Olympus E-PL9

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It was announced in February, but North America was conspicuously absent from its list of destinations. Now the company says it’s available here.

The Pen E-PL9 combines Olympus’ latest touchscreen controls with an array of interchangeable lens options for those wanting to go beyond smartphone photography. The camera’s design is bolstered by aluminum accents, metal dials, and leather grain that complements each colour option: Pearl White, Onyx Black, and Honey Brown. The 180-degree flip-touch LCD monitor simplifies selfie stills and videos with an easy-to-use interface that automatically switches the camera to Selfie Mode when the monitor is flipped downward to its front-facing position.

In-body image stabilization delivers sharp images and smooth 4K video even in low light environments or when using a telephoto lens.

The latest TruePic VIII image processor, the same one included on the flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II, is said to improves image quality and responsiveness. Built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi allow owners to connect to a smartphone to wirelessly transfer images and upload to social channels.

In Auto Mode, the camera instantly detects a scene and chooses the best settings. Scene Modes let you choose from preset scenarios like People, Motion, Indoors, Nightscapes, Scenery, or Close-ups. Advanced Photo Modes are readily available using the touch LCD monitor and facilitate high-end photo techniques such as nighttime Live Composite and multi-exposure shooting.

The Olympus Pen E-PL9 is available in Pearl White, Onyx Black, and Honey Brown for a street price of $699.99 for the camera body and $899.99 for the one lens kit. The one lens kit includes the camera body, M.Zuiko 14-42 mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ lens, custom camera bag, custom camera strap, 16GB memory card, Quick Tip Card, and Quick Start Guide.


Olympus 17 mm & 45 mm lenses

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Olympus has expanded its M.Zuiko prime lens lineup with the new Digital ED 17 mm f/1.2 PRO (34 mm focal length equivalent) and the Digital ED 45 mm f/1.2 PRO (90 mm equivalent).

A newly developed ED-DSA lens, which possesses the characteristics of both an ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lens element and a DSA (Dual Super Aspherical) lens element, is incorporated in the 17 mm lens. The ED-DSA lens compensates for common wide-angle lens issues, including chromatic aberrations, distortion and colour bleeding on the image periphery.

The two new lenses feature compact, lightweight construction and a dustproof, splashproof, freezeproof (to 14°F/-10°C) design.

Both lenses deliver feathered bokeh to provide an ultra smooth transition from the sharp to the defocused areas of the image, creating an overall softer background. This results in a subject that stands out with lifelike dimensionality, says Olympus.

In the 17 mm lens there are 15 elements in 11 groups, including specialized lens elements like the newly developed ED-DSA lens. The 45 mm lens contains three optimally placed and bonded lens elements, including one ED lens, which compensate for typical problems on wide-aperture lenses like out-of-focus colour bleeding (axial chromatic aberration) and peripheral colour bleeding (magnification chromatic aberration). The extensive use of special lenses incorporated into 14 elements in 10 groups results in what the company describes as “superb” optical performance and feathered bokeh effects, even at the widest aperture setting.

Both lenses use the same Z Coating Nano technology as the Digital ED 25 mm f/1.2 PRO for sharp, clear image quality that significantly reduces ghosts and flares that tend to occur in backlit images.

Both lenses are equipped with the MSC (Movie- and Still-Compatible) autofocus mechanism that provides virtually silent and smooth high-speed focusing performance, even when using the maximum aperture. Additionally, there are no AF point limitations, even at the widest aperture, due to the On-Chip AF system in all Olympus OM-D and Pen cameras.

A uniform lens filter diameter across the three f/1.2 lenses allows for use of the same lens filters.

The 17 mm lens has a minimum focusing distance of 20 cm and a maximum image magnification of 0.15x (35 mm equivalent: 0.3x), while the 45 mm lens has a minimum focusing distance of 50 cm and a maximum image magnification of 0.1x (35 mm equivalent: 0.2x).

Olympus says each lens was designed with the professional photographer in mind. The focusing ring placed at the front of the lens makes focusing easier when paired with the large grip of the flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera. The L-Fn Button is located on a gently curving surface to make it comfortable to access. The MF Clutch mechanism allows the photographer to instantly switch between auto and manual focusing mode by pulling the focusing ring toward the camera body.

