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Olympus unveils 12mm F2.0 and 45mm F1.8 fast primes for Micro Four Thirds

By dpreview staff on Jun 30, 2011 at 05:06 GMT

Alongside its three PEN bodies, Olympus has announced the M. Zuiko Digital ED 12mm F2.0 and M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.8 prime lenses for Micro Four Thirds. The 12mm F2.0 is a metal-bodied 24mm equivalent featuring a unique snap-focus manual focus mode. A snap-back focus ring reveals a traditional depth-of-field scale for 'zone' focusing and offers improved focus 'feel.' Later in the year it will be accompanied by the 45mm F1.8 portrait lens, making Olympus one of the only manufacturers to offer a fast prime at a roughly 100mm equivalent focal length, ideally suited to portraiture. There is also a relatively compact, bouncable and remotely commandable flash, the FL-300R, helping the PEN range look more like a complete system. More details of the 12mm F2.0 are included in our E-P3 preview, along with a gallery of sample images.

Click here to read more about the M. Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f2.0 lens

Click here to see our 12mm F2.0 samples gallery

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Press Release:

NEW OLYMPUS® MICRO FOUR THIRDS® LENSES AND ACCESORIES UNLEASH CREATIVE POWER OF THE PEN FAMILY

High-Speed, Silent and Beautifully Designed, Two New Lenses Complement Latest Generation of PEN Cameras; New Flash and Grip Expand Creative Horizons

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., June 30, 2011 – Two powerful, fast new prime lenses and two new accessories maximize the performance of the Olympus PEN® E-P3, E-PL3 and E-PM1 compact system cameras, also announced today, to help photographers capture their unique visions of the world. The M. Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f2.0 lens (24mm equivalent) and M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 lens (90mm equivalent) are Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) and feature high-speed, near-silent autofocus during still shooting and high-definition (HD) video capture. Joining them is the sleek, versatile FL-300R Compact Flash and the MCG-2 interchangeable Camera Grip available exclusively for the PEN E-P3.

The powerfully simple and growing Olympus PEN MICRO Four Thirds family now features eight fully-compatible MICRO Four Thirds lenses. The legendary Olympus Zuiko® Digital Four Thirds range of 27 high-quality lenses, OM-series and other manufacturers’ lenses can be attached to Olympus PEN cameras with optional adapters.

New High-Speed and Near-Silent MICRO Four Thirds Lenses

  • M. Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f2.0 lens: This high-speed, single-focal-length, wide-angle lens is ideal for shooting high-quality, dramatic landscapes and street scenes in low-light conditions. It has a beautiful full-metal body and a snap ring that enables photographers to pan focus with a distance indicator.
  • M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 lens: This single-focal-length portrait lens has a beautiful shallow depth of field which allows for background blurring effects that are not possible with the 14-42mm kit zoom lens. The MSC mechanism is great for tracking a moving child or pet, and provides a quick and silent focus mechanism for movies and still photography.

These two lenses join the new movie & still compatible (MSC) ED m14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 zoom lens (28mm-84mm equivalent) which comes standard with the new PEN kit as well as the M. Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm II R f4.0-5.6 lens, an extremely light, wide-zoom range with a 35mm equivalent to 80-300mm lens that offers versatility and portability. Both have been designed to match the body design of the new generation of PEN cameras.

New Accessories for a Variety of Shooting Challenges

  • FL-300R Compact Flash: It functions as a bounce flash and wireless remote flash with enough power for snapshots. Photographers can use it in tandem with the camera’s built–in, pop-up flash, or as an alternative to it. It is designed in silver to match the new PEN lineup. Additionally, it has the ability to function wirelessly through a remote control function on the new E-P3, E-PL3 and E-PM1.
  • MCG-2 Exchangeable Camera Grip: Available exclusively for the PEN E-P3, this accessory easily and comfortably extends the camera’s grip area to fit any photographer’s hands perfectly. It is available in black and beige.

U.S. Pricing and Availability
M. Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f2.0 lens: Available Now
Estimated Street Price: $799.99

MCG-2 Exchangeable Camera Grip: Available Now
Estimated Street Price: $19.99

FL-300R Compact Flash: Available Now
Estimated Street Price: $169.99

M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 lens: Available in September 2011
Estimated Street Price: $399.99

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Comments

Total comments: 44
fastglass
By fastglass (Jul 30, 2011)

+1

12mm f2.0 = a nice, fast WA lens.

Too bad that Oly requires a "kit lens" purchase with most of their 43 bodys.

