Thursday, November 15, 2012

Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 Review: Street Shooting

Important Notes:
1. This is a user experience based review.
2. All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG (High Quality) via Olympus Viewer 2.
3. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
4. No post-processing applied to the images, except slight brightness/contrast balance tweak. All images were as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.

Back in September, in the world's largest photography event, Photokina, Olympus has hinted that there will be one more product to be released for the Micro 4/3 lens line up, which is the M,Zuiko 17mm F1.8 lens. Thankfully we do not have to wait too long, and just a few days ago Olympus Malaysia has loaned me an initial production unit of the 17mm F1.8 lens for my testing and review purposes. 

Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 Lens Features Highlight
1) Similar Optical Performance as the renowned M.Zuiko 12mm F2 lens
2) Similar construction and build as the all metal lens M.Zuiko 12mm F2 lens
3) Snapshot focus - pull down the ring for immediate switch to manual focusing, with DOF and distance scale for zone-focusing
4) ZERO (Zuiko Extra-Low Reflective Optical) Coating for minimizing ghosting and flare control
5) Fast focusing mechanism, and optimized for video recording (MSC)

For full specifications, please head over to Olympus's Official Page (click). 





Snapshot focus - pull down the ring for quick switch to manual focus, with distance and DOF scale. 

Olympus PEN E-PL5 and the M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 lens, such a handsome combo. 


What is special about this new 17mm F1.8 lens?

Olympus users are well aware that there already is an existing 17mm F2.8 pancake lens, which was the first lens released alongside the first micro 4/3 camera from Olympus, the PEN E-P1, few years ago. Although I have not used the old 17mm lens myself, from general postings on photography forums (user opinion and experience with the lens) and reading some online review, it can be generally concluded that the old 17mm F2.8 pancake lens was a mediocre performer, and there was really nothing to write home about it.   

Besides the old 17mm F2.8 pancake lens and the multiple versions of bundled kit lenses (14-42mm, 12-50mm), the rest of the M.Zuiko lenses released by Olympus for the micro 4/3 system, especially all the fast prime lenses have been nothing but excellent, both in terms of delivering impressive image quality (sharpness, technical flaw control, etc) and amazing autofocus performance. Coming from the history of 12mm F2, 45mm F1.8, 75mm F1.8 and 60mm F2.8 macro, each of the aforementioned lenses was a stellar performer. Therefore, it was about time Olympus started to have a revision for their old 17mm F2.8 lens, and release the new 17mm F1.8 lens to match the line of high performing fast prime lenses. 

With the release of this M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 lens, Olympus has almost completed their set of high quality prime lenses for the micro 4/3 lens line-up, alongside 12mm F2, 45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8 lenses. The only missing piece is a 25mm prime lens, which was filled in by Panasonic 25mm F1.4, hence in the whole family of fast prime lens collection, Micro 4/3 system family can be considered complete.

About the Classic 35mm Focal Length

Many experienced and established photographers will never emphasize enough on the importance of using a classic 35mm focal length lens, either for learning photography, or shooting on the field. It is perhaps one of the most important focal length for street photography, where the 35mm is wide enough to fit in the environment and still maintain decent distortion control (28mm or wide would have introduced severe perspective and barrel distortion). 35mm is considered a normal prime lens, and has been one of the most popularly used prime lenses alongside 50mm. Both 35mm and 50mm corresponds very well to nearly as what the human eyes see, but I personally feel that 50mm is closer to my eyes' field of view. Consequently it is not difficult to see why the new Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 lens is so important, and will be popularly used as a general shooting lens, mainly because of the very natural perspective and normal view coverage that the lens offers. (Olympus micro 4/3 system has equivalent focal length factor of 2, thus 17mm x 2 = 34mm, close to the classic 35mm focal length). 