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 45 mm f/1.2 PRO will be available late November, while the M.Zuiko Digital ED 17 mm f/1.2 PRO will be available late January. Both lenses will have an estimated street price of $1,499.99.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

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Olympus’ new OM-D E-M10 Mark III is a compact, lightweight, easy-to-use interchangeable lens camera aimed at the snapshooter looking to expand his/her photography. The camera includes image stabilization compensation and the same TruePic VIII Image Processor used in the flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II.

The 5-Axis Image Stabilization system – for both stills and 4K video – is built into the camera body, which also features a high-resolution electronic viewfinder, a tilting rear LCD monitor with touch controls similar to a smartphone, and a built-in flash.

The intelligent AUTO Mode detects the shooting scene, subject, camera movement and light transmitted through the lens, then automatically chooses the optimal settings. The other assist modes include Scene Mode (SCN), Advanced Photo Mode (AP), and Art Filter Mode (ART), each of which appear on the mode dial alongside AUTO Mode for easy access. In Scene Mode, users can touch one of six shooting environments, each displayed on the LCD monitor. Advanced Photo Mode offers nighttime Live Composite and Multiple Exposure. Bleach Bypass is a new filter in Art Filter Mode that reproduces the silver retention method used when developing film. Type I produces a glossy look, like shining silver metal, and Type II produces a nostalgic look reminiscent of old film.

The Touch AF shutter, which now takes advantage of 121 autofocus points, allows users to choose the precise area of focus and trip the shutter simply by touching the LCD screen. Continuous AF (C-AF) Mode maintains focus on moving subjects when the shutter is pressed halfway. The camera is equipped with Face Priority AF and Eye Priority AF to ensure sharp focusing on the face or eyes of the person closest to the camera. Also available is C-AF for continuous focusing on moving subjects, and up to 8.6 frames per second high-speed sequential shooting.
The Mark III is equipped with built-in Wi-Fi, which can be used in conjunction with the Olympus Image Share (OI.Share) app to connect to a smart device and wirelessly transfer images for quick editing and uploading to social media.

The new Shortcut Button on the left-hand side of the camera instantly displays the setting menu most relevant to the current shooting mode so that users can quickly change settings. For example, users can press the Shortcut Button while shooting in Scene Mode to quickly switch to another shooting environment.

Settings are assigned to the four arrow pad buttons on the back of the camera, including ISO, flash, drive and focus settings, which can be activated with the press of the corresponding icon. Two customizable function buttons can be programmed with one of 11 different functions, such as Digital Tele-Converter for instant activation with one button press. Two dials on the upper section of the body can be used to change settings and make adjustments on the fly.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III will be available in a black and silver body or black body beginning in late September with an estimated street price of $799.99 (body only) and $999.99 (M.Zuiko 14-42 mm EZ Lens kit).

Olympus Tough TG-5

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Olympus has unveiled the Tough TG-5, featuring an f/2.0 lens, a new high-performance backlit 12-megapixel CMOS image sensor, TruePic VIII Image Processor, plus a Field Sensor System that records movement and environmental data.

The company says the 25-100 mm (equivalent) lens works in concert with the new sensor and the dual quad core processor to deliver the highest image quality of any Tough model to date.

The built-in Field Sensor System, consisting of a GPS sensor, manometer, compass, and temperature sensor, records movement and environmental data independently or in conjunction with still images or videos. Data logs can be simultaneously displayed with images and videos using the Olympus Image Track app.

As its name implies, the Tough TG-5 is waterproof to 50 feet (15 m), crushproof to 220 pounds of force (100 kg of force), shockproof from 7 feet (2.1 m), freezeproof down to 14°F (-10°C) and dustproof. The camera now includes Anti-Fog Lens Cover Glass.

New video functions include 4K Movie to capture Ultra HD video at four times the resolution of Full HD. Full HD 120 fps High-Speed Movie lets users capture slow-motion, and 4K Time Lapse automatically creates short videos of long periods of time.

