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Olympus US gives $500 price and December date for 17mm f/1.8

By dpreview staff on Nov 15, 2012 at 06:00 GMT
Buy on GearShopFrom $499.00

Olympus USA has announced its M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8 for Micro Four Thirds will be available in December for around $500. The lens features the same premium build quality and snap-focus manual focus mode as the company's 12mm f/2.0. The snap-focus mode is engaged by pulling the focus ring on the lens back, which reveals a distance scale and engages end-stops on the focus travel, applies firmer damping and switches the camera to manual focus mode. Olympus UK, meanwhile, has announced a price of £449.99.


Press Release:

OLYMPUS INTRODUCES A NEW BRIGHT F1.8 MICRO FOUR THIRDS® LENS FOR BRILLIANT SNAPSHOTS IN CHALLENGING SITUATIONS

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., November 15, 2012 – Today, Olympus adds to the Micro Four Thirds family of lenses with the release of the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8 lens (34mm in 35mm equivalent), a bright, wide-angle, single-focal-length lens ideal for snapshot street shooting, landscape photography or capturing subjects in challenging low-light environments. This high quality, compact lens features a stunning metal body and a Snapshot Focus mechanism for pan focusing with a distance indicator.

The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8 has nine carefully placed lens elements in six groups to deliver sharp images of subjects with beautiful, eye-catching depth of field. The advanced optical system features three aspherical lenses, including a Dual Super Aspherical element to correct aberrations, as well as a High Refractive index lens to correct high spherical aberrations. Each lens element is polished to an ultra-high level of working precision only possible with the progressive techniques developed by Olympus master craftsmen, and carefully assembled to ensure maximum accuracy and reliability. Olympus’ exclusive ZERO (ZUIKO Extra-low Reflection Optical Coating) lens coatings are applied to the elements to reduce lens flare and ghost images even when shooting against the light.

The Snapshot Focus mechanism lets users easily take spontaneous, blur-free images by shifting the focusing point to a specific distance. Sliding the focus ring back reveals range markings on the lens barrel, including distance and depth of field scales, which can be used as guides as the user adjusts the focal distance by rotating the ring.

With a total length of just 1.4 inches, the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8 is incredibly compact and adds to the rapidly growing lineup of Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses that enhance the performance and versatility of Olympus OM-D® and PEN® Compact System Cameras. The sophisticated, textured metallic finish projects a stylish, classic look that complements the design of Olympus® compact system cameras.

Ideal for capturing brilliant still images and high-definition (HD) videos, the lens employs Olympus' proven MSC (Movie & Still Compatible) autofocusing mechanism featuring an inner focus system to drive this single-focal-length lens for fast and quiet focusing.

The optional LH-48B Lens Hood and LC-48B Lens Cap are designed exclusively for the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8 and both are elegant in design with a finely textured metallic outer finish and distinctive, classic appearance. The Olympus VF-1 optical viewfinder, originally developed for use with the M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f2.8 lens, is also compatible with the new lens.

U.S. Pricing and Availability

The Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 17mm f1.8 Lens will be available in December.

Estimated Street Price: $499.99

For a complete list of specifications, visit the Olympus website: http://www.getolympus.com/us/en/lenses/m-zuiko-digital-17mm-f1-8.html

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Comments

Total comments: 277
12
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Nov 15, 2012)

I recently purchased Sigma's excellent 19mm f/2.8. The Sigma's a bit too dark on M4/3 but otherwise is very light, quick to AF and sharp, I'd be interested to see them compared.

0 upvotes
IrishhAndy
By IrishhAndy (Nov 15, 2012)

I guess 500 dollars is aroumd £799 plus thr 90 quid lens good.

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
sunhorse
By sunhorse (Nov 15, 2012)

That's not what DPR says:

"Olympus UK, meanwhile, has announced a price of £449.99"

2 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Nov 15, 2012)

I want to be the first knucklehead to mention 34mm f3.6!

Really, though, it sounds awesome, but we do already have 20mm f1.7 which is not all that different.

13 upvotes
highwave
By highwave (Nov 15, 2012)

Tell me about it.

I just can't wait until the day these equivelency trolls finally shutup. Even politics sound more convincing than their claims.

11 upvotes
flipmac
By flipmac (Nov 15, 2012)

Good to have options. Besides, this one focuses much faster and quiter. Also, the barrel is metal and has a DoF/distance scale.

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Photog74
By Photog74 (Nov 15, 2012)

Neither the 20mm f/1.7 nor the 17mm f/2.8 is a fast-focusing lens. The new 17mm f/1.8 is an MSC lens so it ought to focus faster. And street photographers will love the distance scale and DOF marks.

5 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Nov 15, 2012)

It is much faster focusing - essentially instant and virtually silent.