I do believe that the choice of focal length is a very personal and subjective matter to discuss. However, while shooting, certain practical considerations should be made. Using a longer lens (tele-zoom lenses) would create too much compression, and the image appears distant and disconnected from the viewer. If wide angle is used, being too wide, there would be excessive perspective exaggeration and distortion that can be unintentionally distracting. Either the image is shot too wide, or too long, it will appear forced. Hence, the 35mm, together with 50mm focal lengths offer very natural perspective, true to what the human eyes can normally perceive, hence more "believe-able". 

Street Shooting with the 17mm F1.8 lens

Most street photogaphers will strongly recommend having a 35mm focal length lens for street shooting, hence it is surely one of the first thing I brought the 17mm F1.8 lens out to do: street shooting. Olympus Malaysia has also loaned me the latest Olympus PEN E-PL5 to go along with the 17mm F1.8 lens. I was walking along Brickfields then ended up at Petaling Street in the morning. If you have followed my reviews recently you would know that I love to test the lens or camera on the street, mainly because of the abundance of subjects that can be shot and tested on. In this entry I am testing the 17mm lens mainly in favorable lighting condition. 


F1.8, 1/320sec, ISO200

F/1.8, 1/2500sec, ISO200
IMAGE SAMPLE 1

100% Crop of IMAGE SAMPLE 1
The image is sharp even being shot at F1.8 wide open. The level of fine detail of the fabric texture captured was quite startling. 


F/6.3, 1/1000sec, ISO200
IMAGE SAMPLE 2

100% Crop from IMAGE SAMPLE 2


F/1.8, 1/500sec, ISO200
IMAGE SAMPLE 3

100% Crop from IMAGE SAMPLE 3 
Take note that shooting at F1.8, the depth of field is so shallow that the eye ball was in focus (and you can see yours truly in action) but the eye brow was already out of focus ! If I knew it was that shallow I would have stopped down the aperture for this shot, perhaps F2.8 or 3.5. 

F/1.8, 1/1000sec, ISO200

F/4, 1/125sec, ISO200

Image Resolution/Sharpness

Being a Zuiko labelled lens, the sharpness of the new 17mm F1.8 lens was excellent. Even being used at wide open F1.8, the level of fine details captured, as indicated in Image Sample 1, looking at the man's blue T-shirt, was very impressive. I did try to stop down the aperture to F2.8, F4 and F5.6, but did not quite see much difference in the increase of sharpness (it could be sharper, just not visible to my eyes), thus you actually do get very optimal sharpness, even using the lens at F1.8. Olympus is doing right with all their prime lenses now, surely their claim of having optical quality on par with their highly acclaimed 12mm F2 is not just a marketing ploy. There is a difference between just sharp, and being able to resolve great amount of fine details. You can artificially sharpen an image in post-processing to create the pseudo-sharp look, but you can never bring out the fine details if the lens was not good enough to resolve them. Consequently it is very important to have a great lens to work with. 

Corner to Corner Sharpness

A huge advantage of using the micro 4/3 system is the even sharpness across the frame. The 17mm F1.8 lens is no exception, it is sharp even at the extreme corners. Take at look at 100% crops of Image Sample 7. Even in the corners, there is no visible softening of details, or traces of chromatic abberation. 

Chromatic Abberation (CA) Control

CA control for the 17mm F1.8 lens is very good. The images are not completely free of CA, I do admit I see some small traces of purple or green fringing in high contrast areas, but they were so minimal you can almost neglect them. Also, just slight amount of clean-up can be done in post-processing if you intend to get rid of all the CA. Perhaps the only lens that shows completely no CA would be the M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 macro, which still baffles me till today on how the lens can manage such a feat, even being a macro lens. For a wide angle prime lens, the CA control surely is impressive. I am not sure if it was purely lens-corrected, or software correction processing done in camera, but I do think the result poses no issues for practical usage. 

Flare and Ghosting Control

You will notice I have shot a lot of my images against strong source of light, and in such conditions, there was no ghosting or flare problems. The ZERO (Zuiko Extra-Low Reflective Optical) Coating does its job well, both in 12mm F2 and also the 75mm F1.8 lenses, and now the 17mm F1.8 lens. 


