Don’t we all love lens patents! The designs may never see the light of day, but they get us excited and show us what our camera brands of choice are currently working at. And maybe, just maybe, some of the ideas will actually make it to production. Which we hope will happen to at least one of these incredible lens design patents that Olympus just filed.
The patent descriptions that were posted over at Egami show four patents for two super-fast wide-angle lenses for Micro Four Thirds: a 12mm f1 and a 14mm f1. Currently, the widest super-fast lens for Micro Four Thirds is the Voigtländer Nokton 17.5mm f0.95 (which we totally dig,) but that’s an all-manual lens. According to Egami, the Olympus patents are for autofocus lenses.
Should these lenses ever be made, they’d be the fastest production wide-angle lenses with autofocus. Currently, the fastest AF lens for Micro Four Thirds is the Panasonic/Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f1.2, and one of the fastest AF lenses ever made was Canon’s 50mm f1L, which has been discontinued in favor of the 50mm f1.2L–however, these are both normal lenses, and not wide-angles.
Egami also mentions that the lenses will have issues with distortion and chromatic aberration, which does not surprise us at all considering the focal length and speed. These will be dealt with in-camera, as already happens with most other Micro Four Thirds lenses. As always with patents, there’s no way of telling whether the products they depict will ever be made. But as we here at The Phoblographer are huge fans of fast prime lenses, we sure hope they will.
Correction: We were just informed that this lens is NOT a HyperPrime lens, as previously stated.
Today, SLR Magic officially announces their latest lens for Micro Four Thirds, the 17mm T1.6. Once again, the lens is T-rated and comes with gears for videographers, but of course it can also be used for still photography. (We like the gears quite a lot in our review of their 35mm T1.4 lens, as they provide great grip.) We reported about this lens back in September, when it was still in its testing phase.
The 17mm T1.6, which renders a field-of-view equivalent to that of a 34mm lens on 35mm full frame, and is a direct competitor to the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f1.8–albeit without the autofocus. It sports 12 lens elements in 10 groups, and like all SLR Magic lenses is made from solid, black anodized metal. With a length of 3.1 in (79 mm) and a weight of 12 oz (340 g), it’s also relatively large and heavy, as far as Micro Four Thirds lenses go. It will be available by the end of this year and will retail for US-$ 499.
For a long time we have been wondering, “Where is the Nikon 50mm f1.2 II?” Well, recently Nikon has filed two patents in Japan for a 50mm f1.2 and a 60mm f1.2 lens respectively. Looking at the calculations on the patents, these lenses–if produced–would be fantastic. I recently acquired an old manual Nikon 50mm f1.2 and it has been a dream to work with, so I have high hopes for these patents. With a little luck, we have one or more new super-fast lenses on the way.
Since its inception, the Micro Four Thirds format has only had one option for a 35mm equivalent, the Olympus 17mm f2.8. While its performance greatly lacks behind Panasonic’s 20mm f1.7, this lens has been the budget friendly prime that many buyers opt to purchase in place of a kit zoom. Thankfully, Olympus has introduced a newer, more high performance 17mm to the mix, the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 M.ZUIKO lens.
The MS-Optical Sonnetar 50/1.1 on the Leica M8. The lens is surprisingly small for its focal length and speed.
The Sonnetar 50mm f1.1 for Leica M is the latest lens design by Mr. Miyazaki from Japan, the man who brought us the 35mm f3.5 and 28mm f4 “Perar” pancake lenses before. The Sonnetar is not a pancake, but still not large either considering its speed. Based on the classic Sonnar design by Zeiss, the Sonnetar manages to be fast and compact at the same time. As with all MS-Optical lenses, it is designed and assembled by only one person, which is why it comes in limited numbers only. I had the opportunity to take a closer look at a pre-production unit of this unique lens.
My first lens review with The Phoblographer was on the Sigma 85mm f/1.4. I truly enjoyed shooting with that lens and if I was in the market for an 85mm prime, Sigma would get my money. An 85mm lens is great for portraits but I, like many other people, find 50mm to be a more useful focal length for everyday shooting. Luckily for me, Sigma offered to lend me the 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM to test out. If this performs as good as its 85mm sibling, my wallet may be lighter by the end of this review. [click to continue…]