The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-5 will be available in red and black beginning in June with an estimated street price of $579.99.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

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oly-e-m1ii-frontThere’s no official word on its availability or price, but Olympus says it is working on a “breakthrough” flagship Micro Four Thirds camera with advanced performance for the professional photographer. The OM-D E-M1 Mark II has performance capabilities “that surpass pro-level DSLRs,” says the company.

The camera will be equipped with the newly-developed high-speed TruePic VIII Image Processor which is 3.5 times faster than previous TruePic processors and a new 20.4-megapixel Live MOS sensor equipped with 121 points of cross-type on-chip phase detection and contrast detection AF. These technologies will work with the camera’s electronic shutter to provide full resolution images at up to 60 frames per second in AF and AE lock, and up to 18 frames per second with continuous AF and AE tracking.

The advanced Dual FAST AF system will automatically select between contrast and phase detection AF depending on lens type, camera settings and lighting conditions to ensure accurate focus and sharp image quality. In addition, the continuous AF tracking performance will be dramatically improved with a new moving subject tracking algorithm.

The camera will boast a wide array of shooting features including a new Pro Capture Mode for lag-free shooting that enables the capture of split-second moments, a 50-megapixel High Res Shot Mode, in-body 5-Axis Image Stabilization with a maximum of 5.5 shutter speed steps of compensation performance, and 5-Axis Sync IS for a maximum of 6.5 shutter speed steps of compensation when combined with the new M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 mm f/4.0 IS PRO.

The OM-D E-M1 Mark II will be weathersealed to be dustproof, splashproof, and freezeproof (down to 14°F / -10°C) in a compact lightweight design. The camera will “exceed professional photographers’ performance requirements” by employing a high-performance durable shutter designed to clear 200,000 actuations, dual memory card slots, and an improved battery capacity of 37 percent from its predecessor model.

The TruePic VIII Image Processor will boast a dual quad core system with four CPU cores and four image processing cores to achieve image processing speeds approximately 3.5 times faster than the TruePic VII Processor. Because camera operation and image processing functions will be carried out in parallel, transfer speeds and menu operations will be vastly improved over previous models. A new Pro Capture Mode will provide lag-free shooting.

An in-camera AF limiter will be included to achieve faster focusing by limiting the focus range of the lens, thus preventing time-consuming focus hunting. Autofocus functions such as AF Target Mode, AF target position, and face/eye priority AF will be easily set with a single action. AF operations will be enhanced with a new cluster display, which illuminates active sensors to assure the user of focus subject accuracy. The AF Targeting Pad feature will allow users to select the AF point by sliding their finger on the rear touch LCD while looking through the viewfinder.

oly-e-m1ii-topThe performance of the 1.48x high-magnification, high-resolution electronic viewfinder will rival those of professional full-frame interchangeable lens cameras, Olympus boasts.

There will be a “significant improvement” in shutter release lag time; this time will be reduced by approximately 30 percent from that of the predecessor model. In addition, frame advance speed during playback will be approximately three times faster for faster scrolling and review of images.

The camera will feature dual memory card slots to allow simultaneous use of two SD cards. The slots will be positioned in a staggered layout, making cards easier to insert and remove. Users will be able to select from four types of settings: “Standard” will record to the specified card; “Automatic Switching” will automatically switch to the second card when the first card becomes full; “Dual Independent” will record to both cards according to the specified image quality setting assigned to each; and “Dual Same” will record identical files to both cards simultaneously. Slot 1 will support UHS-II and UHS-I cards, while Slot 2 will support UHS-I cards.

With an improved 1720mAh rating, the new BLH-1 lithium-ion rechargeable battery will have a capacity that’s approximately 37 percent higher than that of the BLN-1 used in the predecessor model. The camera will display the remaining battery life percentage on the rear monitor. Also, the new BCH-1 charger will be 50 percent faster than the previous version.

The new 20.4-megapixel Live MOS sensor will offer 25 percent higher resolution than the predecessor model, and the absence of a low-pass filter further enhances image quality. A higher dynamic range will improve the reproduction of highlight and shadow detail, and an anti-reflective coating on both sides of the sealing glass over the sensor will further enhance contrast performance.

The newly-developed TruePic VIII Image Processor will dramatically improve image quality when shooting at high ISO settings, making it possible to capture images with minimal noise. The normal sensitivity ISO (ISO AUTO) range will be expanded to ISO 6400 for greater flexibility in a variety of shooting scenarios and Fine Detail Processing II will ensure that no detail will be lost due to over-sharpening.

