Although compact and likeable enough, Olympus’ first 17mm for MFT (Micro Four Third) wasn’t one of the best performing lenses. With a fast maximum aperture, this new lens aims to build on the popularity of the angle of view / focal length while offering improved image quality. Read on to see if Olympus has achieved their goal.
As with the firm’s 75mm and 12 mm primes, this new high-speed 17mm f1.8 (35mm equivalent) for MFT cameras features a sturdy metal outer and a promising sounding high-grade optical design. Although weighing just 120g, it has 9 elements in 6 groups with one double-sided aspherical lens, one Super HR (high refractive index) element and two further elements with aspherical surfaces. Minimum focus distance is a fairly-typical 0.25m, but as well as a high-speed AF motor, the lens offers what the firm calls a ‘snapshot focus mechanism’ – a push/pull manual focus collar with a distance markings and a depth of field scale. We’ve assessed the image quality using a Panasonic Lumix DMC GH-2 for this review, though we intend to make the measurement data available for the OMD- EM-5 and the GH-3 in the near future.