Panasonic Micro 4/3 camera image spotted in the wild.

analysis Aug 25, 2008

As we head into Photokina, the images and spyshots start to crop up with greater frequency as NDA’s and people’s ability to keepPanasonic Micro 4/3 with lens their mouth’s shut are strained to the breaking point. Here we see a picture of a Panasonic Micro 4/3’s interchangeable lens camera. I believe the image is a computer generated model (albeit, a good one). But whether it escaped from a PanOLeica engineer’s laptop or someone’s fertile imagination remains to be seen.

The image evokes all of the design principles put forth in the recent Panasonic/Olympus Micro Four/Thirds announcement and the inclusion of Leica glass is very welcome (even if it is built by Panasonic) but I wouldn’t be put off by some Zuiko glass well.

Panasonic Micro 4/3 without lensThis next image shows the body with the lens removed exposing the 11 electrical contacts (up from 9 contacts in the standard Four Thirds mount). This brings up the mystery of the increase in contacts. For what purpose? Fear not! Our intrepid engineer (artist?) provides us with an answer: a shoe mounted electronic viewfinder (EVF)! Once again, the design specs of Micro Four Thirds are followed. The spec calls for no mirror box in this design. This leads one to believe that the camera would be Live View (on a rather generous rear LCD panel) or some sort of rangefinder affair. A high resolution EVF is an elegant compromise that allows SLR-like framing and maintaining the small size demanded by the spec. This ties in with the increase in electrical contacts between the lens and body.

Panasonic Micro 4/3 with lens and EVF

Panasonic Micro 4/3 with lens and EVF (rear view)

So, is this image real or fake? I say fake inasmuch as it is a computer model of a camera that I fervently hope they will really build. If the sensor is as good as those offered in recent Olympus SLR offerings, this camera would make an excellent travel camera and backup for a full sized DSLR. Hopefully there will be a Leica version of it.

Big thanks to Leicarumors.com for the heads up about the images. Images courtesy of zuiko.exblog.jp.

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