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Sleek compact, M43 tele lens from Olympus

Immediately prior to the CP+ show in Yokohama, emerging as the platform for photo companies to announce their enthusiast and professional products, Olympus has announced a new metal-bodied Stylus XZ-10 compact, and an updated 75-300mm Micro Four Thirds lens.

XZ-10_BLK_RIGHTThe XZ-10 combines a 12-megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor with a fast f1.8-2.7 5x optical zoom lens to appeal to premium compact camera buyers. It’s sensor, however, is the smaller 1/2.3-inch (6.17 x 4.55mm) physical size.

The XZ-10 introduces some new features to please family photographers, including a new ‘Photo Story’ direct-montage function that enables users to compile a collection of related pictures that tells a story of a special occasion or event as a single frame. This mode displays montage templates on the LCD screen with picture ‘frames’ that users can shoot directly into by tapping on the frame containing the composed picture. The image is then saved when all frames are filled.

The XZ-10’s lens covers a focal length range equivalent to 26-130mm in 35mm format and provides superior brightness throughout the zoom range. The wide apertures enable users to produce sharply-focused subjects while keeping distracting backgrounds blurred. Close focusing to 30cm in available throughout the zoom range.

A wide range of shooting modes is available, including iAUTO, Scene Mode, Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Speed Priority and Manual exposure plus 11 Art Filters for photos and movies. Multiple-exposure modes include HDR backlight (high dynamic range backlight shooting for balanced exposure) and Handheld Starlight shooting (stacked noise reduction shooting). High and Shadow Tone Control are also supported, along with continuous shooting at up to 5 fps at 12 megapixels or 60 fps at 3 megapixels. Proprietary high-speed and high-sensitivity (iHS) technology makes use of the latest image sensor and image processor technology to provide fast autofocusing, high frame rate video for slow-motion playback, and improved noise performance.
The Stylus XZ-10’s High Speed Video feature enables super-slow motion film clips to be recorded in superb HD quality. Movies can be recorded with frame rates up to 120 frames/second at 720p for dramatic slow-motion playback or 240 fps at HVGA resolution for playback at 8× slow-motion. Normal movie footage is recorded in Full HD 1080p quality with stereo sound. A customisable front Control Ring enables easy adjustment of lens aperture and/or shutter speed in the A, S or M shooting modes, while a customisable rear function button adds further control options.

FlashAir card (from Toshiba) support enables wireless transfer of photographs to social media sites through smart-phones and tablets, via an Olympus app.

As is regrettably all too common in Australia, local pricing details have not been revealed, although the camera is scheduled for release in March.

M Zuiko 75-300mm MkII lens

OM-D_75-300_best_bOlympus has also announced an update to the Micro Four Thirds M Zuiko 75-300mm telephoto zoom lens, with a re-styled exterior to suit the OM-D camera.

With a zoom range equivalent to 150-600mm in 35mm format, the M.Zuiko 75-300mm lens has been popular with sports and wildlife photographers. With a combined weight of only 848 grams, the OM-D and the M.Zuiko 75-300mm MkII is also a good travel combination.

The new version is slightly lighter than its predecessor. It has 18 elements in 13 groups including a Super ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lens element, and two ED lenses to eliminate chromatic aberrations, plus three HR (High-refractive) lenses to maintain a compact physical size and further reduce optical aberrations. ZERO Coating (Zuiko Extra-Low Reflection Optical Coating) on all glass surfaces minimises the effects of flare and ghosting.

The Olympus MSC (Movie & Still Compatible) lens drive system is used to provide very fast and silent autofocusing as well as smooth AF tracking for movie recording. The internal focusing lens elements are driven directly by a metallic shaft and feed screw, which are engineered to submicrometric accuracies.
The new lens can focus to 90cm at the 150mm setting or 1.5 metres at 300mm. It weighs 423 grams and is under 12cm closed.

Scheduled for release in March, the price has yet to be revealed.

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