We can only imagine how busy it’s been at the Olympus headquarters recently as there has been, not just one, but three announcements about new gear and upgrades.
First off the bat is the launch of their new lenses — the 8mm f/1.8 fisheye lens and the 7–14mm f/2.8 ultra-wide angle zoom lens.
The fisheye lens is called the M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Pro and is ideal for photographers who are interested in shooting astronomy, underwater, or landscape shots, as well as for professional-imaging requirements. Olympus says that this lens is the world’s brightest fisheye lens and plenty of focus was put into ensuring that comatic and chromatic aberrations at large apertures were kept to a minimum. The 17 lens elements, including Olympus’s super high refractive (Super HR) and super extra-low dispersion (Super ED) glass, arranged in 15 groups also reduce aberrations and allow for high clarity right out to the edges of the image. It’s got a 2.5cm minimum focusing distance, it’s dust-, freeze-, and splash-proof, and it’s a lightweight lens weighing just 315g.
The second new Olympus lens coming to the photography market is the M.Zuiko Digital ED 7–14mm f/2.8 Pro zoom. The ultra-wide lens offers focal lengths that are often required by enthusiast and professional photographers — especially those working in the realms of news reporting, sport, landscape, nature, and architecture. It features such elements as dual super aspheric (DSA), extra-low dispersion aspheric (EDA), as well as three Super ED elements, which allow for high image clarity. Olympus says there is minimal distortion across all zoom settings, and it allows for handheld freedom when matched with an Olympus camera that features five-axis image stabilization, such as the E-M5 Mark II body. This lens has a 7.5cm minimum focus distance, features 14 elements in 11 groups, is also dust-, freeze-, and splash-proof, and weighs 534g.
Both the M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Pro and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 7–14mm f/2.8 Pro will be on sale from June 2015.
Having just spoken of the E-M5 Mark II, Olympus has announced the OM-D E-M5 Mark II Limited Edition camera. It pays homage to the classic OM-3Ti film camera as it is painted a titanium colour, and only 7000 kits, which include specially designed accessories, will be sold globally from June 2015. The camera is identical in terms of functionality to the regular production of the E-M5 Mark II. The complete set includes the camera itself, a specially crafted leather strap, and a leather card case, which will contain the owner’s card stating which camera number they own, ranging from one to 7000.
Those with current E-M5 Mark II and OM-D E-M1 cameras will be able to benefit from firmware updates being launched by Olympus. These upgrades will enhance the functionalities for underwater and night-sky shooting. The underwater picture mode provides the user with better control over camera settings that are helpful for underwater photography; a unified picture mode replaces the separate wide and macro underwater picture modes and you can now adjust aperture and shutter speed in the P/A/S/M exposure settings. Those vivid colours and natural underwater blue hues will be vibrant using this dedicated picture mode. Improved visibility in extremely poorly lit environments through the viewfinder and LCD screen has also been included thanks to the LV Boost II (live view boost) setting. This will come in handy for night-sky and starscape shooting. This firmware upgrade has been timed to be launched alongside the lenses in June.