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The Micro Four Thirds standard will see official support from three additional companies.
Last Thursday, Panasonic and Olympus declared that several manufacturers would be joining them in the production of Micro Four Thirds equipment, including Yongnuo and Venus Optics.
You may be familiar with Yongnuo already; in addition to products such as their popular budget flashes (e.g., the YN560 IV) Yongnuo is working on a mirrorless Micro Four Thirds camera, one that sports Android software and features a Canon EF compatible lens mount.
Venus Optics is another company that already produces Micro Four Thirds products, though under the brand name Laowa. You can grab several Laowa MFT lenses, including a budget 17mm f/1.8 prime.
But the announcement from Olympus and Panasonic suggests that we should see a number of additional Micro Four Thirds products coming from both Yongnuo and Venus Optics, potentially bolstering both the MFT lens and camera lineup.
The Micro Four Thirds standard was first unveiled in 2008 when Olympus and Panasonic jointly declared their interest in working “toward commercial production of significantly lighter and more compact interchangeable lens type digital camera systems.”
Since then, we’ve seen the steady production of Micro Four Thirds bodies and lenses from Olympus and Panasonic, including the well-regarded Olympus OM-D series, as well as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G line. Various other manufacturers have also engaged in MFT production, though in recent years the Micro Four Thirds system has been overshadowed by the rise of ultra-portable smartphone cameras, as well as compact APS-C and full-frame mirrorless bodies.
That said, smartphone manufacturers still have a lot of work to do if they’re ever going to match the quality of an MFT camera. And while mirrorless producers do offer MFT-sized cameras, their lenses struggle to compete with the small sizes and weights of MFT offerings. That’s where the Micro Four Thirds system shines; it includes high-quality camera-lens setups that are more compact than anything offered by the competition.
And given this announcement from Olympus and Panasonic, it’s clear that the Micro Four Thirds standard is alive and well, at least for now.
How do you feel about the expansion of the Micro Four Thirds lineup? Would you consider using a Yongnuo or Laowa camera/lens? Share your thoughts in the comments!