Olympus just announced two new lenses. The 45mm and 17mm PRO series lenses with F/1.2 apertures. Nice. I am not going to bore you with all the tech specs here… they have all kinds of elements, and buzzword features. You can read about them here. Olympus Pro 17mm and the Olympus Pro 45mm.
I do want to comment on these lenses and give some thoughts preliminarily. I have not used either one yet. I do have copies of the full size promo shots from Olympus and I have reviewed them. I also plan to do full reviews of both lenses and side by side comparisons with the F/1.8 lenses. So watch out for those as soon as the new lenses are available. The 17 comes out in January 2018 and the 45 in November 2017.
First off, let’s look at a trend here. Olympus is being very wise with their lenses sizes and shapes. Look at the above image. The 17, 25, and 45mm PRO primes are virtually the same size and almost the same weight. This is also roughly the same as the 12-40mm PRO. That is a good thing. When shooting, it gives a good feel to the hand and keeps a uniformity in your work flow. Ever tried to go from a large zoom to the tiny 45mm F/1.8 prime? There is a major difference in hand holding. Also if you balance your ball head so you can loosen it without it falling, having all these lenses so similar allows for lens swapping to be consistent without resetting other pieces of gear. This will come in handy for anyone shooting video on a stabilizer too.
The second great thing is the shared filter size. They all have a 62mm filter thread. If you shoot video or portraits out doors, you will absolutely need a neutral density filter. Variable or not. F/1.2 gets you to 1/8000 of a second very quick in daylight. Yes electronic shutter goes faster…which is excellent…but if you shoot with strobes too or do video you will still need to cut the amount of light coming in. However…that being said…for those of you that use strobes your recycle times at F/1.2 should be excellent!
Back to the filters. The 17, 25, 45, and 12-40 all have 62. The 12-100 and 40-150 have a 72mm. The 300 has a 77mm. I generally have 77mm filters. They are a very common size, especially if you use, or came from dslrs. I can continue using the same filter with two step up rings. One for the 62mm lenses, and one for the 72mm lenses. Or if you just have one size, the 62mm consistent size allows for just one moderately priced filter that works on each of the non telephoto lenses. Very good.
Each lens is weather sealed and has a function button. Bonus. And if the 17 and 45 have the same manual focus feel like the 25…these will be absolutely amazing to use. Focus distance on the 45 is the same as the F/1.8 version. I was hoping it would be closer…but that’s ok. Also, as we saw on the 25mm…. a lot of elements means light has a lot of glass to go through. They wont necessarily gather a lot more light compared to the F/1.8 lenses…but the transitions and bokeh looks to be great on these.
These were three promo images from Olympus for the 17mm. I saw them full resolution and can saw 17mm is looking to be a stunning lens. Super sharp, but very pleasant. Especially this third image, at 100% zoom, the image was great. Same for the previous two. I couldn’t see the 45mm ones as Olympus’ asset site was acting up. Regardless, I will certainly be getting my hands on them.
17mm is my favorite focal length and the F/1.8 version just never cut it for me. I certainly wish it had the quality of this new lens in the size of the old… like a Leica Summicron for instance…but we can’t have everything.
The 17 and 45 might actually make an excellent two lens kit for anyone that loves primes. I used to travel with a 35mm and 100mm equivalent focal lengths all the time as my only lenses. I really enjoyed being limited to these.
Here is another shot of all the Pro lenses with each other.
Even if Olympus only had their pro lenses…this is quite a great selection of glass. When you add in the excellent Macros and the F/1.8 lenses, Olympus is really coming strong in this department. I can’t wait to see what is next in the lens lineup.
Will you be getting either of these new lenses?