New high end lenses for Micro 4/3 on the way from Schneider Kreuznach and Olympus

New high end lenses for Micro 4/3 on the way from Schneider Kreuznach and Olympus

Like I said in my Olympus OM-D E-M5 review, Micro 4/3 has finally matured and it is now a valid force to be reckoned with. With the quality of this new Olympus it doesn’t matter what you shoot as it will be up to the task. With the right glass the camera is a powerhouse of IQ, Speed, and overall quality. I was excited to read the news that not only is the new Olympus 75 1.8 available for pre-order (B&H, Amazon, Popflash) but there is also some new super high-end stuff coming from Schneider Kreuznach for those who want the best quality they can get from their Micro 4/3 cameras.

Check out the Olympus 75 1.8 on the OM-D. This is going to be one hell of a hunk of glass and is coming it at $899

These new Schneider lenses look like they are designed and made very well and the 1st lens to be released will be a 14mm f/2 which will equal a 28mm  after the 2X crop on a  Micro 4/3 camera. It appears that other mounts will be coming as well as they appear to be joking in on the “mirrorless movement” in the digital world. I think these lenses will help Micro 4/3 cameras such as the OM-D E-M5 even more in establishing itself as a serious photographic tool. For the record, I still feel the Olympus OM-D is the best all around mirrorless camera you can buy right now as long as you shoot it with decent glass. I’ve been shooting with it constantly and have yet to find any problems or issues with it at all. It has everything everyone could want in a digital camera. The manual control, the IQ, low light performance, weatherproofing, swivel LCD, EVF built-in and quality lenses available.

The new 75 from Olympus should be out in the next 30-60 days and the Schneider lenses are set to officially be shown and introduced at Photokina in September.

The Schneider 14mm f/2 Super Angulon  – $1499 – 10 elements, and 4 aspheric surfaces. Other lenses planned for announcement will be a 30mm 1.4 and 60 2.4 Macro. CAN NOT WAIT!



    • I do, yes. Mainly due to the focus speed and misses of the X-Pro 1. X-Pro 1 has beautiful IQ but I was let down in usability, speed, build quality of lenses, etc. Good camera if you have the patience and shoot “Leica X1 Style” 🙂 But for me the OM-D is solid, best cam of the year so far for me.

  2. I’m looking to buy a new camera. Currently looking at Olympus PEN P-3, OM-D or Nikon v1.

    If I’m going to use the standard set glass, is it a waste of paying the extra for the OM-D? Do I need a better glass for it to be worth the extra $$$?

    • The OM-D will do its best with the better glass but even something like the Panasonic 14 2.5 will do great with it. You will get better IQ than the V1 for the most part (files, noise, etc)

  3. Ok…a few thoughts. It’s great to see Schneider joining the m43 consortium. But I really wish they were making a TS lens. The m4/3 platform needs one to really be considered a mature, full-range system. I feel like they are testing the waters with this lens; but like the Leicas whose high prices weren’t really justified by their resolving powers, they are going to find out that a typical m4/3 buyer isn’t simply going to get the lens for the name. It had better be bloody exceptional. The people who buy on names weren’t the ones who went out on a limb with the m43 system, they just bought Canons, Nikons, or if they were super rich, Leicas. I’d also like to see something wider, like a 10 f/2, before the 60 macro. There are already good macro lenses available and Olympus is coming out with another.

    And to the idiot who said that Schneider was behind Zeiss…I’ve got a reality check for you. I stopped being obsessive compulsive about following photography about 8 years ago – starting a family will do that to you – but from reading hundreds of Chasseur d’Images, fotomagazin, Photodo, American photo magazine tests, from the late 80s (very well before you were taking pictures) to the early 2000s, Schneider almost never had a bad lens. I remember Chasseur d’ gave one of the Zeiss T* lenses a 2/5 stars! All of Schneider lenses for the Rollei 6X6 cameras tested exceptionally well – that was not the case with the Zeiss lenses. They make the best large format lenses and some of the best motion picture projection lenses. Just because you haven’t heard of them until now doesn’t mean they aren’t top notch. They just aren’t interested in whoring their name out to the punters like almost every other high-end imaging company.

  4. Come on! We need a fast (f/2 or faster), autofocusing 10mm, 17.5mm and 35mm. This will complement so well with the existing 12./2, 25/14, 45/1.8 and 75/1.8 in terms of fast primes.

