Olympus 17mm 2.8 lens question

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by elandel, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Hi all.

    Just got my EP5 and I'm looking for a cheap pancake lens. Found a 17mm lens and looks good and very small on the EP5. Have not bought it yet and would like some feedback from you. I know the 20mm etc. is much better but I need a low cost good pancake. I don't want the 14mm.

    Thanks
     
  2. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I think the 14mm 2.5 is sharper and focuses faster than the 17mm 2.8. The 20mm being the best of the bunch optically. Saying that, the 17mm isn't bad at all, but don't expect it to be amazing either. I'd also consider the Sigma 19mm as well around the same price range.
     
  3. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    If you can get it for used prices its not a bad lens. Its not terribly sharp wide open but its acceptable. The focus is quite slow however (slower than the 20mm from what I recall) It produces a quite contrasty image, with the typical Olympus colors. When I had a copy I was using it on the E-PL1 and so I found the f2.8 aperture as well as the AF simply too slow for my uses, but that was several years ago.
     
  4. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    I also used it on my epl1 many years ago.
     
  5. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy

    I know its not a stellar performer but acceptable for my needs. The Sigma is larger and my main needs is something pocketable.
     
  6. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    Well then I think you probably have all the feedback you need! I never really gelled with mine - f2.8 wasn't fast enough to offer the subject separation I wanted and it wasn't sharp enough wide open to offer any meaningful advantages over the kit zoom at that FL. I did really like the way it looked on the camera though!
     
  7. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Yes I agree. The ep5 looks great with the 17 on. It gets trully portable. I'll get one as soon as posdible.
     
  8. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Not sure how prices are in Italy, but the 20mm ver. I prices have dropped quite a bit (in the US) and I would consider looking for that version of the 20mm. That extra stop of light really makes a difference and that lens is just solid. Though I recently sold mine after finding a PL 25 for a good price! :biggrin:
     
  9. JNB

    JNB Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Dec 11, 2014
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    I tended to use it at f/4 or f/5.6 and it did the job quite well. Here are some pics from Quebec City:

    4316516079_db0e339e62_o.

    4316516253_defab72c95_o.

    4316516489_6ce88fe8c5_o.
     
  10. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    This question keeps coming up over and over again. I don't know how many threads now exist asking just this question.

    There are 2 views on the 17mm pancake. There is a group of people who look at the various test results that can be found online, see that it delivers some of the worst results for any M43 prime, and say that it's an extremely bad lens and they would never buy it. Then there's the group of people who bought it and use it, and who tend to like it. I'm in that group.

    Yes, the test results are accurate but I've also seen someone say somewhere that there are no bad native lenses in M43. The 17 may be a bad performer technically in comparison to other M43 primes but it's actually pretty much an average quality lens overall when compared to other lenses for different formats. We just tend to be pretty spoiled in a lot of ways when it comes to lens quality and our native lenses.

    It's not the sharpest lens but you can do a bit with that in processing. It delivers nice colour and contrast in the images it captures, I bought it before the 17mm f/1.8 was released and the f/1.8 is a nicer lens but I've kept my f/2.8 pancake and it still gets used. It tends to live on my second body, an E-M5, and I use it as a "small" camera I can throw in a shoulder bag and carry with me for snapshots and the like which I may come across when I'm not out with the deliberate intent of taking photos.

    There's an image thread for it here and there are a hell of a lot of very nice photos in that thread. Take a look at them and make your decision based on that rather than on all of the comments about how bad the test results are. If you like the results you see from the lens and it's the focal length and physical size that you want, then go for it. That's true for any lens. There's no point to buying the lens that produces the test results that everyone raves about if it's too big and/or heavy for what you want or if it's the wrong focal length for what you want or if you don't get results you like from it. The photos that really count in the end are not photos of test targets, they're photos of the things you want to photograph and the f/2.8 pancake does a good job with them. I deliberately bought mine instead of the 20mm because I wanted the 17mm field of view and I've never regretted my choice.
     
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  11. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I use it and like it. The pancake form factor is worth the slower max aperture in my way of thinking, although I've thought about swapping it for the Panasonic 20mm. However you can find it for less than half of the price, so if the budget is tightish it's a great buy.

    I like the rendering a lot, and while it's not quite as sharp as some other lenses, I find it less flat than the 14mm and substantially better than a kit zoom.

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  12. Theo

    Theo Mu-43 Veteran

    318
    Aug 26, 2013
    Canada
    Theo K.
    May I suggest an alternative. First I'll qualify myself on why I replaced my 17f2.8.

    17f2.8 was my daily carry lens that mated perfectly on my E-PM2 before I sold it last summer in favor of my then newly acquired 12-32. The 35mm equivalent FOV is right for the type of photos I take, IQ is adequate between f4 and f5.6, and I like its rendering. I rarely used it wide open which is its weakest aperture IQ-wise and also f2.8-3.5 isn't much of an advantage for low light and depth of field control.

    My summer trip to California with family made me pull out my dusty Olympus 14-42 IIR kit lens for convienence. I personally found the images from that kit zoom disappointing, prompted me to upgrade to the well received 12-32 after the trip. During my trip I initially used my 17f2.8 in the evening for low light, turned out that is not its strength. I eventually used my 14f2.5 in the evenings and took quite a few surprising good street shots at Walk Of Fame. The 12-32 is a revelation to my daily carry strategy. It's nearly as compact as the 17f2.8 when retracted for transit. For me, a pancake is for easy carrying, not for looking discreet (though it is too) when in use. The most important part is that the 12-32 at 17mm position between f4-f8 aperture totally destroyed the 17f2.8 sharpness-wise everywhere across the frame, and you don't need to pixel peep to notice it. I still favor the rendering of the 17f2.8 over the 12-32 but it was not enough of a reason for me to keep it. Now the 12-32 is my favorite daily carry with the diminishing 14f2.5 always tucked away in my bag ready for low light condition.

    Do consider 12-32 and 14f2.5 as alternatives. IMO, they both kick ass within their parameters and price range.
     
  13. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    715
    Jul 23, 2010
    If you like and get on with 14mm(28 Equivalent) then go for the Panasonic 14, it is a better lens mostly. However if you are like me and find it hard to have as the only prime then go for the 17mm its ok just not as good as other m43 primes but most of them are really high quality lenses. The 20mm is better in the IQ dept but seems slow to focus especially on my Olympus bodies, as Theo above me said do consider the 12-32mm zoom it is a superb little lens and tiny its my most used lens along with the 25mm.
     
  14. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    The 12-32 zoom seems a good lens but I have the 4/3 14-54 on as my standard zoom lens.