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Micro 4/3 Lenses Getting Serious – Olympus 75mm f/1.8 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm F2.8

The Micro 4/3 format first came out as a novelty item, catering those who want interchangeable lens capabilities, a slightly larger-than-point-and-shoot camera sensor, and a smaller-than-DSLR body.

Three years on and the two biggest players in the Micro 4/3 consortium, Olympus and Panasonic have fully embraced this new format and the market has too.

In Japan and several major camera markets in Asia, Micro 4/3 cameras have equaled the sales of traditional DSLRs as technology improves and prices fall.

One shortcoming of Micro 4/3 cameras have been the availability of higher-end lenses for serious amateurs as the cameras are often bundled with consumer-grade zooms or relatively slow prime lenses. Only the Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 pancake prime lens gained popularity in terms of quality and performance, despite it’s relatively high cost.

That trend has slowly gained traction and Panasonic and Olympus have both released some pretty impressive lenses the past 8 months, and most recently, Panasonic announced the Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm F2.8 constant f/2.8 aperture zoom lens covering an equivalent focal length of 24-70mm f/2.8 of a 35mm sensor.

Meanwhile, Olympus moved to launch the much awaited M.ZUIKO Digital ED 75mm f1.8 prime lens. Clearly designed for portrait use, the large aperture lens marks the first true fast prime of Olympus for the Micro 4/3 format.

Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. Press Release and Specs

Panasonic Introduces New Micro Four Thirds Digital Interchangeable Lens (via PR Newswire)

SECAUCUS, N.J., May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Panasonic announced a new digital interchangeable standard zoom lens, the LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. (H-HS12035).  The newest addition to the company’s premium lens brand “X,” which is compatible with the Panasonic LUMIX G Series…

Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75mm f1.8 Press Release and Specs

The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75mm f1.8’s nine-blade circular aperture unit delivers beautiful defocused backgrounds, while the high-quality optical design keeps the subject in sharp focus.

This is due to an advanced optical design that incorporates 10 lens elements in nine groups that make extensive use of special glass materials, including three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements to optimally correct aberrations. Each lens element is polished to an ultra-high level of working precision, only possible with the progressive techniques developed by Olympus master craftsmen, and carefully assembled to ensure maximum accuracy and reliability.

Olympus’s exclusive ZERO (ZUIKO Extra-low Reflection Optical Coating) lens coatings are applied to the elements to reduce reflectance to a level that is half that of conventional coatings.

With a total length of just 2.7 inches, the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75mm f1.8 is surprisingly small and maximizes the performance and portability of the Olympus PEN and OM-D compact system cameras.

A textured metallic outer finish exudes quality and sophistication, while the large 50mm diameter glass front lens conveys a sense of power and performance.

Ideal for capturing brilliant still images and high-definition (HD) videos, the lens employs Olympus’s proven MSC (Movie & Still Compatible) autofocusing mechanism featuring an inner focus system to drive this single-focal-length lens for fast and quiet focusing. A precision-touch metallic focus ring provides easy manual focusing.

The optional LH-61F Lens Hood and the LC-61 Lens Cap metallic lens accessories are designed exclusively for the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75mm f1.8. The LH-61F Lens Hood attaches with an outer friction knob system that allows attachment or removal even when the lens cap is attached.

U.S. Pricing and Availability

The Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75mm f1.8 High-Grade Portrait Lens will be available in summer 2012.

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