Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f / 1.8 lens test
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Moderate wide-angle lenses are probably one of the most common fixes. They are equally convenient for shooting the landscape, and for shooting general plans in the room, and for genre sketches. As a rule, such lenses have a high aperture to provide the ability to shoot in any conditions, and the viewing angle is about 60 degrees. In systems with a frame size of 24×36, these are 35 mm lenses. In the Micro 4/3 system, such a moderate wide-angle, universal soldier is the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f / 1.8.
The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f / 1.8 is a very compact lens. The diameter of the thread of the filter is 46 mm, the length, taking into account the bayonet mount, is only 36 mm. Any Olympus camera with such optics becomes really tiny, allowing you to always take it with you, to have it at hand. Even if you carry the camera on your neck or shoulder, it won’t create any significant inconvenience: the lens weighs only 120 grams.
However, 120 grams for such a baby is still a solid weight. The fact is that the lens has a metal body. Moreover, unlike some of his brothers, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f / 1.8 is equipped with a mechanical focus ring. Switching between manual and automatic focus is carried out by the same ring – just pull it towards you.
Autofocus on the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f / 1.8 is very fast. Perhaps this is one of the fastest lenses in the system. They can safely take offhand – what genre and reporting photographers need. In this case, the focusing is silently, so that until the shutter is released, the photographer may go unnoticed.
The optical design of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f / 1.8 is quite complex: it has nine elements combined in six groups. At the same time, three aspherical lenses are used to correct aberrations, one of which is bilateral. Another element with a high refractive index is also used. Such a complication of the optical scheme, naturally, affected the image of the lens. How? Let’s get a look.
Even with an open diaphragm, the level of chromatic aberration is extremely low. When aperture is one or two steps, you generally risk not finding their traces in the pictures. And that’s great! The lens can be safely shot in the most difficult conditions, when a strong contrast is created in the frame. Moreover, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f / 1.8 holds excellent back and side light. I failed to provoke it to the appearance of glare, flare or a drop in contrast, although I did not use a hood when shooting this test.
Sharpness … Everything is top notch with her too. On an open aperture, the lens is sharp enough so that the pictures do not seem soapy. Of course, the detail decreases slightly closer to the edges of the frame, but almost all lenses behave the same way.
When aperture up to f / 2.8, the center of the frame is already perfectly sharp, at the edges and corners there is still a slight drop in detail. But to see it, you have to increase the photo by 100%.
From f / 4 to f / 8, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f / 1.8 provides perfect detail across the entire frame. At the same aperture value, vignetting completely disappears. However, I even like it: if you shoot at f / 1.8-f / 2.8, then due to the slightly darkening of the corners of the picture, you can easily focus the viewer’s attention on objects located closer to the center of the frame.
We see that the three aspherical lenses in the optical scheme do a good job of providing a sharp and contrasting image, devoid of chromatic aberration. But what about the picture in the blur zone? I must say right away that blurring the background with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f / 1.8 is not so easy, despite the high aperture. To do this, you have to shoot from a short distance. The minimum focusing distance of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f / 1.8 is only 25 cm from the plane of the matrix. When shooting from a meter and a half, the blur is already quite weak, its nature is weakly expressed.
At minimum shooting distances, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f / 1.8 gives neutral bokeh: soft enough, without obvious ghosting. Glare, although it does not have a very uniform filling with a bright edging, does not form a “scale effect”. The bokeh twists a little at the edges of the frame, but this effect is not pronounced.
The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f / 1.8 is a solid and high-quality lens for those who need a moderate wide-angle lens with an equivalent focal length of 35 mm for every day: the compact size and light weight allow you to always take this lens with you. Due to the high sharpness over the entire area of the frame on covered apertures, it will perfectly cope with landscape shooting. Fans of reportage and genre shooting will appreciate very fast autofocus and convenient manual focus using a mechanical ring with a depth of field scale. When shooting at an open aperture from a short distance, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f / 1.8 allows you to blur the background, separating the subject from the background.
Thanks to the complex optical design, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f / 1.8 developers managed to get rid of chromatic aberrations almost completely: they can only be found when shooting with an open aperture. The only formal drawback of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17 mm f / 1.8 is the noticeable vignetting at f / 1.8-f / 2.8, which, however, can also be used as an artistic effect.
- compact size and light weight;
- metal case;
- convenient mechanical focus ring;
- fast autofocus;
- high aperture;
- low chromatic aberration
- perfect sharpness over the entire frame starting from f / 4;
- neutral nature of the blur.
- vignetting on an open aperture;
- imperfect sharpness at the edges at f / 1.8-f / 2.8.
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