Camerastuffreview has published a new review on the Olympus 17mm f1.8 lens. The impressions I’m getting so far on this lens is that the build quality is excellent and the sharpness is pretty good as well, but the resolution isn’t quite as good as the best primes in M43. It is also quite expensive. If you like this focal length (many do), then the Olympus 17mm f1.8 is a good purchase. But if you don’t have to have this focal length, then Olympus 12mm f2.0 or Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4 may be a better fit for you. Panasonic 20mm f1.7 is also very good if you don’t mind noisier and slower AF mechanism.
Their conclusion: The Olympus 17mm f1.8 is a nicely built lens with which you can focus quickly and accurately, automatically or manually. On this Olympus 17mm f1.8 lens is a ring, which acts as an AF / MF switch. The focus ring stops at 25 cm or infinity and the focus ring has a pleasant resistance when focusing. This takes away the concerns that some photographers have against the electronic focus-by-wire system. The AF is also completely silent, which makes this lens very suitable for video. At full aperture, this lens already draws quite sharp in the center. From aperture 1.8, the center resolution increases further up to 2.8 and remains sharp from corner to corner at aperture 4. Vignetting is high for a standard lens on a camera with a relatively small sensor. Chromatic aberration in jpg files is fairly low and only visible at large magnifications. Yet we are used to more of Olympus micro-43 lenses with fixed focal length in this part.
If you are looking for a high brightness and a nice creamy background, a choice for the optically better performing Olympus 45mm f1.8 or Olympus 75mm f1.8 lenses is more obvious than an Olympus 17mm f1.8. If you have no objection to a slightly lesser brightness, the Olympus 9-18mm is more versatile in terms of focal length and optically just as good.