Olympus is focusing on the Micro Four Thirds system was a clear message at the press announcement of the new OM-D E-M1X. Speaking in an interview, with UK press, Olympus’s Shigemi Sugimoto (Head of Imaging Business unit) and Setsuya Kataoka (Division Manager, Imagining Product Development) said that the company had considered developing a medium format camera but that it had decided against it.
There has been some speculation that Olympus might introduce a medium format camera to offer a larger alternative to its Micro Four Thirds cameras. This would be a similar move to Fujifilm with its X-series and GFX cameras. However, that isn’t going to happen. At least not in the foreseeable future.
Mr Sugimoto said at Photokina that full-frame cameras are good for the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system as it makes the smaller system’s advantages stand out.
Smaller sensor = Smaller lenses
The sub-APS-C size of the Four Thirds sensor in MFT cameras enables them to be smaller than cameras with full-frame or APS-C format sensors.
More significantly, given the recent announcement of the double-gripped OM-D E-M1X, the smaller imaging circle of Four Thirds lenses enables the size and weight of optics to be kept down.
For example, Olympus’s M. Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO weighs 1270g yet its effective focal length is 600mm in full-frame terms. In comparison, the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4E FL ED VR weighs 3,810g. It means that the average overall MFT system is much lighter than a typical full-frame system.
Similarly, the Nikon 600mm f/4 lens is 166mm at its widest point and extends 432mm from the mount. The Olympus 300mm lens is 92.5mm in diameter and 227mm in length (280mm with the lens hood extended). That makes the Micro Four Thirds lens much easier to transport.
Olympus has also revealed its lens roadmap which shows at least 6 of its highest-quality lenses in the pipeline.