Olympus patent: 4/3 to m4/3 adapter with built-in autofocus and image stabilization.


We all know that Olympus is seeking a solution to make Four Thirds lenses fully compatible with the Micro Four Thirds cameras. With fully compatible I mean that you can use all the 100% AF speed of the lenses. And one of the solution may be the one you see as image here on top. It shows a new Olympus Four Thirds to Micro Four Thirds adapter with built-in autofocus and image stabilization. While I am not surprised to see the autofocus function you may wonder why there is an image stabilization system. Egami (translation here) explains that the in body stabilization has the disadvantage that you cannot adapt it on the kind of lens you are using.

Anyway, at that point I remember that one source told me that some kind of special adapter would be released soon. It may uses the technology we see here?

P.S.: Some refurbished High Qulaity Zuiko lens for sale on eBay (via Slidoo).

Thanks Manuel for sending me the link!

  • @admin
    You thinking it will be announced early next year along with some other goodies?

  • I like that the built in image stabilisation could make a whole load of older lenses suitable for video.

    • peevee

      IBIS in Oly cameras already makes them suitable for video.

  • bart

    The AF adapter idea isn’t really new, there are older patents covering that part of the idea.

    Note that such an adapter could in theory be made to also support non-AF lenses, but having an aperture mechanism in the adapter would be highly desirable for that.

    There are however some inherent issues with such a design, one of which is that breathing is pretty much unavoidable. Another one is that things like minimum focus distance gets dictated by the adapter and lens combination, and will no longer be related to the minimum focus distance the lens is designed for.

    Also, this does absolutely nothing to fix the much bigger underlying issue: CDAF not having a clue as to in which direction an object is moving, and as a result being bad at focus tracking.

    • @bart
      Olympus and Panasonic are working on predictive autofocus.
      “In the future, as this technology continues to evolve, you can look forward to such exciting new features as an ultrafast AF system that predicts the subject’s next action by analyzing the scene based on the status of the human skeleton. Without the sensor AF technology, none of this would be possible, and today many manufacturers and research organizations are pressing forward with development of new features derived from the potential of the contrast AF system.” http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microftmerit/merit1.html Probably with processing power.

      *Idea for the future would be for subjects to “wear” some sort of transmitter that communicates and tells the camera exactly where the subject is eg individual soccer players could have individual transmitters or they could be attached to some sorts of wildlife….*

      Oly and Panny can already do continuous auto focus but not quite at the accuracy, speed and continuity of pdaf.

      • dECpAT

        “Oly and Panny can already do continuous auto focus but not quite at the accuracy, speed and continuity of pdaf.”

        If you had ever used a real camera with decent CAF { difficult if you are an Olympus or Panasonic user as there aren’t any } you would not be claiming this the CAF on mFT bodies is woeful even the £1000 option. I have never seen a photo of a fast moving subject taken with a mFT that is critically sharp, you either have pre-focused snatch shots or bird and nature shots that are really just deep dof landscape shots that happen to have a bird in them.

        • bart

          If you configure an E-30, 3 or 5 properly it can do continuous AF pretty well. Not as good as the best offerings from Canikon, but at least as good as for example a D7000, and much much much better then any current m4/3 camera.

          As with everything, success starts with knowing how to operate your tools.

      • bart

        Oh, I know they are working on such things, and actually do a little bit of it already.

        However, such predictive continuous AF still lacks 2 very simple and essential things that a phase detect solution can offer:
        – knowing if you are in focus
        – if not, knowing in which direction to move to obtain focus.

        There are more subtle issues with contrast based AF and continuous focusing.


  • Any optics in between will degrade the great quality of SHG and HG 43 glasses

    • keenyi

      Plus those sweet lenses are already huge to start with an adapter only makes it worse especially if the intention is to mount them on mFT bodies which are smaller and lighter.Olympus never learns FT failed because of the size and weight to performance ratio , mFT does exactly the opposite. I have lenses as heavy as the SHG kit only thing is I use them on a camera with a sensor four times larger.

      It will make the remaining 3 or 4 FT users happy lol , but the market for these lenses was tiny in DSLR days and will be miniscule for mFT.

  • Nawaf

    Admin, any idea how it auto-focuses? I don’t see the same technology as Sony here. I guess it’s too early, and as they say patience is a virtue.

    Soon I will get rid of my DSLR kit ;) Well only if it can track the birdies.

