The M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.2 PRO is one of Olympus’ most recent offerings for Micro Four Thirds, and also happens to be the fastest moderate wide-angle AF prime for the system at the time of writing. Its most appealing feature is its fast f/1.2 aperture which is useful for low-light work and environmental portraits.
As with all our most recent reviews, we’ve summarised our thoughts about this new prime in video format below. You’ll also find a bullet point list of our main findings and a series of sample images. Enjoy!
Ethics statement: The M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.2 was sent to us by Olympus for a two-week testing period. We were not asked to write anything about the lens nor were we provided with any other compensation of any kind. Within the article, there are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!
- Focal length: 17mm (34mm in 35mm terms)
- Lens configuration: 15 elements in 11 groups
- Lens mechanism: Inner focus
- Angle of view: 65°
- Closest focusing distance: 20cm
- Maximum image magnification: 0.15x (Micro Four Thirds) / 0.30x (35mm format)
- Aperture blades: 9 circular aperture diaphragm
- Aperture range: 1.2 to 16
- Coating: Z Coating Nano technology
- Filter diamater: 62mm
- Weather sealing: Yes
- Optical stabilisation: No
- Dimensions: 87mm Ø, 68.2mm
- Weight: 390g
Summary of our findings
- quite hefty due to its metallic weatherproof build and the complexity of its optical design
- a better match for large MFT bodies
- features a sliding focus ring on the barrel that when pulled back, engages manual focus and reveals a distance scale
- also comes with a customisable L-Fn button to which you can assign various functions
- has a useful minimum focus distance of 25cm, making it a good companion for close-up work
- sharpness is already impressive wide open and continues to improve as you stop down (all values up to f/11 are excellent)
- a great companion for low-light work because of the excellent performance at its fastest apertures
- out of focus rendering is very pleasant at f/1.2
- at f/1.2, you can also achieve good subject separation as long as you focus close
- is very prone to flare and ghosting when bright light sources are in or close to the frame
- chromatic aberrations, distortion and vignetting don’t present an issue
- the inner focusing system of the lens is both fast and silent as expected
The M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.2, despite its excellent optical performance, is more of a niche product than any other PRO lens released to date. This is because its fast maximum aperture only brings a tangible benefit to certain kinds of photographers – namely professionals who shoot environmental portraits or who work in poor light conditions on a regular basis. For all other genres that require a moderate wide angle, such as street, documentary, or landscapes, the f/1.2 aperture and the beautiful bokeh that accompanies it is a nice bonus but far from a necessity.
Check price of the M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.2 PRO on B&H Photo