Olympus M.ZUIKO 17mm f/1.8 - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published June 2013

Introduction

The Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 is - as of the time of this review - the 4th high-speed prime lens for the micro-four-thirds (MFT) system by Olympus. It is a moderate wide-angle lens thus targeting applications such as street-, landscape- and still-life photography. While Olympus is shy of marketing this M.Zuiko as 'pancake lens', we'd say that given its short length (3.5cm) and marginal weight (120g), it still falls into this category. The price tag feels somewhat steep upon first glance. This seems to be a bit of an unfortunate trend in the MFT system lately - but let's see how it 'behaves' during the tests.

The build quality of the Zuiko is highly impressive thanks to a tightly assembled all-metal body. The smoothly operating focus ring features a clutch mechanism ("snapshot" mechanism in Olympus terms) for switching between AF and manual focusing. Since it is far from being a budget item, it is somewhat surprising that the (barrel-shaped) lens hood is just an optional and rather pricey accessory but then we've already experienced this before e.g. with the M.Zuiko 12mm f/2 or 75mm f/1.8.

The M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 has a MSC ("Movie and Stills Compatible") AF drive offering a silent, fast and smooth AF. Typical for mirrorless systems the AF accuracy is very high (although this is more a camera rather than a lens aspect). Manual focusing is, as usual, "by-wire" so you actually drive the AF motor when turning the broad focus ring. A rather disappointing aspect is a comparatively "long" minimum focus distance allowing a max. object magnification of just 1:12.5.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length34 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/3.6 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction9 elements / 6 groups inc. 1xDSA, 1xAsph & 1xHR element
Number of aperture blades7 (circular)
min. focus distance0.25 m (max. magnification 1:12.5)
Dimensions57.5 x 35.5 mm
Weight120 g
Filter size46 mm (non-rotating)
Weightoptional, barrel-shaped, bayonet-mount
Other featuresZERO coating, Focus-clutch mechanism



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