Best Olympus M Zuiko Digital ED 17 mm f / 1.2 PRO Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2021:

The latest addition to the M.Zuiko Pro range, this fixed focal length of 17 mm (equivalent to a 34 mm) has an ultra-bright aperture of f / 1.2 and
therefore joins the 25 and 45 mm already present in the catalog. This new objective should logically delight reporting enthusiasts and take a good place in our great guide to buying the best Micro 4/3 optics.

Presentation

Equivalent to a 34mm, this new 17mm is presented as a formidable weapon for reporting. Ultra compact (less than 9 cm long) and light (less than 400 g), this lens incorporates an optical formula made up of 15 elements divided into 11 groups including aspherical lenses and new generation ED-DSA lenses. These new lenses, doubly aspherical with extra low dispersion, allow to reduce the number of elements in the objective and offer interesting properties to reduce chromatic aberrations, distortions and flare. 

The lens incorporates an ultra-bright 9-slat diaphragm with a maximum aperture of f / 1.2. Beautiful bokeh effects are therefore on the program. The firm evokes a progressive bokeh effect (defocusing effect): clarity of the subject, softened contours and soft background. The autofocus motorization is of MSC (Movie and Still Compatible) type and ensures speed, precision, silence and flexibility. 

The lens is naturally tropicalized and therefore suitable for field use in poor conditions (humidity, dust, low temperatures down to -10 ° C). It incorporates the aesthetic codes of 25 mm f / 1.2, namely a metal finish, an outward focusing ring, a tilting system in manual focus and a programmable key.

Best Olympus M Zuiko Digital ED 17 mm f / 1.2 PRO Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2021

1. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 PRO Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

2. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 PRO Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

3. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm F1.2 PRO Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

4. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17 mm F1.2 PRO Lens, Fast Fixed Focal Length. Suitable for All MFT Cameras (Olympus OM-D & Pen Models, Panasonic G Series), Black

Against competition

This new 17 mm goes it alone! Indeed, there is no such bright equivalent. However, in the same philosophy, we can cite the recent 16 mm Contemporary signed Sigma with, too, a comfortable aperture of f / 1.4. Less bright, there is also the 15mm f / 1.7 Panasonic stamped Leica, as well as an Olympus in M.Zuiko Digital range: 17mm f / 1.8.

Getting started

The grip is excellent! This new 17mm f / 1.2 is in line with its big brothers, the 25mm f / 1.2 and the 45mm f / 1.2. It benefits from flawless manufacturing quality. It is above all a very beautiful object that we take pleasure in contemplating and taking in hand. The objective is dense, which gives it an undeniable feeling of quality. Yes, it’s serious!

The design is like the M.Zuiko Pro range. The objective is therefore very “technical”, with the necessary information on the periphery of the front lens, and even the presence of a depth of field chart. On the side, we find the traditional programmable L-Fn key, always as soft in use.

The 17 mm has the same measurements as the 45 mm. Olympus has made a point of offering lenses of the same caliber on the series of ultra-bright fixed focal lengths. Count a little less than 400 g at weighing and a length of 8.7 cm for a diameter of almost 7 cm. Mounted on a case of the caliber of the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, it throws. However, to balance the whole, it is better to use the case with a grip.

More

The lens is made up mostly of metal parts. It benefits from internal tuning, which is good for two reasons. The first is that the lens is all the more impermeable to humidity and dust (it also has good protection in this area); the second is that its size does not vary as a function of the focusing distance. We can even add that the front lens remains fixed, which is a “plus” if we use a polarizing filter.

The manual focus ring is wide and comfortable. Olympus once again reused the tilt system from manual focus to autofocus by operating the entire ring. In manual position, focus marks appear. The race is limited and has real stops. The friction, on the other hand, is perfect, neither too hard nor too flexible.

Lab tests

We tested the lens with a Panasonic Lumix GX8 with a Micro 4/3 20 Mpx sensor with a definition of 5,200 x 3,904 px. Each pixel therefore measures 3.3 µm side. The minimum aperture recommended to avoid diffraction problems is therefore f / 8-f / 11!