The ISO LOW setting will be equivalent to ISO 64.

A High Res Shot Mode will utilize the Voice Coil Motor (VCM) system of the 5-Axis Image Stabilization System to precisely shift the sensor in half pixel increments while capturing a total of eight shots. The camera will then automatically composite the shots into a single 50-megapixel equivalent ultra-high resolution image. The processor will effectively suppress blur due to subject movement, making it possible to utilize High Res Shot Mode in a wide variety of shooting conditions, such as gently-blowing grass, tree leaves, or ocean waves. In addition to 80-megapixel RAW and 50-megapixel equivalent JPEG images, it will be possible to select a smaller 25-megapixel equivalent file size.

The OM-D E-M1 Mark II will support Digital Cinema Standard 4K (4096 x 2060 pixels) video capture at a 24p frame rate and a bit rate of up to 237 Mbps. The sensor will provide a read speed three times faster than that of the predecessor model for effective suppression of movement distortion, resulting in sharp, clear image quality. Olympus notes the video-specific picture mode “Flat” will be ideal for colour grading and finishing the footage exactly as envisioned by the videographer.

The HDMI monitor connection will provide the ability to view live video output live on a larger display while shooting. Users will be able to select from Monitor Mode for an external monitor and Recording Mode to capture uncompressed video directly from the HDMI port. The camera will be equipped with a synchronization signal so that video recording to an external device may be started or stopped from the camera. A 4:2:2 external output will be provided to meet a wider colour correction range. An audio synchronization function will make it easy to synchronize audio recording when using Olympus’ Linear PCM Recorder LS-100 while recording video, and a Slate Tone function will facilitate the syncing of recorded audio and video.

Silent Mode will utilize a silent electronic shutter to eliminate all mechanical noises while shooting. Also, it will be possible to deactivate the AF Illuminator, autofocus confirmation beep, and flash.

Focus Stacking Mode will capture eight shots at different focal positions and composite them to form a single shot that is entirely in focus. Focus Stacking Mode will be compatible with seven Olympus lenses.

Focus Bracketing Mode will capture up to 999 shots at different focal distances with a single shutter button press, allowing users to choose shots with the optimal focus point or use commercially-available software to composite all images into one picture with stunning depth-of-field.

Live Composite Mode will be available for shooting fireworks and cityscapes against starry backgrounds. While using Live Composite, the exposure of dark areas remains constant, while areas of light that change during the exposure are updated, creating trails of light from stars or fireworks. Live Bulb and Live Composite Modes will allow users to easily check the image on the LCD monitor in real time, instead of relying on intuition.

The camera will be equipped with Keystone Compensation for photographing architecture. Keystone Compensation digitally provides tilt and shift functions with all M.Zuiko lenses, and because trapezoidal compensation may be applied simultaneously to both vertical and horizontal directions, it is possible to shoot various subjects in a wide range of situations.

Olympus Capture is now available in Version 1.2 and will support tethered shooting with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. High-speed data processing and transfer via the USB 3.0 Type C port will be four times faster than with Olympus Capture Version 1.1. A cable clip will be bundled for securing and stabilizing the cable to a strap when the camera and computer are connected.

Other Features:

Customizable C-AF tracking sensitivity will allow users to choose the best setting for their subject to optimize C-AF tracking performance.

AF Scan will allow users to adjust the lens scan operation settings in low-contrast environments to prevent unnecessary hunting.

Preset MF will let users quickly set a preferred focus distance when using manual focus.

AF Home Settings will be assignable to a customizable function button. Users will be able to program their most frequently used AF target position, AF Target Mode, and AF Mode as an AF Home setting.

Lowest Shutter Speed Setting on the camera will allow users to predefine a minimum shutter speed so that the ISO sensitivity will increase in low-light situations rather than slowing down the shutter speed.

Users will be able to back up customized camera settings on a computer so that they can be re-applied to the camera whenever necessary, especially useful for using the same settings on multiple cameras or maintaining settings after a firmware update.

