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
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