Olympus 17mm f/1.8 shipping in US.


One of the most controversial MFT lens is now in Stock at BHphoto (Click here), Adorama (Click here) and via third party resellers at Amazon (Click here).

It’s a lens many have expected but so many reviewers did’t really like a lot. It misses that bit of magic that would make it a killer lens like the 20mm f/1.7 lens which is cheaper, a tiny bit faster, more compact and certainly not a lot worse than the Olympus. And that’s exactly why the lens is always on the top positions of the Amazon mirrorless ranking popularity (Click here to watch it).

As a reminder, Olympus next two new lenses will be zooms,  a 75-300mm II and the other one is a constant aperture zoom.

  • PEN

    Seems like a good lens for the Olympus lineup. Comparing it to Panny lenses is okay but somewhat irrelevant. I have the 20mm but would still buy this lens if I had the money.

  • Nawaf

    Admin, when can we get more info on the constant aperture zoom? CP+ maybe?

    • +1000 I’m also curious about that… ;-)

    • admin

      I am trying to convince the source to unveil more about it :)

      • nobody

        Dear unknown source,

        please have mercy on us! We need to know about that lens! Urgently! I’m begging you, please tell Admin all you know about it! We will forever adore your kindness if you’re willing to save our doubting souls!

        (I mean, we’ll know it soon enough, anyway.)

        • +1000 lol – and I hope we will see some full size image samples within this week, and lens in stores in 3 weeks… ;-)

  • I sold my 20mm to get this lens. The 20mm had more vibrant contrast, but the 17mm doesn’t rattle on an Olympus body nor does it hunt to focus. Somewhat of a wash.

    That said, I personally liked the 20mm just a little better. Size + I like the 40mm perspective.

    • Franky S

      This is the only lens I’ve ever purchased and returned. At half the price it would be of reasonable value perhaps. I loathe putting Panasonic lenses on my beloved Oly, but this was one occasion where the 20mm f/1.7 won the war (and it was a landslide victory).

      • Bob B.

        My attitude is to buy the best lens in a given focal length…I am Interested in making great images, not worried about what brand name is on a lens, but its performance. Each company has its strenghts and weaknesses. Get the best for a given need.

    • What I haven’t been able to research for myself is Petta Potka’s claim that the Panny 20/1.7 ……isn’t a 20mm but actually more like 18.5mm. Which makes it pretty close to a 35mm equv.

      Certainly I have no complaints, using the 20/1.7 on an E-PL1, but I guess the body hasn’t passed the lens in my case! Love the compact nature of the 20mm pancake, it’s the default lens when I’m just out for a wander, or taking just one lens to a party etc. Can’t see myself needing this Olly 17mm.

      • avds

        I have the 9-18 zoom which is most evidently wider than the 20/1.7 at its longest.

        • @avds, could you try a comparison between the two, ie. take the same scene with each lens without moving the body (obviously the 9-18mm at 18mm), and see how significant the difference is? I’d appreciate it, would like to see a comparison. Cheers.

  • Ethan


    looks like lensrentals posted a review of the metabones speedbooster! check it out


    • thanks for the link!

      • +1, I trust lensrental opinions before most others.

  • GLYA

    Thé best seller at Amazon are still : 1/ pana 45-200, 2/ pana 20mm 1,7, 3/ Sony nex 5, etc….so I don’t catch your comments?

  • MarcoSartoriPhoto

    I should receive mine tomorrow and I’m curious to use it. I decided to buy it after having seen Robin Wong pictures. I know it will be different from my trusty Voigty 17.5mm.

  • Steve

    Fanboys will rush to buy this lens, only to wish they still had their Panny 20. But, they won’t say much, Olympus blind pride won’t let them.

    • Litchao

      Oh man that is such a sad thing to say and I truly wish I could disagree and say that people just are not like that in the Oly camp, but I think you are right and that is, at the very core, of what is wrong with all of modern society, believe it or not.

    • Kabe

      Well, I sold my Pana 20 for its slow AF, and the 17 made it to be me favorite lens…


  • 17mm F1.8 is a nice lens, i have use this in more an month, and the is my favorite now, one reason is this difference from 12mm F2 so have very more DOF so 17mm F1.8, and also is realy sharp out to corner.

  • Ben

    I don’t get the hate for this lens, especially compared against the 20mm. The difference in sharpness is minor and only relevant for people who love to count pixels. Meanwhile, it focuses much faster, is made of metal, has the awesome snap focus feature, and doesn’t exhibit banding at high ISOs on the E-M5. If you like the FOV, you won’t go wrong in buying it.

