Hands-on Preview of Olympus m.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 pre production


wonglp

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#1
This has been a great year for Olympus with the slew of products like the highly successful camera, OMD EM5, & E-PL5 as well as some excellent, perhaps the best primes so far for mirrorless : 75mm F1.8 as well as 60mm F2.8 macro lenses are both very well received, highly regarded. The lastest lens to be announced under development during Sept 12 Photokina in Germany, and surprised many when it was announced the launch recently middle of this month.

Clubsnap was given a pre-production v0.8 by Olympus SG for a review this week.



First things first, there are several detailed lens review (lenstip, ming thein, petka pokka, etc) out there for those who like more surgical analysis. The review here will be more user based rather than very technical. Different scenarios will be explored, like street shooting (which is mainly what this lens was designed for with it's brilliant snap focus mode), being a wide angle, it can be used suitably for landscapes as well, and of course with a large aperture very well suited for low light conditions as well.

Camera & general setting used: Olympus E-PL5, jpeg, no sharpening, noise filter is set to off. Specific settings will be shared in the shots description.

Here's a shot of it with a silver E-PL5 & Olympus VF-1 17mm silver matching viewfinder (thanks to a friend's)! It's a excellent combination to say the least :)
VF-1 is an OVF that's available with the pancake Olympus mZD 17m f2.8 lens, which is predecessor pancake lens, that's has an older motor (noisy) and slower AF lens.



Please refrain from price discussion, well, the price is not available at this point either.


Feel free to pop any questions you may have.
 

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wonglp

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#2
Some specifications, which can also be found here

Focal Length 17mm (35mm equivalent focal length 34mm)
Lens Construction 9 elements in 6 Groups (DSA lens, 2 Aspherical lenses, HR lens)
Angle of View 65 Degree
AF System High-speed Imager AF (MSC)
Closest Focusing Distance 0.25m
Maximum Image Magnification 0.8x (35mm equivalent Maximum Image Magnification 0.16x)
Minimum Field Size 216 x 162 mm
Number of Blades 7 (Circular Aperture Diaphragm)
Maximum Aperture F1.8
Minimum Aperture F22
Filter Size 46mm
Dimensions Diameter 57.5 x 35.5mm
Weight 120g
 

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wonglp

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#3
Some of the key highlights of this lens:

1. Compact, light weight with high imaging performance. At 120g, it's certainly, not to mention it uses a 46mm diameter, adding on filters are more pocket friendly! 3 aspherical lenses featuring a DSA (Dual Super Aspherical) element that corrects aberrations. F1.8 aperture ensures low light shooting without much issues. With in camera stabilizers featured in Pen/OMD range of m43 cameras, and constant sensor improvement of high ISO, taking handheld photos has never been easier. Even with Panasonic bodies which doesn't have built in stabilizer, at this wide angles, I don't think there will be much issues.

2. ZERO (Zuiko Extra-low Reflection Optical) coating. Prevent flare and ghosting images.

3. MSC (Movie & Still Compatible) mechanism for fast, quiet autofocusing.

4. Snapshot Focus mechanism that lets you shift the focusing point to a specific distance. Similar to m.Zuiko Digital 12mm F2.0, this innovative mechanism means streets shooters can happily shoot in manual focus hyperfocus mode as well as do pan-focus shots easily

5. Metallic finish for a stylish, classic look in a highly compact design. This had to be one of the key selling point for those who pursues the classic look in a modern package.

To the last point, here's another shot to share, now in white E-P3, it looks nice as well :heart: Allthough an unfortunate note is (as usual) Olympus decided to sell the metallic cap LC-48B / LC-48 & metallic hood LH-48B as accessories. Previous experiences is that these accessories are not cheap, though they do look extremely nice.

 

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wonglp

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#4
First test shot made last tuesday which had a brilliant sunset.

3 shots stitched, no PP after, pretty much OOC jpg. I think it's at F4. Click on pic to see the high resolution of 6856x1995



More to come tonight.
 

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vengels

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Apr 30, 2007
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#5
will there be a mad rush for the OVF because of this lens?..

not as compact as the 20mm right?..
 

wonglp

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#6
will there be a mad rush for the OVF because of this lens?..

not as compact as the 20mm right?..
First, let me swipe out all BNS for vf1 and slowly sell hahaha. Not as compact as 20/1.7. It's between 12mm and 20mm. 1cm difference in length to be precise.
 

vengels

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#7
i think i will swipe it up too..
hahaha..
VF1 sure gonna sell like hotcakes i feel..

hows the IQ?..
hope its at least as good as the 45mm
 

May 8, 2004
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#8
hi Wonglp,

Looking forward for more in depth review of this lens from you. :)
Can you also post some side/top view of this lens together with your ep3 or omd if you have.
always wanted to see how this lens looks on side/top view of omd/ep3.
 

wonglp

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vengels said:
i think i will swipe it up too..
hahaha..
VF1 sure gonna sell like hotcakes i feel..

hows the IQ?..
hope its at least as good as the 45mm
Will come to IQ soon. It's hard though to compare both focal length.

speedtest99 said:
hi Wonglp,

Looking forward for more in depth review of this lens from you. :)
Can you also post some side/top view of this lens together with your ep3 or omd if you have.
always wanted to see how this lens looks on side/top view of omd/ep3.
Imho, this lens looks wicked on pen than omd. No more omd to pair with, but stay tuned:)

Edited: Just took some shots on EP3. This is how it looks from Top & side. Hope this is what you looking for.



