The new Olympus 2x Teleconverter (MC-20) doubles the focal length of the master lens, and features dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof (-10°C) professional weatherproof construction for outstanding optical performance.
This product is compatible with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO and M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm F4.0 IS PRO, as well as the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO, which is currently under development.
I have not used one of these yet, but if it performs at the level of the Olympus 1.4x Teleconverter MC-14, then we can expect it will retain superb optical quality while doubling the focal length.
In practical use, for guys like me, it will allow me to use the M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm F4.0 IS PRO Lens and will deliver an equivalent field of view of 1200mm. Like all 2X teleconverters, from all brand, this new unit from Olympus will come with a two-stop penalty making the 300 f/4 (600 f/4 FOV) into a 600 f/8 (1200mm f/8 FOV.) A 1200mm lens with light pass-through equal to f/8 is a bird photographer’s dream. I will essentially be able to hand hold super telephoto shots at heretofore unheard of focal lengths.
It looks like this teleconverter was designed with outstanding optical performance in mind – featuring a 9-element, 4-group lens construction with an HR lens that helps suppress various types of aberrations including chromatic aberration while maintaining the excellent optical performance of the master lens. The design also helps prevent ghosts and flares for superb image performance, thanks to ZERO coating.
The Olympus M.ZuikoDigital 2x Teleconverter MC-20 ships with the body cap BC-3, lens cap LR-2 and lens case LSC-0603 and will be available any day now with a suggested retail price of $429.99 USD. This is comparably priced with Canon’s 2.0 teleconverter for full-frame cameras. If the MC20 is sharp, I expect it to sell like hotcakes.
I’ll have one of these bad boys very soon and as soon as I am able to take it out into the field, I’ll give you my honest assessment of its performance.
NOTE: Many photographers hate teleconverters, alleging or assuming that they are “soft.” That may have been true 10 years ago, but it is not true of the current Olympus teleconverter, the 1.4. Assuming the same quality for the 2.0, I can promise you this will be anything but soft.
Also note that I am an Olympus Visionary. My opinions are my own and I try to report on Olympus as an unbiased observer.