(FT4) Olympus 12mm f/2.0 with different design than the mockup.


After yesterdays Olympus lens rumor post a trusted source contacted me to add a little bit of new info. First the lens mockup Olympus showed a few months ago is not the real final lens. The design has been changed! The real final production lens will be a bit more compact. He also confirmed the specs I received from a new sources a while ago. The lens should be a 12mm f/2.0 lens. It’s the first Olympus High-grade lens. It’s very sharp also at f/2.0. Price is unknown yet but the lens will be announced in late June. Panasonic is currently offering a 14mm f/2.5 lens which is very compact and cheap (but not a very high-quality lens). The only faster wide angle lenses are CCTv lenses like the Pentax TV Lens 12mm f/1.2 (Click here to see that on eBay) and the soon coming new SLRmagic lens. But those are very low quality alternatives.

There are two questions I have for you. Try to be fair with your answer ;)

Will you buy the high quality 12mm f/2.0 lens if the price not to high?

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What would be a fair price for the high-quality 12mm f/2.0 Zuiko lens?

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  • Peter

    Olympus 12mm f/2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 + Olympus 50mm f/2 macro (just guessing about this one) -> just too sweet a combo :-)

    Now if only Olympus would come with a camera with a viewfinder! Preferably with a multi-aspect sensor, but absolutely with in-body image stabilization.

    • Parci

      +1 :)

    • Miroslav

      Change that 50mm macro with Olympus 14-150 and you’ll get my +1 as well :).

  • FEDman

    +1 :)

  • GreyOwl


  • Luke

    the voting on the price definitely seems to be wishful thinking. Definitely closer to $1000 than $500, unfortunately.

    • Peter

      Well, it wouldn’t be the first time Olympus comes with products and prices that show no sense of reality… Still, what makes you say “definitely closer to $1000”? Care to substantiate your claim?

      • What’s out of touch with reality with $1k for a 12/2? How does that compare with a 24/2 from Canikon?

        • Peter

          How many people are going to pay $1000 for a such a lens? Very very few IMO. $1000 may be realistic from a manufacturing point of view (although I doubt this, agreeing with Nathan on this) but not from a marketing perspective.

          On 4/3 this lens competes against the 9-18mm and 7-14mm. Yes, it is 2+ stops faster, but I think in most situations you’ll shoot at f/4 or f/5.6 anyway to get the desired depth of field (with portraits you’ll often want shallow DOF but with wideangles rarely so).

          And people needing a wideangle for low-light situations would probably be better of with an APS-C camera and f/2.8 lens. f/2.8 and ISO 800 on APS-C should pretty much result in the same picture as f/2 and ISO 400 on 4/3

          It’s like the E-5 with a 14-35 f/2, why bother? Streetprice is 3400 euros, while a Canon 5DII with 24-120 f/4 costs 2700 euros. They’re both bulky, they both allow the same DOF and where Oly lets 2 stops more light through Canon has (probably) a 2 stop advantage in sensor sensitivity.

          If Olympus can not make a f/2 prime for around $500 then they should have made a f/2.8 one! Retail for the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 is $370 btw, so close to $500 ($550?) does not sound too weird…

      • emde

        2,8/17 is EUR(/USD) 299
        f2 will probably cost EUR 200
        5mm less will probably cost another EUR 200
        My estimation is at least EUR 699

    • Nathan

      At 500-650 dollars, this lens has a market. At 900, I doubt it.
      A 12mm lens at f2 with this flange distance doesn’t need to be either large or overly complex. It’s not like making a 7mm rectilinear. It’s more akin to the challenges posed by the 14-54 II than the 14-35 f2. Even though it’s faster, it’s going to be a lot smaller than the 14-54 and have fewer elements, I’d bet. Sure, if they went Super ED on 5 elements, they could make a thousand-dollar lens out of it, but there isn’t enough demand for this focal length to justify that level of extravagance.
      A buddy of mine told me once that he thought Olympus lenses were overpriced. I asked him when the 70-200L F2 IS constant zoom was coming from Canon and what he thought that might cost. He acknowledged that it would never happen and if it did, it would be a 4,000 dollar lens.
      If it was a shift lens, I could see it being over 1000 but for a compact prime that price point would not make sense. Their sales would still be in the thousands of units, but in the LOW thousands, I think.
      I’d love to see a 20-40mm F2.5(or faster) constant zoom from Olympus, I have always thought that would be a perfect range for the Leica type street photographer set, as well as the perfect all-around range for a bright zoom on a compact. As I look at my shots, I find that of the low-light shots I take, most happen between 20 and 40mm. (40 to 80 equiv)

