Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens (Micro Four Thirds)

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Tried & Tested
Its extreme portability comes at the cost of some optical compromises. Image quality at the centre of the frame is high, but it's less impressive towards the edges”

Key Features

  • 17mm focal length
  • 34mm equivalent focal length on Micro Four Thirds cameras
  • F2.8 maximum aperture; F22 minimum
  • 37mm filters
  • 0.20m/7.87" minimum focus
  • Micro Four Thirds mount for Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens cameras

Product Description

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:2.8 Pancake (35mm equivalent focal length: 34mm) lens pushes compactness to the limit. It measures a mere 22mm in length and weighs only 71g. Autofocus is fast and quiet, but optically there are better options available, and ultimately this lens's main attraction is its size.

Specs

Principal specifications
Lens type Prime lens
Max Format size FourThirds
Focal length 17 mm
Image stabilisation No
Lens mount Micro Four Thirds
Aperture
Maximum aperture F2.8
Minimum aperture F22.0
Aperture ring No
Number of diaphragm blades 5
Aperture notes Circular aperture diaphragm for natural background blurring
Optics
Elements 6
Groups 4
Special elements / coatings 1 Aspherical glass element
Focus
Minimum focus 0.20 m (7.87)
Maximum magnification 0.11×
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Micromotor
Full time manual Yes
Focus method Unit
Distance scale No
DoF scale No
Physical
Weight 71 g (0.16 lb)
Diameter 57 mm (2.24)
Length 22 mm (0.87)
Colour Silver
Filter thread 37 mm
Hood supplied No
Hood product code no hood available
Tripod collar No

Questions & Answers

QUESTION

Best M4/3 lens for stealthy, “no DSLRs allowed” professional shots in public places?

The quest being, to photograph (not “picture take”) professional models, entertainers, local celebs, etc., in busy, bustling, public places... This is personally accompanying them, as a service to them, NOT as paparazzi... A “pancake” or small as possible... (For Oly Pens) Fastest focus possible... Full body , semi-action shots, w/ blurred backgrounds... Can’t stand too far away and draw attention, has to be a causally walk around, click and move style... So far I’m tossed up between the Oly 17mm f/1.8 or the Sigma 19mm f/2.8 at half the price... or if anyone can make a suggestion that falls in-between. Already tried the Panny 14mm. It’s too wide, non-corrected in Pens and way too close anyway. (Should I even think about the Oly 17mm f/2.8?)

Joe186 asked
2 months ago

ANSWERS

Look at getting a GM1 with an Olympus 25/1.8 The 25/1.8 is much smaller than the 25/1.4, while still being very good optically. I think the AF performance of the Panasonic 20/1.7 would cause some missed shots. You'll get shallower DOF with the Olymmpus 25/1.8 compared to the Olympus 17/1.8. The new Panasonic 15/1.7 is too wide. Continue Reading

ijm5012 answered
2 months ago

Before digital, the way to be stealthy was to have an non-reflective, low-profile a camera as possible. Now, everyone has a camera with an LCD held at arm's length, so simply having a camera will end up getting lost in the sea of cameras-- but the best way to stand out, threateningly, as a photographer, is putting a camera of any kind to your face. The blacker and stealthier and more professional looking it is, the more it'll stand out. Your best bet to be low key nowadays is, regardless of the flashiness or unflashiness of the camera itself, is to avoid using a viewfinder. If you use a camera that only has an LCD, or at the very least handle your camera like it only has an LCD, then your camera will not be perceived as a pro camera to the layman (and that's what they mean when they say "no SLRs"-- no camera that "looks pro", and to the layman even the smallest SLR looks pro). As for lenses, it sounds like you'll be relatively close to the subject. I think something in the 17-25mm ... Continue Reading

Klarno answered
2 months ago

A medium-long, wide lens will give you the best chance of that -- and there just happens to be one that is tiny, the Olympus 45mm f/1.8. But I think the camera body is the more important "does this look like a big professional camera" part; on a Panasonic GF, GX, or GM body, or on an Olympus PM or PL body, the 45mm will look almost like a point-n-shoot. However, if this is "as a service to them", how can you be concerned about whether it looks like a pro camera or not? If you're out in public and doing this in their pay, surely you could be toting some ginormous 35mm full-frame digital and no one would care? C. Continue Reading

