Fuji X Forum: Complete Overview over the available and upcoming Fuji X-Mount lenses – Commentary

https://www.fuji-x-forum.com/topic/998-complete-overview-over-the-available-and-upcoming-fuji-x-mount-lenses/?page=1

“Posted September 1, 2015 (edited)
Fujinon (Native Lenses) (29 in total)

Fujinon lens designation translation: R: aperture ring – – LM: linear motor – – OIS: optical image stabilization – – WR: weather resistant – – APD: apodization filter – – – – Super EBC: electron beam coating, also called electron beam physical vapor deposition…”

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Fujifilm Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR wideangle zoom lens on Fujifilm X-H1 with VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip. I use  the Complete Overview over the available and upcoming Fuji X-Mount lenses at Fuji X Forum for information about Fujifilm’s Fujinon and third party lenses for Fujifilm cameras.

Commentary

Three of the most useful free Web-based online tools that I often use here at ‘Untitled’ are Camera Size’s Compact Camera Meter, Points in Focus’ Depth of Field (DoF), Angle of View, and Equivalent Lens Calculator, and the Complete Overview over the available and upcoming Fuji X-Mount lenses at Fuji X Forum, compiled and updated by quincy.

Quincy’s Fujifilm X-Mount OEM and third-party brand lenses lists are kept up to date and are drawn upon by Patrick at Fuji Rumors for articles, and I go there when I need to research current and coming X-Mount lenses for my articles.

I have been struck by how the number of third-party X-Mount lenses keeps increasing, with most of them being manual focus lenses often designed and manufactured by Chinese companies, but so far my biggest ongoing disappointment with the Fujifilm X-Mount system remains unassuaged by Fujifilm itself as well as by third-parties making native or adapted X-Mount lenses.

Other than Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R semi-pancake prime lens, nobody but nobody is making a prime lens that is equivalent to 28mm in the 35mm sensor format.

This searing blindspot is not just a Fujifilm X-Mount APS-C problem; it applies to the Micro Four Thirds sensor format as well wherein Olympus does not make a 14mm lens at all and Panasonic’s Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 II pancake lens appears to have gone missing in action from many retailers.

The 35mm sensor format’s 28mm focal length and its APS-C and M43 equivalents of 18mm and 14mm respectively has been a staple of the documentary, photojournalism and street photography genres for years now including those when I relied on them on Canon, Leica and Nikon rangefinders and SLRs, but it seems that contemporary lens makers just do not give a damn.

Yes, one may wish to slap a 14mm, 18mm or 28mm inclusive zoom lens on to one’s camera as I do with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 and the excellent Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro or the usually underestimated Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS collapsible zoom lens, but using those focal lengths on a zoom and as a prime lens are two very different things.

Especially if the said prime lens allows easy setting of hyperfocal distance via manual focus or manual clutch focus mechanisms like those in some Fujinon prime lenses and Olympus’ excellent M.Zuiko Pro primes and zooms.

Today I found myself back at Fuji X Forum’s Complete Overview over the available and upcoming Fuji X-Mount lenses to see if any Chinese third party lens makers have added a 28mm equivalent to their current or future ranks lately but sadly it remains no go.

There are some close but no cigar choices for non-Fujifilm cameras, such as Panasonic’s Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 Aspheric prime lens, but for now I will stick with my two M43 zoom lenses rather than fork out for yet another no-cigar substitute.

What I am really after is a decent 18mm prime lens for my Fujifilm X-Pro2 for use as my number one documentary lens.

Given the premium price Fujifilm charges for its elderly Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R, no way am I going to throw good cash down that particular black hole.

Getting back to close but no cigar, independent cinema lens company Veydra lists a 19mm Mini Prime cinema lens amongst its options, and it is available with a Duclos-designed Fujifilm X-Mount that can be DIY-attached onto an M43 version of the lens.

Sigma released a 19mm f/2.8 Art lens in the M43 and Sony E mounts some years ago, but the company has never shown signs of coming out with a Fujifilm X-Mount version.

The Sigma lens is affordable but the Veydra costs over twice the price of Fujifilm’s 18mm.

Veydra’s is an excellent geared cinema lens but its greater size and wide front diameter compared to the Fujifilm and the Sigma makes it a poor choice on my X-Pro2 given I rely on the camera’s excellent optical viewfinder for documentary photography and oftentimes video too.

This ongoing dilemma would not be one if Fujifilm simply went along with their customers’ longstanding request for an updated 18mm lens but I often find myself wondering if the company even cares for its documentary, street photography and photojournalist customers.

Two X-Pro2 cameras equipped with an 18mm lens on one and a 50mm lens on the other is, in my experience, the closest one can get to a perfect two-camera, two-lens documentary photography and photojournalism set-up.

Why provide half of the equation, Fujifilm, when you could so easily give us both even if each lens might be Fujicron-style f/2.0 compacts instead of the maximum versatility of f/1.4 manual clutch focussing alternatives?

The problem of Fujifilm’s ageing, substandard Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R lens

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

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Leica Q (Typ 116) digital camera with fixed Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.7 Aspheric lens. This or the Fujifilm X100F with wide-angle convertor lens may be another solution to the lack of a decent 18mm lens for Fujifilm cameras.

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Fujifilm 18mm f/2.0 XF R LensB&H – The least impressive Fujinon X-Mount lens in Fujifilm’s collection and one that badly needs to be replaced with a new Fujicron-style lens or better yet a wide aperture manual clutch focussing alternative for professional photography and video work.
  • Fujifilm M Mount Adapter for X-Mount CameraB&H
  • Leica CL Mirrorless Digital Camera with 18mm Lens (Black)B&H – This APS-C rangefinder-style camera with interchangeable 28mm equivalent lens is another possible solution to the ongoing problem of Fujifilm’s substandard Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R lens.
  • Leica Q (Typ 116) Digital CameraB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN Lens for Micro Four Thirds CamerasB&H – Sigma, please make a Fujifilm X-Mount version of this lens.
  • Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN Lens for Sony E-mount CamerasB&H – Sigma, please make a Fujifilm X-Mount version of this lens.
  • Veydra 19mm T2.6 Mini Prime Lens (MFT, Meters)B&H
  • ZEISS Distagon T* 18mm f/4 ZM Lens (Silver)B&H

David Thorpe: Big and Bad, Little and Good.

http://m43blog.dthorpe.net/2018/06/14/big-and-bad-little-and-good/

Equivalence. It’s the bugbear of anyone who reviews Micro Four Thirds lenses. You are being conned says the incoming mail. Your f/1.4 lens is really an f/2.8. And your so called shallow depth of field is commensurate with f/2.8, too, not f/1.4. It’s an argument I’ve heard so many times and while factually true, is pointless and irrelevant. The only rational response is -so what?…

Put simply, a native Micro Four Thirds lens is just that. A native Micro Four Thirds lens. It isn’t a Full Frame lens. It won’t fit a DSLR and if it did it wouldn’t cover the whole frame. I’ve tried more and more to describe lenses according to their angle of view since that is universal. If you know what angle of view you want, you can choose a lens to get it. Thus, I know that I like as a standard prime a lens with a moderate wide angle, around 54° horizontal. A quick calculation at Points In Focus Photography tells me that for a Micro Four Thirds sensor it would be 17mm, for FF 35mm and for Medium Format 55mm. Easy.”

