My thoughts on the new Olympus f/1.2 PRO lenses.

As promised, Olympus is continuing to fill its range of excellent PRO lenses with a series of superb f/1.2 primes. They just announced the M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.2 PRO and M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.2 PRO which will join the already released M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 PRO

Now I haven’t tried any of these but if we go by the previous PRO optics and especially the recently released 25mm f/1.2 and 12-100mm f/4, these two new lenses should have outstanding optical and build quality. If you have a need for these particular optics and can afford them, then you can’t go wrong as they almost certainly are second to none, at least in the M4/3 world. But to me, only one of those three lenses is on my wishlist (read-on). 

As I have written about many times in these pages, my main reason to move away from my Nikon FF pro kit to a system with a sensor 1/4th the size, was for the compactness and lightness of the M4/3 system. I would say that 80% of my reasoning had to do with size and weight, and about 20% with the excellent price/performance ratio of the regular Olympus primes. 

So for my needs (and I suspect for many other M4/3 users), most of these new lenses don’t make much sense because of their size, weight and cost. Again, not saying they are not great lenses, just saying that they do not fit with my photography needs and the whole reason I chose to switch to M4/3. 

I passed on the 25mm f/1.2 because to me the 25mm focal length (50mm FF-Eq) is a general purpose walk around lens for which I really want something affordable, small, light and inconspicuous. So as good as the 25mm PRO is, it just doesn’t suit my needs. 

Olympus 17mm f1.2 PRO
Olympus 17mm f/1.2 PRO

For the same reasons, I will pass on the 17mm f/1.2. For me, the 17mm is my main street photography focal length. So again, I really want something affordable, small, light and inconspicuous. The 17mm PRO is literally the same size, weight and price as the 25mm PRO. For my needs, the excellent M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 is a much better choice and a far better street photography lens. The following size comparison (thanks to camerasize.com) is worth a thousand words.

17mm f/1.2 PRO vs. 17mm f/1.8

Speaking of which, why did the 17mm PRO have to be so darn big? It is actually longer than the 45mm f/1.2 and quite a bit larger than the stunningly good M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8!!! (still the best M4/3 lens according to DXOmark) This makes no sense to me…

Olympus 17mm f/1.2 PRO vs 75mm f/1.8
Olympus 17mm f/1.2 PRO vs 75mm f/1.8

On the other hand, the 45mm (90mm FF-Eq) is my favourite focal length for portraits. When it comes to serious portrait photography I’m usually either indoors or going to a special location for the express purpose of making portraits and I will be carrying reflectors and maybe some strobes and I bring someone to help. So in this case, the size and weight of the lens are not overriding factors, but shallow DOF and the quality of the bokeh are. So the 45mm f/1.2 does make sense to me. This one will be going on my wishlist but I will be waiting for a good deal before I buy it. Look at the pictures on this web page by Tracie Maglosky to see what this lens is capable of: Olympus 45mm Pro f/1.2 A Portrait Artist’s Dream Lens

Olympus 45mm f/1.2 PRO
Olympus 45mm f/1.2 PRO

What about you? Are you planning to buy any of these three outstanding primes?

All the lenses mentioned in this article are available from Amazon. If you buy through those links, I get a small commission at no cost to you. 

1 Comment

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  1. 1
    365photo

    I agree, a little to big and too expensive. Pro is ok, but they should not forget the amateur photographer. The last released lenses are mainly priced over a 1.000€ here in Europe! That is pretty high price tag in my opinion.

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