Olympus Formally Introduces new Pro Lenses

(news & commentary)

bythom olympus8mm internal

Now that’s a complex fisheye!

Olympus today formally announced the long-ago leaked 8mm f/1.8 fisheye and 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro lenses for the m4/3 mount. The “news” essentially is the details of specifications, pricing, and expected availability. I’ve linked to the specifications in the first sentence. The pricing of the 8mm is US$1000, while the 7-14mm is US$1300. Both are expected to ship sometime in June, though that’s subject to change.

This now gives the m4/3 user an interesting competing set of high-quality lenses from fisheye to moderate telephoto:

  • Olympus: 8mm f/1.8, 7-14mm f/2.8, 12-40mm f/2.8, 40-150mm f/2.8
  • Panasonic: 8.5mm f/3.5, 7-14mm f/4, 12-35mm f/2.8, 35-100mm f/2.8

The Olympus lenses are splashproof and give you a bit bigger range, but are larger than the Panasonic lenses, which tend to feature built in image stabilization and smaller designs. A working m4/3 pro now has two competing lines of pro-quality lenses to pick and choose from, something no other mirrorless system has accomplished to date. Both companies have leaked development of longer telephoto lenses to further extend the set (Olympus 300mm f/4, Panasonic 150mm f/2.8). 

Along with the lenses, Olympus made the somewhat lame announcement that it would build 7000 Titanium versions of the E-M5II. This limited edition version of the camera differs basically in having the bottom and top plates made with a dark metallic finish. This is classic “what do we do when we need to sell more cameras” Japanese thinking: make a limited edition with a cosmetic change. You’ll pay US$150 extra for that (using today’s prices). 

Finally, Olympus announced firmware updates for the existing E-M5II and the E-M1. Basically the E-M1 gets the Live View boost setting of the E-M5II, and both cameras get an Underwater Picture Mode.

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