Olympus patents a couple of new zooms (12-60mm)

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A patent fulfilled back in September 2011 describes a couple of new zooms (Source: freepatentsonline). Sadly all are relatively slow and no one will make you jump off the chair. Here they are:
12-60mm f/4.0-5.7
12-70mm f/4.0-5.7
12-82mm f/4.0-5.7
12-94mm f/4.0-5.8
14-70mm f/4.0-5.7

If at least they would be compact. Time to come up with something really different than the current 12-50mm f/3.5-6.4 lens lens. One day I will find some f/2.8 or even f/2.0 zoom patent. One day… 🙂

Olympus 2.0 zooms on Slidoo Europe.

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  • Mister_Roboto

    Olympus we want more 3x-ish slow zooms! …wait, that’s not right. 😉

  • No thanks to all those slow dogs.

  • dan

    Great! More slow zoom lens will make the camera system sell better.

  • Anonymous

    The slowness is not as much a problem as the optical deficiencies at the extreme ends of the zoom. The biggest problem with the 12-60 and 12-35mm zooms is that they are not very good at 24mm. The only good lens at 12mm is the Olympus prime lens.

    • The optically corrected 12-60 has some complex distortion at 12 mm (gone from 14 mm), but the image quality of the 12-60 exceeds that of the software-corrected 12 mm noticeably especially near the edges. The distortion the 12-60 produces at 12 mm is only an issue when shooting straight horizons and architecture. I rarely correct the remaining distortion error the 12-60 shows.

      I didn’t mind paying the high but fair price for the 12-60, but the 12 mm is very overpriced for its performance. Without software correction, the 12 mm is problematic and subpar.

      • Anonymous

        I think he just meant the 12-50, as he also mentioned the 12-35.

      • Luda

        Well, I have owned 12-60, 12-35, 12 mm from Olympus and now own 12-35 from Panasonic and the Panasonic lens isn’t any worse than 12 mm from Olympus when stopped down. Wide open both are softer in corners wide open but shooting 12 mm wide open isn’t usual application for a wide lens anyway.

        • What’s that first 12-35 you mention?

          It may well be that the 12-35 Pana lens isn’t any worse than the 12 mm Oly, but that is still subpar, especially for a RAW shooter that uses a RAW developer that doesn’t honor the default corrections. I don’t regard pixel-crunching as desirable at all.

          • tyh66

            @the eye

            Software correction is an intrinsic part of the mFT ethos, with the intention being to keep the lenses as small, light and inexpensive as possible. Well two out of three isn’t bad lol.
            Looking at the tests from SLRgear, the difference between the ZD 14-35 and the Panasonic 12-35 is not anywhere near as significant as the FT crowd would have us believe.
            While the ZD is faster it also starts at 28mm [equivalent AOV} compared to the 24mm {equivalent AOV} of the Panasonic , which is a very significant difference at wide-angle . Also the 14-35 is double the price, 2.6x the weight and nearly 60% longer. If I wanted this kind of weight then I would be using a Nikon D800

            SLRgear
            ZD14-35
            http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1137/cat/15
            12-35
            http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1518/cat/69

            • Anonymous

              I hardly think it fair to compare these two lenses from a size point of view, let us not forget the ZD 14-35 is not a u4/3rd lens but a 4/3rd lens, so yes it will be considerably bigger by default. As regards its quality, I wish I could afford one but instead I’ll stick with my ZD 11-22, which is a fine lens with excellent qualities, but just not as good as the 14-35.

            • “Software correction is an intrinsic part of the mFT ethos,”

              Only because consumers let themselves grandfather into such a compromise. The 60 mm Macro doesn’t have distortion software correction, while the 12 mm sports software correction by the hogshead.

              “with the intention being to keep the lenses as small, light and inexpensive as possible. Well two out of three isn’t bad lol.”

              Are your quoting Meat Loaf?

              “Looking at the tests from SLRgear, the difference between the ZD 14-35 and the Panasonic 12-35 is not anywhere near as significant as the FT crowd would have us believe.”

              You must be speaking for JPG shooters. Also, I was talking about the 12-60.

