By technical editor Matt Allard:
Until now there hasn’t been a fast Micro Four Thirds ultra wide angle zoom lens available. The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f4 lens was really the only choice, but many BMPCC and Panasonic GH4 users felt that the f4 aperture was not fast enough.
Olympus have answered this need their new M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm (14-28mm equivalent) F2.8 lens. They also announced a 8mm (16mm equivalent) F1.8 Fisheye Pro lens. Both lenses effectively replace the older Olympus 7-14mm f4 and 8mm f4.5 lenses that were released in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Not only do the new lenses both have faster apertures, they also have better weather sealing to protect from the elements. The new lenses join the existing Olympus “Pro” series line that include the 12-40mm f/2.8, 40-150mm f/2.8 and upcoming 300mm f4.
The M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F2.8 is sure to be of interest to a lot of Micro Four Thirds users as it is a whole stop faster than the popular Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f4 lens. The ED 7-14mm F2.8 is said to offer fast, smooth, and quiet autofocus. The lens also falls under Olympus Movie and Still Image Compatible (MSC) designation which should help with fast-moving subjects and video applications. It features a rounded seven-blade iris. It can also be operated in manual focus, which is engaged by pulling back the focus ring to reveal a distance scale. Video shooters will appreciate the hard stops at the end of the focus range – most AF lens focus rings spin continuously which makes them harder to use.
When used for video the 7-14mm f2.8 has a similar issue to other ultra wide lenses with bulbous front elements. There is no filter thread the built-in petal style lens hood that cannot be removed. If you want to use a variable ND filter there is no easy way to mount it. There may be third party solutions in time, but right now nothing is available.
The M.ZUIKO Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO Lens will retail for $1299 US and will start shipping in June. The M.ZUIKO Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO Lens will retail for $999.99 Us and will also start shipping in June.
This from Olympus:
Today, Olympus is pleased to announce the availability of two new premium M.ZUIKO DIGITAL PRO lenses. The M.ZUIKO Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO is an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 14-28mm, while the M.ZUIKO Digital ED 8mm Fisheye PRO, the world’s first with an f/1.8 aperture, features a minimum working distance of just 2.5cm and offers excellent bokeh with wide-angle macro shots. Both lenses are equipped with Olympus’ legendary weather sealing, providing peace-of-mind while shooting in extreme weather conditions with an OM-D® camera.
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO is the ideal lens for wide-angle shooting needs in any condition. This premium lens includes weather sealing in 11 locations, enabling use in rain and snow, or even on the beach, where other lenses may not be able to withstand ocean spray or dust penetration. At 534 grams, or just under 19 ounces, the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO is about 45 percent lighter than similar competitor products, eliminating heavy equipment that may slow the user down.
The lens also includes premium close-up shooting capabilities, thanks to the minimum working distance of just 7.5cm, offering extremely sharp capture capability, even at the very edges of an image. Three Super ED lenses, one ED lens and two EDA lenses help to minimize peripheral chromatic aberration, while the ZERO (Zuiko Extra-Low Reflective Optical) Coating aids in minimizing ghosting. The lens also boasts an L-Fn button with 27 assignable functions and a Manual Focus Clutch with built-in Focus Distance Meter. The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens comes with a fixed lens hood and pinch-style lens cap LC-79 for added protection.
Hobbyists, photo enthusiasts and professionals alike will be captivated by the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 8mm f/1.8 PRO Fisheye lens’ 180-degree diagonal angle of view. Like the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO, this lens includes dustproof and splashproof construction, for unlimited wide-angle adventure. The lens is also compatible with a custom dome port for use with an Olympus underwater housing.
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 8mm f/1.8 PRO Fisheye lens is constructed of 17 elements in 15 groups and can capture high resolution at the very edges of an image, even at the maximum aperture of f/1.8. ZERO Coating minimizes optical flares and ghosting. The lens also comes with a fixed lens hood and a pinch-style lens cap LC-62.
Both of the lenses’ compact size, brightness and weight reflect Olympus’ mastery of precision engineering. When used in conjunction with core OM-D technologies, like 5-axis image stabilization, the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO and M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 8mm f/1.8 PRO Fisheye open the user up to new possibilities for long exposure hand-held shooting.
Underwater Lens Port, PPO-EP02
The PPO-EP02 glass dome lens port is a great accessory to the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 8mm f/1.8 PRO Fisheye lens, enabling the user to capture the widest shot possible underwater with the OM-D E-M5 or OM-D E-M1 underwater housings. The PPO-EP02 is 15 percent smaller and 30 percent lighter than Olympus’ previous lens port model, the PPO-E04, allowing for more compact and lightweight underwater shooting. Also, the hood section can be removed to reduce waves for over-under shots. (Rear Cover (PRPC-EP02) and Front Cover (PBC-EP02) are bundled).
U.S. Pricing and Availability
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens will be available in June 2015 (black) for an estimated street price of $1,299.99 (US) and $1,599.99 (Canada).
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO lens will be available in June 2015 (black) for an estimated street price of $999.99 (US) and $1,249.99 (Canada).