Spectacular lens patent: Olympus designs a 12mm (and 14mm) f/1.0 MFT lens!


Well this is one of the very few times a Patent can be really exciting! This new patent published oon February 20 (yesterday) describes a 12mm f/1.0 and a 14mm f/1.0 lens! These would be the world fastest ultra-wide angle autofocus lens for any interchangeable camera system! The current Nokton 17,5mm f/0.95 MFT lens (here on eBay) isn’t as wide as the Olympus patented lenses and nor does it have AF.

These are the lens specs (Google translated screenshot from Japanese):

There are also lenses for 1 inch and 1/1.7 inch sensors on that patent.

These fast Oly lenses have storng chrome issues that will be fixed in camera. And here are the single lens performance graphs. I know the size isn’t big and I am trying to find larger images now:

12mm f/1.0

14mm f/1.0


As usual with patents the lens may be made in a different way when it hits the market (for example f/1.2). That said, would you buy such a lens?

I would buy the...

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found via Egami.

  • Grev

    Very interesting, I wonder how big they are? Great light gathering abilities, DOF is equivalent to f2 so that’s pretty good.

    • Guest

      Errr….. f/1 vs f/2 is two stops slower. One stop slower would be f/1.4

      • carpandean

        Right … and m4/3 has two stops deeper DOF than FF. So, this would have the same FOV and DOF as a 24mm f/2.0 lens on FF.

    • Hubertus_Bigend

      The table says 8 cm, which is exactly the length of the Voigtländer 17mm f/0.95, so they’ll probably be similar in size if they’re really going to be made. With AF, they’ll probably be slightly larger in diameter, though.

  • pez

    I wonder about the price tag, the mzd 12mm f2 is already very expensive.
    I don’t see the point in a F1.0 for a wide angle lens.

    • Pablo

      low-lite indoors? Though I don’t care. I can’t even afford f2…

    • dolbydunn

      Even though this lens is an “exotic” and probably will be priced accordingly, it may also have the effect of lowering the price of the 12mm f2.

    • Milan

      Yes, if they’re finally going with ultra fast primes they should go for a “normal” focal length (22-25mm in 4/3 senseor size). Or if not, a portrait lens (but there the Panasonic already has a 1.2 lens).

    • Yang Gao

      F/1 is not too bad. Waiting for F/0.7. It’s good to have a little depth separation with a wide angle lens.

    • mimstyle

      it’s very important f1.0 on wide angle

    • Markthetog

      Of course they will be expensive. The noise from all the enthusiasts on the net has been “Hit me with fast primes”. Olympus is happy to supply gear people will pay big money for.

  • MdB

    Wow they’ll only be like $3k a pop and still only f2 equiv and sized like a small bazooka. The one for 1/1.7″ could be interesting though.

    • penguin_suit

      At 78.61mm long that’s quite a small bazooka. If I’m interpreting the specs sheet correctly it’s less than twice the length of the 12mm 2.0 (43mm long).

      • MdB

        So about as long as the ‘mocked for being too big’ Sony 55mm f1.8 and is slower.

        • Guest

          Now it´s not slower you phucking retard, it´s 1 stop faster!

          • BetterGuest

            Manners, manners… You post stupid things already, try to keep it polite at least.

          • MdB

            Wow 1 stop huh? So erm how did you reach that conclusion? Either you are in the F1 is F1 camp or the F1 is F2 in FF camp, but don’t know how you got to f1.8 is 1 stop slower than f1, because no matter what way you slice it that ain’t true… phucking retard, go learn something.

      • MdB

        Or more aptly the size of a Canon 24mm f1.4…

      • Hubertus_Bigend

        Yes, but it’s just about the same length as the Voigtländer 17mm f/0.95.

    • Guest

      F1 is F1. It’s the light intensity per unit area that matters.

      • MdB

        Yes and the unit area is 1/4. That’s only 1/4 of the total light gathered. Math is hard.

        • BdV

          So only 1/4 of the light needs to be gathered, so you’ll be done gathering 4 times faster. Etc.

          • Hubertus_Bigend

            So on a subminiature sensor 1/1000 the size only 1/1000 of the light would need to be gathered and so you’d be done 1000 times faster – but you’d be only getting 1/1000th of the image quality.

