A Micro Four Thirds rumors roadmap


Don’t make fun of me because of that baby-graph I posted here :)

We posted so many rumors that it’s good to post a visual summary of what could be coming soon. Keep in mind that those are rumors. Some of them may be true, some will change and some of them may be turn out to be false. But one thing I can tell you. Panasonic and Olympus will very soon announce MANY new Micro Four Thirds products. Just curious…

Which rumored camera/lens are you more interested in? (you can vote more than once)

View Results

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  • If the last Panny will follow the previous rumor, it should be a bright wide-angle lens. Never was mentioned to be a zoom, but if it is, I would assume it would be akin to the Zuiko 11-22mm f2.8-3.5. If they make it 1mm wider on each end would be awesome :D And probably wouldn’t be too huge. Maybe like the 7-14mm but a bit larger in diameter. No need for OIS in such a lens imo.

    Or if it were to be more interesting, something like a 40-100(125)mm f2.8-3.5 with Power OIS and maybe HD rating would be awesome too especially if it weren’t much larger than the 45-200mm except maybe in front diameter. Oh and with an optional tripod collar for when it might be handy :D

    • Miroslav

      “If the last Panny will follow the previous rumor, it should be a bright wide-angle lens. Never was mentioned to be a zoom”

      Exactly. Please Panasonic, make it a 12mm F1.4 with 20mm-like quality and you’ll have a new bestseller. It doesn’t have to be a pancake. There’s no need for another zoom ( almost all zoom ranges are nicely covered ).

      • 12mm f1.4? Whoa that is asking too much IMO. I would prefer a f2.8 pancake or f2 compact prime over a massive f1.4 especially since it’s easier to avoid shake at these focal lengths.

      • Robbie

        12mm 1.4
        Why would you need this aperture for wide angle lens?!

        • Joel

          Robbie look up what is possible with the Canon 24/1.4 on full frame..

          That said I don’t think this is ideal for the u4/3 market… I would prefer something like a 40/1.4 or even f2 but a little faster would be nice… easier to make and gives a fast portrate lens.. the 45/2.8 is too slow..

        • It allows taking hand-held and low iso photos at low light. For example, when you take a photo inside a big building, you need a wide lens. Many buildings, especially religious ones have low light, too large to lighten with a flash and they do not allow tripods.

          • Miroslav

            Agree. Or shooting cities/architecture at night. One of my favorites, born out of necessity though: on a business trip, you can only explore the city you’re visiting at night :( .

            Or for shooting concerts or museums or aquariums – no flash allowed or possible there.

            @ Jim Ramsey Khoury
            You’ve got 14mm F2.5 pancake, that’s near 12mm F2.8, let us have our fast wide lens :) no metter the size. Anyway, Olympus will surely make 12mm F2.8 ( pancake ), so Panasonic is our only hope. And this being m4/3, not full frame, don’t expect the lens be the size of Canon/Nikon 24mm F1.4. More realistically it would be around Leica 45mm size, depending on that dreaded :) digital distortion correction level.

  • spriggers

    I wonder if they will release the wide angle prime along side the release of the EP3?

  • I love the map/graph idea — makes it a lot easier to visualize possible future products (which is very helpful for plans to save up money, sell kidneys/family members, etc.)

    If you might continue the map as an ongoing feature, what would you think about adding an indication of how “firm” the rumor is (FT 5, 4 etc.)? Maybe a wide, solid line could represent an FT5 product; a wide, dashed line could indicate FT4; medium solid line, FT3; medium dashed line, FT2; skinny solid line, FT1.

  • Rich

    I’m really interested in what the G3 is going to be. I’m on the fence of buying the GH2, but the availability of the camera is terrible. What is the G3 going to offer over the G2?

  • rawmeyn

    Any news/rumors about new Voigtländer primes for MFT in development? Like 35mm f1.2 maybe? Thanks!

