DPreview.com has just announced mock up images and some sketchy specs for an interchangeable lens full frame camera by Olympus, apparently to mark the 30th anniversary of their OM-G 35mm film SLR camera.
Image courtesy of dpreview.com.
This news is bound to excite Olympus fans in particular who have always loved the styling, and light, compact design of the OM SLRs.
A fascinating development is the proposed upgrade of their current 5-axis sensor-based image stabilisation system to a 6-axis system which adds ability to move the sensor closer or further from the lens – this in theory would allow automatic focus bracketing -a feature that would be extremely useful for any shallow depth of field lens, but particularly so when using manual focus lenses such as the legacy OM lenses which appear to be able to be used without any adapters!!!
Furthermore this could potentially also enable “micro-AF” for all lenses – that is when you set the manual focus position of the lens, the sensor could adjust its position to give super accurate auto-focus as long as the subject is within the focus range of the sensor movements. This could be expected to provide very fast AF indeed given it is all happening at the sensor with no need to move heavy lens elements. Of course, your manual focus would have to be fairly close to where you need it.
The proposed sensor is a 36mp full frame BSI-CMOS sensor, but what I am not able to understand at present is the suggested “optional drop-in cartridges” to give different ISO from 25-800 – this doesn’t make sense to me.
They are also suggesting the viewfinder will be hybrid optical/electronic – presumably similar to that used in Fuji and Sony cameras.
There has been a big ground swell of support for Olympus to enter the full frame camera arena, particularly given their partnership with Sony who last year stunned the camera world with their full frame mirrorless cameras – the Sony A7 and A7R – although unfortunately these do not have built-in image stabilisation which is so critical for the success of these cameras.
Automatic focus bracketing and micro-AF plus IS will bring new life to the legacy OM lenses and allow Olympus time to develop new CDAF compatible digital lenses for full frame – and presumably share their technology with Sony who are in desperate need for full frame mirrorless lenses.
It is also a very clever move given digital AF lenses will take time to develop and produce, users in the interim will have access to very functional OM lenses which will become pseudo-AF thanks to the sensor.
The addition of full frame will then allow Micro Four Thirds users a rather seemless access to full frame cameras for shallower depth of field, with similar functionality, menu systems and, importantly accessory system such as system flash units which one would expect would be fully compatible between the systems.
Win-Win all around. Very Exciting indeed!!!
A big question will be how long will the sensor to lens mount be?
I am sure it would not be the same as the legacy OM 35mm SLR film distance as this would be very restrictive of what lenses could be mounted and would probably prevent adapters for Micro Four Thirds lenses (these could theoretically be used on this camera to provide a 9mp 2x crop image) as well as for other system lenses such as Canon EOS, Leica M, etc.
I would really love a camera like this to use my Canon tilt-shift lenses on – easy live view manual focus + IS + micro-AF – now that would be something!!