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Olympus creates 60mm F2.8 Macro and promises 17mm F1.8 for Micro Four Thirds

By dpreview staff on Sep 17, 2012 at 09:00 GMT

Photokina 2012: Olympus has launched two lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system, including the M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro, and announced it is developing a 17mm F1.8 fast prime. It has also made an unusual 15mm F8 'body cap lens' that's just 9mm thick. The final lens is a special edition black version of its existing high-end 12mm F2.0 prime. The 60mm Macro will cost around $499/£429, and the black 12mm F2.0 will be $1099/£849.

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Press Release:

Olympus Micro Four Thirds system gets four more lenses

Hamburg, 17 September 2012 – Olympus promised owners of PEN and O-MD cameras the full array of dedicated interchangeable lenses and accessories – and the launch of four new Micro Four Thirds lenses comes good on that pledge. This new generation offers optical engineering of the highest standard for anyone who appreciates top level image quality – from macro enthusiasts to snap-happy PEN owners and ambitious hobby photographers with an eye for outstanding design. The new splash and dust-proof M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 (120mm*) Macro lens is ideal for use outdoors. Near silent focusing and 1:1 magnification as close as 19cm makes this robust lens perfect for high-resolution close-ups of the natural world, but its imaging potential is impressive wherever you shoot. Beautiful circular bokeh, a practical Focus Limit switch and virtually non-existent spot flaring make it an extremely attractive addition for owners of the high-end O-MD E-M5, or of course a PEN. The high-grade, large aperture M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:1.8 (34mm*) lens is currently under development. This stylish, compact beauty will incorporate a sophisticated focusing mechanism designed especially for top-notch snapshot photography. The third lens of the quartet is a collector's item. An elegant, limited-edition black version of the existing M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm 1:2.0 (24mm*) wide-angle 'Street Photography' lens, including a metal lens hood and cap. Last but not least, the super affordable and ultra-slim 15mm (30mm*) 1:8.0 Body Cap lens is all about shooting on the fly, ideally with a PEN. The 17mm goes on sale in early 2013, whereas the other three will be available from October 2012.

M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro lens

In terms of sheer image quality, this handsome lens gives PEN, and in particular O-MD owners, the potential to capture images on a par with high end Four Thirds cameras using a ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50mm 1:2.0 macro lens – but with significantly less outlay. With its dust and splash-proof housing and excellent macro credentials, its natural habitat is just that: the natural world outside. At 19cm and 1:1 magnification, close-ups of animal and plants come to life in spectacular fashion, with high resolution and contrast edge-to-edge. And in bright light, its multi-layer ZERO (ZUIKO Extra-low Reflection Optical) lens coating halves the effects of ghosting and flaring compared to similar conventional coatings.


This is an extremely bright, large-aperture, high-resolution lens and a must have for anyone looking to capture exceptional images on the spur of the moment. The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 17mm 1:1.8 is packed with the same advanced optical technologies that have proved so successful on other high-end Olympus lenses, including the silver version of the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm 1:2.0 'Street Photography' lens launched earlier this year. Attractive circular bokeh is a common strength, with none of the off-axis aberration or colour fringe effects that can otherwise spoil your shot. Both lenses also make it especially easy to set the depth of field for stills with intentional background blurring. Snapshot specialists will appreciate built-in depth of field and distance indicators that show the distance at which objects are in focus, so you can focus instantly without having to look at the camera display. These indicators come into play in Manual mode, which you activate by pulling back the focus ring.

Special-edition M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm 1:2.0

Collectors will be counting down the days to the launch of this limited edition designer piece that comes as a kit with a matching lens hood and cap – all in classic black. With its wide-angle capacity and fast aperture, the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm 1:2.0 lens performs superbly in low-light and snapshot situations where a flash or tripod would be inappropriate – and is of course ideal for capturing high-quality landscapes and other broad shots. As an Olympus system lens, it also benefits from the Image Stabilisation (IS) built into every new Olympus camera. Most rival wide-angle lenses don't come with stabilisation technology, which can leave you susceptible to shake and blurring with cameras that don't have built-in IS of their own.

