Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Will Olympus announce their new PRO series lenses in a few weeks?

Supposedly, there is an Olympus announcement coming around the end of August.

Maybe, obviously, the PEN E-PL7 will be announced for immediate sale.  The replacement for the OM-D E-M5 should be announced, as well.  However, I'm more interested to see the final realization of the 40-150mm f/2.8 lens, plus whether they've got the 7-14mm f/2.8 ready.

The ultra wide angle lens is important to me, especially since I've been photographing at skate parks lately.  I don't really care for fish eye lenses and Olympus still sells theirs--and a certain BMX rider has been on me to buy it, for that exaggerated perspective.  However, f/2.8 vs. f/3.5 makes for the difference between getting the shot and not.  (My first thought about this lens was that it would be great for the real estate market, but they're generally fine with point and shoot cameras.)

Of course, is it as important as it was even five years ago?  Putting an LED array on the hot shoe will provide sufficient lighting that the BMX rider will be blinded temporarily while moving close.  Plenty of people have mentioned flash, which amounts to the same problem.  Studio lights with massive battery power?  No, thanks.

The Nikon D810 might provide a better low light experience with the right weather-sealed ultra wide angle lens.  It had better at the weight, the size, and at the price.  Remember that the sensor itself mimics the size of 135 Format film--roughly 24x36mm and that is not huge or heavy.

Of course, the slippery Nikon Df has the sensor from the D4 with extra low light sensitivity, but it will probably be a handful to use for sports.

In any case, the Olympus E-M1 and Panasonic GH4 will work well for me, and hopefully, the new lenses will be everything I need.  I'm especially looking forward to replacing Panasonic's dismal 35-100mm f/2.8 lens with the 40-150mm f/2.8.  (It's amazing how different their 12-35mm and 35-100mm are.  I never ever hear negative remarks about the 12-35mm f/2.8 lens.)

Of course, the 40-150mm f/2.8 can't really replace my 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 because of the lack of reach.  Having the 135 Format equivalent of 400mm is awesome, especially when it's sharp.  (Panasonic's 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6 doesn't seem to be sharp anywhere, but it's small and light with a 52mm filter size that covers a lot of plastic vs 67mm with a large front element.  Can't expect much.)

If the 40-150mm is as sharp as my Olympus 35-100mm f/2.0, I'd be thrilled and amazed.  I don't expect that.  I expect it to be somewhere in-between the 50-200mm and the 35-100mm f/2.0 in all aspects, with the price, also.  This is the case with the 12-40mm f/2.8 and the 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 and 14-35mm f/2.0.

The 7-14mm f/2.8 really signals an end of Four-Thirds for me.  I looked at the Four-Thirds 7-14mm f/4.0, which is an amazing lens, but couldn't get past the f/4.0.  I would be using it on micro Four-Thirds equipment but it would negate any advantage the newer sensors have.  Using it on the E-1 and E-5 would be practically perfect though.  However, these are not really landscape tools and the way I would want to use it would not be practical, even if I spend a lot of time in bright sunlight.  I shoot at night also.  (This is also a sticking point with the 8mm f/3.5 fish eye lens.)

The price of the 7-14mm f/2.8 is going to be high.  I'm guessing that it will be around US$1999.99 and the 40-150mm f/2.8 should be around US$1499.99.

Update 2014.08.17: The E-M1 is rumored to get 4K recording?  It doesn't even do well with the recording abilities it has.  It would be great to see a huge upgrade to 1080p, complete with high bit rates, but I can't imagine that happening either.  It was a bit amusing to see someone submitted Olympus' high end testing cameras as evidence that Olympus can do video.  If you're in the market to record and test vehicle crashes, I'm sure they're just fine.  I only want to record 1080p and 4K at the moment.

Update 2014.09.25: The 40-150mm f/2.8 will be released in November for US$1499.99.  The micro Four-Thirds 1.4x teleconverter will be US$349.99, which is about $90 cheaper than the Four-Thirds version.

The E-M1 version 2.0 firmware included many little updates but no 4K video.  Supposedly, there is still some hope for that, and some individual is working on firmware hacks, but what will Olympus do?  They couldn't even save the majority of my settings.

I have yet to be invited to a pre-release even for the 40-150mm f/2.8 lens.  I'd certainly like to make sure it's worth the money.  I continue to hope that micro Four-Thirds will work for me, whether Panasonic or Olympus.  However, the Nikon D750 looks a great product.

I've considered a trade-in of my Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 lens for the 40-150mm f/2.8 lens.  If I end up with a GH4, as well as the E-M1, I'll probably need the 35-100mm lens.

Update 2014.12.18: Now that the 40-150mm f/2.8 lens and matching teleconverter are available, I'm looking forward to the 7-14mm f/2.8 and I'm sure others will be looking for the 300mm f/4.0.  I'm wondering if the 300mm lens will be a made-to-order item, as is the Four-Thirds 300mm f/2.8 lens.

The Four-Thirds 300mm f/2.8 lens is US$6499.99, a bit more expensive than the 90-250mm f/2.8 lens that has been US5499.99 but is now $4899.99 at Adorama.  I don't expect that the micro Four-Thirds version will be close but would US$1999.99 - $2499.99 be unexpected?  If it's more than that, there will likely be resistance from people who would actually buy it.  It's a valid point.  There are plenty of people who complain about the price of every higher-priced lens, fairly priced or not, especially when they're not going to buy one.  Should lens makers sell the wares for less than it costs to research, design, and manufacture them?