Woo! It's not often we see a company come out with a product ahead of schedule, but Olympus' promised "early 2013" 17mm f1.8 prime has decided it couldn't wait and wants to be a real product as of today. In 2012, not 2013! As with all of Olympus' new primes, this one is clad in metal and is focused at people wanting a bit more of a pro focus for their m4/3 system. This is, of course, going to be a 34mm equivalent, which aims it squarely at those of you yearning for street photography, but will probably appeal to landscapers as well. Or, you know, anyone else, because reviewers who try to tell you this lens is for this and this lens is for that are doing you a huge disservice. This'll be a 34mm equivalent, and if that's what you want to rock for your work then it is ready to roll.
The lens also features a neat "snapshot" focus mode. The focus brings slides back to reveal the usual focus and distance scales of yore so you can set your focus blindly for faster reaction times.
The 17mm f1.8 will be available sometime next month for right at $500, which I'm led to believe does not include the hood. At the time of this writing, Olympus does not have the full product page up, so I can't talk specs just yet. I can say that you can preorder yours here, or hit the jump for the press release.