carlosvp answered
2 months ago

QUESTION

BOKEH

I have a pancake 17mm f2.8 mft lens. If  i set it wide open to f2.8, and get in close, the subject is in very sharp focus, but so is the background. Can I get any bokeh with this lens? What type of lens do you recommend that can deliver very good bokeh, but has other uses too? Carl

carl glicky asked
1 year ago

ANSWERS

Before all and sundry start whining about the Jjapanese word for blur, the larger aperture diameter is (focal length divided by f number) the more blurring you will have. So a longer lens or wider aperture would be useful.  At (head and shoulder) portrait distances, an aperture diameter of 20-25mm (35mm/1.4 or 50mm/2 85mm/2.8 etc) will give you a nice blur.  15mm (can be done with say 35mm/2 50mm/2.8, if you can adapt some sort of CCTV lens in the 17/1.2 or something) is pretty much my minimum for recognizably blurry images. 75mm and more are usually called for when you want to blur at full length distances (200/2.8 300/4 or anything faster). Continue Reading

nelsonal answered
1 year ago

Get closer. Imagine for a minute a triangle from your right shoulder and your left shoulder to the target. (ok, its actually from the sides of the lens but whatever)  Imagine the area behind the target and how quickly it diverges.   that is how I imagine depth of field being. Imagine getting twice as close to the subject and how much wider your triangle will get when past the subject.  The point is that getting closer will exponentially decrease your depth of field. At 0 focal point you'd have infinite blur...or something. Macro shots are the ultimate example.  With a 2 inch focal point your dept of field is EXTREMELY shallow. Instead of taking the whole body shot, get close enough to only take the head and shoulders.  You should have tons of bokeh then!  Well, technically you will have more blur...bokeh refers to how asthetically pleasing whatever blur exists actually is. Continue Reading

joe1512 answered
1 year ago

Joe is absolutely correct all around. There is a problem with a 17mm lens, however. A very wide angle lens like that is going to show a very elongated perspective to any subject where you get too close. For example, a person's nose would look large and stretched while the ears may look farther away. Your subject may resent the look, to say the least. If you stay back so this keystoning doesn't occur, then your subject is probably going to be too far away looking to be much of a portrait and you won't get a blur much. You didn't say what camera, but I'm assuming a smaller sensor like APS-C or u4/3rd. Have fun and get a longer lens. :-) Continue Reading

Guidenet answered
1 year ago

QUESTION

OLYMPUS M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm F1.8 vs Olympus M.Zuiko 17 mm F/2.8 Lens

I have an OMD EM5 and I am looking at getting a second lens primarily for street shooting but also for night time work and taking some photos of the stars. There's a large price difference between these lenses, as well as the obvious size difference, but I want to know is it worth getting the f1.8 over the  f2.8? I'm new to photography, sort of, so I'm just not entirely sure if the price jump is worth it. Would the f2.8 be good enough in low light and night time? Is the depth of field significantly different? Thanks in advance! :)

tawhai asked
1 year ago

ANSWERS

For night work and especially stars f/1.8 will be handy or even necessary. For street shooting the much faster focus (and better manual focusing system) of the 17/1.8 will be beneficial. The 17/2.8 is less sharp, focuses slower and admits less light. If you can afford it, the 17/1.8 will fit your needs much better. Depth of field should be pretty large with both lenses, unless you focus really close. Continue Reading

Iskender answered
1 year ago

First, welcome to dpreview and to this Forum!   There are many, many threads on this topic and I would suggest you do a search. You don't mention it but I supposed some sort of kit zoom is your only lens now.  Summarizing a couple of consensus conclusions, the 17 2.8 is not very highly regarded, one of the weaker m4/3 lenses.  The 17 f1.8 is relatively new, larger, much, much more expensive.  Many users laud the 20mm f1.7 Panasonic, a 'pancake' lens, which I personally believe to be one of the great lenses of all time in its old configuration (there is a new, highly expensive mark II version just out, not commented on very much as yet).  However, many posters report that the AF is not very fast.  Another alternative is the 14 f2.5 Panasonic, even smaller than the 20, and very cheap. Continue Reading

PSCL1 answered
1 year ago

The f2.8 model is, I think an OK lens, but for $150 more you get a far better lens in the f1.8 model. When you get enough experience you will likely think the first $299 spent on the cheaper lens was money and time wasted. Anyway, I have neither, but I suspect that's how I would feel. Lenses should be affordable, sharp and fast, but usually I can only pick two. Continue Reading

baxters answered
1 year ago

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