Olympus share price & availability of 7-14 f/2.8, 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye lenses; new firmware for E-M1, E-M5 II
posted Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 1:00 AM EDT
The Olympus family of 'PRO' lenses welcomes two new members with the availability announcement for the much-anticipated Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 M.ZUIKO PRO as well as the formerly "in-development" 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO lens.
Following in the footsteps of the first two, very highly regarded Zuiko PRO lenses -- the 12-40 f/2.8 and 40-150 f/2.8 -- the new pair of lenses share the same high-quality construction, splashproof design and, presumably, the same top-tier image quality performance. These new 'PRO' lenses will both be available in June 2015, and will carry a rather "pro-level" pricetag. The 7-14mm will ring up at an estimated street price of US$1,299.99 (CAN$1,599.99), while the 8mm will sell for US$999 (CAN$1,249.99).
The new 7-14mm f/2.8 lens provides a very useful 14-28mm-equivalent ultra-wide-angle focal length range, making it an ideal companion for the landscape or architectural photographer. Sealed up in 11 places, the 7-14mm is capable of withstanding harsh conditions, including snow and ocean spray. In keeping with the Micro-ness of Micro Four Thirds, while a bit hefty by MFT standards, at around 534 grams, the new 7-14mm f/2.8 is significantly more compact and lighter than competing 35mm lenses.
The optical configuration is comprised of a total 14 elements in 11 groups and includes two aspherical ED lenses, one dual-sided aspherical element, one aspherical element, three Super ED lenses, one ED lens and two HR lenses, which all help to minimize chromatic aberration and ensure sharp corner-to-corner performance. The lens features ZERO coatings to reduce ghosting and flare, and the 7-blade circular aperture helps produce pleasing background blur.
If a rectilinear 7-14mm lens is still not wide enough for you, the new 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye should get you covered. This impressively bright -- the world's first f/1.8 fisheye lens, in fact -- features a full 180-degree diagonal angle of view. Factor in the impressive 2.5cm close focusing distance, and the new 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye lens is dynamic lens capable of some very creative super-ultra-wide and super-close-up images in both bright and dim lighting.
Optically, the 8mm lens is comprised 17 elements in 15 groups, including 1 aspherical lens, three Super ED lenses, two ED lenses, one Super HR lens and two HR lenses. Like the 7-14mm and other Zuiko PRO lenses, the 8mm is also fully weather sealing and can withstand the elements. The 8mm lens is compatible with the Olympus PPO-EP02 Underwater Lens Port, allowing it to be used with an underwater housing with OM-D cameras.
To coincide with the release of these two ultra-wide lenses, particularly the diving and underwater photography-friendly 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye lens, Olympus announced a dedicated underwater housing for the E-M1, the PT-EP11, as well as firmware updates for the E-M1 and E-M5 II.
With the E-M1's new housing, the rig can withstand pressure down to 45 meters, and with the new Version 3.1 firmware, the E-M1's new Underwater Wide and Underwater Macro settings help automatically correct for underwater colorcasts and improves color vibrancy. Additionally, the new Underwater Picture Mode allows for aperture and shutter speed adjustments along with the underwater-specific tweaks such as white balance and exposure/flash compensation. The E-M5 Mark II is not left out of all the underwater fun, as it also gains Underwater Picture Mode with new Version 1.2 firmware.
The E-M1 also gains improvements for star-scape photography with a new LV Boost II mode and nighttime Live View performance is improved with sharper on-screen images.
We just received a shipment of both the 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO and 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye lenses, and we couldn't resist taking them out for a quick spin. Below are a few shots with the new lenses. For a few more sample shots, head over to the Olympus E-M5 Mark II Gallery Page and look for images with "7-14MM" and "8MM" in the filenames. The lenses are now headed down to our SLRgear lab for testing, so stay tuned for our in-depth reviews on these hot new lenses.
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