            • BdV

              So what are you trying to say? And what are you going to do with your total light gathering capability?

        • The Real Stig

          Einstein got his wife to do his math.

          Look at a brick wall evenly lit. Four bricks taken together are not magically better looking than any single brick on it’s own.

          • Hubertus_Bigend

            Right, and neither does an apple look better than an orange. Four bricks do, though, tend to look better than the same four bricks shrunken to the size of one.

          • MarcoSartoriPhoto

            I did the same example months ago, but some people don’t want to understand.

          • MdB

            Guess I don’t shoot enough brick walls to understand how this is relevant.

        • beomagi

          ok – so it doesn’t handle as high an ISO as a full frame – if that matters to you, go big :P
          Photography is about compromise, deal with it.

          • El Aura

            It matters if some people want to insinuate that f/1 on m43 provides the same low light quality as f/1 on FF which ‘guest’ was doing. It’s not the same because photon shot noise matters most of the time and not read noise (which might be expected to be proportional to sensor area and thus would need to be compared with light signal intensity per area, ie, the f-stop). But of course the f/1 is equal to f/1 crowd probably finds the idea of evening thinking where the noise comes from to complicated).

      • Hubertus_Bigend

        For whom? For me, total light gathering capability is important because it determines the maximum possible image quality a system can produce, and DOF control is important, and both are only equivalent if both focal length and aperture are compared in relation to sensor size.

        • digifan

          Sorry utter BS, it’s the same sensor that will be used. And if max DOF is important you shouldn’t be with m43 or APSC or 1 inch or even 35mmFF.

      • El Aura

        Matters for what? Noise? Because noise is a function of the signal strength of the light per area vs the noise per area?

      • MdB

        Oh cool, so that f0.95 one on a 1/1.7″ sensor should be even better then?

    • I was wondering if anyone was going to complain about a “24mm/f2 equivalent”. Even if we accept the limited-utility, knee-jerk premise of “equivalent aperture” based solely on DOF, who complains about a “24mm/f2 equivalent”? It’s a spectacular spec worth a premium price, provided, of course, that the IQ is there.

      I,too, am waiting for a wider-angle lens, but these are definitely welcome additions. No more flashes for event photos!

    • MarcoSartoriPhoto

      What I like is the amount of light gathering, while keeping low ISO, fast shutter speed, and loving the double depth of field m43 system offers. It’s not a matter of shallow depth of field, I can achieve that with an f1.8 lens as well.
      You are not satisfied about this patents (AF on such a wide aperture is something rare), so I assume you are not interested in them. Then, why do you need to spit your disappoint?

  • Isqueeze7feathers

    Another 12 mm? I need wider lens not faster one!

    • James

      7mm f2 ftw

  • BdV

    Why a 12mm? Would 1.0 instead of 2.0 be enough reason for a significant amount of customers to buy this new lens?

    And 14mm, well, OK, competition for the pana 14mm 2.5, but I could ask (almost) the same question here.

  • Tomas Tran

    till now Oly was claiming that m43 will never go below f1.8 and now this!!!

    …do any format has f1.0 AF lens ?

    • mokugawa

      Canon has an EF 50mm 1.0 that’s discontinued and rare.

  • Nuno Cruz

    Interested in the 12mm, I have the current 2.0 one, would be an interesting upgrade to 1.0. But only like in 2 years we should see these lenses appear on the market.

  • Sqweezy

    They should have went wider than 12mm. Olympus already makes a 12mm. I think the demand is for an even wider prime that would fall into their PRO branding. Weather sealed and high optical quality. That said, the 12mm is still a lot more appealing than another boring 14mm.

    • MarcoSartoriPhoto

      A 7-14mm f2.8 is going to be released next year: is it not wide enough? It’s not a prime but it sounds promising. And weather sealed.

    • Jules

      Sometimes I admitttedly act like a geek over details, as if they were a big deal, when they are not.
      I can understand, but I find it amazing that anyone would consider 12mm apealing and yet 14mm would somehow make a boring prime lens.

  • David Peterson

    WOW! I suppose however no hope we’ll see them this year or for under $1k?

