Panasonic 15/1.7 vs. Olympus 17/1.8 Comparison

Started Jun 26, 2014 | Photos
BarnabyJones New Member • Posts: 21
Panasonic 15/1.7 vs. Olympus 17/1.8 Comparison
10

Just a quick and dirty comparison of both lenses. Both lenses were shot on two seperate e-m1s. Settings were kept consistent, though I was pretty inconsistent in matching the field of view. All images were shot in RAW and converted to jpeg through Lightroom 5 (100% quality, not re-sized.) Bokeh tests, brick walls, and flowers!

Key Points:

Wide open the PL is just a smidge sharper in the centre, but loses in the corners to the Oly.

Stopped down to F/2.8 the PL i say is still a bit sharper in the center. I have a hunch I'm not perfectly parallel to the wall when I shot with the PL, but if I was I think it's safe to say the extreme corners beat my Oly. Either that or I've got a copy that's slight off center.

At F/4 my Oly takes the lead in the center. The PL looks like extreme corners might be better, but only on the right. On the left you can see either my user error or the lens imperfection. My hunch is that it's me.

I personally prefer the Bokeh of the PL, which seems just that extra bit creamy, but they're so close I think for most people it would be a wash.

There's a lil something special with the PL that I feel is missing with the Oly, but I'll let you all draw your own conclusions.

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Comment & critique:
Please provide me constructive critique and criticism.
Adamant Contributing Member • Posts: 797
Re: Panasonic 15/1.7 vs. Olympus 17/1.8 Comparison
3

Thanks for this. It is consistent with my own conclusions about another pair of m43 cousins: the PL 25 vs. Oly 25 1.8. The Olympus's rendering is more bracing/clinical. The Panasonic's is more organic/creamy. Personally, I prefer the Olympus, but agree that they're very close.

ntsan Contributing Member • Posts: 963
Re: Panasonic 15/1.7 vs. Olympus 17/1.8 Comparison
4

Thanks for the compare

15mm really outclass 17mm, but it is up to people decide if it is worth the extra cost.

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Adamant Contributing Member • Posts: 797
Re: Panasonic 15/1.7 vs. Olympus 17/1.8 Comparison
12

ntsan wrote:

15mm really outclass 17mm

Where are you seeing that in these samples?  Honest question, not trying to pick a fight.

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,010
Re: Panasonic 15/1.7 vs. Olympus 17/1.8 Comparison

To me the Olympus has better saturation and contrast. I'd pick it over the 15mm. They are pretty comparable though.

Kelpie Regular Member • Posts: 440
Re: Panasonic 15/1.7 vs. Olympus 17/1.8 Comparison

Thanks for this it's not often I see a lens comparison were I like the pictures.

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oeoek Contributing Member • Posts: 532
Re: Panasonic 15/1.7 vs. Olympus 17/1.8 Comparison

Well done!

It is nice to see comparisons like these, very straight forward and well executed. I am still in doubt if I need a lens between 12 and 25mm, but this comparison shows I have more then one to choose from

Thank you.

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sigala1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,911
Oly 17/1.8 sharpness advice
1

1. Because the lens has field curvature and the edges are front-focused relative to the center, you can increase edge sharpness by not using the center focus point but instead using a focus point closer to the edge. I like to use row 1, column 3 (for older Olympus cameras with a 5 row 7 column grid). This even helps when shooting at f/5.6.

2. The lens is sharpest center-corner at f/5.6 and using the trick above.

3. Stopping down to f/2.2 increases sharpness a lot, although i still think the lens is still quite useable wide open. I think between f/2.2 and f/5.6 is a no-man's land of not-too-useful apertures.

Understanding how the field curvature affects your images is a very big factor in getting the best images from this lens.

The other characteristics of this lens, which are bad characteristics, are that it has low contrast and is susceptible to blooming (if a very bright and a very dark object are next to each other, the brighness will seep into the dark area creating a veil of low contrast.

The low contrast creates the illusion that the lens is less sharp. That's why they say that images from this lens takes well to sharpening, because the detail is there but you can't make it out without sharpening.

chris_j_l Regular Member • Posts: 355
Re: Panasonic 15/1.7 vs. Olympus 17/1.8 Comparison
5

Adamant wrote:

ntsan wrote:

15mm really outclass 17mm

Where are you seeing that in these samples? Honest question, not trying to pick a fight.