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Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 with Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric zoom lens. David Thorpe has adopted the G9 as his prime stills camera for professional work and uses and range of Olympus and Panasonic lenses.

Commentary

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro and Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro.

Former Fleet Street newspaper photographer David Thorpe is in my humble opinion one of the best and most useful writers and reviewers on Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses though it is a pity that camera and lens makers don’t give him the credit and access to review gear that he deserves.

Mr Thorpe comes from a 35mm and 120 roll-film single lens reflex (SLR) background during the analog era whereas I have always relied on rangefinder and view cameras and prefer digital cameras that give me some semblance of those unique ways of seeing and photographing.

The other big difference between Mr Thorpe and I is that I rely on all my cameras, to varying degrees, when making photographs as well as videos and video is better served by fully manual lenses or at least manual clutch focus lenses such as those made by Fujifilm in APS-C X-Mount format and Olympus in M43.

As a result there are M43 lenses, especially small, light and relatively affordable prime and zoom lenses, that I quite like for stills photography but that are ruled out for serious video production, and more specialized M43 lenses such as those made by Veydra in their Mini Prime range, and those made by Olympus under their M.Zuiko Pro brand.

“… I can understand and agree with every reason put forward for those big, expensive optically superb f/1.2. And yet, in my heart, ever since I bought into Micro Four Thirds I’ve retained my original reasoning. Put an Olympus 17mm f/1.8 on a Panasonic GX9 body and go out street shooting in Soho. Now go out with a 17mm f/1.2 on the front. What can I say? Little and good, big and bad….”

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Shooting video only? Veydra Mini Prime 6 Lens Master Lens Kit with 6 Lens Case (MFT Mount, Meters). I would swap the 19mm lens for the 85mm lens and have some Veydra Mini Prime Fuji X-Mounts on hand when needing to use some of them on Fujifilm cameras.

Not quite, insofar as hybrid street shooting goes.

Although I have been tempted by the idea of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8 given its focal length is my own perfect all-in-one go-to, in reality this lens is apparently a little too compromised for documentary video production, according to a number of pro video reviewers.

I have yet to lay my hands on one for serious try out and review, but the first thing to consider is the practicality of attaching fixed or variable neutral density filters to its 46mm filter diameter via a step-up ring.

I have standardized on 77mm and 82mm diameter variable and fixed NDs in order to keep down costs, but need to maintain a selection of step-up rings to fit those NDs on a range of lenses.

Experience has taught me to stick to brass step-up rings to avoid binding, preferring brands that knurl the outside of their rings for best grip in challenging conditions but then that narrows brand choice down to Breakthrough Photography, Heliopan, PolarPro and Sensei Pro.

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Heliopan 37-58mm Step-Up Ring (#789), which then needs to be attached to a 58-77mm or 58-82mm step-up ring to allow attaching variable or fixed ND filters for video production. I recommend knurled brass set-up rings by Breakthrough Photography for the purpose.

Of those only Heliopan makes rings for smaller filter diameters like 46mm but they don’t step-up to 82mm; for that you will need to attach a 77mm to 82mm step-up ring for which I would automatically choose the one made by Breakthrough Photography.

Compromises, compromises.

The same goes for other small M43 lenses some of which may be more suitable for video production such as Panasonic’s Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7 Aspheric Power OIS with its 37mm filter diameter, the Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II Aspheric Mega OIS with its 46mm filter diameter, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 with its 46mm filter diameter and manual clutch focus, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 with 46mm filter diameter but no manual clutch focus and the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8, again with no manual clutch focus but with a 46mm filter diameter.

Some made by Olympus, some by Panasonic. some with manual clutch focus, some without, none with wide filter diameters and all needing one or two step-up rings to get them to the magic 77mm or 82mm filter diameter, the latter of which I have chosen as my new default given better ND filter choice in that size now.

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The Olympus M.Zuiko Pro lens line-up as of late October 2017.

Links

  • Breakthrough Photography Step Up Ring
  • David Thorpe – Big and Bad, Little and Good.
  • Digital Trends – Olympus M. Zuiko F1.2 Pro lenses prove there’s life left in Micro Four Thirds – “Naturally, these lenses are fantastic for portraiture. The sense of depth they give at f/1.2 is like nothing else we’ve ever seen on the format. In fact, the remark that kept coming to mind was, “This looks like film.” It is probably the first time we’ve ever felt that way about Micro Four Thirds…. Olympus’ goal with the F1.2 Pro series was to craft a specific quality of blur, which the company calls “feathered bokeh.”
  • Digital Trends – Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.2 Pro review – “… until now, there hasn’t been a fast, wide-angle prime that really targeted high-end and professional users. The Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.2 Pro changes that, combining the largest aperture of any wide-angle lens available for the format with exceptional build quality.”
  • Digital Trends – Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.2 Pro review – “… [the] Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.2 Pro, however, is a technically excellent lens that may also just be special enough to inspire you emotionally. It highlights the impressive move that the Micro Four Thirds system has made into the world of professional photography.”
  • Digital Trends – Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm F1.2 Pro review – “… the 45mm is perhaps the most exciting entry in the series — everything about it is finely tuned for portrait photography… In fact, it is our favorite portrait-length lens for the MFT system.”
  • Olympus GlobalM.Zuiko Pro
  • Points in Focus – Depth of Field (DoF), Angle of View, and Equivalent Lens Calculator
  • PolarProStep-Up Rings
  • SenseiStep-Up Rings
  • Veydra

Help support ‘Untitled’

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8 lens with lens shade, also available in black. Great for stills photography, not so much for video?

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Heliopan step-up ringsB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2 LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8 LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 LensB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. LensB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. LensB&H
  • PolarPro step-up ringsB&H
  • Sensei Pro step-up ringsB&H
  • Veydra 19mm T2.6 Mini Prime Lens (MFT)B&H
  • Veydra Mini Prime 6 Lens Master Lens Kit with 6 Lens Case (MFT Mount)B&H
  • Veydra Mini Prime Fuji X-MountB&H

43 Rumors: Panasonic going to launch new f/1.2 prime lenses? Here are the patents…

https://www.43rumors.com/panasonic-going-launch-new-f-1-2-prime-lens-series-patents/

“Sigma just patented two new Micro Four Thirds lenses: 14mm f/1.2 and 35mm f/1.2. Now you will wonder…what has this to do with Panasonic? Because Sigma is known to sell those lens designs to Panasonic. The Leica 12mm f/1.4 for example is designed by Sigma…

That’s why there is a high chance the 14mm and 35mm f/1.2 prime lenses will be released by Panasonic (maybe using Leica brand)….”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro and Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro. Might Sigma be planning on selling its newly patented  14mm f/1.2 and 35mm f/1.2 lens designs to Olympus instead of Panasonic?

Commentary

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43 Rumors reports the possibility that Panasonic may buy Sigma recently patented 14mm f/1.2 and 35mm f/1.2 M43 prime lens designs. If so, Panasonic likely will brand them as Panasonic Leica lenses to go into its premium-quality prime and zoom lens collection. Panasonic’s Leica and Lumix lenses, however, only offer autofocus or focus-by-wire and not manual clutch focus as Olympus does with its M.Zuiko Pro lens collection.

Or maybe there is an even higher chance that Sigma is planning on selling these two new f/1.2 prime lens designs to Olympus for its top-tier M.Zuiko Pro lens collection to go with its current 17mm, 25mm and 45mm f/1.2 primes?

