Olympus has announced a new smartphone lens that is a direct competitor to the Sony QX-series. The ‘Air’ has a 16MP sensor with Four Thirds capabilities as well as a shutter release button and microSD slot. It is powered by a lithium-ion battery and packs an autofocus system with 81-points of reference. It mounts directly to your smartphone adding greater zoom capabilities to your device. The Air communicates with your smartphone via WiFi and with its open-source API, it will be available in early March within Japan for ¥33,800 or roughly about $289, availability elsewhere is currently unknown.

As we head through February and into the Spring months, we will be seeing three new camera models from Olympus and Samsung. While they all offer different feature sets, these cameras continue to bring more pro-style attributes to the hobbyist photographer. Each one represents a different phase of photography ability dependent upon the needs of the shooter. While there have been many cameras announced by these companies we found the following to be of most interest.

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Olympus E-M5 Mark II

The Olympus E-M5 is set to launch later this month with features design for the hobbyist photographer. With a standout feature set, the E-M5 has a built-in five-axis image stabilization system with a mode that is capable of pushing out 41 megapixel photos. Additionally, it can handle 1080p video at multiple frame-per-second levels with a 77 Mb/sec codec for “smoother” videos. The Olympus E-M5 will carry a price tag of $1,100 and is available for pre-order via Amazon.

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Olympus TG-860

Built for the outdoorsman or adventurous type, this camera focuses more on its build than its software features. The TG-860 is an addition to Olympus’ line of TOUGH cameras and is waterproof up to 50 feet with a shockproof rating of up to seven feet. It’s not too shabby on the feature side though with a 16MP sensor and 1080p recording capabilities. It also has WiFi and GPS sensors built-in. The TG-860 from Olympus will retail for $279 and is available for pre-order via Amazon.

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Samsung NX500

The Samsung NX500 comes right in the middle of Olympus’ offerings at $799 with some nice features for a hobbyist photographer not interested in lugging around a DSLR. With a flappable display and stylish build, it appears to be a nice visual change from other hobbyist cameras. Capable of 28MP photos and 4K video recording, this camera can pump out some high resolution imagery and includes WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity. This camera will ship in mid-March with multiple color options and a 16-50mm lens, it is currently available for pre-order via Amazon.

(Olympus Air source: DP Review)

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