      • Sam

        1. Leica people don’t use zooms, they like to walk. Leica don’t even make a real M zoom. There’s the really rather specialist and expensive 16/18/21mm lens that was really done to get around the M8 limitations down to crop sensor.

        2. Most of the market for m4/3 would buy Leica if they could afford it probably with 28mm/35mm, 50mm, 75mm lenses and a few would be after super wide or super fast lenses.

        3. Rangefinder style is why I got a GF1. It is less ‘obvoiously a tourist’ than an SLR. Same reason I got a G7 over a 450d. Same reason I got a GF1 over a 5DII.

        4. Everyone (me included) holds the camera up to their eye the first time they pick it up – expecting to look through a viewfinder.

        5. Olympus and Panasonic should make m4/3 cameras in rangefinder style with built in viewfinder and clip on wireless external flash. Rather than integrated flash clip on viewfinder. Then they could sell the fact that you can take decent flash photos by having it off camera (hand – held or mounted on hot shoe) and include a range of snoots/diffusers/light mod accessories for the off camera wireless flash. Either sell one viewfinder or flash series + accessories – it seems like a no brainer to me. Do you see a flash on a 5DII?

        6. The GWAC demographic that Olympus seems to think is the market for these cameras either have iPhones or they want to buy “pro” cameras. I think they are extrapolating the domestic Japanese market worldwide and it is not the right way to sell the system. All the women I know interested in photography would buy Leica or Canon 5DII’s because they are “pro” cameras.

        7. If m4/3 is to last with the new smartphone cameras coming onto the market over the next two years they need to start having “pro” level cameras and lenses, innovation like doing all lens corrections in camera was a good start.

        8. The future market for dedicated cameras is really only for photographers and keen amateurs. I’m sure Apple are ready to drop a compact and possible m4/3 killer phone camera soon.

        9. Panasonic needs to make the new high end G camera address this market sector I think it being rangefinder style will sell better than SLR style. Olympus needs to step up and innovate and realise that the only way to sell a camera system is to have a top range pro model.

    • mahler

      What price do you expect for a high quality lens? To expect only 500$ (360 €) for high end gear is ridiculous, at least for such a small niche market as m4/3 currently is and will stay for a while. Comparable 24mm lenses from the main vendors (Canon & Nikon) cost already much more (Canon EF 2.8/24mm: 449 €; Canon EF 1.4/24mm L: 1,600 €). I think 700$ would be fair enough.

      • The Other Chris

        Because the BOKEH will be that of an f/4 lens! Therefore, they should charge HALF as much, since there will be MORE of the scene in focus compared to shooting a $500 wideangle on a $2500 full frame camera!

        All kidding aside, Olympus needs this lens, and $500 would be the minimum they could charge if the lens is as good as the rumors make it out to be.

      • Nathan

        Wait, you’re saying that it’s fair for Oly to charge 15-20 percent MORE for their hg series than Canon and Nikon sell their full frame high grade lenses for?

        That’s ambitious to say the least. I’ll agree that 700 is a better guess than 1000 dollars, but I would think 550-650 would be a bit more reasonable since there is no need for image stabilization or a huge image circle.

        I’d pay 550 but if Oly lenses are going to be more expensive than even full frame L series glass, I think it’s time to go get a 5D Mk II.

        • The Other Chris

          R&D costs. Those Canon & Nikon lenses were designed in the 80s and 90s, and not much has changed since. Also, it’s likely that Oly will be using specialty glass (ED elements) and/or aspherical elements in this lens, which Canon doesn’t include in their optics unless you’re shelling out the dough for their L series lenses.

          A midrange point between the cost of a mid-grade Canon lens and an L series Canon lens seems feasible to me.

