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  #21  
Old 22nd July 2013
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Re: Questions for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds camera industry

Thank you for relaying our comments and questions, Ian!

I notice that you didn't say that you were specifically going to talk to Olympus, but most of the comments and questions so far have been for/about Olympus . . .

In any case, like many here, I'm very curious to know what Olympus have coming down the pipe, and they will likely be hesitant to provide much detail. But my wants may be somewhat different from what has been expressed. I love my E-M5 and have comitted/converted to the mirrorless MFT format. I'm convinced that the days of SLRs are numbered, and it won't be very long (years rather than decades) before even the top pro cameras go mirrorless.

But I also love my 4/3 HG lenses, and have been frustrated by their often slow AF performance on the E-M5. So I would like to know a) what the "solution" is for 4/3 lenses, and b) what the roadmap is for future MFT lenses. I wouldn't mind replacing my 12-60 and 50-200 SWD lenses if there were comparable ones made for MFT. By "comparable," I mean in terms of focal length range and maximum aperture. I know that they will be relatively large (though I expect that the 12-60 could be made smaller if redesigned for the shorter flange-back distance). I don't see size as a problem, as I see MFT as a full system suitable for all types of photography. I would be disappointed if any upcoming Olympus HG zooms for MFT reduced the focal length range or went to apertures smaller than f/2.8 (at least on the wide end).

Until any such lenses are released, I plan to continue using my current HG zooms, and would be happy to stick with them indefinitely if the "solution" is an on-chip phase detection system or something similar that would allow them to focus to their potential using the MMF-3 adapter I already have. I have no interest in adding an adapter with a mirror to my mirrorless camera, as I consider such adapters to be bulky and clunky, and most likely fragile and expensive.

Some other Olympus and E-M5 related comments:

The 2-piece grip is a great idea, and makes the camera perfect for me--small when I want to travel light and more substantial when I want to use larger lenses. My one gripe is that Olympus chose style over function when designing the grip. The horizontal portion is too small, and both portions would be much better if they had been designed with ergonomically curves to fit the hand rather than the current angular shapes.

I've noticed in general that Olympus have been very innovative in some areas, and are often copied by other camera manufacturers (advanced IBIS systems, built-in levels, the super control panel, and other technologies that slip my mind at the moment). But Olympus are often slow to adopt advances that other manufacturers embrace, making Olympus appear behind the times. For years, they stuck with old sensors, making minor tweaks when all-new designs were needed to remain competetive. Adoption of wi-fi and other connectivity options has been slow; I'm especially interested in remote control from a smartphone or tablet.

I would like to see Olympus stay at the edge of the technology curve when it comes to sensors, EVFs, rear screens, and other emerging technologies. Obviously, these should be well thought out rather than slapped on as an afterthought--an integrated system with a view towards the future is ideal. But too often, Olympus seem to simply disregard innovations, and provide no indication about if or when new technologies will be supported. This tactic hurts sales and morale among customers, IMO.

Some other features that I would welcome: some improvements to auto-braketing to make it more useful for HDR. I would love to see a mode that would automatically take as many exposures as necessary to capture the full range of brightness in a scene, with the intention that the images will be combined later in HDR software--all with one press of the shutter release. And since we have advanced IBIS systems that are able to move the sensor in nearly any way, I would love to see it utilized for in-body tilt/shift--especially the tilt part. It seems that by allowing the photographer to adjust the horizontal and vertical tilt of the sensor, you could achieve the same effect as a tilt/shift lens with any lens that mounts on the camera.

For manufacturers in general, I continue to be impressed with the pace of development, and everyone deserves credit for making photography better and easier and more fun. I do sometimes wish I could change the direction a little bit . . . I still wish we could stop the megapixel race! Improved dynamic range and high-ISO performance are much higher priorities for me than more pixels. Improved AF would defitnitely be welcome, and hopefully new on-chip phase-detection and similar systems will place mirrorless cameras on par with (or beat!) SLRs. I don't do much video, but AF and exposure control during video recording would be nice as well.

I'm excited about the other new sensor technologies that are in progress, such as the Panasonic light-splitting sensor (I forget the real name). Anything that can eliminate the moire and light loss issues of Bayer pattern sensors and color filters is a great development in my book. And I'm looking forward to expanding the lens lines in mirrorless cameras. As I described above, I want more high quality, wide aperture zooms. If mirrorless cameras are to relpace SLRs as do-anything cameras (as I believe they can and will), we need a full range of lenses to go along with them.

- Hal -
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  #22  
Old 22nd July 2013
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Re: Questions for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds camera industry

I'm glad some action has started in relation to the projected new camera(s) release. I'm hoping for something original 4/3rds rather than micro as are many others... the last of the loyalists and a rapidly declining market. However, with leading edge sensor technology now available and existing quality lens and system base perhaps original 4/3rds is a better business direction than some may think. Whatever the product actually is, the design has I'm sure now been locked in for a while and wish lists closed.

Lets hope the release of information is more fluid than a bunch of "rumours" from people not respecting their agreements and Oly gets over the ridiculous and antiquated method of trying to keep everything under wraps for one giant event. Our information technology has surpassed that "car show" model long ago.

Oly has been very good at having product available and shipped according to schedule and close to the release date of a new model (unlike some other companies) and should be congratulated.

As a thought, perhaps you could suggest a free turtle be provided with each new camera...
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  #23  
Old 23rd July 2013
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Re: Questions for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds camera industry

Check the sales figures world wide for M4/3, you will be surprised. Also check Nikon and Canon sales figures and where their standing is in the world market, again you will be surprised.
Some of you may know that Sony who are one of the largest share holders in Olympus are jointly working on new technologies and sensor design. Currently, Sony sensors are the ones to beat.