              • bart

                A few notes…

                1. your post does not at all address why software correction is a bad compromise
                2. your post does not at all address the fact that any optical correction of zoom lenses is by definition a compromise
                3. you totally fail to make a comparison between those different compromises

                Optical (hardware) correction a compromise? Ever heard about ‘moustache distortion’? Ever heard that reducing the number of glass surfaces in a lens is generally a good idea for things like flare resistance, ghosting etc?

                • “A few notes…”

                  Inkhorn…

                  “1. your post does not at all address why software correction is a bad compromise”
                  Do I have to regurgitate everything over and ove rlike you do all the time? Pixels-squeezing and pixel-stretching is not something I appreciate for the obvious reason.

                  “2. your post does not at all address the fact that any optical correction of zoom lenses is by definition a compromise”

                  Why do I have to point out the obvious like you do incessantly? I don’t care for the concept of software corection. Get the lens right, as much as possible in the first place.

                  “3. you totally fail to make a comparison between those different compromises”

                  So? Go ahead an compare and debate with yourself all you want!

                  “Optical (hardware) correction a compromise? Ever heard about ‘moustache distortion’?”

                  So? For most of what I shoot it doesn’t matter. The mustache is gone by 14 mm.

                  “Ever heard that reducing the number of glass surfaces in a lens is generally a good idea for things like flare resistance, ghosting etc?”

                  Are you implying a connection between number of lens elements and lack of optical distortion correction, or are you just talking out of your rear?

          • Meh, based on charts and reviews the Panasonic 12-35 holds up just fine against the 2x as expensive 24-70 zooms from Nikon and Canon. I really don’t think it’s too expensive for what it is. I only think it’s expensive because I don’t have money coming out of my ears.

            I personally don’t have a problem with some corrections being done in-camera.

            • I should have said “Based on charts and reviews (and my own experience)”, as I own the 12-35, and find it to be simply excellent.

            • The 12-35 doesn’t hold a candle to the 12-60, especially not beyond 35 mm. How the 12-35 compares to a Nikon lens doesn’t matter to me one bit.

              • bart

                And that 12-60 can’t be used with full functionality on a camera that comes anywhere close to holding a candle to the currently available m4/3 cameras. The performance of a single component is totally irrelevant, the performance of the combination of camera and lens is what produces quality pictures, and only if handled well by the person behind the camera.

                That you aren’t interested in comparing with Nikon lenses is fine, but totally irrelevant in the larger scale of things. How one system compares to another however is quite relevant for that larger picture, and it so happens that that 24-70 on a 135 format camera is functionally rather comparable, hence a relevant comparison.

                We do not care at all for your personal love for the 12-60 and the no longer developed system it is part of.

                • “And that 12-60 can’t be used with full functionality on a camera that comes anywhere close to holding a candle to the currently available m4/3 cameras.”
                  Thanks for that astute observation, Captain Obvious. Besides always always something newer and better just over the horizon ( 😛 ), the fact remains that m4/3 lenses do not measure up to 4/3 lenses. That Oly gets away with this, with many consumers cheering in favor of cheapness with the excuse of smaller size and lighter weight, is actually quite funny.

                  “The performance of a single component is totally irrelevant, the performance of the combination of camera and lens is what produces quality pictures, and only if handled well by the person behind the camera.”

                  Captain O, do you enjoy repeating platitudes?

                  “That you aren’t interested in comparing with Nikon lenses is fine, but totally irrelevant in the larger scale of things. How one system compares to another however is quite relevant for that larger picture, and it so happens that that 24-70 on a 135 format camera is functionally rather comparable, hence a relevant comparison.”

                  What I addressed was the performance at 12 mm on 4/3. If you want to compare anything else, do it, but don’t blame me for not doing the same.

                  “We do not care at all for your personal love for the 12-60 and the no longer developed system it is part of.”

                  For who else than yourself are you speaking? 😛 Too bad m4/3 won’t get a 12-60 equivalent, because it would be too big and heavy for the average camera joshi milquetoasts. On the other hand, with a little luck, there will be a (m)4/3 body that AFs 4/3 lenses properly.

  • W. C.

    Absolutely brilliant! Where can I preorder? We need more massive slow zoom lenses that come without hood and case, and expensive as well?

  • Yun

    No !
    Anything more than F2.8 would be a failure .
    Look at Fuji’s XE-1 zoom lens , is F2.8 .
    Oly & Pana have to start thinking delivering premier m4/3 products . Achievement is everything in 2013 .