  • 78photography

    There is a very good reason for these lenses and I would hope they are razor sharp and got CA well under control. Then I would get them for night and astro shots.

  • Erik

    I can’t believe people are complaining over progression.

    • jimspc

      You can’t believe it? Just remember where you are.

  • Hubertus_Bigend

    Very interesting, especially (for me) the 12mm f/1. It would need to become better than the 12/2, too, though, in order to justify a price they will necessarily ask for such a fast lens. And then I’d be interested a 17mm f/1, too…

  • Olympus’ brightest lens at this time: F1.8.
    Jumping to F1.0 would be a huge leap, wouldn’t it? :D It’s a pity that these lenses are wide angle, where shallow DOF isn’t so important anyway…

  • MarcoSartoriPhoto

    I have no need for a faster 12mm (I’m going to try some night sky photography with 12mm f2, when I manage to get up early at 4am..).
    14mm is a wide angle I’m not used to, therefore I’m not interested in such a prime.
    The positive and most important thing is that there’s the possibility (following this patents) to have an AF lens with such big aperture.
    This can be applied to other focal lenses.

    Remember that given size, image quality, wide aperture, you can have only 2 of these aspects as a pro, the 3rd being a con. Oh, and the 4th aspect, price, will always be a con ;)

    • rrr_hhh

      Plus one !
      This summer I did some night sky with both the 12mm F2 and the 7-14mm F4 both went well. Then I got the Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 Fisheye which didn’t add any significant improvement. I got the best results with the 12mm.
      Some so so examples here : http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/9037920827/albums/night-photography

    • El Aura

      Unfortunately, APS-C DSLR systems also suffer from a complete lack of moderate speed (and thus compact) WA primes. The only DSLR APS-C WA prime is the Samyang 16 mm f/2, which even combined with a speed booster wouldn’t be wider than the Oly 12 mm. The only option would be the Samyang 14 mm with a speed booster that would give you a 10 mm prime but one much larger than, eg, the Panasonic 7-14 mm f/4 (but being f/2 instead of f/4), at a length of 121 vs 83 mm and a diameter of 87 vs 70 mm. Interestingly, this combo would still be about $100 cheaper than the Panasonic.

  • kiki

    Olympus.. or Panasonic.. or something else, if you read me, we need 8mm or 9mm prime even /2.8 or f/4 very sharp.

    • kiki

      And i have already a Olympus 12/2, need more wider prime. Don’t like zooms.

    • Syriac

      Sure…what are you willing to pay for this and what size are you willing to accept?

      • kiki

        7-14 pana is not really big and that’s already a zoom. I don’t really think that a prime like 8mm f/4 could be bigger than the 7-14/4. The 12/2 Olympus is really small, it’s f/2 and already sharp wide open.

        • Devil’s Advocate

          There’s also the samyang 7.5mm F3,.5 fisheye which can be de-fished successfully for landscapes and is cheap.

          • I love this lens. There is really no need for autofocus at that focal length, so other than losing some exif data there aren’t any drawbacks. I wish samyang would make some more MFT-specific lenses instead of just putting MFT mounts on ASP lenses.

          • kiki

            I have the samyang 7.5mm also :D

    • digifan

      Well, you will get a 7-14mm F2.8 constant zoom from Olympus. I think it’s going to be very sharp.
      To date there were a 7-14mm F4.0 from Oly (4/3) and Pana (m43).
      Are you prepared to draw your wallet as well?

  • Syriac

    Good to see that Oly is pushing technology forward.
    These are very specialized lenses and as the saying goes….. if you need to ask the price….it is probably to much….

  • Syriac

    I hope that the f-stop is not the new megapixel race.
    Mine is faster than yours…..there are obvious tradeoffs involved here size, cost & sharpness.

    Also with the improved sensors available today, are the super fast glass (1.8 and below) as important?