    • I got my 20mm from Amazon for $320 and I see nothing to like in 17mm for next $200 more.

      • Ben

        So you don’t value

        – better build
        – much faster focusing
        – the best focus-by-wire system yet made
        – better performance on the E-M5

        I think a lot of people might decide differently.

        • – better build
          unless I want to beat a schiit out of the lens, the 20mm build is fine. Survived all my hiking and vacationing so far.
          – much faster focusing
          I still remember times when 20mm was praised as FASTEST focusing m43 lens. Do you have hard numbers for how much is “much faster”?
          – the best focus-by-wire system yet made
          rarely used in 17mm non-macro lenses
          – better performance on the E-M5
          if you refer to banding then this is not about lens performance.

          • chefnutta

            Do you own this lens? So much to bash it? I have owned it for a few days…. It is my new standard. The lens that I change if I need to. Fast, fast focusing, great field of view, sharp! The thing I value most about most Oly lenses are the quiet operation and it’s excellent build (equipment for the ages). If I capture hybrid… I would rather pay a few extra dollars not to hear a rattle snake while I’m filming. I’ve waited, I’ve used, and I don’t regret! Don’t discount because of price or reviews. Shoot what your gut tells you!

            • michael

              I don’t know what camera you have, but on the older PENs the 20mm is molasses slow to focus.

            • Photon

              It’s the same nonesense we heard when the 12mm came out. If you want the fastest 17mm with AF, then this your best and only choice. To compare it to a lens of different focal length is utterly ridiculous. I’ll be giving my 20mm away to my kids when the 17mm arrives. I’ve missed way too many shots because the 20mm AF hunts so much.

              • may be someone needs to RTFM and separate focusing from shutter button.
                At such focal lengths DOF is so long that you don’t need to focus on every shot.
                Damn, I wonder how all those photographers could make so many amazing shots with manual lens!

                • digifan

                  I guess that comment proves you haven’t got a clue.
                  The 20mm 1.7 Pana was even slower than the 17mm 2.8 from Oly.
                  And I’d rather have the 25mm F1.4 than the 20mm. Although much higher priced the 25mm is sharper still and even better at subject isolation and has faster AF too. I never considered to buy the 20mm due to it’s slow AF. I sometimes borrowed it but I can’t get used to the noisy and slow reaction of the lens.

                • digifan

                  Hell, even the 14mm is a much much much faster focusser and smaller to boot.

          • Mister_Roboto

            I have to disagree with you on a lot of those points:

            The AF of the 17mm pretty much blows the 20mm out of the water. The focus ring is a joy to use (if you’re the sort of person who would use it. And the main deal breaker for me, which is the reason why I sold the 20mm- I prefer a slightly wider FOV. I have a 25mm, and it was too close to the 20mm- and the 20mm always lost to being used. The resolution I find to be “good enough” on the 17mm, I don’t pixel peep- so I honestly don’t notice a dramatic difference.

            The 20mm is a fine lens, but µ4/3 has come a long way since it was introduced- it went from the top lens to being merely a top lens. The 17mm is hardly a “mediocre” lens as a lot of people says it is, it’s merely “a very good lens.”

      • Anonymous

        The 20 takes wonderful photos. The problem is getting anything in focus. The manual focus on it is crap and the auto focus is slow and hunts for anything under less than ideal light. Great lens for still life photos. But since I mostly shoot people, the 17’s ability to focus fast, focus in low light and the ability to zone focus in manual mode means I can actually capture my shot. That’s worth the $200 more to me.

        • Litchao

          Some of what you say is true, but the lens is chrome, so get the fu#@ out of here. How stupid is that? I buy black street camera set up, to blend in and not attack attention and Oly wants me to stick a bright shiny chrome lens on the front? Forgetaboutit! I don’t do business with low intelligent corporations. Want my money, then they need to use the noodle, between their ears.

      • Fish

        I loved the images from my Panny 20mm but couldn’t get over the slow AF. I sold it yesterday after having bought the Sigma 19mm.
        (I hope that wasn’t a big mistake)

        It is easy to see the appeal of this Oly 17mm, but it’s price is just too high for me.

        • OMega

          Hi Fish, I’d be interested in knowing how you find the Sigma compared to the Panny 20.

          • adaptor-or-die

            19mm Sigma is plenty for the money, fast AF and it has very usable DoF/bokeh, so the whinge that f/2.8 isn’t bright enough? Practically speaking, I don’t see a limitation?

            Certainly the new ZD 17mm has a lot of nice features, for one the adjustable aperture and MF on a metal body are far more appealing than the reports it doesn’t match the IQ of the best ZD primes? It also isn’t in their price point either?

