February 5th, 2015

Olympus Unveils OM-D E-M5 Mark II

E-M5MarkII_BLK_right_M14-42EZ_BLK Olympus got an early jump on the CP+ Show camera news with the announcement of the new OM-D E-M5 Mark II.

The new mirrorless camera delivers what Olympus is calling the most powerful optical image stabilization system on the market according to CIPA standards. The E-M5 Mark II offers a five-axis stabilization system that delivers up to five EV steps of stabilization. Olympus claims you can shoot handheld at 1/4 sec. shutter speeds and still enjoy crisp images.

The camera features a 16-megapixel LiveMOS sensor, a 3-inch, vari-angle touch screen display and a TruPic VII processor capable of a brisk 10 frames per second in continuous shooting mode. The camera is also capable of 5 fps continuous shooting with continuous AF engaged. You’ll also find built-in Wi-Fi, mechanical shutter speeds up to 1/8000 sec. and a silent electronic shutter with speeds up to 1/16,000 sec.

While the E-M5 Mark II has a 16-megapixel sensor, it can create a 40-megapixel image using a new High-Resolution Shot mode. In this mode, the camera captures eight images in a row over the course of a single second, moving the sensor by .5-pixel steps between each shot. The M5 Mark II then takes two additional seconds to process the photos into a single, 40-megapixel image. Images can be captured at up to f/8 with a shutter speed of up to eight seconds and a sensitivity of up to ISO 1600. A tripod is recommended.

E-M5MarkII_BLK_back_dialUnlike its other mirrorless rivals, Olympus choose not to add 4K video recording to the M5 Mark II, arguing instead that its ability to record 1080p video at 60 fps with excellent hand-held stabilization delivers a more relevant value for videographers using interchangeable lens cameras. Your mileage may vary.

When shooting 1080p videos at 30 fps, the M5 Mark II is capable of a maximum bit rate of 77Mbps. You’ll enjoy focus peaking,  the ability to add art filters, select AF points, electronic zoom and exposure controls while shooting video. Time code and recording to external devices via HDMI are also supported.

The body of the E-M5 Mark II is dust, splash and freeze proof. The viewfinder has been upgraded to be identical to the 2.36-million dot EVF found in Olympus’ current flagship, the E-M1.

The E-M5 Mark II goes on sale this month for $1,100 for a body-only kit.

Speaking of which, Olympus also announced that new firmware for the E-M1 camera will push its continuous shooting from the current 6.5 fps to 9 fps.

Olympus is also updating its M. Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f.4-5.6 zoom lens.

Equivalent to a 28-300mm full frame focal length, the lens is able to focus on objects as close as 13-inches away from the front of the lens and features a quiet, internal zoom motor. It will retail for $600 when it ships in March.

Finally, Olympus will bring a new Stylus Tough camera to market in April.

The TG-860 sports a 16-megapixel backlit CMOS image sensor, a 21-105mm (35mm equivalent) f/3.5-5.7 lens, Wi-Fi and a 3-inch display that flips up for selfie taking. The camera is waterproof to a depth of 50 feet, drop proof for up to seven feet and can withstand up to 220 pounds of pressure.

The TG-860 delivers 1080p video recording at 60 fps or 854×480 videos at up to 120 fps. The camera will be sold in a choice of black, orange and white for $280.

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January 7th, 2015

The New Memory Cards of CES 2015

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Spare a moment for the humble memory card. While they certainly don’t get top billing at CES–how can they when socks now warm themselves–they remain an invaluable photographic tool. CES saw several new memory cards announcements.

And here they are:

Lexar launched 1000x microSDHC and microSDXC UHS-II cards for use in action cams, smartphones and other devices needing the tiny card format. The 1000x U3 cards boast read speeds of up to 150MB/s and will be sold in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities for $60, $110 and $190, respectively.

They’re due in the first quarter of 2015 and will be backwards compatible with UHS-I cameras/readers and non-UHS-I devices, though performance will dip to Class 10 speeds.

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Toshiba has updated its FlashAir wireless SD card. Now on its third generation, the Class 10-rated FlashAir III creates its own wireless LAN access point, allowing up to seven devices to access the card’s contents remotely. New photo sharing and image management features let you access the card’s contents from a web browser and, thanks to its Internet pass-thru capability, lets you access both the card and the Internet on your home or office router.

