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Olympus 'Air' Camera Swaps Lenses, Uses Phone for Its Screen

by Devin Coldewey /

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One of the newest trends in photography is cameras that forgo nearly all features other than the ability to take pictures — no dials, no LCD, no SD card slot — instead letting your smartphone take over all those functions. Olympus is the latest to make such a camera; theirs is called the Air A01, and unlike rival devices from Sony and DxO, it allows you to switch lenses just like a regular mid-range mirrorless camera.

Related: iPhone Camera Not Good Enough? Snap On the 20-Megapixel DxO One

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  Olympus

The Air looks more like a lens than a camera. Inside is a 16-megapixel, micro four-thirds sized sensor, the same found in the company's E-M10, and on the front is a lens mount on which you can put any recent Olympus lenses. Clip it onto your phone or a tripod, start up the free companion app and you're ready to shoot.

Of course, the Air lacks some of the niceties of "real" cameras, such as built-in image stabilization and sensor cleaning. The Micro SD card your photos are stored on won't be very fast, but the light, compact form factor may make up for that. And at $300 for the camera itself ($500 with a nice zoom lens) it's a fairly inexpensive proposition. Pick one up at Olympus's website or your favorite retailer next month.

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