Handheld at 2000mm! Olympus is developing 150-400mm f/4.5 TC1.25x PRO lens & 2x teleconverter


posted Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 1:00 AM EST


Alongside the brand-new OM-D E-M1 X camera, Olympus has also announced the development of a new PRO lens, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm f/4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO. This super-telephoto zoom features a built-in 1.25x teleconverter and covers a 35mm equivalent focal length range of 300mm to 1,000mm. Olympus hasn't stopped there, as they have also announced the development of the M.Zuiko Digital 2x Teleconverter MC-20, which when combined with the 150-400mm lens offers a 35mm-equivalent maximum focal length of 2,000mm. The new products leverage the power of Micro Four Thirds to deliver a portable super-telephoto experience, while the size of the new E-M1X should provide a stable base for the lens itself.

A woodblock mock-up of the new 150-400mm Zuiko Pro lens & the new 2x TC.

While exact specifications are not yet available, the lens is reported to be designed around exceptional performance in a compact and lightweight form. Further, the lens will be built to Olympus' robust standards, featuring a dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof design. With the built-in 5-axis Sync IS, the lens promises a hand-holdable shooting experience, even when paired with the 2x teleconverter, which is also weather resistant. The MC-20 teleconverter will also be compatible with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS PRO and M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lenses.

A woodblock mock-up of the new 150-400mm Zuiko Pro lens

To add context to the new 150-400mm PRO lens, it will be the tenth lens in Olympus' PRO lineup and the longest lens yet available, beating out the 300mm f/4 IS PRO prime. The PRO lineup will cover 7mm to 400mm with zero gaps (7-14mm f/2.8, 12-40mm f/2.8, 40-150mm f/2.8 and the 150-400mm f/4.5), offering 14-800mm focal length coverage in 35mm format terms. When you add in the built-in teleconverter of the 150-400mm lens and the new MC-20 teleconverter, this coverage is even more impressive, at up to 2,000mm.


There is no pricing available for either the new 150-400mm lens or the MC-20 teleconverter, and unfortunately, you will have to wait until 2020 for the lens. The MC-20 teleconverter, on the other hand, should be available this summer.



In addition to the forthcoming 150-400mm lens, Olympus has also released a lens roadmap showing upcoming lenses for both their standard M.Zuiko and Zuiko Pro series. As you can see in the graphic below, Olympus has plans for new lenses across the board, ranging from new wide-angle and standard-range Pro-level zoom lenses as well as two more telephoto Zuiko Pro zoom lenses in addition to the aforementioned 150-400mm lens.

Furthermore, there's also a sneak-peek regarding some "Bright Prime Lenses" in the Zuiko Pro family. Olympus already produces a handful of fast-aperture primes, including the trio of f/1.2 primes. There's no indication of what the apertures will be for these new lenses, nor how many there will be, however the roadmap indicates a fairly wide range of focal lengths, spanning slightly longer than 10mm out until around 50mm. 

The roadmap also indicates that Olympus has combined their M.Zuiko and Zuiko Premium branding into one "M.Zuiko" family of optics. It also shows two upcoming lenses for that product lineup, as well -- one "high-magnification zoom" and a new super-telephoto zoom. The high-magnification zoom should offer a focal length range anywhere from between 10-20mm out until 200mm -- an impressive all-in-one zoom. For the super-telephoto zoom, this new optic should offer something around the 100-400mm range according to the graphic. 

Click the image above to enlarge.

• • •

Olympus announces FL-700WR wireless flash and new wireless flash accessories

The company has also announced a weather-resistant flash, the FL-700WR, along with a wireless commander (FC-WR) and receiver (FR-WR). These three products will be available in February.

Olympus FL-700WR wireless electronic flash

The FL-700WR offers the same weather resistance as Olympus' PRO lenses and offers a maximum guide number of 42. The flash bas been designed for compatibility with the OM-D system and can act as a commander or receiver during wireless shooting. Full flash power is available after a 1.5-second charge and it is even possible to shoot sequential flash photography at 10 frames per second.

The wireless radio wave communication can operate at up to around 100 feet (30 meters). When used as a commander, the FL-700WR can connect to three groups and an unlimited number of flash units. Photographers will be able to select which flashes fire and at which intensity.

The FL-700WR flash offers a Multi Flash mode, which makes it possible to fire the flash multiple times during a long exposure with user-configurable intensity, intervals and number of shots. The flash is also compatible with High Res Shot, Focus Stacking and Focus Bracketing modes on cameras such as the new E-M1X and the E-M1 Mark II. For fast shooting, the flash has high-speed synchronization which even exceeds the camera's maximum sync speed, first- and second-curtain syncs, TTL modes, an LED light for movies with a 77-degree angle of illumination, 180-degree horizontal and 90-degree vertical bounce angles and auto zoom capabilities up to 12-75mm lengths (24-150mm equivalent).

The new FC-WR on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

When the FL-700WR, FC-WR and FR-WR hit store shelves next month, they will cost $400, $350 and $230 respectively in the United States and just under $450, $400 and $280 in Canada.

• • •

Celebrating Olympus' 100th anniversary in silver style

Finally, Olympus fans will soon have the option to celebrate Olympus' 100th anniversary by way of a limited edition version of the popular OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera, the E-M1 Mark II Silver. This celebratory centennial camera will be available in only 2,000 units worldwide.

Of the new camera, Olympus President Hiroyuki Sasa has this to say: "We are sincerely grateful to all customers and other stakeholders who have supported Olympus since its founding 100 years ago. Being true to our purpose of 'making people’s lives healthier, safer, and more fulfilling,' we shall continue to contribute to photographic culture and deliver the joy of capturing and expressing special moments to photography lovers worldwide."

There will be only 2,000 units of the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Silver available worldwide.

To brush up on the E-M1 Mark II camera, you can click here to read all our coverage. Highlights of the 20.4-megapixel camera include 121 cross-type autofocus points, 18 fps shooting with AF/AE tracking, in-body 5-axis image stabilization and a compact, weather-sealed camera body.

The OM-D E-M1 Mark II Silver will begin shipping in February with a retail price of $1,699.99 USD ($1,999.99 CAD). This is the same price as the standard E-M1 Mark II despite the limited nature of the Silver.