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View Full Version : Is the 17mm f1.8 a good buy?


Olybirder
22nd December 2014, 10:04 AM
I currently own only two m/43 lenses: the 75-300 II and the 60mm macro. These cover about 95% of the requirements for my photography, which involves wildlife. However, a few times a year I have to take photographs of active young children at family 'get togethers'. On the last few occasions I have used the 60mm, which does a good job, but unfortunately it is not really wide enough and I found myself backing out of the door to 'fit everybody in'. :)

I am now considering purchasing an extra lens to cope with this situation and also see some use as a medium wide landscape lens. It will not get a lot of use, so I am reluctant to spend too much money on it (which rules out the 14-40 Pro.)

From a bit of research the lens which stands out is the 17mm f1.8. It should be bright enough to work indoors without a flash for much of the time and is small and reasonably priced. It seems to get some good reviews, especially from Robin Wong, but some people say that it is not especially sharp.

Can anybody give me their first hand experiences with it or suggest any alternatives?

Ron

StephenL
22nd December 2014, 10:08 AM
It's a very good lens. Remember, it's harder to see if a wide-angle lens is sharp because detail appears further away, and you really have to zoom in to see the pixels. If that makes sense!

Olybirder
22nd December 2014, 10:11 AM
Thanks Stephen. Would 17mm be a good length for my particular requirements?

Ron

DavyG
22nd December 2014, 10:19 AM
Have you considered the MZ 45mm lens Ron?

This is a good lens and currently available for £179.99 at Amazon.

It may be worth hiring or borrowing a lens before buying to check it meets your requirements.

Dave

StephenL
22nd December 2014, 10:21 AM
It's either that or the dearer 25mm. I seldom use a wide-angle lens for landscapes, but 17mm isn't too wide, and it will be good in a room whilst not giving you distortions. Alternatively you could consider the later "kit" 14-42, but it would be a slower lens. No, for what you want, the 17mm is fine.

StephenL
22nd December 2014, 10:23 AM
Have you considered the MZ 45mm lens Ron?

This is a good lens and currently available for 179.99 at Amazon.

It may be worth hiring or borrowing a lens before buying to check it meets your requirements.

Dave
The 45mm is a fantastic lens but probably not wide enough for Ron's needs.

Bikie John
22nd December 2014, 10:34 AM
I bought the 17/1.8 from somebody here (possibly Simon Bee, apologies if I'm wrong) and am extremely pleased with it. It is small, fast and light and delivers good results. Whether 17mm would suit you is down to personal style and taste, but I find it is a good slightly-wide for general use.

Ciao ... John

benvendetta
22nd December 2014, 10:34 AM
I would have thought that the 17mm f1.8 was the way to go. Still trying to decide if I need to get it.

Olybirder
22nd December 2014, 10:41 AM
Thanks for all your thoughts. It sounds as if the 17mm is worth further investigation when Christmas is over. I looked at one in the display case at WEX when I was there the other day and was amazed by how small it is.

Ron

pdk42
22nd December 2014, 11:22 AM
The 17/1.8 was the first u43 lens I bought and it'll probably be the last I would sell. It's got lovely build quality, is pretty sharp, is small and lightweight and generally a pleasure to own. Wide open it's not the sharpest lens there is, but it's more than enough for most things and strangely, if you add a little extra sharpening in PP, then it responds well. Once down to f4, it's extremely sharp though so it works well for landscapes.

The 35mm equiv focal length is very good for general indoor work, as it is for street photography, environmental portraits and landscapes. It's not an ideal head and shoulders portrait lens though since you need to get a little too close to the subject to keep the perspective correct. However, it'll do a portrait in a pinch!

Olybirder
22nd December 2014, 11:44 AM
Thanks Paul. That is a very helpful assessment of the lens. The 60mm macro copes well with head and shoulders portraits, so that is not a problem.

Ron

Chevvyf1
22nd December 2014, 11:46 AM
Its a real treasure in my kit bag :) and the 45 which I use more :)

Greytop
22nd December 2014, 11:48 AM
Another thumbs up for the 17 f/1.8, almost a permanent fixture on my gripless E-M5, making a great lightweight high quality 'all rounder' prime package.

