Panasonic has held a press conference in Japan at which it announced it is working on creating single-lens reflex digital cameras based on the Four Thirds standard.
According to articles from MSNBC and Nikkei Electronics Asia, Matsushita will cooperate with Four Thirds partner Olympus Corp. to develop technologies and components for Four Thirds products. The two companies will then develop finished products based on these shared components and technologies, for sale under their own brandnames. Both companies apparently intend to introduce these products at the PMA show next February.
The news shouldn't come as much of a surprise to regular readers of this site; we reported in February 2004 that Matsushita had joined the Four Thirds alliance, and predicted the company could make a four thirds digital SLR under its Panasonic brand name at that time.
Details on the specifics of the upcoming SLR are not available at this time. Canon and Nikon currently dominate sales of digital SLRs, with Olympus consolidating third place in the Japanese market. Olympus and Matsushita predict that as digital SLR sales mature, new buyers will overall have less concern over whether they can use their existing lenses with their new digital SLR - meaning that they will see no disadvantage in moving to a new lens mount. If this holds true, it will make it an easier proposition for the companies to increase their market share.
From Imaging Resource