The new lens features a maximum aperture of f/1.8, and combined with the focal length makes it ideal for street photography, landscape or low-light photography.
It's constructed from metal and features the same snap focus mechanism with a distance indicator as already seen on the premium 12mm lens.
Nine lens elements in six groups are included to help produce images with shallow depth of field. Three aspherical lenses, including a dual super aspherical element are also part of the design in order to correct aberrations.
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Extra-low reflection optical coatings are applied to the elements to help reduce lens flare and ghosting, even when shooting against the light.
The focus ring is used to quickly snap between manual and autofocus. Sliding the ring back reveals range markings on the lens barrel to include distance and depth of field scales, which act as a useful guide to focal distance when rotating the ring.
Measuring less than two inches, the 17mm lens is compact and adds to the large range of optics currently available for Micro Four Thirds lenses.
The Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 17mm f/1.8 lens price will be around US$500 and should be available from December. A UK price has yet to be confirmed.