My Expression | M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/2.8

The M.Zuiko 17mm f/2.8


Before I decided to purchase this lens, I’ve read some of the reviews and I noticed the comments were a bit unpleasant. Among what was written about this lens;

  • It has quite a problem  with an average CA pixel width of up to 3px at the borders,
  • The lens does disappoint regarding its optical capabilities and isn’t perfectly sharp that the center quality is perfectly fine but the borders and corners are a bit too soft in general,
  • The lens has no focus limiter and image stabilization,
  • The M.Zuiko 17mm f/2.8 is prone to flare and ghosting in certain situations,
  • Very large distortion,
  • Noticeable vignetting at the maximum aperture…..and so on….


However, despite the reviews I proceeded to purchase this lens since it was offered for sale by my Zuikoholics friend at a very reasonable price. The first time I tested the lens was at Chow Kit market, Kuala Lumpur when I was there to purchase groceries with my wife. I paired the lens with my O-MD E-M5 and it felt so light and comfortable as if I was holding a compact camera and can easily fit into my pouch bag.

“Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur”

O-MD E-M5 + M.ZD 17mm f/2.8
f/10 | ISO 200 | 1/400s | Suzailan Jai

“Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur”

O-MD E-M5 + M.ZD 17mm f/2.8
f/2.8 | ISO 1600 | 1/60s | Suzailan Jai

The AF works great when paired with O-MD E-M5. I shot this cat single handed using live view while my other hand holding groceries. The visibility is about 20 – 30 % but yet it still can locked the focus well.

“Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur”

O-MD E-M5 + M.ZD 17mm f/2.8
f/2.8 | ISO 2000 | 1/60s | Suzailan Jai

This lens really made me smile. The compact design makes me feel comfortable to handle my camera in a cramped situation and of course, under low light conditions.

“Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur”

O-MD E-M5 + M.ZD 17mm f/2.8
f/2.8 | ISO 1250 | 1/80s | Suzailan Jai

It allows me to communicate easily with my subject because they thought I’m just an ordinary person using a point & shoot camera and they did not have any curiousity as to why I was shooting their photos.

“Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur”

O-MD E-M5 + M.ZD 17mm f/2.8
f/2.8 | ISO 1250 | 1/80s | Suzailan Jai

Some photos taken in a barber shop while waiting for my turn.

OM-D E-M5 + M.ZD 17mm f/2.8
Monotone | Green filter
f/5.6 | ISO 3200 | 1/30s | Suzailan Jai

OM-D E-M5 + M.ZD 17mm f/2.8
Monotone | Green filter
f/5.6 | ISO 2500 | 1/60s | Suzailan Jai

OM-D E-M5 + M.ZD 17mm f/2.8
Monotone | Green filter
f/5.6 | ISO 2000 | 1/80s | Suzailan Jai

Actually, the above photos and stories expresses how I felt the first time I tested the M.Zuiko 17mm f/2.8. I would like to share more photos taken using this lens but perhaps in some other posts. From a user point of view, I really love this lens since the first day I’m using it. An all round multipurpose lens which best suited for “streets” and “daily life” photography or even close up photography.

Sometimes the decision to own a lens does not rely solely on very technical in-depth review. For a professional photographer, it might not be a problem for them to understand the technical terms but for some amateurs and newbies they might end up with a wrong decision. I myself had once become a “redeemer” just because I relied solely on technical reviews (which I don’t really understand actually) and concerned myself only with the positive comments. My advice is that if you have the opportunity, do test it and try to get the feel of the lens first before you make a decision to own it. Be critical on some of the negative reviews as the remarks might mean differently to you. Till then, happy shooting.

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10 comments

  1. have to try m43 system someday.. thanks for the experience jai..

  2. suzailanjai

    gr8 system Sam…. u’ll not regret. However….I still keep my 4/3 system…

  3. Kevin Shum

    I see a lot of negativity around the web in regards to this lens. It is however my favorite lens to use. I have the 45mm 1.8, the EP3 Kit, the 40-150R, and the rokinon 7.5 fisheye. I have to say that for the last year and a half my 17 left my EP3 maybe 5 times total when I was testing out my fisheye and the 45. So far it’s the only lens I feel comfortable using if I only had one lens on me.

  4. thats what you get when using pancake lens, compact. as for me i use EPL-1 + pana 14mm as my walkaround lens.

  5. hafeez: I’m sure u enjoy the lens…happy shooting bro….

  6. phl0wtography

    Great write-up.
    I don’t think that the 17mm got unpleasant comments. Well, it kinda did, but it’s just that the 14mm seems way superior. That’s why people keep bashing the 17.
    I’m actually considering one of the two. My Oly-heart says 17 but my mind tells me to get the 14mm.

  7. I just came across this post and love what you’ve said. I really want to love the 17/2.8 but don’t seem to get the pictures I feel I should from it. Maybe I, too, have been swayed by the bad word of mouth this lens gets.

    I’m glad I came across these shots–I’m going to give this little lens another go ’round. 🙂

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