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Olympus' new macro flash allows you to shoot tiny subjects in the rain

Olympus’ Micro Four Thirds format tends to give its cameras an edge in macro photography, and now they have another — earlier this week, the company announced the Twin Flash SFT-8, the world’s first weatherproof macro flash.

Designed to accompany the weather-sealed OM-D EM1 Mark II, also announced this week, the Olympus SFT-8 is dust and splash proof, as well as handling extreme temperatures down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Olympus says the weather-sealing is a first for flashes designed specifically for macro work.

Related: Olympus jumps up to 4K video after it announces the OM-D E-M1 Mark II at Photokina

As a macro flash, the SFT-8 has dual heads that sit on both sides of the lens. Each flash can also be controlled individually, giving the photographer more control over the highlights and shadows. The flash has a guide number of 8.5 using both heads or 6 with a single head, which Olympus says makes it easier to avoid overexposure when close to the subject.

Olympus says the flash heads are also removable from the system, enabling the flashes to be individually triggered off-camera. Each head can also be tilted 60 degrees up or 40 degrees down for additional flexibility.

The flash utilizes both automatic through-the-lens (TTL) shooting and manual flash adjustments from 1/1 to 1/128. The twin flash system is also compatible with the Focus Stacking mode included on some Olympus cameras, though only using manual flash mode.

Using a hot shoe slot connection, two cords, two lights, and a lens ring to position the lights, the SFT-8 is compatible with three Olympus M.Zukio lenses, the ED 30mm f3.5 Macro, ED 60mm f/2.8 macro, and ED 12-40mm f2.8 Pro. Step-up and step-down rings expand the flash’s capability to be used with other lenses.

The Olympus SPT-8 is expected to go on sale in January 2017 for a list price of $480.