Olympus M Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8 Samples - Analysis

Discussion in 'Micro 4/3 News and Rumors' started by Amin Sabet, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Tomek Kulas from M43.eu has given kind permission to present and analyze some of their pre-production Olympus 17mm f/1.8 sample images here at Mu-43.com.

    In case you haven't checked them out, M43.eu has published a very nice user report (link, translation) as well as sample images including RAW files for download (link, translation).

    Those interested in this lens should have a look at the samples, but here were my takeaway points:

    1) Sharpness is closer to the level of the Olympus 17mm f/2.8 than it is to the level of the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. I consider the former to be an underrated lens with very decent sharpness overall. However the Panasonic is a lens I don't hesitate to shoot wide open with the expectation of biting sharpness in most of the frame. The new Olympus seems to fall a bit short of this standard.

    Here is an f/1.8 file provided by M43.eu which I processed from RAW, showing 100% center and edge crops:

    8177632307_0ede8de373_o.


    2) As is true for most lenses, sharpness is very decent when you stop down. Here's an f/3.5 file from M43.eu, again processed from RAW with multiple 100% crops displayed:

    8175909828_75829dd34d_o.


    3) The new Olympus lens, like other wides for Micro 4/3 such as the Panasonic 20/1.7 and the Olympus 17/2.8, has marked barrel distortion. The PTLens profile for the Olympus 17/2.8 is perfect for the new f/1.8 lens, demonstrating that they are the same in terms of distortion.

    4) Bokeh is soft and pleasing with this lens. I feel the same way about the 17mm f/2.8 lens, although obviously the faster lens will give more opportunities for shallow depth of field and out-of-focus blur.

    5) Axial (longitudinal) chromatic aberration (CA), ie purple/green color fringing on out of focus elements of the image, seems well controlled with this lens. This image from M43.eu shows both the pleasing bokeh rendition and a small amount of axial CA demonstrated by the new 17/1.8:

    8178771274_b0ff174ee9_b.

    Crop from the above image to better show axial CA:

    8178890009_fa3699fac2_o.


    6) Lateral CA (red/cyan color fringing) is moderate with this lens and requires correction even when the is lens stopped down. Slightly disappointing in this regard.


    My overall impressions based on these samples is a positive one. Resolution is adequate, character pleasing, and what aberrations are present should overall be easy to correct with acceptable effects on overall image quality. The net package should be a good addition to our system, particularly for those of us who predominantly like to take photos of people.

    However, it looks as though this lens will be something of a disappointment to landscape photographers and others looking for a very high level of optical performance including sharp edges and corners.
     
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  2. The samples from m43.eu have thrown up a bit of a curveball, since I wasn't prepared for the 17/1.8 to be anything other than a stellar lens. I'm not ready to pass final judgement just yet however. In good light the existing 17/2.8 has great colour and contrast, but the images and lighting conditions in these samples aren't sufficient to show if the 17/1.8 will have similar properties. I've temporarily downgraded this lens from probably to maybe but I'm sure that we haven't seen the best of it based on these samples.
     
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  3. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    I downloaded the raw file of the first woodchips picture and processed it as I normally do, first in LR4 then tweaked in Photoshop with a high pass sharpening at .6. The jpeg example online is pretty poor by comparison. Center sharpness can be brought out quite well, but it does seem to fall off toward the edges.

    I'd been waiting for this lens, but with these examples, and the identical barrel distortion as the f2.8, I'm not so sure. If it's main advantage over the slower lens is only a stop more speed, I probably won't get it, as most of my photos at this focal length are of stationary objects. For other times I have no problem pushing the iso up on the E-M5.

    So, we'll see. But the jpegs online really don't do justice to what the lens can deliver. I'll wait for further news once it is released.

    I haven't included a 100% crop of the raw file I processed, because I do not have any permission to do so. In any event, it would only represent the results from my work habits; other's results might differ.
     
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    That's becoming the norm for shorter prime lenses. The corners on the 12, 14, 17/2.8 and even the 25/1.4 never really seem to catch up to the center, however much you stop down. Probably irrelevant for street photography, but a bit annoying for landscapes.
     
