The new PRO series lenses are a constant-aperture wide-angle zoom and a high-speed full-frame fisheye.
Olympus has announced two PRO series lenses, which both have unique features and are aimed at the higher end of its market.
Olympus expects to ship both lenses in late June. While not stated explicitly, these lenses are intended for use on Micro Four Thirds cameras, as Olympus, Panasonic and others have largely abandoned creating lenses for the older Four Thirds mount.
Both lenses make uses of extra-low dispersion elements to reduce chromatic aberrations, and neither is able to accept a screw-in filter in front of the lens. The two optics also have petal lens shades that appear to be an integral part of the lens.
M.Zuiko ED 7-14mm f2.8 PRO
When taking the 2x factor into consideration, this can be thought of as a 14-28mm lens in full-frame terms. The nice thing about this lens is that it's a fast fixed-aperture f/2.8 throughout its zoom range. There are seven aperture blades.
It uses 14 lens elements in 11 groups, featuring three Super ED lenses, one ED lens and two EDA elements. It is weatherproofed at 11 points.
The close-focusing distance is just under 2.9 inches (7.5cm) from the front lens element.
For those who plan to make movies, Olympus describes the autofocus as Movie Still Compatible, claiming it is "nearly silent." Zoom and focus noise have been the major complaints from those who use still cameras to make movies.
The lens also has a unique feature that allows it to quickly change from auto to manual focus. Rather than pressing a button, you simply pull the focus ring toward the body to enable manual focus.
The lens also has a customizable "L-FN" button on the barrel that can be assigned one of 27 functions.
It retails for US$1,299.99 and includes front and rear caps and a lens case.
M.Zuiko ED 8mm F1.8 Fisheye PRO
What makes this lens unique is that its maximum aperture is f/1.8 – making it one of the fastest fisheye lenses ever made.
Olympus says the lens provides a 180º field of view, and it produces a non-circular image. With the 2x crop factor of the Micro Four Thirds sensor, it's a full-frame equivalent of 16mm.
As you might expect, it's a complex lens in terms of construction: 17 elements in 15 groups and includes one aspherical lens, three super ED lenses, two ED lenses, one Super HR Lens and two HR elements, which together comprise more than half of the glass in the lens.
It is weather-sealed at five points, and Olympus says the lens can operate in temperatures as low as 14°F (-10°C).
It uses seven aperture blades. Close-focus distance is 4.7 inches (12cm). There is no provision to attach a filter.
The US$999.99 includes front and rear caps and a lens case. Olympus has a separate US$900+ PPO-EP02 dome port that allows the lens to be used with one of its underwater housings.