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Thread: Where\'s the open standard?

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    Default Where\'s the open standard?

    Hi all,

    did any of you ever see the so called open standard of FourThirds?

    Olympus decided to name it an \'open standard\'. Why? What\'s open about it, compared e.g. to a Nikon-proprietary standard (as used by third party lense builders or bodies)?

    According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_standard or e.g. the \'Ten rights that enable Open Standards\' http://www.csrstds.com/openstds.html I\'d expect some more information. However, http://www.four-thirds.org does not provide many details. Instead, the contact adresses given there are dead.

    I\'d welcome a real open standard.
    I\'d like to know what kind of data is exchanged between lense and body.
    I\'d like to learn about the limitations of a certain standard.

    Post edited by: traut, at: 2005/09/13 08:28

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    Default Re:Where\'s the open standard?

    It\'s here already. The 4/3rds mount is available to anyone who wishes to adopt it and without charge or commercial agreement. Unlike the Nikon or Canon mounts which are available to other camera manufacturers under license only.

    So what if it doesn\'t fit in with someone else\'s definition of \'open standard\'.

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    Default Re:Where\'s the open standard?

    Ian wrote:
    The 4/3rds mount is available to anyone who wishes to adopt it and without charge or commercial agreement.
    So it\'s free? How do you know?

    So what if it doesn\'t fit in with someone else\'s definition of \'open standard\'.
    I asked at several places for it. But since I don\'t have \'Leica\' or anything simliar written on my business card, I never managed to find someone who actually knew where to get the standard.

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    Default Yea! In what sense is it "open"?

    It is not at all \"open\".

    Olympus will not tell you anything about the details. I tried to find out as well.

    Maybe it is open if you are mega-multinational company that can bring some knowlrdge to Olympus\' table...

    Cheers, Jens.

    Post edited by: jebir, at: 2005/09/13 11:09
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    Default Re:Yea! In what sense is it \"open\"?

    Olympus may want to protect it so that only companies that could actually produce 4/3s products are given the specs. Since Panasonic has committed to the system, as well as Sigma with a few lens offerings it does indicate that competent, established manufacturers are able to qualify for the info.

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    Default Re:Where\'s the open standard?

    You mis-interpret what the \'standard\' is about. It\'s not exactly like Linux in the IT world, though there are similarities.

    It\'s intended to provide a standard basis for sensor size, lens flange size and flange to sensor distance and a few other things.

    Around that, anyone who joins the 4/3s consortium can build cameras and lenses to their hearts content. The idea is that if Panasonic builds a camera body, every lens built by Olympus will work on that body flawlessly, because it\'s been built to the specified standards.

    That\'s the difference with say Sigma, who build lenses for Canon, Nikon etc, they generally have to reverse engineer their lenses, so that they will work with the specified cameras. There\'s no such issue with building for the 4/3s standard.

    The question that naturally arises is, Why then doesn\'t Sigma build more lenses for the 4/3s standard?\' Probably because it\'s a tad more difficult to get the quality. For most of the other brands, you build a 35mm film standard lens (add a few extra lens coatings and call it built for digital) and you have a very large market earger to buy inexpensive lenses.

    Sigma can\'t just add a 4/3s lens mount and get away with calling it a 4/3s lens. So 4/3s represents \'a\' standard, not \'the\' standard, or \'the best\' standard.

    Cheers

    Ray

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    Default Re:Where\'s the open standard?

    To add onto what Ray said, Olympus may also require certain minimum quality specs and design standards (using that word again). Basically trying to make sure that any other manufacturer making 4/3s lenses will not only have lenses that fit any 4/3s body, but will also deliver a certain level of photographic quality.

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    Default Re:Where\'s the open standard?

    In the context of the 4/3rds Standard, it is \"open\" to other camera, lens, and camera system manufacturers. IMHO this is sufficient and the use of the word \"open\" is satisfactory.

    The standard is not \"open\" to the general public and I\'ve never heard anyone claim that it was. Why should it be?

    What is unknown is the extend to which Olympus accepts input from 4/3rds Consortium members with regard to decisions that affect the standard. However, I would be very surprised if Kodak (a consortium member) has not had considerable input from the beginning since they are the originators of the 4/3-type sensor).
    Best regards, FL

    Pursuing excellence...

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    Default Re:Where\'s the open standard?

    By the way, Olympus\' Four Thirds patent is a matter of public record.
    Best regards, FL

    Pursuing excellence...

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    Default Re:Where\'s the open standard?

