Street Photography with the Olympus 17mm f/1.2 PRO

With the Olympus 17mm f/1.2 PRO mounted on my PEN-F or the flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II, I now feel like I can shoot anything, anywhere, at any time of day.

PC060514.jpg "The Charleston Club" - I started working with the 17mm PRO just like I would any street lens, during the day exploring the world. And it worked great in this environment. (Nice background BTW.)

Working with this lens is when I realized that f/1.2 really is different. Yes, you can better control the background with the wider aperture (as shown above). I had fallen in love with this feature using the 45mm PRO. But the 17mm version of the lens, with its wider, more versatile field of view (34mm equivalent) was confidence-inspiring in another way. It wasn't as much about the background as it was being able to shoot wide open and capture shots that I would normally have to bypass.

Dinner at Prohibition, SC "Dinner at Prohibition" - Olympus PEN-F with 17mm f/1.2, ISO 3200, f/1.2, 1/40th - Photo by Derrick Story.

One night in South Carolina, I decided to take the 17mm PRO mounted on my PEN-F instead of the E-M1. It was a nice looking tandem, and was reasonably portable. There was one point in the evening as we were waiting for our meals to arrive that I noticed a moment that seemed to capture the feeling of the night.

I held the PEN-F over my head and composed with the LCD. Even in this dimly-lit room at an awkward shooting angle, I was able to record the shot that was in my mind. This is when I began to feel that I could tackle any situation with this kit.

Night Ride "Night Ride" - Olympus OM-D E-M1 with 17mm f/1.2, ISO 800, f/1.2, 1/250th - Photo by Derrick Story.

I really pushed the envelope on a dark street in Charleston walking back to the hotel one night. We were admiring this bike shop and right on cue a cyclist came peddling down the street. I didn't really have time to configure my camera, so I just raised it to my eye and shot. I had no expectation for success. Yet, the image is what I hoped it would be.

There are many uses for the Olympus 17mm f/1.2 PRO. But as a street lens, you can mount it on your camera and shoot indoors, outdoors, and well into the night. It is the desert island lens for street photography.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.