F/1.8, 1/1250sec, 1/200sec

F/6.3, 1/250sec, ISO200

F/5.6, 1/1000sec, ISO200

F/8, 1/800sec, ISO200
IMAGE SAMPLE 4

100% Center Crop from IMAGE SAMPLE 4

100% Corner Crop from IMAGE SAMPLE 4

100% Corner Crop from IMAGE SAMPLE 4

F/7.1, 1/80sec, ISO200
IMAGE SAMPLE 5

100% Crop from IMAGE SAMPLE 5

F/5, 1/200sec, ISO200

Distortion Control

I did not notice any barrel distortion shooting with this 17mm lens, it was very well controlled. Lines appear to be straight, with no noticeable curvatures (even if there is, it is not visible). Being a 17mm lens, it is still considered as somewhat a wide angle lens, which can be susceptible to some degree of perspective distortion if not used carefully. The perspective distortion is not the len's fault of course, it depends on where you stand and how you compose your subject. Of course, problems with perspective distortion will worsen with wider angle lenses, such as 12mm F2. This new 17mm F1.8 lens has very good control over distortion as shown in Image Sample 7. 

Autofocus Performance

The autofocus performance of the 17mm F1.8 lens, used on the E-PL5, was exceptionally good. In fact, it did feel slightly faster and better than the 12mm F2. Every single time I half-press the shutter button the focus locked on immediately, with no delay at all, and the speed to re-focus from near focusing distance to infinity, and vice-versa, was very quick, with no noticable lag at all. This may sound very hard to believe, but for the first time in any history of shooting on the street, in a full session I had 100% focusing hit rate, and completely no misses at all with the 17mm F1.8 lens. 

I did not test the continuous tracking of the lens, because I already know that the camera E-PL5 (and also E-M5) is not doing very well in this department. Nonetheless, if you want to freeze action or moving shots, you can, just press the shutter button immediately as you hear the AF-confirmation beep sound. For example, have a look at Image Sample 8, the man was moving toward me, and I shot a series of 3 images, all using the same technique: half-press, hear the beep sound, and immediately press the shutter button. All images came out in perfect focus. This technique, I call it instant click to capture shots, have always worked, and for the 17mm F1.8 lens on E-PL5, it worked flawlessly. 

Lens Handling and Feel on Hand

When I was shooting with the 17mm F1.8, it felt as if I was shooting with a mini version of the 12mm F2 lens. The build quality and look of the 17mm is very similar to the 12mm lens, just smaller, and lighter. The lens was solid and felt very reassuring. There is just something about an all metal constructed lens that felt superior to plastic lens, perhaps this was psychological but we all know it is a lot more expensive to construct something with metal than plastic. 

One good thing I like about the 17mm is how small it is. Perhaps it is not that small in comparison to the older 17mm F2.8, which was a pancake design lens, but the new 17mm has the widest aperture of F1.8, and being a bright prime lens, I would say the size is still very small and compact. Coupling the lens with a small sized PEN body such as the E-PL5, I can carry around the camera around my neck, or hand holding it without feeling any strain at all. The lens felt very balanced being used with the E-PL5, and holding it steady should not be a problem. 

F/1.8, 1/1600sec, ISO200

F/5, 1/100sec, ISO200
IMAGE SAMPLE 7


IMAGE SAMPLE 8

100% Crops from IMAGE SAMPLE 8


F/4, 1/1000sec, ISO200
IMAGE SAMPLE 9

100% Crop from IMAGE SAMPLE 9

F/1.8, 1/40sec, ISO200
One of the most passionate photographer I have known, Luke Chua (click to check out his fantastic work)

F/2.5, 1/30sec, ISO200

F/1.8, 1/80sec, ISO400

F/1.8, 1/80sec, ISO200

Close Up Shooting 

The 17mm offers minimum focusing distance of 25cm, which is quite good for some decent close up shooting. Of course it is nowhere near macro capable, but at 25cm minimum focusing distance, thte 17mm lens can deliver good wide angle close up shots. 

