Olympus has unveiled a high-end standard zoom to match the E-M1, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm 1:2.8 PRO. It offers a 24-80mm equivalent range, is dust-, splash- and freeze-proof, and uses a manual focus clutch design similar to the 12mm F2 and 17mm F1.8 primes. A minimum focus distance of 0.2m offers 0.3x magnification, and the lens has a L.Fn button whose function can be customised from the camera. The 14 element / 9 group design is packed full of exotic glass, and includes two aspheric elements. Minor ergonomic improvements include a locking lens hood and centre-pinch lens cap.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO, with focus ring snapped back to reveal distance scale

Olympus has also announced the development of a matching M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO telezoom, which is scheduled to be released by the end of 2014. It's given few further details, but the press images show it'll be a substantially larger lens than Panasonic's Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 OIS (as you'd expect). After that, Olympus plans to release a wideangle zoom and super-telephoto prime in this nascent Micro Four Thirds 'PRO' range. It seems that these are unlikely to be direct Micro Four Thirds equivalents of the existing Four Thirds Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F4 and Zuiko Digital 300mm F2.8, but instead offer different headline specs.

 The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO is scheduled for release by the end of 2014

From now on Olympus's Micro Four Thirds lens line will be divided up into three segments, similar to how the company organised its Four Thirds lenses into 'Standard', 'High Grade' and 'Super High Grade' (the latter two known as 'Pro' and 'Top Pro' in some markets). Alongside the new top end 'PRO' line, there'll also be a 'Premium' range, which we're led to believe will include current primes such as the M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8, M.Zuiko Digital 17mm F1.8 and M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm F2.

Finally the company has quietly revealed a new lens hood for the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ, which until now has made do with sharing the rectangular LH55B originally designed for the collapsible M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 wideangle zoom. The LH55C is a petal-shaped hood that should be more effective at reducing flare from stray light. See below for an image.

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO specifications

Principal specifications
Lens typeZoom lens
Max Format sizeFourThirds
Focal length12–40 mm
Image stabilizationNo
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds
Maximum apertureF2.8
Minimum apertureF22
Number of diaphragm blades7
Aperture notesCircular diaphragm
Special elements / coatings1 aspherical element, 1 dual-sided aspherical element, 2 ED glass elements, 2 HR glass elements, 1 EDA glass element, 1 HD glass element
Minimum focus0.20 m (7.87)
Maximum magnification0.3×
Motor typeStepper motor
Full time manualYes
Focus methodInternal
Focus notesManual Focus Clutch mechanism
Distance scaleYes
DoF scaleNo
Weight382 g (0.84 lb)
Diameter70 mm (2.75)
Length84 mm (3.31)
Zoom methodRotary (extending)
Filter thread62 mm
Filter notesDoes not rotate on focusing
Hood suppliedYes
Hood product codeLH66

Additional images

12-40mm F2.8 cutaway showing optical design   The 12-40mm is dust- and water-resistant
12-40mm F2.8 on OM-D E-M1   12-40mm F2.8 on OM-D E-M1, with hood 
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO  The LH66 hood has locking buttons on either side 
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO  LH55C hood for M.ZD 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