In the world of enthusiast’s compacts, lenses with fast initial apertures have become somewhat a standard. The Panasonic LX-series first featured an f2.0 lens in the LX3, then came the f1.8 lenses in various models, and for a while now we’ve had f1.4 lenses in the Lumix LX7 and the Samsung EX2F. But in the next Olympus model, we might just see an über-fast 50mm-equivalent f1.0 lens.
Yes, you read that right. Olympus has just patented a concept of an 11mm f1.0 lens that was designed for covering a 1/1.7″-type sensor area. Incidentally, that is exactly the same size as the sensor inside the company’s current enthusiast’s model, the XZ-2. The full length of the lens, which sports 9 elements in 7 groups, would be just under 33 mm (1.3 in), and Egami, who spotted the patent, reckon the whole camera might come in at a total depth of 5 cm (2 in.)
While still considerably chunkier than most point-and-shoots, that wouldn’t be too bad at all for a camera with such a fast lens, and still a lot smaller than a comparable mirrorless option such as an Olympus OM-D + Voigtländer 25mm f0.95, or Leica M + Noctilux 50mm f0.95. And we also reckon considerably cheaper than either of these options.
There are a couple questions, though. First of all, we wonder if the small sensor will provide adequate image quality. Secondly, we wonder if there would even be a market for such a crazy compact. And finally, what will the image quality of the lens be like when it’s used wide open? Will we see huge amounts of aberrations, general softness and lack of contrast until it’s stopped down, or will it deliver right from the start?
As this is only a patent for now, there’s no way to tell whether this lens will ever be put on an actual camera. We’d sure love to see it, though.