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Gear Rumors

Olympus Possibly Working on New F/1.0 Prime Series

By Anthony Thurston on March 6th 2015

If there was ever a complaint from photographers who try micro four thirds cameras, it is the inability to produce that same super shallow depth of field that you can with full frame. Olympus may be working to try and solve that problem if a new rumor is correct.


According to a report over on 43 Rumors, which was rated ‘FT3’ (40-60% likely), Olympus will release a new F/1.0 prime lens series before the end of 2016. The source claims that the lenses will be a 12mm F/1.0, 25mm F/1.0, and 50mm F/1.0.

This may not get you the same super shallow depth of field as an F/1.2 full frame lens, but it will get you much shallower than what you are used to with micro four thirds cameras. The interesting question here will be if they can make these prime lenses F/1.0 without compromising too much on the size of the lenses.


Olympus bodies are quite small to what most photographers are used to, so if you have to slap a huge lens on the front of the camera it becomes a comically terrible situation. It will be quite interesting to see what comes of this rumor over the next year.

I know many who just rave about the Olympus system. A set of lenses like this could do wonders to help bring more into the fold. Time shall tell…

What are your thoughts on this rumor? Would you like to see some F/1.0 primes added to your Olympus kit? Leave a comment below and let us know!

[via 43 Rumors]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Great news

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  2. Amri Rohayat

    These bigger lenses would be a great match for the pro bodies like the EM1 and EM5 MkII. They could build up 3 distinct lines: f2.8 for compact, f1.8 for normal and f1.0 for pro. 5 x 1.0 primes (24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm and 135mm equivalents) and 2 x 2.8 zooms (24-70mm, 70-200mm equivalents), all with <58mm filter sizes, would make m4/3 more attractive to the pro market.

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  3. Chris Kwock

    I’m just curious what strap that is >.>

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  4. Dave Haynie

    Oh… and why the photo of the OM-10? Full-frame film is soooo 1979….

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  5. Dave Haynie

    Hmmm.. that looks nice. But I’m still saving up for my next f/2.8 zoom for my OM-D E-MII. That is the one thing that really helps on the m43 system: I’m usually shooting at f/1.8-f/2.8 as an option, between several primes and the new PRO 12-40mm. Still have my Canon 6D, and I even have a couple of f/1.8 lenses for it, but my zooms are f/4. So much of the time, part of that FF advantage is lost in the lens.

    I’m sure these aren’t cheap. But I read something about Olympus’ patent filings some months ago. And also — it’s on the internet. It MUST be true.

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    • Jerry Jackson

      I’m in a similar position at the moment when I’m shooting with my m43 kit, Dave. My go-to lens on my OMD bodies is the 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO lens (which is GREAT) and then I break out my faster primes if I need shallower DOF or I need to shoot in limited available light without flash. That said, if I have to shoot at 3200 or above (and I have the time) then I break out my Sony FF cameras. Still, while FF gives me cleaner high ISO and shallower DOF, the faster and more reliable Olympus AF system and wider range of native AF lenses prevents me from exclusively shooting Sony.

      As you said, in real life there are things that negate some of the advantages of FF.

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    • Dave Haynie

      I will admit that the Olympus system has been the growing one recently — I haven’t bought any Canon gear since 2013. Ok, my Canon 6D system is pretty complete, and it used to weigh in at around 25lbs. I’m selling the 60D with an APS-format lens now… lightens the load a little bit. But it’s still a consideration — what to bring, what to leave behind. Or I grab the Olympus for the size and weight of the Canon and maybe two lenses, and I have the advantage of not being noticed… while travelling in Florida last December, someone asked me if I was shooting film!

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  6. John Decker

    I don’t think it is just razor thin dof that Olympus is chasing.

    I prefer to keep my em-1 at 1600 or below.

    I also use Canon 5dmkiii and 7dmkii, but mostly with the L series 2.8 zooms and can use these at 6400 or higher.

    The em-1 using fast glass allows me to shoot in similar lighting conditions as the Canon’s but not exceed 1600. The Panny/leica 25/1.4 is two stops brighter than 2.8, so I can use the Olympus in that situation and not have to worry about noise.

    The Panny/leica 42.5 1.2 gives you a tad more light.

    Not to mention that I can shoot wide open on the Olympus and keeper rate is way higher than with Canon.

    I’ll also note that one thing the Olympus folks have always stressed is keeping size down. I doubt they’d make a bunch of huge lenses, as that is not in their dna. Have you held a 12mm 2.0? The thing is tiny.

    One last point, it is a rumor, the only thing there is to back it up is a patent filling for a 12mm 1.0. I think that lens is the one they are making.

    A lot of pj/dicumentary photographers are using the Olympus micro43 because of the size. Several World Press winners were shoot with Olympus this year.

