Photography / News

Unveiled: Olympus Air A01 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Lens-Style Digital Camera

Olympus has announced the US release of the Air A01, a smartphone-controlled camera with a 16.05MP Micro Four Thirds sensor. The Air A01 is shaped like a lens and connects directly to your smartphone so that your phone’s screen effectively becomes the camera’s live view display. While the Air A01 looks like a lens, it is really a camera that is designed to combine the quality of a larger image sensor and versatility of an interchangeable-lens system with the ease and convenience of a smartphone.

Once attached to your smartphone, the Air A01 connects to it wirelessly via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and uses the OA Central App to control the camera's settings. The app provides a means of image composition and review, direct-to-cloud uploads, and six shooting functions to help edit your photos and full HD 1080p videos. The app also facilitates working with the camera in a remote manner to better suit working from high or low angles, uncoupled to your smartphone.

The 16.05MP Digital Live MOS Sensor pairs with Olympus's TruePic VII image processing engine for enhanced image quality, especially in low-light situations, with a sensitivity range of up to ISO 12800. This processor and sensor combination also affords a top shooting rate of 10 fps for up to 23 frames, full HD 1080p/30 video recording, a top shutter speed of 1/16000-second, and the ability to record both raw and JPG files.

The Air A01 uses a FAST 81-area contrast-detection AF system, which quickly locks on focus and can be configured with Face Detection AF or Eye Detection AF settings for more critical control. Images and movies can be stored internally on a microSD memory card, directly on your smart phone, or uploaded to cloud-based storage sites using the built-in Wi-Fi and your smartphone.

Utilizing a Micro Four Thirds mount, the camera accepts a wide variety of lenses, including the use of third-party lenses via optional lens mount adapters. It is available in a body-only option in black or white, or in a kit with a black 14-42mm EZ Lens or a white 14-42mm EZ Lens.

Lens Mount Micro Four Thirds
Image Sensor 4/3 Live MOS Sensor
Effective Pixels 16.05MP
Total Pixels 17.2MP
Maximum Resolution 4608 x 3456 
Aspect Ratio 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1
Still Image File Format JPEG, RAW
Storage Media microSD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-1 compatible)
Card Slot 1 x microSD
Shutter Type Electronic
Shutter Speed 1/16000 - 4 seconds
Top Continuous Shooting Rate 10 fps
Exposure Metering System Digital ESP metering (324-area multi pattern metering)
Metering Method Center weighted average metering, Spot metering
Metering Range EV -2 - 20 (using 17mm f/2.8, ISO 100)
Exposure Modes iAuto, Program AE, Aperture priority AE, Shutter priority AE, Manual
Exposure Compensation  ±5 EV in 1/3, 1/2, or 1 steps
ISO Sensitivity Auto, Low (approx. ISO 100), ISO 200-12800
Number of Focus Points 81 (contrast-detection)
Focus Modes Single AF (S-AF), Eye Detection AF, Face Detection AF, Manual Focus (MF)
White Balance Modes Auto WB, Sunny, Shadow,Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Underwater
Movie Recording 1920 x 1080, 30p (29.97 fps)
Movie Metering Program AE
File Format MOV
Compression MPEG-4AVC/H.264
Audio File Format Stereo Linear PCM/16-bit, Sampling frequency 48kHz
Maximum Recording Time Approximately 29 min.
Interface USB 2.0
Wi-Fi Built-in (IEEE 802.11b/g/n)
Power Source Built-in lithium-ion battery
Battery Life Approximately 320 shots
Operating Environment Temperature: 32 - 95°F (0 - 35°C)
Humidity: 30 - 90%
Dimensions 2.2 x 2.2 x 1.7" (56.9 x 57.1 x 43.6mm)
Weight 5.2 oz (146 g)

Discussion 8

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what about stabilization?

According to the specifications on Olympus' website, the device will offer Digital Image Stabilization  for Movie modes, and it does support IS-equipped lenses (but they do not specify if that is for video only or for still shooting as well).  Once the camera becomes available we will be able to then access the instruction manual to confirm. 

What does this look like attached to a smartphone?

Unfortunately, as this is a new item that has not yet been released, we have not yet received images of the Olympus Air A01 attached to the smartphone.  However, if you visit Olympus' website at the included link, you can scroll down to the center of the webpage and there is an image of the Olympus Air A01 connected to a smartphone, and if you scroll down to the bottom of the webpage, Olympus has made a video in which they talk about the features and demo the camera, including showing how the camera connects to a smartphone.

How does this attached to the iPhone?

As stated above, if you visit Olympus' website at the included link, you can scroll down to the center of the webpage and there is an image of the Olympus Air A01 connected to a smartphone, and if you scroll down to the bottom of the webpage, Olympus has made a video in which they talk about the features and demo the camera, including showing how the camera connects to a smartphone.

How does this attach to a smart phone?  Does it work with all phones?  Just iPhone?  Need a photo of it attached!

According to DPReview's website, "The Air can be attached to your smartphone via a 'clamp' (even the giant Galaxy Note 4 fits) or it can be handheld, put on a tripod, or virtually anywhere that's within range of your smartphone's Wi-Fi."  As stated above, if you visit Olympus' website at the included link, you can scroll down to the center of the webpage and there is an image of the Olympus Air A01 connected to a smartphone, and if you scroll down to the bottom of the webpage, Olympus has made a video in which they talk about the features and demo the camera, including showing how the camera connects to a smartphone.  According to Olympus' press release, the Olympus Air A01 has a newly developed and dedicated app, OA.Central for Olympus Air, which is available in the Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore.  While it does not state specifically which phones would be available, I suspect it would be compatible with any smartphone which has access to the above app stores to download the app for usage..