Olybirder
22nd December 2014, 11:56 AM
Thanks again for the responses. I didn't realise that it is such a popular lens. All these people quietly getting on and using it without any fuss. :)

Ron

Rocknroll59
22nd December 2014, 04:18 PM
Ron,
Although I have a 9-18mm (brought from Paul on here and very nice it is to) I wouldn't part with my 17mm, taken some really nice pictures with it, and ideal for what you are looking for....the same goes for the 45mm but i think you need something a little wider, and yes it's great for street photography as well, small and light what more do you want.

Cheers

Peter*chr

Ulfric M Douglas
22nd December 2014, 07:00 PM
From a bit of research the lens which stands out is the 17mm f1.8.
Considering the two lenses you already own (a very odd situation ;) ) that 17mm would be an excellent choice.
Let me put forward the Sigma19mmF2.8 as another, much cheaper choice for it's really quick focusing and decent sharpness wide open : I use their 30mm version indoors.
Alternatvely mount a flash : and buy a kit zoom : they are crazy cheap and focus fast too.

PeterBirder
22nd December 2014, 07:37 PM
I'm another very satisfied user of the 17mm f 1.8 Ron. I shall be using mine in Hopton ;) on Boxing Day to photograph the festivities with my Grandchildren.

I now have the 17mm, 25mm and 45mm fast primes and they are all a delight to use, compact, light, beautifully engineered, sharp and IMHO good value.

Regards.*chr

Olybirder
22nd December 2014, 09:14 PM
Considering the two lenses you already own (a very odd situation ;) ) that 17mm would be an excellent choice.I do still also own a few four thirds lenses and this afternoon I retrieved one of my two virtually unused 14-42 kit lenses which were festering in a drawer to have a look at the world at 17mm and 25mm. I think the 17mm 1.8 will be just fine. :)

Ron

blu-by-u
23rd December 2014, 04:18 AM
Let me be the black sheep.....What about that 15/1.7 :eek: It sure beats standing out the door for family pictures and 0.1 brighter. :rolleyes:

Greytop
23rd December 2014, 09:40 AM
Let me be the black sheep.....What about that 15/1.7 :eek: It sure beats standing out the door for family pictures and 0.1 brighter. :rolleyes:
)
Costs a fair bit more though but I'm sure it's a nice lens if the 20mm f/1.7 is anything to go by (probably more applicable the Pan-leica 25 f/1.4)

Olybirder
23rd December 2014, 10:00 AM
Once again, thanks for all the replies. Since my last post I have been following up Ulfric's suggestion of the Sigma 19mm f2.8. I had not considered this lens before and knew nothing about it but it does seem to be astonishing value, especially as it comes with a lens hood and pouch. It is available from SRS for £129, whereas the cheapest I can find the 17mm f1.8 is about £330. It seems to get some good reviews, although it is obviously not as bright or sharp as the Olympus lens. I wonder if it will be good enough for the amount of use that it will get. On the other hand I wouldn't want to purchase it and then wish that I had spent the extra on the 17mm f1.8.

Decisions, decisions but I won't be able to do anything until well after Christmas anyway.

Ron

Ulfric M Douglas
23rd December 2014, 05:29 PM
It seems to get some good reviews, although it is obviously not as bright or sharp as the Olympus lens.
I never heard it described as not as sharp by actual users.

DekHog
23rd December 2014, 05:58 PM
I wouldn't rule out A Panasonic 14mm F2.5 either if I were you.... very much underrated due to some of the more exotic (and hugely more expensive) glass overshadowing it. It weighs about the same as a feather, is tiny, and is sharp from F2.5.... about 95 for a mint used copy.....

Greytop
23rd December 2014, 06:29 PM
Ignoring the optical qualities for a moment you will love the build of the 17 f/1.8, it's a little jewel and looks stunning in silver or black, I've owned the 17 in both finishes (my current one is black).
Just to add the 'snap-shot' focus ring is perfect for manual focussing.

StephenL
23rd December 2014, 07:05 PM
Yes, I'd forgotten about that snap-focus ring. It gives an extra feel of quality.

Filadams
23rd December 2014, 09:04 PM
What about the 20mm 1.7 panasonic? Available at a lower price than the 17 1.8 but still has the low aperture... I only ask as I am also considering the options.

