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Friday, 01 July 2011

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Ahhh... I'd really like to have those two new lenses. Note the difference in coating from their older siblings.

Note also the hinge at the foot of the new flash. Can't find the photos at the moment - although I did see them yesterday - but it can be pulled back at 30 and 60 degrees.

Looks like my new desirable set is E-P3, the electronic viewfinder, these two new lenses plus 20/1.7 and the 7-14. (The fisheye might also be nice.)

The options are getting richer, but I'm getting poorer!

That 12mm does look rather splendid, with its focus scale and depth of field scale.


I don't know if "dazzling" is the right word from reading all
the preliminary reviews as listed in Noisy Camera 1001. But
we'll see as more tests of production versions come out. If
the 45mm 1.8 proves to be outstanding, I'm buying it for
the Lumix G3.

One of these will be very hard to resist.

I'd like to imagine that Olympus is returning to the Oly of old when it produced such things as the OM1.

Bit by bit, the reason to own an APS-C DSLR is becoming less relevant for non-professionals. If the response time is as good, and fast primes give enough control over DOF, and M4/3 system capabilities - including choice of focal lengths, and off camera flash - are mostly equal, then why would you want to carry a DSLR and lenses?

Micro 4/3 now does most things "good enough" for most purposes. EVFs are getting better. 12Mp is quite enough for A3+ prints. Most people don't need any more than that.

The iPhone5 becomes the family snapshot camera, mirrorless system cameras the preferred choice of soccer mums and serious hobbyists, and APS-C and FF DSLRs the preserve of enthusiasts and professionals. If this happens the cash cow of system lenses for the major DSLR players may be under threat.

The major players (mainly Canon and Nikon) may need to join the mirrorless party promptly or risk missing the boat. Current owners looking to upgrade their ageing DSLRs may just decide the mirrorless systems are the better long term option. Particularly if they can use their legacy prime lenses via an adaptor.

Zeiss has already made a business decision to join the m4/3 camp, as did Cosina. Once a standard becomes widely accepted, new players can find themselves relegated to the fringes.

I think Olympus hit a home run. These lenses are actually now cheaper and faster than their APS-C equivalent products and probably autofocus as quick if not quicker.

For example to get fast equivalent focal length least expensively, a Nikon 60 2.8 AFS is 550 dollars and the Nikon 14-24 is 1800 dollars and the 1 or 2 stop APS-C advantage is negated by built in IS of the Olympus Pens.

Also lenses such as the super wide zooms, long zooms are now less expensive than Nikon lenses with AFS.

The Panasonic lenses on the other hand are significantly higher costs than their APS-C counter parts, the 35 1.8 Nikon is 400 dollars cheaper than the new 25 1.4.

For me, the focusing articulated touch screen and the way the new lens manually foucuses, this new entry has to be seriously considered for a street shooter. Kudos to Olympus.

I seem to have jumped to the wrong conclusion what with press releases all over the internet. Darn shame the touch screen is not articulated. I was envisioning walking around with the new Pen at waist level using an articulated touch screen for selective focus. Oh well, maybe they will get around to it one of these days...

Doesn't that squared-off lens shade on the 12mm give you a little Leica vibe?

The new prime lenses are a smart move. These along with the Panasonic 20 will cover many bases from landscape to portrait.

Nice.

I could sure use that 12mm

I was quite interested in the new lenses, specially since the 24mm equivalent view is a favorite of mine. Unfortunately the E-P3 jpeg samples on dpreview and other sites have way too much noise reduction (at base ISO!), turning what could be a nice lens into an unknown. Not canceling my Fuji X100 order then...

Just for clarity, the "leicasonic" lens is actually 25mm (50mm equivalent in FF)

I am very happy to see Olympus launching new M4/3 gear - it's good for the format.

The E-P3 is a bit flat for me in terms of pushing ahead: I think it is what the E-P2 should have been. I eventually sold my E-P2: good camera, but certain factors did not work for me and they are still there in the -3. I kept my GF1 instead.

If I were changing now I would get the Panasonic G3. It does not have the looks, but it has a built-in EVF, the flexible screen and while some manual controls have been removed, they are largely replaced by Fn buttons you can alter. It's an amazingly small and well designed yet powerful camera.

I do like the new lenses, and if I think of the range available from Panasonic and Olympus, M4/3 is increasingly well served. The 45/1.8 is especially welcome.

Panasonic have spoken about a GF more tuned to the needs of 'enthusiasts', so overall the format is steaming ahead.

