Does the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens render unrealistic and unnatural images?

A blog post by Robin Wong reviewing the new Olympus 17mm f/1.2 lens states that the f/1.2 lens “manages to render realistic and natural looking results, something I feel is a step up from the older Olympus 17mm f1.8 lens.”

Wow, that’s quite a statement! Phrased another way, the older Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens renders images that are unrealistic and unnatural.

I find this assertion pretty dubious without some sort of comparison photos so that we can see the difference. People who praise expensive Leica lenses also say similar unverifiable things, they say the Leica lens has a special “Leica look” that you can’t get with cheaper lenses.

I think this could simply be that people are imagining that the more expensive lens produces better images because of cognitive biases. For example, scientific experiments showed that wine tasters rated the same bottle of wine as tasting better when they were told it cost more money.

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It may be pointed out that all wide-aperture lenses produce unnatural results compared to the human eye. When was the last time you ever saw “bokeh” without the aid of a camera lens? To the extent that people prefer images with “bokeh,” they are preferring the unnatural over the natural.

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