Our brothers at HuffPOL/Engadget snagged this press release announcing that Carl Zeiss, lensmaker to the stars, will start selling M4/3 lenses in the near future. Note the release does not describe any particular lens but instead promises to start building in the format over the next few years and that they are now part of the Micro Four Thirds System group, a set of companies dedicated to the format.
Why is this important? Well, to begin with, Carl Zeiss is the beginning and end when it comes to high-end lenses. By putting their might behind the new standard, it proves that M4/3 is, at the very least, a respected format. As a convert, I’m excited to see where these cameras are headed in the next few years, especially once the big boys like Canon and Nikon finally accept the inevitable and join the party.
Carl Zeiss AG joins the Micro Four Thirds System Standard Group
Announced jointly by Olympus Imaging Corp. (President : Masaharu Okubo) and Panasonic Corporation in 2008, the Micro Four Thirds System standard has rapidly grown in popularity. Now, support for the standard is expanding with the decision of Carl Zeiss AG to join the Micro Four Thirds System standard, and the company is releasing lenses compliant with the standard.
For more than 160 years, the lenses of Carl Zeiss AG have been defining the state-of-the-art in optical technology. Now, as Carl Zeiss AG joins the Micro Four Thirds System group, ZEISS HD Video lenses will be available to users of Micro Four Thirds cameras, contributing to a vastly expanded product line and enhancing the joys of digital imaging with the Micro Four Thirds System.
As the originator of the Four Thirds System and Micro Four Thirds System standards, Olympus Imaging Corp. will continue to develop and enhance the product lineup for both standards to meet the diverse needs of our customers.
Carl Zeiss AG
A long-established optical systems manufacturer based in Germany, founded in 1846 by Carl Zeiss. It develops and manufactures a large variety of optical products such as astronomical telescopes, microscopes, eyeglasses and optical sight devices as well as high-class camera lenses.
Carl Zeiss Website
Outline of the Micro Four Thirds System standard
The Micro Four Thirds System standard was designed and developed to maximize the performance potential of digital imaging technology, and to extend the benefits of the Four Thirds System standard for digital camera systems.
When compared to the Four Thirds System standard, the primary distinguishing features of the Micro Four Thirds System standard are:
Approximately 50% shorter flangeback distance (mount-to-sensor distance)
Lens mount outer diameter approximately 6mm smaller
Electrical contacts in mount increased from 9 to 11
* Image sensor diagonal dimensions are the same for both Four Thirds System and Micro Four Thirds System standards.
The Micro Four Thirds System standard enables users to enjoy the same high image quality of the Four Thirds System’s 4/3-type image sensor in a much more compact body, and also take advantage of significantly more compact lenses, particularly in the wide-angle and high-power zoom range. The Four Thirds System standard offers the benefits of compact, lightweight performance, and the new Micro Four Thirds System standard takes this still further to enable development of ultra-compact interchangeable lens type digital camera systems unlike anything seen before. The new Micro Four Thirds System standard also incorporates a greater number of lens-mount electrical contacts for the support of new features and expanded system functionality in the future.
Four Thirds Web Site ： “Benefits of Micro Four Thirds”