If your favorite camera is the one on your smartphone, Olympus’ latest mirrorless camera may be the perfect way to step up your selfie game. The company introduced a new mirrorless camera Tuesday, the Olympus Air, a handheld interchangeable lens camera completely controlled with smartphones. Officially called the Olympus Air A01, the 16-megapixel camera is more of smartphone camera accessory than a typical mirrorless camera.
Olympus has managed to cram the sensor, storage, battery and other camera functions into a handheld body that is about the same size as an average DSLR lens.
Like many of Olympus’ other mirrorless offerings, the Air supports interchangeable lenses, though it relies on users’ smartphones to control camera settings, image viewing and other functions. Olympus says this gives photographers greater flexibility since they can easily swap out lenses while still using their smartphone as a controller.
The camera itself is equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and has the same image processor and 16-megapixel sensor as the company’s other mirrorless flagships. It supports RAW capture, 1080p HD video recording and has a 1/16,000-second maximum shutter speed.
An accompanying smartphone app, available for iOS and Android, controls the shooting modes and other camera settings. Olympus is also opening up the Air to developers who want to build custom apps and accessories for the Air with a software development kit (SDK).
Though the Air comes with a mount to attach your smartphone, the two don’t actually need to be attached to snap photos. Olympus says this will be particularly helpful to avid selfie-takers as they can simply hold up the lens to frame their shot while using their smartphone to control the shutter. The Air is also compatible with tripods in case you want to a more steady shot.
It does make some compromises for its size, like its lack of image stabilization. Its battery life, though respectable at 320 shots per charge, is not nearly what you would get from Olympus’ other cameras.
The Air will be available in the U.S. and Canada beginning July 1. It starts at $299 for the body only or $499 for the body and a 14-42mm lens. Read more…