There are two releases from Olympus this morning. First up, an all-new product which was shown in prototype previously. This is the M.Zuiko 40-150mm F/2.8 PRO ED lens. It is a professional lens, fully weather-sealed and freezeproof which provides a constant F/2.8 maximum aperture and an equivalent 80-300mm focal-range.
The new lens expands the PRO lineup to cover telephoto ranges, while the excellent M.Zuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 PRO ED already takes care of the most versatile focal-lengths. There will also be an extremely-wide 7-14mm F/2.8 PRO which has been announced in development, to expand coverage in the other direction.
The M.Zuiko 40-150mm F/2.8 PRO ED features the same hybrid focus-drive as originally launched with the M.Zuiko 12mm F/2. The focus-ring can be toggled to operate in DMF mode or in standard mechanical MF, for a a more tactile feel and direct feedback.
This telephoto lens is scheduled to ship this November for a suggested price of $1499 USD. It will be joined by a 1.4X tele-converter sold separately for $349 USD.
The second new is version 2.0 of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 firmware. This improved firmware adds a number of processing features to the E-M1, including Digital Shift, Live Composite and Tethered-Shooting. The latter being big news for studio professionals.
With tethered processing, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 can be controlled over USB while showing a live-preview on a display at up to 1280×1024 resolution. This allows most parameters, except for the Exposure-Mode, to be controlled remotely. Images captured can be delivered immediately to image-processing software, notably Olympus’ own Capture Studio.
Another key improvement of this mirrorless is reduced lag time for the EVF. It will be brought down to 16ms, something which will reduce one of the main lags between EVFs and OVFs.
The new 2.0 firmware will be made available on September 17th (UPDATED: Formerly 24th) . It will also come pre-installed on a new silver version of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 which will also be available this month for a suggested price of $1399 USD.
The Silver E-M1 is not just a different color and firmware. It features new materials and control details. While all buttons and dials remain in the same place, they have been given more texture and are made of different materials. All this to improve the usability of the E-M1, particularly in cold weather, when gloves might be used.