Egads! Olympus E-System evolves, new camera coming


posted Friday, August 17, 2012 at 3:41 PM EDT

Olympus' E-System logo.While Olympus has focused its development efforts wholeheartedly on its nascent PEN-series mirrorless camera lineup, its E-System DSLR cameras seemed rather to have fallen by the wayside. The last E-System SLR to be announced was the Olympus E-5, way back in late 2010. It's still available, as are 2009's E-30 and E-620, but the trio are all now looking decidedly long in the tooth.

It's been taken as read by many that the success of Olympus' PEN-series and OM-D mirrorless models probably spelled game over for the E-System. The absence of any new E-System products for almost two years tended to affirm that viewpoint, but a Facebook post today on the official page of Olympus UK brings startling news. Far from the E-System being over, Olympus is said to be working on a new body with improved focusing performance, according to Akira Watanabe, manager of the company's SLR planning department.

Olympus' E-5 digital SLR is the most recent E-System model. Photo provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' E-5 digital SLR is the most recent E-System model.
Photo provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc.

In full, the Olympus UK Facebook post reads:


Olympus working on new body for top-pro lenses

Akira Watanabe, manager of Olympus Imaging's SLR planning department, confirmed today that the company is definitely working on a body to deliver the focusing performance expected by users of the Top Pro lens series like the ground breaking 90-250 f2.8 fixed aperture zoom.

Watanabe has been delighted with the success of the OM-D which has pushed the boundaries of performance for system cameras but acknowledged that it did not deliver with the legacy high end lenses from the E-System. Whilst further information wasn't forthcoming, he was keen to emphasise that Olympus is actively developing a solution and will announce more details in due course.

Details are thus far rather sparse. For example, it isn't immediately clear from the Facebook post whether the new body will be an SLR model, or a mirrorless camera compatible with Four Thirds-mount lenses. According to the folks at Amateur Photographer, who attended an equally non-specific briefing on the news in Frankfurt, Germany, Mr. Watanabe was careful not to suggest that the new camera body would be a replacement for the flagship E-5 model.

The suggestion that it is aimed at photographers wanting to use "top pro" lenses would, one presumes, suggest at least a higher-end body, however. With the biennial Photokina tradeshow just a month away, we'd expect to hear more news on this front in the not too distant future...

(via Facebook and Amateur Photographer)