Olympus has announced the Olympus AIR A01 camera in Canada and the United States (released earlier in February in Japan). The Olympus AIR A01 is like a “camera in a lens,” except that in this case, the lens is interchangeable. So, it features the Micro Four Thirds mount (allowing the use of any compatible mFT lens), a 16-megapixel sensor, electronic shutter, built-in battery and a microSD card slot. It does not have an integrated LCD display. Instead, it connects to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and uses the OA.Central for Olympus Air app (free download) to allow you to view the images on your smartphone’s or tablet’s screen.
Olympus AIR A01 with lens and smartphone attached
Even though at first glance the Olympus AIR A01 seems to transform your smartphone into an incredibly capable camera, truth is that the AIR A01 is a mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera (ILC) though it’s shaped more like a lens or a mount adapter than a boxy camera. It uses your smartphone simply as a dispay device with touch AF capability. It does exactly the same thing as any Olympus mirrorless camera running the appropriate remote control app to enable the use of your smartphone or tablet to remote control the camera. The only difference is that the AIR A01 looks like a big lens that you can attach to your smartphone (as large as the iPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4) using an angled mount — and it looks cool. It looks like you are attaching this big lens (in fact, any wide-angle or even super telephoto mFT lens, though a wide to tele zoom lens would be the most versatile) to your smartphone and suddenly you’re taking these amazing high resolution photos! Or, you might decide not to attach it at all, instead placing it on a tripod, a table or hand-holding it while using your smartphone or tablet as a remote display/control.
Since the AIR A01 is a mirrorless ILC similar to other Olympus mirrorless cameras, you can therefore expect the same cutting-edge imaging technology inside and can take full advantage of all the mFT lenses available from Olympus and other brands. It has the same 16-megapixel sensor and TruePic VII image processor as the latest OM-D and PEN® cameras, the FAST AF system for high-speed, high-precision focusing, RAW capture (transfer to PC using the microSD card), 1080p video recording, a 10 fps consecutive shooting mode and a silent electronic shutter with a 1/16000 sec. max. shutter speed. It does not feature built-in sensor-shift image stabilization (so Panasonic’s optically image stabilized lenses may become popular here). The built-in battery is rated for 320 shots per charge and is charged via USB.
A feature that is going to become more and more common as we start living and working in the Cloud is the integration of the Olympus AIR A01 with Amazon Cloud Drive. This allows for direct-to-cloud storage: you take a picture and it gets saved in the Cloud directly, thus bypassing the limited storage of the memory card and making the images instantly available for posting across social media outlets.
Camera controls that you can access and set on your smartphone or tablet’s screen include iAuto, PASM mode, movie mode, exposure settings, white balance and ISO speed. These are available by downloading the OA.ModeDial app. In all, Olympus has written 8 apps: OA.Central, OA.ModeDial, OA.ArtFilter, OA.Clips, OA.ColorCreator, OA.Genius, OA.PhotoStory and OA.Viewer (all bundled together into OA.Central).
Since Olympus has chosen to make the AIR A01 an open platform, developers can create their own apps for the camera using the available software development kit.
Olympus AIR A01 with 14-42mm EZ lens attached
The Olympus AIR A01 will be available in the United States in July 2015 in Black or White for $299.99 (body only) or $499.99 paired with a 14-42mm EZ lens, and in Canada in August 2015 in Black or White for $399.99 (body only) or $599.99 paired with a 14-42mm EZ lens.
OLYMPUS AIR™ A01 DELIVERS OM-D® IMAGE QUALITY IN A SMART DEVICE WITH DEDICATED APP.
16-Megapixel Micro Four Thirds® Sensor, Built-in Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth, Silent Electronic Shutter, 10 fps Consecutive Shooting, Full HD Video, USB Charging, Dedicated Smartphone App
CENTER VALLEY, Pa., June 30, 2015, 1:00pm EDT — Olympus America Inc. is pleased to announce availability of the Olympus Air A01 camera in Canada and the United States. Olympus Air A01 with Amazon Cloud Drive integration is a compact camera excluding an integrated display; images are instead composed using a smartphone or tablet, which communicates with the camera via Wi-Fi and OA.Central for Olympus Air, Air A01’s dedicated app. The camera includes a 16-megapixel sensor and a Micro Four Thirds mount, delivering DSLR image quality and full compatibility with Olympus’s comprehensive collection of Micro Four Thirds lenses, expanding the capabilities of your smartphone.
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