Olympus Micro Four Thirds digicam

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 June, 2009, 12:00am

Don't let the retro look and feel of this new digital camera from Olympus mislead you: it is in fact one of the most advanced models on the market today.

Inside this model is a breakthrough system called Micro Four Thirds (4/3), which features a image sensor the same size as most of today's digital SLRs - hence offering similar image quality - but with a much shorter distance between the lens and the sensor, so the actual camera casing can be much more compact.

Like DSLRs, Micro 4/3 cameras also offer the ability to exchange lenses, but the specification for the lens mount diameter is around 6mm smaller, further reducing the overall size of the body. What you end up with is a compact digital camera with the functionality of a DSLR.

Unfortunately, Olympus has kept this model tightly under wraps, so there's no information yet on final image resolution, features, or even the model name. The leaked photos show what looks like a 3-inch display and a shoe mount for external flash.

One last titbit of info making the rounds is that the camera will also take HD video, meaning it's a decent processor for handling high-quality video at high-frame rates.

Industry sources say this particular Olympus model will be launched on June 16. Pricing has yet to be set. As a guide, Panasonic's recently launched Micro 4/3 model, Lumix DMC-GH1, which looks more like a DSLR than the Olympus, is priced at HK$12,990.

Pros: high image quality in a compact body, exchangeable lens for added flexibility

Cons: pricing likely to be on the high side after launch, no battery or storage information