Most review sites praise m4/3 for the advances they have made in recent years. However most say that m4/3 still lags behind APS-C cameras in various areas and for every step forward m4/3 makes, APS-C and FF for that matter makes 2 steps. Panasonic have already been critisised on a couple of review sites for exhibiting out of camera Jpegs that look over processed. I think the sensor technology to keep an eye on in the future is Fuji.
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  #24  
Old 23rd July 2013
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Re: Questions for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds camera industry

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_j View Post
Olympus do have a history of dumping users, think of the OM system
Yes, that's correct. Olympus failed to develop a decent autofocus system when everyone else was doing just that. Olympus wasn't the only company in this situation. Fuji also failed to make the move to AF DSLRs, for example. Canon and Minolta started from scratch and abandoned users of previous systems. Only Nikon and Pentax managed to maintain the same basic lens mount and even then there were compromises.

It could be suggested that in light of the OM history Olympus may be more determined not to repeat what happened before.

Ian
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  #25  
Old 23rd July 2013
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Re: Questions for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds camera industry

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Originally Posted by whatapicture View Post
Check the sales figures world wide for M4/3, you will be surprised. Also check Nikon and Canon sales figures and where their standing is in the world market, again you will be surprised.
Some of you may know that Sony who are one of the largest share holders in Olympus are jointly working on new technologies and sensor design. Currently, Sony sensors are the ones to beat.

Most review sites praise m4/3 for the advances they have made in recent years. However most say that m4/3 still lags behind APS-C cameras in various areas and for every step forward m4/3 makes, APS-C and FF for that matter makes 2 steps. Panasonic have already been critisised on a couple of review sites for exhibiting out of camera Jpegs that look over processed. I think the sensor technology to keep an eye on in the future is Fuji.
Nikon and Canon sales are standing up in the USA and parts of Europe, although growth is not great, but CSCs are growing steadily in most areas, although from smaller bases in the USA and in parts of Europe. In Asia CSCs are just about level with DSLRs and in some areas have overtaken them.

I think the key thing with Olympus in particular (and Panasonic with the GH3) is that the use of the Sony sensor takes away the question mark over sensor performance that was always hanging over Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds. It's not the very best but it is respectable. And of course let's not forget that the earlier cameras with Panasonic and Kodak sensors were still capable of brilliant results.

I will talk to Panasonic about their JPEG output. I don't think it's as bad as some people have implied. The benchmark, though, remains Olympus in this area.

Ian
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  #26  
Old 23rd July 2013
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Re: Questions for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds camera industry

Given Olympus have abandoned 4/3 lens development could they resurrect their OM lens tooling and build some of their classic primes in Nikon mount?
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  #27  
Old 23rd July 2013
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Re: Questions for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds camera industry

Just 1 question. Will Olympus add 25p HD video as an option or at least make a PAL version/model for PAL regions of the world?
Rob
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  #28  
Old 23rd July 2013
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Re: Questions for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds camera industry

Olympus have always been renouned for their excellent Jpeg out put, it all started with the Kodak CCD sensor. I have never been that impressed with the Panasonic sensors, my G1,G2 and to a point G3 did not give brilliant Jpeg out put and often displayed a green cast, I sold them. The Panny sensors in 4/3 always seemed to give better Jpegs than later Panny m4/3 sensors. They shot themselves in the foot with that decision.

I've heard it said that Olympus were on a loser with 4/3 from day one because they made size the dominant factor rather than IQ.
4/3 and M4/3 remained at the bottom of the class for dynamic range and noise but have improved enormously, there's no doubt about that.

Current Olympus's are still one of the best Jpeg cameras but in my view Fuji have now taken over that crown. Quite a few review sites are commenting on this, read DPReviews on Fuji X cameras. DSLR sales are on the decline although the slowest decline is the US. They still however remain supreme on the worlds market. Not all people are jumping ship to m4/3, I good percentage are going over to other CSC APS-C formats, Sony being the most popular.
I read some where that Panasonic are the biggest selling m4/3 system.
I think Ian's trip to Japan will be quite productive and I look forward to any new information. Just remember one thing. Mobile's [Cell phones ] are the biggest photographic group in the world, now how do you compete with that.
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  #29  
Old 23rd July 2013
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Re: Questions for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds camera industry

Camera makers are now, at last, responding to camera phones and including wifi connectivity so that they can work with smartphones much more easily. This way there is more incentive to use a proper camera rather than the one on your smartphone. But the basic compact camera business is contracting very fast because of the smartphone effect. Nevertheless, super zoom bridge camera sales remain healthy, along with premium compact cameras like travel zoom models.

Olympus' problem since the E-1 was launched in 2003 was that they didn't have access to top-notch sensors. The E-1/E-300/E-500 Kodak FFT sensor was sensitive and had good dynamic range but was poor in low light at higher ISOs. Panasonic improved on this immediately but have remained a couple years behind Sony in terms of development.

We live in a golden era of camera development - the variety and features available are amazing. But there is no perfect camera for everyone. It's just the same for Fujifilm - the X-series cameras have excellent sensors but there is a limited range of lenses, focusing is slow and the cameras are relatively large. That's fine for some but not for all.

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  #30  
Old 23rd July 2013
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Re: Questions for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds camera industry

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertD View Post
Just 1 question. Will Olympus add 25p HD video as an option or at least make a PAL version/model for PAL regions of the world?
Rob
Indeed - that's a question I have already asked several times. Olympus stock response is that they are still learning about video, but they will surely have to expand the range of video mode options sooner or later.

Ian
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