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(FT5) 12mm f/2.0 is an all metal lens and has a distance scale!


Our sources are pretty exited with the new upcoming Olympus 12mm f/2.0 high grade lens. First the build quality is amazing, it’s an all metal piece of goodness! And the lens has a distance scale! According to my sources the lens has the best image quality (resolution, color rendering) tested to date. Someone said there is nothing to envy to any Leica lens! Compared to the Leica 24mm f/3.8 (Click here to see that lens on eBay) the Olympus will cost $1.700 less and has a much faster aperture! Another source that this is one of the lenses that will birng new sex appeal to the Micro Fur Thirds system (yes he used those words). The 12mm lens will be available a couple of weeks after the June 30th announcement. So check your piggy bank savings, you need around $850 for that lens!

In summary:
– Olympus 12mm f/2.0 coming on June 30th
– It’s the very first High Grade lens for Micro Four Thirds and is made in Tatsuno (Japan)
– All metal construction with distance meter.
– Lens size similar to the new Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4.
– Filter size 46mm
– Already in production since April and will be in Stock in July.
– Close focusing 20cm (0.67 feet)

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

  • AndyOz

    Well that sounds great. I am really excited that there is a distance scale. I had thought that it might be too expensive but i think i could change my mind.

    Admin … any news on the 45mm 1.8 – does it have a distance scale too? The other good bit of news is that hopefully this is a sign of better lenses to come from Olympus – possibly other primes and high grade zooms down the road.

    • admin

      I have no info about a distance scale on the 45mm but I am almost sure it has not.

      • JeremyT


        Is there any word about a matched hot shoe OPTICAL viewfinder for this lens, the way they have one for the 17mm f/2.8??

        • admin

          No word :(

        • MJr

          Ooh i hadn’t even thought of that. That’d be really nice for a prime like this. Could be a real possibility considering the people this lens is aimed at. Accessories often get neglected in rumors ;).

          But if not, it doesn’t have to be a olympus finder, 24mm FoV is 24mm FoV and there are some 24mm finders out there already. Originally made for true rangefinders, where 24mm was too wide for the built in finder. I think there is only one rangefinder with a built in OVF wide enough for 24mm, and that is a recent one, the Voigtlander Bessa R4A/R4M.

          • Ross

            It would be even better if one was available with camera settings in it like a DSLR.

    • My crystal ball says not.

      I guess given the short DOF on long lenses (45), scale focusing wouldn’t work as well as one can expect from a wide (12) lens anyway.

  • Yikes! I’m liking the direction Olympus are headed. Bring on more like this :)

  • Distance scales?!!! wow!

  • Mr. Reeee

    Yeah! A REAL lens, not plastic junk! Okay, now we’re talking!

    This is great news for M4/3! Let’s hope this is a trend!

    • XA4

      I was expecting the PL 25 to have metal construction and distance scale, considering the price (and Leica label).

      As for a “trend”, this is the “first” HG lens, implying that there will be more in the future. :)

  • If the rumor about a really fast auto-focus is true and there is a more attractive (=less cumbersome) EVF in the pipes, then Olympus might actually be back on track and well ahead of Sony and maybe even Panasonic which has decided to destroy any appeal to its GF series that was left with the GF2.

    • My problem with autofocus has never been the speed (E-P1 experience), but “where” to focus. If I let the camera choose from all focus points, somehow it rarely “gets” the focus where I meant it to be. Of course for that they have to make a direct neuron interface (to a photographer’s head!), but that’s probably a long way off.

      For now I’ve found it easiest to set autofocus to center point, focus lock on the center AF point, recompose and take the shot. This process for me takes about 3-4 seconds. Even if the ~1 seconds of AF in E-P1 was reduced to absolute 0, it would still take 2-3 seconds. Not too much difference overall.

      So far the only interesting solution to completely solve this dilemma has come from Apple and Panasonic: touch based focusing and taking a shot (I have not tried it on G2 or GF2 yet). But unless olympus goes the same route, at least for a workflow similar to mine it wouldn’t matter if AF is 1 seconds, 0.8 seconds, 0.1 seconds or even 0 seconds.

      Anyone has a better solution? How do you focus?

      • The G3 solution (touch screen + rotating LCD) is far the best one –especially when you can also shut (not just focus) by touching the LCD.

        BTW Admin says that it‘s possible that the new generation PEN cameras will have touch screen LCD as wel…

        • You are right about G3/G2/GF2 solution. But what about the G1/GF1 people? Their AF is faster than Oly but is it important in overal when they have to “select” the focus point?

      • razkal

        I usually put my e-p1 in manual focus mode with the green box. Then pick the place you want to focus. Press ok to enlarge the area. Then half press shutter button until you see the area is in focus and finally fully press the shutter button to take the picture

        • Actually what you described is technically more correct than center point focus-lock-recompose solution. By recomposing you really change the plane of focus, but it’s apparently not that much of an induced error.

          But your solution takes forever to do, for me it takes like 20~30 seconds. Yes if I have time it is the correct way to go at it, but for example you can never make a human subject wait for 30 seconds for a shot!

          • cL

            Actually the best way to do it is by choosing your AF point yourself to narrow it down, so instead of searching for the entire screen, your camera would only search for focus near where your auto focus point is. Since Olympus’s Af points are all cross type, all the AF point can be used this way. This would significantly reduce hunting and focus will be very quick. It’s sort of semi-automatic focus…. Of course, after that, you hold your focus lock and recompose. Most modern camera has focus tracking, so even if you moved a little bit, it’ll still remember where it is. Just remember to keep half-press shutter (focus lock) when you recompose, or it’ll lose it. On my E-620, I swap AEL/AFL button with shutter half press, so it’s easier for me to focus…. Try it. It’ll save you a lot of AF frustration.

      • While I generally use the center focus point, I don’t always. Often I will select the focus point based on the subject. For example, if I’m taking a picture in portrait orientation, I set the focus point to the left most point, so that when I rotate the camera, it is on the subject’s face. On the E-3 I can use the … key to change the focus point, on the E-P2, I have the arrow keys set to change the focus point.

        On cameras that have multiple focus points spread out, I no longer use focus and recompose. However, in the older cameras where I did use it, 3-4 seconds sounds like a long time. Another technique to prefocus where you expect the action to be and wait for the decisive moment.

        It would be nice if I could use a smaller focus point on the E-P2, without having to set the camera to magnify live view mode (which loses the live histogram) with the green square and then press magnify so that the camera will auto focus in just that small square.

        • Ulli

          in the case of non or slowmoving target, the method to set the focus point according to the position of the subject in the framing is the best method imo.. especially if you work within a narrow depth of field..the standard method of using center af point and then recompose can result in shift of area being in focus.

          • Ulli you’re right. But getting back to the original question, I’m trying to see under which circumstances the superfast AF of something like GH2 becomes a genuine advantage to the slower AF of Olympus bodies. with non or slow moving subjects you can change the AF point, at which point you’ve already spent at least 5-6 seconds or more to change the AF point, so the speed of AF itself shouldn’t matter much.

            Michael Meissner suggested a genuine good use of fast AF. If you can pre-visualize your shot or a series of shots, you can select the AF point and then take a whole series of shots, composing them based on your selected point. But what about other scenarios? Say you’re walking in the streets and suddenly something interesting catches your eye, and the subject is not in the center of a good composition. Is there an advantage to having an ultrafast AF body say even a DSLR to a slower AF body when you have to either focus lock + recompose or manually move your AF point?

            • cL

              Unfortunately AF is never Olympus’s thing…. OM lost to Canon because Olympus didn’t realize AF is what customers want and didn’t bother to spend too much R&D money on it. And that continues to burn Olympus today….

              That said, if you want quick AF for m4/3, maybe it’s better just go for Panasonic, especially now there is touch screen AF, which I think it’s making a lot of sense for quick focusing. Since I don’t care for AF 9/10 times except for really quick action, I just use what I mentioned to you in another post above this one…. Auto focus lock then recompose. It’s faster than let your Olympus camera hunt for focus and takes less than a second once you get a hang of it. You’ll like your Olympus camera a lot more once you face the fact it’s just one of those things Olympus can’t do too well (Olympus’s AF do lock in accurately, just not quickly).

        • Yes you’re right Michael. I guess that’s where pre-visualization becomes important. If you can pre-visualize your shot and know where you want your subject to be, you can select it in advance. I can see how you might set it to an AF point before a series of pictures, and then shoot away. In this scenario AF speed plays a role.

          Thanks, that is a genuinely good use of fast AF.

          • It depends on what you are shooting, and what you want in focus. I often times shooting single performers and there as I said, you can set it up so that you can move the focus point to the face.

            Another way to do it is use center point AF, and then crop the picture down to the picture that you want to take. As long as you don’t crop too much, or print really large, todays cameras have way more pixels that you need. Now, when I shot with a 2MP camera (and printed great 8×10’s BTW), you had to concentrate on getting the shot framed right when you took the shot, because you had no room to crop. It was a good exercise, but with 12-16MP cameras, you now have the option of reframing the shot in post production.

            When I shot black and white in high school and used the school’s darkroom back in the 1970’s, I would do this by aligning the enlarger to get the picture that I had pre-visualized but that I used the standard AF points, so it isn’t a new technique.

      • Inge-M

        Reza, E-P1 hind focus, but E-P2 forward, is a big difference.

        • Inge-M can you explain? I don’t think my E-P1 focuses behind the subject…

          • Inge-M

            The i mean is E-P2 focus normal to forward on motive, but the is not a probleme if you use F5.6 for example,
            only F2-F2.8 for example, on my ZD 50 F2.
            But in good light, and F5.6 will i say E-P1 is maybe a better choice.
            And maybe E-P2 is faster, only i believe the sett focus to forward on motive.
            But on example 12mm F2 on F2 is the maybe not a problem regard to.

          • cL

            I think he meant back focus…. It’s Google translator….

        • Quiquelbola

          My ep1 admit focus in center, left spiral…………what yuu want focus and is perfectly visible.

  • Steve

    A distant scale is nonsense on a Focus by Wire lense as you cant Set Focus without powering Camera on First. Besides Panasonic cameras reset Focus when you turn them off. And if the Focus scale is such a Small piece like the ones on the Olympus ft swd lenses it turnes absolutely useless.

    • funky

      Haha I was wondering how long it’d take someone to have a whinge… I guess Steve you can just ignore the distance scale then?

      • SpellingPolice

        FYI – there is no “g” in whine!
        Where do you live, where people say “whinge”? I’ve never heard anyone say that. :) Not here in the US, anyway.

        • MikeS

          It’s a common term in the UK and Oz/NZ.

          • XA4

            no more whinging.

          • To whinge is to complain, to whine is to make a high pitched noise!

            12mm f2 sounds like a gem, but tsill a bit of an oddity – I’m still convinced it would have been better to release a small cluster of such primes (say 12, 17 and 25mm) along with a matching Hig hGrade PEN.

            Still it’s a start.

        • Luke

          really, you created a new username to share your lack of knowledge of different cultures’ spelling variants. Most impressive. When in doubt, next time “Google it”. With a name like that you must own at least one dictionary.

          • SpellingPolice

            Keep your shirt on, Luke. Don’t be so serious.
            Besides, I did google it, before posting. It was just a joke.

            You forgot to capitalize your “r”. :)

            10 days until the big day!

          • Mr. Reeee

            Cultural ignorance is a defining cultural trait here in the good ole USofA. ;-)

            • Luke

              Hey, I resemble that remark. (insert clever wink thingie here)

              oh gee, I wondour if I spelled “thingie” correctly/

              • cL

                Nope, you’re totally wrong. Thingy is spelled with a y! ;-) Just kidding. Thingy/thingie is not a real word, but short for thingamajig. Thingy sounds cuter.

            • Inge-M

              Hollywood, do the not better so i look on my TV ;-)

        • funky

          Haha, you forgot the USA changed a lot of English spelling? I guess next you’ll whinge when we talk about taking a “colour” photograph…

          So I guess most of the countries that speak English use the word whinge, its a good word, you should add it to the “American” language!

          • SpellingPolice

            What a moroun. Everyone knows there’s no “u” in color. :D

            As it were…

            • a troll in a cameras forum. awesome

        • Boooo!

          “You say tomayto, I say tomahto”…

        • Bob B.

          Verb: Complain persistently and in a peevish or irritating way.
          Noun: An act of complaining in such a way. More »
 – – Merriam-Webster – The Free Dictionary
          ►Does that help??? :-)

    • Yes 4/3 lenses are the same. Also at least on Olympus bodies you can set it to not reset the focus upon power up, I use it all the time.

    • Mr. Reeee

      Perhaps focus and the distance scale works like my Nikon 60mm f2.8 AF-D macro lens. Focus is mechanical, but I presume there’s an auto-focus motor in the lens. There’s a switch on the side that allows you to toggle between manual an electronic focus, as well as a focus limit switch.

      I use it manually on my GH2 and have no access to a Nikon DSLR to try auto-focus. It’s quite a fine lens, BTW.

    • JeremyT

      Menu -> AF/MF -> Reset Lens -> “OFF”

      Before whining, read the manual :)

    • Olympus/Panasonic has had distance scale on some of their 4/3 lenses, so it’s not a new problem to solve. And like what they said, turn off lens reset.

  • $850 an f/2 lens while for $150 more you can grab an X100 as a “secondary” camera+great lens… Yeah I know, apples and oranges blah blah blah, 35mm is not 24, X100 has no int. lens, but it really makes me think that it will have to be truly outstanding to convince people to get one for such a high price in the mirrorless world.

    As a side note, I wonder about the distance meter indicator ; if this is an AF/focus by wire lens (therefore not a real mechanical ring for manual focusing), how can it work? (n00b question)

    • Gianluca

      yes…you answer yourself…apples and oranges! :)

    • Swejk

      Nur manuell, ohne Autofocus…oder ?

