Olympus Showcases New Cameras and Lenses

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Adding to the abundance of new cameras and lenses being unveiled at this year’s Photokina trade show, Olympus has just announced the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 and Olympus PEN mini E-PM2. Both of these new PEN-series cameras feature the same 16-megapixel image sensor and processing as the top-of-the-line Olympus OM-D E-M5. Additional key features of the E-PL5 and E-PM2 include capacitive touch screen LCDs with anti-fingerprint coating and the Olympus Touch AF Shutter as well as all 12 Olympus art filters including a new Water Color art filter.

Both cameras will feature the new Olympus Image Share technology that allows either the E-PL5 or E-PM2 to work with a newly developed Toshiba Flash Air card to wirelessly stream images to an app on your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet.

The E-PL5 also include a “self-portrait monitor” which allows you to accurately compose a self portrait thanks to a tilt mechanist that rotates the screen 170 degrees to face the front of the camera. In addition to the tiltable screen on the E-PL5, both of the new PENs feature a new LCD module designed to reduce reflections and provide better contrast for viewing outdoors under direct sunlight.

If the LCD isn’t enough to interest you, the continuous burst performance of the PEN series has also been upgraded; both cameras are capable of capturing continuous bursts at up to 8 frames per second with the AF locked (3.5fps with continuous AF tracking)

Both cameras will be available as either a body only ($649.99 for the E-PL5 body or $549.99 for the E-PM2) or as a kit with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm II R f3.5/5.6 zoom lens for an additional $50. The E-PL5 will be available in your choice of white, silver, or black and features optional interchangeable grips while the E-PM2 comes in white, silver, black or red.

New Lenses

Olympus has also announced the availability of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro lens ($499.99). The general specs for this lens were announced quite some time ago but the lens is now making its way into the hands of photographers. This high quality macro lens is dust- and splash-proof thanks to several rubber seals built into the lens.

A bigger surprise is the announcement of a new 15mm F8 “Bodycap lens” designed to function as both a lens mount cap (just 9mm thin from front to back) on the camera as well as a 15mm (30mm in 35mm film perspective) lens. The 15mm lens contains 3 glass elements as well as a built-in lens cover and is capable of focusing on subjects as close as 30cm away.

Additionally, Olympus has announced that a black version of the popular 12mm f2 prime lens will be available this year and Olympus is currently “developing” a new 17mm f1.8 prime lens that features the same “snapshot focus” manual focus ring found on the 12mm lens. No release date for the new 17mm lens is available since the lens is “in development” at this time.

And One More Thing

Last, but certainly not least, Olympus is replacing its XZ-1 premium compact digital camera with the new Stylus XZ-2 ($599.99). The XZ-2 feaures a high quality Zuiko lens with a maximum aperture range of f1.7-2.5 as well as a new “hybrid control ring” that enables your choice of operation — you can set the ring to “analog” mode for fine (silent) adjustments to either the manual focus or zoom settings or you can set the ring to “digital” mode and the ring will “click” as you change exposure settings such as aperture, shutter speed, or exposure compensation.

The Stylus XZ-2 also inherits the Touch AF shutter from the PEN series cameras as well as a 3-inch swivel LCD. You’ll also find the XZ-2 is equipped with 11 art filters (pop art, soft focus, pale & light color, light tone, grainy film, pin hole, diorama, cross process, sepia, dramatic tone, and key line).

For the style-conscious photographers the XZ-2 is available with your choice of red, sand beige or burgundy premium grips.  

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