5 upvotes
RDMPhotos
By RDMPhotos (Nov 17, 2012)

Does this mean i should sell my M. Zuiko 17mm f2.8 lens?

0 upvotes
Sosua
By Sosua (Nov 15, 2012)

Pretty good value compared to the Nex 24 1.8?

11 upvotes
radissimo
By radissimo (Nov 15, 2012)

this is very valid note, esp. considering the price and size!

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Nov 15, 2012)

For what is worth how many people put Olympus on the same level as Zeiss?

I've also heard the Zeiss is optically corrected (cannot confirm) while this Olympus relies on software correction (from some sample)

2 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Nov 15, 2012)

Probably the same number of people that put Sony Zeiss on the same level as regular Zeiss.

5 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (Nov 15, 2012)

I dont get these crazy expensive m43 lenses. Small formats should not be a premium format. These lenses cost more than FF lenses. thats nuts

8 upvotes
Sosua
By Sosua (Nov 15, 2012)

If they perform as good or better at a third the size, why not?

$500 is very far from an expensive lens BTW

16 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Nov 15, 2012)

Canon's new 35mm f2 was closer to $900, so I think the trend is spreading. If you want cheap there is already the 14mm f2.5 or 17mm f2.8.

11 upvotes
flipmac
By flipmac (Nov 15, 2012)

It's half the price of the Sony Zeiss 24/1.8 E.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Nov 15, 2012)

Yes, $500 isn' too bad. However, Nikon's 35mm f/2 is $330, and definitely isn't a poor lens optically.

2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Nov 15, 2012)

Kodachrome200 makes a good point. It's much easier to manufacture a lens meant to cover a smaller sensor. And when lens designers also don't have to worry about correcting for distortion, you have to wonder why the super high boutique pricing, not just for this lens, but for much of the m43 lineup.

7 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (Nov 15, 2012)

i guess i see this as more closer to a standard lens than a 35mm lens

0 upvotes
sadwitch
By sadwitch (Nov 15, 2012)

If you understand Japanese product mentality, smaller usually IS pricier. Much like miniaturization of computer chips, shrinking the power of a computer into a phone, mirco SD vs standard SD 2.5" HDD vs 3.5" HDD... etc etc...

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Nov 15, 2012)

Smaller is more expensive when it has to fit the same amount, but in this case it actually needs less, so if anything it should at most cost the same. I'm sure the time it takes to make one of these is not much different from apsc for example or even *some* fullframe optics.

2 upvotes
Klarno
By Klarno (Nov 15, 2012)

High quality optics in smaller formats actually calls for tighter tolerances and greater precision in manufacturing.

2 upvotes
Donald Duck
By Donald Duck (Nov 15, 2012)

"Canon's new 35mm f2 was closer to $900..."

That is 17/1.0 on m43, with resolution on FF that the m43 can only dream about.

3 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Nov 15, 2012)

Stop saying smaller lens should be more expensive.
If it is the case, compact cameras should be pricier than DSLRs
I once bought into the m43 system, left very quickly, stupid lens prices, and image quality not that great either

1 upvote
Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (Nov 15, 2012)

Was about to pull the trigger on the Panny 20mm 1.7 after seeing how incredibly well the Olympus 45mm 1.8 does on film in a bar ... now I think I'll wait to see how well this little fella tests. Should be pretty much amazing ...

3 upvotes
thewhitehawk
By thewhitehawk (Nov 15, 2012)

If you scroll up on these comments, you can see some articles with samples.

0 upvotes
undergrounddigga
By undergrounddigga (Nov 15, 2012)

Am I the only one, who is over the moon about this launch?! :)
Perhaps, because I am the lucky owner of an OMD, 12mm f/2.0, 45mm f/1.8 and 60mm f/2.8 macro. (no kit lens for me :) I absolutely adore these products. In design, size, quality and most importantly image quality are close to perfection.
Just the thought of not owning the 75mm and now, this new lens, makes me go nuts :)
This is actually the first Olympus camera I have bought. Have been using Oly (and Nikon) microscopes for 15-20 years, and they always been flawless. I am very delighted to see Olympus doing so well, and being able to release such fantastic products. And I am particularly happy that they attacked the m4/3, as for me size in an important factor.
I know, not FF or whatever, but these lenses with the OMD are a dream to use. Can't recommend them enough. Hope the new lens will be sharp as the other ones, as I have heard some concerning reviews about the pre-production model.

14 upvotes
c_henry
By c_henry (Nov 15, 2012)

Nope, I'm really looking forward to it as well! Hopefully it'll be a good as the 12mm f2.0 or 45mm f1.8. I doubt it will be as good as the 75mm, but we can hope.

