Olympus's little 'carrot camera' official, and other PMA news

Late last year Olympus revealed this impressive little concept camera that uses a system developed with Panasonic called Micro Four Thirds. The MFT system blurs the lines between small point-and-shoot consumer cameras and big honking professional/prosumer DSLR cameras by combining a large image sensor and interchangeable lenses with pocketability and video recording. It's a magical concoction that promises the world, though the only MFT camera on the market is still bulky, expensive and doesn't record video. While the Olympus concept lacks a lot of specifics it may still prove to be a blowout in form and function.

Last week at the Photo Marketing Association trade show Olympus made the concept official and said it would be out some time this summer. No further details were announced, though a Russian photography site posted a rumor (translated) that this model will be named the M-100 and come with a 14-70mm kit lens (28-140mm 35mm-eqiv.). The kooky Russians also rumored there will be a larger version dubbed the M-1 that will have HD video recording capabilities. An interview with an Olympus official confirms that the M-100 will have image stabilization as well as a high speed electronic view finder (read a Japanese person's interpretation of the interview here). He notes the design is not final–the unit on display is the same mockup from last year–but the final package will stay true to the dimensions of the concept camera. If you look closely at this picture you can even see the mockup is getting a little dusty.

Anyway, keep your eye on it. Other notable announcements from PMA:

  • Samsung will release a Micro Four Thirds camera series dubbed NX. It looks almost as appealing as the M-100 and seriously small compared to a regular DSLR. Few details and no price or release date were announced but Photography Bay put together as many facts as they could here.

  • Epson announced the R-D1xG, a rangefinder camera that improves on their first model released five years ago. A rangefinder attached to a point and shoot camera allows for adjustable and clear focus on one's subject. This is great for photojournalists because the Epson and Leica digital rangefinder cameras are small enough for one-handed operation but still provide incredible quality. Unfortunately they're damned expensive.

  • Panasonic showed off this little 'tough camera' that stands up to beatings and diving and keeps working while looking fine.