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Thread: Future of 4/3 system

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    Default Future of 4/3 system

    Hello everybody,
    i looked to a few e-shops here in Czech republic and I found out that almost every shop offers just body E-5 and sometimes E-3. I have no idea why. I was thinking aboug buying E-620 for my girlfriend because I have E-3.
    I am also thinking about buying new lenses (now i have 5 lenses from profi models). I am little bit nervous about future of this system and I dont want to spend money and in few years go to the another brand.
    Now I had in my hands Nikon D3S and my Oly E-3 or even new E-5 is very far from that and I am worried that this system will never reach the quality of major Brands Canon and Nikon.

    What do you think?

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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    The system is doomed -- doomed, I tell you! You need to send it all to me, just to get the stink of failure off of you. I'll send you my address, and I'll even pay for shipping, since I'm such a generous soul.

    Sheesh, the sacrifices I'm willing to make to help out my fellow man....



    But seriously, you need to look at what you need from a camera, for your photography, and decide which camera system meets your needs best now, not at some nebulous point in the future.

    For me, the answer is Four-Thirds.

    I have fantastic Zuiko Digital lenses. I don't think anyone will dispute the fact that the 35-100mm f/2.0 is unequalled by any lens from any other manufacturer. The 12-60mm gives me lightning-fast focus and superb quality in a 5:1 zoom ratio, covering everything from wide angle to moderate telephoto in a convenient walkaround package. The 50-200mm is the best value on the market in high-quality mid-long telephoto zooms. You can cut glass with the 50mm macro, it's so sharp. And many other examples....

    I also have weather-sealed bodies with the best dust-buster technology in the industry. I've been shooting regularly in the blowing dust of the Mojave desert for several years, and have never yet needed to perform a wet sensor cleaning. My friends with Canon and Nikon cameras are always complaining about having to clean their sensors yet again, and I've never had to do it once.

    The weather sealing on my E-3 and E-1 cameras is so good that I never hesitate to take them out in ANY weather, without any "protection". I have no problem standing and shooting with them in the pouring rain, especially in light of the fact that I know photographers who have taken theirs on the "Maid of the Mist" boat ride under Niagra Falls without any problems whatsoever. (I always chuckle when I see a Canon or Nikon shooter struggling to work with a big plastic condom over his camera and lens.)

    I shoot a lot of telephoto shots, so I welcome the increased magnification that the Four-Thirds sensor size gives me, when compared to the 135-film format size sensors used in so-called "full-frame" Canon and Nikon cameras. At 200mm, I get the same angle of view that they do at 400mm, but my 50-200mm lens is a fraction of the size and weight of a 100-400mm lens with the same aperture.

    Additionally, the sensor size has another benefit for me: increased depth of field at wide-open apertures. I can shoot at f/2.0, and still keep a person's ears sharp at the same time as their eyes. Compared to a "full frame" 135-format sensor, I can shoot with an aperture opened up two full stops wider while maintaining a similar depth of field. I still have no problem blurring backgrounds with fantastic bokeh when I want to do so, but I don't have to stop down just to keep a person's entire face in focus.

    I have image stabilization built into my E-3, E-520, and E-PL1 bodies, so *every* lens is stabilized -- even old manual focus lenses mounted with adapters. I don't have to pay extra over and over again to have IS added to every lens.

    Now, I'm not saying that my choice is right for everyone. If you shoot primarily in super-low light without flash, then something like a 5DMkII is probably the camera for you. If you need -- not just want, but actually need -- 24 megapickle resolution, then you'll need something else.

    However, right now I have a great system that works very well, and which handily meets all of my current photographic needs with excellent image quality. If Olympus fell off the planet tomorrow, I could easily keep shooting with my current kit for the next ten years, at the very least. (I'd take advantage, of course, of the inevitable panicked gear-selling to pick up a few spares of my favorite lenses and bodies at "fire sale" prices. I might even get myself an E-5 or two.)
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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    Better save time and jump off a bridge today.