Images can be transferred from the card to other devices directly using the card’s Wi-Fi access point. Smartphone and tablet users can connect to the card to view or transfer images using the free FlashAir app for Android and iOS devices.

The FlashAir III ships in March in 16GB and 32GB capacities for $80 and $100, respectively.

Panasonic Memory CardsPanasonic will update its line of 4K-capable UHS-I type SDXC/SDHC memory cards with a maximum read speed of 95MB/s and a maximum write speed of 90MB/s. The cards will now be available in capacities from 32GB to 128GB. Pricing and availability were not announced.

Eye-Fi will extend its cloud offering beyond memory cards thanks to a new partnership with Olympus. The two will bring the Eyefi Cloud online photo sharing and management service to Wi-Fi-enabled Olympus cameras.

Olympus cameras that support the service will automatically upload images to the Eyefi Cloud where they can be viewed by others using the Eyefi Cloud app. Supported cameras were not announced.

Eyefi Cloud is a subscription-based service and Olympus camera owners will get an extended free trial plus discounted subscriptions when Eyefi Cloud integration goes live sometime later this year.

September 15th, 2014

Photokina 2014: Olympus Intros 40-150mm Pro Lens, Firmware Upgrade for Studio Tethering

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Olympus announced today at Photokina that it will bring a new 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro lens to the market in November.

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm lens keeps a constant f/2.8 aperture and uses dual linear voice coil motors to keep focusing fast and quiet. Capable of focusing on objects as close as 20 inches away, the lens offers a dedicated function button, manual focus clutch and a sliding protective lens hood. It’s also dust, splash and freeze proof and measures in at a little over 6 inches.

The lens will set you back $1,499. Olympus will also sell a 1.4x teleconverter, the MC-14, for use with the lens in November for $349.

Firming Up

The OM-D E-M1 is also getting a firmware upgrade the will enable several new capabilities including USB tethered shooting using the new Olympus Capture software utility. Capture will display the E-M1′s live view display on a computer monitor and allow for remote controlling the camera from a desktop or laptop.

The firmware will also allow keystone compensation to correct trapezoidal distortion in live view and delivers the Live Composite Mode found on the E-M10 for capturing light trails in a dark sky. There are also two new Art Filters, improved EVF display lag, and a panning scene mode that sets optimal shutter speed to match the movements of your subject.

The new firmware will come pre-installed in a new Silver edition of the E-M1 (shipping this month) and will be available for current E-M1 owners on September 24th.

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March 31st, 2014

Olympus Unveils Rugged Stylus Tough TG-3 Waterproof Compact Camera

Olympus unveiled the latest in its series of rugged “Tough” compact cameras last night: the Stylus Tough TG-3. The 16-megapixel TG-3 features a 25-100mm equivalent lens with a maximum f/2.0 aperture on the wide end. It also has built-in Wi-Fi, GPS and new macro functions for close-up photography.

Olympus-TG-3_RED_FRONTThe Olympus Stylus Tough TG-3 is freezeproof to 14°F (-10℃), waterproof to 50 feet (15 m), shockproof from seven feet (2.1 m), crushproof to 220 pounds (100 kgf) and dustproof.

The TG-3 can also shoot 1080p HD video; sports a 3-inch, 460,000-dot LCD on back, and is powered by Olympus’ TruePic VII image processor.

The TG-3 is available in black or red and goes on sale in June 2014 for $349.99. Fish, as seen in the Olympus-supplied press image below, not included.

More info here.

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January 29th, 2014

Olympus Announces Ultra-Compact E-M10 Mirrorless Camera and Two New Lenses

Olympus-E-M10-frontIf you thought Olympus’s mirrorless, compact system cameras were small already, they got even smaller this morning with the new, ultra-compact E-M10. Along with being tiny in stature, the 16-megapixel E-M10 features an Olympus Micro Four Thirds sensor, which is smaller than even the APS-C-size sensors in consumer digital SLRs.

In the past, the trade-off to stuffing those petite Micro Four Thirds sensors into Olympus’ compact, interchangeable lens cameras has been more noise in images shot at higher ISOs in low light. Things have improved in more recent OM-D models such as the top-of-the-line Olympus E-M1, which we reviewed favorably last year.

Let’s hope this is the case with the new Olympus E-M10, which resembles a junior version of the flagship E-M1 and a step smaller than the already very compact E-M5.

