updated 01:00 am EDT, Thu June 30, 2011
Olympus MFT gets 12mm f2, 45mm f1.8, FL-300R flash
Olympus finished off a series of launches early Tuesday through the addition of a pair of very bright Micro Four Thirds lenses and a new flash. Both a 12mm f2 ED lens and a 45mm f1.8 lens give the PEN camera line bright lenses more flexible than the 17mm pancake that has defined the line. Olympus envisions the 12mm being used for wide-angle shots and darker street photography, while the 45mm is more a portrait lens that can produce bokeh (soft backgrounds from shallow depth of field) while still keeping a typical distance.
The 12mm has a "snap focus" that can quickly adjust the hyperfocal distance.
Two of the core lenses are getting a mild upgrade as well. The 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R and 40-150mm f4-5.6 R both have a freshened up look to match the 2011 PEN cameras, including the removable ring at the end for attachments.
Backing off slightly from the retro-influenced flash it launched with the E-PL1, Olympus is now adding a second external flash, the FL-300R. The more traditional body can illuminate subjects as far away as 30 feet and with lenses as wide-angle as 9mm. It supports wireless triggers and can fire at the same time as the built-in flash on the E-P3 or non-Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras.
The E-P3's optional deep, SLR-like camera grip is available as the MCG-2 and will be available in beige to match the white or silver models.
The 12mm lens, FL-300R flash, and MCG-2 grip are available today for $800, $170, and $20 respectively. Photographers will have to wait until September for the 45mm lens, which will cost $400.