  • compositor20

    i bet it wont be more expensive than the leica macro lens since it has leica name yu already pay a high price for that and its about 640 euros… so they wont put it at 900 euros because for a prime it wont sell well and at this time they dont want to have the same profit if they sell at high price to few users than to sell at lower price to more users (they want market share and awareness and that there users have real options than other competitors) even though it would probably be the smallest autofocus 24mm f2 equiv ever.

    • Nathan

      Yeah, if Leica can do it at 640 in Germany, Olympus sure as hell better be able to do it for less in Japan with parts sourced from China.

  • Sam

    I don’t really see the point in a 24mm equivalent lens that is f2.0 mostly this would be used for architecture and landscapes in which case you’d be stopping it right down and using a tripod. An equivalent to the Canon TS-E 24mm is what I’m interested in and that is f3.5 wide open and mostly used stopped down to f8-f22.

    I’m more interested in combatting diffraction stopped down than shooting handheld in low light with such a lens.

    If you are after subject isolation and bokeh with such a wide angle lens you will need to be literally in the face of your subject.

    • Nathan

      12mm is also useful indoors, and it’s not always bright outside. The bokeh craze isn’t always what a photographer needs a fast lens for. If that was all we wanted, they wouldn’t be called “fast” lenses, they would be called “shallow” lenses.

      24mm equivalent is useful to some degree, I personally agree that the most useful focal length equivalents for low light are the range from 14 to 50mm (28 to 100mm equivalent) but that range is already nearly satisfied by other lenses, and we anticipate at least some equivalent product to the 14-35 f2 to come to m4/3 eventually.

      Clearly, it’s not for portraiture, but even landscapes need a low-distortion wide angle, and an f2 lens at f5.6 is generally sharper than an f3.5 lens at f5.6, and if it gets dark outside, which it tends to do at least once a day, the lens is still useful, whereas at f3.5 it wouldn’t be so useful.

      Street level wide angles at night are best done with fast wides- it’s a type of photography that didn’t even exist 20 years ago. Fast wides are not common, but there is a reason for them, and bokeh isn’t it.

      • Sam

        Yep I see your point about having a fast wide lens for street shooting and indoors, but all the interior photographers I have commissioned in the past were shooting Canon TS-E and stitching or using large format.

        I’m far more interested in a wide lens that is sharp stopped down (i.e. avoiding loss of resolution through diffraction) to increase DOF when shooting the kinds of subjects you do with such a wide FOV.

        I’d take perspective control over a few stops extra light gathering any day. I’m assuming as it is m4/3 lens distortion will be corrected in software, the usefulness of being able to shift and stitch at the same time as correcting perspective would just be more useful to me than a couple of stops extra light. But I guess I’m not the target market for this one.

        • Nathan

          I see what you’re saying, but for architectural professional indoor photography, a 5000 dollar camera and a 3000 dollar lens are just the right tools for the job. There isn’t really a way that a micro four thirds camera is going to eat market share from a 5D Mk II and a TS-E lens.

          Heck, I would use a Pentax 645 or a Hasselblad for any professional indoor shots requiring shift. Yes, I know that almost ALL professional indoor shots require shift, but that just means that small sensor and professional architectural photography don’t mix.

          In that particular case, I would think Olympus is right to go after the GWAC (Girl With A Camera) than the professional photographer. Commissioned photos of the interiors of cathedrals and such don’t let a guy get around his lack of TS-E with creative perspectives. They tell you the shot they want, so you gotta use the gear that does the trick. That’s what lensrentals is for…

          • Sam

            Yes I see your point but with more or less the death of print right now and the fact that nearly all photography is just going on to websites resolution is not as important as it once was. Correcting perspective still is however for that market.

            My friend does a lot of work on high end fashion and has seen people using less and less Hassleblad H series and Phase One backs etc, mostly stuff is getting shot on 1ds III’s – even then the majority of the time its just doing the rounds as screen res JPEG’s for websites. Its pretty easy to blow up circa 13 megapixel images to billboard size anyway, that was the res of the 5D mkI and its the same res as the sensors in m4/3 right now. I’ve used plenty good shots done with 5D mkI’s and the mkI 24mm TS-E for high end print only a few years ago.

            Is the GWAC as you refer to the demographic really after f2.0 and faster lenses?

