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Kowa to make three manual focus lenses for Micro Four Thirds

By dpreview staff on Feb 17, 2014 at 14:50 GMT

Japanese optical company Kowa - best known for its spotting scopes and binoculars - has revealed that it plans to make three lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras. The Kowa Prominar 8.5mm F2.8 MFT, 12mm F1.8 MFT and 25mm F1.8 MFT will all feature manual focus and aperture control, and use low-dispersion XD glass and aspheric elements to minimise distortion and aberrations. Other details are sparse at this point, but the lenses are due to be released in summer 2014.

 Kowa Prominar 8.5mm F2.8 MFT

  • Focal length: 8.5mm
  • Max aperture: F2.8 / T3.0
  • TV distortion: 0.12%
  • Angle of view: 93.5° x 77.1°
  • Minimum focus: 0.2m

 Kowa Prominar 12mm F1.8 MFT

  • Focal length: 12mm
  • Max aperture: F1.8 / T1.9
  • TV distortion: 0.59%
  • Angle of view: 74.9° x 59.6°
  • Minimum focus: 0.2m
 

 Kowa Prominar 25mm F1.8 MFT

  • Focal length: 25mm
  • Max aperture: F1.8 / T1.9
  • TV distortion: 0.57%
  • Angle of view: 40.9° x 31.1°
  • Minimum focus: 0.2m
 

These lenses appear to be native Micro Four Thirds mount re-housings of Kowa's existing 4/3" format C-mount 'XC' machine vision optics - click here for more details. (Thanks to JayBratcher for spotting this and posting the link.) 

Via: ephotozine, Source: Kowa

Comments

Total comments: 138
Scottelly
By Scottelly (1 month ago)

There was a time when Kowa made big telescopes (like 10 inch diameter or even bigger). I saw one of their advertisements on the back of the August 1976 issue of Optical Spectra magazine just yesterday. Now it looks like they just focus on making medical equipment, industrial lenses, spotting scopes, and binoculars. It will be interesting to see these lenses' capabilities.

BTW, just in case you don't believe me about Optical Spectra Magazine, because it is difficult to find, check out this guy's (Matt Young's) writing credits:

http://www.uscibooks.com/young.htm

0 upvotes
xentar
By xentar (2 months ago)

That 8.5mm lens looks very promising. Don't think it will be available in my region though.

0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (2 months ago)

Adapted machine-vision lenses could be good. Machine vision lenses have to meet verifiable resolution targets, unlike consumer lenses. I've got a very fast Schneider and it's excellent. However, it does cost $2300.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (2 months ago)

machine-vision usually means low resolution but the lenses may be made much higher resolution than needed.

0 upvotes
ajs jones
By ajs jones (2 months ago)

I couldn't find any lenses on DPR's widget that got over 50 lp/mm (lwph divided by 2 then divided by frame height in mm) even half way from the centre. The Kowa's spec sheets have 80 lp/mm as specs (not theoretical MTFs like the big boys)...

0 upvotes
Zdman
By Zdman (2 months ago)

Have a Kowa full frame 50mm for VIS-IR and its pretty damn good. Its almost identical to my Summicron-R 50mm in performance. (it also originally cost a fortune though)

0 upvotes
ajs jones
By ajs jones (2 months ago)

Data sheets indicate 80 lp/mm in corners wide open, and 100(8.5mm) 160 (12 and 25) lp/mm in the centre. Pretty impressive if they meet it.

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (2 months ago)

160lp/mm is like Nikon's Ultra Micro Nikkors of the 1960's.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (2 months ago)

same lp/mm reading means half the linear resolution or 1/4 areal (like DxOMark P-MPix) in the projected image.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 42 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Fri13
By Fri13 (2 months ago)

I am going to picck that 8.5mm if quality is better than Panasoniic 7-14mm. Now I have Samyang 7.5mm fiisheye lens and while its drawn and sharpness is amazing, I hate how it is hard to get de-fishing profiles work in LR and so on.

Please Kowa, add pins to lens so camera can write to EXIF/IPTC metadata what aperture and focus distance was used (and what lens focal lenght is).

0 upvotes
photohounds
By photohounds (2 months ago)

I have that glass too.