15mm (30mm*) 1:8.0 Body Cap

An ultra-slim cap and flexible, fixed-focus, fixed-aperture lens in one; this is an ideal first accessory for the powerful new PEN Lite and PEN mini. PEN cameras famously combine portable dimensions with ease-of-use for go anywhere SLR-quality imaging, and the Body Cap stays true to that philosophy. It adds a mere 9mm to the depth of your camera so you can still slip it into a jacket pocket with the confidence that sensitive components will be safe from dust, scratches and smears. When you pull it out again, you'll be able to capture subjects on the spur of the moment from one metre to infinity – with no need to focus and without attaching a full sized lens. For close-ups, there's a lever to extend the focus range to just 30cm from your subject.

Availability, accessories and prices

With the exception of the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:1.8 lens, all these lenses will be available from October. The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro lens will cost just £429 and is compatible with a host of dedicated Olympus accessories. These include the specialist macro RF-11 ring flash and TF-22 twin flashes (in combination with the optional FR-2 adaptor ring). The special-edition M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm 1:2.0 Street Photography lens will retail for £849, which includes the matching metal lens hood and cap. The 15mm 1:8.0 Body Cap lens for PEN is a bargain at just £70. The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:1.8 lens is currently at the development stage and more details will be announced nearer the launch.

* 35mm equivalent.

Olympus m.Zukio Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro specifications


Total comments: 31
By WhiteBeard (Sep 24, 2012)

One of my favorite lenses in my old Minolta SLR system was the 100mm f:3.5 Rokkor. I made tons of portraits and close-up macro shots with it and found it razor-sharp with great depth of field control so shots made at "large" aperture really made the subject in focus stand out. A quick comparison with the Oly will point out why I'm so impressed by this new 60mm:
- The Rokkor probably weighted as much as the 60mm Oly WITH camera attached.
- The Oly's F:2.8 aperture is a plus over the Rokkor's F:3.5: more stable handheld macro shots and better "bokeh", especially combined with the Oly's longer focal lenght (120mm eq. compared to 100).
- The older lens needed an extension tube to cover the 1:2 to 1:1 range.
- Price: The Rokkor set me back 295$ in 1974 (I know, Antiquity), so 500$ for the Olympus in 2012 is a bargain indeed. After the 25mm f:1.4 Pana-Leica, this is the one that makes my mouth water....

By PowerG9atBlackForest (Sep 18, 2012)

I did like the Macro very much when I tested it today Tuesday 18th. Impressive how it renders the details! Typically Micro Four-Thirds and very compact! Hermann

By hellowin (Sep 18, 2012)

The 60mm macro will have a hood supplied?

By zapatista (Sep 18, 2012)

The lens is made by Olympus.

By DarkShift (Sep 18, 2012)

The price of the 60mm/2.8 1:1 Macro seems lower than I ever expected!

However the 17mm/1.8 is even more interesting, if it's great optically. My Lumix 20mm/1.7 has too slow AF motor while it takes great pictures. And internal focusing is a MUST.

By jtan163 (Sep 18, 2012)

I think I could dig that 17mm f/1.8.

34mm equiv is just what the doctor ordered.

By peevee1 (Sep 17, 2012)

60/2.8 macro is good value (in m43 expensive world) at $500, leaving Panasonic 45 mm macro without many new sales. Especially if it is perfect as 75 mm.

$1100 for 12/2.0 is way overpriced.
$100 for the body-cap too (you can have a pinhole lens much cheaper, and it is basically the same).

By peevee1 (Sep 17, 2012)

"The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:18 lens "

1:18? Come on, fix it!

Nko Gonzalvis
By Nko Gonzalvis (Sep 17, 2012)

Very very very good offerings for m4/3. That macro just looks so cool !!!

By hindesite (Sep 17, 2012)

The Macro looks great!

Is manual focus only by wire, or coupled directly to the focus ring?

1 upvote
By photohounds (Sep 17, 2012)

Wire's just fine for accuracy, you can hear the 'clicks' if you listen carefully and the graduations are so tiny.

AF focusses in steps in every system I've seen, Oly just couple the motor that does the AF to the ring.

To say you can do finer is paranoia and not very likely because
FBW is geared down, you can make VERY fine adjustments.

Don't worry 'how' just shoot ...

