Patent surprise! Is Konica-Minolta going to release the first m43 lens soon? A 43mm f/1.4?

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The patented Konica-Minolta 43mm f/1.4 lens design.

Egami spotted a patent with a surprising content! Konica Minolta patented the design of a 43mm f/1.4 Micro Four Thirds lens! The patent has been filled in 2011. Right now Konica-Minolta is not part of the (Micro-) Four Thirds group but this could change soon. Konica and Minolta have a long history of lens design for rangefinder cameras. Konica designed the Hexanon M-mount Lens series (here on eBay). That includes the superb Hexanon 50mm f/1.2 (here on eBay). Minolta made the famous Rokkor M-mount lens series (here on eBay). That includes for example the 40mm f/2.0 pancake (here on eBay).

This is just to say that Konica-Minolta would add a very high value to the whole Micro Four Thirds system! So let’s hope this is one of those few patents that will make it into…reality :)

Here are the images of the 40mm lens (left) and 50mm Hexanon (right):

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  • Chez Wimpy

    …Sony?

    • Anonymous

      My thoughts entirely…

  • Yun

    Good news .
    Turn it to reality .
    M4/3 welcome whoever make high grade lenses .

  • YeahYeah

    Yeah, I thought Knoica Minolta has been bought by Sony?

    • gf

      as i understand, sony only bought the camera business of minolta. konica-minolta is still a separate company that focuses on imaging/printer business

    • Bart

      Sony bought the camera business, but not the name (or company)

      Looks like the glass people from Konica-Minolta didn’t go to Sony either, seeing how Sony never managed to continue Minolta’s glass legacy.

      • cork

        No, they bought the dSLR lens line, too, and (presumed at the time) some of their designers/engineers. That’s why so many current Sony lenses are rebadged Minoltas. Only now has Sony began to bring out newer lens technology because of the need for lenses optimized for video, and to answer demand for smaller, more portable and affordable lenses.

        • Bart

          The camera business did include DSLRs and DSLR lenses yes, but buying the rights and skills to manufacture existing lens designs doesn’t mean you also bought the skills to design such lenses. From Sony’s product line-up it is pretty evident that they can re-issue existing designs, but not design such lenses themselves. Rather, they have to go to another big name in optics for that.

          I’d be glad to be proven wrong by Sony designing a series of excellent lenses, but all you said, while true, doesn’t demonstrate Sony is capable of this.

        • pll

          Sony bought the business but none of the IP. Sony continues to pay Konica/Minolta for selling any product with their IP in it.

      • Sky_walker

        Only lens engineers KM got left were these responsible for compacts and small-sensor video lenses. JVC regularly releases cameras with KM lenses.
        All the others moved to Sony.

        • spam

          +1

      • Esa Tuunanen

        Maybe also some camera designers didn’t go to Sony.
        I’ve always wondered why Sony hasn’t made Dimage A1/A2 styled mirrorless body.

        • lnqo-M.

          Yes, and also film scanner.
          (i go to the Sony hose for a problem i have by my Konica Minolta Elite Scan 5400 mk.II, and folk that look on my so i coming from Mars)

  • ha
    • Bart

      Indeed it is not Sony.

      A re-entry of Konica-Minolta in the camera or at least lens business however would be both very curious, and very welcome.

      • Oz

        Very interesting link. Are these current KM lenses sold only in Japan? They don’t say for which SLRs they offer replacement lenses.

    • Don Pope

      Wow, what a lame website they have.

  • Marck

    There’s already a very good 45/1.8, why focus on already existing lenses?

    Wouldn’t it be better to focus on new focal lenghts?
    Ho about a 12-60 2.8-4??? :)

    • Anonymous

      Please note, this is a patent that was filed last year, so we accept they may not have known the 45mm will be produced. It is still only a patent, we seem to get very excited about all the patents we read about these days, which in many cases will be no more than design exersizes.

      What I find interesting is the Sony question, while I accept the explanation of their only having bought the Camera business (not even the name), if this lens is to become a reality (which will be yet another unusual focal length) 43 = 86 in u43 parlance, what does it equate to with Sonys systems (I do not know Sonys conversion figures).

      • Chez Wimpy

        85mm is a traditional portrait focal length. They didn’t bother to call it “42.5mm” but the intent is still obvious. M43 is the ONLY mount where this lens would make sense (outside of a FF camera, where it would be a true normal). So, is this all just to spite Sony? Time will tell…

    • Like anonymous said, Konica-Minolta probably didn’t know. Even if they did, the spec is different enough and build quality might be better. Love my 45/1.8 but the plastic barrel has scratches though I’m not rough with me lenses.

      Also consider that Nikon makes 85mm in f/1.8 and f/1.4, with the faster one costing around 3x as much as the other. Seems to work for them.

