(FT4) Panasonic could unveil a new FourThirds camera in 2010 (in January?).



Yesterday we found a new Panasonic patent (from December 10) which shows a new FourThirds camera (not MicroFourThirds!).

It is very difficoult to read patents that’s why we made a small summary of the most interesting parts:

Live-View, Optical Viewfinder, mirror and prism, of course interchangeable FourThirds lens mount, CMOS sensor, supersonic vibration generator, No Video recording, No in body stabilzation.

And Photographybay just published their CES 2010 predictions and they say Panasonic will drop another FourThirds DSLR!!!

I’m holding my breath for Panasonic to drop another Four Thirds DSLR that has their cool live view system that’s found on the G1, GH1 and GF1. That’s DSLR – with a mirror. Just a hunch based on some info that I’ve recently seen. Otherwise, point and shoots may rule the roost for Panasonic as well.


More patent details:

– “The present invention relates to a digital camera. In particular, the present invention relates to a digital camera having a movable mirror, which enables a subject image to be observed through an electronic viewfinder.

– “A digital single-lens reflex camera has an electronic viewfinder and an optical viewfinder, so that a subject image formed by an image pickup optical system is switched with a movable mirror, and can be observed through the optical viewfinder.

– “The OVF is configured in an optimum shape for displaying an image having a composition with an aspect ratio of 4:3. It should be noted that the optical viewfinder may be configured in an optimum shape for displaying an image having a composition with another aspect ratio. For example, the optical viewfinder may have an optimum shape for displaying an image having a composition with an aspect ratio of 16:9, or an optimum shape for displaying an image having a composition with an aspect ratio of 3:2.”


“FIG. 3 is a back view of the camera body 100. As shown in FIG. 3, the back surface of the camera body 100 includes a menu button 140a, a cross key 140b, a set button 140c, a rotation dial 140d, a viewfinder switch 140e, a focus mode switch 140f, a strobe activation button 140h, an LV preview button 140j, a stop-down button 140k, an AV button 140m, and a power supply switch 142. On the upper surface of the camera body 100, a hand shaking correction mode switch button 140g and the release button 141 are placed….The menu button 140 allows the liquid crystal monitor 15010, thereby enabling the user to change the setting. The cross key 140b selects various settings, items, images, or the like displayed on the liquid crystal monitor 150, and for example, can move a cursor or the like. The set button 140c determines the selected various settings, items, images, or the like displayed on the liquid crystal monitor 150. The rotation dial 140d is an operation member that selects various settings, items, images, or the like displayed on the liquid crystal monitor 150 in the same way as in the cross key 140b, and can move a cursor or the like, for example, by rotating. The viewfinder switch 140e selects either guiding an optical image to the eyepiece 136 or displaying a captured electric image on the liquid crystal monitor 150. The focus mode switch 140f selects either setting a focus mode in a manual focus mode or setting the focus mode in an autofocus mode. The hand shaking correction mode switch 140g is capable of selecting whether hand shaking correction should be performed. Furthermore, the hand shaking correction mode switch 140g can select a control mode of hand shaking correction. The stop-down button 140k adjusts the diaphragm in the live view mode. The LV preview button 140j adjusts the diaphragm and displays a part of an image displayed on the liquid crystal monitor 150 in an enlarged state, in the live view mode. The AV button 140m adjusts the diaphragm in the OVF mode. to display setting information on the camera body”

Please read for yourself the patent, may I missed something…

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  • Agent00soul

    Don’t know, but this seems reasonable in combination with the rumours of a new sensor from Panasonic. I would guess the camera would have some revolutionary new feature, otherwise I don’t think Panasonic would be bothered with standrard Fourthirds at all.

  • drj

    Entirely agree with Agent00soul. This ought to come with a revolutionary feature: though I am everything but able to go into the details of the patent, the most striking thing I noticed relates to the viewfinder that seems 1/ to be a genuine multi-format attempt, 2/ a classical optical viewfinder augmented (???) by some of the appealing dimensions of electronic viewfinders, maybe through a miniaturized projector within the prism of the OVF. The most amazing thing, however, has to do with the optics : at the moment, there are three Pana-Leica branded lenses and there has not been a single announcement from Olympus in this area by 2009. Hope I am wrong and Panasonic will soon be back in the entire 4/3 consortium.

  • The first image is of a DSLR (mirror, prism) – did they put this on purpose there just to throw us off?

  • I don’t think there’s as much here as some of the other posters seem to be interpreting. The diagrams and the verbal descriptions of “related art” all seem to be standard DSLR fare.

    Specifically what Panasonic is patenting (the three points in the “Claims” section) seems to be nothing more than a method of switching automatically between regular SLR view and “live view” when:

    — Power is turned off
    — The camera goes into “sleep mode”
    — The battery is removed or low on power

    The flowcharts also describe other conditions that would cause the camera to switch automatically between live view and SLR view, such as attaching the camera to a tripod, unfolding the LCD, or attaching a cable to the data terminal.

    Although these features certainly would make using live view a lot more convenient, none of them seem to suggest any design breakthroughs. In fact, since Panasonic doesn’t have any current cameras with conventional mirror SLR systems, and since this is a very crowded competitive space, I can’t see much sense in them introducing one. My guess is that their primary use of this patent will be to license it to other manufacturers who DO make mirror-reflex cameras.

  • That is a HUGE leap of logic.

    …You found a patent. That means Panasonic may introduce a new camera, one month from now. …

    Does every patent become a product?? Well, maybe 1% of patents become a product … sometimes years later.

    And I think Photography Bay is dreaming when they suggest there will be a new Lumix DSLR.


    • admin

      Hi Peter! Of course every patent does not become a camera! It is Photography Bay which speculates with a January release! You know what’s interesting with the patent? That they are talking about a camera with a mirror. I believe that’s important to say because it is a proove that they are still developing “classic” FourThirds models.

  • You missed a very important piece of information. The date on that patent is 2006, with an original filing in 2005. This is an old patent that was only recently granted. (The patent office often takes 3-4 years to grant a patent, but the patent has to be filed right before the product is released) thus this is for a previous 4/3 camera, maybe the L1 or L10.

    Panasonic and Olympus are likely going to be producing ONLY micro-four thirds (and point and shoots) going forward— because MF/T is a technology that they can use to differentiate. Hard for them to differentiate with DSLRs.

  • Fredex

    Its the L1 doohhhhhhh!!!!!!

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