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Photokina 2012: Olympus has launched two lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system, including the M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro, and announced it is developing a 17mm F1.8 fast prime. It has also made an unusual 15mm F8 'body cap lens' that's just 9mm thick. The final lens is a special edition black version of its existing high-end 12mm F2.0 prime. The 60mm Macro will cost around $499/£429, and the black 12mm F2.0 will be $1099/£849.
New M.ZUIKO lenses cover all the bases from high-end Macro to go-anywhere Body Cap
Hamburg, 17 September 2012 – Olympus promised owners of PEN and O-MD cameras the full array of dedicated interchangeable lenses and accessories – and the launch of four new Micro Four Thirds lenses comes good on that pledge. This new generation offers optical engineering of the highest standard for anyone who appreciates top level image quality – from macro enthusiasts to snap-happy PEN owners and ambitious hobby photographers with an eye for outstanding design. The new splash and dust-proof M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 (120mm*) Macro lens is ideal for use outdoors. Near silent focusing and 1:1 magnification as close as 19cm makes this robust lens perfect for high-resolution close-ups of the natural world, but its imaging potential is impressive wherever you shoot. Beautiful circular bokeh, a practical Focus Limit switch and virtually non-existent spot flaring make it an extremely attractive addition for owners of the high-end O-MD E-M5, or of course a PEN. The high-grade, large aperture M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:1.8 (34mm*) lens is currently under development. This stylish, compact beauty will incorporate a sophisticated focusing mechanism designed especially for top-notch snapshot photography. The third lens of the quartet is a collector's item. An elegant, limited-edition black version of the existing M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm 1:2.0 (24mm*) wide-angle 'Street Photography' lens, including a metal lens hood and cap. Last but not least, the super affordable and ultra-slim 15mm (30mm*) 1:8.0 Body Cap lens is all about shooting on the fly, ideally with a PEN. The 17mm goes on sale in early 2013, whereas the other three will be available from October 2012.
M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro lens
In terms of sheer image quality, this handsome lens gives PEN, and in particular O-MD owners, the potential to capture images on a par with high end Four Thirds cameras using a ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50mm 1:2.0 macro lens – but with significantly less outlay. With its dust and splash-proof housing and excellent macro credentials, its natural habitat is just that: the natural world outside. At 19cm and 1:1 magnification, close-ups of animal and plants come to life in spectacular fashion, with high resolution and contrast edge-to-edge. And in bright light, its multi-layer ZERO (ZUIKO Extra-low Reflection Optical) lens coating halves the effects of ghosting and flaring compared to similar conventional coatings.
M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 17mm 1:1.8
This is an extremely bright, large-aperture, high-resolution lens and a must have for anyone looking to capture exceptional images on the spur of the moment. The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 17mm 1:1.8 is packed with the same advanced optical technologies that have proved so successful on other high-end Olympus lenses, including the silver version of the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm 1:2.0 'Street Photography' lens launched earlier this year. Attractive circular bokeh is a common strength, with none of the off-axis aberration or colour fringe effects that can otherwise spoil your shot. Both lenses also make it especially easy to set the depth of field for stills with intentional background blurring. Snapshot specialists will appreciate built-in depth of field and distance indicators that show the distance at which objects are in focus, so you can focus instantly without having to look at the camera display. These indicators come into play in Manual mode, which you activate by pulling back the focus ring.
Special-edition M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm 1:2.0
Collectors will be counting down the days to the launch of this limited edition designer piece that comes as a kit with a matching lens hood and cap – all in classic black. With its wide-angle capacity and fast aperture, the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm 1:2.0 lens performs superbly in low-light and snapshot situations where a flash or tripod would be inappropriate – and is of course ideal for capturing high-quality landscapes and other broad shots. As an Olympus system lens, it also benefits from the Image Stabilisation (IS) built into every new Olympus camera. Most rival wide-angle lenses don't come with stabilisation technology, which can leave you susceptible to shake and blurring with cameras that don't have built-in IS of their own.
15mm (30mm*) 1:8.0 Body Cap
An ultra-slim cap and flexible, fixed-focus, fixed-aperture lens in one; this is an ideal first accessory for the powerful new PEN Lite and PEN mini. PEN cameras famously combine portable dimensions with ease-of-use for go anywhere SLR-quality imaging, and the Body Cap stays true to that philosophy. It adds a mere 9mm to the depth of your camera so you can still slip it into a jacket pocket with the confidence that sensitive components will be safe from dust, scratches and smears. When you pull it out again, you'll be able to capture subjects on the spur of the moment from one metre to infinity – with no need to focus and without attaching a full sized lens. For close-ups, there's a lever to extend the focus range to just 30cm from your subject.
Availability, accessories and prices
With the exception of the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:1.8 lens, all these lenses will be available from October. The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro lens will cost just £429 and is compatible with a host of dedicated Olympus accessories. These include the specialist macro RF-11 ring flash and TF-22 twin flashes (in combination with the optional FR-2 adaptor ring). The special-edition M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm 1:2.0 Street Photography lens will retail for £849, which includes the matching metal lens hood and cap. The 15mm 1:8.0 Body Cap lens for PEN is a bargain at just £70. The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:1.8 lens is currently at the development stage and more details will be announced nearer the launch.
* 35mm equivalent.