    • Luke

      I would have been pretty skeptical until I saw Matt Granger’s recent video on the Canon 50mm f1.0 entitled “Bokeh Porn.” I guess I’m still a little skeptical that it makes sense on a wide angle lens, but hopefully there is some innovation here that could be applied to give us a 7/8/9/10mm rectilinear reasonably compact, fast-enough (2.5~4) prime for those who love wide angle and shy away from zooms. Or a f1.0 25mm “Pro” lens for under $1500…

    • f/ numbers faster then 1.8 are still very welcome, because they give more possibilities (for either lowlight or action capture and for native characteristics display of the optics used). In other words, a “f-stop” race gives much more advantages then the megapixel war, but is from a commercial pov less effective on the crowd. I hope that Olympus can manage to come out with a f/1.0 45mm M.Zuiko lens too, or even a 75mm one.

      • Syriac

        Sure I get that.

        My comment was more inline with the notion of law of diminishing marginal returns.

        Improving a prime lens from a f-stop of 2.8 to an 1.8 yields good results in terms of low light possibilities without an excessive penalty in costs and weight.

        Going from 1.8 to 1.0 while the delta is the same as above, I would assume that the increase in cost and weight would be substantially higher.

        • yes I am afraid so too regarding the cost, and sofar, most extreme fast mirrorless lenses have good performance wide open, in line with a premium price we need to pay. I saw the Ibelux 40mm f/0.85 will be around 2000 usd?

  • Jan Kusters

    Most likely too rich for my wallet, and probably too heavy for my bag, but these would be nice additions to the lens line up. M43 is getting quite complete…
    For those who expect or want perfect image quality; don’t expect miracles from these two. Fast lenses do have certain build in problems. By now it is possible to add software correction into the lens design, but even that is no fairy dust.

  • would be stellar if they go into production.

  • Enzojz

    i don’t see any sense to make a 12mm/f1.

    • then it’s apparantly not for you. This is exactly the lens that would keep me from pining for a full frame camera.

      • Enzojz

        I think you will buy a full frame one day.
        The principal use 12mm is often landscape, in which condition that the shallow depth is seldom needed, neither for fast shutter.

        • You apparently only shoot landscapes during the day.

          I think it’s unbelievable how people on these websites assume that what they use something for is exactly the same as how someone else is going to use it.

          I would purchase this lens (Assuming it can control coma reasonably well) for night time landscapes and astrophotography. But I could imagine this having a lot of applications for indoor photography. Duarte above mentioned video.

          Lets think outside the box a bit here people. There are plenty of lenses I have no interest in whatsoever. I don’t assume that that applies to everyone.

    • Duarte Bruno

      One word: VIDEO!

  • Miroslav

    Wow! It would be fantastic if they made such a lens 12 or 14mm, doesn’t matter.
    I miss the fourth option in the poll: Any of them.

  • Clubber lang

    Correct me if I am wrong. If it is sharp wide open, this Would this be a great lens for wide angle landscape shots at night to prevent star trails while capturing astro. Shots.

    • You are correct. There would be few setups better for wide angle astrophotography better than one of these lenses on a MFT camera.

  • DonTom

    I can’t imagine needing such a fast lens, except perhaps for night landscapes. A tripod will certainly be cheaper! Usually when I am using a wide lens I am looking for more DOF, not less. So it was an easy decision for me to tick not interested in either lens.

    • Apina

      These lenses are clearly not designed for your personal needs, but anyone who does low light event photography (or, more generally, likes to shoot anything that moves with a wide angle in low light) would be very happy with lenses like this. A tripod won’ t help you with motion blur.

  • robin

    The focal length isn’t exciting..

  • rrr_hhh

    I would prefer if they were planning an F3.5 or F4 12mm shift lens.

    • diy_methode

      not that i would actually own any of this, but wouldn’t it be possible, to buy a samyang 14mm f2.8 (for f or ef mount) and adapt it via some kind of tilt/shift-adapter to mft (if that exists)?
      or you could maybe buy a samyang 10mm f2.8 for 1.5 crop when it will be available and adapt it aswell for a wider angle… i might be suggesting non-sense, but i wanted to share my thoughts in case it could potentially help someone :)

  • mimstyle

    MFT is now impressive !!!!

  • AL_GR33N_

    Lot of comments as to why anyone would need a 12mm f/1. I guess you could ask the same question of the Canon 24mm f/1.4 L. I would argue that non flash event/wedding photography would be the obvious answer. Typically, I wouldn’t want that shallow a depth of field, so again, the advantage of m4/3 shines here. 1/2 stop greater light capture with greater depth of field when compared. And I would imagine that it won’t quite stretch to £1,400 or weigh 650g either, which is a bonus.