    But seriously boys.......and girls.........when you see me dumping my Olympus THEN is the time to worry. Some of you know what I mean by that and the rest......have faith.

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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system, compared to a FF camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by prettorian View Post
    Hello everybody,
    i looked to a few e-shops ... I was thinking aboug buying E-620 for my girlfriend because I have E-3.
    ...(now i have 5 lenses from profi models). ...
    Now I had in my hands Nikon D3S and my Oly E-3 or even new E-5 is very far from that and I am worried that this system will never reach the quality of major Brands Canon and Nikon.

    What do you think?
    Are you comparing the Olympus E-5 to the Nikon D3s? The Nikon D3s is a $5200US, 36mm x24mm sensor, "full frame" camera. The E-5 is a $1700US 4/3 format camera with a sensor that is 1/4 the area. The equivalent lenses required for the FF camera are very expensive, especially when you get into telephoto lenses. A FF DSLR will always have advantages in high ISO and low noise performance. The Olmypus has more DOF for the same equivalent focal length at the same aperture. The Olympus telephoto lenses are much more compact and affordable. And all of the rest of the HG and SHG Olympus lenses are excellent, better than what most of us need. There's not much to compare here. The two cameras are vastly different.

    As to your first question, what is the future of 4/3 format, no one knows. A good guess would be that Olympus will release another upgrade to the E-30 next and another Pro DSLR upgrade to the E-5 a couple of years from now. Beyond that depends on how the micro 4/3 market develops and whether Olympus can develop a mirrorless camera that can utilize the existing SHG pro lenses as well as a DSLR does now. No one can predict the future of digital cameras. None of the manufacturers are going to say what's coming.

    Which 5 Olympus lenses do you already have?

    One of your options is to keep looking for a new E-620 or E-30 or find either one used for a better price.
    Dave in So Cal

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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    I was introduced to the 4/3's system by ZenTraveler from whom I bought an E3 and the 14-54 MkII from back in November. This was my first DSLR and I agonized over the purchase because (and I know this dates me) I didn't want another Beta vs VHS experience. Beta was better.

    I still have the E3 but along the way sold the 14-54 bought a 12-60, 50-200, 50mm and the PanLeica 25mm f1.4. Oh, also a SHG 150mm and 35-100mm along with an E5.

    I had to bite the bullet with the Sony Betamax because the media became obsolete. I don't have to worry about that with the 4/3 system, I guess.
    I enjoy everyone sharing their concerns for the future of the 4/3 format, but I'll keep shooting and appreciating what I have.
    Cheer's - John

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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    43rds is wonderful, but not ideal.
    Certain cameras/systems are better at certain things, but there is not as versatile and high quality system around.

    Unless you have a need for something specialized 43rds is not really good at, you will be delighted with it.
    Cheers,
    Marin

    E-M5, 7.5mm fisheye, 12mm, 45mm, various flashes and misc.

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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    I think the best way to predict the future of Olympus cameras is to review their history. By doing this, you can be pretty sure they will not release a replacement for the E-5 within about 2 years, or so, if the E-5 release.

    Olympus engineering great with new innovations. Image quality is great. For my needs Olympus is the camera for me.
    Lawrence

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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system, compared to a FF camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by whaleshark View Post
    A FF DSLR will always have advantages in high ISO and low noise performance. The Olmypus has more DOF for the same equivalent focal length at the same aperture.
    I'm reading this over and over again here on this forum. Why is having more DOF an advantage? What is so hard to stop down a FF camera to gain DOF?
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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system, compared to a FF camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by okla View Post
    I'm reading this over and over again here on this forum. Why is having more DOF an advantage? What is so hard to stop down a FF camera to gain DOF?
    Nothing hard in stopping it down, except that in super-tele land, it does make you wonder why you're carrying a 5+kg 600mm f4 when you are shooting at f8 most of the time and paying for an f4 lens
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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    I recently went through this process as I needed to convince myself or not to get a 50-200mm. I currently have a E330, L1 with 14-50mm f2.8, an E-30 and a 11-22mm.