I am becoming convinced that the Micro 4/3 system from both Pany and Olympus is fast becoming the real innovator in small-format still photography. One feature that was introduced on the new G3 and now on, if I read correctly, two of the three new Oly bodies, is the touch-screen focus system. You can point to a spot on a large screen and focus the camera. Or you can set it to touch a spot on the screen and take the photo. Think about that folks, especially folks like me who grew up with manual-focus SLR's and Leicas. You want a little bit of discrete shooting?

I didn't think that the day when Canikon and Leica would both become stodgy in the same month would come so soon.

Oh, one more thing.

Damn the new lenses look good. I still have a soft spot for OM Zuikos, which were small, finely engraved, and wonderfully damped. These new guys look fine enough to eat without A1.

Hmm... Very good, but I prefer using my E500 + 11/22(f2.8-3.5) + 50(f2macro) instead of spending (how much? 1.500-2.000 euros) for a micro 4/3 body + 12 f2 + 45 f1.8, without optical viewfinder and macro abilities.
It isn't time for changing yet.

I'm game! Late last night, I pre-ordered one example each of the 12mm and 45mm lenses through your B&H link. Unless the E-P3 provides a significant improvement in IQ vis-a-vis my E-P1, I'll pass on that, though...

You're welcome, Mike! 8^)

Too bad Olympus cannot come up with a better form (read ergonomic) form factor with beefed up specs and really damn good EVF for the EP3.

I might..just might jump into m4/3rds. I am still wincing from the pain injured endured from jumping into original. 4/3rds system. Ouch. Ouch twice when I discovered that not all 4/3rd lenses adapt well to their little brothers bodies.

Well here's to hoping Fuji can push the X100 into something interchangeably sweet. Papa is looking for that pair of cameras and moderate wide and moderate telephoto Mike so eloquently espoused.

Julio, if all the other Olympus cameras are anything to judge by, you can turn NR off completely.

I can't help but analyze this as a shopper. M43rds is around because it's smaller and hopefully cheaper than an SLR camera system. It's intended for the more casual market that's willing to trade off image quality a little.

Normally, I am 100% in favor of a 24mm equivalent lens. But, an $800 lens for a non-professional system, and you need a camera bag to carry it around? It doesn't seem appropriate to the M43rds ethos.

Even the Sony NEX equivalent is $250, you could get an NEX-3 + the 24mm lens for $500.

Drat, drat and double drat... When are those camera designers gonna get it right?!?

Now Oly finally starts to cough up the lenses so many of us have been waiting for. Primes with a bright idea on focus and in extremely handy focal lengths. I could live with just those two, although a similar design 20 mm and 100 mm would complete my set (yes, the Pany 20mm will do, but I love these designs with clever focus ring and DoF scale). But the new bodies are still rehashed old style; where are the smart viewfinder and excellent controls of the Fuji X100?

We are getting there, but it still might take a while...

One thing that really disappointed me with the recently announced Leica 25mm is that it had no focus distance/DOF scales.

That Olympus thought better and has those on its new lenses gets big pluses from me - it's really nice to have a sense of what I'm sort of doing.

And as long as no-one is smart enough to add the late Sony R1's awesome on-screen/in-EVF focus distance display to their bodies, it's the least, really.

Wag of the finger to Leica, tip of the hat to Olympus :)

Very pretty, but Olympus have now effectively produced the same camera seven times in different bodies and the IQ looks worse than the original.

Progress?

Amazing how people are wowed by pretty neck jewelry. It's still way off being a proper tool.

I have to wonder how well these lenses will sell at their apparent price points.

I have to agree that the lenses and the changes to the auto focus system are what really shine here.

I am so pleased I choose the micro four thirds system to start my digital lens collection in... These new lenses, particularly the 12mm have confirmed my choice. The 45mm will have to wait to I can see how sharp it is and what the bokeh looks like. Out of these lenses the 22 is the only one that shines for me as a pro lens and is already on my shopping list.

My last exhibition was shot with an EPL-1 and the Voitlander Nokton 25mm f.95 - the A2 prints were stunning (resized with perfect resize of course)

Now the wait is on for Olympus to come through with a Professional micro four thirds body, fingers crossed that it is for this year or early next year. Olympus's future direction with this system seems to hit just right mark for me...

All I have to say is: Awesome! The only two lenses I use heavily in a system is a 'normal' and a portrait lens. I've gone too long with just the 20mm on my GF1. I love doing portraits and almost regretted my purchase whilst waiting for a good native system lens with the right focal length and aperture.

That 45mm only needs to be moderately good and it could end up being the lens I use most. The 20mm being the fall back 'all rounder' that all my other standard lenses ended up being, i.e. when things got too dark or too close or the few times I should really, genuinely have used a wide-angle but had to make do.

