Olympus Micro Four Thirds Camera

Olympus has announced a new Micro Four Thirds camera.  The product name, launch date and retail price of the new Micro Four Thirds camera will be announced at a later date.  See the press release below for more details.

Cologne, 22 September 2008 – Olympus has commenced development on an interchangeable lens type digital camera based on the “Micro Four Thirds System”. The forthcoming 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 which was jointly announced with Matsushita Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic), on 5 August 2008. A concept model of the new camera will be exhibited at photokina 2008, the world’s largest trade fair for the photographic and imaging industries held in Cologne, Germany, running from 23 to 28 September.

The global market for interchangeable lens type digital cameras is growing steadily, but it still only accounts for a 7% share of the total digital camera market. Considering the much larger share held by interchangeable lens type SLR cameras when film was the dominant imaging medium, there still seems to be ample room for sales growth in the digital domain of this category. Market surveys, however, indicate that numerous customers to date still choose compact models because they currently find D-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 cameras. The camera currently under development will be the first Olympus model to comply with the Micro Four Thirds System standard. Interchangeable lenses complying with the new 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.

The product name, launch date and retail price of the first Olympus interchangeable lens type digital camera based on the Micro Four Thirds System will be announced in the future.

Olympus also remains committed to the original Four Thirds System and will continue to expand its line-up of D-SLR cameras to satisfy the broad spectrum of customer needs. This includes solutions for the professional photographer, aspiring artist, hobbyist as well as the everyday consumer.

Overview of the Micro Four Thirds System standard
The Micro Four Thirds System standard was designed and developed to maximise 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 System standard are*:

1) Approx. 50% shorter flangeback distance (mount-to-sensor distance)
2) Lens mount outer diameter approximately 6mm smaller
3) Electrical contacts in mount increased from nine to eleven

* Image sensor diagonal dimensions are the same for both Four Thirds System and Micro Four Thirds System standards.

The Micro Four Thirds System enables users to enjoy the same high image quality as the Four Thirds System’s 4/3-type image sensor in a much more compact body. It also lets photographers take 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 further to enable the 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.