(patent) Panasonic 16mm f/1.4 and more prime lens specs!

Image on top: The current popular Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens you can get at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.

43rumors just found a new Panasonic patent that discloses full details about new fast primes for Micro Four Thirds (United States Patent Application 20110052181 via freepatentsonline). Let’s start with the official patent description:

It has conventionally been difficult to reduce the size of a fast lens system having an F number of about 1.4 to 2.4.“…”Each of lens systems according to Embodiments 1 to 11 of the present invention has an F number of 1.4 to 2.1, and includes, in order from the object side toward the image side, a front unit including two lens elements, i.e., a positive lens element and a negative lens element, and a rear unit having a positive power. The rear unit includes at least one negative lens element and at least one aspheric surface. A diaphragm A is disposed in a widest air space in the lens system.”

The patent unveils all details about the lenses including the spherical aberration, astigmatism and distortion data!!! Those are the lenses:

1) 17.5mm f/1,75 (lenght of the lens 5cm)
2) 17mm f/1.75 (lenght of the lens 5cm)
3) 17mm f/1.75 (lenght of the lens 4cm)
4) 20mm f/1.75 (lenght of the lens 4cm)
5) 16,7mm f/1.75 (lenght of the lens 4.1cm)
6) 21mm f/1.75 (lenght of the lens 4cm)
7) 17mm f/1.83 (lenght of the lens 4cm)
8 ) 16mm f/1.7 (lenght of the lens 5.6cm)
9) 14,4mm f/1.75 (lenght of the lens 4.3cm)
10) 14,4mm f/1.75 (lenght of the lens 5.5cm)
11) 16,4mm f/1.43 (lenght of the lens 5cm)

Those info are very detailed and do proof that Panasonic has working prototypes with those characteristics. I hope Panasonic will really bring them to final production! The most interesting lenses are the 14mm f/1.7 (faster and larger than the current 14mm f/2.5 lens), the 16mm f/1.4, the 17mm f/1.7 (faster and larger than the current Olympus 17mm f/2.8). We already have the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 described in the patent (or at least a similar version). Interesting, Panasonic announced the development of the 25mm f/1.4 but that lens isn’t mentioned here!

I simplified the lens list and made a short poll

Which lens would you chose? (Select one only)

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The Micro Four Thirds system currently offers three compact primes:
Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.
Olympus 17mm f/2.8 at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.
Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.

Reminder: Rumors classification explained (FT= FourThirds):
FT1=1-20% chance the rumor is correct
FT2=21-40% chance the rumor is correct
FT3=41-60% chance the rumor is correct
FT4=61-80% chance the rumor is correct
FT5=81-99% chance the rumor is correct

(FT5) Panasonic confirms the 25mm f/1.4 is coming this summer!

In an interview with Amateur Photographer Panasonic UK product manager John Mitchell confirmed that the 25mm lens is coming this summer: “We are sure it’s going to be a great hit because it’s 50mm [35mm viewing angle] equivalent – really fast, really bright

What we don’t know yet is if the 25mm lens is going to be announced along the Panasonic G3 on late March/early April and be available in summer or if the announcement itself will be in made this summer.

What we know about that lens:
– It has double the size of the 20mm f/1.7 pancake – Unlike the Four Thirds Panasonic/Leica 25mm f/1.4 lens it is not Leica branded
– It has no OIS.
– It should cost around $700.

– 25mm f/1.4 Four Thirds lens at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.
– 20mm f/1.7 at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.
– 8mm fisheye at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.
– 45mm f/2.8 at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.

POLL: is the digital camera future modular?

Over at SonyAlphaRumors you can read the latest rumor about a modular NEX camcorder which should be announced within the next few weeks. The key feature about that rumor is the new Sony NXCAM works like a medium format Hasselbald modular system! Viewfinder, grip and other parts can be attached and detached. I don’t think the camera will become a strong AG-AF100 competitor because of two reasons:
1) The price is to high. The body only costs $7.000 and once you add grip, EVF, LCD and the other missing parts total price will claimb over the $10.000 mark.
2) The most important part isn’t modular…the sensor!

Ricoh built a nice GRX system but it’s not fully modular (and the single sensor+lens unit concept doesn’t convince me). Now, imagine if your m43 camera could use different sensors, different LCD screens. Imagine if you would be able to remove the grip and the EVF to transform your pro-camera in a more portable GF or Pen. So what is your opinion on that? Maybe that could be the killer feature of the future Olympus PEN pro cameras?

Would you prefer a modular m43 camera-system over any other classic mirrorless camera even if you would have to spend a bit more?

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Ricoh GXR system at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay Hasselbald medium format cameras at eBay (Click here)

(FT5) “PEN pro” camera in 2-3 years (via Megapixel)

Image courtesy: Megapixel

Olympus gave an Interview at Megapixel (Click here). There is one big surprise statement:
We see the mirrorless system as the future of digital photography. In 5-10 years reflex cameras will be a niche or will not be there at all. So we believe that PEN in the long run will also be in the professional market – but that will take maybe 2-3 years. In 2011 you will see more PEN products and more lenses (beyond what was discussed in the presentation).

According to Olympus DSLR will become a niche market within 5-10 years. Interesting that Olympus says “PEN-type” cameras instead of “mirrorless” cameras :)

There are a also a few more info about 3D (they don’t plan to support the Panasonic 12.5mm 3D lens) and the new Olympus XZ-1 (it will not create a new line of cameras). Editor’s note: The “good weapons” Olympus is talking about are the new Olympus E-PL2 and accessories.

So dear readers….what do you think about that news? Are you surprised? The good news is that Olympus plans to enter the PRO market. The issue here is to define what is a “PRO” camera. We have been told that an advanced Olympus m43 model will be announced within 2011. It will not replace the Olympus E-5 but as long as it has built-in EVF, a solid body, a new sensor and fast AF this will be PRO enough for me ;)

What is your opinion on that? What defines a PRO camera? What should Olympus do to satisfy your professional needs?

Samyang announces the development of a new Fisheye lens for Micro Four Thirds (very compact!)

Image source: Photorumors

Samyang announced the development of a new 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye lens for m43 during the Focus on Imaging Show (via ePhotozine): “The Micro Four Thirds System has been developing extremely dynamically lately, which was proved by the growing interest in lenses constructed based on this system. To embrace true needs of photographers, Samyang Optics company, using a wealth of it’s experience in production of the high quality concept version of the fish-eye lens with 7.5mm focus is one of the most impressive outcomes of the works carried out. This ultra-wide-angle lens may become the most compact and optically perfect Micro Four Thirds System lens providing 180 degrees field of vision.”

Hmmm, I am not a fisheye fan but at least we will have a much cheaper alternative of the currently (overpriced?) Panasonic 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye lens. Click here to check the price of that lens: Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay

Message to Samyang. Make some decent compact and fast primes and I bet you will sell tons of them!

P.S.: Samyang just released the 35mm f/1.4 for Four Thirds. All Samyang lenses for Olympus can be found on eBay only and under seven different brand names (Click on it to see all Four Thirds lenses from the specific brand!):
Samyang Walimex Rokinon Opteka Falcon Vivitar Bower