    In some ways I would prefer the size of u4/3 but I require a decent buffer and a well built body plus equivalent lenses to what I now have. I know there is probably a “pro” u4/3 coming but no one seems to know when and what exactly it will be so I would rather wait and see. In the meantime I love the quality of all my lenses and bodies and until the u4/3 can equal both of these I will be staying with what I have.

    So it was easy to convince myself to get the 50-200mm SWD and I have no regrets as it is a superb lens and is a great complement to my other lenses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by okla View Post
    I'm reading this over and over again here on this forum. Why is having more DOF an advantage? What is so hard to stop down a FF camera to gain DOF?
    Lens speed? I always thought that was the primary reason why somebody would pay several thousand dollars for a 70-200mm f/2.8 when they could get a LONGER (and half the size) 70-300mm f/4-5.6 for several hundred?

    If lens speed doesn't matter, then I should have bought a new car instead with all the money I could save - this time a two-seater since I won't need all the space for hundreds of lbs of camera gear!

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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system, compared to a FF camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by okla View Post
    I'm reading this over and over again here on this forum. Why is having more DOF an advantage? What is so hard to stop down a FF camera to gain DOF?
    You gain DOF by stopping down, but you lose light. I'd rather shoot at f/2.0 and ISO 1600 instead of having to stop down to f/4.0 to get enough DOF to keep ears and eyes both in focus, and have to use ISO 6400 to get there. I don't care how "clean" you claim your camera's ISO 6400 is -- it's going to be smearing away fine detail as sacrifices to the twin gods of "high ISO" and "low noise".

    There's no substitute for aperture when you're working with (un)available light.
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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system, compared to a FF camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by okla View Post
    I'm reading this over and over again here on this forum. Why is having more DOF an advantage? What is so hard to stop down a FF camera to gain DOF?
    One of the reason most medium format lenses are only f4 at the fastest is that if you shoot at f2.8 at 90mm or 150mm, depth of field becomes extremely shallow, and that's not typically desirable for the vast majority of shots. Sure, lots of people like very extreme background blur, but if you look at the most successful shots you can find, even in portraiture, most full-frame photographers make a habit of shooting at around f8. This means you need more available light, or your shutter speed will be rather slow.

    With 4/3, depth of field at f5.6 is equivalent to the depth of field at f8 on full 135 size with equivalent focal lengths. This is because depth of field is directly proportional to both focal length and aperture size. Because 50mm on four thirds is equivalent to 100mm on a 135 size camera, depth of focus is twice as deep for the same f stop.

    While it is very dreamy and glamourous to have extreme background blur, this can be had easily with either the 50mm f1.4 Sigma or the 35-100 f2 Olympus SHG. The difference is that when a four thirds shooter wants to keep the subject fully in focus, this is easier with a smaller sensor.

    For the same reason, I know a few pros who prefer the Nikon D300s to the Nikon D3s for portraiture. Bokeh is still easy to achieve, yet depth of field can be achieved if desired, without sacrificing as much shutter speed in the process.

    Now, if extremely blurry backgrounds is what you want, you can have that by spending on the 35-100f2 what you'd spend on a pro body such as the D700, but you'll save money when it comes to the lens you'd then need on the Nikon.

    The real tradeoff is in dynamic range. 4/3 tends to blow out highlights such as brightly lit clouds 1-2 stops earlier than the APS or 135 sensor cameras.
    This can mean that when exposing for the terrain in a forest, your sky will blow out or you'll have to underexpose the forest scene. I ran into that exact scenario while photographing the Las Conchas fire scar near Los Alamos, NM this weekend.