    • Mr. Reeee

      Finally got a chance to try out an X100 last week. I would never spend $1200 or even $800 for one. Yes, it’s ever so retro and all the dials remind me of my old 1950 Konica II. But it’s jarringly light and cheap feeling compared to a real rangefinder camera.

      The viewfinder is kind of cool, with camera info projected on the optical viewfinder like a fighter plane’s HUD. It actually switches over to EVF, but it felt at first like a HUD!

      But you can see the lens in the lower right corner of the optical finder! I also see my nose when looking through my built-in viewfinder. (the curse of having had it broken 3 times) ;-)

      Also, using a rangefinder again reinforced my preference for a viewfinder to be centered over the lens vertically and why I gave my brother my Konica Auto S2 and got an SLR at the absolute FIRST opportunity I could! I simply prefer the ergonomics of an SLR design. It’s more direct.

      • mahler


        The X100 is only shiny from outside. For what it delivers, it costs too much. Usability is far behind a GH2, despite of its (pseudo) attractive appearance. The optical view finder has limitations and is not appropriate for a large lens system such as m4/3, for which “through the lens finders” are mandatory. Thus, the optical solution is more superfluous gimmick. The R&D efforts should be used to improve the EVF quality instead of poking around with OVFs.

  • Sorry, guys, but I’m still much more excited about the 45/F1.8 (for a such low price) and I don’t care at all about “professional look” like all-metal body and distance scale.

    There are no evidences yet that the 45/F1.8 will also be a high AF speed lens though…

    • admin

      Yeah, I am stil not sure if the 45mm lens can AF that fast.

    • Michael Devitt

      Yes, kesztió, 45mm lens with Olympus optical/built standards is well priced glass. Affordable good-quality primes are always welcomed. Cheers.

  • Michael Devitt

    It sounds like a masterpiece from Olympus. When paired with proper metal camera body it will be holy grail for demanding photographers. Great times, indeed.

    • inorog

      we still have to wait god knows how long for that proper body :)

      • Luke

        3 years was the last I heard.

        • Inge-M

          Absolute, 3 years before :-D

  • Yes! It must be weatherproof as well, or is it?
    Anyway, with this lens Olympus is revealing its vision of the future. It is planning to become a Leica alternative. No less.

    • No blasphemy please.

      To become a Leica alternative, Olympus needs a body that can compare to a M9. Ain’t gonna happen.

      I’ll be more than happy if Olympus keeps focussing on medium prized but well designed cameras in the PEN format, potentially integrating the EVF in later releases. If the E-P3 will have good usability and fast auto-focus, it will replace my E-PL1. For anything else I’m sticking to my E-5.

      • Tobias,
        You are taking it literally. What I meant was Olympus is going after the *functionality* of the Leica M: small, solid bodies complemented by high quality, fast primes.
        I have no doubt whatsoever that a body styled after the rangefinder raw model is in the making.

      • 43RC

        >>No blasphemy please.

        >>To become a Leica alternative, Olympus needs a body that can compare to a M9. Ain’t gonna happen.

        Olympus have far more experience building waterproof, shockproof cameras than Leica will ever have.
        Don’t discount the fine Oly rangefinder heritage either.
        I will not be surprised if the new 24mm outperforms the Leica, at a fraction of the price.
        Olympus Leica alternative? Never say never…

      • Inge-M

        Olympus passage, X1 before M9 naturally :-D

      • cL

        Well…, Olympus 35 SP was introduced in 1969. It was the only camera that has both spot metering and center weighted average meter in one body. Leica caught off guard, then released M5 two years later. M5 sold badly, partly because it’s one of the largest Leica M cameras (size is a Leica thing also), partly it’s a lot more expensive than Olympus 35 SP and it has no AE functionality (but then, Leica thinks AE is for amateurs). Olympus’s 35 SP’s lens was one of the sharpest lenses ever graced a fixed-lens rangefinder. It was a modified Zeiss Plannar design (Plannar plus one correction lens for better performance). Olympus 35 SP (and its derivatives, SPn and UC) are still the only rangefinder cameras to this date that has dual metering system plus auto exposure functionality (I know all DSLRs nowadays have them, but rangefinders are different, and rangefinders aren’t for everyone).

        If that still doesn’t convince you, I suggest you try a SHG lens on a 4/3 body. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Or try a Zuiko 50mm f2….

        Another Leica alternative is Minolta. Minolta used to be Leica’s partner like Panasonic is now, but Minolta seems to learn a lot more from Leica than Panasonic does (which is more interested in licensing agreement). Minolta lenses and Olympus lenses are neck to neck at times in term of sharpness. You should try Minolta too, even just for the experience.

  • alphonse2501

    Does the source states the minimum distance?

    I have one Sigma OM 24mm f2.8, minimum distance is 0.18mm (ye, it’s macro – 1:4 in 35mm film). So I wounder can Olympus or other brands make width angle lens with macro capacity.

  • Jack

    Admin, you are on a roll!!!!! May be I should get the 12mm 2.0 afterall, even though I have the 7-14.

    • admin

      I will buy both, the 12mm and 45mm lenses!

      • +1 :-D

      • and what about the pl25?
        i really hoping that lens will make things *pop*

        *EDIT: i forgot that you already have the voigtlander

  • For those questioning distance scale together with focus by wire, it’s worth pointing out that there’s nothing about m4/3 that would prevent them from making an AF m4/3 lens with mechanical manual focus. Not saying that’s what Olympus will do here, but they could.

    • AndyOz

      Brian – totally agree. With 4/3 there were alot of focus by wire lenses but also some of their high end “pro” lenses such as the 12-60 were designated SWD and the dpreview site says that they have a direct mechanical manual focus as well as ultra fast AF. So as you say there is nothing to prevent a m4/3 lens having mechanical focus. I would love to see something in the 20-25mm focal length range as well from Olympus with distance scales plus 1 zoom like the 12-60. Now that would be a high quality small camera system.

    • cL

      Yes, those of you who have used a SWD know it’s mechanical focusing. I am somewhat ambivalent about SWD. Is it fast? Yes, it’s fast, but not always accurate. So for those of you who really do care about using a mechanical focusing, buy SWD not for the AF, but for the direct control of focus.

      For those of you who prefer CDAF (the kind of AF you use when you use LiveView for composing), High Speed Imager AF is MUCH faster (the kind Zuiko 14-54mm MK II for regular 4/3 uses).

      I personally don’t mind focus by wire, because it allows the engineer to design a focus ring that can be rotated a lot longer. When I first used 50mm f2 macro, I noticed to go from minimum focus distance to infinite, you need to rotate the focus ring for two full revolutions around the lens. This can be very annoying for people who want to MF really quickly, but extremely useful for macro shooters because MF can be done at much higher precision.

      Some people hate focus by wire is just like some drivers hate auto transmission. They feel stick shift give them more tactile feedback. It’s just a matter of shooting style. Or like manual focus vs auto focus…. Just preference.

  • kray

    check specs…. WHOOHOO!
    check bank account…. D’OH!

  • Hey guys.

    Don’t want to troll. But, do you shoot wideangle so much? I mean, that, I personally, eventhough I have the SEL 16/2.8 (24mm FOV) + UWA adapter = 18mm FOV, which I really like for scenery and tight space shots… use this focal length not very often. As I personally like the FOV of around 35mm – 85mm much more. I guess, that VC ultron 28/1.9, nokton 35/1.2 and Rokkor 58/1.2 are my most favorite lenses because of the perspective they give on APSC.

    And you have to remember, that yeah, you get a 24/2 equivalent, which is sharp, fast, perfect and all… BUT! we are talking about a lens that still is a 12mm lens and still has the perspective of a 12mm lens.

    I guess, it will be the same with the 20/1.7… I like the lens very much. It is the only reason I am keeping my EP1. As the FL equals the diagonal of the sensor, it is truly a normal lens for the m4/3 cameras. However, when I compare the shots with other lenses on my nex, eventhough the FOV is similar or almost similar, the perspective and the depth of the photos is inferior. The pictures don’t have the spacial separation, depth…. Please, don’t correct me again, I am not talking about DOF here. DOF is about FL, aperture and sensor size.

    Just my opinion. And really, no intention to poke anyone.

    And… I don’t know, but looks too pricey to me… for a 12mm small sensor lens.

    • Jack

      Cool, have fun with your lovely collection of Nex lens and trolling on 43 forum and we’ll enjoy shooting with this Olympus masterpiece. I guess there is no contradiction is there? :)

    • Nick Clark

      “The pictures don’t have the spacial separation, depth…. Please, don’t correct me again, I am not talking about DOF here. DOF is about FL, aperture and sensor size.”

      What are you talking about then?

    • Gianluca

      Pablo always the same song…the same sad song…do u remember what u told me about the voigtlander 25mm???
      …he told me that the lens was a wide angle, he didn’t know that in m43 there is a 2x crop factor….this says it all!!!

    • simon

      Sure, as a rule of thumb it will perform as a 24mm f/4 on full frame [so no it’s not a 24mm/2 equivalent], or a 16mm f/2.7 on your NEX. Well, not exactly because of the difference in aspect ratio, but that’s a minor difference. What else is new?

      To determine whether it’s expensive or not for what it does, let’s wait and see how it performs.

    • Not going into that silly depth discussion again.

      However, you got a point with the demand for a 12mm. I find myself using longer focal lengths more often than the shorter ones. Usually, most of the stuff I do is between 20 and 60mm on a (M)FT body.

      The 45mm will be interesting, I certainly will check out the 25mm from Panasonic Leica if there is a good Olympus body next month to use it with.

    • Robbie

      Well, there may not be many who use wide angle lens but at least, this is the first step Olympus take. I am sure there are more to come….

      • I don’t know what’s the problem. Unlike you there are loads of people using a wide-angle as their go to lens. You have the landscape and architecture photographers the street photographers using wide-angle lenses etc. Photography isn’t about portraits only.
        Why would you complain about a product you aren’t interested anyway?

        Edit: sorry, this was at Tobias and others above.

        • I am not complaining. I am just expressing my disinterest in a wide angle lens, no matter how good it may be. For myself, I can’t justify a purchase of €800 for a lens I’ll hardly use. In that, I agree with Pablo.

          I am very happy about the current rumors. Personally, I hope Olympus will replace the 17mm as well as that lens is pretty mediocre but offers a very useful focal length from my point of view.

    • Admin, Thom hogan, dear 43rumor friends&readers…please tell me that i’m just temporary insane!

      i’m tending to agree with pablo – i dont have scientific explanation as to why…but it seems all my m43 images look “flat” with less “depth” then aps-c to me, please tell me that i’m crazy, because ill be loosing my mind soon deciding if to keep m43 or not…
      i’m a student (low on cash) & have invested in GH1 7-14,14-140,20mm and its by far the best camera i’ve owned except – i dont like the flat output :(
      i’ve taken ~32,000 shots with it (previously owned 40D)

      this is the kind pictures i take:

      • Swejk

        … und Vollformat ist dann 3D ?

      • calxn

        It’s a real phenomenon. I saw it immediately when I first got the GF1 and 20mm, and it’s the reason I abandoned m43… for now.

        If you imagine a 24mm lens and a 50mm lens on FF, the image is not only wider on the 24mm but also the perspective is very different. It’s just the nature of wide-angle lens. They stretch the scene out and distorts perspective. It’s one of the reason you never want to shoot a portrait with a wide-angle lens.

        A 12mm m43 lens will have the same perspective of a 12mm FF lens. The FOV will look like a 24mm, but the perspective will be ultra-wide. It’s the reason the 45mm m43 lens will never have the feel of a FF 80mm.

        It comes down to this, you need to use the right tool for the specific job. It appears Olympus is on the mends so m43 may have some life left. However, if you want the FF look, you cannot get it with m43, regardless of how fast a lens is. If the job doesn’t require the FF look, then you’re ok. P&S have a certain look. m43 has theirs. APSC has theirs, and FF have theirs. My advice is to use the m43 when you want lightness and get a DSLR for when you want that traditional FF look.

        • Ab

          You are wrong, Perspective is about your position relative to the subject. A 12mm set at f2 with the same subject framing will look almost identical to a 24mm set at f4 on a FF body (with the FF set to two stops higher ISO, or two times the shutter speed).

          Some of us value a small light system which ensures faster shutter speeds and more DoF, as for many types of photography and styles it works very well. Many people are willing to pay for a well constructed, sharp wide open lens.. If you dont want it, well it wasnt designed for you then was it?


          • calxn…ab is right, the perspective is supposed to be “distance to subject” related, not to the lens/camera..

            • calxn

              I’m pretty certain you both are wrong. Unless you’re looking at what I said in some strange way. Perspective DO change with focal length. It is the angle of view that determines perspective. There is actual math that determines the angle of view of a lens. A 12mm m43 lens will have the same angle of view of a 12mm FF lens based on the 35mm standard. The FOV of the 12mm m43 lens is the same as a 24mm FF lens. Don’t confuse FOV with angle of view. Perspective is not changed by FOV. From Ab’s comments, it is clear he is confused by the difference between FOV and angle of view.

              This is science. There isn’t any argument. I’m sure you can google it.

              • “Perspective DO change with focal length.”

                No, it doesn’t. Only in bizarro-world.

                Perspective is about the position of the viewer to its subject. In order to change perspective, you have to change your position. If you take two shots on a tripod with different focal lengths, the perspective has NOT changed. The only thing changing by switching different focal lengths from the same position is the scale of the exposed scene.

                EVERY good text book about photography will teach you this.

                I’m getting bored by misinformed APS-C/FF trolls not knowing what they’re talking about…

              • Michael Devitt

                Calxn, just put your camera on tripod and set your zoom to wide, take a picture then set zoom to tele and shoot again. Don’t change distance between camera and subject and don’t refocus (unless you’ve got cinema lens zoom ;)). As you see perspective wasn’t changed at all (you just did optical crop).

