Which Prime Lenses Should Olympus Make Next for Its M.Zuiko Pro Professional Zoom & Prime Lens Series?

Micro Four Thirds rumours website 4/3 Rumors, sister site of Fujifilm rumours website Fuji Rumors, has uncovered an interview by Japanese digital camera site D.C Watch with the designers of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro prime lens about further such professional quality M.Zuiko Pro lenses to come. The interview is a good read even in its machine-translated English version

First f/1.2 maximum aperture prime lens in the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro professional-quality lens series, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro. Olympus has already designed the next two f/1.2 primes, with more possibly to come.

The interview’s most promising revelation is that Olympus has been actively listening to customers and so the prime lens side of the M-Zuiko Pro series will soon be gaining a second f/1.2 maximum aperture lens, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro.

The 4/3 Rumors folks previously reported that Olympus had already designed two more fast f/1.2 primes, one of them being the 17mm. I wonder what the other is?

A very quick snapshot made with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro lens wide open during an Olympus camera event in Sydney. Even a very brief hands-on with this lens and several others in the M.Zuiko Pro range confirmed their high quality, solid construction and appeal as sturdy professional-standard lenses for stills and video.

I am an unrepentant former Leica M-System rangefinder lens user from my magazine, newspaper and corporate photography days and became accustomed to the idea of mechanically superb, optically extraordinary, near-indestructible, colour-matched prime lens sets.

Although I did not manage to build a Leica lens lineup as well-populated as the one illustrated below, I came close and happily relied on them for many years. Each focal length was just right for the tasks for which I bought it and each earned its place in my lens kit again and again.

Three Well-Spaced Lens Lineups

Contemporary videography and stills photography make more demands of lenses than stills photography as I practiced it during the analog era ever did. Now that we are in the midst of the 4K era and Panasonic’s Lumix GH5 is introducing us to 6K video through its video-based 6K Photo functionality, optics must be sharper, better corrected and more highly resolved.

I am now a zoom lens convert thanks to the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro and its f/2.8 sister zooms in the 7-14mm and 40-150mm focal lengths but they have their limitations when shooting in available darkness.

That essential three-zoom lens kit needs to be supplemented with matching high speed prime lenses when light is in limited supply and when bokeh and subject against background separation is an essential storytelling element.

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro fills the gap in the middle of the focal length range and the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro, with that focal length being my most relied-on of all time, will be a welcome second.

I would love to see several other M.Zuiko Pro primes make their appearance soon and the obvious focal lengths would be 10.5mm, 14mm and 42.5mm. The latter would clearly benefit from an f/1.2 maximum aperture though it would not be absolutely crucial for the wider two.

I know that Olympus makes some excellent prime lenses in its Premium lens range, but the M.Zuiko Pro lenses are a leap above as professional instruments able to endure some of the most challenging conditions in which documentary photographs and movies are made.

I have non-M.Zuiko Pro lenses for less challenging work, but my Leica days raised the bar high and the M.Zuiko Pro zooms and prime lenses approach that high standard.


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