Tiny & Tough
While the Olympus E-M10 is tiny, it’s designed to be tough, fast and feature-rich. It has an all-metal body; a TruePic VII image processor; built-in Wi-Fi; a tilting 3-inch touchscreen on back; an electronic viewfinder on top; and a built-in flash.

To steady shaky shots, the E-M10 uses 3-axis image stabilization built into the camera body. Meanwhile, a revamped autofocus system that uses 81 target points should be pretty quick on the draw. The camera can shoot at a maximum of 8 frames per seconds in high-speed burst mode.

Olympus-E-M10-backThe Olympus E-M10′s 16MP Live MOS sensor can shoot from ISO 100-25600, but we’ll reserve judgement on whether we recommended shooting at the high end of that scale until we can test out the camera.

The Olympus E-M10, goes on sale in March 2014 for $699.99 body only and is available in black or silver. You can also buy it as a kit with the with M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42 mm f3.5-5.6 II R lens for $799.99.

New Lenses
Speaking of lenses, Olympus also introduced two new Micro Four Thirds lenses this morning. The slim M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ is a “pancake” zoom lens that measures just .9 inches thick. Olympus calls it “the world’s slimmest standard zoom lens.” Olympus also unveiled the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm f1.8 portrait lens this morning.

More info on the new Olympus E-M10 here.

September 10th, 2013

Olympus Reveals New OM-D E-M1 and Two New Lenses

EM1__front_M1240_BLK________Last night, Olympus announced the new Micro Four Thirds 16-megapixel OM-D E-M1. The new camera is the successor to the OM-D E-M5 and takes the position as the company’s flagship camera. The E-M1, slightly larger and heavier than the E-M5 (but not as hefty as the E-5 DSLR), features a new Dual Fast AF system with 37-point contrast AF and 81 point on-chip Phase Detection AF. With the new system, the E-M1 will automatically detect the lens that promises faster AF performance than the E-M5 particularly when standard Four Thirds lenses.

Continuous shooting speed has been improved as well. The E-M1 can capture up to 10fps in single autofocus mode for a maximum of 41 Raw images. In continuous AF, the continuous capture is rated at up to 6.5fps for up to 50 Raw images. In addition to providing faster continuous shooting speeds, the new TruePic VII image process also promises improved high ISO performance and better reduction of color loss.

The E-M1 also features built-in wi-fi and is compatible with Olympus’ Image Share 2.0 free iOS and Android app. Communication between smartphone and camera is initiated by scanning a QR code on the camera’s LCD with a smartphone.

Olympus also announced the development of two new Micro Four Thirds lenses, forming a new Pro category for its optics: a 12-40mm, f/2.8 zoom Pro (24-80mm 35mm equivalent) and a 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro (80-300mm 35mm equivalent).

For more information on what’s new about these products, as well as pricing, check out the full story, now on PDNOnline.com.

May 10th, 2013

Olympus Announces PEN E-P5 Micro Four-Thirds Body

P5_best_si+14-42Olympus today announced a very retro looking addition to its PEN lineup, the E-P5. While many of us thought the original Olympus PEN E-P1 styling harkened to the company’s half-frame PEN cameras, the E-P5 does it one better. An all metal casing contains a number of upgraded features:

  • 16MP MOS Four Thirds sensor
  • Dual top plate control dials with a “2×2″ function changing option
  • 1/8000 sec top shutter speed (first in a mirrorless body) and 1/320 sec flash sync
  • ’5-axis’ image stabilization with automatic panning detection
  • ISO 100-25600
  • Up to 9fps shooting (5.0 fps with continuous AF)
  • Focus ‘peaking’ display for manual focus lenses
  • Intervalometer and Time Lapse movie creation
  • 1.04m dot 3″ LCD touchscreen display
  • Built-in Wi-Fi for remote shooting and image transfer to smartphone or tablet

After a short hands-on experience with the camera, the dual control dials, focus peaking, 9fps, and remote shooting/wifi features jump out as being the most interesting. But there is no denying that Olympus has done a good job overall with the E-P5. Just on style alone, it should find its way into many a camera bag. But the added features and improved specs should give even the popular OM-D E-M5 a run for its money.

The Olympus PEN E-P5 will be available in May 2013 in the following configurations:
Body only, available in Black, Silver or White, $999.99
Black or Silver body with black M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8 lens and VF-4 Electronic Viewfinder lens, $1449.99

More information and images can be found at:

http://www.getolympus.com/us/en/digitalcameras/pen-omd/e-p5.html