New Olympus products are coming: 8-25mm F4.0 PRO lens, 150-400mm in winter 2020, Bird AF for E-M1X
posted Thursday, July 2, 2020 at 1:00 AM EST
Despite last week's surprising news of Olympus' impending sale or divestiture of their Imaging Division, things are still "business as usual" for the time being, particularly when it comes to Olympus' upcoming product announcement plans. To that end, Olympus has announced an updated lens roadmap with two new lenses, an availability update on the previously unveiled 150-400mm PRO lens, and a bit of exciting news for E-M1X owners: a firmware update for Bird Subject Detection Autofocus!
On the horizon, Olympus' new roadmap of Zuiko lenses includes two new forthcoming PRO lenses, a new ultra-wide-angle zoom and a new PRO-tier macro lens. At this time, details on the new Pro macro lens are essentially nonexistent. However, given its placement among the range of focal lengths across the Zuiko lens lineup, the new macro lens will most likely have a longer focal length than Olympus' existing 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens from 2012, with a focal length around or perhaps even longer than 100mm.
Regarding the upcoming new Zuiko Pro zoom lens, we have a bit more information, with a full product name: M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO. Though Olympus already offers an ultra-wide-angle Pro zoom in the 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro, this new 8-25mm f/4 Pro lens perhaps follows a similar design path as the recent 12-45mm f/4 Pro, offering a lighter, more compact design compared to larger yet similar 12-40mm f/2.8 zoom. The bright f/2.8 aperture and large front element of the 7-14mm can make for a somewhat front-heavy and unbalanced shooting experience on smaller OM-D cameras, such as the E-M5-series and E-M10-series. Though we don't yet have specifics on the size, weight or the overall design of the upcoming 8-25mm, it's likely that this lens will be smaller and lighter, given its f/4 aperture. However, seeing as this new lens offers a much longer zoom range, out to a 50mm-eq. focal length of 25mm, we will just have to wait and see.
For the fans of supertelephoto lenses, Olympus has also confirmed that yes, the 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO lens is still in the development and that there is now a more concrete availability date of winter 2020. However, pricing is still unknown at this time.
The upcoming 150-400mm is a very impressive-sounding lens. Not only is it Olympus' first Pro-tier supertelephoto zoom lens, but it's also their first lens with a built-in teleconverter. You can already reach out to an impressive 1200mm-eq when using the Olympus 300mm f/4 Pro lens and the MC-20 2x teleconverter. The forthcoming 150-400mm will enable you to get out to 1000mm-eq. with just the lens and built-in 1.25x TC engaged; add the 2x TC on top of that and you have yourself a 2000mm-eq. zoom lens that you can easily handhold!
Additional specifics on the 150-400mm lens are still fairly sparse at this time, including physical dimensions and weight. As part of the Zuiko Pro lens line, the new lens will feature a dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof design, and it will also support Sync IS -- though the number of stops of correction provided by the lens is not yet known.
Lastly, Olympus has unveiled an upcoming firmware update for the E-M1X that will further enhance the camera's exclusive Intelligent Subject Detection Autofocus system, adding Bird Detection capabilities. Since release, the E-M1X's clever Deep Learning-based Intelligent Subject Detection Autofocus system has been limited to only a trio of subjects: airplanes, trains and automobiles/motorsports. The addition of Bird Detection as a selectable option for the subject-tracking AF system will likely be a major usability improvement for bird and wildlife photographers. The firmware update for the E-M1X is currently in development and is scheduled to be released sometime in winter 2020.