    • rawmeyn

      or a 17mm f1.2 (a 35mm equivalent FOV on FF)

    • Lenses I would like from CV:

      40mm f1.4 or less
      10mm f2.8 or less
      6mm circular fisheye (f5.6?)

    • why not just go for their current 35 1.2 and buy an adapter?

      • rawmeyn

        yeah this would be one solution. but what I really meant was the 17mm (35mm FF equivalent). And in addition an adapter makes everything bigger too… not ideal.

        • understood Sir!

  • I went for the Olympus pro m43 + their 12mm prime.

    I think Olympus are going to make the following 3x pancake primes:
    – 12/2.8
    – 18/2 (to speed up and replace the 17/2.8)
    – 40/2
    … and they will all be SWD + weather sealed to go with the E-Pro whatever they call it.

    I also think that there will be an E-P3, but this won’t be the weather sealed pro body (I think its time Oly made good on their idea that m43 can replace 43 … and make a E-620 + E-30 replacement as G2 form factor)

    • I thought SWD was meant for PDAF but I get what you intended as MSC for fast and silent focus

    • Good speculation. If they’ll do, I’ll probably buy all the three, for sure if I can afford their price.
      And to beat the competition of Samsung NX (they already have or have announced all this stuff) and of Pentax and Nikon (they are smart enough to announce similar products for their rumored mirrorless), Olympus has to go this route.
      Unfortunately, I doubt they will, but I’m on the fence looking (and hoping)

  • Dan

    Great graph!!! Too many people focus on beauty over content. That graph has content, so it’s beautiful to me!

    OTOH, I want that 12-50mm lens NOW!!!



  • Do

    Does this list mean that there won’t be an E-P3 AND another (‘pro)’ model?

    • MikeS

      Given the limited difference between the E-P’s and E-PL’s (+1 control dial, -1 flash, better build), I wouldn’t be surprised if the E-P line were to be repositioned as the ‘pro’ line, with features that enthusiasts want (e.g. built-in VF).

      • Do

        Maybe you’re right, I just was curious because i remembered rumors talking of two models. Anyway, although a built-in VF would be a nice-to-have, I’m still very happy with my E-PL1 :-)

  • Zaph

    I hope the Olympus is a 12mm and not 14mm. 14mm is covered back, front and sideways, 12mm not really. Are there technical issues that have stopped them covering 12mm up until now? (in either a pancake or one of the zooms)

  • The Master

    With the popularity of the Fuji X100 announcement, I think it would be a mistake for Pany or Oly not to make their own version except with interchangeable lenses, since that seemed to be one of the most disliked features of the X100.

    I don’t know if the GF3 will be that, but it should be and so should the Oly pro model. It’s pretty silly to get free marketing info, then not use it to make sales. However, it wouldn’t surprise me to see either company snatch defeat, from the jaws of victory. ;)

  • That is helpful and interesting. And I think that the poll results so far show something that is all too often missed here. MFT cameras potentially appeal to two groups of people.

    First, we have the pros and the experts like most of the commenters here. You guys see things and have needs that a lot of us really don’t understand. A lot of cameras take great pictures these days, but the differences at the margins matter to you. I guess it is like people who are really into high-end audio equipment. Someone once told me that while most people use their audio equipment to listen to music, others use music to listen to their audio equipment. I guess every hobby or profession has its members who blaze new trails.

    But then there are a lot of people like me. I take a lot of pictures, most of which include the kids, the dog or some trip or event. I have an Epson Pro 3800 printer and make prints up to about 11×17 to hang on the wall. My favorite cameras were the Panasonic FZ-50 and Minolta Dimage A2. They both took great photos that could be printed up to 11×17 and looked great in frames. But by today’s standards they are painfully slow. And try to find a really good fixed lens camera with a manual zoom ring.

    When the Canon 7D came out, I was really excited. The feature set was astonishing, and the price was justifiable for my income and the number of pictures I take. So I went and checked one out. It took about 10 seconds to decide against it. There is no way I am taking that to a ball game or on a trip. It would be the only thing that I did. it would own me.

