Call (802) 651-4100

olympus

  • Hands-On Video Unboxing of the Olympus OM-D E-M1

    The new Olympus OM-D E-M1 has been trickling into our stores, and it has been causing a lot of excitement. This camera has been in short supply since its release, and we wanted to share the experience of what it is like to actually have one and open it up.

    Every time I put my hands on this camera I am instantly reminded of my old Olympus OM-4. The OM-D E-M1 does feel better in my hands, however; the grip is really nice. This is a really cool camera, and the retro look and feel just adds to the overall experience without taking away from the camera.

    The OM-D E-M1 can be purchased in our stores or online here. As noted, this camera has been trickling in and the demand is high. If you are interested in purchasing one, and it doesn't look like we have it in stock, please give us a call (802) 244-0883 and we would be happy to add you to our list. You can also contact us through our website here.

  • Olympus Stylus 1 - Big Zoom, Fast Aperture Lens Camera Announced

    Olympus Stylus 1 Front View

    Olympus STYLUS 1® UNIFIES DSLR PERFORMANCE, LENS POWER AND MAXIMUM PORTABILITY IN ONE COMPACT PACKAGE

    The First Olympus Fusion of Ultimate Image Quality, High-Powered i.ZUIKO® DIGITAL Lens, and Built-In EVF

    CENTER VALLEY, PA., October 29, 2013 – Olympus has redefined the enthusiast compact camera by uniting many of the best features found across its camera lineup in the new STYLUS. Designed for semi-pro shooters who demand optical brilliance, DSLR operation, convenience and portability, this one-size-fits-all package has head-turning, OM-inspired looks as well as premium imaging performance.

    The STYLUS 1 includes an i.ZUIKO lens that incorporates the outstanding optical quality of the Olympus ZUIKO interchangeable lenses. At its heart is a large 1/1.7-inch BSI CMOS sensor and TruePic VI image processor along with additional features, including the built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF) from the award-winning Olympus OM-D E-M5® and Wi-Fi for shooting and sharing anywhere. Whether you want the latest and greatest high-tech tool, or if you simply prefer something that is lightweight and easy to take when you are on the go, there is truly something for everyone.

    One Great Lens

    The newly developed, ultra-slim 10.7x (28–300mm*) high-power i.ZUIKO lens features constant f2.8 brightness across the zoom range and is versatile enough to capture wide to telephoto shots and produce pro-quality stills with beautiful, defocused backgrounds and crisp images even when telephoto shooting in low light. The large diameter lens incorporates a powerful, built-in VCM image stabilization mechanism that virtually eliminates camera shake and blur. Its lens can also capture stunning macro shots from 2 inches away. When the lens is not in use, it retracts fully into the camera body (behind a removable automatic lens cap), so the STYLUS 1 fits easily into a coat pocket.

    One Great Sensor

    Olympus designed the new lens to work seamlessly with its 12.0 megapixel 1/1.7-inch high-sensitivity backlit CMOS sensor and TruePicVI image processor, the same processor used in the Olympus OM-D

    E-M5, for fast recovery time and shutter speed to capture images with rich details and low noise. Images come through with true-to-life flesh tones, brilliant blue skies and precise tonal expression. The STYLUS 1 also inherits FAST TOUCH AF system from the Olympus PEN® series for near-instant, precision focusing via the tilt-able LCD touchscreen monitor.

    One Great Electronic Viewfinder

    The STYLUS 1 is the first Olympus enthusiast, premium compact camera equipped with a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF). The 1.44 million dot resolution LCD EVF has a 1.15x viewfinder magnification rate (equivalent to 0.58x of 35mm film camera) and 100 percent field of view — just like a DSLR — so users can easily compose their subjects directly with clear visibility from the center to the edges. The eye sensor automatically switches the live view display from the high-resolution 3.0-inch, 1.04 million dot resolution tilt-able LCD touchscreen monitor to the EVF in no time as the camera approaches the user’s eye. A variety of information is displayed in an easy-to-view layout on the EVF screen, including variables such as exposure and color.