    Personally, I wouldn’t shoot any landscape at f/1. That’s where a tripod and longer exposure still wins.

    • Devil’s Advocate

      It’ll be great for nocturnal/low light landscape where you want short exposure times to freeze clouds etc., and astro photography.

      • AL_GR33N_

        I suppose you could stack exposures for focus with a long exposure to capture the foreground detail and then fastest aperture possible to freeze clouds/stars as you suggest.

      • Isqueeze7feathers

        I not shoot at night because make whoopee in teepee, but see your point. Maybe when old shoot cloud and owl.

  • Turbofrog

    My favourite part of this whole equivalence debate is that people act as if a 24mm f/2 lens on full frame is not already an impressive specification. The Canon 24mm f/1.4 costs $1750, weighs 650g, and is 84mm wide x 87mm long. And given that the signal-to-noise of the 5D Mark III is only 1.5 stops ahead of any modern MFT sensor, going big will earn you exactly 1/2 stop of improved image quality over this patented lens. Miraculous.

  • LovinTheEP2

    It’s not about DOF! Is about saving 2 stops of ISO!!! That 4x the amount of light efficiency on the sensor without needing to getting in gain noises for bumping iso. It rather shoot at iso 200-400 and lose a bit of DOF vs shooting at iso 800-1600 or shooting at iso 400-800 vs 1600-3200! That’s a significant impact on image quality and sense it’s glass not sensor related you can see that improvements for years and years to come so even if a better body-4ensor comes out.. you still get that benefit!!

    • YourPusher

      You should not be allowed to buy things when you are in that sort of confusion. You should not be allowed to do anything at all in fact.

      • Apina

        So what was so outrageously wrong about what he said?

        • LovinTheEP2

          Grammar aside from autocorrections :-) my reasoning stands.

          Too bad people never get what an fast lens actually means vs. Just depth of field which hardly anyone uses properly or fully understand how to achieve subject isolation which isn’t m43 strength. The real advantage on m43 of an F2.0 vs F1.0 is the huge gathering of light on exposure vs the small amount additional out of focus blur. It can mean the difference between a clean native or low iso for a moving subject vs. Having to crank up the iso and getting sensor readout noise and having to apply noise reduction in software which no matter how good it is always decreases detail and affects color fidelity. So few get that the 4x light gathering advantage and how much creative control that gives with shuter speed and keeping your sensor iso as low as possible. even with the ep5-em1-em5 sensor, noise creeps in at iso 800 and even 400 in weak light or indoors. If you can take a shot at f2 at 3200 iso and get nearly the same picture with same exposure on f1 at 800… that’s a huge improvement in dynamic range, iq, noise for essentionally the same exact image with just a wee wee bit more bokeh.

    • Tito

      Or faster shutter speed when you shoot a moving subject in low light. Kids indoors anyone? Wide angle can be great for capturing a lot of context or a group of kids. Often much more interesting than the classic portrait shot.

  • Uberprutser

    I know that some people are trilled by this kind of fast glass. But personally I would rather have a sharp but affordable 10mm f3.5 prime lens. After all, you don’t need f1.0 to shoot a landscape.

    • JF

      I’d like a 10 mm f3.5 sharp prime too but nobody wants to make it…

      • V

        I use the 9-18 as like a 9mm f4 prime

        • Isqueeze7feathers

          That my solution. Kind of waste lugging this instead 10 mm f/2.8.

        • JF

          me too, but the IQ is not in the prime category….

      • lmqoM

        I will more have an 25mm F1.0, but i think this will coming too.


      It’s not about the landscape: 24, 28mm FF equivalent is about reportage and video (esp. if the chroma correction will be supported by Panasonic as well).

  • popeyoni

    Not a lens I want or need, but pretty cool nonetheless.

  • Cepha

    are those lenses for the m43 system.

    BF (backfocus?) = 13-16mm. Seems to be to short for a m43 lens…

  • Al

    Does the patent mention the lens having AF?

