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OM Digital Solutions unveils ‘evolutionary’ OM-1 Mark II

Posted on Jan 30, 2024

‘Evolutionary’ OM-1 Mark II

Updated model features subtle enhancements and world’s first grad ND functionality

OM Digital Solutions has announced an updated version of its flagship OM-1.

The OM System OM-1 Mark II will be available in February for £2200 body only, or £2700 with a 12-40mm kit lens, and offers both performance and feature upgrades compared to the previous version. It will also be the first model to bear the OM System name on the pentaprism.

The updates are claimed to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, although one feature – Live GND – is a world’s first, digitally replicating the effects of a graduated neutral density filter.

The filter is available in three strengths – GND 2, 4 and 8 – and three types – soft, medium and hard. Landscape photographers are sure to approve.

Further improvements have been made to the autofocus system, which offers better continuous AF and AI subject detection for a wide range of popular subjects.

Detection of up to eight subjects is also possible, while an individual subject within a group can be selected, then tracked.

In-body image stabilisation is now up to 8.5 stops – a 20% gain over the Mark I model. There are also ergonomic improvements with the input dials now rubberised for a better feel in colder conditions.

The magnesium alloy body retains IP53 class dustproof and splashproof performance and also works down to -10°C.

The Micro Four Thirds sensor and processor in the Mark II remain the same as the previous version with a 20 megapixel stacked BSI Live MOS sensor and TruePic X image processor.

Buffer size has been improved, however, with the camera capable of recording up to 213 Raw frames at 120fps in the Pro Capture mode.

Video specs also stay largely unchanged, with 4K/60p and Full HD/120p available, alongside a new vertical video option.

Further improvements over the original include an improved algorithm for focus stacking, plus a 14-bit Raw option in the Handheld and Tripod Hi Res modes which use sensor shift technology to deliver 50MP and 80MP files respectively.

A new super telephoto zoom has also been announced. The M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-600mm f/5.0-6.3 IS offers the 35mm equivalent to a 300-1200mm and is compatible with a 2x teleconverter compatibility as well, boosting the focal length to 2400mm equivalent.

The optic offers IPX1 weather resistance, fluorine coating, up to 7 stops of image stabilisation and costs £2500. It will be available from late February.


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Laowa FFII 10mm F2.8 coming soon

It seems like Laowa will be releasing their first full-frame autofocus lens (but not autofocus for us) and it’s a 10mm F2.8 and still a fairly compact lens. They claim near zero distortion and the MTF’s look good enough that it may even be half decent with coma. If so, this would almost immediately be a lens in any astro-landscaper’s toolkit.

The price according to weibo seems to be around $850 USD, which isn’t bad for a 10mm F2.8 prime. From the specifications, it appears that there are two different RF versions one with 14 aperture blades and the other with 5.

The MTF is it’s accurate, then it looks fantastic. It looks almost too good to be true, but Laowa delivered before, so there’s that to consider.

Also, please don’t ask me what Frog Eye Coating is.

You can get Laowa products from B&H Photovideo though this lens is not currently available.

Basic Specifications

  • Mount:
    AF: E/Z
    MF: E/RF/Z/L (14 apertures)
    MF: RF/L (5 apertures)
  • Format: Full size
  • Focal length: 10mm
  • Lens configuration: 15 elements in 9 groups
  • Open aperture: F2.8
  • Minimum aperture: F22
  • Aperture blades: 5 pieces / 14 pieces
  • Shortest shooting distance: 0.12m
  • Maximum shooting magnification: 0.24x
  • Filter diameter: 77mm
  • Size: 82×70.8mm
  • Weight: 420g
image 10 561x1024 - Laowa FFII 10mm F2.8 coming soon

Via: Asobinet
Source: Weibo

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Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS $1999 (Reg $2799)

Canon has a big discount on the refurbished Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS. You can grab one now for only $1999 (Reg $2799). As always, this lens will come with a full 1-year Canon USA warranty.

Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS

  • RF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/1.2 to f/16
  • Defocus Smoothing Coating for Soft Bokeh
  • Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics Element
  • One UD Element, One Aspherical Element
  • Air Sphere Coating
  • Ring-Type Ultrasonic Motor AF System
  • Customizable Control Ring
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm

Refurbished Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS $1999 (Reg $2799)

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#2 EOS R8 and RF 10-20mm F4L IS STM

Please check out our other articles as they come out in this series, and of course the article from yesterday about the #3 on our lists.