Specify Folder function will let users select a folder as a recording destination and create new folders to make image editing and management easier.

Grid settings will allow users to set a highly visible grid color for display as a guide when shooting in dark locations such as theaters.

The “Date/Time/Second” display will let users organize images by a second unit. This is an effective feature for high-speed sequential shooting.

Olympus PEN E-PL8

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oly-pl8The Olympus PEN E-PL8 is a compact interchangeable-lens camera delivering stunning image quality, simplified selfie functions and creative control, all in a stylish design that’s perfect for every occasion, says the company.

The camera offers a distinctive look highlighted by modern, rounded body lines, an embossed Olympus PEN logo, intricately detailed metal dials, and premium metal and leather-grained finishes that complement each colour option – white, black and brown.

The 180-degree flip-touch LCD monitor takes the guesswork out of selfies, with a straightforward user interface that automatically switches the camera to Selfie Mode when the LCD monitor is flipped downward to its front-facing position for stills and video. With high-speed Touch AF, the camera focuses and shoots with a simple touch of the monitor. Use e-Portrait Mode to automatically smooth skin tones or one of 14 Art Filters to capture unique and creative shots, then wirelessly upload and share them using the built-in Wi-Fi and the Olympus Image Share smartphone app.

The TruePic VII Image Processor is paired with a 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor to deliver beautiful stills with high resolution, superior colour reproduction and excellent low-light performance, Olympus says.

The new OI.Palette free photo editing app provides popular features from Olympus interchangeable lens cameras, including Art Filters, Art Effects, Colour Creator, and Highlight and Shadow Control, for use on smartphones and tablets with intuitive controls. (OI.Palette is available for download now and includes all 28 Art Filter options that may also be combined with eight Art Effects.) Features included for the first time on a smart device app include Colour Creator, which lets users control hue and colour saturation, and highlight and shadow control, which makes it possible to adjust highlights and shadows that are difficult to control with exposure compensation. Users can directly post edited images to social networks using OI.Palette.

Users are increasingly posting videos to social networks. To meet this need, the E-PL8 is equipped with enhanced movie recording features: Clips – this combines multiple short video clips and adds background music and effects to create a single video; Art Filter Movie; Movie Effects – four different Movie Effects can be applied to videos, including Old Film Effect to record videos that look like antique films and Art Fade Effect to provide smooth transitions from one effect to another.

VCM in-body image stabilization makes it possible to capture sharp, blur-free images even in low light.

Other features: iAUTO captures shots with a simple press of the shutter release; Live Guide with easy-to-understand on-screen displays; Nighttime Live Composite Mode to capture trails of light; Fast AF instantly focuses when users touch the monitor; 8.5 fps high-speed sequential shooting.

The Olympus PEN E-PL8 is available in black, white and brown for an estimated street price of $649.99 camera body only and $749.99 for the 14-42 mm IIR kit.

Three Olympus lenses

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Olympus has announced three new lenses, the new Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 mm f/4.0 IS PRO, M.Zuiko Digital ED 25 mm f/1.2 PRO and M.Zuiko Digital ED 30 mm f/3.5 Macro.

oly-12-100The 12-100 mm (24-200 mm equivalent) is a compact, lightweight zoom lens that maintains a constant aperture of f/4.0 and incorporates powerful image stabilization (IS). The lens combines multiple special elements to produce a high magnification factor and excellent resolution. DSA (Dual Super Aspherical) lenses, HR (high refractive index) lenses, and Super HR (super-high refractive index) lenses are combined to effectively correct aberration and minimize the number of lens elements in the configuration, reducing the overall length of the lens. By using multiple ED lenses, colour fringing that tends to appear in telephoto shooting is thoroughly reduced, maintaining high resolution and edge-to-edge sharpness across the entire zoom range.

The in-lens image stabilization works in concert with Olympus’ in-body 5-Axis Image Stabilization of compatible OM-D and PEN camera bodies to create 5-Axis Sync IS, which the company says is the world’s most powerful image stabilization with 6.5 shutter speed steps of compensation performance.

Minimum working distance is 1.5 cm and maximum shooting magnification is 0.6x at the 12 mm setting.

The lens features lightweight, weatherproof construction, providing dustproof, splash proof and freeze proof (down to 14°F/-10°C) performance.

