The lens wars within the DSLR camera sector just got hotter with the recent introduction of two new lenses from Olympus. The M.Zuiko digital ED 25-mm F1.2 pro and 12-100-mm F4.0 IS pro lenses are the latest examples of the company's efforts to offer lenses that provide greater image stability, enhanced resolution, and more creativity for both professional and advanced amateur photographers.
The 25-mm lens incorporates 19 different lens elements arranged in 14 groups to limit aberrations and color bleeding. The unique design and the lens's shallow depth of field are meant to create images that convey a more natural, three-dimensional appearance.
A single focusing lens and a mechanism that enables a more precise auto-focus make it easier to capture close images at high speeds and in video capture mode. Stars and points of light can also be rendered with more clarity and without the comet-like blur that can occur with less sophisticated lenses.
A manual focus clutch mechanism also makes it easier to go from automatic to manual focus, and an L-Fn button lets you pause the autofocus function if you want to set other custom settings.
The 12-100-mm lens is being touted as the equivalent of two zoom lenses in one. It's a lightweight, high-magnification zoom lens that maintains a constant aperture of f4.0 from wide-angle to telephoto.
It uses a combination of special lens elements that include DSA (Dual Super Aspherical) lenses, HR (high refractive index) lenses, and Super HR (super-high refractive index) lenses to create a greater degree of sharpness across the entire zoom range, while also reducing the overall length of the lens.
Two additional and important characteristics of the 12-100-mm lens include its advanced image stabilization capability and the ability to shoot high-resolution close-ups from as short a distance as 1.5 cm (0.6 inch) from the end of the lens, with a minimum focusing distance of 15 cm.
The telephoto lens's image stabilization is said to work best with the in-body 5-Axis image stabilization of the Olympus OM-D and PEN cameras, and offers up to 6.5 shutter speed steps of compensation performance. The result is the elimination of the typical camera shake experienced with most handheld telephotography in both still image and video modes, which means photographers can leave the tripod at home.
Both lenses are relatively light in weight, with the 25 mm coming in at 410 g (0.9 lb) and the 12-100 mm weighing in at 561 g (1.2 lb). They each feature dustproof and splashproof construction and are designed to optimally be used with the Olympus OM-D and PEN camera bodies, although they can fit other DSLR cameras.
Olympus is offering a set of bundled accessories for both lenses that includes a lens cap, hood and case, along with a protective filter.
The 25-mm f1.2 lens will be available in October for an estimated price of US$1,199.99. The 12-100-mm f4.0 lens will be available beginning in November for an estimated price of US$1,299.99.
They join an upgrade to the Olympus PEN E-PL6 camera called the PEN E-PL8, which will be available in the US at $549.99 for the body only or $649.99 with a 14-42-mm lens, and the introduction of a relatively low-priced 30-mm f3.5 macro lens listed at $299.99 in the US. Both will be available in October.
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