SLR Magic 23mm f/1.7

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by v_roma, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. v_roma

    v_roma Mu-43 Rookie

    May 2, 2010
    I have not seen a lot of information posted about this lens in general, much less the micro four thirds version, so I thought I would post my impressions. I recently ordered this lens in m4/3 mount directly from the manufacturer since the m4/3 version is not widely available and the manufacturer even indicated they did not have a lot of them. I wanted a manual focus lens that I could use for range focusing and that was designed for digital cameras (i.e., without the bulk associated with old film SLR lenses or the corner issues associated with some legacy lenses). I didn't do a whole lot of pixel peeping or formal testing but image quality seemed more than good enough. This is not surprising since the lens is primarily designed for APS-C sensors so, on a m4/3, you are going to get the best of the lens.

    Unfortunately, I have some issues with manual focusing, at least for my intended purposes. First of all, the distance scale (on my lens at least) is not all that accurate. I actually expect this to an extent and was willing to work around it.

    EDIT: To clarify, the reason why I expected the distance scale not to be accurate is due to the fact taht flange distances in micro four-thirds cameras (and other mirrorless cameras) vary from unit to unit more so than dSLRs. The tolerances for these cameras are higher than for dSLRs because mirrorless cameras use contrast detection for focusing and, therefore, small variations in flange distance are not a problem and do not impact focusing accuracy. SLR Magic confirmed that this is to be expected and I have seen this with other manual lenses on my camera.

    The other issue I had is that the distance scale ends at 2m (i.e., next reading after 2m is infinity) and there is very little throw towards the higher focus distances so small changes around 2m mean big changes in focus distance. Manufacturers do this, I think, so that you have more focus throw and, therefore, more precision at shorter/macro distances. Unfortunately, this seems to be done at the expense of precision at the higher end of the scale (i.e., longer focus distances). Since my goal was to use the lens for range-focusing, the lack of precision and lack additional distance markings at 3 and 5m, for example, is a deal-breaker. I knew that the highest distance mark was 2m before I bought the lens but I was hoping it was still workable, which is not the case.