Sigma Corporation, like Cosina and several other mostly Japanese companies, is an OEM manufacturer of lenses for other brands and apparently has already sold lens designs to Olympus, such as the 150mm-equivalent M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8, considered to be one of the optically finest Micro Four Thirds lenses available.

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Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens for APS-C sensors and for adapting to M43 with Metabones SpeedBoosters, lens available in Canon EF or Nikon mounts.

Sigma apparently was known for some years as a budget lens maker but its Art range of premium lenses proved that it belongs in the ranks of professional-quality lens makers now.

Sigma’s recently released Ciné prime and zoom lens collection cements the company’s reputation firmly in place as does, on the adapted lens front, the company’s much-lauded Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art, often first choice in combo with Metabones Speed Boosters for M43 video camera users working in available darkness.

Two documentary movie and photography favourites, 28mm and 75mm

My two preferred documentary prime lens focal lengths are 28mm and 75mm in 35mm sensor equivalence and they are my first choice when buying into a new camera system.

That choice is often thwarted, though, by their equivalents’ unavailability as native lenses in some mirrorless camera systems or, in the case of Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R, an ageing lens’ quirky mechanical qualities making it next to useless for a high speed approach necessitated by the nature of my subjects and their circumstances.

28mm equivalent prime lenses by Fujifilm, Leica and Panasonic

Panasonic’s pancake prime, the Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 II, had vanished from most retailers after I tried a review loaner out and although I made some great photographs with it, its performance was suboptimal for everything I wanted to do with it, not least due to its lack of a focussing ring.

I and many other Fujifilm camera users are still waiting for the company to issue its long-rumoured 18mm update perhaps in the form of a Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R WR “Fujicron”, especially suitable for documentary photography with the X-Pro2 rangefinder camera, the X-E3 rangefinder-style camera and Fujifilm’s smaller DSLR-style cameras.

For video, though, a faster 18mm lens in the style of Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R, Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR and Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R would be the preferred option.

75mm equivalent prime lenses by Fujifilm, Leica and Veydra

Prime lenses in the 35mm sensor equivalent 75mm focal length are as hard to find in the Micro Four Thirds world as their 28mm equivalent siblings, and that relative rarity is not assisted by Sigma’s patent for a 35mm and not 37.5mm focal length lens.

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens, one of the most versatile top-quality professional zoom lenses made, especially invaluable for its manual clutch focus and fast autofocus. I use mine resting on the 14mm or 37.5mm spot on the zoom ring depending on my project and subject.

I have used Panasonic’s Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 II Aspheric Power OIS zoom lens in its previous version I form but found its 35mm long end limited for documentary work and portraiture so opted for Olympus’ stellar M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro instead.

Even so there are times I miss the 90mm focal length equivalent so have Olympus’ M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro high on my M43 lens wishlist, also due to the manual clutch focus featured in all M.Zuiko Pro prime and zoom lenses making them invaluable for professional moviemaking and photography work.

Given a choice between a manual focus or manual clutch focus lens and a fly-by-wire autofocus or autofocus/manual lens, I will choose the manual or manual clutch focus lens same as I will choose a pair of fast primes over a zoom lens that includes both focal lengths.

There is no denying, though, that some projects demanding stealth, speed and small camera bag transportation can benefit from carrying just one top-quality zoom lens like the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro or the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro.

Designed by Sigma for Olympus or Panasonic?

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Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 Aspheric Power OIS lens, apparently designed by Sigma. It has focus-by-wire manual focus or autofocus and can often miss the mark despite Panasonic’s DFD focussing system.

It is too early to tell whether the 43 Rumors folks are correct about Sigma’s 14mm and 35mm f/1.2 lens design patents being intended for Panasonic.

I am hoping upon hope that the eventual destination will be Olympus and its M.Zuiko Pro lens collection.

Panasonic seems disinclined to replace its lenses’ linear and non-linear fly-by-wire mechanisms with the far more capable manual clutch focus mechanism used in Olympus’ M.Zuiko primes and zooms, and Fujifilm’s 14mm, 16mm and 23mm wider aperture trio for that matter.

Panasonic insiders have told me they constantly receive requests from professional users for manual clutch focus lenses but the company seems set on its current path if its apparently Sigma-designed 12mm, 15mm, 25mm and 42.5mm wide aperture Leica-branded lenses are any indication.

I wish to see Olympus adding to its M.Zuiko Pro collection with 14mm and 37.5mm focal length lenses as well as 10.5mm and 12mm focal length prime lenses.

Sigma’s 70mm-equivalent 35mm f/1.2 lens is not quite my preferred focal length but at least it fills the gap between the current 25mm and 45mm M.Zuiko Pro lenses.

Now let’s see Olympus fill the other gaps in its M.Zuiko Pro collection.

Links

Image Credits

Header image concept and quick hack by Carmel D. Morris.

Image inspired by The Expanse TV show currently on SyFy channel soon moving to Amazon, and Cooke Optics’ famous matched sets of evenly-spaced top-quality cinema prime lenses.

I wish to see all lens makers emulate Cooke’s example with sets of manual or manual clutch focussing prime lenses in evenly spaced focal lengths.

Help support ‘Untitled’

olympus_m.zuiko_digital_ed_12-100mm_f4.0_is_pro_06_1024px_60pc
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro, an excellent choice for travel and daily walkabout requiring a longer focal length range than kit and other zoom lenses.

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R Ultra Wide-Angle LensB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR LensB&H
  • Fujifilm 18mm f/2.0 XF R LensB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 23mm f/1.4 R LensB&H
  • Leica APO-Summicron-M 75mm f/2 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Leica Summilux-M 28mm f/1.4 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Metabones Canon EF to Micro Four Thirds Smart Adapters and Speed BoostersB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8 LensB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. LensB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 II ASPH. POWER O.I.S. LensB&H
  • Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art LensB&H
  • Sigma Art lensesB&H
  • Veydra Mini Prime lenses for APS-C and M43 sensor formatsB&H

Kickstarter: Kamlan 28mm F/1.4 Standard Prime Lens for Mirrorless Cameras

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kamlan/kamlan-28mm-f-14-standard-mirrorless-prime-lens?ref=478061&token=28710d49

“Recreate what your eyes see. Kamlan 28mm F/1.4 Prime Lens delivers superior optical quality along with super low chromatic aberration…

… Normal lenses are valued because they provide a natural angle of view that is similar to what the human eye sees. The images they produce are very relatable and engaging because they feel like scenes people have seen. The focal length is extremely versatile for a wide range of applications – from landscapes to portraits to street photography. In recent years, many people have thought of the 50mm focal length (on full frame) as“normal”, but in times past a normal lens was actually closer to 40mm. The Kamlan 28mm f/1.4 offers a great “normal” focal length and a large maximum aperture at a bargain price…. “

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Machang Optics’ KamLan 28mm f/1.4 APS-C Standard Prime lens available in Canon EOS-M mount, Fujifilm X-mount, M43-mount and Sony E-mount.

Commentary

A new Chinese maker of affordable premium-quality manual-focus lenses has entered the scene with Shenzhen-based Machang Optical Co.’s KamLan brand launching a Kickstarter campaign for its Kamlan 28mm F/1.4 Standard Prime for mirrorless cameras in the APS-C and Micro Four Thirds sensor formats in Canon’s EOS-M mount, Fujifilm’s X-mount, M43-mount and Sony’s E-mount.

