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Olympus Delivers A New Holy Trinity Of Prime Lenses

If you hear the phrase “holy trinity” applied to photography, it means a selection of prime lenses with a wide, a standard, and a medium telephoto focal length. Depending on the type of photography you do, you may never need any other lens.

Olympus has just announced two new lenses that join the already shipping Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO Lens to form their new trinity.

All of these lenses are fast, f/1.2 lenses. They all come with a manual focus clutch. All three render your images with an almost 3D quality. They all are the beneficiaries of the Olympus Z-Nano coating so flare is well-controlled. All three are MSC (Movie & Still Compatible) All of them have the same size front filter thread at 62mm. All offer what Olympus calls “Feathered Bokeh.” All three are splash proof, dust proof, freeze proof. All offer very fast autofocus. The trio comes with a programmable lens function button and a lens hood is included in the box. (The lens hoods are interchangeable amongst the three lenses.) And one last critical point - unlike DSLR lenses at f/1.2, anyone can focus these new primes - even wide open.

Let’s take a quick look at each of these lenses.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO Lens

The wide angle-of-view coupled with shallow depth-of-field make this the ideal lens for environmental portraits, landscapes, street, documentary or astrophotography.

It replaces a 35mm lens (equivalent) on a DSLR system and is a focal length that is always valued. It won’t be shipping until January, but I was afforded a chance to see and hold and touch and play around with a pre-production model and all I can say is WOW!

It’s much smaller than I expected it to be. How in the world the engineers at Olympus figured out the technology to make a super fast lens this small and light is a mind-blower.

It has all the features you’d expect from a pro lens (including all those listed above.) One of my favorite features is that you can close focus to 3.75 inches! That is insane - you get a .3X magnification (35mm equivalent) which in some cases will be all the macro you need.

The 17mm features a newly engineered ED-DSA lens, which Olympus says “possesses the characteristics of both an ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lens element and a DSA (Dual Super Aspherical) lens element” and is designed to mitigate chromatic aberrations and distortions.

Key specs for the 17mm lens...

  • Micro Four Thirds System
  • 34mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • Aperture Range: f/1.2 to f/16
  • Four ED Elements, One ED-DSA Element
  • Super HR, EDA, and Aspherical Elements
  • Z Coating Nano
  • MSC High-Speed Imager AF System
  • Internal Focusing, MF Clutch
  • Weather-Resistant Construction
  • Rounded Nine-Blade Diaphragm

Next up - the other new, fast, prime from Olympus.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO Lens

The new 45mm lens (90mm focal length in 35mm equivalent). is perfect for portraits. While Olympus has a 45mm f1/8 lens, it is not weather proof and can't compete with the super wide aperture of the new 45mm f/1.2.

As was the case with the 17mm lens, I was afforded a chance to see and hold and touch and play around with a pre-production model. This lens is so good that it makes me want to get back into the portrait business. I guarantee that any portrait artist using this lens to its full potential, will have a serious, competitive business advantage.

Like the 17mm lens, this one feels good in the hand and is much lighter and smaller than I expected it to be. It too has a great close-focusing distance and it will ship near the end of November for about $1200.

Key specs for the 45mm lens...

  • Micro Four Thirds System
  • 90mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • Aperture Range: f/1.2 to f/16
  • One ED Element, One Aspherical Element
  • Four High Refractive Index Elements
  • Z Coating Nano
  • MSC High-Speed Imager AF System
  • Internal Focusing, MF Clutch
  • Weather-Resistant Construction
  • Rounded Nine-Blade Diaphragm

Lastly, the third lens in the trinity, the already shipping Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO Lens

I own the 25 f/1.2 and it is so good that I look for reasons to use it.

Let me mention the thing about this lens that impresses me most (other than the fast aperture.) This lens is SHARP. It is very sharp right out of the gate at f/1.2 and offers tack-sharp edge-to-edge sharpness by f/1.2. You can stop down further if you want, but it doesn't garner substantially more image sharpness. Olympus knows that people who will buy a f/1.2 lens want to shoot at f/1.2.

It's not big or heavy compared to similar lenses on a DSLR, but some M43 shooters will notice it's 14.5 oz. For me it is a natural fit on my OM-D E-M1 Mark II.

The 25mm f/1.2 from Olympus is a joy to use. If the 17mm and 45mm are as good, then Olympus has a powerhouse trio that even Panasonic shooters might be tempted to buy.

Key specs for the 25mm lens...

  • Micro Four Thirds System
  • 50mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • Aperture Range: f/1.2 to f/16
  • Three Extra-Low Dispersion Elements
  • One Aspherical Element, Four HR Elements
  • Z Coating Nano
  • MSC High-Speed Imager AF System
  • Internal Focusing, MF Clutch
  • Weather-Resistant Construction
  • Rounded Nine-Blade Diaphragm

CONCLUSION

The holy trinity of lenses for any particular brand is often the most popular set of lenses for those starting out in photography. Experienced photographers often encourage new photographers to seek out focal lengths resembling what the holy trinity offers.

If you’re obsessed with DOF, you want to get the best bokeh. Many companies make super fast lenses, but most photographers who use these lenses either have trouble focusing them, or they have to stop down at least one stop (maybe two) to get the lens’ best performance. That is not the case with the new holy trinity - M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 PRO lens - the new Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO Lens and the already shipping Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO Lens. They all offer great image quality - even wide open. They offer fantastic and beautiful bokeh, but still capture all the fine foreground details you want.

If I wasn't a bird photographer, I'd be tempted to buy these three lenses and call it good. For many of you, they would help you achieve almost any photographic goal and help you do it in style. Highly recommended.

DISCLAIMER: Crop factor and the associated focal length multiplier only affects field of view (FOV). I prefer to reference this as effective focal length (EFL) but others use FOV. Feel free to use whichever term you like. Also please note that I am an Olympus Visionary. My opinions are my own, but in case you might think I have been influenced by my affiliation with Olympus, I wanted to disclose it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo Courtesy Levi Sim

Scott Bourne is a member of The Board Of Advisors at Macphun, an Olympus Visionary and a professional wildlife photographer, author and lecturer who specializes in birds. He was one of the founders of This Week In Photo, Founded Photofocus.com and is co-founder of the new Photo Podcast Network (photopodcasts.com.)

Scott is a regular contributor to several photography related blogs and podcasts and is the author of 11 photography books.

Scott is available to speak to your birding group, photography group and for both private and small group bird photography workshops. For more information on engaging Scott as a speaker or workshop leader, or for image licensing and print information, e-mail scott@scottbourne.com.

Credits:

Copyright Scott Bourne 2017 - All Rights Reserved - scottbourne.com - scottbourne.photography.

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