compared to the very sharp Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens, the Olympus lens has less CA, more microcontrast (although a touch less sharp in the centre), much nicer bokeh, and much faster and quieter AF
fast, silent AF - a touch faster than the 45mm f/1.8 lens
great flare control and excellent light transmission
reasonably sharp even wide open with minimal purple fringing but optically not in the same league as the superb Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens, which is a disappointment for many photographers who were hoping for another superb lens rather than just a very good lens.
those street photographers who like to use 35mm focal length field of view and zone focusing, should love this lens, and this lens will also perform incredibly well in low light thanks also to the ability to hand hold it at slow shutter speeds on an Olympus camera with image stabiliser built-in.
17mm f/1.8 (eq. to 34mm field of view on a full frame camera, thus perfect for street photography!)
same, nice pull-push “Snapshot” focusing ring as the Olympus m.ZD 12mm f/2.0 lens but the 17mm lens provides continuously variable focus not stepwise as with the 12mm lens
9 elements in 6 Groups including DSA lens, 2 Aspherical lenses, and a HR lens
MSC fast, silent AF
close focus 0.25m = 0.8x magnification and minimum field size of 216 x 162 mm
“Close up performance wide open is not its strength; there’s a distinct loss of microcontrast that robs resolving power, that only starts to come back at f2.8 and smaller – this isn’t entirely surprising as the lens lacks any floating elements. In this area, I’d say it’s on par with the 20/1.7, and slightly worse than the 17/2.8”
“the 17/1.8 markedly improves on the 17mm f/2.8 lens in practical situations; the sweet spot extends much farther out from the centre even wide open at f1.8, and by f4 performance is uniformly excellent across the entire frame – in some ways, reminiscent of the behaviour of the 12/2”
less CA than the 17mm f/2.8 but there is some CA up until f/4, but none of the purple fringing which is an issue with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens.
“this is a lens which performs best if you place the focus point over the intended subject; focus-with-the-center-point-and-recompose is not going to yield optimum results due to the nature of the 17/1.8′s field curvature profile”