    Kansas Ron wrote:
    To add onto what Ray said, Olympus may also require certain minimum quality specs and design standards (using that word again). Basically trying to make sure that any other manufacturer making 4/3s lenses will not only have lenses that fit any 4/3s body, but will also deliver a certain level of photographic quality.
    Several people have called the Sigma lenses \"soft\"...if the standards were so open that any company can produce optics for the 4/3 standard without input from the consortium, we\'d have garbage like Crystal Optics or Vision Optics that take the worst pictures (these companies make converter lenses to be screwed on cameras with fixed optics to give it more telephoto or more wide angle; they are the worse lenses).

    There\'s one exception though, Lensbabies who make inexpensive rubber tilt/shift lenses that are much like the plastic lens of a Holga...people buy them on purpose for their \"unique\" quality. And yes, they do sell two 4/3 lenses...are they part of the consortium, or did they just copy the bayonet mount and stick it on their lenses (which they also stick on Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Pentax mounts to). Lensbabies is at:

    http://lensbabies.com/

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    Default Re:Where\'s the open standard?

    There have been quite a few posts on the \"softness\" of the Sigma lenses. Some posts showing very good results overall. Comparing it to the Oly 50-200 it will always come out behind, as you would expect it to with the vast price difference. I do have a Sigma 55-200, to give me the reach beyond my Oly 40-150. It does a good job, but I know that if I had the 50-200 I would have better photos. Of the lenses shown on the \"E-500 leak\" the 18-180 is of the most interest. If it is halfway decent I will be getting rid of the Sigma, as it will give me more reach in a compact size. I don\'t need one of the Big Tuna category lenses as I don\'t take very many long distance pictures. I used to have a Panasonic FZ 3 and enjoyed the extra long reach.

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    Default Re:Where\'s the open standard?

    In the context of the 4/3rds Standard, it is \"open\" to other camera, lens, and camera system manufacturers. IMHO this is sufficient and the use of the word \"open\" is satisfactory.
    So I\'m just annoyed by Olympus\' definition of \"open\".

    What they do could be done by any \"standard\" without naming it as \"open\". There\'s lots of other camera systems from third parties which never where claimed as open.


    The standard is not \"open\" to the general public and I\'ve never heard anyone claim that it was.
    If someone claims it is open (and Olympus did), then I expect it to be open. - or to give at least some definition what open means. Even this kind of information is not open.

    I guess my opinion is very biased since I actually want an open standard here.


    But take e.g. the \'raw\' format. What if the software from Olympus won\'t run on your current or next computer? If there was an \'open\' raw standard, you could be much more confident that there may be programs that will know this data format. Olympus does not tell any details about their raw. Nikon even confirms that their raw data is protected.

    I know that their\'s e.g. openraw or Adobe DNG. I doubt that these standards are final - I expect that there will be more and more meta data (such as lens correction) which does not fit in yet. But that\'s a standard that can evolve, while everyone can check about its current quality and problems.

    Concerning fourthirds, I\'d be much more confident that my current system will live for some time when the standard was \"open\". Olympus is nor teally flourishing. What will happen if they would close down DSLR? Is there any company that could jump in, exactly since the standard would be open?

    Comparing openraw and fourthirds, I expect that the hardware standard could be much more stable, although it may need fine tuning. I just can\'t tell anything about the quality since there\'s no open details.

    Ok, there\'s the patent. But a good patent is written in a way that you actually can\'t draw real conclusions from it. The patent should be as wide and as inspecific as possible in order to protect a field of application as wide as possible.

    Personally, I was more interested in the interface between lense and body...

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    Default Re:Where\'s the open standard?

    traut... Quibbling over \"open\" seems silly. It has been explained very well by others. The 4/3rds standard is open whether you choose to accept it or not. It is open to other manufacturers in the camera industry. Any manufacturer in our industry can choose whether or not to participate.

    Inventing your own meaning for what \"open\" means in this context doesn\'t change the reality. It sounds like you won\'t be satisfied unless it is open to the entire world which is crazy and will not guarantee one iota more of success in the market place. Other manufacturers who choose not to develop for the 4/3rds standard will not do so because it isn\'t \"open\" enough. They will choose not to do so because either: (1) they don\'t agree with it, (2) they don\'t believe it will be successful, (3) they lack the necessary technical expertise, or (4) they are full of pride and won\'t use any system that they didn\'t invent in-house.

    If your primary criteria for choosing a camera system is whether or not it will still exist and receive support for many years to come, then go where the highest sales volume is and buy a Canon or Nikon system.

    I\'m trusting that the 4/3rds standard will be successful. But I have no naive hope that it will outpace Canon or Nikon in the near future. It may stay in a niche market like Apple Computer, just as long as it captures enough market to remain financially successful. Now that Panasonic will be announcing a new 4/3rds body at the 2006 PMA at the end of February, I think the prospects are looking very good.
    Best regards, FL

    Pursuing excellence...

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