It is surprisingly sharp and nicely made, too. Icing on cake the OMDs let you easily magnify the spot you want sharp to check focus ... try that with that 1936 glass finder technology.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_single-lens_reflex_camera#Exakta - the FIRST 35mm SLR

Some samples shot with it, here.
http://photohounds.smugmug.com/Manmade-environment/Something-fisheye-here-/

Quick poll:
How much time do YOU spend trolling through the CaNikSon forums to make irrelevant "observations"?

I'll answer first : ZERO

0 upvotes
rialcnis
By rialcnis (2 months ago)

These are exciting. They will really be exciting if the price is low. Can't wait to see video samples.

0 upvotes
km25
By km25 (2 months ago)

As I remember Kowa made a fine 6x6cm camera. It was a SLR like Hassi.. It was used by Pros of the age.

3 upvotes
AlpCns2
By AlpCns2 (2 months ago)

Indeed Kowa had, and still has, an excellent reputation for optics. In the past they made lovely cameras too - the Kowa Six, for example, and some rather spectacular dedicated wide-angle 35mm rangefinders with Seiko leafshutters.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (2 months ago)

Kowa Prominar 8.5mm F2.8 MFT

Focal length: 8.5mm
Max aperture: F2.8 / T3.0
TV distortion: 0.12%
Angle of view: 93.5° x 11.7°
Minimum focus: 0.2m

Something is wrong with the posted specs of this lens. If one of the angles of view is 93.5°, how the heck can the other corresponding angle of view be only a minuscule 11.7°?

I can see it being 71.7 degree, but for the life of me cannot see how a lens can give you angular fields of view of 93.5° x 11.7°.

Quick, someone solve this, pls.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (2 months ago)

The lens looks like it's based on their existing 4/3" machine vision lens LM8XC, which gives viewing angles of 93.5° x 77.1°.

So yeah, someone's swapped their 1s and 7s :)

1 upvote
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (2 months ago)

This is now corrected; thanks for bringing it to our attention.

(We actually like to add in small errors occasionally, to give our more-vocal commenters something to talk about.)

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
4 upvotes
jhinkey
By jhinkey (2 months ago)

Keeps us on our toes!

0 upvotes
rbryll
By rbryll (2 months ago)

Kowa makes truly *excellent* low-distortion machine vision (C-mount) lenses. I could not find better lenses on the market for 3D stereo vision applications, maybe with the exception of some Schneider Optics models costing 5-7 times as much. I hope these new lenses are a success, the company deserves it. (I'm not affiliated with Kowa, just using their stuff).

1 upvote
plasnu
By plasnu (2 months ago)

hmm, I have to see the sample images from those lenses, then.

0 upvotes
Timur Born
By Timur Born (2 months ago)

I see a screw on filter ring on the 8.5 mm lens.

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (2 months ago)

it's about 17mm equiv. and 17-40/4L takes 77mm filter.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (2 months ago)

Their industrial version of the same lens (LM8XC) takes 72mm filters

1 upvote
igorek7
By igorek7 (2 months ago)

There were also two other Kowa MFT lens prototypes 16mm T1.9 and 50mm T2.1, plus all-black versions which can be seen here https://vimeo.com/79305426

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Chris2210
By Chris2210 (2 months ago)

The housings of these lenses don't look like the original 43 Kowas, they're almost a dead ringer for the barrels on the Voigtlander Noktons. I wonder if there's some tie-up on the m43 mount?

0 upvotes
jeffharris
By jeffharris (2 months ago)

I own the three M4/3 Voigtländer Noktons and the Kowas look nothing like them.

0 upvotes
Dave Oddie
By Dave Oddie (2 months ago)

Lenses like the 8.5mm are what all the smaller formats lack. You have to go with a zoom in most cases as far as I am aware on m43 and aps-c with most primes being no wider than 14mm. (Unless you want a fisheye)

0 upvotes
Den Sh
By Den Sh (2 months ago)

See Samyang's 10mm f/2.8 rectilinear wide-angle prime for APS-C.

0 upvotes
jhinkey
By jhinkey (2 months ago)

The Samyang is not native to m43 and is much, much bigger than it needs to be for m43.