      @anonymous: it won’t ‘unusual’ on m43 – basically 85mm. It might be a bit off on APS-C at 64.5 (with the 1.5x crop factor) but it can still be very useful, especially with that max aperture.

      Anyway, I love my old Rokkors, so it’ll be nice to see some new lenses from them.

    • The Master

      A 40 ish mm lens at 1.4 would be much better than a 1.8 and really, with the diminished shallow DOF of the 4/3 sensor, we really need a 1.2 or even 1.0, to get as much subject isolation as something like a 85 1.4. I don’t know that it is even possible to get the equal to the Canon 85 1.2 with the 4/3 sensor.

      • PeteHD

        I do not use FF but considering how shallow DOF is with my Oly 45mm F1.8 and my new love 75mm F1.8 .I cannot imagine what an f0.7 or f0.6 mft equals of F1.4 or F1.8 lens would be like.

      • Bart

        Getting the same DOF as the Canon 85/1.2 on m4/3 is obviously possible, by mounting a 85/1.2

        Oh, you meant at the same field of view?

        You’d need a 42.5/0.6 lens for that, and you’ll have a hard time finding one of those.

        But eh, how often do you need such shallow DOF? If your answer isn’t “never” then m4/3 might not be the best choice for you, and if your answer is “a lot” then its definitely not the right system for you. This however is something you have been told so often already that you should know this by now.

        For most people, their main concern is getting enough DOF to get enough of their subject in focus.

  • Nappe1

    Nope, Konica-Minolta only sold their camera division. They are still in business making office stuff like copy machines and sports timing equipment.

  • Mark

    If this is true it would be major news.

    Konica-Minolta making lenses for camera’s! It would also be a major slap in the face for Sony.
    Sony never got to the level of Konica-Minolta with there lenses. They bought the Konica-Minolta camera business but until now I didn’t understand why they seam to fail with the lenses. Seems the lens makers stayed with KM.

    • M

      @Mark

      “their” not “there” “seem” not “seam” Ok?

      — Now, on topic:

      Sony surely are able to still make lenses at KM-quality level, but they seem not to bother with it too much. Maybe they are coming; in the NEX-series they may be better off in a year or two, who knows?

      And some Alpha lenses of recent years are really good ones, no doubt.

      That said, I find the notion of a KM-lens line possibly arriving for m4/3 quite interesting, since Konica, and Minolta, both made some seriously superb lenses in their days. That could also put some fire under the butt at Sigma/Tamron to come ut with more and better alternatives, now that the m4/3 cameras are beginning to sell good not only in Japan/Asia.

      A bunch of top quality lenses from KM would at the very least have interest for those who have started to enter m4/3 from the FF/APS-C camps…IE those getting fex a OM-D to replace or add to their 5D/mk1, Mk2, Mk3 / Nikon D700/D7000 and the likes…

      • Mark

        @M
        When you can type perfectly Dutch you can complain. Most people here don’t speak English natively. Ok?

        If Sony is able, than why on earth do they release such huge and heavy inferior E-mount lenses? And why does it take so long to release some fine new A-mount lenses?

    • Esa Tuunanen

      Both Konica and Minolta have so much name in photography that maybe they have even considered returning to camera business.

      Rights of Alpha line/mount belong to Sony and another proprietary lens mount would be harder to introduce so joining Four Thirds might well be what thay’ve looked.
      I would sure welcome them.
      I started photography with Minolta Dimage prosumers and A2’s design would make excellent base for mirrorless high end camera.

  • Robbie

    Might be designing for sb else, OEM lenses?

  • Gekopaca

    Another useless lens!
    More than 90% of lenses made for the M43 system are ≥ to 45mm, or zooms.
    As a “normal” photographer, what I’m expecting now is “normal” prime lenses (≤ 25mm), Wides Angles (12 to 18mm) and most of all very WA (≤12mm) which don’t exist at all!
    I think M43 system is more than a commercial niche for moms who shoot their sons at soccer, or retired people who shoot flowers. We need lenses for usual applications : landscapes, street photo, architecture… so M43 system will be considered by “pro” or at least prosumer people.

    • E-1

      “of all very WA (≤12mm) which don’t exist at all!”

      There is no 12mm? Huh?

      • Gekopaca

        Nothing under 12mm man. You’re loosing your time with details. Please read better and understand my words.

        • or maybe you should not use symbols you apparently don’t understand :-)

      • Anonymous

        Primes 45mm:
        – 45mm Olympus
        – 45mm Macro Pansonic/Leica
        (- 60mm Macro Olympus)
        – 75mm Olympus
        – 300mm Tokina

        Primes

      • Anonymous

        @Gekopaca: eh? There’s 7.5mm, 7-14mm, 9-18mm, 12mm, 14mm, 17mm, 20mm, 25mm.

        • Mr. Reeee

          +1…
          BUT, actually there are TWO 12mm lenses (Oly and SLR Magic T1.6/f1.4) and TWO 25mm native primes (PL25mm and Voigtländer Nokton f0.95).

