Sharp and wicked fast focus
September 21, 2014
If you're at all inclined to consider prime lenses for your MFT system, look very carefully at the Olympus 17mm f/1.8.
I started out my MFT adventure with Olympus cameras by getting the highly-rated Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. The pancake format with the excellent sharpness attracted me. I used it on an E-PL5, and E-P5, and now an E-M10. Then I tried this Olympus 17mm f/1.8.
First, the slight downside. It is actually possible with careful pixel peeping to determine that this Olympus lens is not quite as sharp as the Panasonic. However, the difference is so slight, it can't seriously be a decision factor with MFT sensors, given the many other factors I'm here to tell you about.
First, and foremost is focus speed. It's hard to imagine it being any faster. In street situations, there is no hesitation whatever. Just press the shutter and the lens is focused.
The second factor is the focal length. There's a reason why all those fixed lens range-finders in the old days and new implementations such as the Fuji X100 are all the same focal length - effectively 35mm. It's very consistent with how we see the world with our eyes. You wouldn't think that a 6mm difference with the Panasonic 20mm would be significant, but I see it every time I use it.
The third factor is the high-quality build and functionality. In a world that understands Leica and Apple, there's plenty of room for others to provide a great many well-made objects, such as this lens. The manual focus ring with the distance scale is a great bonus.
And finally, for what it's worth, I don't believe I've seen anything prettier than my silver OM-D E-M10 with the silver 17mm f/1.8 lens mounted.
Olympus MFT shooters need to seriously consider this lens.
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