(FT3) Olympus to use a 16 Megapixel Kodak sensor with electronic shutter?

For some months we received info about a possible future Olympus and Kodak partnership. Now we received small details about a Kodak sensor which could be used inside the next Micro Four Thirds cameras. We learned from one of our trusted sources that the Olympus-Panasonic sensor agreement will expire by early 2011. That agreement didn’t allow Olympus to use other non-Panasonic sensors. Once the agreement ends Olympus has the choice to renegotiate the agreement or to sign a new partnership with Kodak. That could be one of the reasons why Olympus didn’t release any new PEN (or the rumored modular cameras) at Photokina.

According to the info we received the Four Thirds sensor has 16 Megapixel and true electronic shutter. Two of our sources claim to know that there are already working prototypes!

We have to warn you that we are talking about prototypes that might will never be produced for the mass market. I am not sure yet if Olympus will give up Panasonic in favour of Kodak. But I trust my sources when they say that Olympus is currently re-thinking the future sensor partnership.

Kodak recently announced the 29Megapixel W-RGB Interline Transfer CCD which is supposed to be used with the next Leica M9 successor. Although this is not the “Kodak-Olympus sensor” we are talking about, it might be of interest to see some of the features (via ImageSensorWorld):
– The TRUESENSE technology is claimed to provide a 2x to 4x increase in light sensitivity compared to a standard Bayer color sensor by adding panchromatic pixels to the standard RGB elements that form the image sensor array
– The new sensor is also available in a regular Bayer and monochrome versions (Cool!)
– electronic shutter

For all Olympus readers. We are currently collecting info about the following three main rumors:
1) Modular camera
2) Olympus-Kodak partnership
3) New Super43 camera system

If you have some info you can share please contact me at 43rumors@gmail.com or use the contact form on the right sidebar. Thanks!

Olympus to make camera-phones? Lumixphone coming in February.

If mirrorless is eroding the DSLR market share, camera-phones are eroding the compact camera market. So it comes with no surprise that Olympus will buy the ITX phone corporation:

TOKYO (Nikkei)–Olympus Corp. (7733) said Friday that it will launch a tender offer for ITX Corp. (2725) to turn the cellular phone sales unit into a wholly owned subsidiary. Olympus currently holds an 82.07% stake in ITX. The cost of acquiring the ITX shares that it does not own will likely come to about 7 billion yen. The tender offer will begin Thursday and end Dec. 27. The offering price is set at 60,500 yen a share, which translates to a roughly 34% premium over ITX stock’s closing price on Friday.”

Just a speculation: Would you like if future PEN cameras would be able to connect (via mobile Internet) to your social network to instantly share pictures? I know Sony and Samsung are working on that and thisould be another reason why Olympus is acquiring the ITX shares.

P.S.: The Panasonic LUMIX Phone will be available next February in Japan (Akihabaranews)

Thom Hogan 2011 predictions for Panasonic and Olympus

Our friend and 43rumors reader Thom Hogan just published his 2011 predictions. I copied the part related to Olympus and Panasonic. Please click here to read the full article at bythom.com.

  • Olympus. We should get three m4/3 bodies from Olympus in 2011, but we’ll probably get two: E-P3 and E-PL2. The latter will be the incremental improvement to the E-PL1 and attempt to try to keep them in the game at the low end of the mirrorless realm. Basically, that means a US$499 camera or less with lens at retail, which means that the main development drive is in engineering out costs, not making a better product. At the other end, Olympus needs a solid-as-a-brick, pro m4/3 body, and I’m guessing that Olympus will make that the E-P3 and keep the E-P2 in the lineup as the middle. There’s a possibility I’m wrong, and that they’ll update the E-P2 to the E-P3 and add a higher end, more pro model, but that seems like a lot of work for Oly in a short time. True, the 4/3 DSLR engineering teams aren’t doing anything any more, so that argues for the three-body introduction scenario. Okay, so I’ll take what I wrote back and say E-PL2, E-P3, and E-P5 will appear. Like Panasonic (see below), we’ll have the lower models continuing the current sensors (with modest updates) and the upper models upping the megapixel numbers. We already know that we’re getting a super telephoto zoom (~70-300mm variable aperture, or is it the 90-250mm f/2.8 in m4/3 garb? I want the latter, but it’ll probably be the former), a 50mm macro, an 8mm fisheye, and a 12mm wide angle lens in early 2011. I think we’ll only get one additional lens delivered in 2011, and that would be a pro-caliber mid-range zoom (14-45mm f/2.8?) with the high end body. But by the end of the year I suspect that we’ll have a new lens roadmap that shows us a couple more high specification m4/3 lenses (fixed aperture zooms), another prime (likely 25mm), and another consumer zoom of some sort.
  • Panasonic. The GH2 got launched late in the year, so the high end for Panasonic seems set for 2011. Meanwhile the G2 isn’t out of date, either. Thus, it’s the GF1 type camera that’s where the action will be. We’ll actually get two variants: a lower level replacement for the GF1 (call it the GF-2 [actually announced a week after I wrote that line]) and a higher level supplement (call it the GP-2). The lower end continues the current 12mp sensors (updated slightly), the upper end gets the GH2 sensor. Lenses are tougher to figure. But I suspect that, like Olympus, by going upscale with a model Panasonic needs to do the same with lenses, so we’ll get something like a 14-45mm f/2.8 and a 45-100mm f/2.8 pairing, maybe in Leica garb. What we really need is a 10mm or 12mm prime, though. Panasonic seems to be hot on the wides, so I’m going to bet that we get something like that in the lineup announced in 2011, too. We already have good word that we’ll see a 25mm f/1.4 in the coming year from them. Panasonic is making decent cameras, but they need to get their marketing and sales up to a higher level. And all the “G’s” and “2’s” in their naming (GH-2, G2, G20, GF-2) aren’t helping. Talk about confusing the potential buyer.

So what do you think? Feel free to comment this post. Thom is reading us!

P.S.: The first camera to be replaced is the E-P2 (which is currently in Stock with lens and EVF for $799 only….).

Panasonic China leaks the GF2!

The chinese text at Panasonic.cn says:

As a replacement model for the hotselling GF1, the GF2 has reduced approx 19% of its volume and reduced approx 7% of its weight, becoming the world’s lightest interchangeable lens body. Additionally with this size advantage, the GF2 uses a 12MP Live MOS Sensor, allowing for a 1920×1080 at 60i(NTSC) or 50i(PAL) video using AVCHD codec. With the use of a new bounce flash system, it prevents vignetting from the photos taken with flash at a close distance. Panasonic’s “My Colours and 460K 3” LCD, allows for better photography simulation/ideas, bringing a better user viewing experience.

In summary:
– 19% less volume and 7% less weight
– 12 Megapixel
– 1080i (60i/50i)
– Built-in flash
– LCD has 460.00 dot resolution

P.S.: Thanks “FF” for the translation!