Olympus AIR comes to America: We fall in love instantly!
posted Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at 12:00 PM EST
This is the camera that every Micro Four Thirds photographer will want to own! The Olympus AIR is a tiny camera module that uses your smartphone as its viewfinder and user interface, seamlessly bridging the worlds of Micro Four Thirds photography and smartphones, and is the most downright fun camera I've used in at least a decade!
OK, saying every MFT photographer is a bit over the top, but I'll stand by "most". With a great price (just $299, body-only), great image quality, and the ability to use any Micro Four Thirds lens on the market, it's a no-brainer if you currently own any Micro Four Thirds gear, from either Olympus or Panasonic.
We reported on the AIR back when it was announced in Japan in January, 3-D printed a model of it, using the open design data from Olympus, and posted an in-depth article about it just a few weeks ago. Now, Olympus has announced US price and availability, and I've had the chance to play with one a bit.
I had a blast, read my Olympus AIR review to see why!
While it's been available in Japan since early March, Olympus America has just now announced price and availability for the US and Canada. It will be available in both countries in either black or white versions (you can see product images of both in the review), and will be sold either body-only or as a kit with the Olympus 14-42mm EZ (electronic zoom) lens. In the US, the body-only version will sell for just $299.99, and the version with the 14-42mm lens will be $499, available starting in July. It will be available in Canada beginning in August, for prices of $399.99 and $599.99, respectively.
Check out our Olympus AIR review page to read what it's like to use, and see why I had so much fun with it!
(What do you think, would you buy one? - We're interested to know, leave your thoughts in the comments below!)
Olympus press release:
Olympus AIR™ A01 Delivers OM-D® Image Quality in Smart Device With Dedicated App.
16-Megapixel Micro Four Thirds® Sensor, Built-in Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth, Silent Electronic Shutter,
10 fps Consecutive Shooting, Full HD Video, USB Charging, Dedicated Smartphone App
CENTER VALLEY, Pa., June 30, 2015, 1:00pm EDT — Olympus America Inc. is pleased to announce availability of the Olympus Air A01 camera in Canada and the United States. Olympus Air A01 with Amazon Cloud Drive integration is a compact camera excluding an integrated display; images are instead composed using a smartphone or tablet, which communicates with the camera via Wi-Fi and OA.Central for Olympus Air, Air A01’s dedicated app. The camera includes a 16-megapixel sensor and a Micro Four Thirds mount, delivering DSLR image quality and full compatibility with Olympus’s comprehensive collection of Micro Four Thirds lenses, expanding the capabilities of your smartphone.
Olympus Air A01 relies on the cutting-edge imaging technology of Olympus’s mirrorless cameras and world-renowned family of M.ZUIKO® digital lenses. By incorporating the same 16-megapixel sensor and TruePic VII image processor as the latest OM-D and PEN® cameras, users can expect excellent image quality, even in low light. Additionally, the integrated FAST AF system enables high-speed, high-precision focusing whenever a user taps the focus location on a connected smart device. The camera includes RAW capture, 1080p video recording, a 10-frames-per-second consecutive shooting mode (with focus and exposure fixed) and a silent electronic shutter with a 1/16,000-second maximum shutter speed, transforming smartphones with previously limited imaging capabilities into cameras that enthusiasts and semi-professionals alike can enjoy! The included battery can be charged using any USB power source, and is rated for 320 shots per charge.
With an ever-growing family of premium and professional lenses, users can choose from a variety of lens options that meet their individual shooting needs. From wide-angle landscape lenses for discreet street shooting to high-powered zoom lenses, nearly all styles of photography are supported by this innovative concept. Combining the flexibility of lens selection with the virtually limitless shooting style afforded by the free-form design, users will enjoy unique imaging angles and a newfound freedom in composition.
