panasonic 15mm f1.7 vs olympus 17mm f1.8

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by michiel91b, Apr 9, 2016.

  1. michiel91b

    michiel91b Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 9, 2016

    Trying to figure out wich wide/standard prime lens is best of these two ?

    I have a olympus em10 body and mostly shoot landscapes, street and sometimes some sports (bmx and cycling).

  2. Moula

    Moula Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2016
    For me, 17 is little bit better as general purpose "normal" lens. Very little bit.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. michiel91b

    michiel91b Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 9, 2016
    when i read reviews the 15mm, it would be sharper and more punchier. Somebody can confirm this?
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  4. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    That was my experience. However it does cost a little bit more, is not a standard 35mm equivalent, and the aperture ring on the lens does not work on Olympus cameras (you can still change aperture in camera as normal, though).
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. zensu

    zensu An Old Fool

    Aug 8, 2012
    Alabama, USA
    Real Name:
    IMHO the 15mm is a better lens as far as IQ. I was gifted the 15mm while I still owned the 17mm and sold the 17mm a few weeks later. I'm just an amateur so I didn't do extensive tests to compare the two but from looking at my images the 15mm looked sharper with better contrast and better bokeh. Bokeh in a wide angle lens? Yes, if you're shooting a subject close to you with a background farther away you can get bokeh when shooting wide open (F 1.7). I must confess that to get corner to corner sharpness (equal to the center) I have to stop down a little (F 4.0 or 5.6).
    Just my opinion.
  6. michiel91b

    michiel91b Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 9, 2016
    Thanks bobby, just found your original post about your view on the 15mm vs 17mm
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  7. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Real Name:
    He briefly discusses the 15mm as well.
  8. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've owned the 17mm 1.8 several times and I like everything about the lens except the image quality. It just doesn't have that same punch as the 20mm 1.7 nor does the OOF areas look as nice in my opinion. I haven't tried the 15mm, but from all accounts it seems to be the sharper lens.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    The 17 f1.8 is a very nice lens that's sharp enough for most people. At f5.6 it's very sharp corner to corner and makes a nice landscape lens. Wide open it's very sharp across most of the frame and ideal for street photography or environmental portraits. Subject separation will be a challenge on the latter, but you'll need FF or maybe the Voigtlander 17.5 f0.95 to achieve that.
  10. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Own the 17mm. Stopped down to f5.6 its terrific. But if you shot starry landscapes, it has noticeable astigmatism in the corners @ f2.8 & wider. Still, I've shot some terrifically sharp moon lit landscapes w/ it @ f2.8.
  11. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Interesting to know, the PL15 has some noticeable barrel distortion but I've not found astigmatism or coma to be a problem at all at f/1.7.

    As a PL15 user, I'd say it feels more like a tight 28mm equivalent (similar FoV to most modern smart phone cameras actually), rather than a traditional 35mm equivalent. It definitely feels more on the wide side than wide-normal, and you have to be more careful with it if you're shooting portraits not to distort people. As far as image quality, it's a similar debate between many m4/3 lenses - PL25 versus mZD 25, P42.5 versus mZD 45. Each has very good IQ but in different aspects. One problem I've noticed with the PL15 on Olympus bodies is that there is more purple fringing around point light sources at night compared to when you use it on a Panasonic body, but it's correctable enough in ACR that it doesn't bother me much.

    In this case though, I'd place more weight on the differences in focal length and mechanical aperture versus MF ring when making a choice. In particular, for street and sport would you find the dedicated MF control useful for say zone focussing?
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
  12. cptobvious

    cptobvious Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 8, 2013
    I've owned both and the P15 is sharper. It also has more contrast and a different color cast. I find on Oly bodies the 17/1.8 colors were pretty spot on (better matched to the Oly color profile, perhaps) while with the 15 I had to spend more time tweaking the white balance in post, the same as with the P25/1.4. For landscape, the 15 is better due to slightly less field curvature, though neither is ideal.

    You might also want to look at the Ricoh GR as I think it is a much better landscape option than either (much higher cross-frame sharpness, better DR, 3:2 aspect ratio) and it is also popular with street photographers. However, it is definitely not a camera for sports.
  13. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    wjiang is right about the focal length, its not as close as you would think with just a 2mm difference in focal length. The 15 is a noticeably wider lens with more of the dynamic wide angle distortions (which I really like, but you need to remain conscious of it to create good photos). Optically the 15mm is a bit more prone to CA but otherwise is better across the board than the 17.
  14. michiel91b

    michiel91b Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 9, 2016
    so the 15mm is better for landscapes and architecture and the 17mm is better for street and portraits ?
  15. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I wouldn't say that. Personally, I think the 15mm is better all around if the focal length difference isn't an issue. Neither are good for close portraits, both are fine for environmental portraits. As far as street, the 15mm has an AF/MF switch and the 17mm has clutch focus, so they are both fine for manual/zone focus, and are both fast focusing if you go autofocus. But the 15mm is a wide and the 17 is more of a wide normal. If you are fine with either focal length, I would suggest the 15mm. If you want a wide normal I would suggest the 17mm (or the 20mm, but while the 20 is optically better, the 17 is a better street lens than the 20 due to faster focus and easier zone focus)
  16. michiel91b

    michiel91b Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 9, 2016
    Or maybe I try the 20mm and see if the autofocus is really that big of a problem for me. Will it be such a big problem as everybody says for street photography ?

    Or just go for the 17mm for 100 euros more (or 15mm for 150 euros more) ? Hard choices :s
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2016
  17. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    Madison, WI
    The 20/1.7 feels slow to focus compared to other MFT lenses, and the fact that a large group of elements has to rack in and out (instead of an inner focusing element) doesn't help that feeling, but in good light I always thought it was fast enough. If you are using it for street photography, you can always set the aperture at f/5.6 or f/8 and lock focus about 4m away, making focus speed irrelevant.
  18. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    The 20 is workable for street, but the 15 or 17 are a lot easier to use in that situation since both have switches on the lens for AF/MF, both focus faster, and the 20 doesn't do C-AF.

    You should check the 20mm image thread, I recently posted some action shots of BMX riders at the local skate park. I had more misses than I would have with the 15, but action is possible with the 20... and while it does focus slower, the issue tends to be a bit overblown on Internet forums. It's a slow focusing lens in a really fast focusing system. It is my wide normal option, one if my favorite lenses, and I rarely find the focus speed to be an issue. On the plus side, it's compact, optically spectacular, and for me it's a really versatile focal length that is still one if the best rendering m43 lenses.

    Edit: I just re-read your initial post. The 20 is workable for street, but if you shoot a lot of cycling and BMX, you will probably get frustrated with the higher miss rate. I would suggest staying with your initial choices of the 15 or 17.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
  19. michiel91b

    michiel91b Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 9, 2016
    Thanks GFFphoto for your great comment.

    It it just occasionaly that I shoot my little nephews when they ride their bmx. I also keep my 14-42 kitlens for now, so I will take that one if AF is realy a problem.

    Fact is that I can get the 20mm for (150 euro) and the 17mm f1.8 and 15mm are 2 times more expensive (300 and 350 euro)
  20. michiel91b

    michiel91b Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 9, 2016
    I just watched some photo in the showcase thread. And the photos of the 17mm don't blow me away.

    Really like the rendering of the panasonics (more color, sharper). So question will me p20 or p15. Think 25mm is already to narrow for my taste.
    Any thoughts about this ? Thanks