    • Hmmm, maybe CDAF. ;-)

  • KI

    I think Oly should keep their customers updated on this… There are so much confusion on the 4/3 system now and many users are jumping ship… It would be interresting to know if we would get full support if we just wait a few months more….

    • Miroslav

      I thought that ship had sunk a few years ago :).

      • KI

        Some of us are still swimming around or is lost on an island somewhere…..

    • Anonymous

      Jumping ship? More like trying to get from a sinking rowboat into a ship.

      • AnonymousOps

        we do not like you using our tag
        expect us

  • kravat

    We don’t want a adaptater, what we want it’s PDAF on sensor!!

    • Olympus do not compromise by IQ.

      • 5657fegy

        Olympus do not compromise by IQ.

        Lets see until the E-M5 Olympus had the worst sensors in every generation. They have a barrow load of dog slow sh!t kit lenses and tele zooms and a couple of over priced primes. Unless you are talking about FT in which case they have some excellent SHG lenses that weigh a ton and cost a fortune

        • Yah yah, Olympus will not compromise more now, absolute stop compromise. :-P

    • Nawaf

      This would mean that all current camera holders would be left out. Might happen in the future, but for now I think this is the best decision.

    • ha

      Body, adapter and lens are three different things. With PDAF enabled body this adapter would of course make the old E series obsolete.

    • martin

      Don’t expect too much from PDAF on sensor – it is far from being functionally equivalent to a full-fledged PDAF sensor of an SLR and just won’t give you anywhere near the performance of the latter. Just look at the EOS-M: PDAF on sensor, but worst AF performance of the mirrorless systems around.

  • buongustaio

    dream coming true..!

  • Good patent for at give focus on MF lens i think this is reason for OIS in adapter and we not need give info to camera what lens we use.

  • Anonymous

    For all those Panna boys, I wonder if it will be fully compatible with a Panna body?????

    • @Anonymous, Good point. ;-)

  • tomm

    that you cannot adapt it on the kind of lens you are using.

    ??? as i know, you can programm the IBIS (manually) for different focal lengths

    what then is the clue of this adapter?

    • jim

      Agree – pointless for Oly to include IS – just use onboard as you do when adapting 43 currently – there is no issue with current 43 lenses on m43 cameras regarding IS – they work as good as native m43 lenses??? so why do Oly do this… a gift to panasonic users? – enabling the GH2 etc. to have IBIS with 43 lenses… waay cool, but odd oly would do this!
      Possibly they will never make this – it could be to stop others making IBIS adaptors (i.e. panasonic) for their cameras so Oly can remain the IBIS king???


  • Anonymous

    > in body stabilization has the disadvantage that
    > you cannot adapt it on the kind of lens you are using ???

    Oh I see… You can only adapt it on the kind of lens, you are “not” using.

    What is this suppose to mean? Someone making fast conclusions on Babelfish translations?

    Since when Olympus in body IS is not able to stabilize some lenses? Af far as I know, if you dial in focal length, you can use Olympus IS on just any lens. In my experience it works well (I have experience with IS in E510, E3, E5 bodies).

    From what I can see fom posted picture, it shows some kind of AF mechanism in adapter. It says nothing about how focus distance is measured (but I have not read the patent).

    This will become news, when somebody with technical knowledge and fluent in japanese will read the patent, and explain it to us.

    • Hubertus Bigend

      An lens-based stabilizer can, in theory, the better correct shake the longer the focal length gets, because lens groups are less limited in the amount of image displacement they can cover than a sensor.

      • There is indeed another explanation possible. That the adapter is not really targeting stills camera, but movie ones.

        IBIS would indeed provide a great incentive for the use of 4/3 lenses with movie cameras, since it a pro environment where cost of the adapter would matter less.

  • Yay!

    But now let’s think in practical terms.

    Will Oly sell such a thing for 500 $, like Sony’s? Perhaps Admin could ask his colleagues at Sony Rumors. Did they sell any at all?

    In fact it’s like buying a second camera.

    As I see it there are only birders left at DPR’s 4/3. Will the internal lens make them lose 1 stop? Better than that?

    Let’s see if CockUpWell has a bright idea… :)

    • Ren Kurzweil

      Yes my beloved semite king. You will find all my bright ideas here: http://www.kenrockwell.com Feel free to donate. It liberates me from having to get a job.