Until independent makers of affordable optics such as 7 Artisans, Cosina’s Voigtlaender brand, DZ Optics’ Kerlee brand, HandeVision’s Ibelux brand, Irix, Kowa’s Prominar range, LomographyMeyer Optik Görlitz, RokinonSigma, SLR MagicVenus Optics’s Laowa brand, VeydraYongnuo, Zhong Yi Optic’s Mitakon brand and Zonlai started becoming better known outside their home countries, with some releasing dedicated premium APS-C manual-focussing lenses, the APS-C format had received little to no lens maker love compared to the 35mm sensor format aka “full frame” or “full format”.

minolta_cle_rokkor-m_40mm_f2.0_01_DSC_0014_1024px_60pc
The benchmark for perfect normal. Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm f/2.0 M-mount lens for the famous, much-coveted Minolta CLE 35mm analog rangefinder camera, successor to the Leica CL. Image by SuperB Japan Camera.

I am interested in Kamlan’s 28mm f/1.4 APS-C offering due to its equivalence to 40mm in the 35mm sensor format, often described as the “perfect normal” or “perfect standard” focal length.

The desire for non-35mm-sensor-format “perfect normal” lenses has most often been met with slower pancake-style lenses such as Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 in APS-C and Panasonic’s Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II Aspheric in M43.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 and Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II pancake lenses, equivalent to 40mm

Both lenses appear to be intended for compact camera users relying on autofocus as they lack manual focus rings and their size makes them unsuited for attaching the step-up rings and 77mm or 82mm fixed or variable neutral density filters required for professional video production.

Until the KamLan 28mm f/1.4 APS-C Standard prime, small size seems to have been a common theme with 40mm equivalent lenses starting off with the legendary though short-lived Leica Summicron-C 40mm f/2.0 released for the Leica CL compact 35mm analog camera.

Minolta later released its own version, the  Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f/2.0, to go with the Minolta CLE camera which carried on and evolved well beyond the Leica CL’s achievements.

leica_cwsonderoptic_m0.8_set_5_01_1024px_60pc
Matched sets of manual focus lenses are a boon for documentary photography and video. Illustrated: the first four lenses from the Leica M 0.8 cinema lens set by Leica Camera sister company CW Sonderoptic, in the 21mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm and 50mm focal lengths, all with 77mm filter diameters.

Machang Optics’ KamLan APS-C lens range appears to be taking a very different approach, one more suited for precise manual focussing and thus video production, with a range of current and coming wide aperture manual-focus prime lenses including the 15mm f/1.8, 21mm f/1.8, 28mm f/1.4, 32mm f/1.3 and 50mm f/1.1 Mark 2.

If they prove to be well-matched in terms of colour and optical correction the KamLan lenses may well make for a good set of video lenses for Fujifilm camera users.

APS-C new product roadmap 2018 for KamLan brand manual prime lenses.

In their 35mm sensor equivalents, these lenses will be 22.5mm, 31.5mm, 42mm, 48mm and 75mm, a fine set of focal lengths suitable for feature and high-end documentary cinematography.

When Fujifilm made it clear they were about to take video seriously, I wondered if they would be upgrading their current offerings for video capability and adding new focal lengths to fill in the focal length gaps.

If that does not happen, then Machang Optics’ KamLan APS-C lens range may provide a great alternative.

Will the folks at Machang Optical Co. be issuing a boxed set, as it were, of these five lenses in future?

Will Machang Optical Co. be offering a ciné version of all these lenses, with clickless aperture ring, geared for use with follow-focus devices and with 77mm or preferably 82mm step-up rings attached for use with fixed or variable neutral density filters?

Will they come out with a 10.5mm lens so that Micro Four Thirds users can have a six-lens set that includes a 21mm equivalent, an essential super-wide establishing-shot focal length, and so APS-C users can have a 15.75mm equivalent lens?

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The ever-popular Voigtlaender Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical lens for Sony E-Mount cameras.

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Ming Thein: Review: The Olympus M.Zuiko 17/1.2 PRO

https://blog.mingthein.com/2018/01/01/review-the-olympus-m-zuiko-17-1-2-pro/

“… The lens is incredibly sharp even when shooting wide open. The sharpness is uniform from edge to edge. The bokeh is beautiful and soft, resulting in pleasing and natural looking images. Technical flaws are well controlled with no noticeable distortion, minimal chromatic aberration and good flare control. AF is speedy and reliable. the lens just works and it exceeded my expectations….

… Of the three F1.2 lenses, I am surprised to conclude that this 17mm F1.2 is my personal favourite.”

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro prime lens, equivalent to 23mm in APS-C/Super 35 and 35mm in the 35mm sensor format. Note the retracted focussing ring for manual clutch focus, invaluable for shooting video.

Commentary

I have been recommending the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro collection of fast maximum aperture prime and zoom lenses for their many attributes of use to cinematographers – their affordability and low weight and small size compared to their 35mm sensor format equivalents, mechanical durability, weather resistance and high optical quality as well as their small set of filter diameters allowing for a smaller set of step-up rings and neutral density filters.

The recent addition by Panasonic of the ability to allocate lens-related, barrel-mounted L-Fn functionality to M.Zuiko Pro lenses via firmware when used on the GH5 has added yet another reason to seriously consider M.Zuiko Pro lenses for video production.

I hope that Panasonic will add that L-Fn functionality to the G9, GH4 and GX8 as well as other Lumix cameras in a new set of firmware updates.

Size, weight, price and capability are relative traits.

Ming Thein reviewer Robin Wong writes:

A genuine concern, however, is the diminishing benefit of Micro Four Thirds systems having smaller, more portable lenses. These new F1.2 PRO lenses are no smaller or lighter than their DSLR counterparts.

Maybe so, and at USD1,199.00 the three M.Zuiko Pro prime lenses are not a great deal cheaper than their f/1.2 Canon equivalents in the EF 50mm f/1.2L USM and EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM lenses, but the GH5 possesses video production traits simply not available on Canon EOS DSLRs.

I have not tried any of the Olympus M.Zuiko f/1.8 lenses to which Mr Wong compares the M.Zuiko Pro primes, but have used and owned some of Panasonic’s excellent and affordable little f/1.7 or slower Lumix G prime lenses which are well-matched to the smaller Lumix cameras for fast, discrete stills photography.

Professional video production is something else, often demanding the use of step-up rings, variable and fixed ND filters of 77m or 82mm filter diameters, follow focus devices and focus gearing slipped over manual clutch focus rings for accurate and repeatable focus.

Try doing all that with, say, Panasonic’s Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 II, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 Aspheric, Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II Aspheric, Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 Aspheric, Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 Aspheric or Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7 Aspheric Power OIS lenses.

Earlier today I was travelling down suburban streets emptied by withering 40-degree-plus laser-beam sunlight, with Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 Aspheric lens mounted on the GH5 and a couple of other small Lumix G lenses on standby should I spot a likely fellow citizen to commemorate with 10-bit 4:2:2 4K HLG HDR video footage.

The 25mm had a Heliopan 46-77mm brass step-up ring mounted on its front, attached to a Genustech 77mm Eclipse ND Fader variable neutral density filter.

Other f/1.7 lenses have even smaller filter diameters and even shorter barrels, ruling out easy manual focussing by hand or with a follow focus.