That's so amature time.

uck.

1 upvote
PatMann
By PatMann (Jul 2, 2011)

So why can't Nikon bring out a 24mm equivalent f/2 for DX? A 35mm equivalent f/2 for DX? An 18mm f/2.8 DX? Where are the lenses to support DX? It's been 10 years now, people!

4 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Mar 1, 2012)

who cares about dx ^^

why should nikon make decent dx lenses when they only work on dx ?

how pro can a pro lens be that doesnt work on a pro body without cropping sensorsize?

0 upvotes
MP Burke
By MP Burke (Jul 1, 2011)

Well done Olympus. If these lenses can deliver the full aperture performance suggested by the published MTF curves then they will be almost worth the asking price.

0 upvotes
R Stacy
By R Stacy (Jul 1, 2011)

I mentioned [here] about needing a 42.5 or 45mm fast prime lens as far back as 2004 for 4/3. What a sweet set up that would have been in 4/3 with a 12mp E2 (even the E1). I suppose it's cool it's finally here, but frankly 4/3 is gone as far as any professional (or even semi-por) mind goes, so in 2011 I no longer care about it for MFT. It's got to be a cool propostion though for the budding MFT fold, although I'm not sure exactly why.

What, you gonna photograph Brittany Spears with a EPL ?

0 upvotes
S Severs
By S Severs (Jul 3, 2011)

I'm not going to photograph Brittany Spears with anything, leave that to the paparazzi. :)

0 upvotes
Managarm
By Managarm (Oct 13, 2011)

>> What, you gonna photograph Brittany Spears with a EPL ? <<

Seriously, are you stoned? Who cares for Brittany Spears, whoever that might be...

2 upvotes
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Jul 1, 2011)

M4/3 comes of age. It's going to be hard for the Pentax and the Q system. Ironically, the Q system makes Olympus's system look non toy-like in comparison and the new (Oly) lenses add further weight that will make more serious photographers stand up and take notice.

Ironically, for Pentax, I have been looking at entry level DSLRs and the K-x is selling here in Oz for about $650 including a Sigma 18-200 zoom. So, its a toss-up between it and the new Olympus system with the Q system not figuring at all in the equation.

Cheers

0 upvotes
harrisoncac
By harrisoncac (Jul 1, 2011)

I bought an Olympus E-PL1 which I liked a lot. I am not saying it is perfect, not bad at all.
If you are torn between APS-C and M4/3, consider their prices. M4/3 gear is not cheap. In the long run, you are likely to spend more money on M4/3 than on conventional DSLR systems.
Personally, I think Canon 600D or 60D,7D has the best performance/price ratio, only if you don't hate Canon.
Lived in Australia for 10 years, love OZ.
Cheers, mate.

2 upvotes
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (Jul 4, 2011)

The problem with the Canon alternative is their weight. This said by the owner of a Canon 5D and E-P1 + G1.

0 upvotes
asadmalik
By asadmalik (Jul 5, 2011)

For pro's or those who want to work professionally at some point in their life, dSLR no doubt makes sense.
But for serious amateurs like me, I can't for example shoot in the middle of a supermarket with a dSLR (or even something like Panasonic GH series). dSLR's make people around you conscious.
The great thing about PEN is, it looks amateur and for me it's not just about size, it's also about looks. With a pancake lens, it turns into a party camera, and with my Panasonic 100-300mm it turns into a bazooka.

And by the way, I have owned dSLR's as well from time to time, but they stayed mostly on shelves. PEN stays with me, all the time, and that's the most beautiful thing about it.

2 upvotes
tiberiousgracchus
By tiberiousgracchus (Dec 23, 2011)

Exactly ! I was debating the 5D II due to its low light image capabilities. but it will stay at home most of the time. I wanna put this lens on the GX1 :P

0 upvotes
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (Jun 30, 2011)

I like very much the M4/3 format. It has the best combination of compactness and sensor sizer for the compact interchangeable camera market. My only complain is that they should take the advantage of the smaller sizer and flange to develop brighter lenses, but so far I haven't seen good news in this area. When they launch a bright one, the aperture rarely is above one equivalent in the FF format and the price is similar. It doesn't make sense to me. It seems like an opportunity they're using to take advantage in getting a larger interest margin on a product.

0 upvotes
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (Jul 4, 2011)

Actually there are many bright lenses by now, the Panasonic 20mm f1.7, Olympus 45mm f1.8, 12mm f2.0 and last but not least the Voigtlander 25mm with an impressive f0.95.

