Olympus has officially announced the new Zuiko Digital 14-54mm 1:2.8-3.5 II (28-108mm) lens, the successor to the Zuiko Digital 14-54mm 1:2.8-3.5.

The Four-Thirds based lens features High-Speed Imager AF, a circular aperture mechanism and a minimum focusing distance of 22cm.

When combined with Olympus's new E30 DSLR, the lens will allow photographers to preview the E30's new Art Filter effects in real time thanks to Live View.

The lens features the optimal arrangement of three aspherical lens elements and four cemented lens elements, that help make the lens compact and give it the clarity of 1:2.8 brightness.

It also uses a floating internal focus mechanism, which Olympus says produces "excellent imaging performance from infinity right down to its minimum focusing distance".

The exterior of the lens is splash and dustproof, and is rigourous enough - despite its small size - for professional use.

The Zuiko Digital 14-54mm 1:2.8-3.5 II (28-108mm) will become available in mid-January 2009. Official prices are yet to be announced, but we heard whisperings it would go on sale in the States for $599 (around £375).