Phill D
23rd December 2014, 09:14 PM
Interesting thread this. I was wondering about the 17mm as a Museum lens as it gives a reasonable wide angle pairing it with a 45mm for detail shots. Both at F1.8 would give useful low light performance. Putting them both together gets close to what a 12-40 f2.8 would cost though so maybe that would be a better option for versatility even though it's not as fast?

StephenL
23rd December 2014, 09:18 PM
What about the 20mm 1.7 panasonic? Available at a lower price than the 17 1.8 but still has the low aperture... I only ask as I am also considering the options.
An excellent lens which perhaps does not focus quite as quickly as the Oly 17mm f1.8.

tomphotofx
24th December 2014, 05:35 PM
Ron, SRS have the 17mm on sale from today till 4th Jan.

http://www.srsmicrosystems.co.uk/sale/olympus-m-zuiko-digital-17mm-f1-8-lens.html

Tom*chr

Olybirder
24th December 2014, 07:30 PM
Thanks Tom. I noticed that this morning. I am getting twitchy fingers but will wait for a couple of days until the festivities are over. :)

I wish Olympus included the lens hood like Sigma do.

Ron

Who's_E
24th December 2014, 08:02 PM
What about the 20mm 1.7 panasonic? Available at a lower price than the 17 1.8 but still has the low aperture... I only ask as I am also considering the options.

Wow, I can't believe it took 26 posts for this option to surface as a competitor! Big thumbs up from me for the Panasonic, it's never off one of my bodies (usually on the gf3 pocket rocket) and hits the wider-than-60mm, sharp, low-light, lightweight buttons perfectly. Mk1 is great and around half the price of the Olympus if you buy secondhand.

Nick

Greytop
25th December 2014, 12:33 AM
Wow, I can't believe it took 26 posts for this option to surface as a competitor! Big thumbs up from me for the Panasonic, it's never off one of my bodies (usually on the gf3 pocket rocket) and hits the wider-than-60mm, sharp, low-light, lightweight buttons perfectly. Mk1 is great and around half the price of the Olympus if you buy secondhand.

Nick

I think it got a mention in post #20 ;)
Never the less you are right it is a very nice lens, I had the Mark 1 for a while and liked it alot.
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/My_E-M5.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/45714)
However on balance I prefer my 17, mainly for the FOV.

LittleSuzyQ
26th December 2014, 10:02 AM
I have the pana 14 and 20 and the Olympus 17, 25 and 45.

The 17 is not as sharp as either the 20, 25, or 45..............in fact wide open it is noticeably soft out from the centre..........however the 17 is on the front of my EM1 75% of the time. Why?

Well there is just something about how the lens draws your eye into the photo, maybe it is the focal length, but somehow things just look right. Build quality is lovely also, it seems made for the EM1.

If you bought the 17mm I doubt you would be disappointed.

BarracudaBob
29th December 2014, 08:17 AM
Decisions......I have been following this post because the Oly 17mm has interested me for some time now for my E620 but have baulked at the cost. Now somebody throws the Panasonic into the mix, cheaper and with good reviews. I am going to South Africa in the spring and I want something to capture the scenery and wildlife but also something to generally carry around for street shots etc. Somebody has to make the decision for me I think.

PeterBirder
29th December 2014, 10:15 AM
Decisions......I have been following this post because the Oly 17mm has interested me for some time now for my E620 but have baulked at the cost. Now somebody throws the Panasonic into the mix, cheaper and with good reviews. I am going to South Africa in the spring and I want something to capture the scenery and wildlife but also something to generally carry around for street shots etc. Somebody has to make the decision for me I think.

The 17mm being discussed is the Micro Four Thirds lens for the Pen/OM-D series mirrorless cameras. This lens wil not fit your E-620 which is a Four Thirds camera.

See this site for camera/lens compatibility. http://www.four-thirds.org/en/index.html

BarracudaBob
29th December 2014, 10:57 AM
Thank you Peter. Decision is made for me!

Phill D
29th December 2014, 06:20 PM
Bob if you want a 4/3s lens what about the 11-22mm f2.8 from Olympus. Superb lens pretty cheap second hand too.

David M
29th December 2014, 08:11 PM
Or you could e-mail Olympus and ask when the fast wide prime scheduled for release in 2005 is going to be available.

BarracudaBob
30th December 2014, 07:21 PM
Thank you Phil and Dave. Some more options to feed my dilemma, but I will have a look around now that I know it won't be a 17mm f1:8....