    So for a huge number of people the attraction of MFT is a camera that takes great pictures and is portable. The LX5, X100 and XZ-1 are great, but they lack the zoom that I need for the pictures I take.

    If Panasonic sold a GH2 with a fixed 14-140 lens, I would probably nab it and have my camera for many years. But MFT also offers the option of an interchangeable lens camera in the same format, which opens all kinds of doors for learning more. If I could find a GH@ today, I would get it, but I really like the Olympus IBIS and design more.

    The great thing about MFT is that is has the chance to make all of us happy with the same camera. If Panasonic had a built-in EVF for the GF1 and GF2, or Olympus had one for any of its PENs, it would be perfect. And the people you see out there with a digital SLR with kit lens probably have the budget for a fairly high end MFT camera.

    I’m only saying all of this in defense of the zoom lenses. The primes will be what distinguishes you guys from the rest of us, but the zooms are what will bring in people like me. I don’t know if Panasonic or Olympus will be smart enough to make the camera for all us or not, but it sure would be nice. I suspect that there are a lot more people like me than people, so no one should be surprised that PanOly targets people like me. I just hope that they don’t dumb it down. We want a small interchangeable lens camera that takes good pictures, not another point and shoot.

    I wonder if the serious hobbyists and professionals see this the same way.

    • Will Frost

      Dear Lawyer in Seattle with a Camera,
      I don’t think we are so different. About 80% of the desire for prime lenses is the ability to shove the camera into a pocket OR wanting twice as much light as an affordable zoom can let in. If we could get a zoom that did that, primes would be sooooooooo over.

      Don’t let the bloviating about small technical details fool you – almost all of that is just us folk trying to justify another camera related purchase. I would say more than half the people here are into cameras because they do, or did, have kids they wanted pictures of.

    • This is because you haven’t tried primes. I recommend trying the Panny 20mm (maybe borrowing from a friend or buying from a store which has the 100% money back guarantee)
      You’ll appreciate it very much and not miss the zoom: move yourself or switch lens when needed (however they don’t have any good tele or wide prime to switch to in m43 yet – so you might not want to commit but look at Samsung NX or wait for Nikon and Pentax mirrorless).
      A GH2 with a 14-140 (even non interchangeable) is much similar in size to the Canons than to the real m43 spirit. So if you really need that zoom range (but I believe that is just laziness and not willingness to change lenses) go for a small sensor and be happy with a lower image quality.

      About your comment

      > Someone once told me that while most people use their audio equipment to
      > listen to music, others use music to listen to their audio equipment

      I agree, there are such people in both fields. For me, here they are the ones who salivate about the fuji X100, whose only good is the viewfinder, which is nice, but almost irrelevant to take nice pictures, not the ones who likes the GF1+20mm and look forward for a 12mm wide and a (serious) 40mm portrait, all in pancake format: those are the ones, like you (and me) who care only about the pictures to take.

      • I think that I largely agree with you. I would never have been a potential buyer of a 14 or 20 mm prime lens before I started following MFT. The size and bulk of a system were just nonstarters. When I joined this site 5 months ago, I did not even know what bokeh is. I know the effect, and I play with it, but not as consciously as people here.

        To me the beauty of MFT is that is offers an interchangeable lens camera with great photos in a format that works for me. A GH@ is just a bit large, but if I could have a GF1 with a built-in EVF, it would always be with me.

        I get the comment about zooms being laziness, but I think it goes more to the difference between real photographers and people who take pictures. Maybe 10% of the pictures I take are purely to capture an image for what I would call artistic purposes. The other 90% are to capture a moment or a scene. Zooming allows me to capture scenes without changing them by being involved. And a manual zoom ring lets me frame a picture in a way that electronic zooms don’t.

        I don’t think that you can overstate the importance of size with good quality to people like me. It is going to bring in a whole new group of people whose only objection to DSLRs is size. And the zooms are what will bring us in. That is when we can learn the value of the 20mm prime.

        So I understand the comments about zooms and the lack of primes, but for these to really take off and not be a niche product, Panasonic and Olympus are going to have to put a lot of effort into the zooms. But I and a lot of people like me want the professional model. I need weatherproofing for the beach, and I need those features that let you guys make great art and let me capture the moment I am after. I just don’t think that Panasonic or Olympus gets the fact the MFT should be a convergence of the best of both worlds with a product or products for everyone.

        • cL

          People who said using zoom is laziness are theorists, not people who practice photography. There are places that are not accessible, or once you reach to that locale, the lighting and angle would be wrong. If you carry all the lenses with all the focal lengths you need, you can’t do much photography anymore, especially if you’re a hiker. If someone invented teleportation into mid-air or shoes to walk on water, plus a bag of holding to make lenses weightless, then I’ll consider carrying a 24mm, a 35mm, a 50mm, a 100mm, a 150mm and a 500mm prime with me at all time. Now I’m happy with my two-lens plus a tripod setup. And a moment can be gone forever while you’re change lens, put the right filter on, then change the white balance setting (because not every lens gives the same white balance). Maybe I’m just too slow and too poor to hire an assistant.

        • Esa Tuunanen

          Such shame that Minolta ended giving up camera production because cameras started to sell for their big name marketing instead of actual features and design innovations.
          I searched for and bought Minolta A2 half year after end of its production as I noticed how fixed lens compacts were all just devolving backwards while crap ergonomy lacking controls consumer DSLRs were suddenly the “best thing since sliced bread” even though controls and ergonomy plain suck compared to A2.

          With total lack of real advanced prosumer compacts since that I’ve now waited from first announcement of MFT concept when it would get its serious body designed by photographers instead of Panasonic’s marketroids.
          Panasonic G/GH even dragged horribly unergonomic film era design to EVF positioning and last hope of even slightly decent ergonomy is destroyed by that oversize travel TV on its rear. (bodies are wider than A2 and still fail miserably in controls/ergonomy comparison)
          With Panasonic being consumer electronics brand instead of real traditional photography equipment maker that result wasn’t big surprise but Olympus doesn’t have that excuse.

          While making pocketable compacts is nice and for some people all they want something more higher-end should have been released already earlier and credibility of Olympus needs release of that first serious ergonomy/controls mirrorless body well before religion class CaNikon brands get any of their what ever they decide to make without mirror out.
          And as Olympus has also failed to add modern resolution video mode with modern compression to their compact Pen-line I might have to get Panasonic GF2 to just fill gap in travelling plans. (need something video capable which can also attach to Zuiko 12-60mm/Panasonic Leica D 14-150mm)

    • cL

      Perfectly understandable. My brother once discussed with me with what he read about Sony’s marketing, which “enthusiasts” complained to be catering for soccer moms. My response was there is nothing wrong with such strategy. This can be observed if you signed up for a digital photography class in a community college, you’d notice most of your classmates may just carry Sony P&S cameras and their only expectation from taking the class was to be able to shoot better photos of their family (including their pets). They do not pretend to be artists nor do they have desire to purchase a DSLR.

      For everyday people, m4/3 makes perfect sense. It provides a balance between image quality and simplicity. It’s the end result that counts. It’s not the gear they care about. Technical terms like DOF or DR don’t mean as much as “I want to shoot a portrait with dreamy background” or “I want the entire scene is even lighting and faces not blacked out.” Shooting RAW, what’s that? You mean raw like sushi? This may sound funny to “pros” or “enthusiasts,” but most of these people are so far down in the lane, they’ve lost insight of a typical person with a camera, which consists probably close to 90% of market share (maybe getting less, since DSLRs and similarly high quality cameras are getting popular).

      Your comment about audiophiles is a very good analogy. I used to listen to music that is recorded in “acceptable” fidelity. However, once you listened more, your ears become more aware of the imperfection. That’s how audiophiles start to buy expensive equipments, and to those uninitiated may find the cost unjustifiable. Human bodies do have certain flexibility to adapt. Just as you may be more keen to legal concept than those who aren’t doing laws for trade. The same concept applies to photography, as we start to see fault, our quest to perfection has just begun.