    • Nathan

      Also, I seriously doubt Olympus or Panasonic will ever build a shift lens for micro four thirds. I would love it, though, if someone would make an inexpensive 20mm lens with a full frame image circle at f4 or whatever with about 8mm shift in both x and y.

    • I agree with Sam, here. I just don’t ever see myself needing an f/2 ultrawide. The only uses I can see for a 24 mm-e lens indoors would be shooting large groups of people, which I never do, or shooting interiors, which can be done from a tripod. And if I’m using an ultrawide outdoors, I’m almost certain to want lots of DOF.

      Not the lens for me, I guess; I hope it works out for y’all who can put it to good use. Me, I’m trying to be patient for any further news of the forthcoming 50 mm, which I sincerely hope will take its place in my bag as the short tele complement to my 20 mm while adding portrait and macro capabilities to my arsenal.

  • When you say the Panasonic 14/2.5 is “not a very high-quality lens”, do you mean its optical performance is not good? (Some reviewers seem to think otherwise.) Or that it doesn’t have a metal outer barrel? Or just that it is made by Panasonic rather than holy Olympus?

    • Mr. Reeee

      Holy Olympus. ha ha.

      It’s funny how few of Oly’s M4/3 lenses even approach the gates of the Temple of Zuiko in terms of the mythical overall quality people speak of. With all that talk, why haven’t we seen any concrete examples from Olympus more like the Voightländer Nokton instead of a bunch of middling lenses and FOUR minor variations on the same plastic camera body.

      I’d rather have 3 or 4 great lenses than a pile of mediocrities. I don’t care what brand a lens is as long as it’s better than most of what we’ve seen so far AND actually possible to buy, Voightländer!

      • Anentropic

        “FOUR minor variations on the same plastic camera body…”

        yeah and with the upcoming Panasonic G3 announcement for a bigger-than-GF2, not-as-good-as-GH2 camera

        it’s the failed Nokia strategy all over again, instead of the iPhone model (like Fuji seem to have taken…)

        • Mr. Reeee

          With the Panasonics, you can tell the difference just buy looking! Imagine that!

          Different cameras, at different price points, targeting different users.
          GF2: Low-end compact w/fixed LCD, add-on EVF.
          G2: Mid-range w/built-in EVF, articulated LCD.
          (The G3 will actually replace the G2. What a concept!)
          GH2: High-end with everything.

          Without digging out a spec sheet, what are the big differentiators between the Olympus camera(s), aside from size and color options?
          E-P1/2 – larger, more expensive. Faux leather patch hand grip.
          E-PL1/2 low-end, smaller, cheaper.

          I’m not trying to be snarky, but… seen one, seen ’em all. ;-)

          Neither P nor O are perfect by a long shot. The health of the M4/3 platform is the most important thing! Product differentiation is crucial. Bring out a new product , cancel the old.. Simple. With Oly, it ain’t happening.

    • GreyOwl

      My Panasonic 14/2.5 has CA issues at the edges of shadows on the ground and image edges of all sorts. It’s not in the same class as the 20/1.7, either in build quality or image fidelity. This may be due in part to it’s small size causing design compromises to be made.

    • admin

      The quality is good but not exceptional high. Read the latest Quesabesde review I posted on 43rumors. Wide open that lens is not really stellar!

  • Michael Devitt

    Great news, Admin. Rumored HG lens line predicts that Olympus is finally aiming at serious photographers, which is a very good sign. Maybe it was X100, what opens their eyes ;). Cheers.

    • admin

      Yes definitely good news! But I am wondering why I don’t receive any reliable rumor about the High-end PEN. Maybe it’s not coming so soon as I have expected…

  • Bob B.

    I am a Panasonic fan…one reason has been because they have put out consistently higher quality lenses then Olympus (micro 4/3 lenses that is…Olympus has made great 4/3’s lenses)…but I am all ears for this lens. I was considering purchasing the Panasonic 14mm…but have mixed feelings about what I have read regarding the image quality…but now I will wait to see what this lens is all about before making a purchase.
    Bring it on Olympus!!!!! :-)

    • twoomy

      Ditto that thought Bob. My collection of lenses is all Pany, but this is the first Oly lens that I’m actually excited about. A high-end 12mm would be perfect for my work.

