Cameras are nice, but to me, lenses are where the rubber meets the road, and Olympus has been turning out some very nice Micro Four Thirds lenses these days. At Photokina, the company is showing off a new moderately priced 60mm f2.8 macro, odd 15mm f8 body-cap lens, a black limited edition version of its 12mm f2, and announced development of a new 17mm f1.8
Optimized to be used in conjunction with the OM-D E-M5, the 60mm macro is weather-resistant to match that camera. It's relatively large -- 13 elements -- and Olympus makes use of all that extra space by adding a focus-limiter switch, distance/magnification scale readout, and large focus ring. One of the company's MSC video-silent lenses, it uses internal focus, as you'd expect from a macro lens, and has a minimum focus distance of 7.5 inches. If equipped with the optional lens hood, you can slide the hood forward rather than remove it in order to access the focus ring. It'll cost $499.99 when it ships in October.
On the novelty front, the company has created a flat 15mm f8 lens that doubles as a body cap. It's got a manual lever to cover the lens and a switch that toggles between infinite and sub-1-foot focus distances. It sounds like an interesting choice for quick-draw street shooting in bright conditions.
If you had a yen for the 12mm f2 lens but felt it was just too bright and shiny in its Champagne silver, Olympus will now offer a limited edition version in black. Get ready to fork over a premium for it, though: it will cost $1,099 when it ships in October, compared with the lighter version at $799.99.
Finally, the company announced that it's developing a 17mm f1.8 lens with a similar design to the current 12mm. Its current 17mm f2.8 offering is nice for an inexpensive pancake, but something faster would be welcome. We'll have to wait until 2013 for it, though.