    • I’m with you on the 10mm and the 17.5 (that’s on my personal wish list), but why 35mm? A 70mm-e
      f2? Why, when you have a 50mm-e and a 90mm-e?

      Probably going against the grain here, I hope they don’t go too far on speed. The Schneider 14 looks way too big to be interesting to me, even it I could afford it.

      F2 would be a fine compromise between speed, weight/size, and cost.

  5. On the Rollei 6008i, I prefer the Schneider optics over the Zeiss designs, and the margin was not even close.

  6. I thought SK should enter micro 4/3 by offering they exotic lens by reborn their magical Xenon 25 f0.95
    Hell Yeah….

  7. Steve,

    It’s your ‘fault’ if I go out and by the OM-D. And my wife will be very angry with me!


  8. I bought a EM5 with some plan to replace my NEX7 with it but I am quite dissapointed with its base ISO IQ.
    at ISO100, the NEX7 beats all and nothing even come close to it.

    the EM5 is good and probably more versatile but it is not as sharp as the NEX7 in ISO100-400 range, so I guess I am keeping both for a while and if this Schneider also gets announced for E mount , I think I will keep the NEX7 for its pure detail resolving power and better color. this lens seems so well made and handsome , probably very sharp too ,thanks Schneider.

  9. Wow, a truly exciting prospect. I was considering a top wide angle for the EM5 and there was not much to pick from. The 14mm may just be the ticket.

  10. $1.5k is not cheap for a lens but there are much more expensive lenses out there. The question (I can not answer) is – is it “worth it” for relatively small sensor (I am just thinking loudly, I am not a m4/3 hater). It somehow seems that the ‘high end pro expensive lenses’ are more often found on FX (or larger) cameras where the pixel size is much larger and the output ‘smoother’ or ‘less digital’ (for lack of better word).

    Indeed investing in a good lenses tends to bring more value in the long run that investing a lot in a new digital body – but with lenses at this price range – one could naively ask the question – is the m4/3 here to stay and get ‘good enough’ (maybe it is already) not to be looked at like smaller brother (or less beautiful sister 🙂 ) to FX?

    And finally – Steve – what are the chances to get your review on one of these?

    • Lens designs like the super angulon would not work on an SLR because the mirror would get in the way of the design, hence they have only ever been available for rangefinder and large format cameras, same as for the zeiss biogon. High quality lenses like this should really be able to get the most out of the smaller sensors, and as the designs don’t have to be compromised to allow for a mirror, the glass could be superior to the lenses available for canon, nikon etc… so the gap in quality could theoretically disappear, at base iso’s there is already minimal difference between m4/3 and apsc sensors.

  11. I’d like to see some black olympus lens to go with the black om-d, including a 20, 1.4 and 25, 1.4 that is truly sync’d with the camera.

  12. Interesting that the 75/1.8 “hunk of glass” is 58 mm filter size, while the slow Nikon zooms announced yesterday are 72 and 77 mm.

  13. hey steve im thinking of dipping my toes into micro 43s, i already have a nex 5n with a viewfinder but dying for some glass. I was thinking of getting the epl1 for 149 and maybe the 25 1.4. do you think thats a good idea with new pens coming out soon?

  14. At 1499 bucks I see no reason to buy it. In the line of prime German lenses Schneider Kreuznach is ranking far behind Leitz and Zeiss. If it would be a 14/1.4 the story would be different. Using the brand name “Angulon” does not mean anything.
    The 30/1.4 could instead be interesting. But maybe even more expensive 🙁

    • I must respectfully disagree with Wolfgang’s assessment of Schneider Kreuznach. In many many cases, Schneider optics have eclipsed Zeiss glass (both in the past & present). In fact, much if not all of Zeiss camera lenses available for 35m are manufactured by Cosina Voigtlander in Japan — under license. If I’m not mistaken, Schneider is still 100% German (Schneider Optische Werke GmbH). I can still recall my love affair with Rolleiflex TLRs. Of the two identical “2.8D” cameras that I owned (one Zeiss outfitted, the other Schneider), the later was my preference — and by a large margin. It is also the one I chose to keep (and still own today). Finally, Schneider continues to design and manufacture world class large format optics (Zeiss currently does not). While I think that $1500 is indeed a lot of coin to pay for an M/43 lens, its certainly a LOT less of an investment when compared to the absolutely ridiculous prices Leica (Leitz) continues to demand and if in the same league optically speaking, its a genuine deal!