The hyperbole of comparison and value of comment. People like to think they are doing more than "bikeshed painting" - when with things like this (2mm FL diff and both are very good quality items - so essentially interchangeable in a large number of situations) are brought up. As a result comments like "A slaughters B" or "B kerbstomps A" are easily translatable into "A is marginally different to B and I prefer A".

It's like student politics - the arguments are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.

C

G1Houston Senior Member • Posts: 2,985
I too like the 15mm better because ...
2

Adamant wrote:

ntsan wrote:

15mm really outclass 17mm

Where are you seeing that in these samples? Honest question, not trying to pick a fight.

I wouldn't say that the 15 outclass the other but I like it better because:

(1) better rendering of the bokeh, which is smoother especially when there is busy highlight in the background.  This is quite remarkable considering that the 15 is a wider lens.

(2) better rendering of color, it is just so slightly warmer, see the color of the brick in the first two pictures.  Now, this could also be affected by the camera's auto WB so we should hold judgment for now.

These two plus the fact that it has an aperture ring making this lens an excellent value for the quality/features that it delivers.

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arbuz Senior Member • Posts: 2,247
Re: Panasonic 15/1.7 vs. Olympus 17/1.8 Comparison
1

Adamant wrote:

ntsan wrote:

15mm really outclass 17mm

Where are you seeing that in these samples? Honest question, not trying to pick a fight.

Bokeh. Looks much better.

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Henry McA Forum Member • Posts: 58
Re: Oly 17/1.8 sharpness advice

I noticed the blooming too and thought that my camera was "ill". Very interesting, it never crossed my mind that it could be caused by the lens.

I compared the Oly 17 1.8 with the Pana 15 1.7 too and came to a very similar conclusion like so many here.

To me the 15 had the nicer bokeh and slightly warmer colors but higher distortion and a more organic or analog look. The 17 was more clinical, cooler colors, higher contrast, lower distortion, better manual focus, and more interesting focal length. But neither was special and both felt overpriced.

In the end, I did send them both back.

Neurad1
Neurad1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,498
Re: Panasonic 15/1.7 vs. Olympus 17/1.8 Comparison

I have what I believe to be a practical question....Let's say I was considering buying one of these two lenses, and read this post for guidance in my choice.

My question: For any given lens, what is the expected, "manufacturer-acceptable", copy to copy variation in lens quality (sharpness, microcontrast, etc)? If I decided that the 15mm looked "better" for whatever reason and ordered it, could I be certain that the copy I received would result in the same relative IQ observations if I were to do the comparison myself with a random copy of the 17mm? If not, how are these comparisons helpful?

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G1Houston Senior Member • Posts: 2,985
When you look at all the "reviews" you see a pattern ...
1

Neurad1 wrote:

I have what I believe to be a practical question....Let's say I was considering buying one of these two lenses, and read this post for guidance in my choice.

My question: For any given lens, what is the expected, "manufacturer-acceptable", copy to copy variation in lens quality (sharpness, microcontrast, etc)? If I decided that the 15mm looked "better" for whatever reason and ordered it, could I be certain that the copy I received would result in the same relative IQ observations if I were to do the comparison myself with a random copy of the 17mm? If not, how are these comparisons helpful?

Any A vs B comparisons even done under well controlled conditions are not very meaningful if the perceived difference is small.  However there have been several reports now on the 15 mm f1.7 lens and I think it is safe to say that this is an outstanding walk-around lens that delivers high center sharpness, nice bokeh, and a nice warmish color.  The corner will be slightly soft wide open — most likely a design compromise to deliver a good bokeh. Why is this such a big deal, considering the size and cost of this lens? Corner to corner sharpness seems most important to landscape photographers who will most likely use it stop down.  For people who use it wide open, they will be using it in dim light or to get the shallow DOF look, in both cases c-to-c sharpness is not critical.

The 17 does not seem to be designed to be sharp corner to corner at F1.8 either.  A lens like that will cost a lot more and be bigger and heavier.  I thus think that both of these lenses are designed to do more or less the same thing, so the first question you need to ask is whether you need the 15mm fl or the 17 mm fl.  The 15 will be slightly better, I think, in bokeh and color, plus the aperture ring, but you will pay more for those, plus the wider fl.

