A Viewfinder Darkly

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Olympus Fast Zoom Lens Trio

October 29 2007

by Phil Northeast

Olympus recently announced three new zoom lenses to accompany their Olympus E-3 Digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera, featuring wide apertures and ultrasonic motors.

ZUIKO Digital SWD Lenses

ZUIKO Digital SWD Lenses

Olympus proudly adds three new Zuiko Digital™ lenses to their range designed specifically for their four thirds digital camera system.

The four thirds refers to the ratio of width to height of the digital image produced by Olympus digital cameras due to the sensor size.

These innovative lenses share Olympus’s new Supersonic Wave Drive™ (SWD) technology mounted inside the lens to provide quiet, ultra-fast autofocus (AF) speed.

Couple this with impressive maximum apertures and focusing problems in low light should be reduced considerably. Even if you need to manually focus, the wide aperture gives you a brighter image in the viewfinder for those critical fine focus adjustments.

The lenses range in quality and price. However, the ED suggests they all use expensive low dispersion lens elements found in  top quality lenses from other manufacturers.

Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD,

Olympus Zuiko 12 - 60mm f2 zoom

Olympus Zuiko 12 – 60mm f2 zoom

Estimated Street Price of  $999.99  suggest that this is a quality general purpose lens. This is backed up by the range of large maximum apertures over the zoom range.
In combination with the E-3, Olympus say this lens delivers the fastest autofocus speed in the world; very handy for capturing the unexpected.

Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD

Focuses twice as fast as the previous ZUIKO DIGITAL lens with that focal length.
The wide range of focal length makes it a versatile tool for sports and action photographers who will appreciate the faster autofocus performance.
With an estimated street price of $1,199.99 this lens looks to represent good value for money in its class.

Zuiko Digital ED 14-35mm f2.0 SWD

thisis the stand out lens in the group. It is a serious no compromise professional lens and the estimated street price of $2,299.99 confirms its pro status.
The maximum aperture on most zoom lenses varies over the zoom range .However, in some exceptional examples the designers work a bit harder to keep it constant over the entire range, as is the case with this lens. It joins the existing Zuiko Digital 35-100mm f2.0 as the brightest fixed aperture lenses in their class.

The lens is part of  the Olympus Super High Grade (SHG) series of lenses. Together with the ED 7-14mm f4.0, ED 35-100mm f2.0 and ED 90-250mm f2.8 lenses, this lens completes Olympus’ series of professional zoom lenses with fixed F-values.

Olympus Zuiko 50 - 200mm f2 zoom lens

Olympus Zuiko 50 – 200mm f2 zoom lens

Olympus says they developed this lens to meet the requirements of the most demanding professionals. It includes reliable splash- and dust-proofing, and a large, petal-shaped lens hood with a polarization filter control window for adjusting the filter with the lens hood attached.

“With these three new SWD lenses, we’ve got outstanding glass to match the high quality performance of our flagship E-3 digital SLR,” said John Knaur, senior marketing manager, Digital SLR, Olympus Imaging America Inc

Adding more versatility to the lenses is the new Zuiko Digital 2x Teleconverter EC-20. This doubles the focal length of any Zuiko Digital lens, dramatically extending lens performance and putting more subjects within the photographer’s range without affecting mobility or ease of use.

With an estimated street price of $479.99 the teleconverter provides a cost effective solution to the requirements of telephoto shooting. The convenient size makes it useful when size and weight are important considerations when travelling or hiking.

These lenses should start appearing from November this year and all should be available by early 2008.

Olympus Zuiko 14 - 35mm f2 zoom Lens

Olympus Zuiko 14 – 35mm f2 zoom Lens


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