Lens review

Venus Optics LAOWA 17 mm f/1.8 MFT II

28 January 2020
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

The resolution test (resolution meaning MTF50 function values) of the Venus Optics LAOWA 17 mm f/1.8 MTF II was based on RAW files from the Olympus O-MD E-M5 Mark II. In this case the decency level is situated near 48-50 lpmm and high quality, fixed focal lenses can reach as high as 85 lpmm or more. The best performance so far we've seen while testing the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45 mm f/1.2 PRO which managed to get near 96 lpmm and the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17 mm f/1.2 PRO, which, with a result of 98.6 lpmm, is the current record holder on this sensor.

Now let's check how the tested lens fares – its results in the frame centre and on the edge of the frame presents a graph below.

Venus Optics LAOWA 17 mm f/1.8 MFT II - Image resolution

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The situation in the frame centre is definitely something we like, especially when you keep in mind the low price of the tested lens, less than 900 PLN. Already from the maximum relative aperture images are of good quality and on stopping down the lens to the aperture range from f/2.8 to f/5.6 the Laowa is able to reach truly excellent level, that of over 80 lpmm. It comes short of record breaking, that's true, but still these values would be typical for a much more expensive, top-of-the-range prime lenses.

Small dimensions of the lens suggested that the edge of the frame might not be corrected as well as we would like. Indeed, the difference between the performance in the centre and on the edge is huge. However, there are no serious reasons to complain. You land a tad below the decency level only at the maximum relative aperture, already near f/2.8 images become quite sensible and in the wide area around f/5.6 you deal with MTFs which could be described as good. It would be foolish to demand more from a cheap, small device like this one.

At the end of this chapter, traditionally, we present crops taken from photos of our resolution testing chart which were saved as JPEG files along with RAW files we used for the analysis above.

Olympus E-M5 II, JPEG, f/1.8
Venus Optics LAOWA 17 mm f/1.8 MFT II - Image resolution
Olympus E-M5 II, JPEG, f/4.0
Venus Optics LAOWA 17 mm f/1.8 MFT II - Image resolution