So, once-upon-a-time I was an Olympus shooter in their much-maligned 4/3 system. And one of the things I sorely missed about it when I switched to Nikon was Oly’s painfully reasonable lens organization system. They had three tiers: Standard, Pro, and Top Pro. Any time they made a new lens with a focal range similar to an existing lens you could be sure it would be filed in a different tier, and within each tier there was no overlap. Basically, you could just pick your price-point and desired features and the tier system would spit back one cohesive lens line with minimal overlap and no confusion. The standard grades featured plastic bodies and slow variable apertures, the Pro line added weather-sealing and fast variable apertures, the Top Pro line was as well built as anything could be with constant apertures in all models, plus the weather-sealing too. It was easy, logical, and absolutely lovely.
And as of today it’s (finally) coming back, this time to the much-less-maligned Micro 4/3 system. The 12-40mm f2.8 announced with the E-M1 and last September’s announcement of the 40-150mm f2.8 for the core of the new PRO line, the new top-pro category. So, with m4/3′s 2x crop factor that’s 24-300mm covered at f2.8. Today’s two lenses, the 7-14mm f2.8 and 300mm f4, expand that range to 14-300mm continuous at f2.8, and then a 600mm super-tele f4. All with top-notch metal build quality and weather-sealing, as well as distance scales and the like.
Not sure how the reorganization below the PRO line will shake out, but the 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 with it’s higher build quality and weather-sealing seems indicative of where the middle will be. All in all, exciting times for Olympus and their rapidly maturing m4/3 pro line.