Olympus' new street-shooter-friendly prime lens

The company adds a 12mm f1.8 lens to its Micro Four Thirds lineup

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography | PCs and laptops | Gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
Olympus America

Olympus continues its trend of releasing fast, Micro Four Thirds-mount (MFT) prime lenses with the 17mm f1.8 (34mm equivalent). Incorporating the same design as the 12mm f2 -- metallic finish and a pull-down ring for distance-based focusing -- the lens sounds like a solid addition for street-shooting MFT photographers.

Mount Micro Four Thirds
Focal range 17mm
Aperture range f1.8 - f22
Aperture blades 7
Minimum focus distance 9.8
Angle of view 65 degrees
Elements 9: 3 aspherical,
1 high-refractive index
Filter diameter 46mm
Minimum length 1.4 inches
Maximum length 1.4 inches
Weight 4.2 (est)
MSRP 499.99
Available December 2012

The lens uses the company's MSC internal focus technology for video-friendly operation, and uses the latest of Olympus' ZERO (ZUIKO Extra-low Reflection Optical Coating) coatings for improved clarity and reduced flare and ghosting.

My one disappointment: the seven-bladed aperture. It's not bad, but it's the minimum you want for out-of-focus highlights that don't appear polygonal.