0 upvotes
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (2 months ago)

I once had a Kowa Super 66. The lenses were almost as good, if not as good as the ones on my Hasselblad. They were very, very good lenses. Unlike the Hasselblad, the Kowa's mirror slap was like a bomb going off in your hands. I expect these lenses to be likewise excellent.

2 upvotes
xiod_crlx
By xiod_crlx (2 months ago)

very good indeed!

kowa is pretty cool company being making very fast aperture <f1.0 some time ago with large image circle (not cctv size, proper 35-50mm coverage)

and there are more companies that have all requirements to make nice lenses for modern slr\mirrorless but they are afraid to make these lenses?

noritar? old delft?

where are you guys?

we want to see cool stuff to choose from =)

1 upvote
pancromat
By pancromat (2 months ago)

going to their website i don't see spotting scopes and binoculars. i see a manufacturer of high precision industrial and CCTV lenses. so they chose a few lenses off their portfolio which are capable of 4/3" and affordable, put on a MFT mount - thats it. no big invention, no "joining the MFT waggon".

2 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (2 months ago)

Seriously? You've never heard of Kowa before? http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Kowa

8 upvotes
DarkShift
By DarkShift (2 months ago)

And your logic is?

FT is not the same mount as MFT and also the focus & aperture controls look very different to me. So obviously more than just "putting on a MFT" was needed for producing these.

Especially those wide angle versions would be very promising if the lenses actually deliver high resolution and low distortion as promised.

3 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (2 months ago)

Kowa is a huge name in lenses for industrial uses (along with companies like Rodenstock and Melles Griot). For example, I have Kowa 42mm f/0.75 and 55mm f/1.0 lenses that were designed for photographing X-Ray phosphor displays.

Kowa has occasionally dabbled in consumer lenses and even made a few cameras, but I suspect this announcement recognizes that folks are now buying micro4/3 cameras for industrial uses. It is shocking how far behind a lot of the sensors in "cheap" industrial cameras are... until you realize that they have a limited market, so it is hard to recover development costs and thus those cameras often have what were good (and expensive) sensors 5+ years ago.

7 upvotes
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (2 months ago)

Kowa have been making spotting scopes and binoculars for decades.

http://kowa-prominar.com

This video is shot with Kowa anamorphic lenses - Cinema Grade - PL Mount.

http://vimeo.com/floridavideoproduction

The set you can hire out is: 40mm - 50mm - 75mm - 100mm

http://www.mu2pro.com/#!rent-anamorphic-lenses/c78f

So they make a little bit more than just high precision industrial and CCTV lenses...

1 upvote
Revenant
By Revenant (2 months ago)

And as you can see here, Kowa is an official member of the MFT group, so in that sense thay have joined "the MFT wagon".

http://www.four-thirds.org/en/contact/group.html

Not every member makes cameras or lenses for consumer use, though. There are several members that makes equipment for industrial use, for example.

2 upvotes
David Myers
By David Myers (2 months ago)

No. These lenses look like they are designed to keep the back focus rays of light as parallel as possible which optimises sharpness, reduces the extended back projection distance to the corners of the sensor and minimises vignetting and CA problems. David Myers: www.digitalmasters.com.au

2 upvotes
springsnow
By springsnow (2 months ago)

Is it just me, or do the lenses look too "big" for the stated focal length?

0 upvotes
Surefoot
By Surefoot (2 months ago)

Read the previous comments. These are cine lenses (or machine vision, actually). The geared focus ring and size are a give away.

2 upvotes
pdelux
By pdelux (2 months ago)

These are just mock ups of the lenses, i doubt the finished product will all look exactly like the pictures.

0 upvotes
Zvonko
By Zvonko (2 months ago)

what's 4/3rds??? do Nikon or Canon make it??

0 upvotes
TN Args
By TN Args (2 months ago)

Of course not, that would require innovation.

27 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (2 months ago)

sensor format isn't too big an issue. 4/3" doesn't necessarily mean high or low performance (there is a top limit lower than APS-C but we are not even near that limit), so take it easy.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (2 months ago)

what's an airplane? do Canon or Nikon make it? good thing they put their logos on clothes, otherwise we wouldn't be able to go out in the winter.

8 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (2 months ago)

Why not? Makes sense, but...M43? Why commit to that? It has no future.

