Review: Olympus 17mm f/2.8 lens

Olympus 17mm f/2.8 Micro Four Thirds lens - 49

This review will be looking at the lens being used on a Panasonic GF2 (& GF1) and Olympus E-PL2.

Design

The lens is well build but feels plasticky and not as sturdy. It comes with a small front lens cap that fits onto its 37mm filter. It weighs 71g

The lens protrudes out slightly when it's in shooting position.

It's a 34mm on a 2x crop Micro Four Thirds camera.

The rear lens cap doesn't cover the whole of the metal mount. There are some tiny gaps where dust might get it. I recommend getting a Panasonic MFT rear lens cap on eBay to replace it.

Panasonic GF2 with Olympus 17mm f/2.8 black lens
The lens is available in silver and black. Black lens on a black camera is stealthy.

Autofocus

Autofocus speed is average, but feels faster than the Panasonic 20mm lens.

There's some operating noise when the lens is focusing which might be captured in video recording (if you have auto-focusing turned on).

Sharpness

The tests below are shot using cameras on tripod with a 2s timer.

Centre sharpness is great so let's just look at the edge sharpness.

17mm f/2.8 lens on GF2 and EPL2
There's slight softness at the edge that seems to improve at f/4. The softness doesn't go away at all aperture sizes but not really noticeable when looking at the photo as a whole.

Chromatic Aberration

There's some slight chromatic aberration on both camera systems not corrected totally. It gets stronger at smaller apertures, at that point it becomes noticeable.

Vignetting and distortion

Peranakan Museum (EPL2 17mm)
There's slight vignetting at wide open f/2.8 but shouldn't be obvious in real life.

Distortion is minor and generally well corrected by the camera software.

Bokeh

Olympus 17mm f/2.8 bokeh background blur

Lens flare

Olympus 17mm lens flare
Lens flare is quite strong with pointed to the right direction.

There are various lens hood available for the lens. This uses a 37mm filter thread. I use a 37-46mm step-up ring together with the vented lens hood that I'm using with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens.

Video

Here are some videos shot using the lens. They are 720P videos. If you visit the individual Youtube page, you can choose to view the video in a pop-out window at 100% 720P.

EPl2:


GF2:


Conclusion


The lens is suitable for street shooting as it focuses fast enough. For landscape, it's also not too bad but really depends on your subject and whether the lens is wide enough to fit everything in.

Image quality pretty good, but not great especially when compared to the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens. There are other issues mentioned above. I think the difference in price also reflects a bit on the quality.

However if you want a standard wide angle view, this 34mm equivalent is a very decent, small and portable.

Availability

You can check out more reviews on Amazon.

17mm f/2.8 Silver (Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.co.jp)

17mm f/2.8 Black (Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.co.jp)

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