Consider that the MFT system was announced in 2008, just three years ago and has taken huge steps forward in very little time. My guess is that there will be extraordinary lenses in the future and the MFT system will become a great choice for professional photography; but mind that I'm a newbie photographer, so I may as well be very wrong about this. :)

0 upvotes
probert500
By probert500 (Jul 11, 2011)

Mulktiply each of those numbers by 2 for the 4/3 equiv. f stop. Nature of the beast.

0 upvotes
Managarm
By Managarm (Oct 13, 2011)

Why does everything have to be multiplied for giving equivalence in FF? Since when is FF the base for everything?
MF and LF give you a whole lot more possibilities than FF regarding DoF. So do we also have to multiply FF lenses up to MF or even LF to get any information about it?

By the way, I personally think going below about f/1.4 doesn't make that much sense because in general image quality suffers considerably. Still like my Nokton f/0.95, but use it below f/1.4 only for special shots.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
techmine
By techmine (Jun 30, 2011)

Expensive indeed. I won't put a single penny towards the Olympus M4/3 system after getting a Mediocre performance with my E-PL1 for the last 1 year. I compare it with my Nikon D40+kit. Yes Primes on every platform can be expensive but Olympus I think is over estimating the success of their PEN platform. From my analysis Panasonic+Leica lens system is better than PEN.

2 upvotes
harrisoncac
By harrisoncac (Jul 1, 2011)

Your comments are really spot on. I share the view as yours.

0 upvotes
Managarm
By Managarm (Oct 13, 2011)

You can mix Olympus' und Panasonic's cameras and lenses as you please. Where is the problem?

1 upvote
Dolan Halbrook
By Dolan Halbrook (Jun 30, 2011)

About time there was a proper portrait lens. I find it amazing they didn't offer a 45mm fast prime from the start given the camera design.

0 upvotes
gDaniel
By gDaniel (Jun 30, 2011)

finally some good reason to plunge into m4/3.

3 upvotes
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Jun 30, 2011)

Finally!! They have started to make bright lenses!
It is the only way to compete with 1,5 Crops.
I hope they will also make f/1.4 and f/1.0 (like Voigtländer) soon.

3 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Jun 30, 2011)

It's time to think about m4/3 system seriously...But Samsung is round a corner.:) With 85/1.4 and 16/2.4 pancake. And new NX200 and NX20.

1 upvote
ogl
By ogl (Jun 30, 2011)

Olympus started to make LIMITED style lenses instead of Pentax. BRAVO!!!! Outstanding body quality.

2 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Jun 30, 2011)

I think they made it 45mm instead of 50mm, so we wouldn't realize how expensive this is for a 50mm f1.8. Nikon's new FF 50mm f1.8 is $200. Olympus half frame version is $400? Makes perfect sense if you don't think about it.

2 upvotes
flipmac
By flipmac (Jun 30, 2011)

Actually, 45mm is chosen because it is equivalent to 90mm, a classic portrait FL.
How much is a 90mm (or 85mm) FF lens? Or a 60mm for APS-C (for 90mm equiv.)? Any of those lenses are more expensive than the Oly 45/1.8.

3 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Jun 30, 2011)

If you want to compare equivalence, then also compare to f3.6 FF lenses, because that's the amount of DOF you will get. Sony has an 85mm f2.8 for under $300.

50mm f1.8 is a cheap lens to make, no matter how you want to spin it.

5 upvotes
flipmac
By flipmac (Jun 30, 2011)

I knew you were gonna pull the DoF card! For exposure and in terms of brightness, it is still f/1.8. Missed the Sony 85/2.8, but how much is the A850 or the A900 to mount it on?

"50mm f1.8 is a cheap lens to make, no matter how you want to spin it."
Really? So sharpness, build quality, internal/quiet/fast focusing, etc. has no effect on the price? I like how you spin things; makes it so simple.

3 upvotes
Dennis
By Dennis (Jun 30, 2011)

I knew that equivalence included both FL and aperture ... I didn't know it included cost ! Seriously, equivalence is no basis for cost comparisons.

That said, I'd be happy to see this lens if I were a m43 owner, high priced or not. (Hopefully its build & IQ justify the price).

0 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Jun 30, 2011)

flipmac, in terms of brightness and exposure it's f/1.8 indeed. But in terms of effective noise, it's still f/3.6 (the noise is determined only by the diameter of the lens, AoV, and exposure, assuming the same sensor technology for an equivalent full-frame camera).

