No more Four-Thirds lenses?

Started Sep 23, 2010 | Discussions thread
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No more Four-Thirds lenses?
Sep 23, 2010

According to WIRED:

Miquel Àngel García, head of Olympus Europe, has stated that his company will no longer make new Four Thirds lenses. In Japan, the smaller, mirrorless Micro Four Thirds cameras have already captured 40% of the market, and these cameras and their smaller lenses will be Olympus focus in future.

García spoke to Spanish site Quesabesde at this year’s Photokina show, and the whole interview is worth reading (it’s in Spanish, but Google’s translation is pretty good for once). While you will of course still be able to buy existing Four Thirds lenses, and Olympus hasn’t yet said it is giving up on Four Thirds bodies (like the brand-new E-5), it is clearly moving away from SLRs altogether. In fact, García thinks that interchangeable-lens compacts will break the Nikon-Canon duumvirate of the global camera market.

“But it is very important to have broken the DSLR market status quo” says García, “There are two brands that for years have been allocated 80% of the global market. And this will change.”

Olympus is, in some ways, like the Apple of the camera industry. Since the original half-frame Pen film camera, through the tiny SLRs it has made over the years and the Trip series of high-end compacts, Olympus has been an innovator. García mentions that his company was the first to add sensor-cleaning and live-view to its cameras. But Olympus is even more like Apple in its willingness to drop old technologies when it sees they are dying.

I have mentioned before that the SLR is destined to be a niche tool, something for professionals who need its flexibility, while the rest of us switch to mirrorless compacts. The commenters on that post vehemently disagreed, but it seems that at least one camera company thinks the same way.

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Scott B. Husted

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