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Thread: Oly 2,8/17 - quality

  1. #1
    nautilus
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    Oly 2,8/17 - quality

    The Olympus 17mm lens that we can buy as the kit lens costs about €200 together with the viewfinder.
    kit price €899
    camera alone €699

    Below €200 means it is cheap lens. How good is this lens regardless of it's low price?

    If I should buy the camera I would probably get this lens kit and mostly use the camera with this one lens only since it's AF and no adapter for Sony lenses is available by now (?).

    I would like to get straight lines straight. Has anybody an example shot of the ocean horizon to demonstrate the distortion of the lens?

    I can't remember having seen a picture of this silver lens together with it's lens hood, maybe because of cosmetic reasons they exclude the lens hood from the pictures. Does a lens hood exist and how does it look like?

  2. #2
    Senior Subscriber Member Mike Hatam's Avatar
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    Re: Oly 2,8/17 - quality

    I've used this lens for about a week. There are some very good reviews online if you do a search.

    Here's my quick summary...

    Strengths:
    - incredibly small and light
    - good sharpness at f5.6 (sweet spot for this lens)

    Weaknesses:
    - Distortion (pretty severe barrel distortion)
    - CA - especially near the edges of the frame


    This is not really a "great" lens when shot wide-open. It's best used as a "zone-focus" walk-around/street shooting lens at f5.6. You get nice sharpness, depth-of-field, and can pre-focus on a certain distance, and then simply shoot away without even looking at the LCD. Excellent for street/candid use.

    Here are a few walk-around samples I've taken recently:
    Mike Hatam
    Sony A99, RX1, RX100

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    Senior Subscriber Member Mike Hatam's Avatar
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    Re: Oly 2,8/17 - quality

    And also... there is no lens hood for this lens.

    I've created my own "mini lens hood", by getting a 37-43mm step-up ring, and then screwing on an additional two 43mm filter rings (empty filter rings - with no filters in them). I then got an after-market 43mm lens cap to put on the end. I simply remove the cap, and have a built-in lens hood (the metal rings), and also excellent protection for my lens. As a bonus, I can screw on a filter on the end when needed.
    Mike Hatam
    Sony A99, RX1, RX100

  4. #4
    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: Oly 2,8/17 - quality

    Agreed with what Mike said. The distortion is bad if you shoot anything with parallel lines. But I find the AF to work well even in low light and the size/weight can't be beat.

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    Senior Member barjohn's Avatar
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    Re: Oly 2,8/17 - quality

    However, the barrel distortion is easily corrected in several applications (corrected in camera in JPGs and also in Oly's own software.
    V/r John

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    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Oly 2,8/17 - quality

    Mike, those are some phenomenal shots you have there. Some look just like post cards. I might just get the 17mm after that

  7. #7
    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Oly 2,8/17 - quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Hatam View Post
    I've used this lens for about a week. There are some very good reviews online if you do a search.
    but thanks for your mini review and great supporting examples

    I'm beginning to think that I'll be selling my Panasonic and getting the E-P1 and also a 17

    thanks

    my key worry is that to paraphrase an earlier review, I'm finding my arms getting a little shorter these days as I can't hold screens away from my face and still have them seem big

    :-(

  8. #8
    Senior Subscriber Member Mike Hatam's Avatar
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    Re: Oly 2,8/17 - quality

    Thanks for the comments.

    For my style of shooting with this lens, I put the OVF on the camera for quick framing, but often shoot without looking at the camera at all. The two examples above of the 3 people on the beach were both shot without looking at/through the camera. I had to correct for level horizon in post, but that's no big deal.

    For the other shots, which were more carefully composed, I like the OVF over the LCD on this lens. The OVF has the "framelines" (similar to an M8 viewfinder), which is a nice way to compose a shot, as you can see what is just outside the edges of your frame, and quickly adjust for your best composition.

    @John - I hope that the lens correction algorithms carry over to raw processing (LR2/CS4). The samples above are from in-camera jpgs, so the distortion is not an issue, and even CA is more controlled (in camera lens corrections). Let's just hope that carries over.