 

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ed9119

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#10
Please do note that what Wonglp has is ver0.8 .... a pre-production lens .... the production release firmware for this lens (ver1.0) is undergoing final tweaking before it hits the stores
 

wonglp

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Handling:

Personally, the 28-35mm (35mm format) focal length is a very angle for street shooters as compared to Panasonic 20mm/1.7 (which gives 40mm equivalent) or Olympus 12mm F2 (which gives 24mm equivalent). As such, the 17mm/1.8 feels right at home for me for street shooting. 12mm on the other hand, is a bit too wide with distortions. There's also the predecessor pancake 17mm F2.8 which hasn't gotten much love from many, mainly due to the performance pales when compared to 20/1.7. Sorry, I don't have one to do a comparison.

A lot would draw comparison between this lens and the Olympus m.Zuiko Digital 12mm F2.0 which was launched last year as the first metallic m43 lens to have a snap focus function, certainly an innovative feature made for street shooters in mind. While I won't be doing a lens IQ comparison between the 2, a quick feature comparison can be done though.

Here's a shot comparison on the 2 lenses left (17/1.8) right (12/2). Both have a similar metallic (cold) feel, slightly off silver in color. The 12mm is slightly taller (7.5mm). And certainly smaller than 14-42mm kit lens (Diameter 57mm x 50mm).



Both has similar feel on snap focus mode (pull ring backwards) and camera will go into manual focus mode, the feel of the focusing is as if using a real manual lens, unlike the "focus by wire" of other m43 lenses, this is so classic feel and natural. The focus throw on both lenses are also about 1/3 of full turn, which is not the greatest especially for 17mm. If you see the aperture (depth of field scale) scale is so tightly spaced on the 17mm (vs 12mm), it's hard to determine the distance at times when in snap focus. The focus throw on the 17mm could be better.

Another finding, the snap focus ring is also thinner on the 17mm, it's also feels a bit more flimsy.

I will be doing more hyperfocal testing later on.
 

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May 8, 2004
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#12
Will come to IQ soon. It's hard though to compare both focal length.



Imho, this lens looks wicked on pen than omd. No more omd to pair with, but stay tuned:)

Edited: Just took some shots on EP3. This is how it looks from Top & side. Hope this is what you looking for.



thanks Wong for the pic, Looks great on ep3, i think it will look nice on OMD too. Now waiting for more testing from you.
 

wonglp

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thanks Wong for the pic, Looks great on ep3, i think it will look nice on OMD too. Now waiting for more testing from you.
Some quick snaps, this time with a colleague's black stealthy OMD which doesn't really match 17mm/1.8 imho, perhaps silver will be better hmmm.





 

wonglp

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#14
Autofocus


Being labeled "MSC" (movie / still compatible) means users can expect a fast AF as well as quiet motor suitable for video. I tested (in office environment) on EPL5 & OMD EM5, can't hear the motor, I could hear the slight whirring when used on EM5 and that's due to the 5 axis in action. There was request to test the AF motor speed of 20/1.7 vs 17/1.8 especially in low light, will try to do a video when time permits. In fact the AF is that zippy that I feel there's not much need for manual focusing.

Here's a shot taken with focus with touchscreen on my nearest glass, but I touch near the middle which actually focus through the glass and ended focusing on the next 2 champagne glass, point is, it caught the moment nonetheless ;)

 

wonglp

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Bokeh


With its 7 blades, it renders bokeh nice (not harsh) , fact is, most m43 lenses these days has nice bokeh that it kind of becomes a standard. "Digitalize bokeh" so to speak...
Bokeh is something that's very personal, so I may like it, some may not, so I leave it to you guys to decide.

All @ F1.8...

Focus on word "Ambush"


Focus on the word "menu". I was outside Courts (the out of focus word), probably can make out from the logo. Very close to the minimum focus distance of 0.25m.


This one was impossible to AF, had to switch to snap focus and at 0.25m. F1.8 as well. Buddha Tooth temple, background is buddha, in case one is wondering...
 

wonglp

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Some sharpness test, wide open. . Only have time to do centre crop, will find some subject and time to do corner wide open crop. Wide open sharpness and details looks rather lacking imo, compared to other excellent m43 primes I had used, and also against some 17mm/1.8 reviews I had seen.
Again bearing in mind, this is v0.8 pre production image, final image quality may differ.

ISO200


100% face crop
 

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wonglp

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#18
This picture alone makes me regret not getting it when I am in HK.
Should have sent you this pic last week :think: :)

Another sharpness test, at F6.3 for landscape. Out Of Camera jpeg.



100% centre crop on a very small area, the 16MP epl5 sensor helps resolve some of this. The combination still retains good details.


100% left near corner crop similar area, "SLOW" is still highly visible.
 

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wonglp

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Close focusing and food "macro"


The minimum focus distance is 0.25m, with magnification of 0.16x on full frame 35mm equivalent. Not the best for most macro, for food macro it's very useable, and with most situation of low light, the large F1.8 can be helpful.

ISO 800, F1.8, focus on the point which the stick was inserted into the nearest burger.


ISO 800, F1.8. Square cropped.


ISO800, F3.2. With 17mm, the depth of field is easily controlled for food macro without need to bump up much ISO. Focus on the grapes.


ISO800, F2.5. Focus on the greens. Square cropped.
 

newghost

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#20
This picture alone makes me regret not getting it when I am in HK.
Made worse when you start thinking about the possible ways with leatherette, sorry for the OT...

 

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