Does this mean vile P&S's will finally be killed off?

Olympus / Panasonic announce Micro Four Thirds
Tuesday, 5 August 2008 05:00 GMT

Olympus and Panasonic have announced a new, mirrorless format / lens
mount based on (and compatible with) Four Thirds. The Micro Four
Thirds system uses the same sensor size (18 x 13.5 mm) but allows
slimmer cameras by removing the mirror box and optical viewfinder. The
new format has three key technical differences: (1) roughly half the
flange back distance (distance from mount to the sensor), (2) a
smaller diameter lens mount (6 mm smaller) and (3) two additional
contact points for lens-to-body communication (now 11 points).
Removing the mirror mechanism allows this shorter flange back
distance, meaning lenses for the new mount can be considerably smaller
than current Four Thirds designs. The format will require framing to
be carried out using Live View on either the LCD monitor or an EVF.
Existing Four Thirds lenses can be used on Micro Four Thirds cameras
using an adapter. Neither company is as yet making product
announcements (we expect some more news in this respect closer to

Phil: This is without doubt the most exciting digital photography
announcement this year. It's fair to say that this "extension /
addition" to the Four Thirds standard is finally able to deliver on
the original promise of that format; considerably smaller and lighter
lenses and bodies. Olympus are however keen to stress that this in no
way replaces Four Thirds which will continue with new Four Thirds
bodies and lenses in the future.

Micro Four Thirds facts and features

* Same Four Thirds sensor size (18 x 13.5 mm)
* Flange back distance half that of Four Thirds (20 versus 40 mm)
* Lens mount diameter 6 mm smaller (44 versus 50 mm)
* Contrast Detect AF is implied (passive would require an external
* Lens to body electrical contact points up to 11 from 9
* Lenses of same focal length and maximum aperture considerably
smaller than Four Thirds
* Enables slim and compact lens-interchangeable digital cameras
* Lack of mirror well necessitate a high quality EVF (or an EVF/
Viewfinder-less design)
* Current Four Thirds lenses can be used with an adapter

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