                “A 12mm m43 lens will have the same angle of view of a 12mm FF lens based on the 35mm standard.”
                No, those lenses just have the same focal length, the FOV depends on sensor/film size. Cheers ;).

              • Hi calxn & Pablo,

                It is a common misconception that focal length affects perspective. It has been proven time and again that only the distance from camera to subject, and subject to background affect these. (This fallacy spreads because different focal lengths do encourage you to change your distance – the relationship between focal length and perspective is INdirect.)

                I used to believe the myth too (I’d read that crop sensor cameras caused different perspective in David DuChemin’s”Within The Frame” – I have a lot of respect for the author, but he will be the first to admit he knows more about photographic vision than gear.) But I’ve heard this repeatedly debunked as untrue.

                Think about this: if focal length of a lens affected perspective, then point & shoot cameras, with their actual focal lengths in the realm of 5mm would always create grotesquely distorted photos.

                Get a tripod, a subject, and a background, and it doesn’t matter what camera or lens or focal length you use… crop the images and the subject will have the same relative scale to the background.

                Instead of directing you to amazon, or Google, here are some sources i can remember coming across recently.


            • calxn

              > perspective is supposed to be “distance to subject”

              You’ve proven my point!

              You’re confused by what you’ve learned. Perspective, as viewed by the human eye, is relative to your position to the subject. The human eye’s angle of view is approximately constant. Therefore, perspective does not change unless you move in closer or farther out. A 12mm m43 lens and a 12mm FF lens have the same angle of view. It’s constant. Therefore, the perspective of the two are equal.

              • calxn, were not comparing same MM here, i.e 25mm on m43 VS. 50mm FF= would be the same 1.FOV 2.Perspective (because you havent moved anywhere with your feet, but seeing the same FOV)

                The answer of the FF vs M43 look still eludes us…

              • dumbo

                by your theory, this would surely mean that a 25mm on a 4/3 sensor would produce a much more ‘3d’ looking image instead on full frame, as there is more distortion. 80mm & 90mm are used on ff to give portraits without distortion,i.e. flat.
                so by your theory, 4/3 and small sensors should produce much more 3d looking images than ff or medium format.

                depth in pictures comes down to lighting. dont light (natural or artificial) a scene and it’s flat, light it with lots of light wrapping around the subject and it has more perceived depth to it – what ever the lenght/sesnor is.

              • Ab

                You are still wrong. You dont need a camera to test perspective, just get close to something with your eye and see the perspective change.

                Long lenses flatten the distance between objects only because they magnify a small part of an image. You could take a 12mm lens and a 300mm lens (as long as they were both perfect and had unlimited resolution in the recording media) and you could crop out the bit shown by the 300mm lens from the 12mm lens image and they would look identical as long as you didnt move the camera.

                You can test it with a camera as someone said. Zoom to the widest setting with your camera on a tripod, take a shot, then zoom in (without refocussing as that may lead to a small change) take another picture. Then take the larger picture and see if you can drop it in place in the smaller picture by sizing down. YOu will notice there has been no change in the perspectibe of that part of the image as you didnt move the camera.

                I cant explain it any more if you cant see it. It has nothing to do with cameras, it is called perspective and artists learn how to use it as well :)


              • cL


                Look for Thom’s post about the differences between perspective and angle of view. But what I am going to provide here is an illustrated example.

                Exercise #1: (same thing we did in photography class). Go shoot a scene using different focal lengths (be extreme as you can). Shoot exactly the same frame, cover exactly the same “field of view” using an ultra wide angle, a normal focal length and a super telephoto focal length (you need to move your legs). Let’s say you shoot a lighthouse. The “perspective” of your ultra wide angle shot will make things closer to you significantly larger than the top of the lighthouse (i.e., foreshortening). Whereas as you go longer, the perspective will become flatter and more normal.

                Exercise #2: Shoot two photos in the same position (i.e., don’t move): one uses the ultra wide angle, the other uses the super telephoto. Crop the ultra wide angle photo so it shows the same field of view as your super telephoto covers, see if they’re the same photo. The exaggerated perspective of an ultra wide angle won’t be flattened just because you cropped the photo to the same field of view as your photo from the super telephoto lens.

                Hope this illustration makes everything easy to understand.

                • Ab

                  Exercise #2: Shoot two photos in the same position (i.e., don’t move): one uses the ultra wide angle, the other uses the super telephoto. Crop the ultra wide angle photo so it shows the same field of view as your super telephoto covers, see if they’re the same photo. The exaggerated perspective of an ultra wide angle won’t be flattened just because you cropped the photo to the same field of view as your photo from the super telephoto lens.

                  You are wrong, and probably didnt do the test. Perspective is all about where you stand in relationship to the subject. That is why people give you “their perspective”.

                  You have used cameras to muddle a very simple subject. Wide angles lenses display more periphery info than telephoto, but dont change your relationship to the objects in the telephoto lens as long as you dont move.

                  It is simply physics, how could your relationship to an object change if you dont move?

                  That is all i have to say for real now, if you dont get that, you have been blinded by cameras :)

                  • cL

                    I understand you fully, but you should do the test before you said this. Closer you’re to the subject, the more exaggerated it would be, but since ultra wide angle do give different perspective because the angle of view is different, so you will get different photos.

                    Do you honestly think you could use a telephoto lens and go up close to a tall building and that’ll give you the same effect as using an ultra wide angle at the same position? One shot with ultra wide angle will give you a very forbidding building, whereas a telephoto will give you a normal looking building, even when you’re up close….

                    There are lots of situations where you MUST use your legs, but don’t ignore the value of an ultra wide angle for distorting your perspective (for artistic reason). Telephoto won’t distort your photo (much, if any) even if you move…. And there are times you’d prefer using a zoom than moving legs, simply you don’t want the perspective to change. That’s all what I was trying to say with those exercise above.

          • Ab, you’re absolutely right – with both paragraphs.

            Everybody disagreeing should go to Amazon and order a basic textbook about photography. I can recommend Ansel Adams “The Camera” which may be old and referring to analog cameras mostly when talking about technology itself, but the facts and laws of nature about optics and physics have not changed since.

            For those already owning that book, turn to page 106 where Adams talks about basic image management and explains perspective and what makes an image with depth and what makes an image that appears flat.

            • Ab

              Funnily enough you can test it without owning a camera, bring your fingers close to your eye (so your fingertips are pointing at your eye and the hand is level with the fingertips) and look at the distortion of hour hand, and then move it out and the distortion eases away.

              I studied art, it is just as relevant there. Sometimes cameras just get people all worked up, and they forget perspective is not created by lenses but exists.


        • You’ve hit on why the whole “equivalence” thing is as bunch of hooey. Different systems give a different look to scene, and a photographer will end up taking different images.

          As for DOF, perspective, and people, 35mm is already a compromise compared to medium format. 4/3’s (and APS-C for that matter) are a further compromise. Oh, and the difference between 4/3’s and APS-C just isn’t that much, especially after you crop for printing.

      • MaxElmar

        Nope. You just haven’t figured out how to get what you want. I shoot everything from 8×10 film on down to m43 and every lens on every format (every size and every aspect ratio) is different with “perspective,” depth of field, and composition. There’s a learning curve and if you don’t practice – a lot – you’ll never learn.

        Generally, if you want the appearance of depth in photos the easy (but not only) answer is using faster lenses and getting closer. Wide angle views are different – those photos rely much more on composition to create the illusion. Remember, in photography, depth is always an illusion – it’s a two dimensional media in a three dimensional world. Don’t blame the format if you haven’t figured it out yet.

    • Inge-M

      Maybe 12mm F2 is the we need, if room is dark pub or cafe.

    • fta


      Your quote
      “And you have to remember, that yeah, you get a 24/2 equivalent, which is sharp, fast, perfect and all… BUT! we are talking about a lens that still is a 12mm lens and still has the perspective of a 12mm lens.”

      I’m all for discussions, but can people please refrain from spreading false information. Thank you.

      For the rest of you, here is the truth, from “Canon EF Lens Work III” page 149
      “…Perspective is related to angle of view, so even if the focal length is different for each particular lens, if the resulting angle is the same due to the difference in image size…the perspective will remain unchanged, too”

      Thank you

    • Lot of stuff in the sub-threads under this to answer, but first

      @Pablo: some people do prefer the 35-80mm focal length range. It generated the majority of pictures they’re used to seeing, mainly because that’s all the cameras had available for the most part. Rangefinders in particular had a fairly restrictive range due to parallax and framing issues–it was just easier to shoot with a 35mm, 50mm, and ~70mm. If you’re comfortable with that, great, you don’t need much from a camera company (though very few are actually delivering it for some reason).

      @tobias: demand for shorter focal lengths depends upon who you ask. The more serious and sophisticated the shooter, the more they want something outside 28-80mm. As Sontag wrote, each generation needs to go beyond the previous one in photography, otherwise all you do is what’s already been done. Moreover, we’ve already got that entire range with the kit lens and a bunch of lenses in that range.

      @frosti7: you’re temporarily insane ;~). Actually, you just need more learning. m4/3 doesn’t have to look flat. I don’t believe my m4/3 images look flat. But it can look flat if you don’t understand the tool and what it does. DOF does not equal Depth. Just the opposite, as a matter of fact. Or eye/brain tend to interpret slightly out of focus as meaning “further away.” It’s a lot more complicated than that, but my point remains: you can create the appearance of depth with m4/3.

      @calxn: you are making incorrect statements, as others have pointed out. Perspective varies only with distance, not focal length. It actually wouldn’t matter if our eyes were different focal lengths. If you shoot with a 12mm m4/3 and a 24mm FX body from the same position, you get the same angle of view AND the same perspective. “We made too many wrong mistakes.” –Yogi Berra

      • Thank you for the diagnosis :)

        …besides improving my photography (which is the most important) i wonder if the more flat appearance (to my eyes) may be caused by a lower Dynamic Range / Color Fidelity of the more limited m43 sensors

        • cL


          Yes, what greyhat said is true. When an former friend showed me a photo she said a lot of people said if she photoshopped it, I immediately told her it’s because she used a P&S with small aperture. The depth of field is wonderful for something, and we all need it, but at times, not enough depth of field will give you 2D look. If everything is in focus, how do you know which is farther and which is closer on a 2D format like a photo?

          What Thom said is right. Choose your lighting correctly though. That decides the fate of your photos more than your camera’s sensor size.

          That said, one of the most abused techniques too shallow DoF. Again, just a typical photo convention, not hard rule, usually you want just enough depth of field to cover your entire subject, and your subject only. Too deep of DoF makes photo uninteresting and clustered, and too shallow makes people confused about what exactly you’re shooting for. The wrong techniques can be used to your advantage of course. If you used a super shallow DoF, and you focus on only a small fraction of a face, say, a scar on a face, that’s extremely effective and tells a lot more story than a straight photo of a man with scar. If you focused on the wrong area and used a super shallow DoF, people will just laugh at you as a DoF whore…. Typically we should shoot with straight, textbook style convention, unless that shallow DoF (aka selective focus) is called for.

          Dynamic range will cause overblown highlight/clipping shadow in an uneven lighting situation. Not DoF problem. In fact, I find high dynamic range situation makes a photo more 3D. But once you use HDR to even out uneven light, what you get is a flattened photo…. That’s why some HDR photos look beautiful in term of exposure, but stinks as a photo, because it has no depth of field. I will even suggest try shooting your macro with extremely uneven lighting (but even out the lighting of your subject with a flash) and see how beautiful your bokeh will become without using large aperture.

          • “…at you as a DoF whore….” that’s the first time i hear this technical term :)

            And yes, i hate HDR photography..not because it looks digital, but its just not nice (and flat)

        • cL


          One more thing…. If color fidelity is what you care for (which Olympus camera should have no problem with…), you should try shooting with a gray card. You need to set up custom white balance (look at your camera’s manual on how to do that), and shoot the the gray card and the color will be correct most of the time (except purple, which is a problem for most cameras even for film cameras and that’s why some films are designed for shooting purple). In some weird lighting situation (especially high dynamic lighting), it’ll cause your camera to underexpose/overexpose, and it’s easy to mess up the color. Using the gray card will ensuring the exposure is correct, and color more correct.

          It saves a lot of post-processing time for me and gives me a lot more useful photos. More post-process you do, less sharp the image will become and I HATE photos that are not sharp….

          • I do not care for correct colors or not…but i do care for “fidelity”
            when i was talking about colors its more about the number of colors and the graduation of transition between them, accurcy here plays little role for me as i prefer unconventional colors

            • cL

              I think you mean you don’t want color banding. In that case, use AdobeRGB instead of sRGB, as it has wider gamut (more color spectrum). Just remember, your monitor usually only supports up to sRGB (as well as your OS), unless you have high end models. AdobeRGB will only show up when you use graphics software that shows them. Default Windows photo viewer thing is only sRGB, so are most popular photo sharing sites. For accurate color, you also need to calibrate your monitor, so you need also to buy monitor calibrator. They will cost several hundreds of dollars, but if you print photos a lot, it is a must have….

              LCD monitor is such a terrible standard because color fidelity is extremely low, but consumers prefer it because they’re so thin and attractive to look at, but color rendition is terrible unless you buy one with IPS panel.

              Photography is a very expensive hobby, especially if you’re very seriously about it (and I am glad you have the desire to learn more rather than staying at status quo). I would say you simply hook up your computer using HDMI to your HDTV if you have one to compare result. Usually good brand name HDTV are tuned with good color quality already (use Standard, not Vivid color mode though). If color banding still occurs, then it’s your photos…. Avoid shooting at high dynamic range. If you’re shooting JPEGs…, use RAW when you know the scene is going to be in high dynamic range situation. You have more room to control it that way and you’ll figure it out how to fix it next time. Usually Apple’s Cinema Display are made of IPS panel, so if you have them (or your friends have them, try to see your photos on them). Just some diagnosis. I don’t know your set up so I am just giving very general opinion.