Craig’s #2: Canon EOS R8 Camera

Picking the runner-up was probably the hardest part (really not that hard) of making the list. Part of it was getting over personal bias and my love for the EOS R50, but I don’t think it was the best camera package released in 2023. That goes to the EOS R8 for me. Both of those cameras are obviously for different purposes and budgets.

The EOS R8 is essentially the follow-up to the EOS RP, which was a fine camera, albeit built from the EF era parts bin. The EOS R8 feels like an original EOS R camera. I felt it was good value at its $1499 launch price, but now you can get one for anywhere between $1000-$1200 regularly, which makes it an even better value.

Canon gave the EOS R8 all that was needed for it in my opinion to be the best value full-frame camera for photography on the market.

The one knock? I do wish it had a joystick, but there are always trade-offs in value segments.

I have been shooting with the EOS R8/RF 24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM combo for about a month now and I am happy that it really doesn’t matter how much you spend, great results for general shooters are pretty much available across the board.

Richard’s #2: Canon RF 10-20mm F4L IS STM

I still remember when Canon announced the TS-E 17mm in 2009. Really up to that point, it was pretty much a running joke that Canon couldn’t make a half-decent ultra-wide lens for either love or money. It was so bad that there was a run on Canon EF to Nikon F adapters to use the now legendary Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8G because Canon had no answer to that lens.

Fast forward to today, and Canon has left that all in the dust, as they have flexed their optical design muscles in creating ultra-wide after ultra-wide that have been excellent performers, whether it be for the RF, EF-M, or the EF mount.

That brings me to this. Canon once again, goes “because we can…” in creating the widest full-frame constant aperture zoom lens to date. By all accounts, Canon left nothing on the table when it comes to performance, as we showed in our MTF analysis here.

This will be one of those halo lenses for some time to come, and if you want to go wide, there’s nothing out there that can match this lens.

I suspect this lens will be in short supply for most of its life – for starters, it’s really difficult even with automated manufacturing and assembly to do a lens like this consistently, so Canon will take their time in production and testing. Secondly, it’s a freaking 10-20mm lens on a full frame.

I had another pick in this slot, and while over breakfast, I thought about it and decided on the 10-20mm instead. My honorable #2 position item is the R50 camera body.

I picked this camera not because it was the best, but because it was the best in its price range and strategically important for Canon to come out with a competitive, cheap camera in the same vein as the M50.

For those that aren’t aware, the EOS-M M50 was an insanely popular camera for Canon and probably kept Canon’s camera market share in the high 40s for a few years. This is what the R50 should be for Canon. It’s surprisingly almost the same size as the M50 but with the bigger RF mount. The control layout also is nearly the same between the two cameras. That to me, indicates that Canon wants this camera to be the next M50. Strategically this is one of the best cameras that Canon did this year in my opinion, as it rounds out the lower end of the system with a capable camera that is competitive in the marketplace, but the Canon RF 10-20mm is just a little more awesome.

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What’s going on with Canon Speedlites?

Since the launch of the EOS R system, the Speedlite situation for the system has been a bit of a mess.

Currently, the flagship Speedlite EL-1 isn’t expected to ship again until May of 2024, while it’s compatible the entire EOS R lineup, it’s also prohibitively expensive for a lot of shooters. The Speedlite EL-5 isn’t compatible with the EOS R5, but works with the EOS R3, EOS R6 Mark II, EOS R7 and EOS R10.

The EL-100? It doesn’t really check all the boxes for a lot of shooters, but compatibility isn’t an issue with the EOS R system.

We have no idea what the ongoing issues are with Canon Speedlites, the EL-5 was delayed for more than 6 months and the EL-1 stock levels remain inconsistent. The EL-5 is easy to come by, but we think it would be far more popular if it was compatible with the EOS R5.

We are now being told that the EL-1 “may never be available again” and that Canon is “revamping the entire Speedlite line next year”. What that means, we’re not 100% sure, but it would make sense to address it with the expected EOS R1 and EOS R5 Mark II launches next calendar year.

We previously reported than Speedlite EL-10 was on the way, and apparently that is still going to be happening. While it was rumoured to appear late this year, that didn’t come to pass. With the issues surrounding Speedlite’s for EOS R, we’re not surprised things have been bumped…… again.

