Olympus Patents Impressive 12 and 14mm f/1.0 Ultra-Wide AF Lenses

While it’s not often a patent filing for new lenses can make your jaw drop, it’s certainly not out of the question, as Olympus is demonstrating with two particular pieces of glass in their latest patent filings published February 20th.

The first of the two lenses worth noting is a 12mm f/1.0 ultra-wide angle lens. Shown in two varieties within the patent, one build (number 1) consists of twelve lens elements in ten groups, while the other (number 3) consists of thirteen lens elements in eleven groups.

The latter of the two lenses is an almost identical 14mm f/1.0. This, too, consists of two variations, with the first (number 2) consisting of twelve elements in ten groups, while the other (number 4) consists of the same thirteen elements in eleven groups as its 12mm counterpart.


Assuming these ever reach the production phase, they would become the fastest ultra-wide angle autofocus production lenses in existence, with the only competition coming from lenses like the Nokton 17.5mm f/0.95 lens, and that one lacks autofocus abilities.

Of course, there is a significant and obvious downside to these super-fast lenses: the complicated optics involved in making such a fast piece of glass often lead to a great deal of chromatic aberration and distortion issues, which then need to be addressed either in-camera or in post-production. You can take a more detailed look at their performance in the lens performance charts below:

Lens Charts

Being only a patent, there’s no guarantee these lenses will hit the market, let alone be manufactured through the same process. But it’s certainly interesting to see what Olympus is up to as they attempt to up their lens options for Micro Four Thirds systems.

If they were to come into production though, are either of these lenses you’d consider picking up for your glass arsenal? Or is the quality sacrifice typical of such a fast piece of glass just not worth it?

(via 43 Rumors)

  • Rob S

    never mind on an Oly they are 24 and 28mm equivlant

  • Kenneth Younger III

    Still, a 24mm f/1.0 could potentially be a very fun lens for night shots. I’m thinking particularly milky way… :)

  • Stan B.

    The f2 14mm costs $800, this’ll probably come in at double.

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    Just a thought: f/2.0 -> f/1.4 -> f1.0
    x4 the light, so probably way more than x2 the cost ;)

  • Rick

    The patent is for a 12mm f1 lens, NOT a 24mm f1 lens. It has an entrance pupil that’s exactly 12mm in diameter. If you must look at it in 35mm equivalent, it’s like a 24mm f2 lens. The entrance pupil doesn’t double in diameter just because the sensor is one quarter of the area.

    35mm cameras have 24mm f1.4 lenses available. This patent doesn’t even equal that.

  • Kenneth Younger III

    Correct me if I’m wrong (and I very well may be), but I thought the crop factor only affected the aperture with regard to DOF, not necessarily light transmission?

    So, this would be a 35mm-equivalent of a 24mm f/2 with regard to DOF, but a 24mm f/1 with regard to light transmission.

  • Rick

    Brightness, yes, f1 is f1. There’s the same concentration of light over any given area. But if the system (sensor and lens) captures only 1/4 of the quantity of light due to the smaller surface area, f1 on a 2x crop is the equivalent of f2.

    If you want low light ability, a big sensor and a fast lens can’t be beaten. If you want a small camera, don’t mount a huge expensive lens on the front.

  • greg mccary

    Why would one want a lens the wide at 1.0? I would be more impressed if it were a 90mm equivalent.

  • imajez

    Er..because they use wide lens in low light or because they want shallow depth of field when using a wide lens.
    The Canon 24mm f1.4 is a very desirable lens and the 12mm F1.0 is equivalent to a 24mm f2.0 FF lens in DoF terms.

  • Allen Snowdon

    True, but it’s all relative. Look at the fantastic results with current f1.4 lenses, And opening up to f1.0 is one full stop, twice the amount of light. Sounds impressive enough to me…

  • Landa

    Better than the Crap Xtrans smearing files!

  • Allen Snowdon

    Still less than Kubrick’s Zeiss 50mm f/0.7

  • 11

    and the Metabones speed booster is a good example.. it just concentrates light in a smaller area… so your total incoming light is still the same.

    I think In the case of point source light (like the stars) .. the front diameter is what matters (not f# itself). and f# matter when you are imaging a uniform white wall (flat field).

  • Steven Ellingson

    Not everyone is a portrait photographer

  • Rick

    Ok, think about a full frame camera with a 400 2.8 mounted. In 35mm terms, it quite simply is 400 2.8. And the entrance pupil is a whopping 143mm in diameter.

    Now let’s take an iPhone 5 with its 4.1mm f2.4 lens. It’s brighter, no questions there. F2.4 is brighter than f2.8. But it’s entrance pupil is a mere 1.7mm. Quite handy, because it fits inside a phone.

    Let’s imaging we now take this whole small sensor thing to an extreme. Instead of the small 8x crop sensor which makes the 4.1mm lens frame like a 33mm lens, let’s use a 100x crop sensor to make it frame like a 400mm lens.

    Are you seriously saying the tiny lens and sensor (1.7mm entrance pupil and 100x crop) are better in low light than the full frame version (143mm, 1x crop), because f2.4 is brighter than f2.8?

  • alealeale ale

    are you saying that fuji sensors suck?

  • lenmetcalf

    more micro four thirds goodness.. I love my fast glass… My Voitlander 25mm f0.95 is my go to lens… Followed by my Olympus 75mm … This is fantastic news… Lets hope they make it to production.. :)

  • Ilkka

    To me it will be a combination of three things, size, price and optical quality. I am confident of the quality, coming from Olympus. They usually make good lenses. It looks like these will be pretty large lenses. That is a disadvantage but as long as there is some reason in the size, they can still be ok. It is obvious that f/1 lens is bigger than f/2. $1000 would be quite a lot for a short lens. I would prefer a quite bit less than that. I am certainly interested in the 12. But actually buying one depends on all of the above.

  • BBking

    The only person trying to argue that something is better, is you.

    f/1 = f/1 in light gathering.

    Sure, things change when the sensor size changes. But no one ever said “Are you seriously saying the tiny lens and sensor… [is] better in low light than the full frame version” EVER!! Show me where?

    Why don’t you shoot medium format? Or even large format?

    135 format isn’t the be all and end all of photography and Depth or Field.

    If you refuse to understand or accept, that’s fine. But just because a 1ltr bucket holds more (double, in fact) water than a 0.5ltr, doesn’t mean it’s better. Different tools for different uses.

  • guster00

    When is something too fast? I like the idea, but the faster the lens gets, the easier it gets for everything to be out of focus because it is too fast. I am just fine with f1.4 and f1.2, and even still have subjects slightly out of focus if anything moves too quickly or there are issues with the AF.

  • Kenneth Younger III

    Thanks for the feedback Rick. I see what you are getting at.