            • cL


              One more thing…, if you like unconventional color…. Have you thought about shooting films? Using expired films or try to cross-process films can give you interesting results.

              If you want to do it digitally, you still need accurate color as a base. I find tweaking color using accurate color photos as a base give you more flexibility (and it’s reversible…. Once you get tired of the color, go back to accurate color, try another set of color tint, etc.).

      • greyhat

        Thom is right and you are partially right: because brain thinks out of focus is further away, m43 sensor, because is smaller, has greater DOF, i.e. more distances in focus _for the same aperture_. Because m43 today does not offer many fast glass you tend to use an equivalent FF aperture of F8 or more (F4 on m43), i.e. less “depth”. That’s why today, due to existent lenses choice, you are right in practice.
        You need faster lenses to get FF depth: 2 times faster. This 12mm F2 or SLR magic 12mm F1.6 may help you.

        • Thank you greyhat and cL for your very detailed responses! I’m fully aware of the DOF difference, and i deliberately ignored the “DOF” issue in my post, because of two reasons
          1) im aware of it (spent countless of minutes in dofmaster)
          2) i don’t think that’s the MAIN reason that i’m not happy with m43 vs my old APS-C camera

          so it appears my main grip with the m43 sensor is currently the dynamic range (above dof and iso abilities)

          • cL

            Well, if that’s the case, go get a camera with bigger sensor, as that’s the only way around it. I hate to say that. That still doesn’t mean m4/3 can’t do it, but you’ll have to work extra hard for it. I shoot landscape with my E-620…, trust me, I work extra hard for my work, but I find my photos are better than other people’s with better cameras, because in the process I found out the “why” on a lot of things….

            I see a lot of spirit in you, and you already beat a lot of people, who doesn’t want to learn, but only want to buy…. Maybe one day you’ll become a great photographer. Maybe I shouldn’t say that, since such encouragement is often a mixed blessing…. You be who you want to be.

    • Nathan

      Sure, the EFL’s from 35-85 (in my case, 28-80mm EFL) get used the absolute most by your average street or landscape or portrait photographer. But I know guys who only do landscapes and interiors, and they use 24mm ALL THE TIME. They love having a rectilinear wide prime.

      A fisheye is not very useful in commercial work.

    • Oliver

      12mm f/2 will be equivalent to 24mm f/2.8 or higher on a FF camera. f/2.8 or higher in terms of DOF but still equivalent to f/2 in terms of the amount of light.

      The size of the (m)43 sensor doesn’t crop the amount of light, only double DOF.

      • Inge-M

        M4/3 12mm F2 or FF 24mm F4 ca. same DOF
        But if use 24mm F2 on FF or M4/3 is the F2 ONLY F2,
        BUT 24mm on FF is wide, and the is ca. normal on M4/3

    • cL

      Everyone shoots differently. Most people prefer focal length near 47mm range (the human eye’s perspective, in 35mm term of course), some like slightly longer, like 50mm, and some like it slightly wider, like 40mm. It’s all personal choices.

      12mm is around 24mm in 35mm term, and what you said is all correct, but to answer your question, it’s because some of us need to use it for landscape. 24mm (35mm term) is usually for grand landscapes, like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, etc., because it’s too wide for normal human eyes can cover in one glance. If you’re in confined space, you also need an ultra wide angle like 24mm for shorter working distance. It’s not good for portrait photos nor good for macros. Some tourists like using ultra wide angle to cover as many things in one photo as possible, but for proper composition, that’s not the best focal length to use, because the composition would have no focus (i.e., no specific goal, snap shot looking).

      12mm (24mm) @ f2…, I would definitely see it as a house party lens and shoot them in their face and make their face distorted like cartoon characters…. Landscape you don’t need anything larger than f4 (seriously, you don’t even need f5.6). But if you’re in a museum, where a flash is not allowed, f2 definitely will be useful. New York’s Time Square or Las Vegas at night would also be good place to use such wide angle with such big aperture that you don’t normally need.

      If you think this lens is not for you, then you don’t have to buy it. It’s just a choice. Just because it’s available, doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Choose the set of focal lengths that’s best for you. For most consumers, it’s a zoom lens that go from 24mm-80mm (in 35mm term) should cover most of the situation. I personally use super telephoto a lot, but that’s me you see. Just because I shoot at telephoto for a certain thing does that mean what I do is right and what you prefer to be doing is wrong? There are always conventions (like the stuff I just mentioned), and they’re just conventions…, not absolute rule. They work most of the time, not ALL the time.

      • Mr. Reeee

        Actually my eye is about 70mm, full-frame.
        Accounting for the 2x M4/3 crop, my Voightländer 35mm f1.4 is just about perfect!

        Yeah, I walked around with my 14-1400mm set at different zoom points to double-check. ;-)

        • cL

          My eyes are about 35mm FF. This “normal” focal length thing is just arbitrarily set initially based on a “typical” person’s field of view. It also depends on how deep are your eye sockets and curve of your eyes. Do not take it seriously. It’s all convention and history and how things came to be (and they don’t always make sense).

          But 70mm is very narrow…. How do you drive a car? Anyways, a lot of times I shoot with my 50-200mm’s 200mm end (400mm), probably more than I use a normal lens…. That’s just how my eyes see. Either really wide or really narrow (and far away).

  • Narretz

    This all sounds great, but …

    .. it’s still only a 12 mm.

  • Peter F.

    But where’s the “sex appeal” body to go with lenses like this. This seems to be the first lens that surpasses what is/was available for regular 43. So there need to be a comparable body (read, solid body with EVF built in) to go with it. Obviously its on its way, or they wouldn’t have bothered with this “pro” quality lens… but WHEN?

    • NEX Appeal

      Beautiful girl walks by and says, “Wow, is that an Olympus 12mm 2.0? How about a date?” ;)

      • MikeS



        • Luke

          “oh, sorry……your camera body is more like a toy”

          puts clothes back on and runs away laughing.

          • NEX Appeal

            You whip out your shiny E-P3, she comes running back, and @#$%* %^@…

          • And if its a GF-3, its a miniature toy

    • Inge-M

      Peter F. You mean Olympus not have 12mm F2 in 4/3,
      but the is the first lens by HG in M4/3.
      Reason for the is maybe Pen is smaller, and for new type use, so not the large E-x and E-xx not is to mean.

  • DonTom

    Well, it sounds great, even if it is not for me, I think the 9-18mm will better suit my needs. But I would definitely want to handle it before making the decision! If I took more low-light landscapes or interior shots it would be a no-brainer.

  • I never praised nex lenses. So I don’t understand why everyone keeps throwing this argument to my face. However, I am really happy with the 16/2.8. For that little money it does very well, what it is supposed to do. Btw. the 18-55 kit zoom, regarding some reviews and comparisons, isn’t so bad as you would like, either. And I can say with confidence, that I like the shots from it more that from that plastic toy 14-42 lens, I got with my EP1.

    Anyway, I don’t shoot the kit zoom, as I use legacy primes 95% of the time. So please, do not repeat the “nex lens” argument to me again.

    I am happy too, that Oly has made finally a wide angle quality choice lens. It is great, that the, hopefully outstanding and I sincerely hope, progressive and special, comming Olympus sensor can be paired with a fine quality native lens that is wider than that overpriced 45/2.8.

    I also applaud the m4/3 system to the 25/1.4 from Leica. The quality of the Leica aspherical glass can be really seen in the character of the pictures made with that lens.

    The only thing I wanted to focus your attention to, is that with the crop sensor, and having to use 2x the FL needed for a particular FOV, you are loosing depth due to flatting out the perspective. As there is a big difference in that when you compare the depth of a shot made with a 25mm x 2 crop sensor or a 50mm lens on FF.

    Leica glass is superb, Olympus glass is great (for the money). Just hope for you, they can bring a sensor with good DR finally. So m4/3 shots don’t look so blown out like from a P&S no longer.

    • simon

      It’s quite simple really: multiply the f-number by the so-called ‘crop factor’ to get the equivalent full frame f-number. The 12mm/2 will look like a 24mm/4 on full frame, and the 25mm/1.4 like a 50mm/2.8 on full frame.

      For a given angle of view, it’s the size of the aperture (not the f-number itself) that determines the depth of field. Angle of view and depth of field are the only two specifications (other than detailed optical construction) that determine the look of the image. The size of the sensor has nothing to with it, other than through the other parameters.

      I agree with you on the sensor DR issue. My E-P1 doesn’t look any better than my 7 year old E-1 at low ISOs. That’s just sad.

    • Gianluca

      Pablo…tell us how much “soul” and 3d look give your 16mm f2.8 lens???
      …is probably one of the worse prime lens ever made…no one review say this is a decent lens…
      if you take a look at this page you’ll see a comparison between gf3+14mm f.2.5 and sonynex5 with 16mm f.2.8…you have to scroll down the page a little bit…can you tell me which one has the P&s look????? ;)

      • Damn it! I am talking about perspective and depth of a photograph that comes from a particular FL and a bigger sensor compared to the compressed and flat perspective you get from the short FLs on m4/3 sensors. You keep repeating the NEX lens BS. I repeat, never said I liked the NEX lenses. In fact, I don’t care about them, as with the bigger NEX sensor, I can use legacy glass of normal FLs without ending up with telephoto shots as with m4/3. However I do like the 16/2.8 for what it is. For that VERY little money you have NO choice among the m4/3 lenses. Try to compare the prices of the pany 14/2.5 and the 16/2.8!

        Btw. Gianluca, you still didn’t get it, did you? The Nokton 25/0.95 IS and allways will be a wideangle lens. FOV is only the outcome of cropping. 25mm FL is wide angle NO MATTER WHAT small sensor you put behind it to crop it, the picture will NOT BE looking like from a 50mm lens, no matter how big the apperture opening is.

        • Parci

          So how exactly is “depth” and “perspective” different between a m43 25mm and a ff 50mm lens? Do explain the physics please…

        • simon

          “The Nokton 25/0.95 IS and allways will be a wideangle lens. FOV is only the outcome of cropping. 25mm FL is wide angle NO MATTER WHAT small sensor you put behind it to crop it, the picture will NOT BE looking like from a 50mm lens, no matter how big the apperture opening is.”

          Sorry, but that’s absolutely wrong. A wide angle lens is one that is designed to capture a wide angle (hence the name). It has nothing to do with the mm scale per se, only in relation to the sensor size.

          Assuming ideal lenses, there is no way you can distinguish the central part of a full frame image taken with a 25mm lens (similar to 4/3) from a full image taken with a 50mm lens at twice the f-number.

          • Correct. We seem to have a lot of incorrect information and assumptions peppering this discussion. Let’s see if I can help.

            “Wide angle” is a term made up after the fact to describe what something does. As Simon says, it simply describes a lens that has a large angle of view. So what determines angle of view besides focal length? Capture size (and image circle size if it’s smaller than the capture size).

            A lot of people here need to Google “photographic equivalence” and see what happens. There are five basic things that matter in taking “equivalent” photos: perspective, angle of view, DOF, shutter speed, and size of the final output. (I’m going to leave out sensor efficiency and glass transmission and a host of other small variables. They don’t make much difference in the final outcome we’re talking about.)

            We can take care of that last item (size of output) by just saying we’re going to make an 8×10″ print as our final result to judge everything else by. We can take care of the first item (perspective) by just photographing in the same spot. Not too hard to set the same shutter speed, so we’ll just do that. Which leaves two things: angle of view and DOF.

            Angle of view is determined by the focal length of the lens, the imaging circle of the lens, and the capture area. A change of any one of those things can change the angle of view. An “equivalent” angle of view for m4/3, DX, and FX would be achieved with the proper 12mm, 16mm, and 24mm lens respectively.

            That leaves us DOF. If you’re using the Zeiss variation for DOF calculation the variables that determine DOF are distance, focal length, aperture, and circle of confusion. Distance was already made equal by perspective. Circle of confusion varies with the capture size and essentially relates to size of output (that’s a given in the Zeiss definition). We’re using different focal lengths here (12, 16, 24) so guess what happens: you need a different aperture to be “equivalent.”

            But the more important thing to note here is that you can make an equivalent shot (assuming you have enough aperture range, which isn’t always true, and one of the reasons why so many of us bought the 25mm f/0.95, which gives us a 50mm f/2 equivalence (FX).

            • Dear Tom Hogan,
              Thank you for your technical support.
              Perhaps you and Admin should create a M43-related photographic dictionary for – some kind of “Wikipedia for digital photography”.

            • cL

              Thanks Thom, for the clarification. :-)

              I think a lot of antagonism toward Pablo is due to people couldn’t understand what he was trying to say (what he was saying is much more technical than most other people “thought” he was saying). Thanks for explaining those complicated ideas in easy terms, and I hope people understand where the conflict come from now.

              @everyone, here are a few additional terms that’s good to know.

              In 35mm standard:

              Normal focal length is 50mm (47mm is human eye perspective, and 50mm is the closest round number).

              Wide angle is defined as 35mm and wider.

              There is no specific line to draw between wide and ultra wide angle, but typically 24mm or wider are called ultra wide angle, because anything wider than 24mm, the perspective would be significantly distorted toward the corners.

              A fisheye is a special kind of ultra wide angle where the perspective is so distorted, it looks like how fish sees through the fish bowl. There is no specific focal length that defines what’s a fisheye lens.

              85-125mm (aka, portrait focal length), are call medium telephoto focal length.