This lens offers the same high-quality metal exterior design as the other lenses in the PRO series. It is equipped with the Manual Focus Clutch mechanism, which makes switching to manual focus possible by pulling the focusing ring toward you. The lens barrel features the Image Stabilization activation switch and the L-Fn button to pause autofocus or assign other custom settings.

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 mm f/4.0 IS PRO will be available in November for an estimated street price of $1599.99.

oly-25The M.Zuiko Digital ED 25 mm f/1.2 PRO (50 mm equivalent) boasts a superior optical design with 19 lens elements in 14 groups that thoroughly prevents aberration, distortion and fringing to achieve superb resolution and beautiful defocusing effects from its widest aperture setting, says the company.

The lens minimizes chromatic aberration at the plane of focus and beyond, creating a smooth transition from the subject to defocused backgrounds. Olympus says this design provides the perfect balance between high resolution and beautiful bokeh for a natural, three-dimensional appearance of the subject.

The 25 mm lens features a lightweight internal focusing mechanism that uses a single thin lens element for extremely fast and accurate focus point acquisition. The advanced MSC (movie and still compatible) autofocus mechanism provides virtually silent and smooth focusing and aperture performance.

The lens features dust-proof, splash-proof and freeze-proof (down to 14°F/-10°C) construction.

Colour bleeding (on-axis chromatic aberration) is suppressed by using a Super ED lens and two ED lenses. When combined with the colour-canceling effects of an E-HR (special high refractive index) lens and HR (high refractive index) lens, peripheral colour bleeding (magnification chromatic aberration) is effectively corrected. Z Coating Nano lens coating technology maintains sharp, clear image quality. This advanced coating significantly reduces flare in backlit situations, optimizing shooting when strong light sources are present in the frame. Aspherical and high-resolution lenses placed near the aperture effectively correct comatic aberration. These elements enable both the brightness of f1.2 and a high level of optical performance, making it possible to capture points of light without distortion.

This lens has the same metal exterior design as the other lenses in the PRO series. It is equipped with the Manual Focus Clutch mechanism. A depth of field scale is included on the lens for pan focusing. And the L-Fn button on the lens barrel allows you to pause autofocus and assign other custom settings.

Minimum focusing distance is 30 cm (working distance of 19.5 cm) and maximum shooting magnification is 0.11x.

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 25 mm f/1.2 PRO will be available this month for an estimated street price of $1,499.99.

The third new lens, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 30 mm f/3.5 Macro (60 mm equivalent) is a premium lens designed for exceptional optical performance and image quality in a lightweight compact form. Maximum image magnification is 2.5x, with a minimum focusing distance of 95 mm (14 mm from the end of the lens) and a minimum shooting field of 13.9 x 10.4 mm.

The lens offers an increase in focusing speed of 20 to 30 percent over previous Olympus macro lenses. It is equipped with an MSC (movie and still compatible) mechanism for practically silent and smooth autofocus and aperture operation for both still shots and video.

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 30 mm f/3.5 Macro lens will be available in black this month with an estimated street price of $399.99.

Olympus TG-Tracker

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oly trackerThe Olympus Stylus Tough TG-Tracker lays claim to being the first rugged experiential camera combining rugged capabilities with an advanced Field Sensor System, a 204° ultra-wide-angle f/2.0 high-speed lens and Ultra HD 4K 30p video capture with corresponding activity data. The camera’s built-in Field Sensors include GPS, a barometric-pressure sensor, a temperature sensor, an e.Compass, and an accelerometer.

Data logs can be displayed simultaneously with recorded images using the Olympus Image Track app.

The TG-Tracker is optimized for the most extreme shooting environments, with five rugged capabilities: waterproof to depths of 30 meters (100 feet), dustproof, shockproof from 2.1 m (7 feet), freezeproof to -10°C (14°F), and crushproof up to 100 kilograms of force (220 pounds of force), with no protective case required.

Other features: Time Lapse Movie mode; Loop Recording function; bundled with the UP-T01 Underwater Lens Protector for underwater shooting; graphical user interface (GUI); Electronic 5-Axis Image Stabilization; 4K Video playback via HDMI connection; remote control and image transfer with the Olympus Image Share app.