I also love the finish, those primes would look suitably retro on a black GF1 and I'm a sucker for cameras that look pretty. :-)

I find the Mini the most interesting of the lot. Given the way I shoot (aperture priority + one prime lens, most settings stay the same most of the time), it seems they've removed virtually nothing of real importance while hopefully keeping the cost low enough for me to afford. And I'm really excited about the fast focus in such a small camera -- this would actually help me a lot and I hope it works well in low light. As for image quality -- it's a modern large-sensor digital camera, so it'll be good enough for me.

Perhaps others feel the same way, given the number of street/candid/available-light shooters here?

If they make the Mini + 17/2.8 (or any other small prime in the 28-75 mm-e range) less than $500, I'll be sorely sorely tempted.

I just counted 21 lenses on the Micro 4/3 website including 7 primes (the 25 f/1.4 is not listed yet. Plus a 3D lens.) I guess we now can say we have a "system"!
Last weekend I mounted a 30X40 print of an elephant's head from our recent safari up on the wall. It's a full frame print from my E-PL1 and 40-150. It is "adequately" sharp - up close I can see the skin texture and even a bug on his ear.
Anybody printed a micro 4/3 bigger?

Ummm, Ctein, I just read your featured comment a bit closer. Do you mean "take just the number of shots needed for bracketting" under "automatic"?

Yes, I agree that the arrangement of incrementing EV during single-shot photographing is nonsensical. When I first activated it on my then newly bought E-300, I thought that the camera was broken somehow. :)

Dear Erlik,

Yeah, I wrote sloppily.

For non-users not quite following this, the way the EP-1 works is thusly. You dig through a bunch of menu layers and tell it to turn on exposure bracketing- say, three exposures a stop apart. When you press the shutter release, the camera doesn't automatically fire off a three frame burst at -1, 0, and +1 stop exposures. It fires off a single -1 stop exposure. Then you have to press the button two more times to get the other two exposures in the series.

Further, the mode doesn't automatically reset itself, so if you do not remember to dig through the menus and turn it off you can accidentally find yourself making a whole bunch of subsequent exposures at -1, 0, and +1 stop. Feh!

Pax / Ctein

So many years after it was introduced, now you can get a Panasonic LX3 with a bigger sensor. A 12 F2 on a GF1 that is.

Depth of field scale! Eureka!!!
This by the way is how one turns an ancient Hassy 500c into a poor man's auto focus camera (50mm, F11, 10 feet, fast film). Good for really awkward street photography.
I love this. Perhaps the next generation of photographers won't end up thinking DOF stands for "drop on foot".
Coolest thing from Olympus since the XA.

Couldn't agree more about the primes. I've been campaigning for a portrait lens. If they have good bokeh, those things are great for many subjects, for example low light candid shooting.

Well.

None of the new Olympuses (Olympi?) has a viewfinder, so I'm not interested.

Plus, of course, a piece of equipment is worth what it's worth to you, and the 45mm lens looks very cool. Still, doesn't $700 seem a lot for for a fixed focus 12mm lens?

I think I'll wait a year or so, before I buy one of these for my Panasonic G2.

Dear Paris,

The 12 mm lens is not fixed focus. It has a fixed focal length.

I have seen so much confusion when folks toss in that phrase. I think it is best to not even use the term, which is fairly new in popularity. The simple statement that the focal length is XX mm tells you it is not a zoom. Adding the phrase "fixed focal length" adds no information and seems to frequently confuse people.

If it is well corrected out to the edges of the field, $800 is, unfortunately, NOT an implausible sum to have to pay for an f/2 lens of this coverage. My checkbook sighs in dismay.

Pax / Ctein

I hope Olympus ZD releases their version of a fast standard lens (e.g., 20/1.4 or 25/1.4). A 20/1.4 would replace the need for a fast moderate wide (17/2) and a fast normal (25/1.4). There was a rumor about a ZD 50/1.7 macro over a year ago. It would be nice to see that come to fruition.

After that, the success of the basic system would drive future lens production. It would be interesting to see whether Oly ZD stays with the 4:3 lenses as the only viable choices for big lenses or whether they would shoulder the not inconsiderable expense of tweaking the 4:3 HG and SHG designs for more compact m4:3 lens formulas. More compact designs for the 14-35/2, 35-100/2, and 7-14/4 would be useful.

Some fixed medium teles would be useful---I would love to see the notorious medium tele macro that never saw the light of day as a 4:3 design be released in m4:3 styling. Then, a fast 10/2, maybe even a 7/3.5, and a fisheye to round out the wide angle end of things.

And while I'm being so magnanimous with Oly's R&D money, please bring back multi-spot metering with a digital m4:3 "OM4-ish" pro body. ;-)

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