Bokeh Rendering/Shallow Depth of Field

I find the out of focus rendering of the 17mm F1.8 to be very smooth, creamy and pleasing to look at. I remember complaining about the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 for having very harsh bokeh and distracting out of focus rendering, even at F1.7 widest open aperture. I am glad to see Olympus 17mm can create much more pleasing out of focus look in the image.

If you want shallow depth of field, you will need to move closer to your subject. The closer you are to your subject, with the help of wide open aperture F1.8, you can create shallow depth of field, and blurring the background away. Perhaps care should be taken to make sure sufficient depth of field was achieved, in the case of Image Sample 3, looking at the 100% crop of the girl's eye, the eyeball was in focus, but the eye brow was already out of focus. I should have stopped down the aperture to F2.8, or even F3.5 for that shot. 

The following set of images were taken at a local independent event called Pipit Wonderful Market, happening at Central Market, Kuala Lumpur. I went in the market after shooting at the Petaling Street. 

F/1.8, 1/50sec, ISO1000

F/1.8, 1/13sec, ISO640

F/2.8, 1/20sec, ISO640

F/1.8, 1/100sec, ISO1250

F/1.8, 1/50sec, ISO1250

F/4.5, 1/100sec, ISO200

F/1.8, 1/200sec, ISO200


I have also made 11 full resolution images selected from this entry available for your pixel peeping fetishes. All the images were converted directly from RAW to JPEG in Olympus Viewer 2 software. 

17mm F1.8 REVIEW PART 1 DOWNLOAD:



In my coming Part 2 of my Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 lens review, I shall test the lens in less than ideal shooting conditions, especially low light shooting, and see how the lens fares. I shall also show some other applications than just general street shooting. Then, I will discuss on the things I wish the lens could be better.

 If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to say something in the comment section on this blog entry, or email me directly at hamish7ian@gmail.com

102 comments:

  1. Hi Robin,

    Impressive lens indeed! Super sharp images and pleasing bokeh. Another must have lens from Olympus. Good job mate.

    from,

    Eric V
    Edmonton Alberta Canada

    ReplyDelete
  2. jeffrey palempung11/15/2012 03:10:00 PM

    Thank you Mr robin your review is very helpful , and now I got suck again unto G A S,..

    btw ,did you try the manual focus,with the Dof scale?

    Thanks again,.much appreciated

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hey Jeffrey,
      Thanks for the kind compliments. Nope I did not try the manual focus, but it should be the same with the 12mm F2's performance and feel.

      Delete
  3. As usual....you are the Man!
    Skip the charts etc...show me pics! You always bring out the "feeling" in what you review...which is why yours is the one I wait for...Thanks again for all the work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the support, Superman !

      Delete
  4. It is already on my to-buy list.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Robin,

    the lens apparently has noticeable barrel distortion on the uncorrected RAW files.

    Compare to the review of the lens by Pen & Tell:

    http://pen-and-tell.blogspot.de/2012/11/das-neue-17er.html

    Specifically, take a look at this test shot (uncorrected RAW):

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-EKp2RnUHWS8/UKIBCrY4kII/AAAAAAAAC8w/9Rhl9G4oPgI/s1600/PB120003+(2)-001.jpg

    The barrel distortion is clearly visible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Tobias,
      I was shooting RAW, and I used the Olympus Viewer 2. Perhaps it already has autocorrect function built into the RAW conversion software.
      To me, using the lens and camera, as a whole system, counts. If I see the end result has no barrel distortion, that is all that matters to me. This is the case, perhaps if you use other softwares, things are different.

      Delete
    2. MFT lenses are using software correction to correct distortion. Popular 3rd party RAW converters like Adobe take this into account and automatically corrects this with their software programs.

      Delete
    3. Even when I was shooting with the lens, previewing the image captured on camera, it shows no distortion. Yes, maybe there is in camera correction too, but to be honest, if it works so well, I am not complaining. The end justifies the means.