  5. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    The good news, though, is that the "fall off" in sharpness toward the edges seems in part to be because of automatic distortion correction applied by Lightroom. In Capture One Pro 7 (which I downloaded thanks to Amin's heads up about this very problem) the edges are not only sharper, they include subject matter that is cropped out at the edge during Lightroom's auto adjustments. I'll definitely be buying this software when the trial runs out. (60 days gives me some time to put it in the budget.) I always liked the Capture one 4/5 that came with my D-lux 4, so it's time to give the brand more assignments.

    There is still noticeable falloff, but more in line with what one might expect from the focal length. Truth to tell, I've been shocked at what Lightroom's auto correction does in this regard. In some images, such as the wood chips I mentioned, barrel distortion is not noticeable anyway.

    I add my voice to Amin's: Please Adobe, give us the option to turn it off!
     
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  6. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I suspect that some of the apparent edge softness in that shot is due to field curvature, which often becomes obvious when the lens which is optimized for longer distances is used for close-up work.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Mu-43 App
     
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  7. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    I look forward to seeing more samples from the lens. My reaction to the online jpegs (not your work from raw) was pretty unfavorable, but I really am only interested in what I can get from raw files, and from those I am once again more favorably inclined toward it. Except my OM-1 Zuiko 35mm f2.8 and some zooms for digital, it is a POV I'm short on since selling my P 20 f1.7 to get the PL25mm. I definitely need a quality prime in this general focal length.
     
  8. micz87

    micz87 Mu-43 Regular

    103
    May 8, 2012
    EU
    Waiting for more samples and test chart shots. y now I'm not too impresed with Oly 17mm optics :( I love my Panny 20mm but it lacks of fast AF. I was thinking that Oly 17mm will solve this problem but I'm not going to throw image quality for AF...
     
  9. dfreezy

    dfreezy Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Oct 23, 2012
    Boston, MA
    Doug
    Part of me almost hopes this lens is mediocre since it will make deciding which prime setup to go with easier :)
     
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  10. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    I'd like to see focus speed mentioned a bit more : if that is the most significant improvement over the noticeably flatter 17mmF2.8 then it still might make for a persuasive selling point.
     
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  11. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    983
    Sep 8, 2012
    Chad
    for sure capture one does a way better job than LR :)
     
  12. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    According to the user report linked from the OP, autofocus is instant and silent with this lens.
     
  13. LB1940

    LB1940 New to Mu-43

    2
    Nov 13, 2012
    São Paulo, Brazil
    Luiz Barata
    Amin, I noticed that the image B090079 was shot at 1/125 s, right in the middle of the infamous range of exposures suspected of shutter shock. Could that be the reason for some softness?
     
  14. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Some more specs from 43rumors:

    • Metal body
    • Snap focus
    • No hood
    • 120g
    • 46mm filters
    • 58mm diameter
    • 36mm long
     
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  15. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Definite possibility. The wood chip photos look like motion blur or shutter shock to me. Center sharpness not what it ought to be.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Mu-43 App
     
  16. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    120g is sweet. Compared to my Panasonic 14 and Olympus 45, the DG Summilux sometimes feels a bit hefty.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Mu-43 App
     
  17. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    926
    Nov 6, 2012
    Canada
    I agree.

    120 g is very nice indeed.
     
  18. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    293
    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    Hopefully Olympus is listening to this thread, because I am disappointed to see a less than amazing review. I was looking forward to something along the lines of the 75mm, and the 12mm... Image quality wise.

    I mean, if they price it much lower as is... Then it's probably a great lens... But I don't trust Olympus to put a metal housing and snap focus on an affordable lens.... This thing should be TOP notch.

    Also, for various reasons... I don't think we should be apologetic when we review stuff like this.
     
  19. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    293
    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    I just saw the predicted price point of $550

    That's certainly more affordable than the lenses I was hoping it would be comparable to.

    I will wait until I see what kind of shots we start seeing in the forum.
     
  20. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    Mikey
    The FT rumor site pegs the price at 550 euro but 710USD. Let's all hope that the so-so (I'd still say they're quite good, and definitely not bad at all compared to what I remember from my 17/2.8) images are a result of shooting with a preproduction model. Also, hopefully Olympus is listening and rectifies the situation. I agree with earlier posters commenting on how the 25/1.4 (magnificent lens) is quite hefty. I'll gladly sell my 25/1.4 for a quality 17/1.8. :smile: