Olympus is working on a new camera body to 'fully utilise' the focusing performance of its Four Thirds DSLR lenses after years of speculation over the future of its E-system.

Akira Watanabe, pictured in Frankfurt, Germany yesterday afternoon;
The Olympus E-5 announced in 2010; Olympus E-system lenses

[Watanabe picture credit: Chris Cheesman]

Akira Watanabe, manager of the SLR Planning Department at Olympus, confirmed the move in a meeting with Amateur Photographer in Frankfurt, Germany.

It is as yet unclear whether the new model will be a DSLR, or a mirrorless camera, but Watanabe said it will be designed to give full functionality with E-system lenses.

Watanabe – who said he uses an E-5 – was cautious not to suggest that the new model would serve as a replacement for the flagship camera, but signalled Olympus’s clear intention to launch a brand new body.

Watanabe said Olympus is responding to calls from E-system users who want to be able to use ‘high-grade’ lenses.

‘I need to make it clear we are now developing a model to fully utilise Four Thirds lenses,’ he said.

Following Watanabe’s comments, an Olympus UK spokesman said: ‘Watanabe has been delighted with the success of the OM-D which has pushed the boundaries of performance for system cameras, but acknowledged that it did not deliver with the legacy high-end lenses from the E-system.’

Olympus cites the 90-250mm f/2.8 zoom as among the ‘top-pro’ lenses Watanabe was referring to.

Watanabe also confirmed that Olympus continues to make E-system DSLRs, though production has been intermittent.

Speaking to a small group of journalists at a business centre near Frankfurt Airport, yesterday, Watanabe added: ‘We haven’t discontinued the E-5, E-30 or E-620.’

  • Max Green LRPS

    I sold my Olympus E510 & Lenses because I wanted to upgrade but they then announced stopping production to concentrate on micro 4 thirds. I liked my Olympus but grudgingly changed to Nikon as there was no Camera to upgrade to in my price range & could see second-hand prices dropping rapidly. I have never seen a E620 in a Camera shop since I changed over 2 years ago.

  • Peter Quenault

    I am really looking forward to a new E system camera, I tried the OM-D but found it to small.

    Something about the same size as the E5 would be brilliant, although could be narrower and lighter so long as it has a decent hand grip and keeps the articulated screen.

  • Robert Banister

    I have been trying for some time now to locate an e620 body in order to upgrade from my e520 but everyone tells me that the e620 is no longer available so who’s telling the truth?

  • Matthias

    Hope it means that the E-7 with the EM5 sensor and focus will be launched!!

  • Aaron

    It amazes me that E5 is still being produced and sold.

    Considering the £1300-£1400 price tag and the fact that the sensor is even out performed by the now dated Nikon D200, it seems ludicrous to spend that amount of money on a camera with such comparatively poor performance.

    There are a multitude of different models of DSLR from Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony, that knock spots of the E5.

    Granted, its not about the camera, its about the photographer but, when low light/ISO performance is a hindering factor to getting the shot, then it seems madness to fork out £1300 on a camera that performance considerably poorer than cameras almost half that price.

    Give me a D3200 + £800 of pro glass any day of the week!