Olympus Confirms Mirrorless Four Thirds Then Disavows It

Olympus America’s DSLR Product Manager, Richard S. Pelkowski, explained back in February that he thought that the mirrorless technology in the mFT cameras had surpassed the traditional mirror/prism/optical viewfinder technology in DSLRs and that it was probably just a matter of time (say 2 years) before even the FT DSLR would go mirrorless. We do not believe he would have said something like this without having been privy to some insider company knowledge and plans.

However, it seems that the 2 year period was a tad too optimistic. According to Toshiyuki Terada, manager of SLR planning for Olympus Tokyo, they are not able to match the lighting fast Phase-detect AF yet using Contrast-Detection AF (when following a moving subject). Also, since Olympus has not been able to gain any size advantage using FT, they have reversed their optimistic projection and will stay with a mirrored Four Thirds DSLR for the foreseeable future.

Is it a fair assumption that mirrorless DSLRs are the future of DSLRs? We think so. It seems a no-brainer that Panasonic is going mirrorless full blast. Olympus seems to be edging its bet. This is a big mistake because it is wasting its first-mover advantage. If either Nikon or Canon makes a mirrorless DSLR move in the next couple of years, the floodgate will open and the mirrored DSLR as we know it will quickly become a collectible. And, even if these two companies do not, then they themselves risk becoming irrelevant like we’ve seen — and are seeing — some of the traditional Big 5 becoming. Besides Panasonic and Olympus, Samsung has introduced a mirrorless DSLR and Sony has presented its compact alpha mirrorless DSLR concept. It’s just a matter of time. And, yes, 2 years seem about right.

[ via 1001noisycameras ]