      Delete
  6. yes I agree with the above comment, your reviews are much more interesting and provide a feeling about how the lens will be rather than a bunch of numbers to compare against another lens' numbers.

    They are always enjoyable and the pictures are often thoughtful and much more interesting than grid lines and colour charts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ted !! I figured its a lot more fun testing the camera by really shooting and enjoying using it too.

      Delete
  7. I happened to read the comments in the Dpreview about the releasing of this sweet lens, fighting about the price of this lens and comparing to other brand of lens of the same class. Whew!!! endless comments!

    But then I stop by your blog and start reading your review on this lens and viewing beautiful images , and as usual informative, beautiful and great stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Amiruddin !! That is why I am not on that forum, or any other forums. Lets just focus on shooting !! Instead of endless argument.

      Delete
  8. I just read Pekka's review and now yours, and both confirm my decision to sell the 20/1.7. This lens may not be sharper, but but it is also not less sharp. I have seen the the first leaked RAW images (from some Polish site I think) and having converted them myself in Lightroom, I certainly found them extremely good. Indeed regarding CA they were much better.

    For me as someone who loves shooting into the sun, CA is the primary problem of the 20/1.7. It may perform better on Panasonic cameras, but I guess the sometimes excessive purple fringing can't be completely corrected in software. Thus again: I'll certainly buy this lens.

    As to your review, it's problematic as always, your beautiful images would make a shard shine :D

    Only joking. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Andreas for the kind words.

      Olympus newer lenses have very, very amazing control over CA. I am not sure if it was the lens or in camera correction, but the best so far is the 60mm macro, with virtually zero trace of CA. This 17mm F1.8 has very minimal CA, almost negligible, and of course, you almost can't see it, unless you purposely find it in the image.

      Delete
  9. love it again dude... cya at Facebook haha

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you very much, Robin! I have been so waiting for the first reviews of this lens, yours belong, like always, not only to the first, but to the best also. Great to know about sharpness at wide open F1.8 - amazing pictures. And a very fine remark: "There is a difference between just sharp, and being able to resolve great amount of fine details. You can artificially sharpen an image in post-processing to create the pseudo-sharp look, but you can never bring out the fine details if the lens was not good enough to resolve them.". Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Valerij,
      Thanks for the kind remarks. Yes, it is very important to differentiate the two, sharpness and fine details !! Many lenses are sharp, but Olympus Zuiko lenses can resolve plenty of fine details, and that is what makes the images shine.

      Delete
  11. Thanks for the really helpful review, user reviews are always so much more helpful than lab tests. There is a little gap deliberately left in my lens line up waiting for this 17mm. After some shaky early samples on the web, good to see an in depth user review to give me comfort that it will sit nicely in that slot. DOF and Bokeh are especially impressive on a number of the samples. 13 for example is great the way the subject pops out from the cluttered background. But 30 is my favourite, with the light streaming in through the roof light - great shot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Dannecus,
      Thanks so much for the kind words !! Glad you liked some of the photos. I believe being practical is important, thus real life shooting can indicate how the lens truly performs, when you need it to deliver the images.

      Delete
  12. Aiyoh, you guys, I love my Panasonic 20mm. :)
    And stop making those mangosteens look so good to eat!
    Very poisonous review oi!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ananda,
      Come back more often for the mangosteens !

      Delete
  13. Hello Robin,
    Could you canture AF video sample with this lens?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please leave a name when you comment next time.

      Delete
  14. Hi Robin,

    Great job as usual this is the lens I have been waiting for to add to my increasing Olympus M. collection!

    Kind Regards,

    Stephen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Stephen,
      Thanks !! Increasing collection of Olympus M..... I like that !

      Delete
  15. hey Robin

    fr ep3, to 12mm to 45mm to 75mm

    where is the hammer to my piggy bank
    lol

    how come it never cross my mind that u will be one of the guy who will review this lens first

    ReplyDelete
  16. Robin, do you know how much you have cost me? Damn you and your fine photography for tempting me yet again. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Anonymous,
      Please leave a name when you comment next.
      Oh dear I am innocent !!