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Maven Filters launches their Wave 2 “Revenge of the Mavens”

Just over 1 year after the launch of his first Kickstarter which raised over a half million dollars on crowdfunding platforms, camera reviewer & Youtuber Michael The Maven has announced a second Kickstarter for his MAVEN filter line, which expands his patent-pending Color Coded, Magnetic Filter ecosystem with 17 new filter products set to launch at up to a 70% discount off expected retail pricing.

Check out the new Maven Filters

The new filter lineup includes an improved color linear polarizer, 3 Dark Polarizer (Neutral Density + Circular Polarizer combo filters – 3ND + CPL, 6ND + ND, & 10ND + CPL), 3 gradient filters, new NDs (including 2, 4 & extreme 15, 18 & 20 Stop NDs), a Bahtinov Mask (used for focusing on stars), an Infrared 720 Filter, a step-up ring with built in splash guard, plasma flare effect filters (blue and gold), as well as new transparent Quick Carry case and other accessories.

The Kickstarter will offer sizes 82, 77, 72, and 67mm with new sizes coming based on demand in 2024.

What’s special about the second line up?

“We are expanding the MAVEN filter ecosystem, so creators can access, adapt and rapidly change the filters they use. These new designs showcase our patent-pending 2-color technology, building upon a Universal language of convenience in identifying which filter does what. We had many requests for dark CPLs and variable filters and we also wanted find a way for those to work together in a convenient, yet adaptable system.”

MAVEN’s DARK Circular Polarizers mean landscape photographers who typically shoot with 2 filters (an ND and CPL) will only need one filter, resulting in less weight, faster set up, cleaning, and minimizing vignetting on very wide-angle lenses. But, the new DARK CPLs have a hidden feature; MAVEN’s new Navy-Blue Linear Polarizer is a standalone polarizer, but can also be added onto the front any other MAVEN Polarizer to create a color-coded variable density filter, providing an additional 1.3-5 Stops of filtration to the second CPL. In the case of a 3 Stop CPL, it would become a 4.3-8 Stop Variable Density filter. The same linear polarizer can convert the other Dark CPLs and even a half fill graduated variable filter, also with 1.3-5 stops of filtration.

“So many of my friends use variables for convenience and precision when shooting video, so I wanted them to have a MAVEN magnetic solution and give them as many options as possible.”

The MAVEN Variable Systems can also be combined with MAVEN specialty filters, to create unique combinations such as Variable Show Glow, Variable Plasma Streak and more.

“By breaking the 2 variable polarizing filters into their own components, we give our customers more options in a lighter footprint, without requiring them to buy multiple types of variables leading to a deep cost savings.”

1st Day Kick Starter Rewards include (a limited number of) Early Bird VIP Specials:

Early Bird Specials (all in sizes between Sizes 82, 77, 72, or 67mm)

Add-ons allow for discounts to accessories including adapter rings, caps, and other MAVEN filters.

Learn more about Maven Filters Wave 2

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Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM $1999 (Reg $2799) & RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM $1899 (Reg $2599)

Canon has a couple of huge deals on popular refurbished lenses. While quantities last, you can save big on both the RF 28-70mm f/2L USM and RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM.

All refurbished gear from the Canon USA stores come with a full 1-year Canon USA warranty

Purchase Options

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Canon Patent Application: APS-C 15-45mm

One of the disappointments for me with the RF-S system is the normal kit zoom range from 18-45 instead of 15-45mm.

In this patent application, Canon sets out to create a 15-45mm that hopefully isn’t plagued with the same quality assurance issues as its older EF-M brother. I swear I went through 5 copies until I finally got one that was on point and quite good. Once I did, I loved the focal range having been used of the 18-55mm kit zooms in the past, the 15-18mm was well appreciated by myself.

In this patent application, Cann wants a small lens with spherical aberrations and others more corrected than prior patents allowed for.

However, in the zoom lens disclosed in Patent Document 1, the entire lens system is large and it is not possible to achieve sufficiently high image quality. Furthermore, in the zoom lens disclosed in Patent Document 2, various aberrations such as spherical aberration and coma aberration are not sufficiently corrected. An object of the present invention is to provide a zoom lens with good optical performance over the entire zoom range.

