Olympus is showing off two prototype cameras at the big Photokina show in Germany, and they've let out a few details today. If I can find some more details on these two, I'll update the news item.
The first camera (which has no name yet) will bridge the gap between the E-520 and E-3. Olympus uses the phrase "Creative Photo Expression Function" a lot in the press materials, though I'm not exactly sure what that means. Here's some more concrete information:
- World's fastest autofocus system (11-point)
- Image stabilization with 5 steps of compensation
- Splash and dustproof
- 1/8000 sec max shutter speed
- Rotating LCD display
- High speed contrast detect AF with face detection
- Ships in the first quarter of 2009
I have even less information (and no photos of) the Micro FourThirds camera that will be shown at Photokina, though it sounds a lot like the Panasonic DMC-G1. Here's all I can tell you:
- Same Live MOS sensor as regular FourThirds cameras
- Backward compatible with "old" FT lenses via optional adapter
- High speed contrast detect AF in live view, with face detection
- Mockup camera will be 4.7 x 2.5 x 1.2 inches (W x H x D)
- Model name, pricing, and availability to be announced
Update: DP Review has photos of the prototype Micro FourThirds camera.
OLYMPUS DEVELOPING NEW E-SYSTEM FOUR THIRDS SYSTEM-
COMPLIANT DIGITAL SLR CAMERA
COLOGNE, GERMANY, September 22, 2008 – Olympus today announces that it is developing a new
interchangeable-lens digital SLR (single lens reflex) within the Olympus E-System lineup. This new Four
Thirds-compliant camera reinforces the company’s commitment to the standard.
Positioned as a mid-level model, this new digital SLR camera is intended for anyone who wants to
express their creativity through photography, whether they are just starting out or are a professional with
years of experience behind them. Introduction of the new camera is expected in the first quarter of 2009.
A prototype of the camera will be displayed at Photokina 2008, the world’s largest trade fair for the
photographic and imaging industries held September 23-28 at the Cologne Trade Fair in Cologne,
At the last Photokina (September 2006), Olympus declared that the second chapter in the story of the
Olympus E-System would begin in 2007. One of the highlights of this chapter was the incorporation of “Full-Time Live View” function as a standard function for the first time in the industry, adding to the
excitement already generated by other distinctive features of the E-System such as the “100 percent
Digital-Dedicated Design” and “Dust Reduction System.” Currently, the E-System lineup includes
popular models such as the E-420 and E-520, as well as the flagship E-3. All of these cameras provide
digital SLR users with the high-quality images, superior reliability and exceptional portability they need.
The prototype model displayed at Photokina is being developed as an advanced amateur model that will
be positioned between the E-520 and E-3. In terms of quality and performance, however, there is nothing
mid-level about this model. It will inherit all the outstanding features of the E-3 such as the high-speed
autofocus system using an 11-point full twin-cross sensor and the built-in image stabilization mechanism
with a correction effect of up to 5 EV steps.1 Other highlights will include a new and updated feature to
replace the current splash and dustproof function of the E-3.
With the introduction of this new camera, Olympus will expand its line of Four Thirds System-compliant
digital SLR cameras, providing a wider range of choices to a wider range of users from serious amateurs
OLYMPUS MICRO FOUR THIRDS SYSTEM-COMPLIANT DIGITAL
CAMERA UNDER DEVELOPMENT
Making Smaller, More Portable Interchangeable Lens Solutions a Reality
COLOGNE, GERMANY, September 22, 2008 – Olympus today announces that it has begun
development of an interchangeable lens type digital camera based on the “Micro Four Thirds
Development of the camera will bring dramatic reductions in size and weight to the Olympus E-
System, and will comply with the new Micro Four Thirds System standard jointly announced
with Matsushita Industrial Co., Ltd. (Panasonic) on August 5. A concept mock-up of the camera
will be exhibited September 23-28 at “Photokina 2008,” the world’s largest trade fair for the
photographic and imaging industries held September 23-28 at the Cologne Trade Fair in
The global market for interchangeable lens type digital cameras is growing steadily, but still only
accounts for approximately 7 percent of the total digital camera market. Considering the much
larger share held by interchangeable lens type digital cameras when film was the dominant
imaging medium, it seems that there is still ample room for sales growth in this category. Market
surveys, however, indicate that more than a few customers choose compact models because they
find digital SLR cameras to be “big, heavy, and difficult to operate.”
The Micro Four Thirds System standard was established to meet this need by enabling the
development of radically more compact and lightweight interchangeable lens type digital camera
systems. The camera currently under development will be the first Olympus camera to comply
with the Micro Four Thirds System standard, and interchangeable lenses that comply with the
standard are also moving ahead. In addition, users will be able to mount existing Four Thirds
System wide-angle, telephoto, and macro lenses on Micro Four Thirds System bodies via an
adapter. Product name, launch date and retail price of an interchangeable lens type digital camera
based on the “Micro Four Thirds System” are not determined.
Olympus Imaging is also committed to the Four Thirds System, and will continue to expand its
lineup of digital SLR cameras to satisfy a broad spectrum of customer needs. This includes the
professional photographer, aspiring artist, hobbyist, and everyday consumer.
Outline of the Micro Four Thirds standard
The Micro Four Thirds standard was designed and developed to maximize the performance
potential of digital imaging technology, and to extend the benefits of the Four Thirds System
standard for digital camera systems.
When compared to the Four Thirds System standard, the primary distinguishing features of the
Micro Four Thirds standard are:
1. Approximately 50 percent shorter flangeback distance (mount-to-sensor distance)
2. Lens mount outer diameter approximately 6mm smaller
3. Electrical contacts in mount increased from 9 to 111
The Micro Four Thirds System enables users to capture the same high-quality images of the Four
Thirds System’s 4/3-type image sensor in a much more compact body. It also takes advantage of
significantly more compact lenses, particularly in the wide-angle and high-power zoom range.
The Four Thirds System offers the benefits of compact, lightweight performance, and the new
Micro Four Thirds System takes this even further to enable development of ultra-compact
interchangeable lens type digital camera systems unlike anything seen before. The new Micro
Four Thirds System also incorporates a greater number of lens-mount electrical contacts for the
support of new features and expanded system functionality in the future.