Darn tootin' wee optic
I was forced to buy my E-P3 with a kit lens since it was not sold as body only, so I choose the E-P3 and 17 2.8. This is a tiny and flat lens, hence the term "pancake." Hot dang, it's a fine little optic: perfect walkaround angle of view and easy to slip in a pocket or messenger bag. I've shot a lot of images and the color, contrast and sharpness are excellent. But, it's not perfect: you can invoke a little chromatic aberration if you shoot tree branches against a blown out sky or strong backlight. Normally you'd never notice CA in most images and it is easy to edit out. And, yes, it is a little softer around the edges wide open (as all lenses are). But it basically gets it right: subjects are sharp and pleasantly rendered.
One point few mention is this Olympus has a smooth as silk manual focus ring and attractive cosmetics. I didn't pay any attention to these things until I bought a Panasonic 14mm 2.5 and found its manual focus sticky.
There are a couple gotchas. Sadly, this lens lacks a dedicated hood. Eventually I found a metal Leica style screw-in hood and I tossed the lens cap. Although AF works okay, it is slow and a little noisy, certainly much slower and louder than my Panasonic 14mm 2.5.
And, yes, I use the 17 2.8 with the VF-1 optical finder and what a great combo! The finder is a joy to use compared to an EVF or LCD so life is now good!
Competent and fast lens
While this isn't the sharpest of lenses, it is certainly a solid performer. Couple that with small size and fast aperture, this is a great lens for street and night shots. We use this for travel alongside a longer and slower zoom. It's easy to carry and a great choice for travel.
If I could have given this lens 3 1/2 stars, I would have. It does have some things going for it:
useful focal length
pretty sharp in the center
But it also has some things going against it:
horrendous CA (this cannot be overstated)
beyond the center, sharpness is not good
2.8 is okay, but when there's a 20mm 1.7 running around, one has to wonder why this lens isn't faster
also, m43 bodies correct for distortion, but natively the distortion of this lens is quite high
All in all, it's a fun lens to use with a very useful focal length, good bokeh, and a pretty sharp center. Just don't expect miracles, as the CA is some of the worst of any lens I've ever used (and that's a lot), and the across frame sharpness is fairly weak as compared to the center.
Small, fast and sharp
Sharp a stop down, fast AF, nice lens for general use.
Great lens for this system
Small, well made, fast amd sharp. I am amazed at the colors from this lens, reminds me of some higher end german ones.
I love using this lens, particularly with the VF-1. It has a high quality build, focuses fast, is very sharp at f4 to 5.6, and respectable wide open. A perfect lens to carry on the camera when you want to go minimalist, great for walking around a city or town.