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Christmas Gift Guide
Cameras

Olympus extends its lens line with something for everyone

Fast, functional pro lenses and a consumer-friendly macro debut.

Olympus went all out with the accessories this Photokina, revealing three new key lenses and a new flash unit.

The most intriguing is the 12-100mm f4 IS Pro, which looks like an excellent general-purpose option for advanced Micro Four Thirds photographers. It's about the same size as the 12-40mm f2.8 Pro lens -- 5 inches/117 mm long and 20 oz/561 g with a diameter of 78mm -- but with a 35mm equivalent range of 24-200mm to cover a lot of territory. It supports Olympus' 5-axis Sync IS hybrid stabilization system (Olympus claims a maximum of 6.5 stops), and as with all the Pro lenses, it has a manual-focus clutch and it's weather sealed with all Olympus' current coatings for reduction of ghost and flare and protection.

It can focus as close as 0.6 in/1.5cm from the front of the lens at 12mm and 1.8 in/4.5cm at 100mm, with maximum image magnification of 0.6x to 0.42x.

It doesn't fall into the "affordable" category, though. Olympus plans to ship the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f4.0 IS Pro in November for $1,300 (directly converted, £1,000 and AU$1,740).

Next up is a 25mm f1.2 Pro which, with its 50mm-equivalent focal-length sounds like it has the potential to be a lovely portrait lens. Olympus claims to have abandoned the standard 50mm optical formula and are able to achieve full resolving power at f1.2 and little
aberration. It doesn't have optical image stabilization, but is dust-and-weather sealed with a manual focus cuff and depth-of-field scale.

It's not cheap, though. The M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f1.2 Pro should ship in October for $1,200 (directly converted, approximately £925 and AU$1,600).

Finally, the company also debuted a more consumer-oriented 30mm f3.5 macro lens. 30mm f3.5 macro. It only has a 7-blade aperture rather than 9 and lacks image stabilization, but it's designed to work in an underwater housing. It has two accessories for use underwater, a geared ring and an antireflective ring.

You should be able to get your mitts on the M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm f3.6 Macro in October, for $300 (directly converted, about £231 and AU$400).

It's been a while since Olympus released a full-size flash, and it's back with the FL-900R. The flash has a fully rotatable head and LED for continuous lighting in video. Its power output ranges from GN 14 to GN 58, supports wireless and is dust and weather sealed. Olympus claims a fast recycle time and a sync speed of 1/128 second in super focal plane mode.