Opinion needed: Oly 17mm f/2.8

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Mellow, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    I've read everything I can about this lens, so I know its flaws. But still . . .

    For me, the allure of m43 is its size. My favorite combination is a PM2 + Panny 14mm because it both takes great pictures and its tiny--I routinely carry it in my pocket. However, sometimes 14mm is too wide, which has me thinking about the 17mm.

    I know it's not as good as the other pancakes, but is it that bad? With prices for new lenses dipping below $200 (eBay), I'm tempted to give it a try.

    For what it's worth, I also have the 20mm pancake, but I find this just a tad too large to fit comfortably in most pockets.

    Opinions wanted!
  2. beanedsprout

    beanedsprout Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 13, 2013
    north central Ohio
    I like it. :) 

    Oh oh, and that was also shot on a GF-1. It's not the gear, it's what you do with it.

    Plus I've dropped my 17 more times than I can remember and had to chase it as it rolled away, still keeps on ticking.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    Olympus UK are giving away this lens free with any EPM2 or EPL5 purchase between now and the end of September. There must be a good chance that most of these will end up on ebay.

    Wouldnt be surprised to see this lens below US$150 within a month or two.
  4. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    wow, great photo--I like it too!
  5. beanedsprout

    beanedsprout Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 13, 2013
    north central Ohio
    The only think I don't like about it is the silver color doesn't match my Panny bodies. Oh well. Maybe I'll paint the damn thing. haha!
  6. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    I liked mine just fine, except I wanted more light. So I sold it and got the 17/1.8. It went for $135, and I've seen others go for around that price or as low as $120. Cameta refurbs are around $190 IIRC. It's a nice lens, but I see no need to spend $200.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 4 Beta
  7. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Here's a selection with it from my gallery:






    I own both it and the new F/1.8 lens. The new lens is definitely better but that doesn't mean that the F/2.8 is a bad lens. And frankly, a lot of the bad comments about this lens simply amount to that sort of comment, "It's not as good as …". That doesn't mean it's a bad lens. In fact I've had my F/2.8 for around 21 months now, it's lived on the camera a lot of the time simply because of its physical size, and it's given me quite a few photos I like.

    It's certainly not the sharpest lens, and you'll get more fine detail with other lenses, but you don't always need fine detail in order to get a good, or even a great, photo. There are a hell of a lot of great photos taken in the past with camera and lens combinations that aren't as good as an M43 body with the 17 mm F/2.8.

    When I bought the new 17 mm, I kept my F/2.8 lens. It's the only pancake I own and I still use it from time to time. There are times when I want to be able to carry one of my cameras with as little bulk as possible, and that's when I use it now.

    So, there are better lenses but they cost more. It's a good lens, it's definitely not a great lens, but it's done a surprisingly good job for me. It's done a much better job for me than I expected it to do given all of the bad comments I read about it before deciding to try it anyway. I'm glad I did. I like the focal length, I like the size, and it delivers reasonable results. It's good value for money in my view.
  8. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    Chose 17mm/2.8 over 14mm/2.5

    I tried the Panasonic 14mm/2.5. It was faster than, but not quite as sharp as, my M.Zuiko 14-42mm II at 14mm. The pancake's speed wasn't essential to me, and I prefer the zoom's 14mm because I have the WCON adapter to make it an effective 11mm if I want really wide. So I sold the 14/2.5.

    I then auditioned the Oly 17mm/2.8 for the pancake role, not expecting much. I liked the 17's field of view better than the 14's, and the 17's sharpness surprised me. It is at least as sharp in the center as my Sigma 19mm/2.8, a lens I really like. The 17 is not as sharp as the 19 in the corners, a shortcoming that I attribute to the limitations of the pancake design, and to Sigma's design of its 19 for the larger image circle on NEX cameras.

    The 17 renders realistic, full-spectrum colors. In room lighting, the 17 shows red as red, not orange-red.