              Anything longer than 300mm is typically called super telephoto. Again, like ultra wide angle, there is no absolute rule that defines what’s a super telephoto. 300mm is as arbitrary as 24mm.

              Artists do not think like scientists. There is no hard rule about anything. I know it’s comforting for scientific minds to have pre-set rules, but that’s why artists are typically more creative, because there is no box you need to think outside of.

              f/number = focal length / aperture width. f/2 for a 50mm lens is therefore, 25mm wide (50mm / 25mm = f/2). It’s more complicated than that because there is retrofocus design, and format you’re using that complicates the calculation, but that’s the fundamental theory behind the f/number system. That’s why f/2 is always f/2, in term of how much light is passing through “a tunnel” of specific width for at a specific distance, no matter what the format is being used. DoF is a total different matter.

              What you guys said were about what you see on photo (effective focal length). What Pablo said was optical theory. Different subject matter.

              • simon

                cL: “That’s why f/2 is always f/2, in term of how much light is passing through “a tunnel” of specific width for at a specific distance, no matter what the format is being used. DoF is a total different matter.

                “What you guys said were about what you see on photo (effective focal length). What Pablo said was optical theory. Different subject matter.”

                Actually, ‘optical theory’ is exactly what I (and Thom, I suspect) was referring to. In geometric optics (idealized) the f-number determines the relative intensity of the light hitting the sensor. However, the depth of field (for a given angle of view) correlates with the total luminous flux (intensity x sensor size). It so happens that by scaling the f-number along with the focal length you end up with the same angle and the same depth of field.

                Also, it’s no coincidence that this equivalence maintains (1) the aperture diameter and (2) theoretical noise performance (because the amount of light is the same). The theory is nicely consistent in that way.

                • > f/2 is always f/2

                  Since we’re getting into the technical here, that’s actually not exactly true, either. f/stops are theoretical. In Hollywood we use t/stops (transmission stops, or the actual amount of light that gets through the lens). Since coatings and air/glass transitions can reduce light, a simple f/2 lens and a complex f/2 lens can actually be as much as a stop apart in the amount of light they transmit. I have a whole table of t/stops measured on my Nikon lenses, haven’t gotten around to it yet with my m4/3 lenses.

                  • Inge-M

                    Normal angle, is not the angle so human eye have,
                    or ca. 47 degree.

                  • Thom, it would be great to see how the both 25mm lens and the 20mm pancake compare in T-stops…

                    And later i would like to see if the m43 sensor is able to “SEE” more light at voiltagnder f0.95 vs the PL25 f1.4

                    That would be super :)

                • cL

                  I have no problem understand Thom (and yes, he was talking about optic theories alright), but I have trouble understanding you…. Keep in mind I am not the expert on the field, but I did study a lot of photography, based on lots of hand-on experience and classroom setting, but not optical theories per se.

                  If possible, use easier to understand terms when you’re educating someone. That’s what I do when I feel the person may have difficulty understanding a very difficult subject matter. I was thinking about being a professor (in business related area), so I was constantly thinking about how to make things digestible (repetition of keywords, recapping concepts, cause and effect, etc.). I was often told I made everything so easy to understand, and I am pretty happy I could do that. I hope I meant no offense.

                  Anyways, here is a question I need clarification:

                  You said, “It so happens that by scaling the f-number along with the focal length you end up with the same angle and the same depth of field.”

                  It still doesn’t address my original concern. Yes, all of that has to do with DoF, and field of view, but how does that address my original concern that f/2, on the matter of amount of light gathered, and DoF? Field of view, the way I understand it, has to do with angle, not amount of light.

                  Correct me if I were wrong, DoF has to do with discrepancy of speed in which light travels. Camera does not capture light directly, but captures the light reflects off something. A subject closer to your camera, the light will travel into your camera in a much shorter distance than something farther away. By using a large aperture, you’re effectively shortens the shutter speed “relative to” using a smaller aperture under the same condition. Example: f/8 @ 1/250″ captures the same amount of light as f/16 @ 1/60″. But think about it, do you think things farther away will have the same chance of entering the aperture using only 1/250″ than a much slower shutter of 1/60″? Whereas the subject closer to you that you metered for, will definitely have ample of chance for the full spectrum of light to enter the pre-specific aperture you set. That’s what makes photo shot with f/8 @ 1/250″ much shallower depth of field than f/16 @ 1/60″ though “same amount” of light were gathered. But with larger aperture, the amount of light gathered is biased toward objects closer to you (and few high energy, short wavelength blue light from far end, but not spectrum from low energy long wavelength warm spectrum), which gives you the illusion things closer to you look sharper, and things farther away look fuzzy (because reflection of light off farther subject couldn’t squeeze into the small aperture in time). I was just using an over-simplified example with flat lens.

                  So in the example above, both settings have the same amount of light, doesn’t mean they have the the same DoF. My understanding is, THEORETICALLY, f/2 from a 4/3 lens gathers the same amount of light as a f/2 on a FF (or any other format) given the same focal length. IF they use same shutter speed (as they should, because a Sunny 16 situation is always Sunny 16 no matter which camera format you use), the DoF difference is due to differences of light traveling speed because of distance described above.

                  Angle of view is something Thom already explained. It’s how wide the scope the lens sees, not how deep it sees.

                  • cL, I agree my post was a bit terse. It wasn’t meant to educate as much as to set the record straight regarding the (non-)difference between what you see and what the theory says.

                    For a more educational, and much more wordy, version of what I wrote, you can search for ‘photographic equivalence’ as Thom suggested. Alternatively, click on my name and browse the ‘essays’ section on my site.

                    With respect, I think you are a little confused about depth of field. First, forget about the speed of light and photon energies for this purpose. It’s all about geometry.

                    Light scatters off objects and some of it is captured by the lens. Certainly, the aperture of the lens is larger from the perspective of objects that are close by, so a larger fraction of the light bouncing off that object will be captured. However, objects close by will also be larger on the sensor so this light is spread out more thinly. The amount of light that reaches the sensor scales as 1/distance^2, but so does the area of that object on the sensor. The net effect is that closeness has no effect on the brightness (except at macro distances). That makes sense, or your eyes would see everything drop off in darkness at the horizon.

                    Look at the various basic lens drawings on the web. You see a cone of light from an object that is captured by a lens and focused onto the sensor. The width of this cone (from the sensor perspective) is a function of the f-number. The wider the cone, the higher the sensitivity to small changes in focus. That’s depth of field for you.

                    As to why depth of field is related to the total light flux onto the sensor, that’s best seen from the equations, I’m afraid.

                  • Esa Tuunanen

                    >Correct me if I were wrong, DoF has to do with discrepancy of speed in which light travels. Camera does not capture light directly, but captures the light reflects off something. A subject closer to your camera, the light will travel into your camera in a much shorter distance than something farther away. By using a large aperture, you’re effectively shortens the shutter speed “relative to” using a smaller aperture under the same condition. Example: f/8 @ 1/250″ captures the same amount of light as f/16 @ 1/60″. But think about it, do you think things farther away will have the same chance of entering the aperture using only 1/250″ than a much slower shutter of 1/60″?

                    Now you’re messing up things unnecessarily. Aperture really acts like bucket collecting rain water: bigger bucket collects same amount of water in shorter time than smaller bucket but distance/time traveled by light has nothing to with depth of field because light (reflected, unless light source itself) from objects which are farther just started its journey slightly earlier to arrive into camera at the same moment of exposure.
                    That bluish/greyish colour of far away objects in landscapes is just atmospheric effect.

                    Depth of field has to do with how lens forms image and thing called circle of confusion. Light coming from points out of focus forms disc instead of point in sensor plane making objects appear blurred when disc size exceeds certain size.
                    Use of smaller aperture simply makes circle of confusion smaller so more objects out of focus appear sharp and there’s less out of focus blur in everything in the image.

                    F-ratio called erroneously as aperture just tells how bright image lens draws (which affects to needed exposure time) and for actual aperture size you need to take focal length into account. That’s why photos taken with same angle/field of view giving lenses with different size sensors gives different amount of depth of field: Even if f-ratios are same actual aperture size differs because of different focal length.

              • Sigh.

                “Normal” is not exactly a fully agreed upon concept. And most of the explanations for it are wrong. “Normal” is usually said to be a focal length equal to the diagonal of the capture format. There are some very good reasons for that which I won’t go into here. But for a 24x36mm sensor (FX) or 35mm film, “normal” would be 43mm. For m4/3 it would be 22.5mm.

                A “fisheye” lens isn’t “distorted”, it takes in a hemispherical projection, where a regular lens produces a flat plane.

                • cL

                  Yes, normal is not a fully agreed upon concept that’s why most people are okay with 50mm as being normal because it’s not even exact. You can measure field of view diagonally or horizontally, either makes different “normal” lens. It’s an arbitrarily set standard based on a “typical” human eyes’ angle of view, but do you really think everyone’s eyes are exactly the same without variation? (heck, not everyone register the same color in their brains due to differences in the density of cones behind their retinas and the efficiency of their neuron receptors). I am merely stating the convention.

                  I hope you don’t misunderstand me when I used the word distorted to describe fisheye. Distortion isn’t not the same as an uncorrected lens when used in this way. The distortion (bending) is due to the spherical element of the lens that causes light to travel in a certain way.

                  • No, “normal” is not based upon the typical angle of view of a human eye. Focal length of an eye is about 22mm, and we see a very wide angle of view. However, our eyes have a curved sensor (retina) and an unusual distribution of photosites (cones and rods). You can’t make a direct comparison between human and camera.

                    When I said there was a reason for “normal” being equal to the diagonal of the capture, it has to do with linear distortion. It’s relatively easy to make a non-distorted optic of that focal length. That it happens to be within the general range of the human eye’s highest resolution area (40-60 degrees) is where the association with the eye came into play.

                    • cL

                      Thanks Simon and Esa Tuunanen. There is no argument about f-number and DoF issue. And how small format has greater depth of field (I’ve shot photos long enough to know the difference). Though you guys did make me go to Wiki and Simon’s website to read a little bit about Circle of Confusion, DoF theories and stuff to know the “why” but we all know 4/3 needs larger aperture to give same DoF from a FF….

                      The issue I was raising concerning Pablo’s question, which I thought to be a valid confusion. If he asked such question, there will be other people would ask also. My post was not about whether f/2 at different format will yield different DoF (we all know it’s not the same), BUT whether f/2 is the same across platforms because of light gathering property. Yes, in physical dimension they’re not the same (f-number is a ratio). That’s why while DoF from the same f-number are different across format, the other properties of the same f-number remains the same. I hope that sounds clear(er).

                    • cL

                      From what I read, the “angle of view” of human eyes are 95-98 degree, and some argues the combined angle of view is 108 degree. That’s the argument based on. You then have to go to a table of different camera formats to find the focal length that’s equal to it. That’s what I read and merely reporting it.

                      I did find the table and calculated it (using 95 degree), and you’re right about it’s close to 22mm (if using a 35mm format). It’s interesting but we were all taught this way doesn’t matter whether in school or among friends. It’s an urban legend it seems. Anyways, nice exchange of information. Bad info should be dispelled. If it’s using 40-60 degree and input it into the equivalent focal length calculator, that number will come to be around 35-50mm…, which is where the common myth comes from I guess.

        • Nick Clark

          By that argument your full-frame 50mm is a wide-angle as well.

          After all, it would be on medium-format :/

          A 14mm lens and a 300mm lens give identical ‘perspective’ – what they do differently is field of view.

      • Inge-M

        Well, maybe not good the thing, 16mm F2.8 pancake lens,
        need not NEX-7 by 24mpix.

    • XA4

      Hey Pablo, with 95% of your pix, YOU are loosing depth from your FULL FRAME lenses due to flatting out the perspective of your CROP NEX sensor.
      m4/3 pix have plenty of depth and pop for me, thank you very much.

      • cL

        Actually that’s a double-edge sword. FF does something better, and smaller sensor does something else better. For landscapes, on a FF, you need to use f/16 or f/22 (or if you have f/32, use it). For 4/3, because of its smaller sensor, you could get away with f/8 or f/11 for the same thing and get the same depth of field. What makes 4/3 worse for landscape, however, is because 1) it’s telecentric (every focal length you need to multiply by 2 to get effective focal length), 2) refraction kicks in earlier, so f/22 really is not usable (otherwise, wouldn’t that be great?). That said, actually your 4/3 camera is good for general purpose like street photos that use moderate aperture range, or telecentric application, like wildlife (only if Olympus makes AF much faster…).

        The ability to use larger aperture and still get the same DoF has such implications: 1) macro shots are much easier to do, 2) because you’re using a larger aperture, much more light is entering into your sensor through the lens, but smaller sensor even that out, but DR is easily overblown, 3) you need to change the time of the day you shoot your photos. If you shoot FF, best time for photography is early morning, last afternoon. For 4/3 sensor, you can wake up a little later because the light gathering properties are different (your 4/3 sensor needs more light, but still, you need even lighting, no matter it’s FF or 4/3)

        If you go to a classroom where they taught you how to shoot a Nikon/Canon FF camera, you cannot follow the same rule and expect good result from your 4/3 cameras. It’s not because your Olympus/Panasonic is worse, but because they don’t apply to your 4/3 camera exactly (fundamentals are the same, just need some tweaks). If you know the light theory, then if some company came out with a weird 3.95x crop sensor, you will still know how to shoot it with good result. Don’t merely study something, “understand” it.

        • Nick Clark

          Telecentric has nothing to do with the crop factor. It concerns the angle of light-rays striking the sensor. Hypothetically you could develop a platform for any format that was ‘telecentric’.

          • cL

            Actually that’s how people put it. It has a 2x crop so every focal length is effectively multiplied by 2…, so it’s more like “unfavorable to wide angle.” (12mm is significantly more difficult to design than a 24mm). The 200mm end of my Zuiko 50-200mm is really 400mm, which makes the design of the lens easier and therefore, smaller, and I get the end result of a 400mm lens from an equivalent FF. Perfectly sharp and it’s a full 12MP photo. That’s why people call it telecentric.