      Exciting times for M/43 indeed!

      Just my two cents!


      • +1
        Schneider lenses on tech cameras are absolutely outstanding. I wish Rodenstock would enter that territory as well. So far I would prefer a Schneider over a Zeiss. Had similar experiences with various Rollei 6000 systems and TLR cameras. But we have to see how that lens turns out to be. I don’t see them ranking far behind just because they are producing less mainstream lenses. They have the capability to place themselves right between Zeiss and Leica. Dirk

        • Hi D!RK
          you are right and wrong! For technical cameras like Linhoffs S&K is able to deliver outstanding lenses. Each 10.000 bucks and up, no doubt. And outstanding excellent.
          Rodenstock produces nice glasses for me the elderly which is framed and simply called “glasses”. My last experience with Rodenstock was almost 30 years ago when I bougth a Rodenstock Apo-lens for my DURST ligthroom magnifier (right word? just curious as German native speaker asking)

          Whatever happens. Steve will tell soon what is worth or not.
          Best regards

          • Perhaps a Rodenstock APO enlarging lens for your Durst enlarger?
            OK, Englisch-Kurs ist vorbei. 🙂

            (Your English is better than my German.)

          • Schneider and Rodenstock digital lenses start at around 1.5k. They can easily go up to 3k and beyond. The lenses are probably some of the best out there right now. Combined with a tech camera and a digital back they produce amazing image quality. Far beyond what standard medium format lenses can resolve. I know that both companies are currently better known in a niche, pro market of architecture and landscape photography. What I want to say is that by far they don’t lack behind Leica and Zeiss when it comes to optical performance and the prices are not all at 10k. The whole camera combinations are easily several 10k but the lenses are similarly priced to Leica glass. Personally I am really curious about the new lens announcement. D!RK

          • I have a Rolleiflex 6008i and the Schneider optics surpass the Zeiss quite easily. M43 has a killer lens manufacturer at last.

      • I didnt know that assembling a lens requires German hands. Zeiss lenses are assembled in Japan because they can keep the costs down…something the Germans have a hard time wrapping their heads around…just ask any Leica or mercedes owner. Manufacturing isnt that hard, you can train a monkey to build anything if you have the design and technology. Canon will soon have robots to do most of their camera manufacturing..but who knows, maybe Zeiss can create German robots to desing their lenses in the future, then have a battle of the robots…round one..FIGHT! LOL

        • Am glad that you just solved the world’s manufacturing problems. But who, in your equation, does develop and manufacture these dam robots 😉 Maybe the monkeys?

      • Wes, I would not be so sure of the totally Teutonic origin of Schneider Kreuznach lenses. I have two Kodak cameras, a Z950 travel zoom and a Z990 bridge camera with the Schneider Kreuznach logo proudly stamped on the lens barrel. Though the optics on both those cameras compare favorably to comparibly prided Canikons, I somehow suspect that they came from somewhere other than the “Fatherland”

  15. UUUhhh. I would prefer to invest 1499$ in a 50mm Canon L1.2 before i d give away that amount of money just for my third priory backup cam e-pen2 🙂

    • I wouldn’t buy one for an E-PL2 either – only camera worthy of these lenses in the M4/3 range is the E-M5 IMO. This camera is a huge step up from the others in just about every area. But $1500 can get you many things so it will have to be one hell of a lens for it to sell.

      • so, do you think this new 14mm lens is better than the Sony Zeiss ?
        I am not very aware of Schneider optics , I am a big fan of Zeiss and Leica , though.


      • So far, my experience after having tested 12 legendary wide angle lenses, is that many Leica and M mount Zeiss lenses (including the VERY expensive ones) do not perform well with the M4/3 system. I believe it is because the rear element is too close to the sensor. It is worth spending time testing a lens before you buy it as you will be surprised with the results. The performance of a 35mm Summicron M is not near as good as a 35mm Elmarit R. The 28mm Elmarit M is not worth using unless you can stop down to f8, so…I am looking forward to see a prime wide angle lens designed for a M4/3 system, goon on you Schneider!!!!

  16. Schneider should drop their plans to make lenses for Micro 4/3 and focus on making E-mount lenses for the NEX system instead.

    There are already plenty of great lenses for M4/3, but we NEX devotees are really hurting for top grade glass for our cameras.

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