In my estimation, and my experience with the 12-40mm f/2.8 and other zoom lenses in the M.Zuiko Pro collection, their size and weight are just about right for serious video production.

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  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM LensB&H
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  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
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David Thorpe: A Look At The Laola [Laowa] 7.5mm f/2 Ultra Wide Lens – COMMENTARY

“It’s wide, it’s fast and it’s tiny! Laowa’s 7.5mm f/2 is a very credible addition to the ever expanding armoury of Micro Four Thirds lenses. Is it a credible buy instead of a native Micro Four Thirds wide-zoom? It’s cheaper, that’s for sure. But does the IQ match up?…”

The Venus Optics Laowa 7.5mm f/2.0 super wideangle prime lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras, equivalent to 15mm in the 35mm sensor format, great for architecture, cityscapes, close-ups, interiors, landscapes and ultra-wide scene-setting establishing shots.

Commentary

This morning I had to jump into action to shoot a small series of architectural interior photographs to send off to a potential buyer of our house and soon-to-be subdivided property in one of the most prestigious suburbs in Sydney’s upper north shore.

Our plan has always been to sell our house only if the subdivision takes far too long to complete, subject as such things are to the vagaries of bureaucracies and the availability or lack of it of consultants and tradesmen, as a last resort.

With almost every cent of our savings spoken for and the final cost of the last stage of the subdivision process of unknown cost depending on when a tradesman can be persuaded to arrive to take on the final stage and what he finds when he starts digging, we have had to suspend all new photography and video production hardware and software purchases and it really grates.

I have been wanting some wider focal lengths than 12mm (in Micro Four Thirds) or 16mm (in APS-C) both of which are equivalent to 24mm in the 35mm format, for quite some time, for architectural photography and moviemaking as well as scene-setting shots in photoessays and movies.

The optimum super wide-angle lens solutions for each or just one of those two mirrorless sensor formats that I use are neither clear nor obvious.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.9 Pro wide-angle zoom lens with STC adapter for 105mm diameter circular screw-on filters.

Choose a zoom lens and compromise on optical distortion and vignetting?

Compromise again on a variable instead of fixed maximum aperture zoom lens knowing that I find variable maximum apertures irritating when shooting video though acceptable enough when shooting stills?

And what do you do about superwide zoom lenses and some superwide prime lenses with convex front elements that make attaching protective, UV or ND filters really expensive, bulky or next-to-impossible?

One possible stop-gap solution might be an affordable, small flat-fronted manual prime like the Laowa 7.5mm f/2.0 rectilinear superwide lens.

There is nothing so annoying as shooting a figure walking through a cityscape and the lens is turning all the parallel straight lines into curves, morphing from straight to bent and back as you follow your subject.

Laowa 7.5mm f/2.0 superwide prime lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras.

The Laowa 7.5mm f/2.0, equivalent to 15mm in 35mm sensor terms, is wider than my preferred go-to superwide focal length of 10.5mm in M43, 14mm in APS-C or 21mm in 35mm format, and the Laowa has a very small filter diameter of 46mm, necessitating finding an alternative to my preferred range of top-quality knurled brass step-up rings made by Breakthrough Photography.

The smallest knurled brass step-up ring that Breakthrough makes is 49mm, but at least the company does make a 46mm X4 UV protection filter.

My second-choice brand in knurled brass step-up rings, Sensei Pro, does not appear to make a 46mm diameter step-up ring either so I am limited to my third-choice, the non-knurled but thankfully non-binding brass Heliopan, made in Germany.

It will be a two-ring solution, consisting of the Heliopan 46-77mm Step-Up Ring screwed into a 77-82mm Heliopan, 77-82mm Sensei Pro or 77-82mm Breakthrough Photography step-up ring.

Of all the brands of aluminium and brass step-up rings I have tried, those made by Breakthrough Photography have proven to be the best and are unique in their top quality machining and easy-handling traction frame.

The lengths we sometimes must go to in order to safely attach affordable screw-on neutral density filters!

Will the Laowa’s small size permit fitting focussing fingers in behind all three parts of such an ND filter solution?

Is its optical correction enough to avoid the dreaded straight-to-bent-and-back morphing parallels?

Or do I need to consider other superwide M43 lenses such as the narrower and slower SLR Magic 8mm f/4.0 prime or Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro superwide-to-wide zoom, both of which present other ND filter-attaching problems?

Why aren’t these things straightforward and easy to solve?

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro standard zoom lens is a terrific lens but needs to be supplemented with wider or longer primes or zooms for non-standard shots or subjects.

I managed to produce an acceptable set of interior photographs with my  Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom set at 12mm, my least favourite focal length for architectural and interiors photography, but at least it got the job done.

When it comes time to produce a complete set of images of this house and land once the final work is done and the council approvals – fingers crossed – come through, then I will have to do it with a much wider lens to get the feel of really being there in the interior or in the landscape rather than peering at it from a slight distance.

I would rather spend more money on Micro Four Thirds lenses and accessories right now than on APS-C gear as I need to have a well-rounded video and stills kit based on Panasonic’s Lumix Super 16/M43 cameras rather than Fujifilm’s Super 35/APS-C cameras.

Panasonic has really hit the moviemaking mark whereas Fujifilm is still playing catch-up from well behind in the video stakes and seems to have lost interest in producing more moviemaking-ready manual clutch focus primes and zooms.

Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 and X100F digital rangefinder cameras are unique in their feature sets and affordability compared to Leica’s wonderful but incredibly expensive digital rangefinders. I love making fly-on-the-wall documentary photographs with rangefinder cameras and have done so since my early days in analog photography.

Fujifilm’s strength is in stills photography with my preferred camera series being the professional digital rangefinder X-Pron (n standing for a number) and the compact digital rangefinder X100n, both of which allow me to create photographs with image design and timing that continue to elude me in EVF-based cameras like Panasonic’s.

If Fujifilm comes out with a top-quality, non-compromised EVF in the X-Pro2’s successor than I may well add one for use with prime lenses longer than 35mm and wider than 18mm, as well as all zoom lenses, making for a classic two-camera, longer plus wider prime lens kit for immersive documentary photography.

Meanwhile Panasonic goes from strength to strength with its EVF-based, DSLR-style video stills hybrids cameras, though I do have a very special fondness for its Lumix GXn rangefinder-style series with its unique tilting EVF that allows me to photograph in the style of my beloved, long-lost Rolleiflex twin lens reflex cameras.

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Olympus Announces 17mm f/1.2 and 45mm f/1.2 Fast Professional-Quality M.Zuiko Pro Micro Four Thirds Prime Lenses, Perfect for Video

Olympus has announced the next two prime lenses in its M.Zuiko Pro collection of top quality zoom and prime lenses, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro and the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro. 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro prime lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras.
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro prime lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras.
The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro lens, first fast professional quality prime lens with manual clutch focus to appear in the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro lens collection, now joined by the 17mm and 45mm f/1.2 prime lenses.

The 17mm and 45mm high maximum aperture optics join their fast prime sibling the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro in the soon-to-be 9-strong M.Zuiko Pro lens lineup.

The M.Zuiko Pro collection currently includes 7-14mm, 8mm, 12-40mm, 12-100mm, 25mm, 40-150mm and 300mm focal lengths, or in 35mm sensor equivalent terms, 14-28mm, 16mm, 24-80mm, 24-200mm, 80-300mm and 600mm focal lengths.