            • No. It’s not. At all… You’re talking about the relationship between sensor size and focal length, which has absolutely nothing to do with a lens being telecentric.


              • Inge-M

                Absolute and M4/3 have not so very telecentric so 4/3,
                the is a reason to for M4/3 is smaller lens but also short flang distance to sensor.
                On of reason for M4/3 not is so telecentric is weak AA filter so probleme by angle light to sensor is be low.

              • cL

                Okay, I read the Wiki now. It says 4/3 uses telecentric approach, which makes everything look the same size even when things are out of focus, which is not exactly true when I use my lens, since blurry object definitely is slight larger than the focused object, but I can see what you mean now. Thanks.

    • Bob B.

      Pablum? is it Pablum????

  • Thyl

    Reza, on E-P1 I have configured the AE lock button as the AF-trigger, so pretty similar to your approach. I point at the object I want to focus at, press the button with my thumb, wait until the camera has focussed, then compose the picture with the buttom still depressed, and finally release with the release button by my index finger. This turned out to be the only approach where the camera does (more or less) immediately trigger when I want it to.

  • Aj

    Distance scale on a 12mm lens? I wonder what it’ll say: 0.33 cm, 0.80cm, infinity?

    • LOL.
      You’re right, but even this will allow fast and easy zone focusing. Quite useful in some situations.

      • AndyOz

        Good point. Its a shame that the 25mm 1.4 Leica and the 45mm 1.8 Oly dont seem likely to have distance scales – I would find them more handy on lenses of these focal lengths than a 12mm lens. Yes for landscapes it is most likely to be on the infinity setting most of the time.

        • Just explain me, please.
          Why the lens does need distance scale since the camera itself shows a distance scale on LCD when manual focusing?

          • I’ll go further. So the lens reads 9′, how did that help you? Oh, I see, you want a DOF field scale on the lens. Calculated how? There are several competing theories on DOF, you know, and historically the DOF markings on camera lenses haven’t been accurate since about 1960 (film got better, the DOF scales were calculated on lppm of film just after WWII). But wait a minute, can’t you just look at the image to see DOF?

            You’re asking for fins to be put back on cars.

            • cL

              Exactly. Though I beat you to it a few weeks earlier about the exact same argument. If there is no DoF scale, there is no use….

              To take it one step further, why not implement distance scale at the bottom of the EVF, so you don’t have to go between VF and the scale on the lens? You cannot do that with OVF, but since this is EVF only camera, why not….

              Lots of photographic companies don’t make sense, but merely follow old tradition…. Like that stupid LCD display on top of the “high-end” DSLRs…. In the film camera era, that makes a lot of sense, but since then, most of the aperture, shutter speed, ISO information etc., are moved to LCD screen in the back, or even visible inside the VF, what’s the point of an extraneous LCD info display on top? Is it for those who look at distance scale (shoot from waist level) people? If so, move everything inside the VF or visible via LiveView, then people don’t have to move their eyes back and forth.

              By the way, none of the photographic theory is hard science. Every stop is supposedly 1/2 or twice amount the light, but think about it, who invented the system and defines f1.4, f2, f2.8, f4 and alternating pattern between the multiple of 1 and 1.4?. Not only that, twice of f5.6 is not f11, but f11.2!!! Nothing is exact but approximation.

              That said, we all know we can calculate supply and demand and where they cross with calculus, but is it really useful in real life when there are lots of confounding factors. So to me, approximation works okay in that specific instance. People who uses DoF scale with distance scale are probably shooting at waist people, who rely on their sense of distance to approximate focus distance. I admit, I can’t do it (I loathe slightly out of focus photos). What I do instead is rely on my eyes through LiveView and manual focus with camera on a tripod. That way I can be sure I’m within +-1mm margin of error only (depends on the shot, for macro even 1mm of error could be unacceptable sometimes). For shooting something with a 12mm (24mm), which is usually used at infinite focus, 10 feet of error really is nothing….

              • Sure you can do it with OVF. Fujifilm has with the X100 ;~). Modern OVFs all have overlays on them. So you can pretty much put anything on them you want. But still, unless I can control the information there it isn’t particularly useful. It’s simply not accurate enough to make meaningful decisions.

                > Who invents a system that uses 1.4x?

                Nature. It comes up a lot in photography because we deal a lot with AREA.

                • cL

                  That’s not fair! x100 uses a hybrid OVF, not a true OVF. :-D But that’s a good example. I just wish Olympus would use something like that: overlay EVF info on a real OVF.

                  In term of accuracy…. You know, when I was doing retailing job (talking about mismatching skill and job…), I fabricated a very nice tag line…. The value of good and good enough. It’s almost like marginal utility. (I almost feel like laughing)

                  It’s deceivingly simple, but very useful concept. So don’t you think having a distance scale inside the VF is better than having nothing? (therefore, good enough is indeed “good enough”) There must be some point of reference to work on. My spatial awareness isn’t as keen as others, so it has some value to me, allows me to make decision without having one more layer of complexity to think about.

                  • All Nikon OVF are hybrid, too ;~). I think it’s true of virtually DSLRs these days. You can tell if yours is by taking the battery out of the camera and looking through the viewfinder. If it got darker, it’s hybrid.

                    • cL

                      I don’t mean that. I mean an overlay of EVF over OVF, not some aperture value and other info next to OVF for focus point overlay on focus screen. The transparent EVF can be turned off/on, leaving it just OVF glass without distraction, but when you need it, it’ll shows critical information covers a lot of subject matter, like distance of subjects vs distance of background. Maybe my concept is too futuristic. Basically it’s what you see inside a Panasonic G series’s EVF, but you also get to use a real OVF (which is more useful under low light setting).

                      I always thought the AF should be done by differentiating color wavelengths (by detection how light bends) and speed at which photons travel and bounce back to AF censor, so the camera can make more intelligent judgement. Maybe that’s what AF assisting light is doing…, I don’t know.

                      I don’t think my E-620’s VF gets lighter or darker when there is no battery….

          • Simply put one reason (ok with 3 parts lol!) to have a distance scale on the lens is, if you have developed the skill to judge distance as many rangefinder people did, you would be able to simply set the distance (in manual focus mode so that autofocus would not second guess you) and when something comes in to that zone lift the camera up and shoot no focus lag no autofocus error. Also great for when shooting from the hip. And lastly if you understand hyperfocal distances it is rather helpful not to have to look at any display just the world in front of you.

            • cL

              Yeah, I guess that makes sense. I only recently started shooting with a rangefinder. If you said to me like a few months ago, I would just sit there and staring at you and say, “okay….” LOL! But I think I am really a DSLR person because I really prefer precision control over my photos, but rangefinder is really a good training for me, to be more aware of distance and space (and train my mind, “it’s okay if it’s not perfectly sharp” I feel I have been too anal about focus accuracy and I need to be a little more free…, in some instances).

    • If Oly put an virtual distance scale on LCD, it will very useful for ALL lens. Maybe that kind of distance scale was technically possible since the E-1 and first ZDs in 2003.

      But they did NOTHING with their 100% digitalized focus-by-wire system. The only thing Oly did is changing the direction of focus ling. LOL.

      • Swejk

        Focus direction can change the menu!
        Left or right around around … or read the manual …

        Fokus Richtung kann man im Menü umstellen !
        Links rum oder Rechts rum …oder im Handbuch lesen…

        Gruß Swejk

        • Inge-M

          I think the is like, so SWD in 4/3.

      • cL

        Olympus did a lot with their 100% digital only platform, but obviously not enough. I just wrote something (reply to Thom) about how some of the stuff they blindly follow old tradition which no longer makes sense.

        Seriously, they need to put distance scale inside the EVF. OVF is very good for precision composition purpose, but since m4/3 is mirrorless, OVF is therefore sacrificed, you might as well go all digital and exploit what digital can do better.

        I wonder if you have used some Olympus 35 rangefinders before. 35 SP, 35 RC, 35 EC/ECR and others, they all are a little different inside their viewfinders, as if Olympus was experimenting which type of viewfinder configuration would work the best. Olympus really should be more adventurous like they were in the old days. But then Olympus was really really bold! I hope with this new 12mm f2, they go back to who they were and make major statement at everything they make.

  • WT21

    Great news, though I have no interest or use for a 12mm prime, I’m very excited to see Oly take this seriously.

    My only fear now is that this “fast focusing” option might be ONLY for the $1,000 lenses, and the the more common lenses will use Oly’s slow-as-dirt focus system. That is that their portrait lens (the 45) will be a slow focusing lens :(

    We shall see.

  • Befürworter

    Admin, will any of these lenses be waterproof?

    • mpgxsvcd

      Are any of the cameras waterproof?

  • Bob B.

    get out the smelling salts….I just fainted! :-)

  • mpgxsvcd

    I really don’t see what is so great about this lens. F2.0 really isn’t that fast. The depth of field will be huge even at .68 feet. Do you really want all metal? I thought the point of m4/3s is “lightness”. The distance scale sounds cool. However, if it doesn’t show it on the LCD then who is actually going to use it?

    It sounds more like Olympus has gone backwards in their development. They gave us a lens that old film camera shooters will love. That is great. Those few people will be happy. However, that isn’t enough people to keep them in business.

    They need to make a fast zoom lens with IS for video to get the mass market on board.

    • MJr

      You are so wrong. Obviously it’s not for you, but so many people will love this (including me). Being metal and having a distance scale is not just retro, and certainly not a gimmick. Both are useful and improve the user experience. If this lens performs as they say it should be worth the money just for that, and who wouldn’t want that safely packaged in a sturdy and durable metal barrel, if only for the feel and confirmation of your investment. Even if it performs as it should, wouldn’t you hate buying $850 glass that feels like it should be no more than $300 ?

      As you say DoF is hard to see with a wideangle and therefore a distance scale is good for confirmation, especially during filming. One could pre-focus anticipating a situation when using Manual focus. But what a distance scale really is mostly used for is the DoF scale below it. A quick peek can show you exactly at what distance the DoF start and ends.

      The 24mm equivalent is a much loved angle. Just that bit extra punch in perspective compared to 28mm, and not so much that it gets unnatural. Try finding a UHQ 24mm equiv compact prime for APS-C, with looks, built quality and supposed image quality.. you can’t there isn’t one. You’d have to go film of full frame. The fact that it’s F2 is a huge bonus. Means you can use it indoors without flash, obviously DoF being huge even at F2 is a pro for a wideangle, not a con as you make it sound.

      The Olympus cameras have built in sensor-shift IS, so why does the lens need it ? Plus a wideangle is the very very last kind of lens that would need IS, especially with F2.0, and even with video, because the wider you go, the less visible shake.

      • > Being metal and having a distance scale is not just retro, and certainly not a gimmick. Both are useful and improve the user experience.

        Ah, the old “metal is better” argument. Not really. Both polymers and metals have pluses and minuses. Neither is perfect. But metal, in particular has one very poor attribute for me: it isn’t resilient. Hit plastic and it bounces back. Hit metal and it retains the memory of the impact (e.g. a dent). That’s one of the most common repairs for older lenses: a whack on the side can render them unusable. With plastic, its outright breakage that’s the most common repair, but up to the break point, I’d rather have plastic. Remember, one of the goals of the m4/3 system is smaller, lighter. Let’s not know make the damned thing out of lead.

        > As you say DoF is hard to see with a wideangle and therefore a distance scale is good for confirmation,

        Please show me any DoF scale on any lens that actually confirms DoF in a way that I’d acknowledge is correct. Any. Moreover, with a prime on m4/3 you’ve got to memorize what, less than 10 useful numbers?

        > A quick peek can show you exactly at what distance the DoF start and ends.

        Not on any lens I’ve used ;~). I’ll give you one example: Canon often used a CoC of 0.035 on their lens markings (others used 0.033, and both numbers are rounded already). Zeiss would say 0.025 for an 11×14″ print at the old film lppm capabilities. Hmm, I’m printing larger than that with something that resolves more than that. I’ve been using 0.018 for my D3x. See any problems with me using the markings on the lens?

        • MJr

          Yes yes, i know how good plastic is. But i’m talking about user experience, the looks, fun and feel of using. And then i prefer holding metal. I rather have a dent than a crack. And i like the way it ages. Sorry. I’m not one to only value the performance.

          When filming with a wideangle and looking at the display it’s very hard to see what’s in focus for example, but when wrong it does show very clearly on a HDTV in the end. With a DISTANCE scale you can see if it’s really focused at 2 meters for example where your subject is at, and not infinity or the end wall of the room.

          I have no idea what you’re saying in that last part, but what’s wrong with reading the distance scale with the aperture markings left and right of the center to have an idea of the DoF reach? What’s that have to do with prints ?

          • While you’re admiring and feeling up your lens, I’ll be out shooting pictures ;~).

            As for your question at the end, that’s about a two-hour lecture, unfortunately. Let me just say that DOF is a theory, not a fact. The Japanese have gotten the theory wrong (well, more accurately : haven’t updated their markings to the current reality of that theory). It makes a difference. When people look at my prints they all go “how did you do that?” Ditto someone looking at a print from others that know what they’re doing. I can tell you it wasn’t from looking at the DOF scale on any lens. My mentor actually did look at the DOF scale on his lenses, then factored in what he knew about it to be wrong, and imagined something that wasn’t actually marked on the lens ;~). I just consult my iPhone if I can’t remember what I’m doing.

            By the way, let me throw a little monkey wrench of physics into this discussion: modern low dispersion optical glass does not focus at the same point at different temperatures. Olympus, like Nikon, calls this glass ED.

