is often called "relative aperture". Maybe that will hep you.

This might help too:

A fat lady and a thin supermodel are laying on the beach. Who will get sun burnt faster? Answer: both will burn/tan (both have the same exposure) the same despite the fat lady having 4x the skin area.

Anyway, Four Thirds is the hot supermodel.

http://www.dxomark.com/Cameras/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-A7-versus-Sony-A7R-versus-Olympus-OM-D-E-M1___916_917_909

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Henry

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forpetessake
forpetessake Veteran Member • Posts: 4,892
just as I thought

Lab D wrote:

forpetessake wrote:

Lab D wrote:

forpetessake wrote:

William Porter wrote:

Daniel Wee wrote:

As I only have the Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.8 on hand, I decided to use the Olympus 17mm F1.8 as a way to bring the match closer. I am aware that as far as depth of field is concerned, the Olympus translates to F3.6 in 35mm terms. Be that as it may, that was the fastest 17mm lens we can readily get so that's what I tested.

Reasonable. I've done much the same thing in my own comparison between the E-M1 and the Sony A850.

Small quibble. Aperture "equivalence" is not a useful concept. The aperture of the Olympus 17 f1.8 doesn't "translate" to anything. With respect to the aperture's most important job — controlling the amount of light that gets to the sensor — f1.7 = f1.7, plain and simple, and it doesn't matter what system the lens was built for.

Here we're going again. Of course, the equivalence is useful, it tells you exactly how the two different formats are related. The Olympus 17mm f/1.8 is equivalent to 34mm f/3.6 in FF in every aspect, and that's what one would observe in real life shooting.

And yes! F1.7 = F1.7. You never figure what aperture to use to get the proper exposure and then say, "oh cr@p!" on a Nikon 1 the image may look different!

A religious sect of "F1.7 = F1.7" is accusing scientific community in fanaticism. That's just too funny!

Just a simple question, do you know what the meaning of F1.7 is?

F-stop is often called "relative aperture". Maybe that will hep you.

Just as I though, you can't explain the physical meaning of the terms you are using. No surprise here, religious beliefs are always rooted in ignorance.

You may try again, I'm open to discussion; but somehow I doubt you want to let the facts to destroy your "F1.7 = F1.7" religion.

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