    Operability for all Shooting Styles

    The STYLUS 1 incorporates an ideal blend of effective, hands-on controls, including a hybrid control ring similar to the one found on the Olympus STYLUS XZ-2 iHS. The control ring is built around the lens and can be switched between digital and analog operation with the control lever located on the front of the camera. In digital mode, the ring turns smoothly for fine zooming or manual focusing, and in analog mode, users can adjust settings such as aperture, shutter speed and more. The front grip ensures a precise hold, while the sub-dial, positioned near the shutter button, provides further operational accuracy. The camera is also equipped with a hot shoe for accessories, built-in flash, a side zoom lever with variable speeds and two customizable function buttons for easy access to commonly used settings.

    Wi-Fi Sharing and Control

    Built-in Wi-Fi is easy to set up. By quickly scanning the QR code displayed on the camera's LCD with a smart device, it syncs with the Wi-Fi network created by the camera. The free Olympus Image Share 2.1 Smartphone app synchronizes a user’s Smartphone and the STYLUS 1 so the camera’s “Live View” is effectively displayed on the phone, and the camera can be controlled by touching the Smartphone display*. Users can wirelessly adjust various settings, such as the shutter speed, aperture value, ISO and exposure compensation, as well as operate the Live Bulb shooting mode from their Wi-Fi devices. They can also use their Smartphone to embed GPS information into their images.

    Creative Possibilities

    In addition to superior still image quality, the 1080p Full HD Movie capability with stereo sound and high-speed movie recording (120fps/240fps) captures movies for dramatic slow-motion playback of fast-action scenes. The STYLUS 1’s 11 included Art Filters™ with bracketing option, five Art Effects and Photo Story, which shoots a group of still photos straight into attractive, prepared layouts, effortlessly bring the user’s artistic visions to life. Users can also capture RAW image data for post-processing flexibility, create motion blur effects without overexposing thanks to a built-in ND filter (with 3 EV stops) and capture up to 7 frames per second in full resolution!

    Several new accessories are designed to complement the STYLUS 1 and broaden the creative potential of this powerhouse compact camera. The EP-11 eyecup cuts out peripheral light for improved visibility in bright conditions; a full-body jacket protects the camera against damage and comes with a tailored cover, and the CLA-13 converter adapter for the high-grade TCON-17x 1.7x teleconverter lens that extends the focal length of the camera to 510mm and retains the outstanding brightness of a constant 1:2.8 aperture.

    *35mm equivalent.

    U.S. Pricing and Availability
    The Olympus STYLUS 1 will be available in December 2013.
    $699.99 Available in Black

    Olympus Stylus 1 Front Lens Open Olympus Stylus 1 Front Lens Closed Olympus Stylus 1 Back

  • Nissin Flash Compatibility Chart

    If you haven't heard of Nissin, they are a popular third-party flash manufacturer that manufactures flashes for use with Canon, Nikon, Sony, and more. Nissin offers high-quality alternatives to the original equipment manufacturer's flashes and replicates many of the same functions including TTL, plus Nissin adds some additional features not found in OEM flashes (like a color, auto-rotating display on the 866), and does all this at a discount to the comparable OEM model.

    Not all Nissin flashes are fully compatible with all cameras, however. There may be some limitations depending on your flash and camera combination. Nissin recently sent us an updated compatibility chart, and we thought it would be useful if we published it here:

    Nissin Flash Compatibility Chart

    We offer the full line of Nissin flashes in our retail store. If you have any questions regarding Nissin flashes, or would like to order one, please don't hesitate to contact us at sales@gmcamera.com or (802) 244-0883.

  • The Greatest Instruction Manual Cover Photo Ever

    Let's face it: instruction manuals are boring. Especially technical ones, i.e. electronics and photo equipment manuals. With all the used equipment we buy, sell and trade, we come across a lot of manuals in any given week. And, they are, for the most part, all the same.

    Last week, we came across one a little different from all the rest.

    In our experience, Olympus takes the cake for having the greatest instruction manual photo cover ever. Olympus also gave a whole new meaning to MANual when they created this:

    Olympus OM System Manual Cover Photo

    With the recent release of the Olympus OM-D E-M5, we thought this too good not to share. Olympus dug up the OM past to bring us the new OM-D. We found it good timing to dig up this bit of Olympus' past too.

