Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 PRO

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 PRO
Image: Editor AL with his Olympus OM-D EM-1 MarkII with the NEW Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 PRO.

18th December 2017, Singapore And so, Olympus’s F1.2 PRO lenses are upon us! Together with Olympus’ 25mm F1.2 & 45mm F1.2, the PRO “trinity lenses” are complete for now (although I secretly wish that there’s a 12mm F1.2 or 8mm F1.2).  As a F1.2, many would expect to have a monster size lens that looks oddly out of proportion on a Olympus Micro 4/3 body but nope, not only it looked balance, the weight are properly sorted out for a great user experience.

Image: Olympus OM-D EM-1 MarkII mounted with the NEW Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 PRO.

Before we proceed, as usual we would like to disclaim that we are reviewing based on user experience rather than a technical review which you can easily find on Olympus’ websites. We are more interested in what the lens can produce and image quality etc. If you are cool, read on.

The Focal length of 17mm in Micro Four Thirds is equivalent (close) to 35mm on a Full Frame format. It’s a favorite focal length for street photographers and wide enough for most photography genres and the super wide aperture of F1.2 simply open up more possibilities for the photographer.

Image: Olympus OM-D EM-1 MarkII mounted with the NEW Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 PRO. 

Inside the lens, the elements are lined-up in 15 elements in 11 groups which includes
01 x Super ED glass, 03 x ED glasses, 01 x ED-DSA glass, 01 x EDA glass, 01 x Super HR glass &  01 Aspherical glass – Olympus you crazy or what? A quick look at other 35mm F1.4 lenses from other brands seems to suggest that Olympus has decided to sort out all the usual “problems” with 35mm lenses with all the optical corrections done via the lots of expensive elements and the end result is a mighty 17mm with zero distortion, zero axial chromatic aberrations – including on-axis and off-axis! And if you are the photographer who loves to shoot at wide open (F1.2), you will be amazed by the sharpness of the focused area and the insane Feather Bokeh that at the time of review – Olympus is the only manufacturer capable of this optical effect!
(Photo examples after the jump)


The 9-Blades rounded aperture diaphram creates superb feather bokeh which tapers off the focused area into a progressive off-focus blur which is currently an industry breakthrough – portrait photographers will love how the bokehs are “redesigned” via Olympus’s new PRO lenses. The 17mm is definitely a great example.

And earlier I was saying about the size, the new 17mm measures only a mere 115.3 × 86.7mm and weights like a feather  at 390gm! The 17mm focuses from F1.2 to F16 and it starts focusing from as close as 0.2m giving users a magnification ratio of 0.15x which is amazingly useful!

Image: Olympus OM-D EM-1 MarkII mounted with the NEW Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 PRO. 


The front of the 17mm allows the use of 62mm screw-on filters and the dedicated lens hood comes as standard in the retail box along with a pouch and all the paperwork.
As expected from Olympus’ PRO series, the lens is made splashproof and dustproof and the handling of the lens are very comfortable – I was holding the lens for a good 2 hours during the review shoot and the weight is super manageable.




And so, I took the Olympus 17mm F1.2 PRO out for a walk down Singapore’s Orchard Road and put the lens through its paces and shooting mostly at only F1.2. You may click on the image and select view at 100% to see the sharpness and details captured despite me shooting at F1.2 – be warned, it’s so sharp it cuts. All images are straightened, slightly cropped and added watermarks – otherwise the images are pretty much the same as what I had taken originally straight from the camera!


PC170010.JPGThis image above is an excellent example of “feather bokeh”, although I prefer to call it “progressive Bokeh”. See how the off-focus area tapers off the sharpness level progressively and so smoothly. Can your regular prime lenses do this?


At the equivalent of 34mm, this lens is wide enough for scenes like this and the super big aperture helps a lot especially in inconsistent lighting scenes like this example.


Shooting wide open at F1.2 is not really my thing but for this review, I kinda keep the F1.2 all the way and I like what I am getting from this lens. The colors are 200% accurate and the details captured on the focused area is amazing!


I shot this using manual focusing and to my surprise, the focus ratio is so well made that I got my subject in focus almost as quick as using the auto-focus. I am truly amazed!


Just one hour into using the new Olympus 17mm I am already in love with it! This is one of those lenses that I go “wow wow wow”!!


Against a lighted LED wall, most will end up with silhouettes due to the back light – while I am getting the above shot with my OM-D EM1 MarkII + 17mm Combo.


At F1.2, almost everything can become a Bokeh line/ mass. In this example above, the lighted gift boxes was just less than 30cm away from the sign which I had focused on. Expectedly, everything else becomes bokeh easily!


Took a shot of this street performer at F1.2 and yet, most of him stays in focus while everything else feathers out in a creamy smooth bokeh! When I saw this image – I literally went crazy!


Focused on the Christmas Tree in the centre and shooting at F1.2 – do open this image at 100% and view all the details that were captured! The new 17mm is insanely a street monster lens!

Given the size & weight of this lens, after my 2 hours walk, I feel that I can walk another 2 hours as it is simply light and easy to carry. The images are sharp at wide open and the details captured are amazing! And since Olympus had made this lens (as well as the other Pro lenses) dustproof and splashproof, the new 17mm F1.2 PRO is definitely the new Street Photography or Travel Photography monster lens.

OK Guys, Buy your NEW Olympus 17mm F1.2 PRO & your OM-D EM1 MarkII here.  


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About Editor AL

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