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Olympus 17mm f/1.8 Prime to Cost $500 and Hit Stores in December


Attention Micro Four Thirds shooters: there’s a new speedy “35mm prime lens” headed your way. Okay, it’s actually a 34mm equivalent lens in 35mm terms, but it still boasts a f/1.8 aperture. It’s the new Olympus M.ZUIKO 17mm f/1.8, a lens that designed for street photography, landscapes, and shooting in low-light environments.

The lens features a slick all-metal construction, a length of just 1.4 inches, a minimum focusing distance of 9.8 inches, a snap ring for manual focusing, and distance and depth-of-field indicators on the barrel.

If you’re into recording video with your M43 camera, you’ll be pleased to know that the lens has Movie and Still Compatible (MSC) autofocus, which allows for speed when shooting stills and stealth when shooting video (i.e. fast focusing and quiet operation).

The lens also packs what Olympus calls a “Snapshot Focus mechanism,” which allows photographers to slide the focus ring back to reveal the distance and DoF scales — helpful for setting your focus distances ahead of time for certain types of shooting (e.g. street photography).

It’s morphin’ time! Here’s the lens going from its “ordinary” state to having the LH-48B Lens Hood attached and the focus ring pulled back

Here are some sample photographs shot using the lens and an OM-D EM-5 (click them to see full-res versions):

You’ll be able to pick up an Olympus M.ZUIKO 17mm f/1.8 for $500 when it hits store shelves in December 2012. It’s also available for pre-order now over at B&H.