Olympus Air A01 has a newly developed and dedicated app, OA.Central for Olympus Air, which is available in the Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore. Customers will be able to instantly transfer DSLR image quality photos to eMail, social networks, and automatically upload to securely store their photos in Amazon Cloud Drive. Olympus Air A01 is the first Olympus camera to include integration with Amazon Cloud Drive. By allowing for direct-to-cloud storage, users minimize the strain on the memory of their smart devices, immediately and securely store their photos, and have instant access to their images for upload across social media outlets.
Local storage is also available on Air A01 using a microSD memory card. Images and video files can be transferred instantly to a connected smartphone or tablet for easy sharing. Because Air A01 is an open platform, developers can create their own apps for the camera using the available software development kit.
The included Olympus Air A01 Coupling accessory enables users to securely attach the camera to a smartphone if desired. The angled mount allows you to see a live view through the lens from various positions for maximum flexibility. Additionally, as the camera and smartphone or tablet communicate wirelessly; the Air A01 can be operated while detached from a smart device, making it possible to capture selfies and other shots that are difficult to obtain using conventional cameras. You can also connect the Air A01 to a tripod for capturing steady shots at night.
OA.Central for Olympus Air
The basic setup app for the Olympus Air A01 open platform camera, OA.Central for Olympus Air, provides total support for Air A01. When you launch the app for the first time, connection preparations, Bluetooth settings and Wi-Fi settings are all explained with illustrations for easy setup. After setting up Air A01 using the app, six unique shooting functions are available for use depending on your style of photography and skill level:
Control your camera settings right on your smartphone’s screen. Change your exposure, white balance and ISO speed. The same P, A, S and M modes as on an interchangeable lens camera are available. The camera is also packed with enhanced shooting functions such as movie modes and iAuto, which automatically detects up to 42 different shooting scenes and applies optimal exposure control.
Simply select one of 14 available Art Filters that matches your creative vision and touch the screen to capture an artistic image. Art Filters can be combined with Art Effects to create truly inspiring photos.
With an intuitive Color Ring, the user can bring out emotion by adjusting color hues (30 levels) and saturation (8 levels) to enhance a scene.
Capture a single scene of everyday life from multiple viewpoints. Select from four different frame patterns, then, depending upon your selection, choose the number of frames or add an Art Filter. Then simply follow the on-screen instructions and release the shutter to make your very own Photo Story.
Shoot, combine and rearrange multiple short clips into a single short movie of up to 64 seconds in length. The user can select clip lengths from 1 sec, 2 sec, 4 sec and 8 sec. Additionally, you can choose from 14 different Art Filters, touch the smartphone screen to focus using Touch AF, operate the zoom (when using an electronic zoom lens) and use digital zoom up to 3x. Add transition effects, Art Effects and music (default only), all in-camera.
With a single release of the shutter, subjects are automatically detected, and Genius provides the user with six different creative versions of a single image. Users can also save their favorite picture and access those same settings anytime to utilize in the future.
An option once the app is installed, View Images, in addition to editing functions such as adjusting aspect ratio and trimming images, allows music saved on a smartphone to be used as background music in a slideshow. The user has the ability to display (thumbnail, single-frame display) and delete images stored on the microSD card inserted in the Air A01. You can upload images to social networks and send them as email attachments to your family and friends.
Amazon Cloud Drive
This option lets you access all of the photos and videos you’ve saved in your Amazon Cloud Drive, securely back up your photos on the go, save storage space on your phone and keep your photos safe, even if your smart device is lost, damaged or upgraded.
Software Development Kit
Olympus Air A01’s new and exciting technology affords itself the unique opportunity for development of business-to-business applications. The open platform concept of this product allows for any application developer to request access to the Software Development Kit and create new and compelling use cases. App developers interested in the Software Development Kit can visit: http://opc.olympus-imaging.com/en/.
U.S. & Canada Pricing and Availability
The Olympus Air A01 will be available in the United States in July 2015 in Black or White for $299.99 (body only) or $499.99 paired with a 14-42mm EZ lens, and in Canada in August 2015 in Black or White for $399.99 (body only) or $599.99 paired with a 14-42mm EZ lens.