Olympus has issued an official statement to confirm that the company will continue to produce Four Thirds cameras alongside it new Micro Four Thirds range. Apparently in response to an interview given to Amateur Photographer magazine by Olympus USA DSLR product manager Richard S. Pelkowski, in which he predicted that the company?s E system Four Thirds cameras would not be using a mirror viewfinder system in two years time, the statement emphasises the company?s commitment to the two formats. In the report AP stated that Pelkowski also emphasised the E system Four Thirds range would continue even should the mirror viewfinder system be replaced, but Olympus has been concerned that the DSLR product manager?s comments might be misinterpreted.

The official statement, set out below, credits John Knaur, and describes him as the product manager for Olympus? USA DSLR business. It also does not specifically mention whether what Mr Pelkowski said truly reflects the future direction of the Olympus Four Thirds system. It does clarify once more, though, that which never was in question ? that Olympus will continue to produce both Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds cameras. Whether both systems will be using mirrors in two years time is not addressed.

Olympus USA official statement

Olympus is still committed to the Four Thirds DSLR standard and will continue to develop it in tandem with its Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras, says the company’s US DSLR product manager John Knaur. ‘We still plan to develop full size DSLRs and both, side-by-side.’

The PEN range addresses different needs, he said: ‘With the P1 and P2, we were selling to existing DSLR users but with the launch of the E-PL1, we’re expanding that to a group of people who feel disenfranchised. We found about 20% of digital camera buyers wanted better image quality but didn’t want the size and weight of a traditional DSLR.’ His comments are backed up by an official statement from Olympus Japan in response to suggestions that both systems might move over to a mirroless design: ‘While [mirrorless Four Thirds] is possible from a technology standpoint, Olympus is committed to both the Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds standards. In the future, you will continue to see new cameras based on both standards.’ Knaur also talked about the forthcoming lenses for Micro Four Thirds: ‘The new 9-18 and 14-150 lenses both include internal focus which is faster and quieter than on the existing 14-42, which will help overcome a lot of the concerns people had early on about focus speed.’ However, he did not think the company was likely to rush to replace the relatively recently developed 14-42mm kit lens to provide that same faster focusing for everyday shooting situations: ‘at the moment it’s more about filling the gaps in the lens range than replacing the existing ones.’

Read the original interview with Richard Pelkowski here

Read AP’s previous statement on this story here

Read all Amateur Photographer’s Olympus stories here