Sakar Shakes Things Up Some More

(news & commentary)


At last week's Photo Plus Expo in New York, Sakar was there with two "m4/3" entries: their Polaroid-branded im1836 camera, and three Kodak-branded lenses (8mm f/3 fisheye, 25mm f/0.95, and 50mm f/1.1), all of which are manual focus and have aperture rings. 

The question at this point, and for which Sakar wouldn't provide a direct answer, is what do they mean by m4/3? 

First, the im1836 camera is most certainly not an m4/3 camera (Sakar is being sued by Nikon on this camera). The Polaroid im1836 appears to be the "lensor" version of that camera as it was originally announced back in January. That means that the 10-30mm "kit lens" that comes with the camera is actually a lens+sensor package rolled into one and there is no image sensor in the camera body. The electrical contacts between lens and camera are not m4/3 at all, nor is the sensor size m4/3 (though Sakar wouldn't state exactly what size it is, nor do any of the Web pages I can find describing or selling it tell us). So when Amazon lists the im1836 as "Compact micro 4/3 body," that's actually deceptive. You can't mount an m4/3 lens on the body and shoot.  

Of course m4/3—excuse me Micro FourThirds—is a trademarked standard. As far as I can tell, Sakar is not an official m4/3 "supporting company." Which raises another question, this time regarding the lenses Sakar was showing. Kodak is a supporting company, but which Kodak is that? The original Kodak who was developing sensors for the standard, JK Imaging who has a license to use the Kodak brand on cameras, or Sakar? 

According to the m4/3 Web site, it's the former: Eastman Kodak Company. Which, of course, doesn't make cameras, sensors, film, or more things photographic these days, as those have all been spun off to other companies these days. Eastman Kodak does retain the licensing rights to the name, though, but the way I understand the standard consortium, a licensee of a company needs to be part of the standards consortium itself to use the trademarked name, logo, etc., and Sakar isn't listed. 

Thus, for the time being, I'm not going to list the Sakar/Kodak lenses on this site, as I can't really vet them as living up to the m4/3 standards. Pity. If the optical quality were any good, those would be three interesting additions to the m4/3 world. The fisheye and the telephoto are both very small, yet have fast apertures. 

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