Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved

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ata3001
ata3001 Contributing Member • Posts: 742
Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved
5

I bought a new Oly 17mm f/1.8 & find I am really disappointed with it's optical performance when compared with the Oly 12-40 f/2.8 at 17mm. Does Olympus ever update their lenses to improve them? NOT interested in the heavy Oly 17mm f/1.2 lens due to size & weight.

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absquatulate Forum Pro • Posts: 10,292
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved

ata3001 wrote:

I bought a new Oly 17mm f/1.8 & find I am really disappointed with it's optical performance when compared with the Oly 12-40 f/2.8 at 17mm. Does Olympus ever update their lenses to improve them? NOT interested in the heavy Oly 17mm f/1.2 lens due to size & weight.

What disappoints you about it? plenty of people really like it, I have my own theory on this but I'm interested to hear your opinion.

Auf Reisen Contributing Member • Posts: 599
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved
1

I can just pass on some hearsay on this topic, but word on the forums is that there is a lot of sample variation in the early batches of this lens from the Chinese plant. Apparently, QC for the batch from Vietnam was much better. Where is yours from?

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ata3001
OP ata3001 Contributing Member • Posts: 742
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved
4

Auf Reisen wrote:

I can just pass on some hearsay on this topic, but word on the forums is that there is a lot of sample variation in the early batches of this lens from the Chinese plant. Apparently, QC for the batch from Vietnam was much better. Where is yours from?

My lens was purchased new only a few months ago. It was made in Vietnam.

When I did image comparisons between this lens & my Oly 12-40 f/2.8 @ 17mm, the 12-40 lens produced better contrast, sharpness & detail. The testing was done using a Pen F on a CF tripod & using a cable release to eliminate any camera shake. There were no filters on the lenses either, so that eliminates that variable as well.

It's not that it's a terrible lens because on it's own, it produces nice images, but when compared, it simply falls short. Taking the same image with both lenses & w/o any post processing, I can tell which image was shot with which lens.

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E_ B Senior Member • Posts: 1,850
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved
1

Yes, sometimes Olympus does rework a lens to improve it in some way, e.g. the 50-200mm zoom. I’ve never heard Olympus announcing the fact they were working on an upgrade to a lens though.  The upgrade just appears without preannouncement.

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BostonC Contributing Member • Posts: 603
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved
2
Astrotripper Veteran Member • Posts: 6,925
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved

ata3001 wrote:

I bought a new Oly 17mm f/1.8 & find I am really disappointed with it's optical performance

Test it for front/back focus. Sometimes (very rarely mind you) a faulty lens might suffer from this affliction.

Also, do the usual corner test (take 2 shots with camera rotated 180 degrees and compare corners) to see if there is non-uniformity in corner sharpness.

when compared with the Oly 12-40 f/2.8 at 17mm.

I had a chance to shoot with the 17 and was quite surprised to find it sharp corner to corner and indeed very sharp overall.

Does Olympus ever update their lenses to improve them?

Not in terms of optics.

NOT interested in the heavy Oly 17mm f/1.2 lens due to size & weight.

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Rich K
Rich K Contributing Member • Posts: 766
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved

I've never been particularly displeased with my 17/1.8.  I wonder if lenses benefit more from a tightening of manufacturing process rather than redesign?  It makes sense to me that the optical designers likely did the best they could within the performance parameters they were given, and that lesser quality likely came from tradeoffs that were made with regards to materials and manufacturing processes at a later stage.  In particular, loosening up the QA process could easily lead to wide variances in the end product.  At this point, I don't think it's likely to see a new version of the lens or even a significant change in quality unless they ramp  up a new production run.

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Felice62 Senior Member • Posts: 2,003
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved
2

absquatulate wrote:

ata3001 wrote:

I bought a new Oly 17mm f/1.8 & find I am really disappointed with it's optical performance when compared with the Oly 12-40 f/2.8 at 17mm. Does Olympus ever update their lenses to improve them? NOT interested in the heavy Oly 17mm f/1.2 lens due to size & weight.

What disappoints you about it? plenty of people really like it, I have my own theory on this but I'm interested to hear your opinion.

I never expected Oly 17/1.8 to be the sharpest lens out there. And it isn't.

But it boasts a great build quality, a fantastic usability also in manual mode and it has the FOV that really fits my desires.

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SkiHound Veteran Member • Posts: 3,611
Made in China or Viet Nam?

I had the one made in China, which I thought was OK but not stellar optically. I tried the PL 15 and found it considerably better optically. I've read that the ones made in Viet Nam are consistently bette. Should say right on the front of the lens.

ata3001
OP ata3001 Contributing Member • Posts: 742
Re: Made in China or Viet Nam?

SkiHound wrote:

I had the one made in China, which I thought was OK but not stellar optically. I tried the PL 15 and found it considerably better optically. I've read that the ones made in Viet Nam are consistently bette. Should say right on the front of the lens.

I have a Nikon Coolpix A (APS size sensor) with a 28mm equivalent lens that for me is simply too wide. A 15mm (30mm equivalent) is too close to the 28mm which I don't like. The next size PL available is 20mm which I'm on the fence about. I already have the 25mm f/1.8 which is a very good lens but only slightly longer than the 20. C'mon PL, the 35mm equivalent lens has always been the ideal street photographers lens. Please make a 17mm lens!