  • Olympus OM-D E-M5 Free Accessory Opportunity

    Free Accessory Opportunity with the purchase of an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Digital Camera

    Olympus OM-D E-M5 Front (Silver) with 12-50mm Lens

    Olympus OM-D E-M5 Camera (Silver) with 12-50mm Lens

    The Olympus OM-D E-M5 can be purchased from our website here.

    We are pretty excited to see, and shoot with, the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 micro four-thirds digital camera. As a (in addition to new gearused camera equipment dealer, we've always had a soft spot for Olympus OM 35mm film cameras. There's something about the OM-4 and OM-4T that I particularly love, and I don't think you can really understand until you've had one in your hands. Here's a shot I took a while ago with an Olympus OM-4 and an Olympus OM 50mm f/1.4 lens on Kodak Ektar film. I had it scanned here at our retail store.

    Photograph taken with Olympus OM-4 and 50mm f/1.4 Lens

    Olympus OM-4 with 50mm f/1.4 on Kodak Ektar Film

    Sorry to get sidetracked... We just received word that Olympus will be offering a mail-in rebate for eligible purchases of an Olympus OM-D E-M5 digital camera and select accessories starting April 1 through May 31, 2012. No, unfortunately the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is not yet available, but Olympus tells us the OM-D E-M5 will start shipping in early April, just in time for the free accessory promotion!

    Here's how the promotion works:

    1. Purchase an Olympus OM-D E-M5 (body only or eligible configuration)
    2. Purchase one of these Olympus accessories at the same time:

    • FL-300R Wireless Flash
    • MMF-3 Four Thirds Lens Adapter
    • OM Adapter MF-2

    (only one accessory is eligible per camera purchase)
    3. Submit this mail-in rebate form
    4. Get a rebate for the retail value of the chosen accessory!

    Olympus OM-D E-M5 Free Accessory Opportunity Image

  • Classic Olympus OM Design Revived Into a New State of the Art Digital Camera

    Olympus OM-D E-M5 Digital Camera

    The Olympus E-M5 Unites an Intuitive Built-In Electronic Viewfinder with the World’s First*1 5-Axis Image Stabilization and World’s Fastest*2 Autofocusing System inside a Powerfully Portable and Rugged Dustproof and Splashproof Body

    Olympus OM-D E-M5 Front with 12-50mm Lens

    The Olympus OM-D E-M5 can be purchased from our website here.

    CENTER VALLEY, Pa., February 7, 2012, 9:00pm – Today Olympus builds upon the 40-year legacy of the OM SLR film camera series and marks the beginning of the new digital imaging era with the launch of the Olympus E-M5, the first of the new Olympus OM-D (OM Digital) Series of Micro Four Thirds™ products. Designed to meet the needs of advanced photographers, the Olympus E-M5 is packed with a built-in electronic viewfinder, superior image technology, blazing fast speed and total creative control in a classic, rugged body ready for sand, sun, sleet or snow.

    Evoking the classic design of the original OM Series introduced 40 years ago, and transforming it for the modern age, the Olympus OM-D Series is a new and entirely unique Micro Four Thirds camera system. It combines outstanding features found in the Olympus E-System DSLR line with those of the compact Olympus PEN® Series to meet the requirements of discerning photographers who demand more performance and portability from their interchangeable-lens cameras. The compact and ready-for-action Olympus E-M5 boasts breakthrough innovations inside, including:

    • A built-in 120-fps (frames-per-second) refresh rate, high-resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF) with outstanding image quality, eye detect and intuitive functionality that enables real-time viewing of shooting conditions
    • A 16.1-megapixel Live MOS Sensor and TruePic VI image-processing engine for superior image quality and high sensitivity
    • The world’s first*1 5-axis image stabilizer to compensate for multi-directional camera shake during both still photography and HD moviemaking
    • The world’s fastest*2 autofocusing system (FAST AF) plus new 3D AF tracking for improved performance following moving subjects at up to 9 frames-per-second sequential shooting
    • A lightweight magnesium alloy body that is enhanced with the same dustproof and splashproof durability of the Olympus E-5 DSLR
    • A tilting 3.0-inch touch screen OLED and new Movie Effects: One Shot Echo, for a semi-transparent frame at your whim and Multi Echo, for a multi-motion trail effect.