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
jdu_sg
By jdu_sg (2 months ago)

Obviously this is just a trial run to work out the kinks, then they'll target Sony, and it's triple-mount strategy, then Canon with it's only in europe mirrorless strategy, then Nikon with it's rapidlly expanding mirrorless ecosystem..

15 upvotes
love_them_all
By love_them_all (2 months ago)

But these lenses do not seem to cover anything larger than a 4/3 sensor. They cannot just change the mount and sell them as Sony E mount lenses.

1 upvote
viking79
By viking79 (2 months ago)

Why doesnt 4/3 have a future? They already make a lot of machine vision and industrial lenses in 4/3, might as well house them in m43.

5 upvotes
bluevellet
By bluevellet (2 months ago)

Seems logical to me. Kowa is a Japanese company and m43 is by far the biggest mirrorless system over there. It would be sillier to support the other mirrorless with only tiny fractions of the market, some of which with questionable commitments for the future (Sony, Canon, Nikon).

I would only question some of the focal range these lenses cover.

9 upvotes
pdelux
By pdelux (2 months ago)

There isnt many FL that arent already covered in m4/3. Theres duplication everywhere, but at leaset their are choices. Thats a good problem to have in a system.. too many lenses.

I would compare these to the Voigtlander 0.95 lenses. 17,25,42

The only one that is moderatley new is the 8.5 lense.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (2 months ago)

there is no reason why m4/3" should have or have not future. it all depends on its makers though it may be impossible for m4/3" to become a top system.

m4/3" is a place that low performance makers can survive so it's quite natural Kowa starts from there. this is only the start.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (2 months ago)

"m4/3" is a place that low performance makers can survive so it's quite natural Kowa starts from there. this is only the start."

How do you do this? Come here everyday non-stop to troll DPR?

6 upvotes
pdelux
By pdelux (2 months ago)

You gotta admire his persistence. If canon or nikon is not paying this guy they should!

1 upvote
trultrul
By trultrul (2 months ago)

"Why not? Makes sense, but...M43? Why commit to that? It has no future."
you know future? Wow .. palm reading or tarot?

"m4/3" is a place that low performance makers can survive so it's quite natural Kowa starts from there. this is only the start."
typical unsecured gearhead comments who feel his/her photos are worse than those m4/3 photographers lol

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (2 months ago)

Why wouldn't anyone who makes cine lenses slap a M4/3 mount on them in order to reach a new market?

It's pretty easy to do, if there is no auto focusing involved.

Zeiss does the very same thing with some of their $4,000 cine lenses. These Kowa lenses should be considerably cheaper than that.

8 upvotes
Fri13
By Fri13 (2 months ago)

Because they have the 2x crop factor to solve out. The m4/3 standard specs out the circle so you are not allowed to make m4/3 lens if the circle is bigger than standard say.

0 upvotes
jhinkey
By jhinkey (2 months ago)

Isn't that what Sigma does with some of their m43 mount lenses?
They are actually design for APS-C sensors, but Sigma puts a m43 compatible mount on the.
You can certainly have an image circle larger than the m43 standard . . .

0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (2 months ago)

Never been a big fan of Kowa spotting scopes, the German companies and Nikon produce better ones, but the lenses may be good. Kowa made some 35mm cameras (re-badged?) and lenses in the 1970's I believe.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (2 months ago)

Kowa made Kowa six medium format cameras and also its own 35 mm SLR Kowa seTr. I had one of the latter.

4 upvotes
mas54
By mas54 (2 months ago)

Also made Kaloflex twin-lens in 50's or 60's. I had one. Good quality.

0 upvotes
expoboy52
By expoboy52 (2 months ago)

Those Kowa seTr cameras were reliability nightmares.

1 upvote
dynaxx
By dynaxx (2 months ago)

I beg to differ @RichRMA - Kowa scopes, especially the Prominar Fluorites, are among the very best that money can buy in terms of construction and optics. Their telephoto lens/scope convertible system ( 3 options from 350mm to 850mm for M43/Sony A/Pentax and those other 2 ) is top notch. As for their bins, the 32X82 Highlanders are the very best you can buy. And don't forget they are number one in Opthalmic diagnostics !

