Is it me, or is it the 17mm f2.8 lens?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Web-Betty, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. Web-Betty

    Web-Betty Mu-43 Veteran

    337
    Jun 16, 2013
    Denver
    MJ
    I have attempted to use this lens on multiple occasions, and have been very frustrated by the results. I understand that this could very well (in fact, most likely) be due to operator error--I am an unapologetic noob. :biggrin:

    That being said, I would love for the community to take a look these pics and tell me what I am doing wrong? By all accounts, this lens should be taking better pictures than I seem to be getting. I have the 45mm f1.8 and get fantastic shots. I know they are two completely different pieces of glass, but I find it odd that I'm struggling so much with one, while making great strides with the other.

    Maybe I'm expecting too much, or I'm crazy, or both. :doh:

    Oly M17 f2.8
    1/200 @ f/11.0
    Aperture priority
    ISO 1000
    Taken at dusk; sun had just dropped behind the mountain
    PA265625.

    Oly M17 f2.8
    1/1600 @ f/4.0
    Aperture priority
    ISO 1600
    Taken at dusk; sun had dropped behind the mountain
    PA265647.

    Oly M17 f2.8
    1/640 @ f/3.5
    Manual exposure
    ISO 200
    Taken late afternoon; not in direct light
    P9174511.
     
  2. LDraper

    LDraper Mu-43 Regular

    84
    Feb 4, 2011
    Albuquerque, NM
    What's dissapointing about these to you? My first thought is that they are all taken in flat lighting and may be a little underexposed.
    More often than not it's the quality of light that makes a picture work - the lens is secondary to that.
     
  3. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    贾一川
    these seem real to me, what are you expecting?

    also I'm curious about using f11 on the first one
     
  4. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    If I were shooting those subjects with the 17, I would have gotten a LOT closer to them - you might have appreciated the result of doing that?

    And it appears that the selected area of focus was off. It isn't apparent from this, very limited, examination that there's anything wrong with the lens.
     
  5. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Bob
    The difference between the 45mm and the 17mm should be noticeable, especially if you push the lens to f11. The 45 is much better in low light. Otherwise, it does appear to be more of a focus point problem.
     
  6. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    776
    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    The first two have sky and darker lower regions - wide dynamic range. The last one seems underexposed.
     
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  7. sokar

    sokar Mu-43 Veteran

    392
    Nov 30, 2011
    I have used this lens for more than 3 years on Oly bodies. As RevBob states, F:8.0 is the most this lens should be stopped down too or you risk losing resolution from diffraction. I am unsure what body you are using, but high ISO shots are not necessary for the static subjects you were shooting and you would be able to use a lower shutter speed with lower ISO and possibly have better colors in the shots.

    I use older M43 bodies and have found that this lens focuses faster using centre point focusing and then recomposing. The shots you show are what the Oly 17mm F:2.8 delivers. Having said that, better colors can be achieved by some fill flash and the photos taken with this lens can definitely benefit shooting in RAW and having some sharpening applied in PP.

    I also use the Oly 45mm and the 2 lenses are not comparable. The 45mm is in a different league. The Oly 17mm F:2.8 is sharpest for general landscape shots at F5.6. At F:8.0, 4ft to infinity can be in focus. From F:5.6 to F:8.0 the corners are reasonably sharp and can provide quite good landscape shots. Keep persisting with this lens as it is a very different focal length to the 45mm. Shooting RAW will allow you to improve the shots by reducing some blown highlights and taking up the shadows a little. Bringing the shutter speed down into flash shutter speed territory may also yield better photos against the background, especially in photos 1 and 2.
     
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  8. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    Not sure what you are disappointed about these photos. It's hard to give you advice unless we know more about what you are trying to accomplish and why you are not happy with the output. Like someone else has already mentioned, with the 17mm lens, you might need to get a lot closer to the subject than the 45mm to get more interesting results. Leveling the camera (or give it a noticeable tilt on purpose), and follow the rule of thirds (in general) might help, too... The first two shots seems a little tilted (unintentionally).

    Other than that, your camera and lens combo seems to have done quite well in capturing all the details in the first two shots which have wide dynamic ranges...
     
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  9. Web-Betty

    Web-Betty Mu-43 Veteran

    337
    Jun 16, 2013
    Denver
    MJ
    I believe you may have hit the nail on the head: flat and underexposed.

    I know that lighting is the key, but it's seldom that I'm out during the "magic hour" at sunrise. Especially for activities with my kids. Any suggestions on overcoming this? It seems I'm usually in picture taking scenarios like this (flat light) or during the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky.
     