      That said, I think one’s camera (brand) selection is a function of their needs. Having business training I know very well that most people don’t know what they need, and that’s how marketing creates value. I stick to Olympus regular 4/3 because I like how it could capture minute detail without breaking my bank account. To others, brand is vital to their companion needs (e.g., “I’m a proud Canon user”), and the result of their photos is not nearly as important, as it’s just a hobby for them. Like many things in life, there is no right or wrong. A camera that’s being used is worth a lot more than the one with better specs. It’s happiness you’re creating with your cameras. Photography gear is just a facility.

  • Uluru

    Advice needed.

    I´m about to get a Lumix G 20mm F1.7. Should i wait for the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 or buy the Lumix G 20mm F1.7 now?


    • No brainer: buy the 20mm.
      I think the 25mm will be yet another useless lens, just to claim that m43 have plenty of lenses (when they are really missing a lot). That half stop of more light gathering won’t buy you almost anything (half bump in ISO speed is invisible). Neither will do that 5mm more focal lenght (you can always marginally crop if you really need the smaller field of view).
      The 25mm will just be larger and more expensive than the 20mm

      • certainly recommend getting the Pan 20/1.7

        the new 25/1.4 is likely to be bigger and more pricey

    • I think a lens being silent with internal focusing is important. A 20mm f1.7 II may be worth the wait. The 25mm will probably be more silent than the 20mm. Of course, this only matters if you will autofocus during videos.

    • 20mm is a very sharp and small lens. However, its motor is noisy and very slow to autofocus. If silence and autofocus speed are important for you, wait for 25mm to see how it performs.

    • Greg

      Get the 20mm. It’s a superb lens and you can still kind of use it as an all-purpose, which would not exactly be the case of the 25 (I know it’s the equivalent of a 50mm “normal” but really a bit more wide angle does not do any bad at all for street photography).

  • Great post. I voted for the Olympus 14/12mm and Olympus 50mm. But if the Olympus is 14mm instead of 12, it’ll be useless. And if the 50mm is copycat of Panny 45mm macro, it’ll be useless too. We need a portrait lens (well, maybe even two), not yet another macro.
    Otherwise, Samsung will rule in this space (they already have announced availability for their first portrait lens for 2011 and for their second in 2012)

    • Joel

      I would be very happy with a 50mm macro from Oly, the 2.8 PL is too expenisive for what it is to me.. An f2 macro at least becomes a little more multipurpose..

      The 12mm prospect is stopping me buying the Panasonic 14mm to compliment my 20mm when I want to travel ultra light.. But I just hope Olympus step up the optical quality a bit as I am finding their u4/3 offerings a little average compared to their previous 4/3 offerings or to what Panasonic has to offer.

      • Aisha

        I believe (hope) the 50mm will be a copy of the Oly 50mm f2.0 macro lens, which isn’t a full macro lens, but the image quality… sigh. If they just could copy that quality, I’m in!

  • 43rumor graph is fine.
    Can’t wait for the Olympus Pro MFT stuff much longer!

  • what happend to GP1?

  • safaridon

    Thanks admin for this useful roadmap including not only lens but also camera bodies. However somehow I do not think the projections of Pany m4/3 bodies has been as accurate as those for Oly? For the last year and half we have had a lot of rumors some even to FT4 of coming Pany rangefinders with EVF still none shown here? Sure a G3 is expected and normal but why is in G body a delay in delivery until May unless delays in sensor or all new body ie more like a digital OM but then I would have expected a different designation to distinguish from G body style?

    Why would Pany not produce the rangefinder after rep has said Pany expects fully 75% of the mirrorless action to be in popular rangefinder style and yet Pany has not produced a second such series in over 1.5 years after saying they would? Again the recent FT4 rumor that 25nn/1.4 new m4.3 lens would be kit lens for new camera? Certainly these high end lenses now shown to be available in April are not for a G3 but a pro m4/3 in a new body.

    Pany has indicated that GF1 is going to be discontinued so if upgrade not coming why not continue production rather than present price decreases? Admin has already said several times the G3 is not rangefinder body and is not the GF3 so I think the GF3 or whatever it will be called rangefinder model will be announced in February and that is where these lenses are going. Also more than likely the second zoom lens will be a smaller kit lens for this rangefinder or 20/1.7 kit choices.

    I had hopes this morning that the web shutdown was maybe because a whole lot of new news concerning these models was on there way!?

    • Joel

      A Panasonic rangefinder style body with a built in EVF would steal a lot of the x100’s $1,200 thunder….

  • twoomy

    Boy, I hope that 12-50mm is really available in April/May. I would LOVE to have this lens for this summer.

  • Max

    So no EP3 on CP+? That’s disappointing.. :(

  • I’m eagerly awaiting a “pro” style metal body with a nice rubber/leather grip. Although I prefer the styling of the EPL2, a form factor like a mini E5 with a smaller hand grip would be sweet too.

    • I really hope olympus will not use the mini-dslr form factor for their upcoming pro m43 model. better stick with the seperate vf2 idea then, but weatherproof and more low-profile.

      • Henrik

        Im with you, I hope the new PRO doesnt look like a mini E-5 but rather like the E-P with weathersealing.

        • Greg


        • Mike

          I think for Pro Lenses you will need a Body with a good grip, because they will be heavy…

          • Maybe olympus could add an extra grip module like Pentax did for their sublime LX model; small but effective enough.

  • Zaph

    Actually, what I’d love to see is an improved Oly 17mm lens released, with better quality, and at f2. Something at least the quality of the Panasonic 20mm, maybe a bit better.

  • Greg

    This Pro body to come out some time mid 2011 is the only thing keeping me from preordering a Fuji X-100…

  • Arkersaint

    Quote Lawyer : “if I could have a GF1 with a built-in EVF, it would always be with me”
    Quote Safaridon : “I think the GF3 or whatever it will be called rangefinder model will be announced…”
    Quote Joel : “A Panasonic rangefinder style body with a built in EVF would steal a lot of the x100′s $1,200 thunder…”
    Quote Ulli : “I really hope olympus will not use the mini-dslr form factor for their upcoming pro m43 model.”
    Quote Henry : “Im with you, I hope the new PRO doesnt look like a mini E-5 but rather like the E-P with weathersealing.”

    Is that wish for rangefinder form something rationnal ? Probably not… Is it a FULLY SIGNIFICANT MARKET TREND ?
    YEEEEES !!!!!!!

    By the way, thanks to Lawyer, I feel less marginal on this site !

    • You know, one of the things that I really like about this site is that everyone seems to love photography. I see a lot of “I want this” or “I want that” but not a lot of “You’re an idiot.” And that has been my experience with MFT cameras in general. The orthodox purists aren’t interested, which suits me just fine. MFT cameras are a great second camera for the pros and a great first camera for people like us. What occurs to me is that we both want the same body, but we would have different lenses. If Panasonic and Olympus would figure that out, their roadmaps would be a lot easier.

      Thanks Admin for a great site. And I appreciate the stuff that is not technically a rumor or strictly MFT because it is helpful information. Now, if you really wanted to make things interesting, you could start a category of FT0 for the stuff that you hear but don’t tell us. Call it fantasy or whatever, but we would love to hear it. And we won’t hold it against you when it never happens.

  • Arkersaint

    +1 for Admin !

  • I find the three just-released converters by Olympus (wide, fisheye, and macro) a bit TOO similar to these rumored “new lenses” (wide, fisheye, and macro). Does that make me a cynic?

  • Would be really nice to see this 12-50 zoom, which hopefully should not be much bigger and heavier than the current 14-42 or 14-45

    • Thomas

      Techfreak: Think that 12-50/2,5 should be bigger and heavier, the reason why is that f/2,5 ;)

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