1 upvote
Demon Cleaner
By Demon Cleaner (Sep 17, 2012)

Anyone who outlays $1100 for the "special edition" 12mm f/2 instead of paying the same amount for the 12-35mm f/2.8 X lens needs their head read. Oly can't honestly be expecting to sell even a single unit at that price point.

1 upvote
By Chekr (Sep 17, 2012)

I will buy one, its a fantastic lens and well outperforms the x lens you compare it to.

By revio (Sep 17, 2012)

By including a metal hood and cap, the price increase from the silver version seems not that high... Another issue is whether the hood should have been included already at the "silver price point"; which I think it should have. The worst of it is they say the black will be a limited edition, which to me sounds nothing but crazy. If the OM-D, and follow ups to it, will, and would, be sold in black, then a black edition of this lens (especially as it now is in fact launched) MUST be available without a silly "time limit", like "get it now, or dust off". A VERY bad approach by Olympus.

If they never lauched a black 12mm it would have been another story, but making it a limited edition is simply disrespectful of their own customer base.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
Demon Cleaner
By Demon Cleaner (Sep 17, 2012)

@ Chekr
I've got a bridge for sale my friend. I know you'll be keen on it. It was made by Olympus.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
By peevee1 (Sep 17, 2012)

12-35 is not the same price, it is $200 more (also badly overpriced).

12-35 is 2.8.

12-35 has pretty bad CA at 12 mm on Olympus cameras (which don't autocorrect for some CA). 12 mm is not perfect either though.

Demon Cleaner
By Demon Cleaner (Sep 17, 2012)

Incorrect. The 12-35mm is now selling for $1100 from a number of merchants. See Amazon store front for one.

By zapatista (Sep 18, 2012)

@peevee1 LR makes CA's a one click fix.

By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Sep 17, 2012)

It looks like there'll be another 17mm-f/2.8 Pancake Lens on sale at the second hand market - mine. The new 17mm-f/1.8 looks promising. I just hope it is priced like the 45mm prime, not like the 12mm.
On the other hand, I fail to see the point of the 15mm-f/8 "lens cap"...

By Photomonkey (Sep 17, 2012)

I agree on the 17 but I think the 15 is their response to the "I can't put it in my pocket" crowd.
I actually would consider getting it as it seems to be the ultimate knockabout lens.

By sadwitch (Sep 17, 2012)

It's price would probably be above the 45mm hopefully below the 12mm. It'll sell like hot cakes if its going to be price around US$600-700. The construction looks very similar to 12 and has a manual switch with distance scale.

By peevee1 (Sep 17, 2012)

"It'll sell like hot cakes if its going to be price around US$600-700."

Why? There are Pana 20 and 25 mm which are faster and cheaper than that.

By fivetonsflax (Sep 17, 2012)

Well, I love the 25mm very much, but I'd still shell out for a 35mm-equivalent. I still miss using my Pentax 21mm (32.5 equivalent).

1 upvote
By SeeRoy (Sep 17, 2012)

"Collectors will be counting down..."
And possibly a few photographers.

There's a remarkable amount of gibberish in this press release.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
Rooru S
By Rooru S (Sep 17, 2012)

Very very very good offerings for m4/3. That macro just looks awesome.

By thewhitehawk (Sep 17, 2012)

Well, if the new 17mm performs as well as their 12mm or the 45 I'm selling my 20mm Panasonic.

By mpgxsvcd (Sep 17, 2012)

I would rather just put the slightly larger 14mm F2.5 lens on than use the body cap lens. I will definitely buy the 17mm F1.8 when it comes out though.

1 upvote
Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (Sep 17, 2012)

distance scale on that 60mm macro is insane, also price is just right. cant wait to get one.

By Edoveral (Sep 17, 2012)

My thoughts exactly. It's price is almost absurdly low, compared to other specialist lenses in MFT-format. Could it be that Olympus knows there is a third-party macrolens coming?

1 upvote
By M_Hobart (Sep 17, 2012)

Robin Wong, in a preview, describes the new 60mm as being optically as good as the 50mm in the 4/3 line and maybe a bit better. Plus it has fast A/F, the magnification/distance scale, weatherproof, reaches 1:1 without an extension tube. I'm looking forward to Robin's full review as well as that from DPreview and others :-)

By SuzailanJai (Sep 21, 2012)

Check out the sample images and review of this lens by Zuikoholics Malaysia...

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
Total comments: 31