Akira Watanabe, pictured in Frankfurt, Germany yesterday afternoon;
The Olympus E-5 announced in 2010; Olympus E-system lenses

[Watanabe picture credit: Chris Cheesman]

Akira Watanabe, manager of the SLR Planning Department at Olympus, confirmed the move in a meeting with Amateur Photographer in Frankfurt, Germany.

It is as yet unclear whether the new model will be a DSLR, or a mirrorless camera, but Watanabe said it will be designed to give full functionality with E-system lenses.

Watanabe – who said he uses an E-5 – was cautious not to suggest that the new model would serve as a replacement for the flagship camera, but signalled Olympus’s clear intention to launch a brand new body.

Watanabe said Olympus is responding to calls from E-system users who want to be able to use ‘high-grade’ lenses.

‘I need to make it clear we are now developing a model to fully utilise Four Thirds lenses,’ he said.

Following Watanabe’s comments, an Olympus UK spokesman said: ‘Watanabe has been delighted with the success of the OM-D which has pushed the boundaries of performance for system cameras, but acknowledged that it did not deliver with the legacy high-end lenses from the E-system.’

Olympus cites the 90-250mm f/2.8 zoom as among the ‘top-pro’ lenses Watanabe was referring to.

Watanabe also confirmed that Olympus continues to make E-system DSLRs, though production has been intermittent.

Speaking to a small group of journalists at a business centre near Frankfurt Airport, yesterday, Watanabe added: ‘We haven’t discontinued the E-5, E-30 or E-620.’