Here's the problem when you click the new Olympus 12mm f/2.0 prime lens into place on the redesigned E-P3 body: You never want to take it off. Seriously.
I've been testing this combination for a few weeks, and every time I considered switching to the new 14-42mm zoom (which is very nice, btw), I found a reason to keep the 12mm mounted. Actually, there are a number of reasons:
- The 12mm f/2.0 looks amazing against the matte black body of the E-P3. The feel of the machined metal, design of the barrel, and that big objective glass in the front is addicting.
- It focuses fast. Olympus has overhauled the focusing system in the E-P3, and combined with the 12mm lens, the speed is blazing. (Also great with new 14-42mm, once I actually tried it.)
- Sharp. Edge to edge sharpness.
- Wide field of view. The 12mm prime is a 24mm equivalent on a full frame camera. (You double the focal length on micro four-thirds bodies.)
- Snap Focus. The focus ring can be pulled back toward the body allowing you to manually focus the camera with a dampened feel that harkens back to the day of great prime lenses. I'm also thinking of what I can do with this when recording full HD movies with the E-P3.
When I work with the E-P3 and 12mm prime, in all honesty, I feel like I have that top of the line German camera I always wanted, but could never afford. That doesn't mean this combination is cheap, but it's within my range.
The new Olympus PEN E-P3 with the redesigned 14-42mm zoom is $899 US. The 12mm f/2.0 prime lens is $799 US. For about $1,700, you get a solid, state-of-the-art digital body, a zoom, and a fast prime lens. (As shown in the top photograph.) That's nice.
I'll be writing more about the E-P3 itself. You can read the basic overview of the camera here. And here's more information on the 12mm f/2.0 prime lens. I've published a set of images on Flickr that show you different views of the camera and some photos captured with the 12mm lens.
More to come on all of this!
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