A high-intensity LED headlight is integrated into the camera body for shooting support in low-light conditions. The bundled SG-T01 Steady Grip helps with stable framing during hand-held shooting. The tilt-out LCD monitor helps with low- and high-angle shooting.

The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-Tracker will be available in green and black beginning in June with an estimated street price of $479.99.

Olympus PEN-F

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pen fOlympus celebrates its 80th birthday with the unveiling of the Pen-F, a digital update of the original PEN-F half-frame SLR. The 20-megapixel Live MOS sensor is combined with 5-axis image stabilization, a built-in 2.36 million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, and a new Creative Dial on the front of the camera.

The camera’s body lines and silhouette are inherited from its predecessor, which debuted in 1963. The top and front covers of the body are crafted from magnesium, and the precision metal dials (along with the bottom of the body) are crafted from aluminum. Customizable buttons and dials are positioned for easy operation while the user looks through the viewfinder, says the company, and the new exposure compensation dial and four custom modes on the Mode dial offer instant access to registered settings.

The newly-developed sensor is paired with the latest TruePic VII image processor. The sensor’s low-pass filterless construction delivers high resolution and a low sensitivity ISO LOW mode equivalent to ISO 80. The image stabilization system compensates up to 5 steps of shutter speed. Even legacy manual-focus lenses can be image-stabilized.

pen f backThe camera’s High Res Shot Mode captures 50-megapixel equivalent images which are said to reproduce incredible subject detail in ultra-high resolution. Plus, Olympus Viewer 3 Ver. 2.0 image editing software has been updated to process these high res shot RAW images.

The PEN-F’s new Monochrome and Color Profile Control functions let photographers emulate their favourite films. These functions differ from using photo editing software after shooting, as they allow users to apply and check effects in Live View while shooting to create their own original images. Both functions include quick-select presets designed to give images the look of classic film. Or, settings can be completely customized to achieve specific looks. The camera’s front-mounted creative dial accesses Monochrome Profile Control, Colour Profile Control, Art Filters, and Colour Creator.

Monochrome Profile Control combines five photographic effects – Colour Filter effect, Shading effect, Film Grain effect, Monochrome Colour, and Highlight and Shadow Control – for a variety of monochromatic expressions. In addition to the default setting (Preset 1), there is also Classic Film Monochrome (Preset 2) for a monochrome film effect with high contrast, and Classic Film Infrared (Preset 3) for an effect that mimics infrared film. In Color Profile Control, users are able to adjust the colour saturation of 12 individual colours in 11 steps. This can be combined with Highlight and Shadow Control. In addition to the default setting (Preset 1), there is also Chrome Film Rich Colour (Preset 2), which provides deeper tones in images, and Chrome Film Vivid Saturation (Preset 3), which creates high levels of colour saturation. The camera’s rear lever lets users easily toggle through the various effect controls, including Highlight and Shadow Control, a feature that also allows for the adjustment of midtones within plus or minus seven steps for advanced customization.

The PEN-F is equipped with a built-in high resolution OLED Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) with a 100 percent field of view and a magnification rate of 1.23x (35 mm equivalent approx. 0.62x) for a clear view without aberrations, even at the edges, says Olympus. Simulated OVF (S-OVF) Mode expands the dynamic range and provides an image similar to what would be seen with the naked eye. The magnified display function and Focus Peaking (which offers three levels and four colours) allow for extremely precise lens focusing, notes the company. In addition, the camera’s vari-angle, touch-enabled LCD monitor lets users compose Live View shots from a variety of angles.

pen f topThe camera features what is claimed to be the shortest shutter-release time lag of any compact system camera at 0.044 seconds. The high-speed mechanical shutter delivers 1/8000-second top speed, and shutter functions can be customized according to the scene. Silent Mode is useful for shooting in situations that require complete silence, and Anti-Shock Mode allows users to prevent shutter shake. The AF Targeting Pad enhances control by allowing users to set focus points by touching the rear monitor with their thumb while composing their shot in the viewfinder. Face Priority AF and Eye Priority AF detect and continuously adjust the focus on faces or eyes for easier portrait shooting. Enhancing the detail of every shot is AF Target Spot Metering, which links the AF Target and the metering area, while Super Spot AF and Small Target AF make it possible to focus on small subjects.

