Skip to main content

New teleconverter from Olympus doubles the reach of its longest lenses

With cameras like the OM-D E-M1X, Olympus continues to build a reputation among sports and wildlife photographers who want the capability of a large DSLR in a smaller overall package. To that end, the company is launching a new 2x teleconverter, the $430 MC-20, which will double the reach of its longest lenses while minimally increasing size and weight. Olympus also announced firmware updates to both the E-M1X and OM-D E-M1 Mark II, a camera that’s nearly three years old.

As competitors race to compete in the full-frame arena, Olympus is sticking to its decision to remain firmly planted in the Micro Four Thirds ecosystem. The smaller sensor size allows for equally smaller lenses that deliver the telephoto reach of full-frame optics twice as large. The MC-20 is compatible with two current telephoto lenses from Olympus, the 300mm f/4 IS Pro and 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro, and will also work with the upcoming 150-400mm f/4.5 lens that is still in development.

When used with the 300mm f/4, photographers will essentially have a 600mm f/8. But thanks to the inherent 2x crop factor of the Four Thirds sensor, the full-frame equivalent focal length is a staggering 1,200mm. That’s the type of reach that is difficult to come by in a full-frame lens, and even getting close to it would often be prohibitively expensive. Olympus also says that autofocus performance remains very good when using the MC-20 and that the in-body image stabilization, one of the company’s core competencies, only loses 1 stop of effectiveness.

OM-Log comes to the E-M1 Mark II

One of the most surprising features introduced on the E-M1X was OM-Log, Olympus’ take on a logarithmic tone curve for video. Compared to a standard linear curve, a log profile holds more dynamic range in compressed video, preserving detail in the shadows and highlights that would otherwise be lost. Short of shooting RAW video — something currently only possible on dedicated cinema cameras — it’s the best way to get film-like results from digital video. Olympus is now bringing OM-Log, along with many others features in the E-M1X, to the older E-M1 Mark II.

Log profiles have become increasingly popular in recent years, with everyone from video heavyweights Sony and Panasonic to traditionally stills-focused companies like Nikon offering them in their mirrorless cameras. While the 4K video mode introduced in the E-M1 Mark II was quite good, Olympus never really targeted videographers with that camera. With the addition of OM-Log, that could be changing.

Other features coming to the E-M1 Mark II include the updated autofocus algorithm found in the E-M1X that offers improved continuous performance and sensitivity down to minus-6 EV, the Low ISO Processing that improves detail at a slight expense to speed by running noise processing twice, and anti-flicker shooting for even exposures. One important improvement to the user experience has also been made: You can now review images or change settings even if the camera is still writing images to the card.

Both the E-M1X and E-M1 Mark II will also gain in-camera RAW processing over USB. Basically, you run the Olympus Workspace software on your computer, but the actual image processing is done inside the connected camera. Not only are the camera’s bespoke processors faster than the general purpose chip in your computer, but this method also uses Olympus’ color science rather than, say, Adobe’s or another third-party software manufacturer’s. Focus stacking and other compositing modes can also be accessed through Workspace.

The new firmware and latest version of Olympus Workspace are available as free downloads from Olympus.

Editors' Recommendations

Daven Mathies
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Daven is a contributing writer to the photography section. He has been with Digital Trends since 2016 and has been writing…
Best Camera Deals: Save on Canon, Panasonic, Nikon, and GoPro
fujifilm x t4 review set 2 dm 1

Whether you're looking for the best digital cameras or the best travel cameras, there are a ton of options out there, sometimes too many options, especially for those who aren't familiar with the photography world. Luckily, we've done a lot of legwork for you and collected a range of great camera deals across the spectrum, so even if you want something more sports-oriented, like a GoPro, there are a couple of deals for those too. So, let's jump right into it.
Today's Best Camera Deals
One of our favorite deals is the Canon EOS Rebel T7 going for $400, as it's one of the better DSLR cameras on the market, and it has a reasonably budget-friendly price on it, making it a great starter camera. Of course, if you've been in the game for a while and are looking for a powerful upgrade, the Sony Alpha 7R IV is one of the best full-frame cameras on the market, and while it still costs a hefty $3,200, that's still $300 off the usual $3,500 price tag. That said, if you're looking for something more portable and action-oriented, you can't go wrong with the GoPro HERO11 Black Mini, although if you're a professional content creator, the GoPro HERO9 Black 5K is probably the one to go for instead.

Do I Need a DSLR or a Mirrorless Camera?
Like most things, this really depends on what you're trying to do. Mirrorless cameras have fewer internal moving parts, which generally means they can capture images quicker, so if you're taking pictures of action-packed stuff like sports or animals in the wilderness, a mirrorless camera is a great option. On the other hand, DSLR cameras are great for low-light conditions and are great for anything from portraits to landscapes. DSLRs are also cheaper and have much better battery life, as well as having a decade or two worth of lenses to choose from.

Read more
How to blur a background in photos
A person photographed with iPhone 11's portrait mode.

Introducing a background blur to your photos can draw attention to a specific subject, such as an individual in a portrait or an item in a still life, while also adding a professional flair to your image. This beautiful background blur, also known as bokeh, can be achieved even after shooting your photo, thanks to advances in editing software. This guide will walk you through the process on iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS.

Read more
How to download Instagram photos (5 easy ways)
Instagram app running on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.

Instagram is amazing, and many of us use it as a record of our lives — uploading the best bits of our trips, adventures, and notable moments. But sometimes you can lose the original files of those moments, leaving the Instagram copy as the only available one . While you may be happy to leave it up there, it's a lot more convenient to have another version of it downloaded onto your phone or computer. While downloading directly from Instagram can be tricky, there are ways around it. Here are a few easy ways to download Instagram photos.

Read more