Thinking about the Zuiko 17mm f/1.8

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
ata3001
ata3001 Contributing Member • Posts: 822
Re: The 12-40 f/2.8 is better

Barty L wrote:

I have both. The 12-40mm is better in terms of sharpness both in the centre and across the frame, better contrast too. Distortion is about the same. Chromatic aberrations are better on the zoom etc etc.

In short, the 17mm f/1.8 is not as good optically as the zoom at 17mm.

The few times I've gone out with the 17mm (in an attempt to 'learn to like it') there's inevitably a moment where I wish I had the flexibility of the zoom. 17mm is one of the 'classic' focal lengths (in 35mm equivalent terms). The 12-40mm is a whole bunch of them.

Aside from the optical differences the user experience is worse with the prime. If you shoot with a hood then be advised the 17mm doesn't come with one so you will need to pay extra for that. For an Olympus hood you will pay a lot extra - RRP AUD$79. For a JJC clone you will still pay around AUD$40. In either case what you get for your money is a hood that attaches via a clamping screw. No quick and easy bayonet fitting with its automatic alignment. Nope, fiddle with the knurled knob to tighten, adjust the angle at which the hood inevitably sits on the non-aligning clamping surface, fiddle again, repeat.

Do you like to use a polarising filter? Here's where the good old hood comes in again - it can't be fitted or removed with the filter in place and there's barely enough room to rotate the outer part of the filter with it on. If the filter gets a bit stuck you can't remove the hood to get a better grip on it, you just have to dig in as best you can and hope. And if it gets really stuck, then I guess you're gonna have to carefully Dremel the hood to pieces in order to get at the filter. Sounds like fun right?
Of course an inexpensive screw-in hood solves most of the hood issues - except that now you've got something you can't reverse for bag storage.

In circumstances where you want to go really light, know that a single focal-length is not going to be a problem, and where f/2 might provide an advantage (f/1.8 is not recommended) then there's a point to the 17mm. Only you can decide if it's worth the expense. I picked mine up cheap off Gumtree. Thinking about the purchase the thing I'm happiest with is that I didn't spend more money than I did.

In the US, I bought a metal JJC screw-on lens hood for about $10. But since I sold my 17/1.8, I am now using it on my Oly 25/1.8

 ata3001's gear list:ata3001's gear list
Olympus PEN-F Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8 Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm F1.7 ASPH +17 more
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