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Neurad1
Neurad1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,498
Re: When you look at all the "reviews" you see a pattern ...

G1Houston wrote:

Neurad1 wrote:

I have what I believe to be a practical question....Let's say I was considering buying one of these two lenses, and read this post for guidance in my choice.

My question: For any given lens, what is the expected, "manufacturer-acceptable", copy to copy variation in lens quality (sharpness, microcontrast, etc)? If I decided that the 15mm looked "better" for whatever reason and ordered it, could I be certain that the copy I received would result in the same relative IQ observations if I were to do the comparison myself with a random copy of the 17mm? If not, how are these comparisons helpful?

Any A vs B comparisons even done under well controlled conditions are not very meaningful if the perceived difference is small. However there have been several reports now on the 15 mm f1.7 lens and I think it is safe to say that this is an outstanding walk-around lens that delivers high center sharpness, nice bokeh, and a nice warmish color. The corner will be slightly soft wide open — most likely a design compromise to deliver a good bokeh. Why is this such a big deal, considering the size and cost of this lens? Corner to corner sharpness seems most important to landscape photographers who will most likely use it stop down. For people who use it wide open, they will be using it in dim light or to get the shallow DOF look, in both cases c-to-c sharpness is not critical.

The 17 does not seem to be designed to be sharp corner to corner at F1.8 either. A lens like that will cost a lot more and be bigger and heavier. I thus think that both of these lenses are designed to do more or less the same thing, so the first question you need to ask is whether you need the 15mm fl or the 17 mm fl. The 15 will be slightly better, I think, in bokeh and color, plus the aperture ring, but you will pay more for those, plus the wider fl.

Thanks. For the difference I saw in this comparison, I wouldn't spend the money. I own the MZ 17 1.8 and the Panny 14 already. Also the MZ 9-18.

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jack Hoggard
jack Hoggard Contributing Member • Posts: 825
Re: When you look at all the "reviews" you see a pattern ...

Don't forget that the aperture ring is only a decoration on an Olympus camera.

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jaxupra

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jvt Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: Panasonic 15/1.7 vs. Olympus 17/1.8 Comparison

Although these are fine, I'm still seeing better results from the original Panasonic 20/1.7...even though it is a slightly longer focal length.

Of course, someone will bring up that it's sooooo slow in the AF department.

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Jim Tardio

BarnET Veteran Member • Posts: 3,581
Re: Panasonic 15/1.7 vs. Olympus 17/1.8 Comparison

Although these are fine, I'm still seeing better results from the original Panasonic 20/1.7...even though it is a slightly longer focal length.

Of course, someone will bring up that it's sooooo slow in the AF department.

Yup it's slow.

Still I love my 20mm

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sigala1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,911
Re: Oly 17/1.8 sharpness advice

Henry McA wrote:

I noticed the blooming too and thought that my camera was "ill". Very interesting, it never crossed my mind that it could be caused by the lens.

I compared the Oly 17 1.8 with the Pana 15 1.7 too and came to a very similar conclusion like so many here.

To me the 15 had the nicer bokeh and slightly warmer colors but higher distortion and a more organic or analog look. The 17 was more clinical, cooler colors, higher contrast, lower distortion, better manual focus, and more interesting focal length. But neither was special and both felt overpriced.

In the end, I did send them both back.

The 17/1.8 is my favorite lens. Just because it's overpriced is no reason to send it back if there's no better-valued alternative.

Bhima78 Senior Member • Posts: 2,850
Re: Oly 17/1.8 sharpness advice

Henry McA wrote:

I noticed the blooming too and thought that my camera was "ill". Very interesting, it never crossed my mind that it could be caused by the lens.

I compared the Oly 17 1.8 with the Pana 15 1.7 too and came to a very similar conclusion like so many here.

To me the 15 had the nicer bokeh and slightly warmer colors but higher distortion and a more organic or analog look. The 17 was more clinical, cooler colors, higher contrast, lower distortion, better manual focus, and more interesting focal length. But neither was special and both felt overpriced.

In the end, I did send them both back.

Agreed... though I am keeping my new 15 even though, truly, both it and the Oly 17 are vastly overpriced.

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