2023 seems like the year for brands to push out one telephoto lens after another. Canon announced their 100-300mm F2.8 L IS USM lens just a couple of months ago. Nikon surprised us with their Z-mount 70-180mm f2.8 and 180-600mm f5-6.3 VR lens announcements last week. Back in January, Sony too said they were working on an FE 300mm f/2.8 GM lens. And Canon doesn’t seem like they’re done yet with an RF 200-500 f4 lens possibly coming out at the end of the year. OM Digital might be joining the party soon, with not one but two telephoto lenses perhaps coming up soon.
The last OM Digital telephoto we reviewed was the stellar 150-400mm f4.5 Pro lens, which bagged an Editor’s Choice Award last year. In our review, we said:
If there were a nearly perfect lens for the OM System cameras for birding, it would be the Olympus 150-400mm f4.5 PRO. Billed for wildlife, birding, and sports, it’s an innovative lens capable of giving photographers a very high keeper rate.
OM Digital might be adding two more models to its telephoto lens range by the end of the year. 4/3 Rumors has reported a few times in the past weeks, of upcoming OM Digital telephoto lenses. They’ve been listed on the OM Digital roadmap for some months now. But this is the first time we have an inkling of the lenses’ focal range.
OM Digital 50-200mm f2.8
The first lens we can expect is the OM Digital 50-200mm f2.8. This would have a full frame equivalent range of 100 to 400mm at an equivalent aperture of f5.6. A lens that would greatly appeal to sports and wildlife photographers using OM Digital and Olympus cameras. As we’ve seen many times now, OM Digital cameras are no slouches when tracking birds and animals outdoors. Photographer Peter Cavanagh spoke volumes about the strengths of the Olympus OM-D E- M1X and its Pro Capture system. He used this to photograph many birds for his latest book, ‘100 Flying Birds – Photographing the Mechanics of Flight’. The focal range and effective aperture would be more than sufficient to capture great photos outdoors in various situations.
Portrait photographers, photojournalists, and wedding and event photographers can also benefit from a lens like this. We can expect it to be under a foot in length and weigh around a kilo. Let’s hope that, unlike what they did with the 40-150mm f2.8 lens, they include body stabilization in this model. You’d lose about 10mm of focal length on the wider end, but you gain 25% more zoom with the aperture remaining at f2.8. It will definitely have better background separation and bokeh than the next lens expected from them.
OM Digital 50-250mm f4
Gaining an extra 50mm of zoom but losing out on a stop of light is the OM Digital 50-250mm f4. This is going to be the more compact of the two lenses here. It is a full frame 100-500mm f8 equivalent lens. I think it would be great if the lens could remain the same size no matter what focal length it is zoomed to. It would also help if they managed to get this lens to have macro capabilities. They just might leave out the image stabilization in this one to keep it much more compact. But OM bodies have some excellent in-body stabilization anyway.
If these two features were possible, OM system users could consider such a lens for travel photography. An OMD EM1 III, the 12-45mm f4 PRO, and this upcoming 50-250mm f4 are probably all you’d need for an extended trip. We’re unsure if it will carry the PRO tag like the 40-150mm, but we sure hope so.
Undoubtedly, OM Digital will probably keep its excellent weather sealing and metal construction in both lenses. With 6 months left in the calendar year, it remains to be seen whether they’ll announce these lenses together or separately.