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Olympus boosts Micro Four Thirds range with new superzoom optic

Olympus has given its PEN and OM-D series of Micro Four Thirds cameras a boost with a fresh superzoom lens, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm F3.5-6.3.

The new optic delivers a focal range equivalent to 24-400mm in 35mm terms when partnered with a Micro Four Thirds camera such as the OM-D E-M1X – that's equivalent to a 16.6x focal range, and Olympus claims this is the first interchangeable lens designed for a mirrorless system to offer this.

Weighing 455g and ostensibly aimed at traveling photographers, the company has designed the lens with a dust- and splash-proof casing, one that's said to be on the same level as that used for the company's PRO lenses. Olympus also underlines the similar level of protection offered by selected OM-D bodies for which it's intended.

The optical configuration sees 16 elements spread across 11 groups, many of these boasting either aspherical surfaces or low-dispersive properties. The company's ZERO coating used on the elements to help banish aberrations such as ghosting and flare, while a seven-blade diaphragm regulates the aperture.

Focusing is internal and handled by a MSC (Movie and Still Compatible) mechanism. Olympus claims this provides fast, smooth and accurate autofocusing that's also quiet enough to satisfy those capturing videos. 

Other features include a 22cm minimum focusing distance and a maximum 0.46x magnification when capturing images and videos at the telephoto end of the lens. The 72mm filter thread also allows for circular filters to be mounted.

Olympus, which is celebrating its centenary this year, launched its latest pro-focused OM-D E-M1X last month. It has also stated that a celebratory silver edition of its current OM-D E-M1 Mark II model will available to mark the occasion, with production limited to just 2,000 units.

The lens is scheduled for release towards the end of March, with a suggested retail price of $899.99 in the US and £799.99 in the UK. Pricing for Australia hasn't yet been confirmed.



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