A wish list for those wonderful folks at Panasonic, Olympus or some cool third party lens company.

photo: ©Alan Pogue.

I wish the systems I want to shoot with came with all the lenses I want to shoot with. But they don't. And here's what I want from the genius lens designers I know are out there somewhere. I'm tired of all the half-assed pancake lenses. I want some stuff we can sink our teeth into. And I want stuff we can use to make big money with our cameras. It's one thing to adapt lenses hither and yon but an entirely different thing to have perfect optics for the things we need. 

When I ask for lenses I am not asking for an adapter to use an existing other system lens on my micro four thirds camera, I am looking for lenses that are made for the joint system. I want the lenses to AF (where appropriate) and to meter in the automatic modes (where appropriate). And I want them all to just work...

Let's get started. 

First off I want a 10mm tilt shift lens that opens up to f4 and looks equally good at f11. Forget the laws of physics and the too often touted effects of diffraction. Use magic/science/firmware to give me what I want. This would be an all around lens for people who shoot small cameras but still want to keep doing architecture. This focal length is long enough for just about anything real and would be easier to make than a 17mm equivalent. Make this one sharp and elegant and watch the hordes of architectural shooters bail from the Canon system and rush to embrace. 

Then give me a 50mm tilt shift lens with a fast f2.0 aperture so I can do lots of fun product, table top and weirdly focused fashion stuff. Can't be that hard. Why isn't it here already?

I want a fast 10.5mm prime that starts at f 2.0 and has no rectilinear distortion whatsoever. I had an Olympus 11-22mm lens that was nearly flawless and if Olympus can do that in a zoom just think what they should be able to do with a single focal length...

Next up I want a long fast lens I can use for video projects. The 14-140 focal length is just fine but what's this chicken-poop changing (slow) aperture nonsense? Let's make this one an f2.5. I know it will be bigger and heavier but video is all about being on a tripod, being on a jib or being on some sort of support for dolly work. I don't really care if it's big and heavy as long as the focus doesn't change through the zoom range and the aperture doesn't shift either. Make this one in a PL mount and make it cover super35 in the video game and you'll have the world beating a door to your factory. Especially if it's affordable. Say.....under $5,000. 

Next up, bring back the Olympus 42mm f1.1.2 high speed optic that was made for the Pen system but upgrade it with sparkling new magic glass and make it diffraction limited (super sharp) at its wide open aperture. The PanaLeica is a good start. More like that!

I could also use a 25mm f2.0. I know this is the same focal length as the legendary 25mm Pana/Leica I already own but as a Panasonic shooter I want this one to have lots and lots of "bite" and I want it to include a new generation of in lens I.S. that's as good as the best I.S. on the market. I don't care if it's as big as the Pan/Leica or even bigger as long as it's shake free and full of aggressive sharpness. 

Moving on. Olympus went all sissy on us with the longer lens. Panasonic too for that matter. They assumed that people who were buying these smaller cameras would chaff at having to do a little lifting and straining. Screw that! Give me back my 35-100mm f2.0. I'm not interested in the milk toast version that Panasonic camera out with. I want the speed. We've seen that Olympus can to it now we need them to get their balls back and come out with an m4:3 version. Wanna make it lighter and more affordable? Make some of it out of industrial plastic instead of heavy metal. Wanna make it even more esoteric? Make most of the components out of carbon fiber. If you haven't shot with a 35-100mm f2.0 you need to borrow, rent or steal one. They are frightfully expensive (not really when compared to the lenses from Canon and Nikon) but they are wicked sharp at f2.0 and they stay at f2.0 all the way through the zoom range.  Come on boys! Suck it up and make some glass again that spanks the competition. It's not like you haven't already figured it out once.....

