Lenses. Some good. Some bad. Some atrocious. Let's talk "sample variation."


Remember that oh so cute and oh so cheap TTArtisans 17mm f1.4 lens I bought for the Leica CL a while back? I really liked that lens and found it to be more than sharp enough once I stopped it down past about f2.5 or maybe f2.8. And it's such an interesting and adorable bit of industrial design too. 

I looked for one when I started buying up new Panasonic GH cameras but they were out of stock everywhere. B&H finally got some more in so I ordered one.... pronto. It came midmorning today on a Fed Ex truck. Lucky me. I'd just finished billing two big jobs and also politely informing a past client why I didn't want to participate in his exciting enterprise any more and I was anxious to finally....FINALLY have time for myself. So I put the lens on the GH6 camera and drove downtown to do my usual walk around the buildings. So much has happened in downtown since I was last there. It had been almost two weeks since my last visit. It was warm and humid and threatening thunderstorms so you know it was just right for me. 

I walked. I ate stuff. I stopped for coffee and coffee cake. I put the camera on manual focus and roamed around. I used focus peaking. Sometimes I stood still and used focus peaking and then the added "assurance" of magnified focusing assistance. Everything looked pretty good in the EVF. I shot raw; just like the pros on YouTube!!! And when I got home I shoved the files into Lightroom and was giddy with the anticipation that I'd get the same kind of results I've enjoyed using the same model lens (but with an L mount) on the Leica CL/TL combo. 

The disappointment hit me like a ton of decaf. When I stop down to f2.8 or f4.0 the center of the frame is sharp enough. Not sharp like it's sibling but sharp enough. But here's the rub: it's only sharp in the center third of the frame. By the time you get to an edge or a corner it's like a carnival lens or a Diana camera lens. The three colors focus on different planes, and it's softer than premium toilet tissue. Even at f5.6 the center is fine and the edges are dog food. But not the good dog food you can sub into a meatloaf or something. Nope, they are as nasty as the edges of bad lenses get.
Shamefully bad.

Shaking my head here since the copy for the Leica is so good and the one for m4:3 is just so bad. I guess this is what they mean by "sample variation." Yuck. My first return of the year?

Mid-Walk energy boost at Cookbook Café.


EdPledger said...

One wonders how this compares to 17mm on the Oly 12-45 zoom. Then one wonders about the sensors, and how Leicas are better (?) with certain wide angle lens designs??

Eric Rose said...

It's not a bug, it's a feature!


Biro said...

Sent it back, Kirk and tell B&H to ship you another example. You never know, it might work out. But if the second one isn't good enough, send that one back as well and end it there.

Robert Roaldi said...

That last photo is interesting. The pastry appears to be on a "real" plate but the utensils are plastic and the coffee is in a take-out cup.

Unknown said...

The lens is not up to your expectations- I must say though that coffee looks like it should taste very good. Maybe its designed to make coffee look good.