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Olympus and Panasonic Announce Micro Four Thirds Format

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August 5, 2008 - *In an attempt to attract compact camera owners hesitant to buy relatively bulky SLRs, Olympus and Panasonic today announced the Micro Four Thirds format, a more compact variant of the existing Four Thirds format, which will enable smaller, lighter camera designs. The new design offers a flangeback distance (the lens mount to sensor distance) approximately half as long as current Four Thirds format cameras. The lens mount diameter also shrinks by 6mm, and the number of electrical contacts in the lens mount increases from 9 to 11. These additional contacts will support unspecified "new features and increased system functionality" in the future. In the meantime, existing Four Thirds system lenses will work with new Micro Four Thirds system camera using an adapter.

While the new format was announced, no specific camera or lens announcements were made. We expect to see these at Photokina, the massive photo industry trade show held in Germany in September, and will bring you updates as they’re available.

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