  10. Web-Betty

    Web-Betty Mu-43 Veteran

    337
    Jun 16, 2013
    Denver
    MJ
    As Ldraper mentioned above your post, I think the problem is the light is so flat and they are a bit underexposed, though I try to adjust exposure based on the info provided by my E-PL2.

    f11 on the first shot is a clear indication that I'm bad at adjust my settings when I start out. I realized a few shots in that my aperture should be adjusted. :rolleyes:
     
  11. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    In that case, the problem isn't with the lens, but with the lighting. Post-processing, whether its JPEG or RAW, might be your only solution, unless you have a crew to help you bounce light and all... :tongue:
     
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  12. sokar

    sokar Mu-43 Veteran

    392
    Nov 30, 2011
    EPL2 body? I use the EP1 and EPM1 which is essentially the same sensor. Some fill flash would definitely give these shots some more pop. I think the flash shutter sync speed of the EPL2 is 1/160 and therefore if you are shooting in aperture mode, then reduce the ISO so that the shutter speed lowers into the flash shutter sync range of 1/60 - 1/160 sec. If you wish to use flash at higher shutter speeds than some Oly flash units have FP mode where you can shoot at any shutter speed with fill flash.
     
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  13. Web-Betty

    Web-Betty Mu-43 Veteran

    337
    Jun 16, 2013
    Denver
    MJ
    Thank you for the information. I wanted to get the corn in as well, which is why I'm not closer to them, but this is good advice. I didn't think the lens was 'bad' I was just wondering if I was expecting too much from it. :)

    The 45 is my favorite, but I was concerned with having to be so close to my subjects when there might not have been enough room. I'm struggling with focus; obvious from these examples.

    Thank you both so much for the great information.
     
  14. LDraper

    LDraper Mu-43 Regular

    84
    Feb 4, 2011
    Albuquerque, NM
    I think the lighting issue could have been made more interesting just by getting closer to your subjects (as was mentioned). The 17mm is a mild wide-angle lens and will focus vey close - close enough to cause distortion in portrait subjects. Even so, you want to get close to your subjects so they fill the frame - but you can do that and still incorporate the corn as an element of the photo.
     
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  15. Web-Betty

    Web-Betty Mu-43 Veteran

    337
    Jun 16, 2013
    Denver
    MJ
    So much great information. I really appreciate the advice. Great to know about stopping it down past f/8.0. I'm using an E-PL2 but am considering an upgrade to either a used E-M5 or next year to an E-M1.
     
  16. Web-Betty

    Web-Betty Mu-43 Veteran

    337
    Jun 16, 2013
    Denver
    MJ
    Unfortunately, my 'crew' were in most of the photos, lol.
     
  17. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Betty.... I think most m4/3 users who have shot with the 17/2.8 consider it to be an "okay" lens, but nothing at all exciting in terms of rendering or image quality. I had one for a short while and didn't find the results from it to be anything worth keeping the lens for, so I sold it. I think the 17/1.8 offers a bit more in sharpness and low light possibilities. I would recommend that you use it for awhile and if it just isn't "lighting you up", sell it off and try the 20/1.7 or the 17/1.8.
     
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  18. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    Wow Betty you've relied to everything on this thread! :)

    The e-P1 & 17mm was my second m4/3rds camera combination and I love mine, and almost always am pleased with the photos.
    However, the way I use mine is very different to the way you use yours, looking at the aperture/ISO information.

    Mine is F2.8 all the time. ALL THE TIME. DOF on a 17mm is large enough not to worry and not to need stopping down, like, ever. Kinda.
    ISO is 100+200+400 all the time : Olympus' ISO-bracket, in bracketing menu.
    Two exposures in Burst mode, every time, holding shutterfinger down : avoids closed eyes and camera shake, pretty guaranteed.

    I'm no professional photographer but I can dig out some examples if you like.
    Brilliant lens, takes lovely pictures far and away better than the statistics would suggest.
     
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  19. rich9cinti

    rich9cinti Mu-43 Veteran

    288
    Mar 23, 2013
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Rich
    Overcoming bad light is tricky. Using shaded areas and off camera flash are some ways to fight the bad light. Correct metering mode such as spot will assist in getting the right lighting on your subject. Other ways to overcome it will be in post-processing. When I shoot portraits for gigs, it is rarely ever at the best times. It's usually based on the clients schedule. So I bring my own lighting to combat the flat look and spend time processing in Lightroom.
     
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  20. Web-Betty

    Web-Betty Mu-43 Veteran

    337
    Jun 16, 2013
    Denver
    MJ
    Your info is great, thank you! As you surmised, I was concerned about DOF being too shallow at 2.8 so I stopped down. Based on all the feedback, I now know this was a mistake. I also need to start shooting RAW. It seems this would help me in post processing when I have of I take pics in bad lighting. I will definitely be looking into your suggestions. :)