2008 Photokina Tradeshow
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Olympus' unnamed Four Thirds prototype camera. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Olympus previews next Four Thirds DSLR
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 22, 2008 - 01:00 EDT)

Showing its continuing support of the Four Thirds system alongside the new Micro Four Thirds standard, Olympus has today announced plans for a new E-System Four Thirds digital SLR.

Few details are currently available on the as-yet unnamed DSLR, which is to be shown in prototype form at the Photokina tradeshow and can also be seen in the press image at the end of this news item. What we do currently know is that the new camera is billed as a "mid-level" (advanced amateur) model that will sit between the company's E-520 and E-3 models in the lineup. It is set to inherit the 11-point autofocus system, in-body image stabilization, and 1/8000 second top shutter speed capabilities from the Olympus E-3, and will also include an articulating LCD display (although we don't currently know if that display will have the same spec as the E-3's articulating LCD).

Other features of the unnamed Four Thirds DSLR will include a high-speed contrast detection autofocus system with face detection function, Shadow Adjustment Technology, and a body design that Olympus says will be light-weight, and will emphasise both ease of use and creativity. There's also mention of a "new and updated feature to replace the current splash and dustproof function of the E-3". The new camera is expected to be officially introduced in the first quarter of 2009.

Olympus' unnamed Four Thirds prototype camera. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

Original Source Press Release:


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, Germany.

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 to professionals.

1According to Olympus in-house tests.

Product Overview
Category Product name Launch date
Four Thirds System-compliant, interchangeable lens type D-SLR camera Not determined First quarter of 2009


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