The recent announcement by Olympus and Panasonic of a new "Micro Four Thirds" standard deserves notice. Many people have greeted it with squeals of glee, anticipating what amounts to a Four Thirds Leica Rangefinder. Yeah, right.
This is an obvious attempt to seize the "bridge" market - but guys, it won't work without seriously more megapixels and flashy bells and whistles offered by any current four thirds camera. I don't care much about micro four thirds as a photographer or as a potential purchaser.
My concern is with the future of "ordinary" 4/3rds. Those of us who bought into the concept, and have significant investment in glass (recognising that the body technology means that whatever we buy will be "obsolete" in a year or three) must wonder whether our investment is safe, or whether we will find ourselves in a stagnant backwater, just as we were with our OM4s and OM4Tis all those years ago.
Not that my OM4 doesn't still take pictures as good as the incompetence of the operator permits: so does my E1, for that matter. But I retain the painful memories of being denied access to the benefits of technology as Oly failed to update their cameras - and the anger at discovering that my expensive wide angle glass had been all-but turned into paperweights when 4/3rds came along.
Of course, Olympus have said they remain fully committed to 4/3rds proper, and I have it on excellent authority that there will be significant new additions to the Olympus "roadmap" at Photokina in a few weeks. However, am I the only one for whom that "commitment" sounds like an echo of Oly's commitment to 35mm post OM4?
What they need to do to convince me (and looking at many forums, a lot of other people) is to announce a substantial upgrade for the E3 "professional" body very soon. Otherwise the echoes of Olympus's past betrayal of their customer base may overcome the sounds of marketing hype over their new baby. Will Olympus listen to this? Their track record is not encouraging.