      • Not a bright historian are you? The kings of Jerusalem of the same name were from the Lusignan family, royals of Portugal.

        This happens when one is in a hurry wt. Wikipedia. Now tell us about the adapter, dear…

        • Anonymous

          Oh look, the princely ruler of trolls has found a new victim.

          • Ajinomoto

            The princely ruler of trolls has found no new victim. He and Kockwell are one of the same. His motive is clear. To draw attention to himself and to instigate the reaction of others. In the western world you call it trolling. In Japan we call it a phreakin waste of time!

          • Rajhni Muerkhejee

            Yas, I am believed this Amanic is creating Kockwell in another personna of Amanic for himself to have funs with himself. Why you not just emulation of George Michail and play withs yourselve and don’t bother this forum with irrelevants? We are come here for enjoy latest rumour and news items on micro 43 camera and peripherals. Very much thank you go away.

        • Ren Kurzweil

          Not true dear Semite king. The Lusignans were descended from the tribe of Dan which infiltrated Goa many centuries before. This cannot be determined for certain but cannot be disproven.

          Ah yes, the adaptor. Well, it’s just a patent innit? Most patents remain patents and never see the light of day.

          • If you look at the date, it’s a very recent patent. So it goes to show that Oly is considering an add on element, and not (only) the PDAF on Sensor everybody believed.

            PDAF on S. might work in combination with CDAF for better CAF, but might not be enough to focus 4/3 SHG.

  • Yun

    Yes , an optional ( on / off ) image stabilization in Pana body to faciliate all the Zuiko lenses in 100% would be dream come true .
    Pana really got a lot of works to do to catch up Oly .
    The next camera after GH3 will be very important to justify if Pana ambition in mirrorless no 1 is still relevant .

    • gJETD

      The SHG lenses were and are an absolute waste of time and money. They are great but you have to be an idiot to spend that much, and carry that much weight . Then mount them on a camera with a small sensor. Olympus FT users bitching about AF is a bit funny considering that amongst all the companies they have always had the worst AF

      • matteo

        ah ah ah

        i am an idiot with 90-250 2.8. In FF format does’not exist a lens with the same quality and performance.
        (have you see the sigma 180-500 F2.8) ;-)

      • Anonymous

        The 7-14, 14-35 and 35-100mm lenses are in fact a total waste of money. Anybody who buys one would certainly be better off with a full frame system.

        BUT, the 2x crop factor is very advantageous for long lenses. The 150mm f/2, 90-250mm f/2.8, 300mm f/2.8 as well as the HG 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5, thanks to the 2x crop factor, don’t really have equals unless you crop heavily.

        Also, miniaturization of these lenses is impossible. A native m4/3 90-250mm f/2.8 would only be very slightly smaller than the 4/3 version.

        • bart

          So lets just see how that works out for someone who actually owns a 4/3 camera and some lenses…

          Lets say you own an E-5, 12-60, 50-200, 50/2 and 300/2.8 and now need something somewhat faster and better for short tele (stage work), but want to retain a zoom… The 35-100/2.0 does fit that role.

          Waste of money?

          Not at all.

          You could easily buy a ‘full-frame’ system (rubbish marketing term, our m4/3 cameras are FULL FRAME 4/3″) instead? Last time I checked a 135 format DSLR will set you back more then that 35-100, and for that money you do not have a lens yet, no, not a single lens yet, not even a bad one.

  • Hubertus Bigend

    This is ridiculous, the E-M5, for example, already has very decent IS, so why should I want to spend money on another complicated IS mechanism? By the way, with my Panasonic/Leica 14-150, I would have to choose between THREE stabilizers, then…

    On an even more important point, there’s no way I’ll be using my FT glass with an adapter containing additional optical elements… I can’t believe Olympus really wants to do something like that.

  • Vlad

    How’s that stabilizer actually working? Additional glass?

  • To me it seems very unlikely that such a product will be released. Olympus users can use IBIS even with adapted lenses, so why add OIS to an adapter in addition?

    • efwee

      As to why a stabilizer in this device, it is quite simple:

      To sell a version with NEX mount. Prices of high grade Zuiko’s will sky rocket ;-). Add a NEX firmware that limit the raw/jpeg image to 4:3 and they’re done ;-).

