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Thoughts on Olympus 17mm 1.8 (With Comparisons!)

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by cookedart, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. cookedart

    cookedart Mu-43 Rookie

    20
    Jun 27, 2012
    Just got the new Olympus 17mm from B+H.

    Figured I'd post some comparison shots.

    Naked lenses:
    untitled-32-3.

    With Filters (chrome B+W UV's):
    untitled-34-3.

    Note that I put the more slim olympus micro four thirds back caps on both lenses.

    Top View:
    untitled-33-3.

    Yes, the Olympus is smaller in diameter.

    E-PL5 with Panasonic 20mm
    untitled-36-3.

    E-PL5 with Olympus 17mm
    untitled-35-3.

    And here it is from top view.
    untitled-32-4.

    Shots through the lens to come.
     
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  2. cookedart

    cookedart Mu-43 Rookie

    20
    Jun 27, 2012
    Unscientific Sharpness Comparisons...

    Center:

    Center.

    Full Size

    Left:
    Left.

    Full Size

    Right:
    [​IMG]
    Full Size

    These are pretty unscientific but good enough for me to make some judgments on. The 20mm is indeed a sharp lens but I find the 17mm is performing in line with the rest of the olympus lenses. These are all done on an E-PL5, no adjustments made, shot with a bounce flash at ISO 200. All shot wide open. I varied the distance to make the subject size the same in each picture.

    Quick Bokeh Test:
    Downrezzed in PS (Bicubic Sharper), save for web as PNG, no other edits.

    Oly at MFD:
    Oly.

    Half-Res File Here

    Panasonic (tried to frame it up similarly)
    pana.

    Half-Res File Here
     
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  3. cookedart

    cookedart Mu-43 Rookie

    20
    Jun 27, 2012
    Other Thoughts So Far....

    Focusing:

    -Focusing so far is right in line with the rest of the olympus MSC lenses... it focuses very quickly, as the 12mm does.

    -It beats the pants off the 20mm in focus speed.

    -The snap focus ring does indeed seem to have significantly more steps than the 12mm. From what I can tell you can do a smooth rack focus.

    Build:
    -The filter ring feels like metal to me. Much easier to mount filters than the Panasonic 20mm, which feels like you can sometimes misalign since it has a plastic filter rim.

    -Mounting the lens feels less tight than my 12mm, which is very firm.

    -I don't personally find the focus ring too slim - I think I read a review stating this.

    Let me know if you have any questions that I might be able to answer.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  4. funkright

    funkright Mu-43 Rookie

    17
    Dec 15, 2012
    That leather strap..

    Where'd you pick that up :confused:
     
  5. cookedart

    cookedart Mu-43 Rookie

    20
    Jun 27, 2012
    I pre-ordered it from B&H Photo when it was first announced. I actually put in a pre-order with the local photo supply store as well, who also got a small stock (I passed on the second lens)
     
  6. cookedart

    cookedart Mu-43 Rookie

    20
    Jun 27, 2012
    Strap

    Whoops! Didn't notice you were talking about the strap. It's a Gordy's Strap.

    Check them out here:

    gordy's camera straps

    I got a natural leather, single attach point split ring.
     
  7. cookedart

    cookedart Mu-43 Rookie

    20
    Jun 27, 2012
    A few more quick findings.

    -The snap focus ring goes closer than indicated... closest marking is .25m but the closest actually measured is .23m (the focus ring moves past the closest mark as well). This is measured from the focal plane.

    -With AF and the manual focus ring (non snap), it is possible to focus down to .18m (measured from focus plane). Will post pictures to show this difference.

    - The depth of field scale is too conservative. Compared to a 35mm Leica Summicron, at f/16, everything between 1.2m to infinity should be in focus. On the zuiko, it claims at f/22, around only 2m to infinity should be in focus. The Leica is a full frame lens with approximately the same aperture and focal length. I will have to play with the lens snap focused but it is probably safe to assume that at f/11, everything from 1m on will be acceptably sharp.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Aldredge

    Aldredge Mu-43 Regular

    52
    Jun 12, 2012
    Toronto, ON
    Aldredge
    Love the comparison pictures, thank you so much for taking the time!
     
  9. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    The Olympus is a 17mm lens. It may have the same field of view as a FF 35mm lens, but not the same depth of field.
     
  10. cookedart

    cookedart Mu-43 Rookie

    20
    Jun 27, 2012
    It would have significantly wider depth of field then.

    Olympus is claiming that a 17mm f/1.8 has shallower depth of field than a 35mm f/2.

    I still think the depth of field scale is conservative.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    If Olympus uses a different circle of confusion value there will be different results.

    Using this DOF calculator a 35mm lens, on a FF camera @ f16 will less dof than a 17mm lens, on 4/3 sensor @f16, with all else equal .
     
