Four Thirds manufacturers announce cross-platform lens firmware updates
Major manufacturers of Four Thirds compatible camera systems announced today that lens firmware updates are now available even when using lenses and camera bodies made by different manufacturers. Previously, users could only update lens firmware if their lens was attached to a camera body produced by the same company.
The development seems a logical step for Four Thirds manufacturers, led by Olympus, Panasonic, Sigma and Kodak. While the Four Thirds format is not a “public standard” — Olympus developed it and holds the copyright — its manufacturers have been pushing to make it a leading, broadly applicable standard for digital SLRs, allowing for the interchanging of lenses and camera bodies made by different manufacturers.
Indeed, at the Four Thirds Web site, www.four-thirds.org, the companies tout “a huge choice of lenses that no other lens manufacturer can match, ensuring maximum synchronization between the lens and image sensor device.”
Requiring photographers to have their lenses attached to a camera body made by the same company effectively robbed them of at least one aspect of that interoperability that could make the Four Thirds system a major draw for newcomers.
The term “Four-Thirds” refers to the image aspect ratio of the cameras’ sensors–4:3 as opposed to 3:2, which dominant DSLR manufacturers Canon and Nikon use and which mimics the aspect ratio of 35mm film.
The sensors are also smaller than those found in Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Four Thirds’ sensors are 225 square millimeters, as opposed to more than 300 square millimeters for most cameras made by those two giants. “Full-frame” DSLR sensors have a surface area of about 864 square millimeters.