    Documentary photographer Larry Price (two time Pulitzer Prize winner) Is an Olympus ambassador and his favorite lens is the 12/2.0… I’m sure he has told them a 12/1.0 would be out of this world.

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  7. Jerry Jackson

    The only thing that stops me from using my Olympus OMD m43 kit “exclusively” is the lack of more native autofocusing lenses with f/1.2 or f/1 apertures. While I rarely use f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.8 apertures on my full frame and APS-C cameras, I frequently use f/2 and 2.8 for shallow-but-not-too-shallow DOF on full frame and APS-C. My Olympus and Panasonic lenses that can open up to f1.2, f/1.4, f/1.8 and f/2 are nice, but the 2x crop factor also doubles the DOF at that equivalent focal length … so a 50mm f/2 shot on m43 looks like 100mm f/4 shot on a full frame camera. If the rumored Olympus 50mm f/1 lens isn’t much larger than the Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 then it won’t be too bulky.

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  8. Mircea Blanaru

    Very good news!!!! Unfortunatelly I am sure they are going to be very expensive (at last for my budget). But these lenses will be great for a professional photographer who earns a lot of money and uses the m4/3 system. To be honest, great results can be achieved with modest kits but this is an another talk.

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  9. Кристиан Каранешев

    So an f1 on m4/3 will achieve equivalent depth of field of f2 lens for full frame. I imagine the lens for m4/3 to be several times more expensive than the 1.8 series lenses for nikon i think. The Nikon 28 1.8 costs 600 Euros or less. The future m4/3 14 1.0 will cost probably 1000 and and more. In order to achieve the same depth of field of full frame you have to pay a lot more money than getting full frame. The only advantage will be the small size .

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    • adam sanford

      Yep. I consistently hear that m43 folks moving to FF costs a ton, and that’s true. But small DOF is much more easy to obtain in the FF ecosystem, and you don’t need L lenses to get it. There are f/1.4, f/1.8 and f/2 options are aplenty for reasonable prices.

      Again, I am not advocating m43 folks to ditch their cameras. It’s just that chasing small DOF is a losing financial and ergonomic proposition on those rigs. If small DOF is a really big deal to you, one might consider burning the bridge, moving to FF and walk into a world of options.

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  10. adam sanford

    You know what I like to do with my tiny mirrorless rig? Strap a big lead pipe to the front of it. You know, make it terribly unbalanced and unwieldy. Because comfy ergonomics aren’t as cool as looking like a spy from 1978 doing some surveillance.

    I support innovation and cool stuff being offered to enthusiasts, but I think if you are chasing a razor thin DOF you should move to a bigger sensored camera with a proper grip for that heavier lens. If you move to a FF rig you’ll *also* get access to numerous f/1.4 primes from multiple manufacturers, so you won’t be held to ransom like you might for an exclusive piece of kit in a small lens ecosystem.

    But, that said, f/1.0 lenses on a mirrorless rig could also make you happy. We all have different needs and circumstances.

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    • Eric Sharpe

      LOL! Awesome. I’m not into tiny cameras myself. I remember the tiny cell phones., and palmtop computers. I’m good.

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    • Aidan Morgan

      On the other hand, if you’ve already invested in Micro 4/3 bodies and lenses, then a few 1.0 primes would suit you just fine, especially if they aren’t over sized lead pipes (as so many of those manual focus 0.95 primes seem to be). If you move to a FF rig then you’re throwing a lot of money into new gear. The lens ecosystem for Micro 4/3 isn’t that small any more, especially with multiple manufacturers offering lenses with different mounts. Mind you, FF bodies are getting pretty cheap.

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    • Ralph Hightower

      I don’t have a mirrorless camera, but I do have a bazooka of a lens, a Spiratone 400mm f6.3 lens with a T-mount adapter for Canon’s FD lens system. The lens in 11 inches long; with the lens hood, it is 14 inches long. The big downside of the lens is that the aperture has to be opened and closed manually.

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    • Tired Engineer

      These lenses, if they end up in existence, will clearly be designed as a tool for people who want shallow DOF in specific circumstances. If I want the shallow DOF it will be at my disposal.

      Of course if you are chasing shallow DOF on every shot then FF would be the answer. For me the DOF is good enough most of the time with MFT that I do not want to have a huge body and FF lenses.

      FF: Shallow DOF all the time, but the body and ALL lenses are much larger than the typical MFT lenses.

      MFT: Small body and lenses except for specific shallow DOF lenses.

      Maybe in the future I will consider the Sony a7 ecosystem when the lens situation improves. For now, I personally like the toolbox offered by MFT over FF.

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  11. Eric Sharpe

    I think that’s the key to the whole thing. Being able to achieve the look of full frame, on a smaller sensor. If they’re able to achieve that, without having a gigantic lens on a small camera body, the market will shift. That’s what I think anyway.

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