Apart from the 8mm full-frame fisheye and 300mm long telephoto lenses in the lineup, the M.Zuiko Pro collection’s fast primes will soon number three that are equivalent to 34mm, 50mm and 90mm in 35mm sensor format terms.

Until the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro and Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro lenses join its ranks, Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro professional quality lens collection will remain at its current strength of three prime lenses and four zooms. Left to right: 7-14mm f/2.8, 8mm f/1.8, 12-40mm f/2.8, 12-100mm f/4.0, 25mm f/1.2, 40-150mm f/2.8 and 300mm f/4.0. Images not to scale.

Add the 21mm or 24mm equivalent focal lengths of 10.5mm and 12mm to those three and you have an excellent though lean core set of  colour-matched primes capable of repeatable manual focus via their manual clutch focussing mechanism.

Add the 28mm equivalent focal length of 14mm and you have a complete set of wide through to medium long focal lengths able to handle most anything that comes along, whether documentary stills or video.

Focus-by-wire is a right royal pain

As the guys at Calgary’s The Camera Store often point out, focus-by-wire lenses suck when shooting video and manual clutch focus lenses in the M.Zuiko Pro and other Olympus collections are preferable by far.

Manual clutch focus is also useful in achieving fast, accurate focus in stills photography, especially when using fast maximum aperture lenses in longer focal lengths.

I hope that these three fast M.Zuiko Pro lenses – 17mm, 25mm and 45mm – are just the start of a growing prime lens subset.

The start of a core matched set of high-end video production primes? From the rear: the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro and Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro, all with focussing ring retracted to switch on manual clutch focus.

They don’t all need to be as fast at f/1.2.

A maximum aperture of f/1.4 is fine for wider lenses so long as they have the same construction quality, colour rendering and optical correction as the rest of the M.Zuiko Pro collection.

I can get by without 14mm for the time being.

The 14mm focal length (28mm equivalent in 35mm sensor size) is the default setting on my Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens for documentary photography and video – I rotate the lens’ focal length aka zoom ring to the 14mm mark when extracting my GX8 or GH4 out of my camera bag.

Robert Capa’s saying that “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough” holds true in the digital age and a reasonably wide default focal length like 14mm forces you to get up close, personal, immersive and emotional in contrast to 25mm’s surrealist distancing or 17mm’s neither-fish-nor-fowl though often handy moderate wide-angle compromise.

Don’t underestimate the joys of a matched lens set…

I learned about the many pleasures of matched sets of prime lenses when I first encountered the Leica M-System. Most of my lenses then were made in Germany, and each manufacturer instilled very distinct colour, tone, resolution and micro contrast renditions into their products. Later I discovered Japanese prime lenses had their own set of tone, colour and other optical characteristics. Imagine the needless labour required to match footage shot with different primes made by different makers.

… and never underestimate the usefulness of the 17mm focal length.

The Leica M-System’s pre-aspheric Summicron-M 35mm f/2.0 lens was the very first lens I had for my first Leica M rangefinder camera when I was a young photographer.

When I discovered the Leica M-System during the analog era, the only lens I could buy locally was a Summicron-M 35mm f/2.0 lens, the “compact classic prime”.

The 35mm focal length, 17.5mm in Micro Four Thirds, is the perfect compromise if carrying just the one lens.

Not too wide for portraiture and especially suited to environmental portraiture, not too narrow for getting deep and intense inside a rapidly moving mass of people such as a demonstration, protest or rally, the moderate wide-angle 17mm focal length is a versatile compromise and the one I always recommend to beginning photographers whether in its M43 17mm form, APS-C 23mm equivalent, 35mm sensor 35mm equivalent or 45mm for Fujifilm’s GFX 50S medium format camera.

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8 lens mounted on an Olympus Pen F rangefinder-style camera.

Until the arrival of the M.Zuiko Pro 17mm f/1.2 lens, the only other M43 17mm lens will have been the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8, perfectly suited to small stills-oriented cameras like the rangefinder-style Pen F though less appropriate, according to users, for shooting video due to its noisy internal focussing motors.

Like many others in the various Olympus lens collections, the 17mm f/1.8 has manual clutch focus, a crucial feature that should be built into all lenses, especially those intended for use by moviemakers.

Primes or zooms?

As many wiser heads than I have pointed out over the years, relying on a set of prime lenses as opposed to zooms has a number of benefits despite the convenience of having a number of focal lengths in the one lens.

I would love Olympus to add the 10.5mmm focal length (21mm equivalent in 35mm sensor size) to the M.Zuiko Pro collection for scene-setting shots for which 12mm is too constricting, especially when shooting DCI 4K and other aspect ratios and resolutions.

No other lens maker has come up with a truly professional-quality M43 manual and autofocus native 10.5mm lens and I am sure Olympus has what it takes to do it.

Olympus does offer the 10.5mm-inclusive 7-14mm f/2.8 zoom lens in its M.Zuiko Pro collection, and from the all-too-brief in-store tryout I had when a mid-sized camera store existed nearby, the lens’ one downside is its large protruding convex front element.

Independent cinema lens maker Veydra is an inspiration in the optical and mechanical quality of its matched prime lens collection for Micro Four Thirds and Sony E-Mount cameras. Veydra was on its way to adding a wider lens at about 8.5mm or 9mm in focal length but abandoned the idea when cost and size considerations became an issue. Pity though that the company did not look into developing a 10.5mm lens, equivalent to 21mm in the 35mm sensor format, my preferred focal length at the widest end. I was seriously contemplating buying a set of Veydra Mini Prime lenses until that decision. I find 24mm less than wide enough at the wide end of the scale. My preferred Veydra set for M43 would be 10.5mm, 16mm, 19mm, 25mm, 35mm and perhaps 50mm.

Not such a problem when shooting stills, though I do feel better installing a top-quality protective or UV filter in front when working on location.

Way more of a problem when shooting video due to the size and expense of top quality lens adapters and big square or rectangular ND filters for the 7-14mm M.Zuiko Pro such as those found in recently released filter kits like the Formatt Hitech 165mm Firecrest Elia Locardi Signature Edition Travel Filter Kit for Olympus 7-14mm f/4 [sic] Lens.

Olympus deserves praise for keeping the filter diameter of its non-convex front element M.Zuiko Pro lenses within reason at 62mm, 72mm and 77mm.

That might help rationalize the number of brass-mounted UV filters and brass step-up rings needed, as well as Xume magnetic filter system components.

“Too big, too expensive, too heavy”?

I chose the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 camera in Compact Camera Meter then selected the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro and Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro lenses to compare relative size. They look well-balanced to me. I use my 12-40mm zoom on my GX8, GH4 and have used it on a review loaner GH5 for video and stills, and have no complaints.

Neither the 45mm f/1.2 nor 17mm f/1.2 are available yet and have only been tried out by a handful of users, mostly Olympus Visionaries.

Despite their early praise, some potential buyers chatting on online fora seem to believe that these two lenses plus the 25mm f/1.2 that appeared over a year ago are too large, too heavy and too costly.

So, I did a quick test on the Compact Camera Meter website in order to compare the dimensions of my most-used M.Zuiko Pro lens with the three  fast M.Zuiko Pro primes, placing them on the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5.

They look well-proportioned in relation to the camera to me, and all are about the same size.

