Olympus Imaging and Panasonic announce new Micro Four Thirds System standard



    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Aug. 5 /CNW/ - Olympus Imaging Corporation (Olympus
Imaging) and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Panasonic) today
announced joint development of technologies and devices for the "Micro Four
Thirds System standard," a new standard that extends the benefits of the Four
Thirds System standard for interchangeable lens type digital camera systems by
enabling dramatic reductions in size and weight. Under the terms of an
agreement between the two companies, they will work jointly toward commercial
production of significantly lighter and more compact interchangeable lens type
digital camera systems.
    The global market for interchangeable lens type digital SLR cameras is
growing steadily, but still only accounts for a 7% share of the total digital
camera market. Considering the much larger share held by interchangeable lens
type SLR camera systems when film was the dominant imaging medium, it seems
that there is still ample room for sales growth in the category. But compact
digital cameras continue to offer an expanding range of features and
performance, and market surveys indicate that customers choose compact models
because they find digital SLR cameras to be "big, heavy, and difficult to
operate."
    Recognizing this market trend, Olympus Imaging and Panasonic have
introduced products based on the Four Thirds System standard, and have led the
industry in bringing features such as Live View and contrast-detection
autofocusing systems to interchangeable lens type digital camera systems.
    Now, Olympus Imaging and Panasonic are expanding the potential of the
Four Thirds System standard even further, enabling the development of
radically more compact and lightweight interchangeable lens type digital
camera systems based on the Micro Four Thirds System standard. Together with
the existing range of Four Thirds System products, the new range of Micro Four
Thirds System products will enable customers to enjoy true interchangeable
lens type digital camera system performance.
    When compared to the Four Thirds System standard, the primary
distinguishing characteristics of the Micro Four Thirds System standard are:

    
    1) Approximately 50% shorter flangeback distance (mount-to-sensor
       distance)
    2) 6mm smaller lens mount outer diameter
    3) Electrical contacts in mount increased from 9 to 11

    (*) Image sensor diagonal dimensions are the same for both Four Thirds
        System and Micro Four Thirds System standards.
    

    The Micro Four Thirds System enables users to enjoy the high image
quality benefits of the Four Thirds System's 4/3-type image sensor in a much
more compact camera body, and also take advantage of significantly more
compact lenses, particularly in the wide-angle and high-power zoom range. The
Four Thirds System offers compact, lightweight performance, and the new Micro
Four Thirds System will take this even further by making it possible to
develop 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, enabling support for new
features and increased system functionality in the future.
    In addition, users will be able to mount their existing Four Thirds
System lenses on Micro Four Thirds System bodies via an adapter.
    Moving forward, Olympus Imaging and Panasonic will jointly develop
relevant technologies and devices for both Four Thirds System and Micro Four
Thirds System standards, and will develop and introduce standards-compliant
products in accordance with their respective business strategies.
    While continuing to develop Four Thirds System interchangeable lens type
digital camera system products, Olympus Imaging will also develop a range of
Micro Four Thirds System lenses and accessories, and Micro Four Thirds System
camera bodies that are even smaller and slimmer than the light, compact, and
widely acclaimed Olympus E-410 and E420.
    While continuing to develop Four Thirds System interchangeable lens type
digital camera system products, Panasonic will also develop a new generation
of compact, lightweight, interchangeable lens type digital camera system
products, including ultra-portable camera bodies, interchangeable lenses, and
related system accessories.

    About the Four Thirds System Standard

    The Four Thirds System standard defines design and development standards
for interchangeable lens type digital camera systems that fully realize the
performance potential of digital technology. Four Thirds System cameras
utilize a 4/3-type image sensor that delivers the high image quality expected
of interchangeable lens type digital camera systems in a form factor that
assures outstanding mobility. The Four Thirds System standard is an open
standard that enables bodies and lenses produced by participating
manufacturers to exchange information and be used interchangeably with one
another.





For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Olympus Imaging Corp.: Marketing
Support Department, Phone: +81-3-3340-4687, Fax: +81-3-6901-3608; Matsushita
Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Panasonic): Canadian PR, Nicole Paara,
Environics Communications, Phone: (416) 969-2831, Email:
npaara@environicspr.com; International PR, Phone: +81-3-3578-1237, Fax:
+81-3-3436-6766; Panasonic News Bureau, Phone: +81-3-3542-6205, Fax:
+81-3-3542-9018

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