The PEN-F offers additional compatibility with users’ legacy lenses by enabling them to register the information of lenses without electronic contacts for inclusion in images’ EXIF data. The lens information may be recalled with the press of a button. Up to 10 lenses can be registered, including the lens name, focal length and aperture value.

Other creative features include Live Composite Mode which allows users to extract and composite the brightest areas from multiple, sequentially shot images to capture cityscapes and star trails, for example. With the camera’s built-in Wi-Fi, users can utilize the Olympus Image Share app for Android and Apple to adjust settings and monitor the progress of the image as it develops in real time on a smartphone or tablet. In 4K Time Lapse Movie, the camera captures up to 999 images automatically at intervals ranging from one image every second to one image every 24 hours, and combines them into a high-resolution 4K video, all in-camera, without the need for additional software.

For those who enjoy macro photography, Focus Bracketing captures multiple shots at the touch of a button, all with slightly different focus depths. The new Live View Boost 2 makes it possible to easily focus and compose shots while checking visible stars in Live View, says Olympus. High-speed sequential shooting capabilities let users capture at 10 fps with the mechanical shutter, 5 fps with C-AF, and 20 fps with Silent Mode.

Optional accessories include the External Metal Grip that lets users replace the battery without removing the grip, featuring a Quick Shoe Compatible Rail on the bottom for direct connection to a compatible tripod head. Premium-quality leather accessories are also available in limited quantities.

The PEN-F will be available in early March, for an estimated street price of $1,499.99.

Olympus 300 mm lens

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oly 300 PROOlympus has unveiled the highly anticipated M.Zuiko Digital ED 300 mm f/4.0 IS PRO, a compact telephoto lens for the PRO series of professional, splashproof and dustproof lenses.

The lens is the first Olympus interchangeable lens with a built-in image stabilization mechanism, and when paired with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 (firmware version 4.) or E-M5 Mark II (firmware version 2.0), in-body and in-lens image stabilization work in harmony resulting in the new 5-Axis Sync IS technology to produce the world’s most powerful image stabilization performance, says the company, with up to six shutter speed steps of compensation. The lens can also be used effectively with other camera bodies, according to Olympus, as the in-lens stabilization mechanism alone provides 4 shutter speeds steps of compensation.

The company notes the lens has a length of 227 mm (8.9 inches) and weight of 1,270 g (2.8 pounds). Despite the compact size, the lens features hermetic sealing in 17 places and freezeproof performance down to -10°C.

The company also says the lens debuts Olympus’ highest ever resolution by combining three Super ED lenses, one Extra-High Refractive index lens and three High Refractive index lenses to reduce colour bleeding and chromatic aberrations that tend to occur on typical super-telephoto lenses. In addition to Olympus’ ZERO Coating, a brand new lens coating technology called Zero Coating Nano suppresses reflected light to minimize ghosts and flares for extremely sharp details of images including car headlights, according to the company. A layer of nano-sized particles and a layer of air in the centre to the surface of the lens achieves a refractive index similar to air and significantly reduces surface reflection.

The lens has a maximum image magnification of 0.48x (35 mm equivalent), with a minimum focusing distance of 1.15 m (46 inches) from the end of the lens.

When combined with the M.Zuiko Digital 1.4x teleconverter MC-14, the focal length extends to 840 mm (equivalent) with an increased image magnification of 0.67x (equivalent), while maintaining the same minimum focus distance.

The OM-D’s silent mode combines with the lens’ Movie & Still Compatible mechanism for silent AF and shooting.

The lens also features a Manual Focus Clutch mechanism that makes switching to manual focus possible by pulling the focusing ring toward you. The side of the lens barrel features a Focus Limit switch (4 m to infinity, all range, 1.4 to 4 m), an IS switch (On/Off), and an L-Fn button which can all be operated without taking your eye off the viewfinder.

The built-in sliding lens hood can be locked into place when extended, and there’s a removable tripod base plate on the bottom with a quick shoe compatible rail.

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 300 mm f/4.0 IS PRO lens is available now for an estimated street price of $3,299.99.