  • Wong Guong Joo

    Hi, I ask pardon my poor English. I from Malaysia and I find a strange image. I can see it is Olympus lens of 40-150mm but not sure the apertur. It having Olympus famos blue ring but it also included a golden ring. Is it this a protye lens of much rumors?


    • bart

      No idea if that picture is real. If it is real, it depicts a 40-150/2.8 lens (the aperture is easily read from the text on the lens). That might be this much rumored Olympus lens indeed.

    • Obviously a fake. It’s the 40-150 f/4-5.6. Someone “corrected” some markings on the barrel.

      • bart

        Heh, indeed.

    • wow good hunting you did on the net, looks like the real deal.

  • Hubertus Bigend

    Congratulations! You’ve positively found what probably is the first image of the rumoured M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8. The golden ring looks like a screw-in filter, and the pictured lens surely is a prototype.

  • jonathan


    1). Hope it’s not too expensive.

    2). Hope it works on pany bodies

    3). Hope it’s perfectly silent. (Good for video)

    4). Hope it doesn’t kill the batteries.

    5). Hope it’s avail in 2013.

    6). Above all… Hope it actually performs as expected!

    Hmmm, high expectations for this adapter… I will easily be let down. :(

  • whampoa

    What the heck are you all talking about? What lens??? I don’t see jack! Am I missing something here peeps?

  • Hubertus Bigend

    Sorry. I was wrong. It’s a fake. As someone already said, it’s just an existing 40-150/4-5.6 with the writing having been tampered with…

    * F * A * K * E *

    • admin

      Yep fake! Gave me a false hope for 1 minute :(

  • As others have pointed out, this would cost light from the 43rds lens, would degrade IQ, and still would not solve CAF issues. So while an intersting idea, it will be expensive to produce and will not satisfy the average 43rs user.

    To me this is just them exercising their Patent rights :) and will never see the light of day. It would probably be much simpler for them to release and E-7, which I would buy, this adapter, I wouldnt. I mean, with all these moving parts in an adapter, why not create an SLT adapter with a moving SLT mirror and PDAF elements in the adapter?

    • If i buy the adapter, is the for at use on OM lens so i hope will give AF, and on not fot FT, but this patent is maybe good for use on Panasonic camera so not have IBIS.

  • Timbo Tas

    Hi everyone.
    I think this is a good move for Olympus. I still have an Olympus 14-54mm prograde lens, and a Leica 14-150mm. They are a bit heavy on my GH2, but I have not seen anything available for the micro 4/3 system that matches the quality (except maybe the new 12-35mm).
    I hope they keep the weight down on this new adapter.

  • zuikofan

    I hope this is not an excuse for Olympus to sit back on developing E 43 cameras

    Now that they are using the very good Sony sensors, the E-720 and E7 should have been on the market already……

    Although the OM-D EM5 seems to be a nice product, the dedicated amateurs and semi-profs out there with large investments in 4/3 lenses want compact solid DSLR’s that keeps the heavier lenses in balance, bright optical viewfinder,> 12 mp and > 13 EV dynamic range, high ISO performer, HDR option, for a reasonable price.

    As as dedicated Olympus fan previously using OM10, OM1, OM2SP, OM4, OM3TI, E-500 and E-620 I am almost ready now to trade in my 4/3 lens collection and buy a Nikon D7000 (cheaper than the OM-D camera) with some lenses.

  • dragonpool

    It’s a complex solution to a non-existing issue, which I never look up to, in all kinds of areas besides Oly FT system. Just give us a high performance FT camera with whatever the technologies Oly already possesses, and it will keep a lot of exisitng users and potentially win back new users. Oly has no need to make a few FT users happy by confusion their dedication to the customers. If Oly put the same amount of effort into development of the mFT systems, by releasing SHG glasses, cameras with better performances, it can make a more profit than making a few existing mFT users happy, and also it can win a lot of new interests from users who are current in different systems.

  • Pete

    For the people who think Oly glass is large and heavy…
    I just went through the Himamlayas with an Oly kit with a zoom range of 18mm to 800mm (35mm equiv.) and I fit it all in my backpack along with my gear for the trek and it didn’t even worry me. I saw a dude along the trek who had his Canon with 2 lenses and he was whining because his camera gear was too heavy and he lacked the zoom range.
    I just want a good FT body to match the amazing lenses I have. If they want to make an adapter for the future I would be happy with that, but give us one more FT body in the mean time while they sort out the adapter and mFT issues.

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