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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system, compared to a FF camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by whaleshark View Post
    Are you comparing the Olympus E-5 to the Nikon D3s? The Nikon D3s is a $5200US, 36mm x24mm sensor, "full frame" camera. The E-5 is a $1700US 4/3 format camera with a sensor that is 1/4 the area. The equivalent lenses required for the FF camera are very expensive, especially when you get into telephoto lenses. A FF DSLR will always have advantages in high ISO and low noise performance. The Olmypus has more DOF for the same equivalent focal length at the same aperture. The Olympus telephoto lenses are much more compact and affordable. And all of the rest of the HG and SHG Olympus lenses are excellent, better than what most of us need. There's not much to compare here. The two cameras are vastly different.

    As to your first question, what is the future of 4/3 format, no one knows. A good guess would be that Olympus will release another upgrade to the E-30 next and another Pro DSLR upgrade to the E-5 a couple of years from now. Beyond that depends on how the micro 4/3 market develops and whether Olympus can develop a mirrorless camera that can utilize the existing SHG pro lenses as well as a DSLR does now. No one can predict the future of digital cameras. None of the manufacturers are going to say what's coming.

    Which 5 Olympus lenses do you already have?

    One of your options is to keep looking for a new E-620 or E-30 or find either one used for a better price.
    I know that it is not possible to compare E-5 and D3S but by this comparison I meant that Olympus will probably never reach the quality as other major brands. i am not the pro photographer. I am just hobby one and like to shoot mostly when I travel, so for that is Olympus great but I also wantto use higher ISO cause I like night pictures and it is very difficult with Olympus.

    Now I have 14-54mm MKI, 50-20mm, 11-22mm, 14-45mm, 8mm Fisheye.
    I would like to buy some 25mm or 30mm 1.4F and maybe in the future 35-100 F2, but that's why I am worry about the future.
    Last edited by prettorian; 08-02-2011 at 01:04 AM.

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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    As a confirmed pessimist I would have to say that 4/3rds has no future. There are no new lenses in development and who knows if there will even be another new body ever?

    The future lies elsewhere.

    I could be wrong.


    alistairj.smugmug.com


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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system, compared to a FF camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by wokoti View Post
    Nothing hard in stopping it down, except that in super-tele land, it does make you wonder why you're carrying a 5+kg 600mm f4 when you are shooting at f8 most of the time and paying for an f4 lens
    The speed of a lens influences more than DOF. You also get a brighter viewfinder, and more light to the AF system. Those factors come from the speed of the lens (f4) and don't change if you stop down. So even if you only shoot at f8, you still might want an f4 lens so you can add teleconverters without losing the ability to focus (auto and manual).
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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    Quote Originally Posted by Neddog View Post
    Lens speed? I always thought that was the primary reason why somebody would pay several thousand dollars for a 70-200mm f/2.8 when they could get a LONGER (and half the size) 70-300mm f/4-5.6 for several hundred?

    If lens speed doesn't matter, then I should have bought a new car instead with all the money I could save - this time a two-seater since I won't need all the space for hundreds of lbs of camera gear!
    I understand. People buy the 70-200mm f2.8 for the speed, and as a matter of fact it gets shot at f2.8 all the time. I just double checked a shoot I did recently (ice curling), and my 35-100mm was basically locked at f2 for the whole shoot with plenty of DOF to spare. I could have easily shot on a full frame at f2.8. No need to stop down to gain DOF. Here I actually would have welcomed the opportunity to open up wider to reduce ISO, but f2 is all the lens does.

    I also understand that there are situations where I move in closer to get tighter shots, and in those situations DOF can become a challenge. No bird shot I ever did was shot wide open, even on 4/3rds I had to stop down to get the whole bird in focus. And to answer my own (somewhat rhetorical) question: It is not hard to stop down if you have to
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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    I agree Olympus has many good things on it's side. There is better. The E5 is a stellar camera. But with that said I am waiting on buying any SHG glass until I see they intend on staying in the DSLR line.
    I doubt they even know at this point.


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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    Quote Originally Posted by jpcollinsworth View Post
    ... Beta was better.