The performance of this 17 mm is very good. The objective begins to have a very good general behavior with a sharpness which gradually increases as one closes the diaphragm to reach its peak at medium apertures (f / 2.8 to f / 5.6) before just as gradually lower down to f / 16. Diffraction requires, the images made at f / 16 are difficult to use, but those taken at f / 11 are quite. In the center, the dive is a little weak at the largest opening and takes off from f / 2.

The objective delivers a beautiful homogeneity between the center and 2/3 of the images. It is also perfect at the largest aperture f / 1.2. When closing, the gap widens, because the sharpness in 2/3 of the images does not increase as strongly as in the center. On the other hand, it is clear that the performance at the extreme edges is far below the rest, but the difference in level of sharpness with the center of the images remains constant whatever the aperture. This 17 mm will therefore give soft images at the edges.

Against competition

We compared the performance of this 17mm with that of the 16mm f / 1.4 Sigma and the 17mm f / 1.8 , also signed by Olympus. All of these lenses have recently been tested or have returned to the lab to update their results. In each case we used a Panasonic Lumix GX8 to compare comparable things. We plan to publish more enriched duels between some of these lenses in the coming weeks.

The Sigma model is a little less bright (f / 1.4 against f / 1.2). Both lenses offer the same type of image quality and general behavior. We can emphasize a better sharpness at the largest opening f / 1.4 and in the center on the Sigma model, and better overall homogeneity at the larger openings.

The vignetting

The vignetting is present and visible mainly at the largest openings. It is at f / 1.2 that it is most marked in density and “presence” in the image. At f / 2, it is much more discreet and only affects the extreme edges. At f / 2.8, it becomes negligible.

Bokeh

Generally, Micro 4/3 is not synonymous with beautiful bokeh effects. Indeed, the small size of the sensors does not help to obtain significant depth of field effects. However, thanks to its very large maximum aperture of f / 1.2, it is quite possible to bring out a main subject from its environment that one can “drown” in a beautiful blur of the background. The depth of field is quite short, especially since the focusing distance is small.

Verdict

Olympus signs once again a superb optics which will marvelously complement the already very noticed 25mm f / 1.2 and 45mm f / 1.2. With this 17 mm equivalent to a 34 mm, the manufacturer is primarily intended for reporters, or even landscape enthusiasts, but this kind of focal length can also be quite relevant for portrait photography. The very generous f / 1.2 aperture allows you to really play with the depth of field effects and detach a subject from its environment. It also provides great versatility in low light conditions.

The handling, it is excellent. This 17 mm is an object that we take pleasure in looking at, taking in hand and using. The tilting system in manual focus is formidably effective. The only downside is that the weight and size of the Micro 4/3 hybrids are quite large.

From an optical point of view, it is also a satisfaction with a good general behavior, a fairly good homogeneity between the center and 2/3 of the images, as well as a very high level of sharpness at medium apertures. Only regret, a little bit of sharpness at the largest apertures (f / 1.2 and f / 1.4), and the extreme edges of the images very soft at all the apertures. Distortions are nonexistent and vignetting visible up to f / 2.8.

STRONG POINTS

  • Very large aperture f / 1.2 (marked bokeh effects)
  • Manufacturing quality
  • Getting started
  • General behavior of the lens
  • Nice homogeneity between the center and 2/3 of the images
  • No distortions

WEAK POINTS

  • Imposing measurements and weights
  • Dive level at the larger openings a bit low
  • Stitched on the extreme edges set back at all the openings
  • Vignetting marked at the largest openings

CONCLUSION

Impossible not to recommend this 17 mm which, like the 25 and 45 mm, is an optic of choice for fans of reporting who use Micro 4/3 hybrids. The optical quality is very good, the grip close to perfection and the very large opening f / 1.2 open the door to beautiful effects of depth of field.

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