As with most items of hardware, you get what you pay for and if the few photographs made with these lenses that have been released so far are any indication, these three lenses look well worthwhile.

I asked cinematographer/director Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One fame what native lenses he would use on his GH5 for making feature films.

“Olympus would be my pick if I was using M43 lenses”, he told me.

Mr Leeming currently uses Metabones Speed Booster-adapted Zeiss Contax manual prime lenses on his GH5, attaching his ND filters with the Xume magnetic system.

Product Gallery

Product shots and sample photographs kindly supplied by Olympus Australia and Olympus USA and their public relations agencies and staff.

Conclusion

The addition of the 17mm f/1.2 and 45mm f/1.2 lenses to Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro professional Micro Four Thirds lens collection is an exciting development and offers the hope that more such fast prime lenses will be forthcoming.

When I began looking at Super 16/Micro Four Thirds as a serious documentary moviemaking and photography platform some years ago, my biggest concern was the apparent lack of an extensive optically and mechanically matched set of well-spaced prime and zoom lenses as we long have been accustomed to in other sensor formats.

The prospect of having to assemble a lens set comprising different brands and different optical and mechanical characteristics and qualities was not an attractive one.

That concern has now been largely allayed.

I will be even less concerned if Olympus adds a reasonably fast 10.5mm to the M.Zuiko Pro collection as the widest offering in its core prime lens subset.

I bought into the Super 16/Micro Four Thirds system when needing to shoot more video than stills, and while waiting for Fujifilm to come up with what finally turned out to be the X-Pro2, which was being spoken of back then as a Super 16/APS-C 4K-capable stills camera with accurate film simulations for video and JPEGs.

With the GH5, Panasonic has soared ahead and Fujifilm has years of catching up to do.

Of Panasonic’s own lens offerings, I am not so sure especially as they rely on focus-by-wire, which is fine for autofocus and back-button focus for stills but lousy for manually focussing video.

After trying out the Panasonic Lumix G 12-35mm f/2.8 and Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 lenses, I chose the latter and as Olympus released more M.Zuiko Pro lenses was increasingly impressed with the direction they were taking.

The three latest M.Zuiko Primes have me really impressed, for stills as well as video.

I relied on kits of two, three or four prime lenses for each camera system I used during the analog era, often carrying no more than three on most assignments, most often one long, one wide and one even wider.

It feels like I could do the same with these three M.Zuiko primes, for cinematography and photography, so long as I have a couple of matching zooms and one prime lens on the wide end socked away.

Olympus, please give us a 10.5mm prime lens to go with your 17mm, 25mm and 45mm primes, along with your 12-40mm and 40-150mm zooms to fill in the gaps.

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Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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Will the New Fujifilm X-E3 Rangefinder-Style Camera Take My Breath Away?

I love my Fujifilm X-Pro2 digital rangefinder camera and have no regrets buying it despite its current inability to shoot 4K video, relative lack of other videocentric features and unimpressive electronic viewfinder (EVF). 

As a longtime user of rangefinder cameras in all formats from 8mm (movie film) and 35mm (stills) through various 120 roll-film aspect ratios (6×4.5cm to 6x12cm) up to 4″x5″, it has been such a relief to once again have a very capable rangefinder camera in my hands. 

Coming from an available light (and oftentimes available darkness) documentary background, I heeded Kevin Mullins’ advice and so my first two Fujinon lenses were the XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 56mm f/1.2 R fast primes.

I wavered on the somewhat slow XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom and a shortage of funds finally made that decision for me, compounded with the Fujinon X-mount lens series’ current 18mm focal length situation.

A fast medium wide-angle of 18mm in Fujifilm’s APS-C format, equivalent to 14mm in the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) format and 28mm in the digital 35mm format (I refuse to use the silly term “full frame”) is my number one choice for immersive documentary photography in combination with a moderate telephoto focal length like 50mm in APS-C, 30mm or so in MFT and 75mm in 35mm format.

Gallery

I have applied that moderate wide/moderate long combination to almost all formats and aspect ratios in the past, occasionally adding something in-between, preferably on the wide side of “standard” or “normal”.

In other words, 27mm in APS-C, 20mm in MFT and 40mm in 35mm rather than the more usual “normal” focal lengths of 35mm in APS-C, 25mm in MFT and 50mm in the 35mm format, all of which feel like short telephoto to me.

My choices can vary, though, in shooting video when a longer “normal” lens offering clutch focus functionality for repeatable, accurate manual focussing may override my creative preference for a slightly wider focal length.

The X-Pro2’s advanced hybrid optical viewfinder (OVF) was the clincher in buying into APS-C, aided and abetted by the existence of those 23mm and 56mm focal lengths.

Lenses are, for me, key influencers in camera choice, with sensor aspect ratios coming second followed by a myriad of other often interrelated usability and functionality factors.

I shoot documentary and portrait photographs and documentary videos, am self-funded, and the gear I need must be affordable, small, portable, self-contained and capable of the best quality possible.

No single camera system can provide all that so I use APS-C/Super 35 and MFT/Super 16 cameras and lenses.

Right now, the Lumix GH5 has the edge over Fujifilm for video by a long list of remarkable top-end professional moviemaking features, which is little wonder given Panasonic has been working on video since the GH1.

We have yet to see any Fujifilm camera approach the GH5 in terms of its video feature set and its self-contained usability, and one can only wonder what may turn up in the X-T2S or what might have been of the now-abandoned Fujifilm APS-C/Super 35 “super camera” project.

Playing the waiting game wears thin especially when gaps persist in both sensor formats’ lens and camera offerings, and each has its pros and cons.

The 3:4 (vertical) and 4:3 (horizontal) image aspect ratio is optimal for portraiture and I often find 2:3 (vertical) and 3:2 (horizontal) irritating for that purpose while it is much more suited to documentary photography in horizontal aka landscape orientation.

I love the 1:1 image aspect ratio for monochrome portraiture and urban documentary, combined with the tilting EVF built into only one current camera, the Lumix GX8, allowing me to shoot as I used to with my Rolleiflex twin lens reflexes (TLRs).

I prefer rangefinder and rangefinder-style cameras for photography and cameras with fully-articulated monitors for video.

The perfect lens set comprising the right focal lengths combined with manual clutch focus, stabilization and fast non-variable maximum apertures with excellent mechanical and optical construction remains something of a pipe dream.

So, I compromise on APS-C/Super 35 mostly for photography with MFT/Super 16 mostly for video with a mix of Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic cameras and lenses.

Right now I am prepping to photograph a human rights rally tomorrow, the sort of event I have often covered at the same time with gear from all three brands and in both sensor formats.

A DSLR-toting photographer travelling light.

In a DSLR-fixated culture, event participants are effectively rangefinder-blind, allowing me to photograph centimetres away from them without objection.

At this event, I have some constraints imposed by carrying my gear in a small shoulder bag that I have received for review.

The bag is capable of carrying one mirrorless camera plus three lenses in its default internal divider configuration, or up to four small lenses, or two mirrorless cameras-plus-lenses with a minor divider rearrangement.

Somewhere in this image lies my ideal two-camera documentary photography kit. The two fast lenses in the lower lineup for available darkness and two lenses from the upper lineup for available light. I like the 18mm plus 50mm combo from from my Leica M-System days, with those two APS-C focal lengths equivalent to 28mm and 75mm in 35mm format. The 27mm lens is very tempting due to its equivalence to the classic 40mm focal length in 35mm format, as used on the Leica CL and Minolta CLE cameras. Fujifilm is reportedly working on an 18mm f/2.0 R WR “Fujicron” lens. Images not to scale.