Along the same lines we need a really fabulous, powerhouse lens in the 12-60mm range. Something as sharp and contrasty as the Olympus 4/3rd system zoom but screw that lame shifting aperture. Get with the program and give us one that's f2.5 all the way through. Again, if the lens is sharp enough and draws beautifully enough to bring tears to your eyes I don't care if it weighs two pounds and it twice the size of the camera with a goofy grip on the bottom. I'd buy that. In fact, I did buy and use the Olympus 12-35mm f2.0 and it was an amazing lens. They can do this but Olympus is acting all skittish and cowardly because their market research shows them that delicate people want weightless lenses. Well, yes, that is one part of their market, but there are some of us who really want to rock the optics. Especially when we're using them to make videos. 

Again, lose the culottes, put on your big boy lens designer pants and get with the program. An ultra-fast, high performance, extended range normal lens that puts to rest all those stupid arguments about "equivalence" and how much light is hitting the sensor. Make the lenses faster and sharper and we'll make the full frame boys cry. Honestly.... How many fucking collapsible 14-42mm lenses will you make before you get a semblance of your pride back?

Moving on: I'd like a 90mm f1.4 for theatre work with the GH4. I don't care who makes it as long as it's good and delivers the images. Can't seem to shake the love I used to have for the 180mm lenses for my Leica R cameras. A lens like a 90mm f1.4 would go a long way toward making me forget...

One more....and it already exists in another related mount....Where the hell is the 150mm f2.0 lens from Olympus????? They made a great one for the 4:3 mount. Same sensor size!!!!! Just re-mount it and make it work with the AF in the new cameras. Use the carbon fiber idea to make it light and happy. But get the damn thing back on the market to compete with everyone else's FF 300mm 2.8's. 

Of course no one wants to shoot sports with your cameras; you haven't given them the OPTICS they need to make it all work. I don't really care if I have to manually focus the lens as long as someone keeps giving me focus peaking. It really works. 

Well, that's the list of stuff I want that isn't on the market in a non-adapter environment. If some of these camera guys want to stay in the market they'd better think of ratcheting up the excitement in the glass department. More new bodies are like farts in a hurricane. More new lenses. Real lenses. Now that would make people sit up and take notice.


  1. Hearing you wish list makes me really wish that Olympus hadn't abandoned their old "legacy" 4/3 mount in favor of the "all-in" on micro 4/3, as I would love to have a theoretical E-7 to use with all those awesome Olympus lenses you mentioned. How really good we had it back in 4/3 days, at least in terms of lenses. An E-7 with a hybrid viewfinder and up-to-date video would have been a killer camera.

    Well, even though it's a second rate video camera, I guess it wouldn't hurt to have an Olympus E-M1 on hand to use with those wonderful old 4/3 lenses, and to get IS for the 25mm f/1.4 that lacks it.

    Why wait a decade or two for someone to fulfill that wishlist? Those Olympus 4/3 high grade and super high grade are still out there, just waiting for someone to come and give them a good home.

    I personally would love to get the 11-22, 12-60 and 50 macro, even used copies, to play with on an E-M1. That 150 f/2 would be fun as well, but a bit too rich for my current budget.

    Nice thing about micro 4/3: not only can you mix and match some outstanding lenses from a bunch of sources, but there are two companies making great bodies for that system as well. Perhaps its time to bring the E-M1 into the VS Lab for some serious testing, as it would a great compliment (but certainly not a replacement) the GH series.

  2. I wonder what that guy in the picture is doing today. What does he want to tell us?

  3. Not a fan of the MMF-3 and EM-1? I think Olympus figures that is the route to go if you want those nice, heavy f2 zooms they made. No argument here though - I hope they can do well enough with MFT to bring out more high end lenses. Everyone is longing for a nice wide prime, and you are right - we keep getting kit zoom after kit zoom! If you want a 14mm at f3.5 you have a ton of choices!

  4. I don't have much faith in homeopathy, but if we distill this post down to its essence, I am pretty sure we would wind up with "cullotes".
    No one could have said it better.

