Panasonic and OM System reveal launch dates for new Micro Four Thirds cameras

Posters for the launches of an OM System and Panasonic camera
(Image credit: OM System / Panasonic)

Both Panasonic and OM System (formerly Olympus) have announced the launch dates for their much-anticipated new cameras – with the two Micro Four Thirds models arriving a week apart.

The Panasonic GH6, which was originally due to land last year, will be fully revealed on February 21 at 8pm EST, according to the official Lumix Facebook page. For those in the UK and Australia, that works out as February 22 at 1am GMT / 11am AEST.

But before then, we'll also see the arrival of the first OM System camera since it dropped the Olympus name last year. We don't yet know what this camera will be called, but the "new camera announcement" will take place at February 15 at 1am EST / 6am GMT / 4pm AEST.

This OM System news was revealed in a new teaser trailer, which you can watch below. The short clip, which follows nature photographer Ben Knoot, doesn't reveal any more specifics about the camera, other than a strong hint that it'll be designed for wildlife shooters.

OM Digital Solutions, the maker of this new OM System camera, has previously said that it's "developing a new interchangeable lens camera" for the Micro Four Thirds system, and that it will improve image quality "through the use of computational photographic technology." But we now won't have to wait long to find out exactly how it plans to compete with both smartphones and its full-frame rivals.

The Panasonic GH6 will be compatible with the same Micro Four Thirds lenses as the OM System camera, and we already know a little more about it. Panasonic has previously announced that its GH5 successor will have a new high-speed sensor and Venus processing engine, plus the ability to shoot 4K/60p video with 4:2:2 10-bit color depth. It's an exciting camera for filmmakers of all kinds, so we'll be bringing you all the official news on February 21 / 22.

Analysis: The welcome return of Micro Four Thirds

The Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system was launched by Panasonic and Olympus in 2008 as a way to create small mirrorless cameras that would appeal to both hobbyist shooters and professionals. 

In the last few years, it's been overshadowed the development of full-frame mirrorless rivals from Sony, Canon and Nikon. But these two launches from Panasonic and OM System mark a welcome return for MFT cameras, which will help give photographers and videographers some much-needed choice.

Since 2008, smartphone cameras have decimated the lower end of the Micro Four Thirds system, so both of these new announcements are expected to come with more premium price tags.

This means that both the Panasonic GH6 and OM System's new camera could end up clashing in some respects, given they share the same lens system. But based on the details we've seen so far, it seems the GH6 will be more video-focused, while the OM System camera will target wildlife photographers.

Because Micro Four Thirds cameras have smaller sensors than their full-frame and APS-C rivals, they are able to offer some unique features in the areas of computational photography and video recording. So we're very much looking forward to seeing how Panasonic and OM System innovate in these areas to bring the MFT system back to forefront of camera tech.

Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.