  • David

    Great news. Not sure I will be able to afford it myself, but it should play well into the strengths of m43, with it being able to go to really fast apertures without losing too much DOF and keeping the lens small. Add to that software correction, and I think it could be a winner.

  • Damn Oly

    Wow , am i NUTS or Olympus would really go radically this time, but i have never heard olympus made an F 1.4 lens with their 43 sensor and this is AN F1. Aperture,

    I would really love to buy if they can go beyond an F1.8

  • Isqueeze7feathers

    First have complete lens lineup without gap. Must include medium fast focal lengths

    ultra wide
    very wide
    medium wide
    light tele
    medium tele
    long tele

    ultra wide zoom
    wide to light/medium tele
    light to long tele
    very long tele zoom

    then add ultra fast lenses many do not want carry or pay!

    light tele
    medium tele
    long tele

    Olympus all over place with coming out with new lens and not enough lens different from Panasonic. Competing with almost same product is stupid. Appeal by being different, but not with ultra expensive fast lens before basic focal lengths covered. Hough!

  • Garlenepis

    Resistance is futile! Making F2 full frame primes is a piece of cake BUT these F2 equivalent MFT lenses are full of aberrations! And they’ll cost an arm and a leg…if they ever get released! Just imagine what would be required to make F1.4 equivalent MFT lenses…!

    Better give up guys, on the DoF battle. MFT only can compete on smaller, slower lenses

    • Melvis

      For a moment, I thought the new comments system might cut down on the number of trolls on this site. A very brief moment…

    • El Diablow

      Is this the Full Frame death rattle? Your it?

      Watch SnapChick’s latest video.

  • John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmid

    None of those would be of any more use to me than what’s already available.

  • Mark Z

    I shoot a lot of live music, lenses like this would be most welcome indeed! More DOF than FF at F1.0 and higher shutter speed or lower ISO option, ideal for this type of shooting.

  • fredschumacher

    What I would find exciting would be an inexpensive 12 mm f2.8 lens similar to the 24 f2.8 Zuiko film camera lens. That lens was a jewel and wonderfully useful. A 12 mm f1 will be very expensive and very large, of use to a very limited number of photographers.

  • Abraham Latchin

    I have to agree with a lot of posters here, while I probably wouldn’t end up with either of these (the 40-150 f2.8 has my money) it is inspiring to see the potential thinking of the m43rds players. While there are many complaints about overlapping focal lengths what we are really getting is price point options, and many of them are very good options at each pricepoint.

    If the 7-14 and 40-150 are anything like the 12-40 then we would have a stunning trifecta of weathersealed zooms, ad in the 12-35 for those who are size conscious, or the 35-100 for a more classic FL range… All I can say is WOW.

    Then look at out primes, from a host of companies, spanning pricepoints, styles applications focal lengths etc. Bodies from video, to hybrid, to classic photography in a range of sizes and styles… Superb

    This has all happened in the last few years, compare that level of activity to any other mount!

  • I.M.Feoyon

    Anyway the will be nice DOF by an F1.0 lens.

  • Lennart Johansson

    I prefer fixed focal length wide-angle lenses. It is too easy to just
    frame the subject with a zoom, and come home with uninteresting pictures
    that will never be used.
    Fixed focal length lenses ecourage more
    footwork and soft knees that make me seek the optimum picture angle
    every time. Now I wish to buy a collection of lenses for my E-M1 that
    correspond to my old OM Zuikos 16/3.5 (fisheye), 21/3.5, 28/2.8 and
    40/2. I have owned practically all focal lenghts and traded back and
    forth until I finally settled for this set that is optimized for both
    performance, bulk and weight (140-185 gram each) .
    My new m43 lenses may well be faster but not if the weight exceeds 200gram each..
    Today only a 10 mm is missing from the Panasonic lineup, but I’d prefer Olympus Zuiko lenses.
    I guess the proposed 1.0 lenses will be much heavier than my limit.

    Are my requirements too odd to be realized?
    have tried a 35 /2 and 24/2.8 but I always hated the 24 because it was
    always too wide or not wide enough for me, so the current 12/2 and
    17/1.8 are not an option for me.)

  • Pierre

    I bet that such lenses will aproximately have the same size and weight as 24mm/2.0 or 28mm/2.0 lenses. :)

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