Olympus promise "smaller more feature packed" cameras in 2009

Olympus has said that it will reinvent the digital camera next year, promising smaller more advance models that will be "completely different" to the current crop available on the market today.

"Do you really believe bulky digital cameras will be the camera of 2015? We don't think so. We are trying to match your gadget lifestyle", Miquel Angel Garcia, Olympus Imaging Europa's managing director and chief marketing officer told Pocket-lint.

The comments came as the company launched its Micro Four Thirds prototype at Photokina in Cologne, Germany.

"People want to express their love for photography but don't want a large DSLR, Olympus is trying to change that."

Olympus is hoping that its new system will offer the change, and while it's not technically a DSLR (it has no mirrors) the results and controls are promised to be the same.

"We want to create a pocketable DSLR and according to our research that's what people want too. Twenty per cent have said that if we sold one they would be interested in buying it."

The camera due out in 2009 will go up against Panasonic's offering which takes on a more traditional DSLR styling. The final model will take a "lot" of the flavour of the prototype being shown on the stand in the final design.

But it's not just size that Olympus is hoping to beat the competition with, but features. Rather than opt for cameras with greater sharing capabilities, Garcia says that it will be the ability to edit and create images without the need for a PC that will help propel Olympus in the sales charts.

Not able to go into too much detail, the new feature, which is expected to be announced early 2009, would offer more than just cropping and features like beauty mode.

"It will allow you to Adobe Photoshop features in your camera. The creativity concept we are putting in the camera is a completely different way of making photos. The features we will add you can't currently do in any camera on the market. This will be added to our DSLR and compact range."

The hope is that you won't have worry about using a PC: "It is not about fixing an image to make it nicer, it's about creating images".

"Sharing isn't a core strategy for us", Garcia continues. "Our priority has been to get the core products right. Things like optics, and the technology behind the camera as we don't see connectivity as a unique selling point. In a few years all cameras will be connected."

That focus on the "core products" has led Olympus to develop the Micro Four Thirds system in conjunction with Panasonic.

"We are always looking to see how we can break the rules. Part of that is seeing how we can stand out from the crowd from a design perspective but also from a technical one."

Venting his frustrations to Pocket-lint, Garcia questioned why the market focus is still about on getting mechanical elements to do the job that electronic ones can do.

"Everything is getting smaller, everything is getting more advanced and yet people still go out and buy big bulky digital SLR cameras, why? We've only just managed to meet the analogue capabilities with digital technology. It's taken us 7 years, but imagine where we can be in 7 years time", said Garcia looking to the future.

In 7 years Garcia believes that we will have not only gone smaller, but also ditched the cables through systems like TransferJet from Sony.

The Close Proximity Wireless Transfer Technology, announced in January this year, would allow high speed transfer of large data files between electronic devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, digital video cameras, computers and TVs. Using this technology, data can be sent at speeds of 560Mbps.

It's clear that the sharing element is needed to fight off the treat that cameraphones promise.

"We owe so much to the mobile phone operators for spreading the word of the photo", Garcia said. "But camera phone users have different needs to those of the dedicated photo camera."