If you have the Olympus Pen camera and you already have the 45mm lens and you are thinking of another lens to invest in then you can't go wrong with the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:1.8 lens. It is such a good all round lens and a really nice addition to your collection. My 45mm Lens post went down so well that I wanted to do an Olympus 17mm lens review and tips post to take you guys through the features of the 17mm lens and the kind of shots you can get with it to help you decide whether to purchase the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm lens. I've mostly used images taken with the 45mm to help compare to the 17mm so you can see the difference.
So first up, as always to attach a new lens you need to remove the black protective cap from the back of the lens to reveal the metal lens mount. Be careful not to touch the lens as you will put fingerprints on it. Detach the lens currently on your Olympus Pen by pressing the round button on the front of camera to the right of the lens, whilst twisting the lens towards the left. Put your new lens on by lining up the red dot on the lens to the red dot on the camera and twisting the lens to the right until you hear a slight click. Make sure you put the end cap on the lens you took off to protect it. And thats it, ready to go!
The first thing to understand is the 17mm lens is much more wide angle than the 45mm lens however similar to the 45mm lens it is a fixed lens, this means it does not zoom like your kit lens does. The number in the name of the lens is the lens focal length so this one has a 17mm focal length. Its much wider than the 45mm and so the field of view is much larger. The biggest question I get asked about the 45mm lens is why do I have to stand so far back? With the 17mm lens you'll see you don't have to stand as far back thanks this wider view and its shorter focal length.
Below is a photo taken with the 45mm lens and the 17mm on exactly the same tripod and as you can see the 17mm lens (right photo) has so much more of the scene in the photo than the 45mm lens (left)
F-STOP and Blur
So the main pull of the 45mm is the gorgeous blur you get. This is created by playing around aperture and your f-stop. Aperture is essentially the opening in the lens through which light passes. Its controlled by the F-STOP which when adjusted varies the size of the hole through which the light comes. The bigger (wider) the aperture the narrower the depth of field ie more blur. The 17mm lens like the 45mm has an F-Stop of 1.8 so you will get lovely blur with this lens too.
Large aperture = Small f-number = Shallow (small) depth of field = more blur
Small aperture = Larger f-number = Deeper (larger) depth of field = less blur
Here is the same photo taken with the 45mm lens (left) and the 17mm lens (Right) both are lined up with the bottom of the magazines. As you can see both images have blur but the 17mm photo doesn't have the same perspective as the 45mm because its not a portrait lens and it also has a wider view of the subject so we see more background, even though they are lined up to the same point.
I'll discuss this more below when I talk about fashion images with the 17mm lens.
BEAUTY, LIFESTYLE AND GENERAL PHOTOS WITH THE OLYMPUS PEN 17MM LENS
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm lens is great for a wide range of uses. I use mine for so many different things. I often shoot products or beauty posts with the 17mm lens as I still get blur but can clearly see the labels etc. I love to shoot lifestyle images with my 17mm like food or DIY posts. It has nice blur but I dont need my tripod or to stand as far back which is great. The 17mm lens is especially good for travel and interiors photography. I took my Olympus Pen 17mm lens to New York for general snapping of food in restaurants, my hotel room and quick shots for Instagram and it was great. Its brilliant for my Interior home posts too as is wide enough to fit a whole room in. I also shoot flat lays with it occasionally when I want just a bit more depth to the flat lay but I up the f-stop a bit higher. I also used the 17mm lens to shoot all my Christmas jumper post pictures, its a great lens for against the wall fashion images like this.
OUTFIT PHOTOS WITH THE OLYMPUS PEN 17MM LENS
I'll be honest I don't shoot outfit photos with my 17mm lens but I know several bloggers who do. I personally prefer using my 45mm lens as its a portrait lens, it has a much nice angle of view and after all that is what it is designed for. The 17mm isn't a portrait lens. You would have to stand considerably closer to fill the image with your subject and this can result in some distortion to the subject.
The images on the left below are taken with the 45mm lens and the 17mm on the right. As you can see you get some lovely blur with the 17mm lens. Much more blur than you would get from the kit lens, so its totally doable to take outfit pictures with the 17mm but for me I prefer the 45mm.
OTHER THINGS TO NOTE ABOUT USING THE OLYMPUS PEN 17MM LENS
You can film with the 17mm lens and actually I do film my DIY videos on it but the 17mm lens does have a nasty habit of clicking when you film. Its not really designed for filming, it works for me as it has the right wide angle for me to fit everything in with a bit of blur and as I don't use the sound because I add voice overs, the clicking isn't a problem. But this is worth considering if you are thinking of this lens for vlogging etc. I would suggest the 12mm lens instead for this.
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm lens has the ability to switch between MANUAL FOCUS and AUTO FOCUS something the 45mm lens doesn't have. The lens has a focus ring which by clicking down towards the camera you can change from Auto to Manual focus which if you fancy does give you more control over your images. Equally though Auto works great and to be honest I tend to keep mine on Auto. However if you spot your images are blurry with this lens, do double check you haven't accidentally moved the focus ring.
So I hope my Olympus 17mm lens review and tips post has helped you understand using the 17mm lens a little bit better and more confident to start using it or help you make the decision to invest. I really rate this lens and next to my 45mm lens it is my most used Olympus lens. Any questions as always comment below and I'll answer them. I'll be doing a post exactly like this one for the 25mm lens next so let me know if you have any questions at all about that one.
Also if you want more tips and advice about using your Olympus Pen then check out my whole Olympus Pen Section here.