  • Fishfishfish

    What if the new lenses and m43 body are weather-sealed? That would be a great combo for street photography!

    • Ken Aisin

      +1. I’m shooting with my E-5 and E-1 mainly because of the weather sealing.

  • beomagi

    If it is too close to 1000, the comparisons against th 7-14 would be obvious. As it is I’m wondering what I’d go for… 9-18, 7-14 or this 12. The 11-22 seemed to lose interest when the 9-18 came out.

    Btw +1 on the collection above.

    • Bob B.

      I have a 7-14…great lens for this format, and relatively small..but it is much bigger & slower than a 12mm f/2.0 (has more focal range, tho)..but if you want to go out and do some street shooting… a fast 12mm (or 14mm…), a fast 20mm and a fast 45mm…is what the doctor ordered. I gotta say…the micro 4/3’s frontier is getting a LOT better out there. 2 years ago…there was almost nothing to choose from!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Mr. Reeee

        ++11 The 7-14mm is a really wonderful lens.
        When I bought it I knew it would be useful, but had no idea how much I’d really like it AND use it! Exteriors, interiors, sometimes just walking around. I did a walk-thru video of a renovation project with my GH2 @7mm and it gave a much better sense of the space than a narrower lens.

        Still, a fast 12mm or even a 10mm (to replicate my Nikon 20mm f2.8) would be great to have.

        All the rumored new lens releases from both Panasonic and Olympus look pretty compelling.

  • Ken Aisin

    Still waiting for F1.0 prime lenses from Olympus before I go m43.

  • Len

    Can’t wait to get my hands on one. Particularly if it is ‘professional’ quality… I want and expect tack sharp… And weather sealed… And very fast auto focus… I would pre order one today… Sharp wide open is just a lovely bonus…. Great rumor… And one that has me excited…

  • G_C

    sounds delicious!

    i’d prefer a 12mm f1.4 but i suppose it wouldn’t be small, or as cheap.

    good work oly! f1.4-1.8 is the area you wanna be aiming, small, fast sharp lenses, in-body stabilisation… DROOOOL

  • SteveD

    Honestly, I’d rather see slower glass and higher iso perfomance in the bodies. I can see this lens being closer to %$700 than $500. I also look at Pentax, and very few of the $500 or less lenses are very fast, except for the 50s.

  • Henrik

    I’d prefer 10, 9 or 8 mm (not fish-eyed). 12 mm is too close to all the kit zooms they make us buy, even if the 2,0/12 is brighter, shalolower and sharper.

    Being a Panasonian, i’d prefer that 10, 9 or 8 mm internally stabilized. Just saying.

  • George

    I cringe anytime Olympus says it’s going to be smaller because basically that means they’re going to sacrifice quality just so they can say they can try to stuff into someone’s pants. Only time will tell but this looks to be a disappointment just like all of the other Olympus mFT lenses they’ve released. I wish Oly would stop trying to battle using the marketing buzzwords and get back to quality engineering.

  • Brod1er

    I am resisting upgrading my gh1 so i can invest in glass. I was initially interested in this, but as an owner of the 7-14 it is hard to justify. The flexibility and options of the zoom outweigh the speed. I can’t justify both. Thumbs up to Oly for the new direction though. Now how about a 35mm f1.7 to go with my 20mm? The money is there…..

  • Jadakiss

    I waaaannnnnt that. I’ll take the 12mm f2.0 and the 50mm f2.0 macro. Please hurry up Olympus.

  • frank

    What’s with the panasonic 14/2.5 bashing? I don’t have it, but from what I’ve read it is good. Does the Admin have an issue with Panasonic? From what I’ve read on this blog it more and more looks like it.

    • babbit

      I’m pretty sure Admin is a panasonic guy.

    • admin

      Zero problems with Panasonic. I like good cameras and lenses. It doesn’t matter if they are from Olympus, Panasonic, Canon or whatever. The 14mm lens is an awesome lens in regards of size and also fairly priced. But not really an astonishing high quality lens!

      • GreyOwl

        My thoughts as well admin, plus the camera and lens combination has to feel ‘right’ in the hand, and also become part of the owner when in use.

    • Bob B.

