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.
Samsung has been making interesting moves in the in the photography world recently. Their NX cameras have all been really well designed and innovative so far. Along with these cameras, Samsung has also introduced some unusual but clever lenses. The 20mm f2.8 pancake lens is one of them: a small and simple wide-angle lens with an uncommon equivalent angle-of-view of 30mm. Read our review to find out how it fares in everyday use.
“What kind of glass are you using?” or some variant of that almost always follows the camera question when I talk with other photographers. There are some who would rather not talk about gear because it’s about the image, not the tool, but having been a reviewer for quite some time now, I’m just as interested in the means as I am about the ends. If you asked about my glass six months ago, I’d point to whatever I had mounted on my a580, which could have been anywhere from a 12mm fisheye to the venerable 70-210mm f4 beer can. For the past several months, I’ve been shooting almost exclusively with the Fujifilm X-E2 and 35mm f1.4, and the experience has been both challenging and rewarding. [click to continue…]
Attention, Micro Four Thirds videographers! New all-manual Micro Four Thirds lenses with fast apertures are headed your way, and they’re coming from Kowa in Japan. The company has a long history of manufacturing photographic products, but in the recent past they mainly produced field optics such as binoculars, as well as CCTV lenses. Around CP+, Kowa more or less secretly announced a set of three all-manual lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras that look like they could be suited for cine work.
The set comprises of three focal lengths: an 8.5mm (19mm-equivalent), a 12mm (24mm equivalent) and a 25mm (50mm-equivalent.) The lenses come with T-ratings, but the aperture ring is marked for f-values. The maximum apertures of the lenses are f2.8 for the 8.5mm and f1.8 for both the 12mm and the 25mm. Despite the lack of autofocus, these lenses can be seen as direct competitors to the Olympus 12mm f2 and 25mm f1.8, as well as the SLR Magic 12mm T1.6.
Pricing and availability haven’t been announced yet, but Kowa’s dedicated website states a summer 2014 release date for the Prominar series. From the looks and the lens diagrams, we reckon these lenses won’t be cheap. Their bodies look like they’re all-metal, and the optical constructions seem pretty elaborate, with both aspherical and extra-low dispersion elements. In any case, both manual lens aficionados as well as Micro Four Thirds videographers will surely welcome these additions to the system’s lens lineup.
Real invention is scarce these days, especially when seeing the major brands playing it safe and releasing the same thing over and over again. It’s refreshing to see some really new stuff every once in a while–and the ladibird iPhone case definitely qualifies. The device is a bit like a Ricoh GXR module in that it houses a large sensor and a prime lens, and uses the iPhone 5 as its camera body. But what it does to your iPhone is simply spectacular: it transforms it into a serious portraiture camera!
The ladibird has been successfully crowdfunded over at Indiegogo, and is now preparing for mass production. Once development is finished, you’ll be able to buy an iPhone case that holds a large sensor as well as a 50mm f1.8 prime lens that’ll let you take pictures both in low light and with strong subject isolation and beautiful bokeh. As for the size of the sensor, and whether the lens is a real 50mm or just a full-frame equivalent, that information is not available yet.
When the ladibird hits the market, it will be available for US-$ 315 according to the Indiegogo page. While that may be a lot of cash for an iPhone case, it’s really not that expensive considering what you’d pay for a real DSLR or mirrorless camera with an equivalent lens. Currently, the ladibird is expected to reach mass production during 2014. We really hope that we’ll get to see it by the end of the year, as this is definitely one of the most intriguing announcements as of late.
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.