     

    Intuitively Designed Electronic Viewfinder

    The OLYMPUS E-M5 is the first Olympus interchangeable-lens camera to incorporate a 120-fps refresh rate, High-Definition electronic viewfinder with an eye sensor to seamlessly switch the display between the tilting, 3.0-inch touch screen OLED and the electronic viewfinder for ease-of-use, features a 100-percent field of view, maximum 1.15x magnification and an eye point of 18mm for fatigue-free viewing. Camera setting information, such as shutter speed, is displayed at the bottom of the viewfinder so photographers can concentrate on framing shots and take full advantage of an EVF’s ability to display the effects of various exposure adjustments and Art Filter effects – all without having to take the eye away from the viewfinder.

     Olympus OM-D E-M5 Back with Tiltable LCD

    Superior Image Quality

    The Olympus E-M5 uses a new 16.1 megapixel High-Speed Live MOS Sensor offering improved performance and exceptional clarity and speed in all aspects of image capture. Olympus’ TruePic VI image-processing engine dramatically improves image quality in low-light environments. The camera’s sensor allows for a maximum ISO of 25,600, and the dynamic range has been expanded for more faithful color reproduction.

    Click any of the images below for full-resolution output samples from the OM-D E-M5:

     Olympus OM-D E-M5 Output Image Sample
    Olympus OM-D E-M5 Output Sample Image
    Olympus OM-D E-M5 Output Sample Image

    Unprecedented 5-axis image stabilization

    The Olympus E-M5 is distinguished by the world’s first 5-axis image-stabilization mechanism capable of reducing the effects of camera motion and image blur from five directions on stills and video, even including motion blur caused by the photographer walking or running.     Previous IS mechanisms compensated for camera shake by addressing only two kinds of movement along the vertical and horizontal axis. However, camera shake can actually be caused by five different kinds of movement: horizontal shift, vertical shift, rotary motion, as well as the yaw and pitch. While some technology has attempted to correct for camera blur by building the Image Stabilization mechanism into the lens, the Olympus E-M5 IS mechanism is incorporated into the camera body itself so that all lenses mounted on the body can take advantage of this sophisticated technology, whether shooting stills or HD video.

    Blazing Speed

    Focus and shoot faster with record-breaking autofocus speed and imaging processing. The Olympus E-M5 employs the FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) AF system, introduced in the PEN E-P3, but with even greater speed. The 16MP Live MOS chip drives image data off the sensor at a blazing 240 frames-per-second, a 2X speed increase in Continuous Autofocus, with reduced image blackout enabling photographers to track fast action, Maximum frame rates in sequential shooting have also increased more than 2X with a max frame rate of 9-fps in Single AF. A new 3D tracking AF system can follow the subject through the X-, Y- and Z-axes to dramatically improve focus on moving subjects. Paired with the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50-mm f3.5-6.3 electronic zoom lens for optimum focusing speed, fast camera start-up times and operational speeds enable the photographer to keep up with the most challenging shooting situations, while dual control dials and dedicated function buttons help them adjust settings on-the-fly.

    Creative Freedom

    The Olympus E-M5 features a 3.0-inch tilting OLED touch-screen to enable photographers to get up high or down low for any shot. The touch screen interface offers intuitive focus and release of the shutter and review and enlargement of images in playback with the touch of a finger. The new Live Bulb feature updates the Live View image on the OLED screen at pre-set intervals during long exposures and enables the user to preview continually unfolding action such as fireworks or waterfalls and adjust the exposure time accordingly while capturing the image at the desired moment. An innovative new interface, EVF Creative Control, produces a tone curve overlay on the viewfinder screen to enable separate adjustment of highlight and shadow brightness, white balance, magnification and aspect ratio can also be manipulated via the EVF

    A new “Key Line” Art Filter joins ten other available filters on the Olympus E-M5 and enhances the edge lines of the image to make it look more like an illustration. New “Cross Process II” and “Dramatic Tone II” Art Filters provide variations on the popular existing filters, and the two new Echo effect for movies leaves a momentary residual image of a subject’s movements when activated during movie recording. Users who like to perform their movie post-editing on a PC will particularly appreciate the Full HD 1080i movie recording function, which adopts the MOV format (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264).

