Dead project: the modular Olympus camera explained by a source

Years ago I did publish a couple of patents about a modular Olympus camera (Click here to read the patent that shows 8 different modular bodies). Of course this is now a dead project. A source shared some insights on this “experiment”:

  • Unlike the Ricoh GXR solution were sensor and lens were part of one single unit Olympus developed a fully modular system were every single part can be replaced.
  • The very cool thing is that you could rotate the sensor, and also use different sized sensors (!).
  • LCD and EVF were detachable (you can control the camera via wireless using the detached LCD).
  • It was meant as an open concept, it means third party companies could make single parts for the system. The Olympus prototype camera for example used both Kodak and Panasonic sensors.
  • The main body of the camera was mirrorless but you can attach a special adapter with included mirror to be able to use Optical View Finder.
  • It was a very advanced camera and that is probably also the problem of the whole project. To make it work flawlessly you have to work on many details. I have been told that engineers were facing many problems.

Old times folks, now Olympus is gone and we have to see if JIP will have the guts to try something new…

ThePhoBlographer wishlist for the OM-5

This is what ThePhoblographer hopes to get with the new OM-5:

  • While I would be surprised if the autofocus system was smarter than the likely pricier OM1, the scene and animal detection could still see some improvements. It’s not quite as good as Canon and Sony’s, and tracking birds in flight can be a struggle. Still, Micro Four Thirds lenses have a 2x crop factor that’s great for wildlife photography. If OM System can keep up with autofocus smarts, it could be a big draw for wildlife.
  • Computational photography sets Olympus apart — they need to keep it up.
  • If the OM5 doesn’t have the TruePic X processor, image quality in low light won’t be quite as impressive. The E-M5 Mark III uses the VIII — hopefully, the OM5 uses at least the IX, the processor in the older Olympus E-M1.
  • the right mix of features could help Micro Four Thirds draw new users.


OM-5 rumor summary from


Some chatter about the possible new PEN-F

A 43rumors reader sent me this:

Hello. I’m a long -term Oly user and was amazed to find two Olympus engineers asking question ls about the Pen F and customer reaction at the LCE camera shop in central London. From what I gathered OM is mulling a new version of the Pen F, but were interested in potential price positioning. Sounds like they are they very beginning of a potential project, this visit was the early research.

I stopped them in the street for a chat. Main thing that came up is that they are working on a super zoom that sits between the 100-400 and the 150-400. I asked about such a lens because I shoot vintage planes.

One anecdote. Engineers spent 8 weeks sitting and observing photographers using their cameras when designing the EM1X.

We also talked about Oly making more of the sharpeness of their lenses, because my current Sony A7R II sensor shows up the deficiency of my 200-600mm. Interesting because Oly has similar pixel densities.