Claimed to deliver OM-D image quality, the Olympus Air A01 is a 16-million-pixel micro four thirds compact camera without a built-in screen.

Instead users compose their shots using a smartphone or tablet which communicates with the camera via Wi-Fi and dedicated OA Central app.

Features include a TruePic VII image processor, raw image capture, top shutter speed of 1/16,000sec, full HD video and 10-frames-per-second shooting.

Olympus America claims it ‘transforms smartphones with previously limited imaging capabilities into cameras that enthusiasts and semi-professionals alike can enjoy’.

Because Air A01 is an open platform, developers can create their own apps for the camera using the available software development kit.

However, it seems we may have to wait a while for it to go on sale in the UK. There is still no plan to market it in Europe where it may never see the light of day.

Olympus Europe appears unsure how popular it will prove in the wake of lens-style cameras launched by other manufacturers.

Mark Thackara, product manager for Pen & Stylus at Olympus Europe, told Amateur Photographer that Olympus needs to gain a ‘full understanding of what people will do with this kind of product and of their expectations on performance and “hackability”’.

Thackara said this varies from market to market, adding: ‘We are taking a long hard look at this sector as we feel we need a complete story with full support and the right blend of hardware/interface/software options…

‘Having seen the lukewarm reaction to similar products from others, we want to be 100% clear.’

AIR_WHT_right_1442EZ-off_SLV.webA separate ‘coupling’ accessory allows photographers to physically attach the Air A01 to a smartphone, if desired, enabling them to see a live view through the lens via the angled mount.

The Air A01 can also be attached to a tripod.

In a press statement Olympus America added: ‘Customers will be able to instantly transfer DSLR image quality photos to email, social networks and automatically upload to securely store their photos in Amazon Cloud Drive,’

Photos can also be stored on a microSD memory card.

The rechargeable battery is designed to shoot up to 320 images on a single charge.

Out this month, the Olympus Air A01 will cost $299.99 body only in the US; or $499.99 when paired with a 14-42mm EZ lens.

The device, which went on sale in Japan earlier this year, will be available in Canada from next month.