    The somewhat retro Olympus lens styling looks better on my PEN, to my eye, than Sigma or Panasonic modernism does. My E-P3 has a black leatherette skin on a silver body, and with the silver 17/2.8 mounted, it looks like a classic rangefinder.

    More nostalgia: The lens has the same perspective and aperture as the 35mm/2.8 lens on my first Olympus camera, the Stylus Epic (Mju-II), which took many beautiful pictures for me.

    I have not yet tested the 17/2.8 pancake against the 14-42 kit zoom, but the results don't matter because the lenses serve different functions and I will keep them both. I had to think a little about whether the 17 and 19 were redundant, but I plan to keep them both, so I can choose either the 17 for a compact kit or the 19 for edge-to-edge sharpness.

    I know there's a lot of subjectivity in my evaluation, but the 17mm/2.8 is a lens that has won my heart, maybe in part because it is unloved by so many and is yet so deserving.
  9. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Mine goes on the e-P1 and in my jacket pocket
    The focal length is excellent, colour/contrast excellent, sharpness on mine is quite good, focus speed OK

    There maybe be quite a lot of used ones coming up if Olympus' free lens offer is popular...
  10. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    I don't doubt it is very good lens, but I'm surprised that for a prime, they stopped at f/2.8. When they have produced fast primes like the 12/2.0, 45/1.8 and 75/1.8 - f/2.8 sounds to me more like a zoom characteristic.
  11. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    It is an older lens right? The new one is the 17mm f/1.8.

    I am actually thinking of getting an e-pm2 as second body and might consider at least one pancake lens either the 17mm f/2.8 or 14mm f/2.5

    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Mu-43 mobile app
  12. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    Good catch Monkey! That completely slipped by me - and I should have noticed that!
  13. mblevins

    mblevins Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 4, 2013
    I love the 17 2.8 simply because it is a pancake lens - I can pop it on my OMD and the camera+lens fits into an Eagle Creek Guide bag. I use it for travel when I want to go out at night with a minimal setup.
  14. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    My first lens was a silver 17mm F2.8 but I sold it - missed it so got another one but in black this time. Still miss my silver - if you get one I'll trade you black for silver!
  15. jimr.pdx

    jimr.pdx Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    near Longview ~1hr from PDX
    Jim R
    I've enjoyed using the 17/2.8, and like you say it's so small. Its main crime is not being the Pana 20mm which stole that range for many users ... :rolleyes: 

  16. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    The 14 and the 17 2.8 are both very effective lenses and keep the kit small. When you consider the current prices on either they are also excellent deals. I have both and often waste time trying to decide.
  17. I didn't find the Panny 14mm to be all that much better than the Oly 17mm, but I kept the 14mm because it was a better complement to the 20mm or 25mm lenses. The 17mm would probably suit better as a "one lens" solution, and 35mm has long been popular for fixed-lens cameras. I no longer have the 17mm because it didn't "fit" in my current kit, but I liked it quite a bit in the early days when it was my only m4/3 lens.

    It would have been a good street lens had the focus been a lot faster, but that is where the 17/1.8 comes in I guess...
  18. madmaxmedia

    madmaxmedia Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2010
    If you already have the 14mm and the 20mm, I feel the 17mm is redundant given that it's slower and has somewhat lower IQ than both lenses. I guess the size is also in between those 2 lenses (probably closer to the 14mm).
  19. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    It was the first prime to come out from Olympus for the m4/3 system. The faster primes came a good deal later -- at least as time is measured in the present camera world.
  20. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    It's a lens I'm thinking of getting again too, for its size to use on the E-PM2, which I got to make the smallest possible take everywhere package. I'm using it with a body cap lens and with the Panasonic 14-42 PZ, a nice lens that works without the shutter blur issue on both my cameras, but which is at f4 at 17mm. I have the Sigma 19mm, which I love, and which is sharper in the corners, but that's too big for what I got the E-PM2 for. Even the usual kit zooms make it too bulky for that purpose -- for me at least. So the old 17 is the best option for the size I want, and I've seen an awful lot of very fine photos taken with it.

    Anything but a pancake is for using on my E-M5.
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