3 upvotes
TORN
By TORN (Nov 15, 2012)

Since when does 5% distortion count as perfection? It should be no secret what happens to image quality when the software fixes this fault.

3 upvotes
sadwitch
By sadwitch (Nov 15, 2012)

Well the lens or the system is not for you then... you may try leica or zeiss if you want 'perfection'. Besides perfection is a relative term too.

0 upvotes
ryanshoots
By ryanshoots (Nov 15, 2012)

@TORN What happens to Hasselblad's IQ when it corrects lens distortion?

1 upvote
Daniel from Bavaria
By Daniel from Bavaria (Nov 15, 2012)

500$ and no lens hood, that's ridiculous.

What happend to Olympus?

9 upvotes
c_henry
By c_henry (Nov 15, 2012)

Well, I paid $450 for my Canon 50mm f1.4, and that didn't come with a lens hood either. Lots of lenses in this price bracket don't either. But it would be nice if they had put one in, wouldn't cost that much.

6 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Nov 15, 2012)

Canon is not a good example as they have been charging extra for their lens hoods for years. Virtually all of the new Nikkors come with dedicated lens hoods. There is simply no valid reason for leaving out a lens hood at this price point.

2 upvotes
thewhitehawk
By thewhitehawk (Nov 15, 2012)

To be fair, I bought a Pany 20mm f1.7 for a comparable price, that didn't come with a lens hood, and even after I purchased one, I only used it a couple of times. Lens hoods are not as essential on wide-angle lenses in my opinion.

That isn't to defend Olympus on not wanting to bundle hoods with their lenses, of course. I think that's just them maximising profit and being greedy.

But it's certainly not something that's unheard of, quite a few companies, without pointing any fingers specifically, do not include hoods with their premium lenses.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Nov 15, 2012)

"The food is terrible and the portions are too small"... right?

2 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Nov 15, 2012)

@ManuelVilardeMacedo
Are you saying this lens is terrible and the price too high?

0 upvotes
Edgar Matias
By Edgar Matias (Nov 15, 2012)

@Peiasdf try googling the word "irony".

0 upvotes
gl2k
By gl2k (Nov 15, 2012)

Perky price.
Nikon DX 35mm f1.8 and FX 50mm f1.8 are about €170

10 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Nov 15, 2012)

True, but this lens joins Oly's premium line-up and not the mid grade of those lenses cited.

11 upvotes
dav1dz
By dav1dz (Nov 15, 2012)

It's not competing in the same equivalent focal length as the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR DX 35 mm f/1.8.

Phew, mouthful.

5 upvotes
kewlguy
By kewlguy (Nov 15, 2012)

It should be cheaper than $500, still.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
AlfaBet
By AlfaBet (Nov 15, 2012)

So what?..

0 upvotes
IrishhAndy
By IrishhAndy (Nov 15, 2012)

Wait till u c the price of the lens hood.

9 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Nov 15, 2012)

Those are not wide angle primes.

2 upvotes
flipmac
By flipmac (Nov 15, 2012)

FoV are not even close.

There aren't really any Nikon lens equivalent to 35mm for DX bodies, so here are real options:

Nikon 24/2.8D, $360 - much slower.

Nikon 28/1.8G, $700 - not as wide.

2 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Nov 15, 2012)

I own both those lenses and aside from being sharp and having a reasonable bokeh they are basically okay. That's all. Yet the great M4/3 lenses are extraordinary, an amazing deal for their price.

That's the mirrorless revolution and why Nikon, with their notion that a pro lens must have an extraordinary pro price (partly from needing to cover the larger sensor of course), can't compete in this area.

5 upvotes
Jorginho
By Jorginho (Nov 15, 2012)

The Sony NEX 35 mm f1.8 does not cost that little and that is the direct competition. also: are those Nikon lenses sharp wide open? 35 mm is excellent whenstopped down at f3.5 (very good at f2.8). But not at f1.7 like the Panny is (and who knows Oly).

The 50 mm needs to be stopped down further to medium aperatures to get excelent results. Neither are IS, which both Panny and Oly are on an Oly body.

As always: the m43 system allows it 9the system) to be much smaller. This is also true in this case. An EPl5 with either of the two is very small. A small DSlr with 35 or 50 mm is not nearly as small. For m43 users a decisive factir which we do not mind to pay for to some extend.

4 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (Nov 15, 2012)

As an old Oly user, I nevertheless feel I need to inject some reality here. Before we start singing praises of the premium line and incomparable quality, shouldn't we wait for some reliable tests first? Some initial photos from that lens did not impress with a rather nervous bokeh.

3 upvotes
Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (Nov 15, 2012)

great addition to micro 4/3 line-up of lenses.

5 upvotes
Total comments: 277
12