6 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (2 months ago)

Wow, these will be like the 99th M4/3 lenses with these same focal lengths.

Manual single focal lenses like these must be dirt cheap to make -- which may explain why there are maybe 2 or 3 decent zoom lenses altogether for the Micro 4/3rd form factor.

4 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (2 months ago)

Those are cine lenses.

7 upvotes
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (2 months ago)

Dirt cheap to make? Not if the lens is highly corrected and is made to high mechanical standards. Look at the diagram of the 25/1.8 - that is not a simple clone of double-gaus design. And look also at the distortion numbers. Very low.

Frankly I have no idea what is the target for Kowa with these lenses, but I would expect high quality (which will came with high price I would guess).

Comment edited 8 seconds after posting
9 upvotes
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (2 months ago)

The target market is folks who think that buying expensive MF lenses that look as though they were built in the 1950s will immediately transform their snaps into "art".
The 8.5 is the only one of these that might actually fill a partial hole in the range of lenses that are already available for M4/3. Big, ugly lumps by the look of them.

1 upvote
sbszine
By sbszine (2 months ago)

The target market is Blackmagic portable CC users and GH3/GH4 users.

11 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (2 months ago)

@ Roland Karlsson: "Those are cine lenses."

Which ones? Oh, "those," I see. I guess.

0 upvotes
topstuff
By topstuff (2 months ago)

Are the apertures click stopped or continuous, like the Samyang cine lenses, I wonder...?

0 upvotes
Artistico
By Artistico (2 months ago)

Since they tell us the t-stops, one can assume they are aiming the lenses at the M43 cinematography market, and therefore one can also assume they will be clickless.

4 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (2 months ago)

Strange looking lenses. That military green part is .... unexpected?

0 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (2 months ago)

It’s an unexpected colour, but it’s a traditional Kowa colour. I suppose they reckoned it was better to be slightly strange than unrecognisable.

6 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (2 months ago)

Kowa is a wildly underrated brand. I would expect these to be very good. The last time they made camera lenses, they were great and very reasonably priced.

4 upvotes
Holger Drallmeyer
By Holger Drallmeyer (2 months ago)

People don't know Kowa anymore. I love my Kowa 66. Brilliant camera and crazy good glass after 40 years still.

7 upvotes
Eric Hensel
By Eric Hensel (2 months ago)

I remember the original slr and 66, and think you two have rose-colored glasses on ;)

4 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (2 months ago)

I didn't say Kowa made great (reliable) cameras. I said they made great lenses.

0 upvotes
jhinkey
By jhinkey (2 months ago)

What are those dimensions they are listing on their web page - length x diameter?

8.5mm - 239×179mm
12mm - 182×136mm
25mm - 125×93mm

I hope not . . .

0 upvotes
jhinkey
By jhinkey (2 months ago)

I think those numbers I quoted above might be the horizontal x vertical subject size at MFD.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
mike051051
By mike051051 (2 months ago)

You're right, it's the field size at closest focus distance. Here's a translation from babylon.com:

A photography range at the time of the most proximity 125×93mm

0 upvotes
Ulric
By Ulric (2 months ago)

If the 8/2.8 turns out to be good and reasonably priced, I don't see how it can avoid being a hit.

7 upvotes
Frank_BR
By Frank_BR (2 months ago)

The Kowa 8.5mm F2.8 is an ultra-wide angle lens with a distortion of only 0.12%. Remarkable!

However, many m43 cameras, Panasonic in particular, use distortion correction by software, so that quality of the Kowa 8.5mm is not very relevant in practice.

2 upvotes
nelsonal
By nelsonal (2 months ago)

These seem aimed at the Blackmagic, or GHn video users, does distortion correction apply to video?

3 upvotes
Frank_BR
By Frank_BR (2 months ago)

For all I know, the GHn cameras do distortion correction even for video, but only when Panasonic/Leica lenses are employed.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (2 months ago)

@Frank_BR Distortion correction will be applied in video to all lenses that use it, regardless of whether it's Panasonic or Olympus badged.