  • Anonymous

    As long as the black version comes out later for $300 more I will get it for sure!

  • offtheback

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!

  • MikeH

    I’d welcome some quality zoom competition (especially on the wide side) to the 12-35 F2.8.

    What we don’t need are any more slow zooms from either Panny or Olympus. We have all we need in buckets now.

    Maybe the slow zooms are for their new FF mirrorless system. 😉

  • monlaiyen

    what’s a wonderful lens……XD

  • One question: I know that only a few patents actually come to market, but do all products that come to market have a previous patent? In other words, until we don’t see those patents of f/2.0 zooms we should not expect them to be released?

    Or, did all the lenses released so far had a previous patent published here (or elsewhere)?

    • Anonymous

      There are never going to be f/2 zooms, forget it. Look at their size and weight on 4/3, there cannot be any miniaturization. Olympus made that mistake with 4/3 and they are not doing it again.

      • xmort

        I wouldn’t call Oly’s superb f2.0 zooms exactly a mistake. However these are quite specialized tools optimized for their optical quality without compromises. Their size and weight was not taken into consideration. Since the whole m4/3 is about size (at least so far), I also don’t see their remake in m4/3 any time soon. Anyway – it seems to be Olympus policy not to duplicate any of their HG or SHG lenses in m4/3 but instead to fill in the gaps in their lens lineup with small m4/3 primes. The only thing which seems to be missing is a body which can use both m4/3 and 4/3 lenses without compromises.

        • +1. The reason all of their mFT zooms to date have been slow is that’s the only way they can keep the size down without reducing the range (as Panasonic has done in the 12-35). Look no further than the slow 12-50 and 75-300, end of story.

          They also have excellent 4/3’s zooms gathering dust on the shelves until they come out with a body that can properly utilize them along with mFT lenses. Based on rumors, I think they’re finally closing in on this, once done things will make more sense.

          • bousozoku

            Panasonic weren’t reducing the range with the 12-35mm. They were matching Canon’s 24-70mm lens, as they did with the 35-100mm.

            • +1 yes how is a 12-35mm (24-70 equivalent) “reducing the range” exactly?

        • peterAH

          The SHG lenses were a total mistake , one of the major reasons FT failed is down to the disproportionate size of the lenses and top bodies to the size of the sensor , anyone who doesn’t see this is kidding themselves on.

          • Esa Tuunanen

            Disproportioned?
            This is the meaning of that word:
            http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/10/a-big-addition
            So how does retro film age sensor format make that 5x weight monster handle better than same purpose Zuiko 90-250mm F2.8?

            If you think 4/3 DSLRs would have sold any better without high quality lenses you’re wrong.
            Then it would have been exactly like Canikon systems… Except with still only mediocre sensor to go along usual mediocre lenses needing stopping down/being slow from the start making even more enthusiasts/semi pros to overlook it taking more average consumers with them to Canikon.

          • bousozoku

            It’s partly true. My 14-35mm looks like a small cannon, even on the E-5, and it’s strangely heavy, although not as much as the lens they thought to release in 2005. The 35-100mm is similar in proportion to Nikon’s 70-200mm f/2.8 but at f/2.0, you expect a lens to be quite substantial, especially with clarity wide open.

      • Ok, f/2.0 was just an example. My question is about patents, if all lenses released have a patent published first.

        Anyway, Fuji made a nice kit zoom for the X system that is not that big or expensive. Translating the equivalent to a 4/3 sensor that zoom would be like 14-42 f/2.1-3. That would be nice.

  • Whyzor

    Sigma or Tamron would be smart to fill the market need for fast zooms on the m4/3 system. They would have no competition and reap in the profits, at least until the rest of the companies catch up.

  • Anonymous

    4-5.6 (or slower)? I don’t need. If I have a choice – micro43 with f/4-5.8 or XZ-2 with f/1.8-2.5, I prefer smaller XZ-2.

    Where is 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5?????

