Olympus 17mm f/1.8 Lens Review Discussion

Discussion in 'Digital Camera News' started by Jerry Jackson, Mar 19, 2013.

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  1. Jerry Jackson

    Jerry Jackson Administrator News/Review Writer

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    When it comes to street photography or candid photojournalism photographers have relied on 35mm lenses for decades. The 35mm focal length provides a wide perspective that captures your subject and its surroundings but it isn't so wide that it distorts the image. Think of 35mm as a "Goldilocks" lens -- not too wide and not too long, just right. Unfortunately, modern crop sensor cameras transform traditional 35mm into more of a telephoto lens and that's not ideal for street shooting. The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8 MSC lens is the ideal solution to this problem. Now photographers who use Micro Four Thirds cameras like the OM-D E-M5 have a 35mm equivalent lens with a fast aperture ready to capture any situation. Is this the best lens for Micro Four Thirds? Here's a hint: I might leave this lens permanently attached to my OM-D.



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  2. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    Not cheap . . .
     
  3. Jerry Jackson

    Jerry Jackson Administrator News/Review Writer

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    I found a couple of stores selling this lens for $499 yesterday and that's a full $100 off the retail price. Granted, it's not as cheap as the Nikon 35mm 1.8G, but this lens has all-metal construction compared to mostly plastic. The Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake retails for between $350 and $400 at the moment but that lens has much more optical distortion than this lens and the Panasonic lens has noisy AF when you're shooting video.
     
  4. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    Street prices for the Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 are $525 and the Sigma 24mm f/1.8 at $550. They just seem like better values to me.

    Kelly
     
  5. Jerry Jackson

    Jerry Jackson Administrator News/Review Writer

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    Both the Canon and the Sigma are good lenses, but neither will natively auto focus on a Micro Four Thirds camera so I wouldn't call it a fair comparison ... unless you're talking to someone who hasn't decided which camera system to buy yet.

    That said, if you're just talking about Micro Four Thirds lenses and want to get the "best bang for the fewest bucks" then the Olympus 17mm f/2.8 is a really good deal at $299 or less and the Sigma 19mm f/2.8 is likewise a good deal at $140-$200.
     
  6. popeyoni

    popeyoni New Member

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    If you want manual focusing to match the autofocus, all you need to do is set the camera to S-AF+MF.
    The camera will autofocus normally but will switch to manual focus when you turn the focus ring.
    You can even set the camera to magnify the view automatically when you turn the ring to make precision focusing easier.

    The clutch mechanism is better for when you are using the distance and DOF scales.
     
  7. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I really liked using the 10mm f/2.8 lens that came with the Nikon 1 J3 I reviewed recently. At $245 it ain't exactly cheap. You pay for the convenience of having a small, high quality lens that will enable your mirrorless interchangeable lens camera to fit easily into a pocket or purse.
     
  8. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I wasn't clear. Just trying to point out that lenses for APS-C are often a better value, for the APS-C shooter. But that doesn't mean I am tossing my PL2. I won't be buying many lenses for it however. Except ancient SLR lenses to MF with cheap adapters.

    mumbles.
     
  9. Laura Hicks

    Laura Hicks DigitalCameraReview Editor

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    Good idea. Sigma has some great lenses. I would take the time to check them out before you buy.
     
  10. trips

    trips New Member

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    Thanks for the review Terry, very much enjoyed it.

    Quick question, I have been using this lens on my E-M1. I find that when I activate the manual focus mode by pulling back the focusing ring, the auto magnify is not functional. However, when I set the manual focus through the camera menu and I keep the ring in it's extended "non-manual focus" position, it is functional. This is not the case with my new 12-40mm lens, magnify is functional when pull back the ring to activate the manual focus mode and turn the ring to focus.

    Any thoughts?

    Best,
    Tom
     
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