17mm lens ships in Germany (Cashback in France and 35-100mm X firmware and Lightroom update).

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Our reader Klaus sent me the picture of the new Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens he just got from a store in Hamburg! And French readers should be even more happier because they got a 50 Euro cashback on that lens (read at lepidi).

And we have some small news:
1) Olympus Japan announced the availability of the 17mm acceccories and E-PL5 water housing (both sceduled for a December 21 release).
2) Panasonic Japan released the new firmware update for the 35-100mm X lens. The update enhances the AF (auto focus) performance with the sensor drive at 240 fps for use with DMC-GH3.
3) New Lightroom 4.3 update brings support of the E-PL5, E-PM2, XZ-2 and GH3.

There is still no store showing the 17mm as in Stock. You can save this Slidoo search to get notified when it will be on eBay (login to change country of reference). Preorders at at Adorama, BHphoto and Amazon DE.

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Panasonic may sell its Sanyo digital camera business.

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Reuters reports that “Panasonic may sell its Sanyo digital camera business to Japanese private equity fund Advantage Partners by the end of March
What I didn’t know til today is that “Advantage Partners” already makes cameras for other companies including Olympus. This should not have any influence on the Micro Four Thirds strategy. What Panasonic is selling is the unprofitable compact camera and video camera business acquired two years ago from Sanyo. As Reuters writes: “Sales of compact digital cameras are under pressure from increasingly powerful smartphones.

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GH3 to ship in January in US (and new US deals roundup).

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As you know Panasonic Japan announced a short two weeks shipment delay. And the GH3 shipment status at Amazon (Click here) has been modified and it says it will ship in January. Some bodies are available in Canada on eBay (via Slidoo) and in UK (via eBay again), Wex UK and Wex DE.

And here are some new US deals:
E-P3 with kit lens for $499 at Adorama (Click here).
Save $100 on the 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 R Lens when purchased along the E-M5 at BHphoto (Click here).
$50 price drop on the XZ-2 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here) and BHphoto (Click here).
$100 off on the Olympus 75-300mm at Amazon (Click here).

Ongoing US deals:
GH2 body for $499 at Amazon (Click here) and BHphoto (Click here).
-$50 on the E-M5 body only at Amazon, Adorama and BHphoto (Click on store names to open the page).
-$50 on the E-M5 body with 14-42mm lens at Amazon, Adorama and BHphoto.
-$100 on the E-M5 body with 12-50mm lens at Amazon, Adorama and BHphoto.
-$100 on all E-PL5 kits at Amazon, Adorama and BHphoto.
-$100 on all E-PM2 kits at Amazon, Adorama and BHphoto.

 

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Olympus 17mm f/1.8 shipping in Asia. And some info directly from the lens designers!

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First unboxing pics have been posted at Mobile01. Click on the green links to open the images. And Olympus OMD facebook posted the text from Planning Manager Eiji Shirota and Development Leader Kazuya Nishimura. Both developed the 17mm lens. They say: “Although a large front element may provide an attractive exterior appearance for a lens, we decided on an efficient aspherical front element which minimizes thickness and diameter, helping us achieve the compact size of the M.ZUIKO DIGITIAL 17mm F1.8 lens while providing extraordinary picture quality. We urge you to confirm this image quality with your very own eyes.” As you know this lens left some mixed feelings on reviewers like Ming Thein, Robin Wong and Pekka Potka. Hmmm….does it really have an extraordinary picture quality??? A good lens it is…but extraordinary probably nope :)

Shipping status: The lens will ship on Dec. 20th at Amazon Japan. It’s still uncertain when the lens will be available in US and EU. BHphoto removed the shipping date (which was mid December) and Amazon US even doens’t even list the lens. The new Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens can now be preordered at Adorama, BHphoto and Amazon DE.

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