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Olympus has just announced its latest addition to the Micro Four Thirds lens ecosystem: an updated version of its longstanding 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 super-telephoto zoom. (That's a 150-600mm film equivalent.) If you're looking for an update to the lens construction, you're out of luck—it's the same 18-element/13-group design from the original.
What is new on the Olympus 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II (MSRP $549.00) is the company's ZERO (Zuiko Extra-low Reflection Optical) coating, previously used on virtually all of its high-end Micro Four Thirds optics. As the name suggests, the coating should help create clearer, more flare-resistant images, especially in challenging lighting conditions.
The lens aesthetics have also been updated to more closely reflect the look of the 12-50mm kit lens from the OM-D E-M5. This includes the more machined-feeling focus and zoom rings, and the all-black finish. Gone are the odd silver accents from the first generation of Micro Four Thirds lenses.
Olympus's PR materials make a big deal of how well the lens plays with the OM-D's five-axis image stabilization, but it's just marketing; logic tells us that the old version would work just as well, as far as IS goes.
To be honest, we had hoped for more from Olympus at CP+. A cosmetic rehash of a mediocre zoom isn't our idea of something worth setting up a booth for. But who knows? Maybe they'll still surprise us with some flashy last-minute announcement. We live in hope.
The 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II will be available in March. For more information, see the press release below, or visit the Olympus press center.
ZOOM POWER FOR THE PEOPLE: REDESIGNED OLYMPUS M.ZUIKO® ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 II LENS
Super-Telephoto Shooting Power for Micro Four Thirds Users with Minimal Lens Flare
CENTER VALLEY, Pa., January 29, 2013 – Olympus makes high-performance super-telephoto shooting more accessible than ever before by introducing the affordable M.ZUIKO ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 II lens (35mm equivalent 150-600mm). Olympus has redesigned the lens to match the distinctive OM-D E-M5® and PEN® Micro Four Thirds® series cameras and added a new advanced ZERO (Zuiko Extra-low Reflection Optical) coating to keep scratches off, and eliminate ghosting and lens flare even in bright lights.
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 II telephoto lens boasts the same high focal length and first-class components as its predecessor, the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7, and is capable of bringing faraway subjects like children’s faces, animals and landscape features vividly to life with superb-quality close-ups. Olympus fitted a circular aperture that ensures a professional-looking bokeh with smooth and even background defocusing.
The compact size and light weight of this tiny telephoto lens make it convenient to carry. Olympus has redesigned the lens to match the distinctive OM-D E-M5 and PEN series cameras. The lens includes Olympus’ near-silent MSC (Movie and Still Compatible) focusing technology to reduce the whir that can otherwise ruin movie playback on a High-Definition TV.
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 II benefits from the 5-axis image stabilization of the OM-D E-M5 and maximizes the performance of the Olympus PEN compact system cameras for brilliant still images and high-definition (HD) video capture.
U.S. Pricing and Availability
The Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm f4-6.7 II Lens will be available in March, 2013.
Estimated Street Price: $549.99