      Delete
  17. Well, I've bought my 60mm macro right after reading your reviews, and this one will on my next to have item too. The poison is very strong here LoL.
    Great job as usual Robin, hope Olympus will keep on supporting you with more good things to come :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Edwin,
      Thanks for your kind compliments. Indeed Olympus has very serious poison lately !

      Delete
  18. Hi Robin, Great stuff as usual. It is early in the morning here on the east coast of the USA (near Boston) and you already have over 30 comments!!!

    I'm viewing your awesome images in the post on my laptop (not my desktop monitor) and notice a bit more constrast than usual (I think). Is that the lens? Or (more likely) it is perhaps simply my laptop, as laptops tend to have more contrast and less dynamic range than good desktop monitors. Just wondering. Peter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Peter,
      Thanks for the kind words !!
      I believe it could be that the 17mm has stronger micro contrast, and being downsized it seems to have more blacks in the image. If you look at the full resolution images (download link) the blacks in the images do have plenty of details. Or maybe it is your laptop. Have you seen the images on your desktop monitor?

      Delete
    2. hahaha! I would have tried that first (my home desktop monitor) before putting myself "out there" with my post.. but I was not at home at the time. I am definitely going to check 'em out when I am at home where I have a nice calibrated monitor. I am looking at them right now on an uncalibrated flatscreen desktop monitor at my work office and all seem to be more constrasty than I think your other street photos have been. That's just an initial impression. I am going to look around on your site some more after I post this reply. BTW, I am not suggesting that more contrast (if it is indeed true, which it may not be) is good or bad. It was just an observation. Best, Peter.

      P.S. Nice score getting ahold of that lens!!!

      Delete
    3. Hey Peter,
      It could also due to the harsh morning sun. It was a clear sky, and Malaysian sun can be quite unforgiving !!

      Delete
  19. Hi Robin, Excellent review and most likely I need to spend the money for this lens. Cheers

    Francis from Toronto

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Francis, it will be money worth spending.

      Delete
  20. Clearly another winner by Olympus. They are really doing something great here for enthusiasts, one stellar performer after another. And as usual, your work makes these wonderful optics shine even more. Excellent shots, my hat off! And my compliments to Oly for yet another spectacular lens. Can't wait to read the rest about it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks again Andre for the kind words. Will be pushing out Part 2 very soon.

      Delete
  21. Robin, I really enjoyed your pictures. Especially the portraits. And overall, the rich colors are a visual treat. As far as the gear...my only regret is that this fine lens is too close in field of view and performance to my Panasonic 20mm. If I had neither, I would go for the Olympus, maybe sacrificing (or not) some absolute sharpness for better focusing speed. This lens will likely entice a good share of buyers who otherwise would see the Panasonic as a no-brainer. Thanks for sharing your timely impressions of this new lens, and your wonderful photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Stephen,
      Thanks for the kind compliments. Indeed the Panasonic 20mm is a wonderful lens. Nonetheless I do feel that the autofocus performance is a let down !!

      Delete
  22. Robin, it is hard to focus on the lens performance when all your objects and compositions are so great! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Robin,
    I ordered an EM-5 because of you and the 12 and the 75 and the 60; now the 17 ... Please take up reviewing Canons - I'll never buy them :-) As usual, great images and an excellent review. While my order has gone in, I will be waiting for part II of this review. Once again, thank-you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Harvey,
      Thanks for the kind words !! If Canon Malaysia comes to me with their new gear for review, how can I say no? So far no one else came to me except Olympus.

      Delete
  24. Thx Robin. Great review. No charts, no comparisons, just pictures.
    The problem is that now I must buy this lens :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Arek,
      If you really do need the classic 35mm lens, then this Olympus 17mm is a no brainer !!

