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The need for speed: PEN-F Zuiko Olympus 42mm F/1.2


It is not easy to find that lens on Ebay: The PEN-F Zuiko Olympus 42mm F/1.2. You can find some image samples on flickr

Short Movie “true love” Lumix GH1 with PEN F 42mm lensPEN F 42mm lens:

  • spanky

    Nice lens, no doubt, but IMO not worth the prices it’s selling for on eBay or elsewhere. Just because it’s rare doesn’t make it 5 times better than a comparable lens like the Canon FL 55/1.2. Great for collectors, not so great for photographers.

  • bilgy_no1

    Olympus: please redesign this lens for m4/3.

  • Spiny Norman

    @Spanky — the Pen lens is optimized for half-frame 35mm coverage and as such it would have been much easier to deal with the various optical artifacts. For this reason it’s a good bet that on a densely-packed 4/3 sensor the Olympus lens would blow the Canon out of the water.


  • spanky

    @Spiny – If you’re going to make such sweeping and categorical statements, I’ll ask you to prove them. The fact is that I look at photos taken with the PEN 42/1.2 and compare them to photos taken with the Canon FL 55/1.2 on my GH1, and I see absolutely no difference. You’re trying to generalize based on some pseudo science, I’m looking at facts. Nothing I’ve seen in photographs justifies the premium which this lens demands on eBay. It’s expensive because there’s not a lot of them on the market, not because it’s a 5-times better lens.

  • WT21

    I don’t know this lens at all, but judging from the linked picture stream, the bokeh looks horrible. The lens sold for $1,000! An MF lens with terrible bokeh for $1,000? Some people have too much money, lol!

  • Spiny Norman

    All else being equal, of course! And of course, all else is rarely equal. Nevertheless, it is the case that an equivalent small-format lens generally out-resolves a comparable large-format lens in terms of *absolute* resolution — lp/mm on film or sensor (not lp/total image height).

    It’s quite well-understood that it is exceedingly difficult to maintain absolute resolution as the diameter of the image circle is increased. Conversely, lenses with small image circles generally have higher absolute resolution. For example, lenses on old Minox cameras are among the sharpest consumer lenses ever produced (again, in terms of lp/mm on film).

    Within a format, speed, and focal length, of course, there can be great variation dependent on design, construction tolerances, and — of course — sample variation.

    Nowhere do I say that the old PEN lenses are worth the EBay prices. That would be silly.

  • Chris

    @WT21 – Where there is pinpoint and brutal sharpness, there is usually bad bokeh. That’s because smooth bokeh is caused by spherical aberration, something that is usually corrected in order to gain sharpness. The sharpness is apparent in many of the photos, as well as the outstanding color rendition.

    This lens would be a landscape/street photographer’s dream, but a portrait photographer’s nightmare.

  • WT21

    Chris — then why the 1.2? What landscape shooter shots 1.2? I don’t do street photography, but my understanding is that you want a wide dof, and you go off certain focal principals that generally do not include 1.2 as an aperture, no?

    Also, I always thought of landscape as using something a bit wider than an 84mm equivalence in terms of FOV.

  • I just got an adaptor for this lens, got the actual lens sometime last year for 300 bucks from ebay. heres some sample pics

  • Steve
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