1 upvote
joe6pack
By joe6pack (2 months ago)

Since they are manual lenses, they can fit on the Sony E-mount/NEX as well using a cheap adapter, likely with some vignetting.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (2 months ago)

the pixel sizes of 24MPix APS-C and 16MPix 4/3" sensors are almost the same so there is little one will lose using a 4/3" Kowa on Sony E.

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
vroger1
By vroger1 (2 months ago)

WHAT IS MOST INTERESTING ABOUT THIS ARTICLE TO ME IS THAT THERE IS TREMENDOUS LEGITIMACY TO M-4/3 WITH MORE AND MORE MANUFACTUERS JUMPING ON THE BANDWAGON. THE PROBLEM IS THE NUMBER OF M-4/3 DIGICAMS WITHOUT VIEWFINDERS. NON-AUTOFOCUS LENSES SUCH AS THESE ARE HARD TO HANDLE WHEN NOT USING A V/F. THE ANSWER? ALL M4/3 DIGICAMS SHOULD HAVE EITHER INTEGRAL OR ACCESSORY EVF'S.

0 upvotes
Thoughts
By Thoughts (2 months ago)

You should try waist level shooting if the lcd screen is tiltable, its fun

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (2 months ago)

why some makers think they have a chance is because m4/3" lenses have low performance and bad cost performance, an invitation for easy competitions.

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Jim Salvas
By Jim Salvas (2 months ago)

There is little need to focus such a lens such as the 8.5. Set it to the hyper focal distance and everything from less than 3ft to infinity is in focus.

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
technotic
By technotic (2 months ago)

How do you determine the value of small?

0 upvotes
Artistico
By Artistico (2 months ago)

IF SOME M43 CAMERAS DON'T HAVE EVF'S, THEN YOU SHOULD JUST GET ONE THAT HAS. THERE ARE OTHERS WHO DON'T NEED ONE. ALSO, WHY ARE WE SHOUTING?

17 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (2 months ago)

What is with the all-capitals? New to the net?

1 upvote
vroger1
By vroger1 (2 months ago)

NAH- TOO LAZY TO HIT THE caps lock key- actually the hyper-focal distance comment and waist level recommendation are both interesting. As an old Range-finder shooter I find a v/f either optical or EVF (for a zoom) an essential. VRR

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
speculatrix
By speculatrix (2 months ago)

@yabokkie
m4/3rds lens come in a huge range of choice of quality and price.
choice is good.

0 upvotes
bluevellet
By bluevellet (2 months ago)

The 8.5mm is the most interesting of the bunch.

A telephoto prime would also fill a void, alas not offered.

Comment edited 35 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
cfh25
By cfh25 (2 months ago)

The 4/3 version 8.5/2.8 is $1245 here:

http://www.rmaelectronics.com/kowa-lm8xc-1-3-4-3-8-5mm-f2-2-manual-iris-c-mount-lens-8-megapixel-rated/

2 upvotes
jeffharris
By jeffharris (2 months ago)

Nope, that's an 8mm f2.2 C-mount lens, with a M4/3 mount, rated for 8 megapixels. A different beast entirely.

If that costs $1250, who knows what the 8.5mm f2.8 M4/3 mount lens will go for? And will it be for general photography use, rather than rated for video use?

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
brycesteiner
By brycesteiner (2 months ago)

Any samples? I wouldn't mind having a non-fisheye lens at 8.5 and keeping the focus in state. On a ultra wide lens I don't usually have to make many changes to focus anyway.

1 upvote
PLAMBERT
By PLAMBERT (2 months ago)

You could leave it on infinity mostly. I use a 12mm on a FX-format camera and it hardly ever needs focussing at f5.6 or f8.
Philip

0 upvotes
brycesteiner
By brycesteiner (2 months ago)

I agree completely. The problem is even when I set the lens to manual focus on my 9-18 it still changes when removing or mounting the lens since it has the motor in the lens.

0 upvotes
Jim Salvas
By Jim Salvas (2 months ago)

Kowa Bunga, Buffalo Bob!

(Somebody had to say it)

4 upvotes
vroger1
By vroger1 (2 months ago)

Better you than me- Chief Thunderthud

1 upvote
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (2 months ago)

Bunga Bunga!
(Silvio Berlusconi)

1 upvote
jhinkey
By jhinkey (2 months ago)

8.5mm sounds perfect as long as:
- It's not huge (diameter is OK, but super long is not).
- It has great central sharpness wide open and decent corners
- It's sharp corner to corner stopped down a bit.
- It's chipped
- Has very nice mechanicals (aperture and focus rings)
- Can have a hood put on it
- Can take filters

Yeah, yeah, I want everything . . . .

