Did Olympus give up on making pancake lenses?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by woody112704, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. woody112704

    woody112704 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 13, 2012
    I got to thinking about this the other day and was curious if anyone had any thoughts on it. Was it because they couldn't get a faster focusing and/or make it a faster lens without increasing size? Going through the 17mm 2.8 thread it seems like it is pretty good optically. Maybe not up to the 1.8 but still good. I was just curious since Olympus pretty much started MFT to keep everything small and don't get me wrong most of the lenses are small but I was just wondering why they haven't tried rehashing that 17mm or going for a different focal length. To me it seems Panasonic is more on the keeping it smaller, considering the 14 20 and the new 15 (even though its not a pancake per se, it is a pretty small looking lens).

    Love to hear your thoughts on this.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    I agree. It's strange that for a system that has compactness with quality as its whole reason for being , the only lens that really does that is still the 20mm/1.7. I also wish both companies would love put more effort into that but judging by the 20mm rerelease with no changes maybe it is not possible technically .
  3. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    And the Panasonic 14/2.5 and Olympus 17/2.8 both of which are smaller than the 20/1.7.

    Going shorter than 17mm requires a retro focal design which mean more elements to lengthen the back focus distance. To keep lenses longer than the 20 physically short requires a telephoto design, more lens elements again, to shorten the back focus distance. It's probably possible to make pancake lenses outside of the narrow range already available, but it's not very practical, or cheap.

    The system taken as a whole, even with the "big" lenses is still very small.

  4. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 10, 2012
    What about the 40mm pancake from Canon? Nikon also made a manual focus 50mm pancake.
  5. stargate

    stargate Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 14, 2013
    These are DSLR lenses and you have to add the longer register distance in the total length. So a 50 pancake for m43 would be almost like a DSLR 50 pancake with the apropriate adaptor.
  6. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    Different flange distances, so other focal lengths become ideal for pancakes, i guess.
  7. woody112704

    woody112704 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 13, 2012
    It was just something I was thinking about. It'd be neat if they tried fixing the slow AF problem of the 2.8 and releasing it for another option for hopefully a cheaper price. But I don't think they would want to do that because it might take sales away from the 1.8. I'm really interested in seeing the new Panasonic 15mm f1.7 though.
  8. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 10, 2012
    Ah yes - that make sense.
  9. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    I didn't mean to imply that longer pancake lenses aren't possible. Pentax made a "full frame" 85mm pancake, I think around f/2.8.


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  10. JeanLucX

    JeanLucX Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 3, 2013
    Olympus probably doesn't want to get into competition with Panasonic because Japanese companies usually avoid competition and prefer to work together.
  11. Superstriker#8

    Superstriker#8 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 24, 2013
    How big is the 17 1.8 compared to the 20 1.7 as the 20 is considered a pancake?
  12. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    It's one of those not-quite-a-pancake lenses, definitely wider than long but not really super flat... the Sigma 19mm, Sigma 30mm, new Panasonic Leica 15mm, and many legacy 50mm lenses, are of a similar proportion.
  13. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    According to one rumour, Olympus is working on a 25mm f/1.8 pancake lens, to be announced in February next year.
  14. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    It would be nice to have the equivalent of a nifty 50 for the Pens. The Pan-Leica looks to be a wonderful lens but a tad bigger than I want.
  15. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
  16. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Not sure you read that right . . . the 17mm f/1.8 is 1.5x longer than the 20mm, and having owned both IMO that extra 0.5" really makes a difference.

    I think the OP has a great point . . . there are only 3 pancake primes for m43 (14mm, 17mm f/2.8, and 20mm) which seems odd given the original design motivation of small size and cameras like the GM1. If Oly is indeed developing a 25mm f/1.8 that is great news.

    Ideally I'd love to see pancakes in the following FLs:

    12mm (f/4?)
    14mm (already there, LOVE this lens)
    17mm (the Oly f/2.8 is OK, but I'd love something f/2 and better optically)
    20mm (already there, but slow focusing can be a real issue in some situations . . . too bad the II version didn't improve that)
    25mm (the only native competition is the excellent f/1.4, but that one is quite large, even for m43)

    Of course pancakes involve design compromises, but I'm willing to forego a little speed for size. Think of how great the tiny Voigtlanders are for FF (15mm, 21mm, 25mm)--all accomplished by using a relatively large f-stop.
  17. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    You're right, my head saw 17/2.8. I've edited my post.

  18. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I wouldn't mind more pancake lenses, but honestly I'd rather they first improved the ones we have already have. Neither manufacturer has really done anything useful on the pancake front in the past 2+ years. The 20/1.7 is still quite slow to focus in low light, even in its second revision, which precludes its use for a lot of events and whatnot. The 17/2.8 is optically no better than most of the kit lenses. The 14/2.5 is probably the most well-rounded of the bunch, but like all wide m4/3 primes, massive distortion correction make it less than exciting for landscapes. I suppose a pancake telephoto would be nice - a 50/2.8 or something like that should be pretty small, but I know from experience that a wide and normal one would get far more use from me, if the performance were up to snuff.
  19. woody112704

    woody112704 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 13, 2012
    I agree, and that's what made me make this post. To me it seems like they don't know how to fix the slow focus issues and/or they don't want to spend resources on trying to figure it out.
  20. madmaxmedia

    madmaxmedia Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2010
    Pancakes are nice but overall lens size is just as or more important to me. For example, I think the Oly 45 is a great lens due to compact overall size (and obviously image quality and fast AF as well.)
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