For a lot of people, the smartphone has become their primary device for taking pictures. From holiday snaps to selfies, the quality of pictures taken with the phone is definitely getting better with the constant improvements made to camera optics and technologies. At GrateNews, we are constantly looking at creative ways to improve everyday shots with our smartphones (check out our Sri Lanka photo series). In fact, we are so close to getting the Moment lens to improve our wide-angle shots that we have already placed it in our shopping cart. But we pulled the brakes after we heard about the new mirrorless camera from Olympus called Olympus Air A01.
Although the Moment lens and the Olympus Air are not of the same product class, the Air is an option to consider before hitting the ‘buy’ button.
Olympus Air is a handheld interchangeable lens camera that can be attached to and controlled with smartphones. Olympus basically flattened the mirrorless camera to about the size of a 50mm portrait lens that has its own sensor, storage, battery and other camera functions.
The device weighs only 147g and can be clipped onto your smartphone with an attached smartphone holder. The smartphone then acts as a camera control centre and a viewing screen after pairing over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This combination allows you to capture 16-megapixels images at 1/16,000-second maximum shutter speed, and shoot 1080p HD videos. The Air also boasts a burst shooting speed at 10 fps (frames per second), an ISO range of up to 12,800 and a 81-point autofocus system. A full charge on the built-in battery can last approximately 320 shots according to Olympus. And since it is not directly attached to any port on your smartphone, you can detach the Air for selfies and use it for odd spaces and challenging positions that might not fit a DSLR camera.
While smartphone attachments offering DSLR-like features are not new – in the market, there are Sony QX100, Kodak Smart Lens and DxO One – Olympus Air turns your smartphone into an interchangeable lens camera allowing you access to a range of Micro Four Thirds lenses.
Although we may still end up getting the Moment lens for our phones, the Olympus Air is a great high-quality, lightweight option that we will definitely consider when we work on our future travel features. Unfortunately in Asia, the Olympus Air A01 is only sold on the Olympus’s Japan online store. But with the Yen hitting new lows, that may not be such a bad thing. The Air is priced at S$400 for the body and S$590 when bundled with a 14-42-mm M.Zuiko Digital ED lens.