      The reviews on the web are mixed for the Panasonic 14mm. There are pros and cons about the lens…but at that price point, size and f/stop…I would have to say it is a good lens..Better than ANYTHING Olympus has come up with to date. Perhaps Olympus is going to start shifting into high gear with this 12mm lens!!!! They apparently have the capability to.

  • Jadakiss

    The admin shoots with Panasonic GH cameras if I remember correctly

    • Miroslav

      Admin has E-P1, GH2 and shoots Mamiya or some other medium format monster as well – judging from his comments.

      • admin

        Yes E-P1, GH2 and the Mamiya7. P.S.: I can highly recommend the Mamiya 7. it takes incredible pictures!

        • Jadakiss

          Is Mamiya better than Hasselbad or Leica S2?

          • Mk7

            Mamiya 7 – one of my favorite cameras of all time.

          • The Other Chris

            I think it’s universally agreed that the Mamiya 7 lenses are among the best ever made, for any format. 6×7 negatives rival 4×5 when printed at similar sizes. The only problem is harsh bokeh on the 80mm.

            I’ve heard only the Bronica RF645 lenses can do better.

  • Miroslav

    Olympus 12mm f/2.0 lens very sharp at f/2.0 ?
    Bring it on, my 600 euros are waiting. But first, I’ll wait to see how fast and how wide will “Panasonic fast wide” be.

  • Inge-M

    If the lens is sharp at f/2 the need be water pro, and fast AF also.

  • Boooo!

    Again, that’s nice, but…

    When are we getting the E-50 and the E-650, and when is the E-7 announcement coming?


    • Never. :(

      P.S. Neither I would want to have E-50 with the same sensor as E-5. I want at least GH2’s sensor. Or whatever the G3 is going to have. Same old sensor tech would not make me upgrade from the E-620. I hope Oly would release the E-50/E-650 in a year but honestly I do not have any hopes left for the 43.

    • Inge-M

      What by, a E-50 mirrorless and EVF like Pen-type, but FT, not MFT. ;-)

  • I recently sold off my old 4/3rds gear, and bought the Panasonic 20mm and 14mm. Those lenses are tiny, focus quickly, and on my E-PL1, are stabilised. Plus each one cost me around $350 or less.

    Unless Olympus releases something cheaper, smaller, lighter and better in quality to say, the Panasonic-Leica 45mm macro… then I just can’t afford to wait around for these kinds of lenses.

    Small cheap primes from Panasonic are perfect on the small cheap PENs from Olympus. Until Olympus has a better m4/3rds camera, these lenses just don’t make sense to me.

    That being said, are any GH1/GH2 owners out there a bit more excited about this for video?

    • Jadakiss

      Well the 20mm f1.7 is superb, especially for the price, the 14mm is not quite as appealing though, especially with the 12 mm f2.0 from Olympus hot on its tail. Up until now, Oly has produced weak MFT lenses, yes, but I think the new 12mm will prove they can make superb lenses for MFT as well as FT.

      The 12mm definitely knocks the 14 mm right out of contention for me…..

      • Bob B.

        WOW…and you haven’t even seen it yet? LOL!

  • D

    If you can find it, the Computar 12.5mm f/1.3 is an excellent CCTV/C-Mount lens. It vignettes but not as bad as similar wide angle CCTV or C-Mount lenses. And its sharp enough for me wide open although it sharpens up even more at f/2 – f/2.8.

  • Robbie

    LOL Everybody just hates Olympus. It’s a fact.
    People criticized the so-so m.zuiko lenses and wanted higher quality ones.
    Now they are going to have it, OMG look at the responses.

  • Mk7

    It’s just a mockup, but…
    What is the second ring for? Is it an aperture control ring, or custom function ring?

    • Agent00soul

      It’s probably just for gripping when you mount/unmount the lens. All lenses should have that.

      • Inge-M

        Right, all lens have the.

  • bilgy_no1

    12mm f/2.0 is what I want. I’m leaving on a trip at the end of June where I would want to use that lens. Hope it will be available in time, but ‘late june’ suggests it will be just too late…

  • Bu

    Can’t wait. My 20mm is married to my EP1. The 12mm will lead to bigamy. Look forward to the awkward dynamics :)

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