        • cL

          > Please show me any DoF scale on any lens that actually confirms DoF in a way that I’d acknowledge is correct. Any. Moreover, with a prime on m4/3 you’ve got to memorize what, less than 10 useful numbers? >

          Well, you’re smarter. For people who have bad memory (such as myself), I’d like to have that instead of memorizing them which probably waste me a few seconds and probably would mix up numbers with another lens…. So it’s not completely unuseful. :-p

          > Ah, the old “metal is better” argument. Not really. Both polymers and metals have pluses and minuses. Neither is perfect. >

          True actually, but I still like metal. My Olympus 35 SP has a dent, though it doesn’t affect anything, but looking at it drives me NUTS!!! So I do understand you. But usually metal signifies quality. I have been thinking about camera designs lately, and I have to say I would probably design a camera with mostly metal, but I would still put some rubber and “high quality” plastics in some area. Not because it’s more durable, but because I wouldn’t want my focus/zoom ring in metal. I don’t live in a cold weather place, but touching metal in freezing temperature is no fun, unless you’re using titanium and other metal that doesn’t transfer temperature that quickly.

          In any case, I don’t like synthetic materials, but will use it when it’s practical. Cut down plastic usage is a good thing.

          That said, most of the HG and up 4/3 lenses are already full metal construction, hidden behind those high quality plastics. Don’t know if that’s true about existing m4/3 lenses though. m4/3 kit lens is plasticky and give you that “I am not special” feel when I touch them in store…. That’s not good marketing.

  • Fish

    Of course Olympus is going backwards in their development. From the comments here, Olympus was ignoring real photographers by producing repeated iterations of zooms instead of the collection of primes in key focal ranges that real photographers needed.

    Now, with the announcement of new primes, they are ignoring the mass market. Of course this is a mistake. You couldn’t expect Olympus to make the right decision… at least not when no one can agree on what the right answer is.

    And I don’t think Olympus needs to build IS into any lens. Their IBIS is an elegant and practical solution and there’s no reason for them to build lenses so that Panasonic can sell more bodies. They may change their strategy in the future, but Olympus seems to put stills-photography ahead of video capeabilities. For a home video dad like me (read, “mass market”), the PEN’s video capeabilities is already ‘good enough’. If someone needs more than that, the will choose Panasonic.

    • mpgxsvcd

      “For a home video dad like me (read, “mass market”), the PEN’s video capeabilities is already ‘good enough’. If someone needs more than that, the will choose Panasonic.”

      Exactly why Olympus needs to start realizing that the strengths of m4/3s are compact size, light weight, and they offer great video and still capabilities.

  • dimka

    So many marketing and business strategy specialists out there giving advices and foreseeing failures. Maybe we first see the lens, its tests and opinions about it, and ,most important, body it is meant to be used with?

    Thanks to admin for great site! :)

  • Thats it.
    Its just an illusion! I think no1 here wants m43 to look like a FF camera…
    people wanting this, can invest in a Leica M9 or carry the burden of a 2kg 5DMII with respective lens.
    Thanks to my E-P1, i managed to make lots of photos at our University festival, simply because the E-P1+20/1.7 slipped right in my grilfriends handbag. Images surely dont have the FF flair, but, i managed to make very nice portraits, very nice “you-get-the-festival-look” photos and i didnt have to take a camerabag with me! And they looked WAY better and not as flat as the usual compactphotos.
    nice to see, that all of the DSLRs owners didnt have any photos, because they didnt want to carry it.
    So whats my conclusion:
    I dont care about FOV, viewing angle… realy i dont.
    But i DO care about taking photos!

    Thanks m43 to bring the FUN back to photography!

    • MJr

      That’s the spirit ! ;)

    • Inge-M

      So you have girlfrend, and FF boys need porter, so smart. ;-)

    • cL

      Yes. :-) Enjoyment is the most important. I know I talk a lot about camera theories, but I also take a lot of pictures. Maybe my hobby is getting me to think too seriously. :-D

      In any case, a camera you don’t take it with you is a lot of money wasted for sure. :-)

  • Ulli

    and now a really important question…. is it goin to be presented in stealthy black or bling2 silver?

    • admin


      • Ulli

        So the E-P3 could be silver too?

        • admin


          • I’ve only seen a black E-P3 so far.

            • Narretz

              You have seen a EP3? What does it look like?

              • Mode dial is no on the right top as a traditional dial (instead of the buried one on the left). Record video button gets added to the back, other buttons have changed definition a bit. For the most part you’ll immediately recognize it as a an E-P# body. From the distance the differences are subtle.

                • cL

                  Now…, Thom, is there anything I need to know. ;-)

                • AndyOz

                  Thom, Thanks for the info. Does it have the rear upper control dial as per the E-P2? I really like this. Whereas for the E-PL2 they replaced this with a record button.

                  • You mean the big thumb wheel? Yes, it’s still there.

                    • AndyOz

                      Thanks alot Thom. I meant the upper thumb dial which is a silver ‘roller’ on the E-P2. Its not there on the E-PL2 – its replaced by a record button. I wasnt talking about the lower dial around the 4 way controller which is there on all models. I hope I am reading your comment correctly?
                      Here’s the E-P2 pic:

                    • cL


                      I think you mean jog dial. Which is something I first saw in Sony’s laptop, but I am glad it’s there in E-P1/2. If implemented correctly, that is a very useful dial. Beside turning, can it be doubled as a button (like Sony’s jog dial could do).

                • So it actually looks like the E-Pl2 then.

                  • AndyOz

                    My thinking exactly.

                    It seems strange that the E-PL2 came out not that long ago with very similar styling and controls to E-P2 but obviously with flash onboard and the mode dial moved to the right. So it looked to alot of us that the E-PL2 was moving upwards and that the E-P3 could end up being a much higher spec camera possibly with EVF. Now from the rumors we know that the E-P3 is going to look much like the E-PL2 but with the metal finish from the E-P2. And that the E-PL3 is a totally new design with no flash and tilt LCD.

                    It all seems a bit confusing from Olympus.

                  • No, it looks like an E-P2. The addition of the flash on the one side of the camera (left as you look at the back) meant that the Mode dial could no longer go there, so it was moved to a traditional one on the right. This in turn caused a minor rearrangement on the top plate right side (again orientation is from back).

                    The size and most of the button/control placement is decidedly E-P2, as is the look, though the chrome trim bars on the black model are slightly different.

                    • keep on talking Thom, it seems like you are starting a sub-rumor area within 43rumors :-)

        • MJr

          Let’s see how it performs first, and if it has the buttons, dials and switches we want where they need to be, then i’ll worry about the color ;)

          Really worried that it’ll still have the quirky menu and live-view control, the concealed PASM dial, the vertical roller thing, the fiddly circular rotating dial, and general lack of advanced control, or just so messed up by consumer gimmicks that anything useful is hidden so deep in the system that you can’t bother even doing anything advanced.

          • Ulli

            if it stayed close to e-p2 design, not much in controls will be changed. in fact how many more controls do you want?

            • MJr

              See Fuji X100, D7000, or even S95.

              It’s not necessarily the amount, it’s if they’re positioned/implemented for regular use, rather than behind and inbetween useless gimmicks (for enthusiast/pro), or deep in the menu.

              The dumb thing is that there are actually very few functions that one really needs to control a camera properly (see film-slr), but because those basics are now considered ‘advanced capabilities/features’ we need a pro camera to do basic things.

              My main problem with using the E-P1 for me is the PASM dial is a pain to get moving. Or actually i like grabbing a normal PASM dial with a finger on each side to turn, it’s quick and easy, but can’t do any of that when it’s stuck within the camera. Just one example of the many ‘control’ annoyances that kills the experience for me.

              I’ve tried the Canon SX210 for a while and even that was more of a pleasure to use because the menu is clear and i love that vertical PASM dial. Ofcourse the photos suck.

              • cL


                Placement is very important for sure.

                E-5 is a good camera (though too big for me), but one thing I don’t like it when I read the spec is they took the IS button out and replace it with movie button…. I never shoot movies, but I use IS button a lot!

                Seriously, for a good DSLR, basic controls need to be there. But since everyone has some different quirk about how they use their cameras, I think we need a little more Fn buttons. My E-620 has one, and that is just not enough. I need like three. If they can put those Fn buttons in places that’s convenient, you don’t need that many buttons really.

                Just as an example everyone uses their camera differently, I never use ISO button. I almost always shoot in ISO 200. If I am in low light, I turn on Auto ISO via Super Control Panel which takes less than two seconds, so why do I need an ISO button? I think programmable buttons are much more useful.

                Actually one of the advantages of Canon cameras is ease of use. Canon cameras aren’t made with good parts, but they make the user-experience very sensible. AF is another advantage of Canon.

    • Inge-M

      Maybe only silver by 30 June, but soon also black, like pancake 17mm F2.8, but the so only the i think.

  • I don’t care much about the external metal finish, personally, I think plastic is a better material for that purpose. But I suppose this is needed to compete with Sony NEX.

    The distance scale is good news for street shooting, in which case you’ll want to set a hyperfocal distance. This is a lot easier when you have a distance scale.

    The 45mm f/1.8 probably has internal focus, in which case a distance scale may not be feasible to implement. But this depends on what kind of design decisions Olympus did.

    For a 45mm lens, the correctness of the focus is more crucial than with a 12mm lens. So for me, fast autofocus is more important than a distance scale for the 45mm.

    • Ulli

      admin said it will be all metal, so including the internal lens barrel which holds the optical elements. I believe this is superior to regular plastic barrels.

      • Not necessarily. Metal wears differently than the right plastic. On the other hand, it probably has less tolerance. It’s a toss-up, I think.

        • you know my name

          Engineered plastics are without exception the best solution that tick every box between strength, weight and production volume/cost, however some mileage is being given to retro looks as it stands and peoples insecurities about plastics. Just look at the similarly built Fuji and how popular it is, manufacturers do not submit to this for nothing.

          By the time they get back to 1925 Barnak Leica’s we will be ready to move forward again. :D

          • MJr

            It’s not just that it’s retro. Personally i prefer metal for the feel of it, the looks, the way it scratches and ages, how it dents rather than cracks, and having a bit of weight to it. All good things in my opinion. But i do know the great strength, weight, price ratio benefits of good plastic. As with Canon L lenses for example. But sometimes the heart wins ;).

            • you know my name

              yeah but when you say metal people think of 1″ thick stainless steel, however what they are getting is less than 1mm SS. Meanwhile kids everywhere are sticking bits of kevlar 49 and carbon fibre onto their cars because it spells to them hi tech, aerospace, ballistic protection etc. etc.

              so is this here and now or 1939 all over again?

              • MJr

                Didn’t i just tell you ?

        • WT21

          Let’s see what “metal” means. Many people refer to the NEX lenses as “metal” but they’re just plastic with a tin wrapping. I’ll wait to see the lens before I believe any supposed claims on construction.

        • cL

          Let’s see:

          Metal is a valuable natural resource, it has intrinsic value built into it. Plastic is eco unfriendly and a prime symbol of mass produced cheap crap. If your camera is broken, you can be sure the metal part of it can be melted down and being used for another thing while plastic will be washed into the ocean and piling up as an island that slowly kills this Earth.

          Why do you think people hate plastic? (beside they feel awful in hand and other psychological reason) They’re just non-decomposable simple polymers, an artifact of industrialization. If one day this planet is a goner, and aliens come here to visit the ruin of this civilization (if there ever was any), they’ll not be impressed by the invention we made, but how much plastics we consumed. Eww~, disgusting. Plastic is not avoidable, come on…, but at least we can cut down the usage, right? Don’t tell me plastic is the opium for the mass. I won’t accept it. ;-p

      • I don’t interpret “all metal” as meaning “metal is the only material used in the construction”. For example, how would you insulate the electrical contacts? But let’s see how the lens turns out when we know more.

        I don’t personally see having metal focus cams as a positive thing. That means you need to have the lens cleaned and regreased regularly, just like a mechanical wristwatch. It’s a bit charming, but not very practical.

        But this is largely a matter of personal taste, and not valuable discussing.

        • dumbo

          accidently i dropped my 20mm 1.7 recently about 4 foot onto a cement floor. it bounced like hell all over the place but has worked perfectly ever since.

          i think plastic has caught up with metal in most cases, it’s just aesthetics, metal looks nicer and provides a security that the lens was built to last (which of course it doesnt matter because we will all have replaced the system before the plastic in the other lenses will perish)

        • Atle

          Plastic can be recycled too (although not as easy as metal). And is it really more eco-friendly than metal? It takes quite a lot of energy to make metal. Personally I am a bit tired of the way people connect weight and quality, in many cases added weight makes the product more prone to damage, not less

  • stepper

    hmmm… this looks like a good sign for things to come. An all metal lens with a cool retro look and feel. I have a feeling the “pro” model PEN is going to follow lead from the E-PX line and X-100. Looks like designers tried to mimic the look of old classic, collapsible rangefinder lenses. I would not be surprised in the least if they came up with a body to further match this feel.

  • “…an all metal lens”???

    Uh, I hope there’s some GLASS in there somewhere, or light transmission is going to be lousy!

    • Mr. Reeee

      Transparent Aluminum, Mr. Scott!

      • Inge-M

        Not pinhol F2, and very sharp :-D

      • rampart

        Nice one.

  • Olympius

    If this lens really does have an ALL METAL body, focus scale, and mechanical focus; and can out resolve any other wide-angle lens known to man, then yes, it’s probably worth the $850 USD that Olympus is asking for it.

    About time they started making these kind of lenses for micro 4/3. I knew they had it in them…perhaps seeing the popularity of Cosina’s 25mm f.0.95 offering made them take the high-end market more seriously.

    I know I’m going to get the Lumix/Leica 25mm f.1.4 for sure, but I’m still on a “wait and see” approach with Olympus, because other than the M.Zuiko 9-18, they really haven’t done anything I find all that impressive.