In other words it's not the brightness, but the total amount of light which forms the image that matters for the final output.

1 upvote
Amin Sabet
By Amin Sabet (Jun 30, 2011)

"If you want to compare equivalence, then also compare to 3.6 FF lenses..."

tkbslc, by your logic we should be able to buy a small sensor (eg, 1/1.7" sensor) camera with an f/0.4 normal lens for very little money. It doesn't work that way, though. Faster lenses are expensive to design and manufacture. Take the Nokton 25/0.95 for example - it's just a way more expensive lens design than a typical 50mm f/2 lens for 35mm format. The bottom line is that Micro 4/3 isn't the right format for someone who places highest priority on shallow DOF or low light. Once you get past that hangup, you can work with the reality that fast lenses will cost you, regardless of format. The 45/1.8 is a relatively fast telephoto lens for Micro 4/3 and costs in the vicinity of what a relatively fast telephoto lens tends to cost for other systems.

0 upvotes
David VL
By David VL (Jul 1, 2011)

I always hated when people that uses 35mm, or bigger sensor come to bitch about m4/3 or 4/3rds product. Saying this and that, the IQ and the noise, the tonal range, gradation, clarity, depth of field, price,etc. Do you have one? Have u use it frequently until you know exactly what you are talking about?

Its like when you use FF camera, and someone came from a medium format sector or large format sector, saying that FF sucks, price too high, IQ not good enough, gradation not clear, blablabla.
why dont u just shut up and let us m4/3rds fans be happy with our choice of format?

You shoot FF. good for u.
we shoot m4/rds, good for us.
so shut up and stop posting negative things about m4/3rds.

2 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (Jul 1, 2011)

WARNING: This comment it's NOT about any specific brand! Regrettably most of them do the same.

Man, it's SO good to see someone not swallowing the hip from the manufacturers, and especially not joining the growing ranks of the herd who will justify ANYTHING done by their religion-COF!-brand of choice!
I still can't understand how people will pay whatever ridiculous amount and be happy with it! It's so... smart, as those who pay more to get the extra-brand-new-freshly-out-camera-with-1.8-more-megapixels when the manufacturer still didn't finished developing it!!! And they just swallow all the bugs in it and keep happily downloading and installing new software to compensate for brand new DEFECTIVE equipment! I'm not so old, but i still remember a time when people could actually buy FINISHED cameras!!!

0 upvotes
nugat
By nugat (Jul 2, 2011)

Extremely shallow DOF argument....
It's important for those who love "left-eye-only" sharp portraits. The rest of the world like to see the whole face most of the tiime.

0 upvotes
TechOutsider
By TechOutsider (Jun 30, 2011)

Finally, some decent lens. Congrats Olympus.

5 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Jun 30, 2011)

Well done Olympus!

Now check out the sweet prime kit you can get for m4/3:

12mm f2.0
25mm f1.4
45mm f1.8

5 upvotes
LucasO
By LucasO (Jun 30, 2011)

Agreed that the 25mm f1.4 looks great but just a plug for the 20mm f1.7.
It has been glued to my PEN for months now taking fantastic shots!

0 upvotes
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (Jul 4, 2011)

Actually... they both look great :)

0 upvotes
asadmalik
By asadmalik (Jul 5, 2011)

Please Olympus, I want a 7 or at least 9mm prime as well.

1 upvote
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jun 30, 2011)

$800 is too much for the 12mm. It is a great lens just out of my price range. The 45mm F1.8 sounds good though. Panasonic better get to making some more lenses.

0 upvotes
lol101
By lol101 (Jun 30, 2011)

Come on! $800 MSRP is fine for a 12f2 full metal body if it has excellent IQ (which is likely given the track record of Oly).
Large aperture wide-angles are expensive to make and this one definitely looks to be placed on a high quality level.

I agree that it's expensive but it does look competitive to me.

8 upvotes
peroni
By peroni (Jun 30, 2011)

Street prices might be considerably lower after a few months.

0 upvotes
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (Jul 4, 2011)

I agree with lol101. This 12mm F2 looks very good, I'll certainly get one; the only question is whether I'll upgrade my E-P1 and G1 to the E-P3 and G3, both of them ? or only one and then which one ?

0 upvotes
Ken Lam
By Ken Lam (Jul 6, 2011)

If your using E-P1 and G1. you must upgrade to E-P3 to get fastest AF, Higher ISO and Movie record.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 44