            People have to understand that lenses vary for the reason no-one has the same checklist and needs? Every new mFT lens is a positive step. From Toy Camera crap to astronomical pro-kit and everything in-between … more of that … the in-between.

  • Don Pope

    I got mine a few hours ago from H and B (I assume they’re trying to get some of the B&H karma).
    The lens is a beauty. It is bigger than the Panasonic 14mm but smaller than the 25mm. Aesthetically, it’s the right size for the OM-D. Looks just like an old SLR with a 35mm lens.

    I haven’t had a chance to use it outside, but I’ve discovered two things:

    a) With the camera in S-AF (MF) mode and the focusing ring forward (AF/MF), the lens behaves like any other m4/3 lens. Turning the ring engages manual mode, but if you then press the shutter, the camera autofocuses again and you lose your work. You have to press the shutter first and THEN focus.

    b) If you move the focusing ring back (“snapshot mode”) to reveal the distance scale, the camera switches to fully manual focusing. Autofocus and MF Assist (auto magnification) are both turned off regardless of your settings. I guess this makes sense because you don’t need to actually focus if you’re using the distance scale, but I was hoping I could use the ring as a shortcut to get to full manual focus WITH MF Assist.

    As it is, you’d have to program one of the function buttons to either manually engage magnification in snapshot mode or to turn full MF on and off in regular mode.

  • Mr. T

    And another overpriced olympus lens they want you to spend money on youll never see again and wish you never bought when the company dissolves and abandons yet another failed system.

    • Ed

      They are not forcing you to buy it…

      Seems the people who hate this lens are the people who don’t own it, or people who judge a lens by graphs and wall pics.

      In real life performance this lens is as good a the 20mm with added bonus of fast focus and snap focus.

    • Ed

      They are not forcing you to buy it…

      Seems the people who hate this lens are the people who don’t own it, or people who judge a lens by graphs and wall pics.

      In real life performance this lens is as good a the 20mm with added bonus of fast focus and snap focus.

    • WSG123

      Jeez, bitter much?

    • Ronan

      Well said Mr T

    • Photon

      Overpriced? No, it simply means you can’t afford it.

  • Yun

    Again will skip this lens , not for me .
    I wonder when Pana will unveil the 42.5mm Summilux ,
    that is the most wanted lens in 2013 .

    • Litchao

      If the 42 mm is a 1.2, then I think they would call it a Noctilux. Summilux is for 1.4 lenses.

      • hdu

        then it is not a Leica lens anymore than the Leica branded p&s lenses are

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure the special edition black model for $800 wil be even better!

    • Oly employee

      Speeet, speeeet, speeeet, speeeet. There a three hundred dollar paint job, using 1/64 of a three dollar can of high gloss black spray paint. Want it better? Speeet, speeeet, speeeet, speeeet…….. There, just a tad more paint and looks even more better. We can charge another hundred bucks to all our fan boy fools. Hardy haw haw haw.

  • Ronan

    Shock horror, camera manufacturers conning the little men!!

  • Yun


    Oh yes , Noctilux instead of Summilux .
    My thought is Noctilux is F0.95 .
    If yes , then this will be great .

  • Anonymous

    Anything faster than 1.4 is a Noctilux, in Leicaland.

  • Chris

    I didn’t have a ton of interest in this lens when it was announced, but I have to admit that the autofocus on my 20mm has been irritating and has really limited my ability to enjoy street shooting with the E-M5. Given the high-quality build and best-in-market Olympus focus system, I’m rethinking. Before long, someone will have it on for $399 I’m sure which is cheap for new glass. Even at $499, you’re still getting a reasonable price.

    I’m sure that I can find many ways to enjoy it and good photos can be taken with anything so long as the photographer knows what they’re doing. I don’t see the point of ranting like a bitter, nasty troll all over sites like this; if you don’t want it then don’t buy it.

  • BobThed

    I am a sports shooter and use the D4 and Nikon’s best , so I am used to very fast AF . I have been getting more and more into mFT as a an excellent compact system with superb video { GH3 }. I agree the 20mm lens is not the fastest in the world but I can honestly say I have never had an issue with losing a shot due to this, I guess it depends on what you shoot

  • I’ve had the 17/1.8 for a few days and find it sharp enough by any means. Its micro contrast is excellent, much more natural than the 20’s and equivalent to that of the 12mm. Autofocus in low light is rather slow but it doesn’t hunt. Overall, I prefer it to the 20 and will sell the latter to help recover some of the cost.

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