Olympus Micro Four Thirds Concept

A gloriously retro concept camera based on the Micro Four Thirds system wowed the crowds at Photokina, the photography trade show in Cologne.

Olympus Micro Four Thirds Concept Camera
(Credit: CNET.co.uk)

In photographic terms, format broadly means size, the term carried over from the days when film format defined the size and shape of a camera. The Micro Four Thirds system is, as the name suggests, a smaller take on the Four Thirds system originally developed by Olympus and Kodak. Four Thirds is a standard size of lens and sensor for dSLRs, which has the advantage of being smaller and thus affording smaller, lighter cameras such as the Olympus E-420 and E-520.

Micro Four Thirds manages to be even smaller because it dispenses with the mirror. This means that when cameras are eventually produced to Micro Four Thirds specs, they won't be SLRs. Although the sensor will stay the same size, the cameras themselves will be smaller because there's no mirror and no optical viewfinder.

With the working Panasonic Lumix G1, the first entry into the Micro Four Thirds system, Olympus is a tad behind with the early-warning E-A1 and this non-working mock-up. But just look at it: we think it looks like Roger Moore could suavely slide it from the pocket of his safari suit to take a snap of Miss World leaning on his Jag.

The advantage of Micro Four Thirds is that the distance between the sensor and lens mount, or the flange back, is half the size without the mirror needed to work an optical viewfinder. The lens mount is itself 6mm smaller, and there are now 11 electrical contacts in the mount rather than nine. You can mount existing full-size Four Thirds glass on Micro Four Thirds System bodies with an adapter.

No word yet on pricing or availability, or even whether the louchely retro styling will be draped over the models that hit the shelves. We can only hope. Right, who's for a Campari?

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thebassguy@thebassguy.com posted a comment   

curious to see if this camera shoots RAW, adapts with the huge E-series lenses, and how big the sensor will be...anyone know?

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