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Kodak, Olympus Agree on Digital Lens Standard

New York – Olympus and Kodak announced today that they have agreed to implement a new standard for next-generation digital SLR camera systems that will ensure interchangeable lens mount compatibility, called the Four Thirds System (4/3 System).

The Four Thirds System establishes a new common standard for the interchange of lenses developed exclusively to meet the optical design requirements of digital SLR cameras.

The new standard uses a 4/3-type CCD, CMOS or other image sensor, and will facilitate the development of dedicated digital camera lens systems that maximize image sensor performance and image quality while also being smaller and easier to handle than 35mm film SLR camera lens systems.

By establishing an open standard for camera body and lens mounts, the new system will make it possible to standardize lens mounting systems, something that has been heretofore impossible to achieve with digital SLR cameras, based, as they are, on existing 35mm film SLR lens systems.

Since current digital SLR cameras with interchangeable lenses are basically based on conventional 35mm camera systems they must be equipped with image sensors that are comparable in size to 35mm and APS film. However, this had inhibited digital camera performance because the imaging characteristics of these large CCDs are fundamentally different from those of film.

Manufacturers of digital SLR camera systems have until now adopted the mounting systems used in their own respective 35mm film SLR cameras, making bodies and lenses produced by different manufacturers incompatible with one another.

Enter the new Four Thirds System standard, which will allow the design of dedicated, high-performance digital camera lens systems that are more compact than 35mm film SLR camera lens systems. Furthermore, standardization of the lens mounting system will make it possible for consumers to photograph combining with bodies and lenses produced by different manufacturers, and enjoy a wider range of product selection.

Kodak and Olympus will implement this new standard in their respective product lines and will establish the Universal Digital Interchangeable Lens System Forum, an industry forum that will promote acceptance of the Four Thirds System by other camera manufacturers.

Fujifilm has already agreed to participate in the new standard.