The EF-M 15-45mm is quite similar in terms of optical design. This design appears to be missing one element between L11 and L12, otherwise it’s a very similar design.

The back focus on the embodiments is quite tight, which makes me wonder if this was originally in the pipeline as a EF-M 15-45mm II, instead of an RF-S lens. However, even though the ingress into the mount is significant, there may still be enough room for the lens inside of the mount body to sit the rear element back that far. As such, I’m not putting this as an RF-S lens. It probably was Canon’s intention though as I doubt any designer was working on new EF-M designs in 2022.

The age of the RF-S 18-45 for the RF-S probably has little bearing on a newer 15-45 as Canon in the past had replaced an earlier kit lens on mirrorless fairly quickly (3 years).

Canon APS-C 15-45mm F3.5-6.3

                 Wide-angle  Intermediate  Telephoto
focal length        15.36       29.82        43.10  
F number             3.60        5.10         6.44  
Half angle of view  35.76       23.75        17.59  
Lens total length   76.36       68.85        73.51  
BF                  10.45       10.45        10.45  

Canon APS-C 15-45mm F3.5-6.3

                 Wide-angle  Intermediate  Telephoto
focal length        15.37        29.58       43.10  
F number             3.60         5.10        6.44  
Half angle of view  35.41        24.79       17.59  
Lens total length   79.34        71.19       76.32  
BF                  10.18        10.18       10.18  

Canon APS-C 16-45mm F3.5-6.3

                 Wide-angle  Intermediate  Telephoto
F number             3.60         5.10        6.44  
focal length        16.23        34.90       43.10
F number             3.61         5.10        6.44
Half angle of view  32.27        20.40       17.59
Lens total length   88.10        84.74       88.68  
BF                  10.87        10.87       10.87 

Source: Japan Patent Office: 2023-182958

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#3 RF 100-300mm f/2.8L IS USM

Richard and I decided to do one of those “Best of 2023” lists for Canon’s new gear that was announced in 2023. As most of you know, Canon had a pretty busy year product-wise, while they didn’t make every segment of our community happy, they did release a lot of great products.

Craig’s #3: Canon RF 100-300mm f/2.8L IS USM

The Canon RF 100-300mm f/2.8L IS USM is an astounding achievement for Canon. Taking the much loved and classic EF 300mm f/2.8L, giving it a zoom range while maintaining the legendary image quality and keeping the weight nearly the same (only 200g heavier).

I have used the lens extensively for basketball and have found it to perform just as well as the RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM and it gives me a bit more versatility when it comes to venue differences and where one is allowed to shoot from.

Performance with both the RF 1.4x and RF 2.0x teleconverters is fantastic. Autofocus speed and image quality are both consistent in the real world.

My one knock on this lens is the tripod collar. Why does Canon still refuse to put an Arca mount on their feet? Plates aren’t overly convenient and have their own quirks. It’s a small thing, but I wish it was something Canon would get on board with.

In the end, the RF 100-300mm f/2.8L IS USM is both a technical achievement as well as a product that checks all the boxes for its intended shooters.

The Canon RF 100-300mm f/2.8L IS USM is available in limited quantities.

Richard’s #3: Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM

I have a slightly different list than Craig, so we are adding both our opinions and letting you all scrap it out in the forums on who’s right, meaning, of course, me. For those who have followed me on CanonNews, you’d appreciate that I tend to value travel and utility over Canon’s bigger and more breathtaking L lenses. So my picks will certainly have that bias.

I had a little trouble organizing my picks into a ranking, but I’m going to put the RF-S 10-18mm as third on my list.

This lens was necessary for the RF-S mount especially because unlike the EF-M mount, there is no 15-45mm kit lens, only an 18-45mm. This means that before this lens you could only go as wide as 29mm on the RF-S system without resorting to full-frame lenses, or the adapted EF-S lens. While Canon has always treated APS-C rather poorly, this lens was critical for the RF-S system to have any sort of credibility against its competitors.

Don’t get me wrong the Canon RF 100-300mm F2.8L is a marvelous lens, but it doesn’t define the usefulness of a fairly well-rounded RF system that the 10-18mm may and can do for those using APS-C camera bodies on the RF system. I’m sure that the RF-S 10-18mm isn’t on Craig’s list in the #1 or 2 spot because it reminds him too much of the EOS-M system 😉

The Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM is available globally.

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