    I had to bite the bullet with the Sony Betamax because the media became obsolete.
    John, FWIW your 1st statement above = yes. But the 2nd one = no, because of the first one. Beta became obsolete only in the consumer format and market. The professional (1/2" tape) version - Betacam - continued to be the only format used in the broadcast television industry. It evolved into Digital Betacam, which is only now being replaced by video disk technology. So the technology has lasted some 30 years (Betacam was introduced in 1982).

    I only mention this because folks always regard Beta as a failure. It depends on how you look at it - personally I'd would have been proud to have invented a technology that was used by pro videographers for 30 years.

    Ted

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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    As others have said, no one knows what the future holds for Four Thirds.

    In response to your question about reaching the 'Quality of CaNikon', well in some respects it already has - you will not find better zoom lenses on the market today. Simple as that.

    In other respects - who knows? My suspicion is that there will be no more Four Thirds bodies after the E-5 - meaning that there will not be an E-x, E-xx or E-xxx replacement using the 'classic' Four Thirds mount. Whether or not this was Olympus' original intention, I don't know. But I think they've put themselves in a market position where Four Thirds is as good as dead.

    Of course, that's speculation. But it's speculation that would put me off investing significantly in a system...


    **note** But then who am I to talk? I've made three full system swaps in four years and have the attention span of a toddler on meth :/
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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    Quote Originally Posted by nickthetasmaniac View Post
    **note** But then who am I to talk? I've made three full system swaps in four years and have the attention span of a toddler on meth :/
    Nick, toddlers in Tasmania take meth?

    Just kidding - I couldn't resist.

    Ted

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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    Quote Originally Posted by okla View Post
    And to answer my own (somewhat rhetorical) question: It is not hard to stop down if you have to
    Ahh, but therein lies the opposite end of the stick. Four Thirds has issues with diffraction if you stop down too far...

    For instance, my (excellent) lumix 7-14 is noticeably soft over f11. Fine, until you want to do a daylight long exposure... Stop down! Soft. Use an ND! Can't miunt one. Lower the iso! 160 minimum...

    As with everything in life, nothing is for free
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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system, compared to a FF camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by okla View Post
    The speed of a lens influences more than DOF. You also get a brighter viewfinder, and more light to the AF system. Those factors come from the speed of the lens (f4) and don't change if you stop down. So even if you only shoot at f8, you still might want an f4 lens so you can add teleconverters without losing the ability to focus (auto and manual).
    Very true and these are the same reasons why its a great idea to go with an f2.8 300mm lens (much smaller and lighter) that gives you the same FOV with greater DOF and also the ability to AF with converters.
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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    Quote Originally Posted by prettorian View Post

    What do you think?
    I don't have a crystal ball either, but I will say this - look at the buy and sell forum here. Look at the trends on prices. Look at the sort of equipment being sold. That'll give you a good sense of the overall health of the system.

    I will say that I've seen more 300/2.8s and other SHG glass sold here in the past few months than at any time since I first joined the forums, which is not particularly encouraging. A number of long-time members seem to be in the process of switching...

    DH

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    Default Re: Future of 4/3 system

    Quote Originally Posted by dhazeghi View Post
    I don't have a crystal ball either, but I will say this - look at the buy and sell forum here. Look at the trends on prices. Look at the sort of equipment being sold. That'll give you a good sense of the overall health of the system.

    I will say that I've seen more 300/2.8s and other SHG glass sold here in the past few months than at any time since I first joined the forums, which is not particularly encouraging. A number of long-time members seem to be in the process of switching...

    DH

    As I am reading these lines I think I will postpone any investation to new lenses.I wanted to buy some fix zoom lenses and also mabye 35-100mm f2, but maybe it will be better wait some time, save money and shift to Canon or Nikon.
    For the price of new lenses I'd like to buy I could buy new body with one or two lenses for the start.

    But maybe Olympus will surprise us with some new super body but I am a little bit sceptical.

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