  12. cookedart

    cookedart Mu-43 Rookie

    20
    Jun 27, 2012
    Using that calculator at 10ft, a full frame 35mm lens @ f/16 has a near focus limit of 4.58ft. A 17mm lens on m43rds has a near focus limit of 2.84ft. Both have a far limit of infinity.

    This means more will be in acceptable focus in the 17mm micro four thirds lens at the same distance and aperture. The depth of field will be wider.

    My point is, the depth of field scale on the Olympus lens claims it has shallower depth of field than the Leica. Which shows to me that it is too conservative in what it considers in focus. I'm positive that the Olympus lens, when set to a focal distance of 3m @f/11, will have everything from ~1m to infinity in focus (your dof calculator supports this). But the distance scale when set to 3m makes it seem like neither the 2m or infinity mark will be in acceptable focus.
     
  13. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    DOF is not a phenomenon of instantly transitioning from indistinguishable blob to tack sharp at a specific distance. There is a gradual transition from out of focus to in focus. In focus is defined by the Circle of Confusion being reduced to a specific diameter. The Circle of Confusion is a variable when calculating DOF. Different lens manufactures use different values when making the calculation. As I stated above, if Leica and Olympus use different values for CoC they will arrive at different DoF values.
     
  14. cookedart

    cookedart Mu-43 Rookie

    20
    Jun 27, 2012
    I've always been referring to the area of acceptable sharpness. If you can find a calculation for the coc that will give the values Olympus has on this distance scale I will concede that the depth of scale is accurate. But as I said before, in my opinion and through my experience of what is acceptably sharp with this lens, I find the values to be conservative.

    I'm not the only one who thinks this way either, see here.
     
  15. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    This isn't a discussion, it isn't subjective; it's a calculation. It's accurate if it matches the result of a calculation, and not what you or anybody else thinks.

    If you don't like the values Olympus picked for calculating DOF, ignore them.
     
  16. mister_roboto

    mister_roboto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    637
    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    Dennis
    My problem is that I keep confusing the meters for feet :wink:
     
  17. cookedart

    cookedart Mu-43 Rookie

    20
    Jun 27, 2012
    If its such a concrete calculation, give me the figures. Show me a calculation or formula that mirrors what Olympus has stated here, so we can have a cogent discussion on in what cases the figures are accurate, or how Olympus arrived at these figures. Every DOF calculator I've tried that can take into account the sensor size and specific focal length does not match the distance scale.

    And if you don't like my assessment of the depth of field scale, you can ignore it too. I'm relaying this information so that others will also check the depth of field scale against their own way of working. That's what I did and found it inaccurate for me.
     
  18. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Pretty reasonable approach. I've found the electronic DOF scales on a number of cameras to be far more conservative than my eye when determining "acceptable" sharpness. Which they obviously use conservative COC numbers for - which makes sense because if they're going to err, they should err on the side of tougher standards rather than more relaxed ones. I use the 12mm for zone focus a lot, and will with the 17 too once I have it. I've never looked at the DOF scale on the 12 and doubt I will on the 17. I run my own DOF calculations in DOF Master, using their much more liberal default COC calculations and use those numbers to determine my settings with a new lens. I generally find their numbers much more in line with my own standards for acceptable sharpness than those calculated by the manufacturers.

    -Ray
     
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  19. clockwise

    clockwise Mu-43 Regular

    38
    Apr 23, 2012
    New York, NY
    Brian R
    I know this is an old thread, but I just came across this lens at the shop and didn't buy it, specifically because of the DoF scale issue. It seemed to me to be extremely conservative, so much so that it was virtually useless to me, and that's unacceptable in a lens that's intended to be used for street photography.

    Also, having read your prior posts, I don't really think you guys are disagreeing. Given a specified value for acceptable circle of confusion, you can arrive at an appropriate calculation for the depth of field. However, it seems like Olympus was extremely conservative in selecting their value for the acceptable circle of confusion, so the resulting DoF scale frankly sucks. After shooting Leica lenses for street work in the past, I'd expect greater DoF when moving from a 35mm to a 17mm at the same F value.
     
  20. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    It seems like almost all modern DOF scales are very conservative, given the propensity of digital shooters to pixel peep. But in terms of it being unacceptable in a lens to be used for street photography, to me the DOF scale is FAR less important then the distance scale. DOF is easy enough to figure out to our own tolerances, but without a distance scale there's almost no way to quickly set focus for the zone you want in focus. I keep a cheat sheet of a few key settings in my iphone for each lens I use this way. In m43, that's limited to the 12mm and now the 17mm and the 15mm body cap lens. Without a useful DOF scale, I can still get by pretty easily. Without a distance scale, I'm lost.

    -Ray
     
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