      Delete
  25. Wow that 17mm and the E-PL5 sure make a sexy looking, compact combo. Very discreet for street shooting. Your real world tests are so much more valuable than charts or brick walls. Thanks so much for your efforts and to Olympus for recognizing your talents. I wish Sony would catch on because the upcoming RX1 in your hands would be incredible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Wataru for the compliments !! If Sony comes to me with the RX1, I will surely be glad to review it !

      Delete
  26. Robin,
    Another round of nice images. Your photos look so much better than the initial sample images floating around a few weeks ago. Sharp even in the corners with very pleasant bokeh. This lens will definitely be replacing my Oly 17mm f/2.8. For $500, I can't see this lens being anything other than a Win!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Phil,
      Thanks for the kind remarks !! I agree, the 17mm is a WIN !!

      Delete
  27. Nice lens, but I have to say, you get more great shots walking around in one hour than I seem to get in a month. If I could, I would gladly pay to follow you around on one of your street shoots!

    Did you shoot these images with any kind of filter over the lens?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey George,
      Thanks for the kind words. If you do come by Malaysia, do email me, will surely be glad to have a "shutter therapy" session with you on the streets.
      There was no filter on the lens. If I did put in any filter, the image output will be questioned !!

      Delete
  28. Robin,
    How do you think this 17/1.8 compares with the Panasonic 20/1.7, also a fine lens?
    ulfie in OR, USA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Ulfie,
      I did not have the panasonic 20mm for direct comparison. But the slow AF on the 20mm is surely a let down.

      Delete
  29. gr8 review bro....must have lens to replace my 17/2.8.... but too bad its not whether/dust shield... otherwise it will be a gr8 combo with OMD for extreme shooting....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed Jai, Olympus should have made it weather sealed !!

      Delete
  30. Oh Robin ..... u are so mean. Just when i am recovering from my recent purchase of the 60mm lens and now u (Oly .... hehe) are hurting my wallet big time. Guess my Xmas present to myself. Great review n as usual GREAT shots.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Daniel,
      17mm is the perfect christmas present !!

      Delete
  31. Hi Robin, nice review as always. Would you think the 17mm is a good buy even if I have the PL 25mm?

    I'm on the fence on buying this one, very good images but im not totally convinced if they are at par with the 25mm IQ. Always loved the 35mm focal length that is why im considering it. Help me decide :-)

    Cheers
    Franco

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Franco,
      the 25mm and 17mm are two completely different lenses, and should not be compared. It all depends on your shooting needs and preferences.

      Delete
  32. Hi Robin, was expecting this post to show up on your blog after the official announcement from Olympus Malaysia. Your review has became my "buy or don't buy" guide for Olympus equipment, just want to say thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Chee Siong,
      Thanks !! And buy buy buy !!

      Delete
  33. one word, FANTASTIC !! for the review and the lens ofcourse :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words, denie !

      Delete
  34. It really doesn't matter what lens or camera or system you are using - the images are always stellar! Your eye and your skills are truly impressive, Robin.
    As an aside, I believe Luke is shooting Nikon, what lens is he using in the shot above?
    Keep up the inspiring work!

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    1. Hello aka,
      Thanks for the kind words. I think that was a 24-105mm F4 lens. I could be wrong tho haha.

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  35. Robin,

    What do you mean by "to re-focus from near focusing distance to infinity?"

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    1. Hello in semple,
      nearest focusing distance of 0.25m to.infinity.

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  36. Robin,
    Thx for the review. Now I'm thinking of this 17mm 1.8 or the nokton 17.5 0.95. So hard to decide!!

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  37. Great review, thanks very much for taking the time to do this. Amazing photos too! :)

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  38. Very nice review. Just one thing, your link to Luke Chua's blog seems to be wrong.

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  40. You take excellent shots, no two ways about it. But more importantly, you connect so well with your subjects that I feel you must know them all... personally. That's a rare gift.

    Oh, and you sold me on this lens/camera combo. Must be feather light. I'm only wondering if Olympus will release a new version of OMD that will improve on the continuous auto-focus. I'm hoping to do a better job of catching my child in action.