  • OMD owner

    There is only 12-35 f/2.8 from Pana, with unnecessary OIS (with Oly bodies), expensive, and optically not stellar.
    Oly, we need zoom which will be optically better, it could be f/2.8-3.5 or f/2.8-4 or f/2.8, but:
    – smaller then Panasonic
    – lighter then Panasonic
    – optically better
    – cheaper
    – build quality like 12-50 f/3.5-6.3
    – with Fn button
    The best idea 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 like for old 4/3, but smaller for micro43. Or f/2.8-4. With such lens there will be still place for 12/2 and 45/1.8, and even for 17/1.8.

    I don’t care for lenses with f/5.6 or slower end.

    • Esa Tuunanen

      You sure got skill for wanting contradictory things.

      With same quality size and weight can be decreased by using more aspheric surfaces and special glass but price will take lift on sounding rocket.
      In same size use of more aspheric surfaces and special glass helps to increase quality but also price.
      Spherical surfaces and normal optical glass would be cheaper but need more and bigger elements just to avoid optical quality being overrun by freight train.

      • Luda

        Have you tried Panasonic zooms so you can say for sure they are “not stellar”, or you have read the negative reviews and came to your own conclusion based on those? They are much better than some people would want us to believe.

    • Anonymous

      Smaller, lighter, cheaper and optically better! Guess what? Not happening, ever.

      • Exactly. Makes me wonder if people know what they are wishing for…

    • peevee

      Please don;t ask for standard zooms starting from 14mm, in case somebody listens (which is very unlikely). 14mm on 4/3 format is way too long. On non-multi-aspect-ratio sensor, it is not the same as 28mm on APS-C. They should think about standard zooms starting from 11mm (just like a bunch of new superzooms with small sensors start from 22mm equivalent).

  • Pete

    Hallo, someone at home?
    These ones are old different versions of the recent 12-50mm, you talked about them one year ago.
    Wait for new lenses to bash Olympus.

    • I’m sure Oly will come out with several versions of the 12-50. How many 14-42 zooms have they tossed at us so far?

  • Pete
  • alexander

    ..& pls compact!

  • I’ve just bought a used Oly 14-54 MKII for my E-M5. While it is a bit on the big and heavy side it’s still very useable.
    Focus is not really fast… but not dog slow either. I take my time with focus and confirming it anyway. So no biggie.

    Needed a fast zoom. Got it. Problem (partly) solved.

  • opticnerd

    Fast, small, cheap – pick two! To do something new and amazing would require difficult to manufacture figures and exotic glass which means very high prices. High prices mean fewer sales which drives up the cost of exotic glass even higher. Zeiss cine primes aren’t exactly flying off the shelves are they? Telescope makers also lament what would be possible if they could get the glass but it isn’t worth it for the glass manufacturers to make it in such small quantities for such demanding customers.

  • If the optical + build quality is better then of the existing kit zooms, why not. But there are also needed faster zooms with better optical + build quality. At the moment, it seems, that Oly don’t want to make such zooms, unfortunately. I think they wait until they have a body working properly with m43 and 43 lenses, and then they will say if you want better zooms use the existing 43 lenses. But for me, it’s a strange strategy, for the big 43 lenses many people will prefer a bigger body then the E-M5, even with grips it will be to small for many people. So size advantage of m43 would be gone. And people with an E-M5 that don’t want a bigger cam and maybe also no grip want to have smaller better zooms, if they can’t make 2.8-3.5/4.0 they should do 3.5-4.0/4.5 or something like that.

    For me this strategy is a strategy of bad compromises. And why can’t Oly make a zoom like the Fuji 18-55? Are they to stupid for that? Maybe, but meanwhile I really think they don’t do something like that because they don’t want competition to the 43 lenses. But how much money could Oly make with better mFT zooms? Never thought about that, Oly? And never thought about to make a complete mFT system with good small zooms to satisfy customers needs? Most average customers don’t want to buy 4, 5 primes, they want 2 or maybe 3 zooms.

    If Oly doesn’t change something in their m43 lens strategy then I will say bye bye Olympus.

  • Sam Waldron

    Perhaps a decent compromise would be something like a higher quality Olympus 12-45 F4?

    Longer ranges and faster apertures make for larger lenses and if you need fast on M43, primes are a better option – it’s more the F5.6 zooms which are problematic due to being almost diffraction limited at max aperture.

    I’d buy a 12-45 F4 if it was excellent optically for $600 and about 250 grams.

    If you ‘need’ fast, the 25 1.4 kills something like the 12-35 2.8…

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