    Powerful Portability and Rugged Durability

    The striking, iconic design of the Olympus E-M5 is more than just looks; its magnesium alloy body is rugged enough to stand up to severe environmental conditions like heavy rain and blowing sand. The Olympus E-M5 employs internal seals extensively and, when the new M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50 mm f3.5-6.3 EZ lens is attached, this combination delivers an integrated dustproof and splashproof camera system. The electronic viewfinder section of the body is also made of magnesium alloy to ensure durability, and the FL-LM2 Electronic Flash that ships with the camera features the same dustproof and splashproof construction.

    New Lenses and Accessories for Every Shooting Challenge

    The HLD-6 Power Battery Grip, in the same dust- and splashproof construction as the Olympus E-M5 body, is an adaptable, two-part grip that can be used either as a landscape grip for easier handling or as a portrait grip with an additional shutter release. The portrait grip accommodates an extra lithium-ion battery to supplement the one in the E-M5, thus extending battery life. The FL-600R electronic flash (GN 50 at ISO 200 or GN 36 at ISO 100) offers improved recharge time and enhanced flexibility and operability for movie recording, and with a wireless control option. Equipped with a built-in LED, the FL-600R can be used to light movies and as a brighter AF auxiliary light. The MMF-3 Four Thirds mount adapter is designed for mounting a Four Thirds Standard-compliant lens on a Micro Four Thirds Standard-compliant camera body. The MMF-3, which also features dust- and splashproof construction, is ideally suited for use with Olympus’ similarly constructed High Grade and Super High Grade lenses.

    Olympus OM-D E-M5 Front (Silver) with 12-50mm Lens

    The Olympus E-M5 is compatible with all Micro Four Thirds-compliant lenses, including two new lenses that Olympus will introduce later this year: the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75mm f1.8 and the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm f2.8 macro. The 75mm lens is a high-quality metal design with fast aperture settings for portraits and indoor sports shooting, while the dustproof and splashproof 60mm lens features 1:1 macro and a closest shooting distance of just 7.5 inches.

    *1 As of February 2012. Among interchangeable-lens cameras.

    *2 As of November 2011. Among interchangeable-lens digital cameras on the market, and using Olympus’ in-house test conditions. In C-AF Tracking mode, maximum frame rate is 4.2fps.

    U.S. Pricing and Availability

    The Olympus E-M5 will be available in April and ships in the following configurations:

    Estimated Street Price:

    $999.99 (Body only, available in Black and Silver)

    $1,299.99 (Black or Silver body with black M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-50 mm f3.5-6.3 EZ lens)

    $1,099.99 (Black body with black M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42 mm f3.5-5.6 II R lens)

    For a complete list of specifications, visit the Olympus website: http://olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/product.asp?product=1583

    To find out more about the OM-D E-M5, visit the OM-D site at: www.olympusomd.com

    ABOUT OLYMPUS IMAGING AMERICA INC.

    Olympus Imaging America Inc. is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering award-winning products for consumer and professional markets.

    Olympus Imaging America Inc. is responsible for sales in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. For more information, visit: www.olympusamerica.com.

     

    *Specifications and design are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer. All trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective holders.

    ©2012 Olympus Imaging America Inc.

  • First Look at the New Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 IIR MSC Lens

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42MM f/3.5-5.6 2R MSC Zoom Lens (Silver)

    Today we received our first shipment of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 IIR (2R) MSC lens. We received them in both black and silver. We were curious to see how the lens looked and felt compared to the previous version (II, non-R). So, we decided to place the two lenses next to each other and take a couple pictures. What we quickly discovered is that both lenses are essentially identical in size. After the photo shoot we even gave them a quick weighing and found them to be essentially identical in weight too, both weighing in at approximately 110-112g.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42MM f/3.5-5.6 2R MSC Zoom Lens

    As mentioned, and as you can see, the two lenses are approximately the same height when collapsed. The newer lens (on the left), does appear to be a little bit taller, but this is just an optical illusion. There is actually a cosmetic cap that covers the bayonet mount, where you can add a dedicated lens hood (not included). We like this cap. We think it keeps things looking really clean. The only problem we can foresee is, what do you do with it when you use the dedicated hood? Seems like a piece that can get easily lost...

