Zeiss, Schneider join Olympus-Panasonic lens group

The Micro Four Thirds alliance will get lenses from three premium brands: Zeiss, Schneider Kreuznach, and Komamura's Horseman.

Micro Four Thirds logo

The new ranges of compact digital cameras from Olympus and Panasonic got a shot in the arm with the announcement today of future lenses from two prestigious German lens makers, Carl Zeiss and Schneider Kreuznach lens maker Jos. Schneider Optische Werke, along with Horseman lens maker Komamura from Japan.

Panasonic and Olympus got the camera industry fixated on a new range of compact ILC (interchangeable-lens camera) models that dispense with SLRs bulk by leaving behind the internal reflex mirror and viewfinder. To go with their cameras, the companies came up with a new lens standard, Micro Four Thirds, a cousin to the Four Thirds family that came before for SLRs.

The three lens makers pledged to support Micro Four Thirds with their own products. They didn't share specifics. But given the companies' work in cinema markets and premium-priced products, it seems likely to expect it's the video possibilities of the cameras that are drawing interest. Panasonic, for example, is trying to shake up the professional video market with its $5,000 Micro Four Thirds-based AG-AF100.

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