Olympus have announced three pro-level lenses, and they all boast a wide aperture of f/1.2. Let’s take a brief look at each and check out sample pictures from Olympus Visionary Tracie Maglosky.
M.Zuiko ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro
This new 45mm f/1.2 lens is the most interesting to me. As a medium telephoto length, it should be terrific for portraits and landscapes. It focuses closer than 16 inches, so it’s a respectable close-up lens, as well. The very wide f/1.2 aperture is attractive for both low light performance and soft bokeh in the backgrounds of portraits.
Olympus already has a 45mm f/1.8 lens, but f/1.2 is one stop brighter and this new lens has all the latest features: splashproof, dustproof, super swift autofocus, and of course it’s much larger and heavier than the original 45mm. Olympus are also boasting about this lens’s “feathered bokeh” when shot wide open. From what I can tell, this means the edges of the bokeh transition softly, whereas stopped down to f/1.8 the bokeh baubles have more defined edges.
One really nice feature is that all three lenses have a 62mm filter diameter which makes it easy to share filters between lenses.
Looking at Tracie’s photos, this seems like a very good lens.
M.Zuiko ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro
The new 25mm f/1.2 is also a big update to the older 25mm f/1.8. I say update, but each of these three lenses are really completely new products in Olympus’s Pro line of optics. This one is also splash and dust proof with the fast quiet autofocus that is useable during video recording.
The pictures appear to be sharp with a lovely falloff of focus.
M.Zuiko ED 17mm f/1.2
I have used Olympus’s 17mm f/1.8 lens extensively. I used it for at least a year in my commercial work and it was very good. This new 17mm f/1.2 should be a terrific lens, too. (Splash- and dustproof, etc.) Unfortunately, none of the Olympus Visionaries I know have gotten their hands on it, yet, so I don’t have any sample pictures to share. Still, 17mm is a very fine focal length for environmental portraits, landscape work, and street photography. If this lens matches the others, it should be an excellent tool.
Pricing & Availability
Interestingly, these lenses are each listed at $1,199 (available for pre-order at B&H). Comparable lenses from Lumix vary from $1,199 to $1,597, and I’m anxious to compare the Olympus 45mm with the Lumix-Leica 42.5mm f/1.2.
The 25mm is in stock at B&H today, the 45mm is expected by the end of November, and the 17mm is expected in January.
I own and use the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 and have been extremely satisfied with its performance. The only reason I don’t use it for every shoot is that it’s just a little too long. I use my Leica 42.5mm f/1.2 for every shoot, and I think this 45mm f/1.2 from Olympus would be equally useful. I often say that I could make a living with my Leica 42.5mm and Leica 15mm, and I expect the 45mm and 17mm from Olympus will perform just as well. I frequently use my Leica 25mm, but if I had to choose two lenses, I’d get the wide and the telephoto–25mm is nice, but not essential in my workflow. If you’re a micro four-thirds shooter, these new offerings from Olympus are very exciting. Even if you don’t buy them yourself, it’s good for the industry to get this kind of variety in pro level lenses and we’ll see features trickle down to lower priced lenses before long, I’m sure. Even so, $1,199 for this caliber of lens really isn’t bad.
Special thanks to Tracie Maglosky for sharing her work with us. Check out her stunning portfolio here.