Street Portraits with the Olympus 17mm f1.2 Pro

SXSW Street Portraits, 6th Street - Austin, Texas

SXSW Street Portraits, 6th Street – Austin, Texas

After the Precision Camera music event, Charles, from Olympus, and I went down to East 6th Street. It was the peak of SXSW Music and we knew “Dirty 6th” will be packed with people. It wasn’t super crazy, I’ve seen it busier, but it was a healthy mix of people.

I was carrying my compact camera bag with the Olympus PEN-F, Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and the Canon G7X Mark II. But, for the most part, I was using the PEN-F. With a 50mm equivalent f1.4, it was the best for low-light and action. My OM-D E-M5 Mark II had my 14-150mm f4-5.6 attached. While an excellent lens for travel and daytime shots, it’s close to useless in these conditions.

However, Charles wanted to do a motion blur experiment with a slow lens and borrowed my 14-150. I, in turn, got to use his 17mm f1.2 Pro, a brand new lens that I’ve never used before. Delighted by the opportunity, I went around and made a few street portraits. I only got to use the lens for 10 minutes, but it was wonderful.

Of course, mixed light and far from ideal, dark conditions make these portraits difficult, but I think these came out nicely. All shot with 17mm, wide open at f1.2, attached to the OM-D E-M5 Mark II. I used RAW and seasoned to taste with Capture One, in post.

I’ll need more time to play with this lens and compare it with my 17mm f1.8, but the extra stop of light certainly helps in these conditions. The quality looks good so far, though I don’t like the shape of the out of focus lights. They are not the ideal, perfectly circular shape.

I’ve shot a lot recently with the 25mm f1.4, which gives that classic 50mm equivalent, however, for years before, my favorite focal length was 35mm. Perhaps this 17mm f1.2 pro might pull me back to the slightly wider perspective.

I offered Charles the opportunity to do a straight swap of my 14-150mm f4-5.6 lens for the 17mm f1.2 Pro. For some reason, he didn’t take the offer. For those who are not familiar with Olympus lenses, my 14-150mm lists for $600. The 17mm f1.2, a decidedly higher $1,200.

SXSW Street Portraits, 6th Street - Austin, Texas
SXSW Street Portraits, 6th Street - Austin, Texas

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6 thoughts on “Street Portraits with the Olympus 17mm f1.2 Pro

      1. Just to confirm, are you talking about the Olympus 17mm f1.2 lens? If so the thin depth of field may be a challenge at times, to focus.

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