    @Rafa - from what I've seen of your shooting style, I think this lens would suit you well. Prefocus for zone-focusing, put it at f5.6, put on the OVF for quick occasional framing, and now just shoot away and be in the moment with your subjects.

    @pellicle - do you wear prescription glasses? I do, and the nice thing about shooting in this style (pre-focused, zone-focusing technique, f5.6) is that you don't have to stare at the LCD much when composing your shot, and on those occasions when you do want to frame more carefully, it's easy to view an LCD with your glasses on. The only odd situation with this is when I wear my polarized sun-glasses - if I turn the camera to the portrait orientation, the polarization of the LCD conflicts with my sunglasses, and the screen looks completely black
    Mike Hatam
    Sony A99, RX1, RX100

  9. #9
    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Oly 2,8/17 - quality

    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Hatam View Post
    @pellicle - do you wear prescription glasses? I do, and the nice thing about shooting in this style (pre-focused, zone-focusing technique, f5.6)

    not yet (and resisting it) my problem is only with the further away things, any closer than 40cm and I'm starting to have difficulty making out detail ... x1.2 diopter readers and I'm fine again

    but I understand the zone focus thing, I did that with a 35mm viewfinder (no rangefinder) for years when I was less than 20, and still did it with 24mm in dim light using an SLR before AF cameras

    @John - I hope that the lens correction algorithms carry over to raw processing (LR2/CS4). The samples above are from in-camera jpgs, so the distortion is not an issue, and even CA is more controlled (in camera lens corrections). Let's just hope that carries over.
    PT lens plugin should have it sooner or later too

  10. #10
    nautilus
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    Re: Oly 2,8/17 - quality

    Hi guys!
    Thank youvery much for your feedback.
    Thelens seemstobe ok.
    From what i've heared Olympus delvers good jpg qualty.
    if distorton iscorrected in camera for jpgs that should be fine.
    Mike ilike your pictures. Especally the last three are beautful.

    Sorry for anytypos i made. My keyboard
    got aglass of waterand some characters dont work anymore.
    i 've to paste and copy them.
    my nice hp multmedia keyboard.

  11. #11
    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: Oly 2,8/17 - quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Hatam View Post
    This is not really a "great" lens when shot wide-open. It's best used as a "zone-focus" walk-around/street shooting lens at f5.6. You get nice sharpness, depth-of-field, and can pre-focus on a certain distance, and then simply shoot away without even looking at the LCD. Excellent for street/candid use.
    Mike, I'm curious... you have both the G1 and the E-P1 with this lens. You're saying that the 17 is best at f5.6 so my question is how would you compare it to the G1 kit lens (set at 17) and a similar aperture? Is there really a compelling reason to buy this lens, other than possibly the size difference? Personally, I find the 14-45 kit lens to be remarkable... but I haven't tried the 17mm.

    Cheers,

  12. #12
    Senior Subscriber Member Mike Hatam's Avatar
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    Re: Oly 2,8/17 - quality

    Simon, to clarify - I sold the G1 about a week ago, so now I only have the E-P1. But I kept the Panny kit lens (14-45), as I like it better than the Oly kit lens (14-42).

    I have not done a detailed test/comparison of the Panny 14-45 @17mm vs the Oly 17 pancake, but from my use of the two lenses, the Panny 14-45 will produce equally nice images (if not better) at f8 (sweet spot for that lens) as the Oly 17 does at f5.6.

    For image quality, in good light (when you can use f5.6 - f8), there's no compelling advantage to using the Oly 17.

    For me, the fun in using the Oly 17 is the size/weight factor, and the fact that it's very "non-intimidating" when it's pointed at someone.

    I also like the OVF for situation when I want to take my time in framing, as I like the framelines, and the ability to see what is outslide the framelines in the OVF.
    Mike Hatam
    Sony A99, RX1, RX100

  13. #13
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Oly 2,8/17 - quality

    Mike, DOF and Macro wise how does the 17mm compare to the E-P1's kit lens? I'm toying with the idea of getting the 17mm and other than the factors you've mentioned these 2 points are important to me.

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