Taking a cue from Sony's QX lens camera series, Olympus has jumped onto the mobile bandwagon with its own iteration, this time using the micro 4/3 lens system. The new lens camera dubbed Olympus Air will debut in Japan first and cost below US$300. Now this is just the lens camera module and does not include any Olympus lenses. For that you have to ante up on a lens to suit your shooting style.
What makes this camera module such a hit is that you can use a Leica adaptor to mount Leica M lenses onto the smartphone or for that matter, almost all full frame legacy lenses from Nikon, Canon or Olympus OM.
Olympus Air will fit any smartphone, turning it into a display of sorts while its own on board battery powers the sensor and capture capabilities.
Pro Quality Images Now Possible on MobileOlympus is in desperate need to find a hit. Slagging sales of DSLR and almost flat mirrorless camera numbers are a disturbing trend seen in the photographic industry. No one is willing to carry an optional camera for their travels unless they are shooting professionally for stock or clients. Each camera module clips onto your smart device and images can be processed in your iPhone or Android device for uploading to cloud storage or shared online. This makes the whole concept of having a separate camera for better quality images totally obsolete.
The Micro 4/3 market has seen a steady decline in innovation as Panasonic and Olympus struggle to find more ways to get people to upgrade. Newer models do not offer any resolution improvement while both Panasonic and Olympus are seemingly reluctant to increase the megapixel count of their sensors.
Mobile smart devices are so far brought heaps more innovation to photography in the form of computational photography where the images are processes in-device to give better low light and bokeh images. This technological assault is what worries traditional camera companies the most. Without a viable revenue stream from products, smart device cameras will continue to hammer digital camera sales in more years to come.
Creating a New Market for LensesThe Olympus Air is a big deal as it latches onto the mobile photography wave and people will start to want those M4/3 lenses. Camera bodies these days are not getting any cheaper and with a shrinking market, it will get more expensive. With Lens camera modules selling for under 300 bucks, you have plenty left over to toy with a variety of lenses. So why not give this a shot?
RAW images are stored within the camera module's SD card allowing you to decide which to keep or delete at will. Transferring your images to your smart device is done via WIFI so once it's there, edit away with Snapseed and share that online on FB or Instagram.
This is a great way to reuse your digital camera lenses. You don't have to ante up on a digital camera just to stay current. Olympus is going to make lots of money selling this and truckloads of camera lenses without having to worry tooling a new camera which fewer people are buying.
The Olympus Air may not have the same DSLR capability or a pro is clamoring for but for the majority of happy snappers, less is more when it comes to having your gear always next to you.