          I’d love to see a 10mm f2.8, somewhat like the old Nikon 20mm f2.8 AI-S lens.

    • Anonymous

      More than 90% of m43 lenses are >= 45mm??? My impression is that perhaps 10% of the lenses are >= 45mm. Anyway, I guess everything depends on whether you count the number of lenses produces, the number of lenses bought, or the number of types produces/bought :-).

    • JF

      Yes, give us a prime around 8 mm, rectilinear, weather sealed, tack sharp corner to corner, low CA, don’t care a lot about aperture, F4 is ok, f2.8 is better if the price is below 700 euros
      If you do it, I sell my M Zuicko 9-18 which is ok but soft corners…

    • Calling a wide aperture portrait lens useless is a bit silly…

      Two years ago EVERY single m4/3 user was crying for it. Now, we probably will have two choises. What’s wrong with it?

    • JL

      I think there already are some lenses to fill your wishes…

      7.5mm FE from Rokinon / Samyang (cheap but quite good, some say exellent)
      7-14 mm UWA from Panasonic (said to be exellent, but costy)
      9-18mm lens for Olympus (a good one, reasonable prized)

      19mm Sigma (close to normal)
      20mm Panasonic
      25mm PanaLeica
      30mm Sigma

      + the zooms covering the normal range

      also the former FT-versions work, some better than others with AF.

      And there is the rumored 25mm f1.8 macro, maybe …

      A fast 43mm f1.4 would be very welcome. I know, the 45mm f1.8 is quite close, but we’ll see… This RUMORED lens would be faster, and if the quality is good in every way, there will be market for it.

      New players coming into (m)FT group, welcome! For us, photographers, it will mean more choises. As a long time Konica, Minolta and Olympus user, this was a good news.

      And don’t forget the Zeiss announcement, Scneider-Kreutchnach, Sigma, maybe Tamron…

      • JL

        PS. I forgot the Panasonic 8mm FE… And the older Zuiko one, too.
        And Voigtlander 25mm f0.95… Are there more?

  • Riley

    perhaps in making a 4×3 sensor for Olympus, Sony decided there were wider uses and built a strategy around it. This doesn’t mean Sony will do it, but it’s an interesting thought.

    • Jungen Berlin

      @riley
      I am not sure about sensor dimensions.If Sony cropped their current APS sensor to a 4×3 ratio, which would help with the performance of the pretty poor corners on current Nex lenses.How close would it be to mFT size.I am also not a native English speaker so before any one corrects me sorry lol
      Jungen

      • Riley

        I dont see it like that, then can keep their Sony camera range and manufacture mFT bodies under the KM brand. The license exchange wouldn’t be that much of an issue, companies trade licenses all the time. It bolsters the number of sensors Sony make and sell in the 43rds size enlarging the volume and reducing costs. And it gives them access to an immediate lens range which would largely be sold by P&O, knocking out one of the major disadvantages to Nex.

        Dont forget the main game for Sony is Canon, this would give them access to SLR markets in 1x and 1.5x, mirrorless in 1.5x and 2x. Thus entering the largest mirrorless sphere and providing greater opportunity and scope than Canon with a camera brand that has a history of innovation, Konica Minolta.

        • Bart

          But Sony did not buy Konica-Minolta, they bought the camera business and the alpha brand name from Konica-Minolta, the later kept the Konica-Minolta name and is an independent company.

          • Riley

            Yep but even that isnt an impediment and likewise can be traded, for example Leica lens anyone?. There would be some advantage in moving to an oldschool brand with the integrity of KM, and it would preserve Sonys own branding in cameras on the other end.

  • Daemonius

    Thats interesting. I wonder if theres someone in there who made original Minolta lens..

    Tho its not like you cant have Minolta lens on m4/3s today. :D Nothing easier. :D

  • Bart

    @Riley

    But from the looks of it, this is not a Sony patent but Konica-Minolta one. That indeed doesn’t mean Sony couldn’t buy the patent or resulting product + the right to sell it with the Konica-Minolta brand, as could anyone else. The point was that the Konica-Minolta brand is simply not owned by Sony, and technology developed at Konica-Minolta after Sony bought their camera business isn’t automatically ending up at Sony, rather, its not anywhere related to Sony, and isn’t any indication of Sony going into whatever technology or system.

    • Riley

      oh IC, yes…

  • Pellevin

    Of course a 43 f1.4 is desirable. Fast glass is always desirable and every respectable system offers both 85 f1.4 and 85 f1.8 FF. However I am curious about what Panasonic Leicas next prime would be. A 52 mm f1.2 would be sweet… Much more usable focal length than Oly 75 and even shorter DoF.

  • Ok so call me a beginner. But what are some examples of the photographs this special lens will take. And, past all the technical jargon, please expaln what makes this lens so unique?

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