Olympus AIR A01 Tech Info

By Zig Weidelich | Posted:

Details regarding the actual hardware and capabilities are little sketchy as they only seem to be available in Japanese at the time of writing, and we don't know if additional functionality is available via the SDK, but here's what's under the hood according to the specs on the Olympus Japan website:


As mentioned, the imager used by the Olympus AIR A01 is a 16-megapixel 4/3"-type Live MOS sensor. We're told that it's the same sensor (and image-processing chain) as was used in the Olympus E-M10. We haven't heard whether the AIR has a low-pass filter or not, but we suspect not, as the E-M10 didn't have one either.

Total pixel count is 17.2 megapixels with 16.05 megapixels effective. Maximum still image size is 4608 x 3456 pixels with JPEG and 12-bit RAW formats supported. Available aspect ratios are 4:3 (native), 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1.


Output from the image sensor is handled by a TruePic VII-branded image processor, the latest generation used in Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras like the E-M5 Mark II, E-M10 and E-PL7.


Also previously mentioned, the A01 features a standard Micro Four Thirds lens mount, and should also accept Four Thirds and many other lens types via optional adapters.


To save weight, size, power and cost, the AIR A01 unfortunately omits the built-in sensor-shift image stabilization found in PENs and OM-D cameras, although optical image stabilization is supported if for example a Panasonic lens with OIS is mounted. Electronic stabilization is however available during video capture.


The Olympus A01 supports Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority and Manual exposure modes, as well as Intelligent Auto (iAuto) and a whole collection of scene modes and creative filters, as well as Photo Story, Clips, and Genius modes that are unique to Olympus.

Up to +/-5EV of exposure compensation is available, in 1/3EV steps. (Note that Live View only reflects up to +/-3EV compensation, though.)

Sensitivity ranges from ISO 200 to 12,800, extendable down to about ISO 100 equivalent. There is also an Auto ISO option, that can access values from 200 to 6,400.

Metering options are 324-zone ESP, center-weighted and selectable spot metering, with an effective range of -2 to 20EV (with 17mm f/2.8 lens at ISO 100).

White balance options are Auto, Sunny, Shadow, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent and Underwater. There are no options for either custom or Kelvin white balance. (We miss both of those, wonder why Kelvin in particular wasn't included.)

The shutter is all-electronic (also likely to reduce size, weight and cost), with a shutter speed range of 4 seconds to 1/16,000 second.


Autofocus is achieved using Olympus' "High-speed Imager AF," which employs contrast-detection only. (There are no phase-detect pixels on the sensor for hybrid AF as found in the E-M1.) There are 81 focus points, and face priority and well as pupil detection are provided.

Single AF (S-AF) and Manual Focus (MF) modes are available, however Continuous AF is not supported.


Olympus claims the AIR A01 can shoot at up to 10 frames per second at full resolution, for up to 23 JPEG frames using normal compression. Focus and exposure are locked at the first frame of a burst in this mode. Olympus makes no mention of RAW buffer depths. (We'll both verify the 10fps claim and determine buffer depths once we have a chance to test a sample in our lab.)


The Olympus AIR A01 can shoot Full HD (1920 x 1080) or HD (1280 x 720) video at 30 frames per second (28.97fps) in two quality levels: Fine records at 24Mbps at Full HD and 12Mbps at HD, and Normal records at 16 and 8Mbps respectively.

Video is encoded in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format with 16-bit stereo linear PCM audio at 48KHz, saved in a MOV container. Full HD recording times are limited to about 29 minutes at Normal quality, and 22 minutes at Fine.

Exposure is fully automatic, though +/-3EV exposure compensation is available.


Wireless connectivity consists of built-in IEEE 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth Smart.

Like other Olympus cameras with built-in Wi-Fi, the A01 does not support NFC, though there's a QR code printed on the rear panel to make initial pairing with your mobile device easier. And the Bluetooth functionality can automatically launch the Olympus app on your mobile device when the devices are in range. (This may be the case on Android, this feature doesn't appear to be supported under iOS.)

A micro USB port is provided for USB 2.0 High-Speed data, as well as for in-camera battery charging.


The Olympus A01 derives its power from a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery that isn't user-replaceable.

The battery is CIPA rated for 320 shots on a charge, but keep in mind the A01 has no flash which is normally enabled for 50% of shots during CIPA battery life testing. Balancing the lack of flash is that the AIR needs to power a Wi-Fi radio to stay connected to your smart device, which will definitely cut battery life. The AIR can be used standalone with the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios switched off, but we don't know what the CIPA life is in that mode. (We're assuming that the 320 shot CIPA rating is based on being connected to a smart device.)


On-board storage is provided by a microSD slot, with support for microSDHC and microSDXC cards including UHS-I types. The card slot is hidden behind the rear protective cover, but we suspect most people will just use the micro USB port or Wi-Fi to transfer their files.


Editor's Picks