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rb61 Regular Member • Posts: 284
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved

BostonC wrote:

The improved version is called PL 15mm.

https://mirrorlesscomparison.com/micro-four-thirds-lenses/panasonic-15mm-vs-olympus-17mm/

Sounds like a great lens.

Just went on eBay - only 2 available for bid and a few more "Buy it Now" which are all from Japan.

Can someone tell me if this is fairly normal or a current anomaly?

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glassoholic
glassoholic Senior Member • Posts: 4,063
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved

The Oly 17mm f1.8 is an enigma. There are things to like about it such as build quality, manual focus clutch and compact size, and things that are frustrating such as lack of ultimate sharpness even when stopped down. It comes frustratingly close to being great... and it is priced at a point that would indicate it should be great. Having said all that, unless you pixel peep or examine huge prints close up, it is not that bad that problems jump out at you. I also suspect that if IQ varies sample to sample, which most do, and you get one that is at the bottom end of the scale, it could then be consistently disappointing.

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absquatulate Forum Pro • Posts: 10,292
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved

Felice62 wrote:

absquatulate wrote:

ata3001 wrote:

I bought a new Oly 17mm f/1.8 & find I am really disappointed with it's optical performance when compared with the Oly 12-40 f/2.8 at 17mm. Does Olympus ever update their lenses to improve them? NOT interested in the heavy Oly 17mm f/1.2 lens due to size & weight.

What disappoints you about it? plenty of people really like it, I have my own theory on this but I'm interested to hear your opinion.

I never expected Oly 17/1.8 to be the sharpest lens out there. And it isn't.

But it boasts a great build quality, a fantastic usability also in manual mode and it has the FOV that really fits my desires.

Thanks, I looked at plenty of images on Flickr, it looks pretty decent to me, and of course the fov is a classic.

absquatulate Forum Pro • Posts: 10,292
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved
2

BostonC wrote:

The improved version is called PL 15mm.

https://mirrorlesscomparison.com/micro-four-thirds-lenses/panasonic-15mm-vs-olympus-17mm/

"Apples are better than oranges...."

Felice62 Senior Member • Posts: 2,003
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved
1

Indeed

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Tommi K1 Senior Member • Posts: 6,964
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved
1

ata3001 wrote:

I bought a new Oly 17mm f/1.8 & find I am really disappointed with it's optical performance when compared with the Oly 12-40 f/2.8 at 17mm. Does Olympus ever update their lenses to improve them? NOT interested in the heavy Oly 17mm f/1.2 lens due to size & weight.

Olympus does update their lenses. And they are marked as "II" or "R".

The R stands for "Redesign" as the body is redesigned, optically same. Look like 40-150mm and R version.

And same thing with II but it can have different optics but same design or new design, ie 14-42mm has gone through that.

BostonC Contributing Member • Posts: 603
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved

rb61 wrote:

BostonC wrote:

The improved version is called PL 15mm.

https://mirrorlesscomparison.com/micro-four-thirds-lenses/panasonic-15mm-vs-olympus-17mm/

Sounds like a great lens.

Just went on eBay - only 2 available for bid and a few more "Buy it Now" which are all from Japan.

Can someone tell me if this is fairly normal or a current anomaly?

Have you looked at fredmiranda.com and mu-43.com?  Both have quite active for sale sections. Worth a look.

Peter Del Veteran Member • Posts: 5,405
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved

Mine is fine, but the biggest prints I make are only A3, however, I hate the manual focus clutch. I missed a photo because it was accidentally pushed 'on'.

Peter Del

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Carol T Contributing Member • Posts: 797
Re: Who would like to see the Oly 17 f/1.8 optically improved

ata3001 wrote:

Auf Reisen wrote:

I can just pass on some hearsay on this topic, but word on the forums is that there is a lot of sample variation in the early batches of this lens from the Chinese plant. Apparently, QC for the batch from Vietnam was much better. Where is yours from?

My lens was purchased new only a few months ago. It was made in Vietnam.

When I did image comparisons between this lens & my Oly 12-40 f/2.8 @ 17mm, the 12-40 lens produced better contrast, sharpness & detail. The testing was done using a Pen F on a CF tripod & using a cable release to eliminate any camera shake. There were no filters on the lenses either, so that eliminates that variable as well.

It's not that it's a terrible lens because on it's own, it produces nice images, but when compared, it simply falls short. Taking the same image with both lenses & w/o any post processing, I can tell which image was shot with which lens.

That has been my experience. I feel it is overpriced and has options I don't want or use (the pull-back focus ring) and of course has an overpriced fancy hood. I think it was one of the early lens designs, and fell heavily into the hipster nostalgia phase. I paid the price to get one because I wanted a 35mm equivalent, and there is nothing else. But yeah, I find the output uninspiring.

We have like a dozen 25mm and even several 12mm lenses, but for some reason pretty much the most popular angle-of-view (AOV) has one choice. I hoped for years they would make a really good 17ish/1.4, but nope, they went all the way to the 17/1.2, in which like you I have no interest. I guess I am lucky that I far prefer the 50mm AOV so don't really miss a 35 that much. But the lack of one I find compelling is part of what has prevented me from exploring that AOV more.

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