I don’t currently have the ideal one-plus-three, one-plus-four or two-plus-two set-up in either mirrorless sensor format, so may limit myself to my X-Pro2 with 23mm lens on-camera and 56mm ready to swap should the portrait opportunities for which that lens is best suited arise.

I would much prefer two cameras with an 18mm lens on one and a 50mm lens on the other but that ideal set-up must wait for our self-financing effort to bear fruit.

FujiRumors reports that a “Fujicron” Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R WR is on its way, slowly and surely, to replace the current Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R and although I would love a Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR right now, that too must wait.

I could carry an MFT Lumix camera with fast fixed maximum aperture standard zoom lens attached to cover the event with all my desired focal lengths and more, but I relish the discipline of carrying a limited set of fast prime lenses, and this new bag warrants a realistic test according to its default design parameters of one camera and two to four lenses, size dependent.

The coming release of Fujifilm’s X-E3 has me musing on another possibility this bag presents via rearranging its dividers, X-Pro2 with 23mm on one side and X-E3 with 56mm on the other.

A less tight fit might be the 18mm on one and the 50mm on the other but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

What remains to be seen is whether the X-E3 will be a worthy companion to the X-Pro2, filling the gaps that the other camera cannot fill.

Based on its specifications list, I suspect that might be the case, with one exception, Fujifilm’s crazy ongoing failure to add crucial exposure zebras functionality for stills and video to all its cameras’ firmware.

Video on X-E3 and other Fujifilm cameras

Although Fujifilm’s cameras have some way to go until they approach Panasonic’s video feature set, especially that of the GH5, they already possess certain advantages.

I enjoy shooting video via my X-Pro2’s advanced hybrid OVF with ERF in lower right of frame set to show the whole scene as seen through the lens, in close-up or in mid-view as desired.

Fujifilm’s manual clutch focus primes are a joy to use as are their aperture rings when needing to ride constantly changing available light.

Fujifilm’s film simulations that work so well for JPEGs apparently look terrific in video, as demonstrated by Andrew Reid at EOSHD with a still frame from a Fujifilm X-T20 which permits customization not currently possible on the X-Pro2.

The lack of 4K in the X-Pro2 is the only factor against using it more for video given I generally use multi-camera 4K set-ups for editing in 4K and increasingly, release in 4K, Australian fraudband’s lousy upload capabilities permitting.

All Fujifilm cameras have their persistent video annoyances, however, and Fujifilm does not appear inclined to correct them any time soon.

None has an integral headphone jack for audio monitoring.

Each has a non-industry-standard 2.5mm microphone jack, demanding the use of unreliable 3.5mm-to-2.5mm adapters or microphones with interchangeable audio cables like Røde’s more recent on-camera models like the VideoMic Pro+.

Beachtek SC25 3.5mm to 2.5mm stereo audio minijack coiled cable for cameras like the Fujifilm X-E3 that have 2.5mm instead of industry-standard 3.5mm audio jacks. I have standardized on coiled audio cables wherever possible as they make my rigs neater and more under control especially when handholding.

Interchangeable 3.5mm-to-2.5mm cables have proven hard to find but I eventually located and ordered several Beachtek SC25 coiled cables.

Fujifilm has proven deaf and blind to the crucial need for customizable exposure zebras for video and stills, instead substituting a blinking highlight overexposure indicator on the X-E3.

Cinematographer/director Paul Leeming explains how to use exposure zebras at his Leeming LUT One webpage.

While the exposure zebras problem can be remedied by a Fujifilm with a firmware update, the best solution right now for effective audio monitoring is by connecting compact audio adapters or field recorders beneath your camera.

I have a Beachtek DXA-SLR ULTRA adapter and a Tascam DR-70D four-track recorder while other moviemakers use the Tascam DR-701D six-track recorder, recorders made by Zoom and Sound Devices, and audio adapters/mixers made by Azden, Saramonic, Sound Devices and other manufacturers.

Audio adapters and recorders permit the use of balanced XLR-cabled professional-grade microphones in a similar way to Panasonic’s GH5 with its optional DMW-XLR1 XLR microphone adapter.

I recommend using coiled XLR cables like those made by KopulK-Tek, Cable Techniques, Ambient Devices, and formerly by Remote Audio, in order to keep your rig compact, neat and under control.

Audio adapters and recorders expand the video potential of all cameras, not just Fujifilm’s, and I use the same sort of audio set-up with my Panasonic and other cameras.

Another way of expanding your audio acquisition capabilities for immersive documentary moviemaking is by relying on wireless lavalier microphones.

I have a second Røde RØDElink Filmmaker Kit on my wishlist and rumour has it that Røde is working on a RØDElink multi-input receiver.

Alternatively, a RØDElink Newshooter Kit for versatility may be a good idea if its receiver can be re-paired to a lavalier-linked transmitter as needed, though so far separate transmitters and receivers remain marked as “coming soon” at the Røde website.

Hmmm, looking at all the many themes and variations of acquiring top quality audio as a solo documentary producer/director/cinematographer, perhaps I should do an article on that alone given some cameras provide for audio acquisition and monitoring very well and others much less so.

ALL Fujifilm cameras need grips

One thing that was immediately obvious when I bought my first Fujifilm camera, the X100, is that it desperately needed a hand grip for better grip of the camera in all conditions when shooting on location.

Every Fujifilm camera needs an optional hand grip, especially the X-Pro2, X-E3 and X100F. Fujifilm does not make a hand grip for the X100F even though the company made hand grips for the X100, X100S and X100T.

My assessment remains the same for all subsequent Fujifilm cameras that I have tried out or purchased, including the X-T1, X-Pro2, X-T2 and X100F.

Fujifilm does not make a hand grip for the X100F, a truly bizarre omission given the camera’s very slight built-in grip and slippery leather-look plastic covering, which has contributed to placing the X100F lower down on my wishlist than it deserves.

As stated on Fujifilm’s Hand Grips page:

Hand Grip provides a secure hold and masterful control of the camera.

Offering an assured hold while preventing any interference with a tripod head, grip is ideal when the camera is fitted with a large lens. The tripod mounting socket is aligned with the optical axis.

Fujifilm does make a grip for the X-E3, the Hand Grip HG-XE3, and I will be getting one for the X-E3 should it prove to be a great companion camera to my X-Pro2.

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Image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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  • Fujifilm X-E3 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only, Black) B&H
  • Fujifilm X-E3 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 23mm f/2 Lens (Black) B&H
  • Fujifilm X-E3 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 18-55mm Lens (Black) B&H
  • Fujifilm X-E3 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only, Silver) B&H
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  • Fujifilm MHG-XE3 Metal Hand GripB&H

Fujifilm EU: Fujifilm unveils the latest development of the “X Mount Lens Roadmap”

https://www.fujifilm.eu/uk/news/article/fujifilm-unveils-the-latest-development-of-the-x-mount-lens-roadmap

“Fujifilm unveils the latest development of the “X Mount Lens Roadmap”, the interchangeable lens range for the X Series digital cameras. By expanding the high performance lens line-up, Fujifilm covers more focal lengths from ultra-wide to telephoto shooting scenarios…”

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