  5. Holy crap. I've been thinking this exact thing. I've got one foot in m43 land and another in Nikonland. The 2.8 zooms are my bread and butter, and the 85mm 1.4 is my "art" and headshot lens. I can rent anything else I need should a job require it.

    But, I so want to make a wholesale move and toss my D3s.

  6. If you want speed, try the Metabones Speedbooster.

  7. I use the 150 F 2 almost daily on my shiny new OM-1. I sold all my Canon stuff starting with the 300 2.8 because of that lens. It has paid for it's self maybe 30 times over.

    Your thinking is exactly right here. The 7-14 and the 300 f 2.8 are also just unbelievable and at the time I bought them, huge bargains!

  8. Well... I thought I was being unreasonable for wanting Panasonic to make a 14-100mm f/4 to use on my G5. Now I feel pretty well adjusted :)

  9. Hearing your wish list actually makes me glad they did abandon the 4/3rds for M43rds. Sorry Ron Zack I think you have it back words. Now that the old mount is dead, Olympus can "remake" the classics and make money charging us for them. Olympus isn't making much selling people MMF3's. But will make a ton selling "new" rapid focusing pro lenses. I still fine with my E3, but looking to move to the EM1 or next model up.

  10. Thanks, satire is a very good way indeed to start a new week.

    You managed to condense in one article so much of the 'wisdom' spread out across various 'review' sites, it saves us all a lot of time.

    Somehow, have a feeling that not everyone gets the joke - i sure do hope it is not me :-)

  11. It is you or Ben in the photo?


  12. Alf, that's me at the Sheraton Crest Hotel in Downtown Austin some 30 years ago covering an election night party for the state Republican party. Strange times.

  13. Yes, I too think Kirk may be posting a satirical acknowledgement of just how well developed the ยต4/3 system has become. And how absurd it is to declaim it unless it produces lenses of a price and obscurity level that would hardly have any buyers for about ten years, and that will probably drive the providers the way of the dodo, aka Four Thirds.

  14. Great picture of you, Kirk!

    Many of the lenses you mention exist already in the 43rds version and work great with the MMF3 adapter on the Olympus E-M1 (or so I've read - I have this camera but only m43 lenses). What would be the gain by remaking those Super High Grade lenses in m43? Unless they are smaller, lighter, cheaper or faster focusing (a big one) there's no point - they already exist and are (mostly) available, they work great, the adapter is (relatively) cheap and provides AF and AE while maintaining weatherproofness.

    I got an Olympus 12-40 f/2.8 PRO zoom lens with my E-M1 body and it is great - focuses fast, it's weatherproof, looks great. Sure, it's the largest lens I have in m43, and f/2.8 is not very bright compared to the primes I usually use (that are f/1.4 to f/1.8), but it has a well deserved spot in my arsenal. I haven't used the Olympus 12-60 (though I've read about it) but I wouldn't change my lens for it (larger, slower on the long end, requires adapter).

    On the same logic I barely wait for the announced Olympus 40-150 f/2.8 PRO - too bad it will only come out in autumn. If it's as good as the 12-40, then it's better (for me) than the Olympus 50-200 which is bigger, heavier, slower on the long end and requires an adapter.

    I would love a 90mm f/1.4 - especially if it's as good as my Olympus 75mm f/1.8 (the bokeh should be improved, though - it's quite "busy" on the 75mm). If Olympus makes it (a lot more likely than Panasonic) and it is good, I would buy it in a heartbeat.

    I hope the bigwigs at Olympus and Panasonic read this, but I also realize that both companies mostly announced the lenses to come out in the next year or so already, and none of the lenses on your list are there.

  15. Because you humanities major does not know anything about physics that's why.

  16. Hi George, the last time I checked the UT school of Electrical Engineering was NOT in the Humanities Dept.... And back then, near the dawn of time, the University required everyone, even engineers, to learn how to write...

    Besides, I now learn everything I need to know about Physics by watching "The Big Bang Theory" on television. Go Sheldon!


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