Hands-on with the new Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 and 45mm F1.2 Pro lenses

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Olympus Digital ED 17mm F1.2 and 45mm F1.2 Pro lenses

Olympus has introduced two new lenses in its M.Zuiko Pro F1.2 prime lens lineup, the Digital ED 17mm F1.2 Pro and the Digital ED 45mm F1.2 Pro. Both lenses promise to give Micro Four Thirds shooters excellent flexibility in low light situations, in addition to providing shallow depth of field and excellent image quality.

The two prime lenses join the existing Digital ED 25mm F1.2 Pro in the Olympus lens lineup.

Olympus Digital ED 17mm F1.2 and 45mm F1.2 Pro lenses

Olympus says the design philosophy for its Pro F1.2 prime lenses is to deliver aesthetically pleasing ‘feathered’ bokeh without sacrificing any sharpness or resolution, even when shooting wide open. Both lenses use Olympus’ new Z Coating Nano technology to suppress flares and ghosting in order to Provide extremely clear image quality.

Olympus Digital ED 17mm F1.2 and 45mm F1.2 Pro lenses

So, what is ‘feathered bokeh’? Olympus says that unlike many lenses which Produce ring-shaped or solid bokeh (with sharper outlines), the Pro F1.2 primes deliver bokeh with extremely smooth transitions from in-focus to out-of-focus areas, resulting in smoother backgrounds that make a foreground subject stand out better, creating a sense of depth. Olympus says that feathered bokeh does not come at the expense of resolution, which remains extremely high, even wide open

Olympus Digital ED 17mm F1.2 and 45mm F1.2 Pro lenses

The Digital ED 45mm F1.2 Pro is built around 14 elements in 10 groups, including one ED lens, four HR lenses, and one aspherical lens. It contains three bonded lens elements, including the ED lens, to compensate for problems that sometimes occur on wide aperture lenses, such as out-of-focus color bleeding (axial chromatic aberration) and peripheral color bleeding. It has a minimum focusing distance of 50cm and weighs in at 410g.

Olympus Digital ED 17mm F1.2 and 45mm F1.2 Pro lenses

The Digital ED 17mm F.12 Pro is built around 15 elements in 11 groups. Want to know how that breaks down? Get ready for acronym soup!

The 17mm F1.2 Pro includes six ED lenses (more than any other Zuiko lens), including one Super ED lens, three ED lenses, one EDA lens, and a newly developed ED-DSA lens, along with a Super HR lens and an aspherical lens. According to Olympus, this combination effectively compensates for chromatic aberrations, as well as spherical aberrations that can affect wide primes. The result, they say, is excellent optical performance with feathered bokeh.

The 17mm lens has a minimum focusing distance of 20cm and weighs in at 390g.

Olympus Digital ED 17mm F1.2 and 45mm F1.2 Pro lenses

What is a ED-DSA lens, you might ask? It’s a Dual Super Aspherical lens that features an extremely large thickness ratio between the center and periphery of the lens, made from ED glass. Olympus claims to be the first company to successfully mass produce this type of lens, and that it results in a lens which possess the characteristics of both an ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lens and a DSA (Dual Super Aspherical) lens to compensate for spherical, comatic, and astigmatism aberration.

According to Olympus, producing this lens as a single element reduces the total number of lens elements, improving performance as well as reducing the overall length of the lens.

Olympus Digital ED 17mm F1.2 and 45mm F1.2 Pro lenses

Both lenses use the Olympus MSC (Movie and Still Compatible) autofocus mechanism, which provides smooth high-speed focusing while remaining virtually silent, despite being wide diameter lenses. Olympus says this system provides class-leading AF performance when paired with the E-M1 Mark II body (as low as 0.12 seconds for the 17mm lens). Additionally, there are no limits on what AF points can be used, even at the widest aperture, thanks to Olympus’ use of on-sensor phase detect autofocus.

Olympus Digital ED 17mm F1.2 and 45mm F1.2 Pro lenses

All three M.Zuiko F1.2 Pro primes share virtually identical sizes, with less than a couple millimeters of variation between them, and have very similar weights. All use the same 62mm lens diameter, allowing them to share filters and other accessories.

Olympus Digital ED 17mm F1.2 and 45mm F1.2 Pro lenses

Both lenses are designed with ease of use in mind. The wide focus ring has been placed near the front of the lens in order to make manual focusing easier when paired with cameras that have large grips, such as the E-M1 Mark II. As with some other Olympus lenses, a clutch mechanism allows users to instantly switch from auto to manual focus by pulling the focus ring toward the camera body. Olympus even says it designed a gradually curving surface around the L-Fn function button to make it easier to access when shooting through the viewfinder.

Since all the Pro F1.2 lenses are so similar in size, Olympus has printed each lens’s focal length in oversized numbers to make it easy to tell them apart.

Olympus Digital ED 17mm F1.2 and 45mm F1.2 Pro lenses

In addition to excellent optical performance, Olympus has built the Pro F1.2 primes to meet the needs of demanding users. Both lenses are dustproof, splashproof, and freezeproof (to 14ºF/-10ºC), making them ideal for use even in extreme conditions.

Olympus Digital ED 17mm F1.2 and 45mm F1.2 Pro lenses

Both the 17mm and 45mm lenses should provide great performance for Micro Four Thirds photographers, especially those who work in low light conditions or who desire very shallow depth of field.

When combined with Olympus’ existing 25mm F1.2 Pro lens, the set represents a trio of fast primes at very useful focal lengths of 17mm, 25mm, and 45mm. (34mm, 50mm, and 90mm equivalent.) Their small size, when combined with a compact Micro Four Thirds camera body, could make a great kit for photographers who prefer to travel light but like to shoot with fast primes.

Olympus Digital ED 17mm F1.2 and 45mm F1.2 Pro lenses

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 Pro will be available in late November 2017, and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 Pro will be available in late January 2018. Both will retail for $1,199, the same price as the existing 25mm F1.2 Pro lens.

(dpreview.com, https://goo.gl/pmRfp6)

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