Keeping it Prime Time Part 2: Olympus mZuiko 17mm f1.8 lens Review

We’re back with the second installment in the mZuiko prime time series of write ups. This time we narrow our field of view just a bit by taking a look at and through the Olympus mZuiko 17mm f1.8.  Like in my previous article, I’ll discuss what I like, don’t like, and LOVE about this lens so let’s get started.

Another lens with the manual focus selector ring!

Another lens with the manual focus selector ring!

Everywhere I go it goes.

The 17mm f1.8 has become the default lens on my OM-D now. The field of view is wide enough to use for everything from portraits to still life shots. For those whose roots are in film photography you will enjoy the roughly 35mm normal focal length this lens provides.  This lens has been the primary piece of glass for my 52 breakfasts project this year based solely on the perspective it provides. Like the mZuiko 12mm from my previous article, the 17mm f1.8 has that same focus selector ring allowing the photographer to go from full auto focus to manual in no time.


This lens is found at the breakfast table every Sunday.

Up Close and Personal

©2013 Jamie A. MacDonald

At 17mm you need to be in CLOSE to your subject for portraits.

I feel like I should mention that another use for this lens, although maybe a little unconventional to some, is shooting portraits. Given the focal length here you will have to be comfortable getting close to your subject. Or maybe I should say your subject will have to be comfortable with YOU getting close to them.


The mZuiko 17mm f1.8 is the ideal walk around prime. Its compact design allows your mirrorless camera to keep a narrow profile and at the same time does not sacrifice quality. Very sharp wide open from edge to edge, and ridiculously sharp at f/5.6 this lens as stated above is my “go to” lens for daily excursions.  It can even work as a portrait lens, although the focal length will require you to be comfortable getting close to your subject, or rather them being comfortable with you!

Follow the link below and order this lens now for a great price!

Order the mZuiko 17mm f.1.8 now and share what you make with it!

If you have the Olympus 12mm f2 or another wide angle lens, please let us know what you think by commenting below. Also feel free to jump over to our Flickr group and share your photos. You may even have the opportunity to be featured in our weekly Flickr Fridays collection.  Also remember to connect with us over at Google+, Twitter, and our new Facebook Page
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About Jamie MacDonald

Jamie MacDonald is a nature and stock photographer living in Michigan’s lower peninsula. A husband and father of two boys who describes his love of photography as one that is, rooted in the desire to move people to see the world around them in new ways.

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6 Responses to Keeping it Prime Time Part 2: Olympus mZuiko 17mm f1.8 lens Review

  1. Reba Baskett May 23, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    I have the 17mm 2.8 is it really worth the upgrade? I also have the panny 25 1.4 and I use that a lot.

    • sl33stak May 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm #


      I personally have not used the 17mm 2.8 but from all the feedback I have read on the Olympus E-System group that particular lens is not exactly a “shining star” in the mZuiko line up. It was one of the first lenses released in the mZuiko category and isn’t considered very sharp.

      The 17mm is VERY crisp at almost all f/stops. I feel the ability to quickly pop into manual mode w/ the selector ring and the full stop more you gain is a fairly compelling reason to consider it as an upgrade option. I could see myself in your position selling the 2.8 to offset the upgrade cost of the 1.8 :)

      Thanks for stopping in and thanks for taking the time to ask questions. I really enjoy sharing information with fellow m4/3 users!

    • John Griggs May 24, 2013 at 10:24 am #

      Reba, I have both and the 17mm f/1.8 is great. I did a review of this new 17mm lens on my own blog awhile back and loved it — and I started the review with “What’s all the Angst About?” because this lens got TRASHED when it came out.

      At this point, I have the f/2.8 version primarily to sit on my “vintage” E-P1 that sits now in my camera collection cabinet (one of the few digitals in there). It sees occasional service when I want a pancake for some reason — but the 17mm f/1.8 if you can afford it is way better. The fast silent focus motor, zone focus (what Olympus calls “Snap Focus”), sharpness, and lovely bokeh quality all make this a winner.

      Jamie, great article and nice to see more appreciation for this fine lens.

  2. Steven Kornreich June 18, 2013 at 6:57 am #

    I am quite interested in your finding with the 17/1.8 lens.
    I tried 2 copies of the lens on my OM-D and was quite dissapointed with it’s sharpness., well at least for using the lens for landscapes taken at infinity. I never shoot my OM-D past F5.6 and mostly shot at F4, the sweet spot for m43.
    For me The corners were not sharp at all. I own the 12/2 Olympus which is not great but does a much better job. I am sure if I was a street shooter this lens would be fine.
    Oh we’ll.

  3. Roy June 20, 2013 at 7:08 am #

    I’m not quite sure what to make of this “review”.

    You mention the basic properties of a 35mm equivalent focal length that apply to any lens with a similar field of view, touch on the focus selector ring and then go straight to the conclusion, never mentioning a single thing you didn’t like about this lens.

    While this could be a nice preface, I personally don’t consider it to be a review in the established sense.


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