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42MM f/3.5-5.6 2R MSC Zoom Lens

    Here is the lens with that cover removed (don't lose it!). Just a simple bayonet mount under there.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42MM f/3.5-5.6 2R MSC Zoom LensEven with the lenses fully extended, both are essentially the same size.  Here you can see that both lenses are fully extended to 42mm.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42MM f/3.5-5.6 2R MSC Zoom Lens

    Here's a top view of both lenses next to each other. Everything looks pretty much identical. The new lens still uses a 37mm filter. At this angle you can see how that cover we've been talking about really makes the lens look sleek and clean.

    You might now be wondering, what does the lens look like on camera? Well, here it is on an E-PL2.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42MM f/3.5-5.6 2R MSC Zoom Lens

    Looks pretty good, but not as good as on the E-P3. The E-P3 and E-PL3 are definitely designed with this lens in mind. The silver of this lens, as you may have already noticed, is different in shade than the silver of the previous version lens. It is a darker shade, and so it doesn't match the shade of the silver E-PL2 as well.

    Finally, it looks nice, but how does it feel? The lens feels good, but you can definitely feel the difference in the gnarling of the grip around the zoom and focus. The grip doesn't feel as "catchy" as the previous version. Having said that, we didn't have any problem with our fingers slipping while on the grip. We did notice, to our surprise, a big improvement in the feel of the manual focus. The manual focus ring felt better dampened. Whereas, with the previous version, the manual focus felt loose and airy, the manual focus of the newer version lens feels tighter and more firm.

  • A Review of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    We have to honest. Any time there is an announcement for a fixed-focal length, fast-aperture lens, we get pretty excited. Actually, that is a lie. We get VERY excited. When Olympus announced the 12mm f/2.0 and the 45mm f/1.8 we were happy for the micro four thirds market. Now that there are some years behind the mFT movement, and there are many individuals who have become entrenched in the system, it is great to see some serious additions from Olympus. That is not to say lenses like the 17mm f/2.8 or the 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 are not serious, but these lenses simply feel necessary, unlike the 12mm f/2.0, which took a lot of people by surprise with its announcement. In addition, the physical design of the lens looks like more effort was put into thinking about its look, feel, and use.

    We have heard some people say differently, but we think the 12mm f/2.0 looks great. The compact, clean, and metallic design complements the PEN cameras brilliantly. In addition, the 12mm f/2.0 is extremely light weight at a mere 130g. Normally we are a little hesitant with light lenses. Typically when you feel a light lens in your hand, it feels cheap. And, in our experience, that is usually the correct assumption. A lot of plastic is substituted where metal should have been used. In the case of the 12mm f/2.0, although it is very light, it does feel very solid. It may use a lot of plastic (we aren't sure, but we can see the mount is metal), but it certainly does not feel that way.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Metal Mount of Olympus 12mm f/2.0

    The dimensions of the lens are compact, which is great for use with a mFT camera. The lens does not protrude too much, and the balance feels great in the hands.

    Olympus PEN E-PL2 with 12mm f/2.0

    Olympus PEN E-PL2 with 12mm f/2.0

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Olympus 12mm f/2.0 Next to a Nickel

    One of the really neat things about this lens is the "snap focus" feature. This is one of the reasons why we feel like the 12mm f/2.0 is a more "serious" product for the mFT market, and why we feel like Olympus really put a lot of thought into this lens. In many of the lighter, made-for-digital, and more plastic lenses we have seen, the manual focus is horrible. The manual focus usually feels very loose and "disconnected" from the lens. With the 12mm f/2.0, the focus ring actually snaps from auto to manual focus, just by pulling back (towards the camera) on the focus ring.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Manual Focus Engaged

    Once the manual focus is engaged, a distance scale is revealed, and the focus has a well-dampened movement. The dampening is excellent and reminds us of dedicated manual focus lenses, which is exactly the feel Olympus was trying to recreate. In addition, the manual focus with this lens is extremely easy. Easy in the sense that fine focus just seems to "snap" in to place. It is difficult to describe without seeing or feeling. We did create a short video to highlight the manual focus of the 12mm f/2.0, and we hope it gives you a better idea of how it all works.

