Olympus plans new compact camera sporting a Zuiko lens

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The mock up of the new compact featuring a Zuiko lens

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At this year's Photokina, Olympus announced plans to bring its Zuiko lens system to a compact camera between January and March of the new year. Olympus brought a mock-up concept model to show off at the trade show but was keeping a tight lid on actual technical information. Start up the rumor mill everyone...

First up, what does Olympus say about its new camera? The company has revealed that it's currently developing the "world's first digital compact camera with built-in Zuiko lens." It'll also be compatible with accessories from other cameras, like the SEMA-1 external microphone adapter set, and is expected "to go on sale in the first quarter of 2011." And that's about it. All attempts to get more information are met with a strict "at the moment we're not able to give you any further details" response. Even the proposed focal length of the concept camera's lens remains a mystery.

The name Zuiko is usually found on lenses of higher-end Olympus cameras and the company says that only lenses that meet "a stringent quality standard based on the expert craftsmanship, advanced aspherical lens element fabrication techniques, ultra-high-precision lens assembling technology, and sophisticated lens measuring technology" can be branded as Zuiko.

The mock-up concept features a mode dial on top and dedicated video record button, likely to be 1080p high definition given the positioning in the range. There's a HDMI-out port, a hot-shoe accessory connector and a manual focus ring.

We'll be keeping an eye on this one and will naturally let you know when more information becomes available.

New PEN series lenses

In other Olympus news, the company also took the opportunity to show off some new lenses for its
PEN series of Micro Four Thirds digital cameras. The
M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 lens weighs just 6.7 ounces (190g), has a wide zoom range equivalent to 80-300mm and the high speed autofocus promises quiet operation for shooting high definition movies. The lens is set for a November release and carries a US$299.99 price tag.

Olympus claims that its M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 lens is the world's smallest and lightest 150-600mm equivalent telephoto lens, at 2.76 x 4.57 inches (70 x 116mm) and weighing 15.17 ounces (430g). Also benefiting from near-silent operation, the lens is made up of 18 elements in 13 groups consisting of a super Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) lens and a couple of normal ED lenses and three high-refractive index lenses to help keep various aberrations in check and to reduce the size of the optics. This one will be available from December 2010 at a cost of US$899.99

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