Olympus m.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 first impressions and samples
We've been shooting with the Olympus 17mm F1.8 lens for a while now and have put together a sample gallery showing the sorts of things it can do. We've also prepared some notes on the experience of shooting with the 34mm equivalent fast prime for Micro Four Thirds and included some shots that match ones we included in our Sony RX1 gallery. Beyond that we've tried to show a the lens at a series of apertures to show how the lens behaves.
The 34-40mm equivalent focal length range is already pretty well served for the Micro Four Thirds system - with users being able to choose between Panasonic's Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH, the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F2.8 and Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN, depending on exactly how much they want to spend. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but it's not immediately obvious that there's a need for another lens in the same territory.
However, our first impression of the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 is that it more than justifies its existence. Spend any length of time with the 17mm F1.8 and it's hard not to conclude that it adds a useful extra option and does a lot to justify its additional cost over the existing models (its list price is $70 more than the excellent Panasonic 20mm, though it's new enough that it currently commands more of a premium than this in most shops).
Build-wise the 17mm shares the high-end metallic construction of Olympus' 12mm F2.0 and 75mm F1.8 lenses, giving a reassuring sense of quality and durability (though they've not been in the wild long enough to know if that perception is correct).
Manual focus behavior
The 17mm also includes the pull-back manual focus ring and distance scale we first saw on the 12mm. This retains its position as one of the best focus-by-wire manual focus implementations we've encountered - the slightly heavier damping and the solid end-stops to the focus travel do a great job of giving the feel and usability of a mechanically-coupled manual focus lens. Sadly this isn't always brilliantly handled by Micro Four Thirds camera bodies.
On both Olympus and Panasonic bodies you have to manually activate magnified focus every time you want to check focus, even if you've already switched the body to manual focus mode and engaged manual focus assist / LV close-up mode. The manual focus is stepped but those steps are very fine, so you have to be really paying attention to spot it.
With the focus ring in the forward position, the 17mm behaves like any other Micro Four Thirds lens - switching the camera body to manual focus provides the usual speed-sensitive manual focusing behavior in which you can continue to rotate the focus ring without ever hitting end-stops. It will also activate magnified focus mode if you've engaged it in the menus.
However, the 17mm's focus is actually driven by a linear motor which, combined with a small, light internal focus unit means it autofocuses as fast as the camera can instruct it. Focus is almost instantaneous on both Olympus and Panasonic camera bodies. This gives a clear advantage over the Panasonic 20mm, whose geared motor and unit focus design doesn't offer the snappiness of the latest lenses used on the latest bodies. The 17mm is also extremely quiet when focusing, making it much more appropriate for video work.
We haven't had to opportunity to test the image quality in detail but, while not as sensationally sharp as the 45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8 lenses, the 17mm appears to do pretty well and with neither corner sharpness nor distortion showing much to be concerned about.
Like most fast primes the 17mm F1.8 shows fairly obvious longitudinal chromatic aberration at large apertures, most visible as green fringing around bright areas behind the plane of focus. As usual this reduces progressively on stopping down, and disappears entirely by F4. There’s a little lateral chromatic aberration, visible as red/cyan fringing towards the edges of the frame, but this is easy to remove in raw processing if necessary. However Olympus doesn't include correction information in the lens, so it’s not automatically corrected.
Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 Samples Gallery
|Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 preview samples - posted 6th Feb 2013|
There are 26 images in the samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.
|Nectar Dancing by Lensmate|
from A Big Year - birds
|Sad clown by PEB|
|Mtl Gen X 2015 DP by MarioSS|
from - Gen X - (In Full Colours+ Border)
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has a the worst effect on youth mental health.
It's been a crazy day for innovative patent news. Apparently Sony is thinking of developing a medium format curved sensor camera.
An update to the Silkypix Raw converter fixes some bugs and adds support for several popular new cameras.
This crazy custom-built underwater camera shoots 8x10 large format film. It's supposedly "the first successful underwater 8x10 ever made," and it can be yours for $5,800... plus shipping.
Blackmagic just reveled a new accessory for their Cintel Film Scanner. The Cintel Audio and KeyKode Reader can capture KeyKode data and high-quality audio from film in real-time as it is being scanned.
A new Nikon patent shows a lens designed for a curved full-frame sensor. Could this be the high-end Nikon mirrorless camera people are hoping for?
The ability to shoot images at 1,000 fps first appeared in a Sony smartphone sensor. Now the Japanese manufacturer is using the same feature for industrial applications.
Astronomy expert and photographer Dr. Tyler Nordgren thinks you should "see your first eclipse, photograph your second." But if you do plan on taking photos this August, here are a few tips from someone who's been there.
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.
It's official. PDN has confirmed with parent company Aurelius that 94-year-old lighting company Bowens is indeed going out of business.
The newly launched firmware version 1.06 fixes AF-issues that can occur with some lenses that are not officially compatible with the MC-11 converter.
Voyager is a waterproof smart light stick you can control entirely from your phone. The light has already blown past its $300K funding goal on Indiegogo.
2018 is the last year Photokina will take place during the traditional end-of-September dates. In 2019, Photokina will take place from the 8th to the 11th of May.
The Canon IXUS 50 (known as the SD400 Digital ELPH in North America) was one of a string of high-performing, pocketable PowerShots of the mid-2000s. In this week's throwback Thursday, Barney casts his mind back to 2005.
A close look at the EOS 6D II's Raw files suggest its dynamic range has taken a significant step backwards compared with the company's recent DSLRs. We look at how much difference this might make for your photos.
With a full-production review unit in our hands, we've got over 100 production samples from the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II to share.
Need a break from your day? Kick back and watch the making of a somewhat unconventional mojito filmed on Canon's new EOS 6D Mark II.
The Bonfoton Camera Obscura Room Lens can turn any room into a camera obscura, projecting the view from your window onto the walls of your room.
Adobe just released version 2015.12 of Lightroom CC, adding support for several new cameras and lenses, and baking in several important bug fixes while they were at it.
In this interview, Chiara Marinai, photo editor for VanityFair.com, explains exactly what she looks for in new photographers and photo submissions. Take notes.