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 System.”
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 Cologne, Germany.
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:
- Approximately 50 percent shorter flangeback distance (mount-to-sensor distance)
- Lens mount outer diameter approximately 6mm smaller
- 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.
1Image sensor diagonal dimensions are the same for both Four Thirds System and Micro Four Thirds System standards.