TOKYO Japan's Olympus Corp (7733.T) and
Matsushita (6752.T) announced a new digital camera format on
Tuesday that will make single lens reflex (SLR) models smaller
and lighter, in a bid to drive sales of their advanced
SLR cameras, which are high-end models with interchangeable
lenses, are the most lucrative and fastest growing segment of
the overall digital camera market.
But some compact digital camera users are reluctant to move
up to SLR models because they are bulkier and heavier.
The new format, called the Micro Four Thirds System, would
make digital SLR cameras thinner and lens units smaller than
those based on the existing Four Thirds System.
The Four Thirds System is an open standard that specifies
the size of the imaging sensor and lens mount, ensuring
compatibility of lenses between products.
Olympus and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd, maker of
Panasonic brand electronics, offer digital SLR cameras based on
the Four Thirds standard, while Sigma Corp makes Four
"Packing high picture quality into a body thin enough to
slide into a pocket. That is the basic concept of Micro Four
Thirds," Haruo Ogawa, head of Olympus Imaging Corp's SLR
business division, told a news conference.
Olympus Imaging is Olympus Corp's digital camera
Matsushita and Olympus did not disclose the actual size or
design of their new cameras based on the new standard, and
declined to comment on prices and launch timing.
Olympus is the world's fourth-largest digital SLR camera
maker behind Canon Inc (7751.T), Nikon Corp (7731.T) and Sony
Corp (6758.T). Matsushita ranks sixth.
Shares in Matsushita closed up 1.1 percent at 2,315 yen,
while Olympus gained 3.9 percent to 3,440 yen. The benchmark
Nikkei average .N225 dipped 0.1 percent.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Michael Watson)