    In talking about the manual focus, we should not let it distract us from the autofocus of this lens. The 12mm f/2.0 autofocus is extremely quick for mFT, and it is also extremely quiet, which Olympus attributes to the MSC (movie-still-compatible) mechanism. MSC essentially eludes to the fact that the quiet autofocus will not ruin videos produced with this lens because of annoying autofocus noises being recorded by the camera's internal mic. The fast, quiet autofocus is certainly a big advantage for both stills and video.

    With the compact size, light weight, solid feel, and fast autofocus, this lens was a treat to hold and use. In looking at and feeling the lens, it seemed like it had everything going for it, so we were anxious to take it out for some sample images. As much as we were pleased with the aspects of the 12mm f/2.0 mentioned above, we were thrilled with the image quality. Shot after shot taken with the lens left us impressed with the results. We found the sharpness to be top-notch, the contrast to be, well, contrasty, but not overly so, the chromatic aberrations were a minimum, the distortion was manageable for a 24mm (in 35mm terms) equivalent, and the color and clarity was superb.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensThis was a difficult shot for a lens, but from this image you would not necessarily think it so. Just out of frame in the upper, right-hand corner was the sun. There were no clouds covering the sun, so it was directly approaching the front of the lens, although there were some trees to shield some of its power. I was surprised that the image held up as well as it did without any flaring or overall decrease in contrast.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensThe level of detail retained by this lens is very impressive. You can see how sharp the above image really is from this crop.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensWe liked really liked and appreciated the overall brilliance, clarity, and color produced by this lens. The colors are pleasing, but still realistic to how we remember the scene.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensWith this image I took some artistic liberty. When I saw this booth, I thought it would be cool if you could see the back and the front at the same time. So, I decided to do just that, and cropped two images and spliced them into one.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensThe image of Charlie was taken indoors and so the ISO was higher than some of the other images I took. Although the higher ISO detracts from the overall detail of the image, you can still see that with this lens there is still plenty of detail even when cropped in close.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensIn this image taken outdoors with a lower ISO, there is a great amount of detail. You can pick up spots of dirt on the towrope attachment. Also, notice the color of the overall image. You can feel the warmth of the evening light, and the blues are great.

    Inside the studio, we ran some shots using the 12mm f/2.0 on our lens test chart. We were very impressed with the results. The lens was across the board sharp, from the largest f/2.0 aperture down to the smallest available aperture of f/22.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Lowest Right-Hand Corner f/22

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Lowest Right-Hand Corner f/8

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Lowest Right-Hand Corner f/2

    We displayed the images above in reverse order on purpose. Normally you would expect the corner sharpness of a lens to improve as the aperture diaphragm is stopped down. In this case it almost seems like the opposite is true. For an aperture of f/22 it is expected that the sharpness will not be as good as, say, f/8 due to diffraction, so that is a little unfair on our part. But, it is pretty impressive how sharp the 12mm f/2 is at a wide open aperture of f/2. In addition, you can see that the chromatic aberration is pretty well controlled at the corners.

    Distortion for wider angle lenses is typically expected and the 12mm f/2.0 is no exception. The image below shows the barrel distortion caused by this lens.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensNotice how the center of the image is closer to the bottom of the frame than either of the edges are.

    If you haven't already concluded, we really like the Olympus 12mm f/2.0 lens designed for the micro four thirds camera system. From its looks, to its usability, to the image quality, this small lens has everything going for it. It does have a price tag that will put it out of reach for some people, and for those who can't afford it, we suggest saving your pennies (as my mother used to say). If you are interested in purchasing this lens, we offer it in our store or on our website here. If you are looking for a fast aperture, wide-angle fixed focal length lens for the mFT system, we just don't see how you can go wrong.

