(FT5 -> patent) Olympus patent discloses a modular camera concept!

Let’s start with the bad news first. The same sources that told us that Olympus was working on a modular camera now told us that Olympus is keeping on hold the project. Olympus is focusing their resources on the development of new Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses. The good news is that we can finally show you a REAL proof that our sources were telling us the truth. Olympus filled a new patent (Click here to read it at freepatentsonline) that shows 8 different modular bodies! Every single concept has three different parts (camera body, sensor unit and lens). It looks like a more advanced concept compared to the Ricoh GXR design were lens and sensor do part of a single unit.

Let’s start with the official patent description:

There is known a camera capable of exchanging an imaging element with another imaging element of a different size according to the purpose (refer to Patent Document 1). This camera has a horizontally-long box-like camera body and a photographing lens for silver salt single-lens reflex camera. As the camera body, a camera body for silver salt single-lens reflex camera is used without modification. As a back lid, one for silver-salt camera and one for digital camera are prepared. When the back lid for digital camera is attached to the camera body, this camera can be used as a digital camera. Further, this camera has a configuration allowing exchange of a CCD substrate and thus different types of digital cameras can be realized by one camera body.

One of the most interesting apsects of the patent is the “conversion optical system” (On picture the part number 4): “The conversion optical system is an optical system that forms an intermediate image (primary image). Thus, even when a subject image is enlarged, an aberration-free image can be obtained.

The third modular camera variant (Figure 3) shows “the optical unit 21 includes an imaging optical system 22, the optical path division means 8, and the moving mechanism 9. The optical unit 211 through the attachment/detachment portion 2 and thereby a subject image is formed on the imaging element 3 through the imaging optical system 22 and the conversion optical system is connected to the imaging body 4

Feel free to add your thoughts about the patent by commenting on this post. As usual keep in mind that patents are not a guarantee that there will really be a product like that.

(FT4) UPDATED -> New rumor about the E-5 being the last Olympus DSLR

Yesterday I received a new message from a dutch camera reseller: “A representative of Olympus in the Netherlands came to our shop and told me that Olympus will not produce anymore Dslr camera’s. they will only produce the Olympus E-5. So pretty soon we can no longer order any Dslr except the E-5. and of the E-5 we can only order four at a time wich we have to sell first before we can order another four.
They will only concentrate on M 4/3. and by 2012 they will have renewed there whole compact line-up except for the superzoom cameras.
Are the same thing’s happening in other country’s to ?

The answer is yes! A few other dealers had small talks with Olympus reps. And they also have been told that this could be the last DSLR.

A reminder, Olympus said that they will contnue to develop Four Thirds products until Micro Four Thirds can deliver the same performance as Four Thirds cameras.

(UPDATE) Two more retailers sent me messages:

1) “Three weeks ago i was at an “open house” at a photo dealer with all of the reps there. I spoke to the Olympus rep for 15-20 minutes. Just prior to this open house he had had a meeting with one one of Olympus’ designers. He told me that Olympus will continue designing and producing a “flagship” E-X. The E-5 was not the end of the line. Olympus has not designed a system to do away with mirrors and that they were not even close. He said that all of the other series were dead. The modular E-series would not happen but he smiled when I mentioned a “pro” micro body.

2) “in my country it is the same with E5 as in others. Only a few at a time.”

Micro Four Thirds lens poll evaluation

A few weeks ago I collected your lens suggestions and put them on a poll. That poll neither pretends to be very detailed nor scientific. It should only help to give Panasonic /Olympus/Voigtländer a global idea of what 43rumors reader are looking for. I analyzed the results and those are this is my very personal (and limited) evaluation. Feel free to add your considerations to make that evaluation more detailed and correct. Thanks! (Click here if you like to see the full poll results)

1) The most requested single lens is the 25mm f/1.2. I confess that’s a bit of surprise for me. I didn’t include the 25mm f/1.4 lens option because that lens is already coming from Panasonic (and I told you that, but probably only a minority read it). 23% of you kept voting the faster option f/1.2! Very interesting indeed.

2) There is a general need for zooms that do start with a 12mm focal length. There were many 12mm zooms option and almost any of them made it into the top.

3) The most requested compact prime is the 12mm f/2.0 (18%). After that we have the 50mm f/1.8 (11%) and the first compact zoom is the 12-75mm f/2.8-4.5 (10%). Although I think such a “real” zoom lens would be likely to start with a much less brighter aperture.

4) There is a general “perception” that zoom lens should have a constant and as fast as possible aperture. Those lenses are expected to be big and heavy. Honestly I don’t know if you would really buy a big lens like that! Maybe the results are influenced by the need of video lenses (they are by far more interested in having a constant aperture).

5) Wide angle fast primes are the most requested. 12mm, 14mm and 17mm f/1.4 are on top of the list.

6) No real BIG need for normal-tele lenses. Someone told me that there were only a few normal-tele lens options inside the poll and that this is the reason why there are no tele-lenses on top. Honestly I would have expected the quite opposite! Having a less wider lens range option would have made it easier to bring the long-focal-length lenses on top of the list. That didn’t happen!

7) The exotic focal lengths (like the 42mm and 76mm lenses) didn’t get a lot of attention.

8 ) There is a need for high quality tele converters. 9% voted for the 1.4 TC and 8% for the 2.o TC.

9) There is almost no need for Tilt-shift lenses. Only 5% voted for the 10mm and 4% for the 12mm Tilt-shift lens.

POLL info:
– We had 4,322 unique voters (IP-address and browser type have been stored). 27% of the voters are coming from North America, 30% from Europe, 22% from Japan.
– The percentage explanation: Every voter had a maximum of 10 votes so when you read “23%” than it means that 23% of you voted that lens.
– The lens options have been submitted by our readers.