    Thank you for sharing and looking forward to more!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words anonymous. Please do leave a name when you comment next time.

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  41. Do you know if this lens has silent manual focusing? Thanks!

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  42. Compare with 12mm F2.0, how do you rate?

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    1. Both are different lenses. They should NOT be compared in the first place. 12mm is a wide angle lens. 17mm is a normal prime lens. You cannot compare an apple to an orange.

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  43. Nice review, may I ask for a casual photographer like me who only take a lot of pictures when I go traveling, Is it better to buy this Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 or the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 (which you review earlier)?
    I have been using E-PL1 with kit lens since 2011 (bought it after reading your review). Most of the photos I take are of my two active kids and scenery (Scenery +my family). One short coming I find with my current camera is the slowing focusing and not so nice low light photos.
    Which lens do you think is more suitable for me?
    (btw I am thinking of getting the EPL5 with one of these lenses.)
    Thanks in advance

    DK

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  44. Thanks for the review. It is already on my to-buy list. Earnestly waiting for its availability. It is already past December, and Olympus USA still marks this lens the Pre-Order state. Bad.

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  45. Hi. i tried video recording with this lens on my EPL3. however the auto focus sound of the lens is being recorded in as well and it is very clearly recorded. is this normal?

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  46. Hi Robin! My name is Marco (from Venezuela, Latin America).

    I have an OM-D E-M5 camera and I need your opinion:

    I have a Panasonic Lumix 20mm F1.7. Do you believe that change this prime lens for this m.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 is a good idea? The improvement in performance might merit that will change?

    Thank you for advance.

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  47. Darn it robin wong! You have given me a list of lenses i wish to purchase, i guess it is time to gather up the cash.... Okay who wants to buy my kidneys? ;3 (or i can just wait a few years to) XD

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  48. A very great review Robin!. I planned buying this lens or the pana 20mm 1.8. I'm using E-PL1 and started to consider this lens. And thanks to this review, i can clearly see how amazing this lens was!. How much for the price you bought in malaysia?. because i'm here living in Jakarta anda still cant find the fix price on my local store. thanks! hope the price is below US$500 :D

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  49. I live in Malaysia. The price here is about US$500. Some Malaysian websites to check are Shashinki, YLCamera and Yamiya.

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  50. nice review robiN!what is your opinion on the lens compared to the 12mm F2? is 17mm wide enough?

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  52. do u compare the sharpness with 20mm f1.7 before ?

    using epl5 now and choosing between this two lens

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  53. Thanks Robin, after many years of photography only on film (my first camera was Olympus OM 2: 1978, still in use) and compact digital, I'm waiting for an OMD-E5 with 35 1.8 and 45 1.8.
    However I do not think that the system of prime lenses Olympus M 4/3 is complete, missing a 9 mm (18 to 35mm) and a shift lens: a serious lack.
    Especially for an architect like me.
    I hope to come soon.
    Giovanni.
    Italy

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  54. The lantern picture took my breath away.. So beautiful, amazing, i´m speechless..

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  55. Hi Robin. Have been reading your reviews and they are really helpful! Many thanks for that :)

    I'm an EM5 + 17mm f1.8 user. Not sure if you have encountered issue shooting RAW with Olympus? I find occasionally the RAW being displayed on my OMD show weird banding with jagged boundaries, color transition between the bands are distinct and not natural. This phenomena is more obvious on uniform background such as sky. Same issue can be seen if the RAW is loaded to Ipad directly. If the RAW is loaded by Viewer 3, at first same issue shows up and from the histogram i can see it unnaturally spiky/bushy but when i zoom in the image a bit, it seems being "refreshed" and the issue will be gone. After the "refresh" the histogram turns normal and no longer bushy.

    I contact Olympus Singapore Support team to check if my camera settings has issue, but they seem not able to explain and only offered to change sensor for me, which i don't think it's hardware related.

    Not sure if you are able to shed some light to it? Thanks in advance :)

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