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Olympus unveils rangefinder inspired Micro Four Thirds concept
by David Rasnake -  9/22/2008

At a press briefing in Cologne, Germany this morning, Olympus unveiled its Micro Four Thirds concept camera. In an interesting contrast study to Panasonic's G1, it appears that the next Micro Four Thirds camera to hit the market will take its visual and functional cues from a classic rangefinder.

Olympus Micro Four Thirds concept

The unnamed concept model, previewed under glass at Olympus's Photokina booth, features a two-tone body in brushed metal and a unique "pancake" lens design.

Olympus Micro Four Thirds concept

Like the press announcement this morning, today's briefing was notably short on technical specs regarding the new model. Pricing and availability are also still to be determined.

Olympus Micro Four Thirds concept

Given that Olympus is only at the concept phase, things could still change dramatically for the previewed model. It's exciting, however, to see Olympus exploring a different direction with what's possible for Micro Four Thirds than Panasonic's SLR-style system products have taken. Assuming specs and performance come along as anticipated, we're expecting advanced users to line up for a product offering this kind of form factor and styling along with DLSR image quality.

As promised, Olympus also provided an under-glass sample of its forthcoming E-series product.

Olympus Micro Four Thirds concept

The exterior results for the new camera, expected early next year, are more familiar to current Olympus DSLR users, with a body that derives clearly from the E-3.

We'll keep on this story throughout the show to see if more information about what's coming down the road emerges.