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (2 months ago)

low distortion should be attractive (over 17-40/4L for example), but does anyone know corner sharpness? MF primes are more robust and need much less service.

1 upvote
Surefoot
By Surefoot (2 months ago)

It's obviously a cine lens (see the geared focus ring..) so:
- it will be oversized and built like a tank
- it will be sharp and will have exact T-stop given
- it will be probably color matched with the other 2 shown here (as in rendition)
- it wont be chipped
- it will have very good mechanical
- it will certainly have a hood a maybe a solution for filters (maybe rear drop-in ?) since these are useful for movie shooting

Dont expect a lens aimed at photographers.

Comment edited 15 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (2 months ago)

> obviously a cine lens (see the geared focus ring..) so:

anyone can make a geared focus ring.

0 upvotes
jeffharris
By jeffharris (2 months ago)

8.5mm f2.8! Excellent!
I only wish the front elements were BLACK!
Oh well, can't have everything, I guess. ;-)

M4/3 users have been itching for an ultra-wide prime… wider than 12mm and faster than f4… for quite some time.

Hopefully the image quality is on par with the Panasonic 7-14mm f4, the Olympus 12mm f2 or the SLR Magic Hyperprime 12mm T1.6.

So, what about the price and shipping date?
I suspect M4/3 users will be lining up for this one!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
11 upvotes
rurikw
By rurikw (2 months ago)

The 8.5mm if not prohibitively expensive (afraid it might be, huge amount of lenses in there:-() could make me an m43er. I guess 93.5x11.7 should read 93.5x70.1?

0 upvotes
Todd Ka
By Todd Ka (2 months ago)

Kowa is back!

9 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (2 months ago)

8.5mm F2.8 sounds tasty.

16 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (2 months ago)

m4/3" is a good place to test water, and since it's more difficult to design lenses for m4/3" than APS-C mirrorless mounts, all the experiences gained can be used to make better lenses for others.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (2 months ago)

As @JayBratcher said further down these appear to be m4/3 adaptations of their existing C-Mount machine vision lenses.

1 upvote
Thorgrem
By Thorgrem (2 months ago)

Other mirrorless mounts are not interesting for cinema lenses Yabokkie. So there will be no mirrorless APS-C versions of these lenses.

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (2 months ago)

okay, Kowa has a range of lenses for images 1/3" to 4/3" to APS-C and 35mm "large format" (for Nikon F-mount).

so what? APS-C mirrorless is still there for better quality.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Thorgrem
By Thorgrem (2 months ago)

There is a small difference in IQ if you compare the best APS-C and the best m4/3 sensors. The difference is so small that most people don't see it. So go ahead and jerk off on the superiority of the APS-C sensor, I don't care for real world use.

5 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (2 months ago)

any differences in sensor have been temporary jitters. same for small aperture 4/3" lenses that they don't have to be that small, they are only intentionally made small and low performance and it's not a nature of the system (though it may be difficult to make f/1.2 equiv. lenses).

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
zkz5
By zkz5 (2 months ago)

You know this because you've designed how many lenses, exactly?

4 upvotes
Artistico
By Artistico (2 months ago)

In the photographic community, I'd have thought Kowa would be best known not for binoculars and spotting scopes, but for their good medium format cameras, the Kowa 6 and Kowa 66, with lenses of good optical quality. Not quite Hasselblad, but close enough and much cheaper in the days before everyone went digital.

11 upvotes
Glen Barrington
By Glen Barrington (2 months ago)

I loved the Kowa 6 camera form the late 1970's. For those too young to remember, it was a wonderful, relatively inexpensive, MF (6x6) Film system camera. I'm sure it didn't sell well enough to make money, but it proved these people were serious about photography. If I owned a m4/3s camera, I wouldn't hesitate to consider something from Kowa.

11 upvotes
Paul Guba
By Paul Guba (2 months ago)

Ah I forgot about that camera. Never used one personally but remember seeing them.