    June 30th is going to be a very interesting day….


    • > it’s probably worth the $850 USD

      So a <$10 change in cost of materials means a US$400 increase in price is worth it? ;~)

      • you know my name

        there is no relationship between cost and price

        • Olympius

          You must work for General Motors…. :-)


          • cL

            It’s American business model. Everyone learns this in business school since it was invented in the 80’s. It is one of the dogmas of market economy. Price is a function of supply and demand.

            The reason the oil price is so high (even before the war), is something Shell said rather earnestly, “because you can afford it.” Gasoline price is higher in the city despite the cost structure is way lower in the city because of economy of scale and competition, but it doesn’t happen, why? Because “you have to use it” so they can charge it. We call this inelastic demand. If you don’t want to pay for it, I guess you have to walk. Nothing to do with cost.

            GM’s problem is management who lived in a cave, and don’t want to hear anything bad said about the company. They didn’t know the company was in trouble because they didn’t want to hear about it…, so they didn’t fix any problem (because there was “no problem”…). They just kept doing cost cutting as if that could make anything better (cost cutting would only work if cost structure is the problem).

      • Gianluca

        @ Thom..the sentence is:”If this lens really does have an ALL METAL body, focus scale, and mechanical focus; and can out resolve any other wide-angle lens known to man, then yes, it’s probably worth the $850 USD “…so if it has all of this…probably it’s worth that money.

      • The cost of the materials is probably not very different. But I can see that the cost of manufacturing and tooling the materials is very different. Metal requires polishing which is more labour intense.

      • Olympius

        It’s that psychological “peace of mind” that’s worth the extra $400. :-)

        Seriously, being thrilled as can be with the two plastic kit lenses that came with my Olympus E-510, in terms of IQ, I found an all new appreciation for plastic: they are so darn easy to cary around all day, as those two kits lenses way almost nothing, yet in the four years I’ve owned them, they’ve done nothing but give outstanding performance time after time.


        There there is stil that “plastic is cheap” meme so many of us have drilled into our heads, that anytime someone gives us a metal body option, we think we’ve found the ultimate in quality. For example: Apple’s aluminum bodied iMacs. The plastic ones worked just great…not sure the aluminum makes them any better, but the impression it makes it certainly significant. Same with the MacBooks.

        I’m sure there’s some sort of marketing term for marketing to people’s emotions rather than their Vulcan minded logic, but it does work none-the-less. Otherwise, no one in his right mind would ever by a product from Apple. :-)

        • MJr

          You just had to bring up Apple when talking about a $400 peace of mind ;)

          But yes, all very true.

        • Actually, aluminum is functional in the Apple line (other than perhaps the Mac Pro). That’s especially true of the MacBooks. They have a rotational integrity that most other laptops do not at the same weight/size. Plastics also don’t always handle heat well, either. Both in reacting to it and dissipating it.

          But all this discussion of how much more valuable metal is brings me back to one of my old harping points: when the Japanese do listen to customers, they tend to just do what the customer asks them to. You want metal lenses, we’ll give you metal lenses. Great designs transcend that and pick the right materials for the right things. One of the things that disappointed me quite a bit about the original E-P1 was the faux metalness of it. If you disassemble the camera (yes, I’m still a child, I take things apart to find out how they work), you discover the metal is actually a thin sheet veneer. It doesn’t actually have the kind of functional integrity that the Apple MacBooks do with their casing. Thus, when you drop your E-P1, you discover that the bottom plate bends up because it isn’t supported by the “metal body.”

          Interesting thing is that I wrapped my E-P1’s metal with a thin leather over the metal sheeting. Camera became a lot easier to grip and use.

          I’d rather have something that was chosen because it works correctly than something that makes me think it has value.

          • cL

            Marketing is very much about consumer psychology as it is about sophistry and pseudo science….

            • Most every review I read praised the E-P1 for its metal finish, even though it was a mere surface coating. I also remember seeing a review where somebody opened up the E-P1 to show that its innards were plastic, but I thought it was a good compromise between weight, durability and aesthetics. The look of the E-P1 was certainly one of the things that sold me on it! It was a really nice change from the usual black all-plastic bodies we’re used to seeing. It also caught the eye of the mayor at a city event while I was photographing with it. Guess what camera he had next time I saw him? :p

              • cL

                Certainly. Some of the people always insisted on another photographic equivalent of Model-T…. You can get any color as long as it’s black…. How boring! Some people like black, fine, but choice is also important for someone who wants it.

                I remember it was that nice shade of blue that sold me on a Panasonic G1…, though I have to say I stayed with E-620 at the end. Sure it catches my eyes, but it’s the functionality that really sell the item. It could just be me. I am more practical. But never underestimate the power of having some color and liveliness in a product.

          • Olympius

            Oh yes, the faux metal veneer of the E-P1, I believe Sony does the same with their NEX line of cameras and lenses if I remember correctly. That might be, in fact, all that this new 12mm is: faux metal covering a nice plastic tube. It would make more sense than Olympus actually going back to brass or something for lens construction, but would take some of the “bang” out of the excitement.

            Hence my “wait and see” approach to this lens.

            As for laptops, I remember about a year ago going to Best Buy looking for a Windows laptop for a relative. I picked up the consumer grade HP’s, and they flexed like a wet noodle. I then picked up some of the consumer grade Toshiba’s, and they were extremely solid and rigid, despite their plastic construction. While the use aluminum is certainly helpful in keeping a laptop rigid, it’s certainly not the only way. But with something like the MacBook Air, or even iPad, I would assume it’s probably the best solution when wanting to keep things extremely thin.


          • Very well put, Thom. Like you, I would prefer that the material of my equipment was chosen on the basis of what is optimal for its intended use and not to convey some false sense of quality. But as a whole the market is not very good at supporting functional integrity; we often wrap products in a false veneer. That goes for everything from 21st century homes wrapped in false historical veneers to modern cameras made to look like rangefinders.

          • Maybe we can all agree that silver painted plastic looks terrible? It looks tacky when new and awful when the paint gets sctarched. So if you want a “silver” finish, metal is the only proper alternative. For a black finish, I suppose plastic is much more acceptable. But I think scratched black plastic looks worse than dented black metal. Plastic just doesn’t age gracefully.

          • This makes me wonder if a pro EP body would include a alu or magnesium frame. Regarding to the use of metal vs plastics, i would rather rely on metal since many people still use old lenses from the era when plastic wasn’t available yet.How will plastic constructions perform after 60-70 years ?

      • Thom, you dont belive that this lens’s quality and spec could support the price-tag? if no then why olympus is pricing this lens so high?

  • J-Man

    I haven’t been interested in 4/3 or m4/3 because they didn’t have any primes this wide, now it just became interesting.

  • Dan

    Now they need to keep the ball rolling and announce / introduce a few more high quality primes. Perhaps an 18, 25, 50 and even 75 and even a 12-60 replacement for the zoom users. Follow this with a professional mft camera body and they will begin to have a system that may appeal to the amateur / professional user groups.

    I think one forgets that mft doesn’t always mean miniature. A Leica sized body would be perfectly fine. Especially when you have king kong sized hands like mine.

    • Inge-M

      I think Olympus come by more pancake lens, so is not HG lens, so we will look more prim lens from fisheye to tele, not like so 4/3 only 2 prim lens fisheye and macro, and restanse is zoom HG lens.

  • +1

  • Bu

    An all metal lens construction, f2.0 and a nice wide 12mm? Looks as if prayers have been answered :)

  • I have 5 last generation Leica M lenses, I also have the 14-35mm f2.0 SHG FT mount lens. This zoom is as good as the Leica primes lenses I have, except for a little bit more distortion in the wide extreme and of course its size. The image quality of this zoom is really outstanding. Being a SHG prime, I´m sure the upcoming 12 will be also optically outstanding. Waiting for it.

    • cL

      I think 12mm f2 is HG only, not an SHG…, but it looks good to me. Of course, we’ll see the result once it’s out.

      I’ve also used 14-35mm f/2 SWD before (I don’t own it, merely used it for a week), and I have to say there is very little visible distortion (unless you do a lab test and really dissecting it). If your Leica is better than that, then I am impressed. It is also edge-to-edge sharp that you can expect from an HG and up Olympus lens. I also shot panorama photos with it. If the photos being stitched have vignette problem, you’ll see seams between shots. My panorama turns out to be one photo, not segments. I am very impressed by it. The color rendition is neither too warm nor too cool, and that’s something I like about Leica but I am seeing it in that Olympus (usually Olympus lenses I have used are on the warmer side, except for that one and Zuiko 50mm f/2 macro).

  • When one looks at a lens’ section one wonders at the plastic thickness of the elements carrying lenses. By comparison metal walls are thinner.

    Also early plastics could split very easily, I can sadly confirm having dropped a lens. Not so with modern Olympus lenses, again by experience. So I am in two minds about it. Perhaps by using metal the 12mm could be made smaller.

    On the side of metal all I can say is that have 40 yrs. old metal lenses in perfect working order with no need of re-greasing. The pleasure of smooth, buttery MF, or selecting the aperture is still unmatched.

    It would be nice if in a major redesign Oly went the same direction of the X-100, but even in the Pens, newbies forget to activate the SuperControl Panel that allows to reach any setting with one button push. So why complain?

    • cL

      Don’t worry about the durability of plastic. Camera companies typically already chose the best plastic for the job and usually they also chose something that dissipate heat easily (which is very important for digital cameras). I don’t like plastic parts, but not for that reason.

      I just remember another thing that must use plastic instead of metal…, the lens hood. If you ever dropped your lens (please love your lens and don’t drop it!!! I really mean IF), plastic absorbs shock better than metal, which just transfers the force directly into your lens much more efficiently than a plastic lens. You don’t want your lens to have internal injury…. Some come in the form of tiny chip around the edge, but that’s enough to change how the light travels to your sensor and your photo won’t be as sharp anymore.

  • che

    Its not just for party photos, but as i am using 14mm on kit for clubbing photos that i love probably i need one but just not at this price. Dont know why ppl always compare this m4/3 lenses with red dot. This is not it, it will never be, its not even hand made so there is no reason to be posh about it. iWhatever generetion products are just all over the place.
    Btw for people who want to get into wide angle street photography just like Bruce Gilden this focal range (not this lens particulary) should be amazed with all the street portraits this guy has.
    More and more i feel that with my 28mm wich is just shy over 50mm is sometimes to far away from my subjects that i want to be more near them. To get in their space more not to feel like a peep. So i like 20 to 50mm eqivalents.

    • cL

      The reason why people always compare Olympus’s high end lenses with the red dot is because even Leica people know if there is one company from Japan that can compete with them, it’s Olympus.

      If you haven’t been converted into Olympus cult, it’s time to joint. There is no annual fee. All you have to do is accept Maitani as the true leader.

      Some of the Olympus SHG lenses are hand made. Not as extensively as a Leica, but critical steps are made and inspected by skilled craftsman like a Leica. Lenses are hand polished.

      Leica lenses have higher price because it comes with life time warranty, and you can be sure it’s collectible. Olympus lenses do not have a loyal collectible community built around it. Not every Olympus lens is collectible, so you have to wade through it, so maybe that’s the reason. But high end Olympus are up there with the red dot and Zeiss.

      You brought a good point about focal length choice, and that’s why street photography is rarely shot with wide angle, but more of a 50mm-ish focal length. The guy you mentioned is a rare exception. Some people might even use a portrait focal length for street photography because they don’t want to alarm the people they’re shooting so it gives them a more candid look. 12mm (24mm) is really a landscape/architecture lens.

      Forgive my ignorance, clubbing and partying…, what’s the difference? :o) By the way, I think for a crowded place, it’s easier just use an iPhone rather than bringing a dedicated camera.

      • Oliver


      • che

        its the same i just used different words in one sentence (we always do it in my language so i just convert the sopirit of my language)
        I am OLY FAN but i am not fan of too much cult in it, and i realy think Canikons and others are good to. I have A-1, Kiev, Oly 35 RC and i really like them all. Design wise OLYMPUS has everything. I would like all metal bodies like then.
        So im with a oly bandwagoon.

        • cL

          Oh Che… I was just joking! Lost in translation I guess. ;-)

          If I said you should join a cult where I am your true leader, would you join? :-D

  • Miroslav

    Hopefully all metal doesn’t mean too heavy.

  • Reverse Stream Swimmer

    -Ketchup-effect ???

    -Why is this suddenly happening now?

    Many of us that have expressed our opinion that Olympus has been starving on R&D resources, will find it rather unbelievable that Olympus will be launching simultaneously THREE NEW MFT CAMERAS in the near future. Add to that, that we are expecting another CLASSICAL FT CAMERA to be launched in near future as well. Furthermore, NEW MFT LENSES, according to the “lens roadmap” and also new lenses not yet mentioned by Olympus.

    -What catalyst are the underlating factor enabling all this.
    -Will Olympus be selling their camera division and this is their way of showing that they are Alive and Kickin’
    -Has Olympus made a breakthrough in sensor performance? In all other respect, they are already fully competitive and even leading in some areas!
    -Has Olympus created a NEW & LARGER sensor format, enabling them a better MEGAPIXEL COUNT which is larger than 12 MP?

    Launching three new cameras at once, has eralier only been seen on the compact camera market. Perhaps Olympus is just introducing that sales and marketing methods up the camera ranges…

    … or this is just another silly rumour without solid grounds….

    • Inge-M

      The is not crow in Olympus, the is only the!

      • Patric

        Nikon D3s has a 12.1 MP sensor. Is that sensor not good enough since it only have the same pixelcount as the FT cameras? More MP isn’t the same as a better camera.

    • Because they had to finish development of the new AF system before they could release any new bodies or lenses.

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