Opinions on the Oly 17mm 2.8


Mu-43 Veteran
Oct 25, 2014
I've been offered a nice 17mm 2.8 in good condition, and for a nice price (i think) at 100$.

I have been debating with myself about focal lengths, now that i've started a new system from scratch. With my Nikon gear i had both 35mm and 50mm (FF), i just never favored one of them. Both are just great, but my heart was always with the 50mm even though the 35mm was more practical most of the times.

Now that i've been starting over with a new system, the dilemma arises again :D I decided that i absolutely will get the Oly 25 as soon as possible. But buying both 17 1.8 and 25 1.8 is over my current budget.

At that price for the 17 2,8 that could be my affordable 35mm substitute when needed. Because i could really use the extra light compared to my 14-42.

I've read a few reviews about the 17 2.8 and mst are not so positive, but it seems to be just the corner sharpness... i could live with that. I often shoot close range and wide open anyway.
If i need to do some wide outside shots i could use the 14-42.

So, whats you opinions on the Oly 17 pancake?


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Jan 29, 2010
South Gippsland, Australia
Real Name
Ray, not Oz
I've had one for years now and it's pretty much a permanent fixture on my E-P1, and has been responsible for many great photographs (the header photo of my blog was taken with the E-P1 and 17mm f2.8, though the actual quality isn't evident because of the reduced size). To me, a ~35mm (FF equivalent) lens is a normal lens, not a 25mm (50mm equivalent) lens.

David A

Mu-43 All-Pro
Sep 30, 2011
Brisbane, Australia
I don't know how many times this question has been asked :-(

The 17 f/2.8 was my first M43 prime back in 2011 when there was no 17mm f/1.8. I bought it just after I got my E-P3 and I've used it on my E-M5 and E-M1. I no longer have the E-P3 and it's now the lens that lives on my E-M5 wrapped up in an Olympus wrap cloth in the small bag I carry with me, simply because of the size of the combination. I don't think it's as good as the 17mm f/1.8 which I also have but I keep using the 2.8 because it's size makes it a great easy carry combination and it does deliver good images.

I've seen people say it's a real dog of a lens and I would have to say that on the basis of test reports it's probably the least sharp of our native primes. In some people's eyes that makes it our worst prime but all of those comments ignore an important point. I've also seen it said that we have no bad native lenses for M43 and even if it is our worst native lens it's sharper than some of the lenses out there for other formats and it does deliver images that look good. It may not deliver the sharpest results but it's sharp enough for general use, the contrast side of things is fine, and it delivers a nice colour rendition. It's a good lens but it isn't a great lens. Unfortunately there are those who think that only the best is good enough and it isn't the best. I'm glad things don't have to be the best to be good enough and it's good enough to deliver some very nice images.

So, I like it and I keep using it when I want a small, unobtrusive camera/lens combination I can easily carry anywhere which delivers good images. If I'm going out to shoot something specific and want to really get the most I can out of the image and I'm looking for that field of view I take the f/1.8. They serve different purposes for me and I have no desire to get rid of one of them. I find them both useful. If pushed I do prefer the f/1.8 but I'd hate to give up the f/2.8. It's a good, little lens.


Nov 19, 2012
Maryland, US
Real Name
The OP should buy the 17mm/2.8 at the fantastic price that was offered. It is a very good lens. Pixel peepers may find that the corners are not as sharp as corners from larger lenses, but pancakes always have optical trade-offs. The colors rendered by the 17/2.8 are especially nice.

I also think the 35mm-equivalent focal length is ideal for snapshots. One reason I like the 17/2.8 is that it hearkens back to the 35mm/2.8 lens on my Olympus Stylus Epic (aka mju-ii) that I carried in my pocket and used to grab the best snapshots of my kids' early years.


Mu-43 Regular
Jul 26, 2010
Stuttgart, Germany
it depends on what you need the lens for. I think it's ideal for street and more casual shooting. As some others have mentioned, it seems to render rather nicely with attractive colours and I like the bokeh as well. I find the centre is always sharp enough. I have had only a handful of images where the edges really lost focus but this could have been field curvature which I suspect is not a strength of this lens so perhaps not ideal for serious landscape work. Focussing is noisy so not much use for video but speed is perfectly adequate for most uses on modern bodies. I'd considered upgrading to the 17mm 1.8 but i actually like this pancake and I don't think the performance is dramatically better on the newer cousin better across much of the frame according to several reviews. It's particularly matched to the Penmini or L's and I use this with my E-PM2 frequently for more informal photography when I want to carry an absolute minimum but still get decent results.



Mu-43 Rookie
Nov 10, 2014
But how does it compare to the 15mm bodycap?

I don't know the answer because I don't have a 17mm f/2.8, but I do have a bodycap lens so I am curious.


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Jun 26, 2013
Oregon USA
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
For $100 you can always sell it without taking a loss, and I think you will be pretty pleased with the size to performance ratio. It's a great little lens, which I use most of the time, and whatever it's lacking in sharpness doesn't affect real world images, unless you're cropping heavily or just pixel peeping all the time. The 15mm body cap is just that, a body cap, not a lens, so they shouldn't be compared.
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