0 upvotes
Paul Guba
By Paul Guba (2 months ago)

Great to see some more makers enter the market. Obviously they feel there is a profit to be made.

22 upvotes
jeffharris
By jeffharris (2 months ago)

In many respects, M4/3 is the most interesting and flexible system out there. From the GM1 to the GH4, PENs and OMDs and GX7… plus more than 70 native mount lenses covering 7mm to 300mm (14mm to 600mm - 135 equiv) there's something that can do almost anything a photographer would want. If not, then you can adapt almost any lens made in the past 60 years.

So, seeing yet another third party manufacturer jump into the M4/3 ring is great news!

I can't wait to see image tests of these lenses when they finally ship!

20 upvotes
Edgar Matias
By Edgar Matias (2 months ago)

m4/3 is the closest thing we have to an open source lens mount.

It's easy to underestimate what a competitive advantage that can be — but when you consider that Nikon is actively sabotaging the lenses made by (arguably) the most forward-thinking lens maker out there (Sigma) and ignoring the lens needs of its most numerous customers (DX) — m4/3 is starting to look like a very safe long-term bet.

Add to that the fact that 2 companies are building a variety of cameras with fairly well-differentiated high-end target users (pro photographers for Olympus, video for Panasonic).

m4/3 is increasingly looking like the Linux/Android of camera mounts.

11 upvotes
SW Anderson
By SW Anderson (2 months ago)

"Great to see some more makers enter the market. . . ."

I'm glad also. I just hope having more M43 lens makers in the market will at some point yield competition that moderates prices. Seems as though anything wider than the ubiquitous kit zoom comes with an arm-and-leg price tag.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
sbszine
By sbszine (2 months ago)

Sigma and Samyang's MFT lenses are cheap and have great IQ.

1 upvote
M Jesper
By M Jesper (2 months ago)

They're also actually made for APSC or even FF and thus HUGE. There are only about two Samyang's natively for MFT.

0 upvotes
kimchiflower
By kimchiflower (2 months ago)

They look the same except for an added converter lens on the end. Aside from the 8.5mm, I can't see what the other can offer that is not already available.

I suspect these will be manual focus only, and the 12 & 25mm are already suitab;e covered by other MFT glass.

It's nice to see choice and another manufacturer signing up, but these would have to mainly compete on price.

0 upvotes
Paul Guba
By Paul Guba (2 months ago)

Really? I only took one class in optics at RIT but they don't appear to look alike at all.

2 upvotes
grafli
By grafli (2 months ago)

@paul: I guess he's talking about the outside look of the lense. The picture with all 3 lenses. The picture shows 3 identical lenses with just the front a little different. In the 12 & 25mm lense they photoshoped a F1.8 stop on the aparture ring. Thats the only difference seen in the back. It's strange that even the focus distance ring shows the same numbers. My guess: all photohop.

0 upvotes
Artistico
By Artistico (2 months ago)

Just digital mockup pictures - for now. And not the best ones either, as they probably should have spent a bit longer and made them more individual.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
JayBratcher
By JayBratcher (2 months ago)

@grafi @kimichiflower - yep, probably just mock ups for now. However, these lenses already exist for 4/3" sensors, but in C mount (industrial / computer vision lenses). They aren't cheap though - I expect they will come down in price for the consumer market:

http://www.kowa-usa.com/MV-FA-CCTV/Products.php?Product-Line=Machine-Vision-And-Factory-Automation-Lenses

1 upvote
ravduc
By ravduc (2 months ago)

They look like premium lenses. I think that they will be expensive.

2 upvotes
jtan163
By jtan163 (2 months ago)

If you read the article, you can give up suspecting and comment from a place of knowledge instead of suspicion:
" will all feature manual focus and aperture control".

1 upvote
Ron Zamir
By Ron Zamir (2 months ago)

Very interesting indeed, Wonder what would be the prices.

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (2 months ago)

"Aside from the 8.5mm" ?

That one alone is enough to start jumping up and down imho. The others are a bonus, and all will compete on PERFORMANCE, BUILT and their CINEMA capabilities. Where a consistent outer body for a range of lenses is a huge advantage with external focus pulling equipment etc.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 138