  • Olympus Electronic Viewfinder VF-3 Announced and Compared

    Yesterday Olympus announced a new electronic viewfinder, the Olympus VF-3. This viewfinder comes at the heels of the VF-2, which is a widely popular accessory for the PEN system, including the new PEN E-P3, as well as the extremely popular XZ-1 high-end compact point-and-shoot.

    Olympus VF-3 Electronic Viewfinder

    Olympus VF-3 Electronic Viewfinder - Launched Yesterday

    Quick side note: The PEN E-P2, E-PL1, E-PL2 and XZ-1 will require a firmware update to properly operate the VF-3. This will be available soon.

    The VF-2 features a very high-resolution display with excellent magnification and 100% image coverage. With such a high-quality, successful finder, why would Olympus bother to come out with the VF-3? Our best guess is price. The VF-2 retails for $249, while the VF-3 is just $179. Customers purchasing an XZ-1, which retails for around $500, have a hard time swallowing a $250 accessory finder (half the price of the camera itself). In addition, the more value conscious PENs, like the E-PL2 and the newly announced E-PL3, aren't much more than the XZ-1 in price too. If the VF-3 is less money, what's the catch? Less resolution and less magnification are the two biggest features to be compromised. Still the VF-3 has 920,000 pixels of resolution, 100% frame coverage, and .97x magnification. The competing Panasonic finder at the same price only has 220,000 pixels, but does have greater magnification. The performance should therefore be adequate for even more critical work required of the accessory VF-3 finder.

    We thought it would be useful if we published the full specifications for the two Olympus viewfinders here, and also published the specifications for the Panasonic DMW-LVF1 too, for a full comparison. This will give you an idea of how each finder stacks up against the other in what is becoming a very popular micro four-thirds market.

    Olympus VF-2 Electronic Viewfinder

    Olympus VF-2 Electronic Viewfinder

     Price: $249
    LCD Resolution: 1,400K dots
    Field of View: 100%
    Magnification: 1.15x
    Eye-Point 18mm
    Diopter Adjustment: Yes, -3.0 to +1.0 m
    Shoe-Lock: NO
    Articulating Body: 0-90 Degrees
    Optional Eye-Cup: YES, EP-9

    Olympus VF-3 Electronic Viewfinder

    Olympus VF-3 Electronic Viewfinder

     Price: $179
    LCD Resolution: 920K dots
    Field of View: 100%
    Magnification: .97x
    Eye-Point 17.4mm
    Diopter Adjustment: Yes, -3.0 to +1.0 m
    Shoe-Lock: YES
    Articulating Body: 0-90 Degrees
    Optional Eye-Cup: NO

    Panasonic DMW-LVF1 Electronic Viewfinder

    Panasonic DMW-LVF1 Electronic Viewfinder

     Price: $179
    LCD Resolution: 220K dots
    Field of View: 100%
    Magnification: 1.4x
    Eye-Point 17.5mm
    Diopter Adjustment: Yes, -4.0 to 4.0 m
    Shoe-Lock: NO
    Articulating Body: 0-90 Degrees
    Optional Eye-Cup: NO

  • NEW! Olympus PEN E-P3, E-PL3, E-PM1 Digital Cameras and 12mm f/2.0, 45mm f/1.8 Lenses

     

    New Olympus Pen Digital CamerasWe are excited for the new Olympus PEN digital cameras, and we are also very excited for the newly announced 12mm f/2.0 and 45mm f/1.8 lenses. The full-frame equivalent focal-length for these lenses will be 24mm and 90mm respectively, making the 12mm perfect for low-light/fast wide-angles, like landscapes, and the 45mm perfect for portraiture.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.8 Lens

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.8 Lens

    In our opinion, although it is fun to adapt lenses to the PEN system, it is about time Olympus has announced some faster aperture, fixed focal length lenses to compliment the 17mm we saw a while ago. And, we are happy to see that the build quality looks to be better than any of the lenses we have seen thus far.

     

10 Item(s)