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Thread: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

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    Default Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    We find ourselves in a situation where for most of us Four Thirds isnt getting the attention some of us believe it should. This makes developments beyond slow, and has stopped growth of the system. Historically the reasoning behind this was 'turning attention to m43rds' on limited resources, especially with m43rds assumed to be a better profit generator. Now it seems that just isnt so, m43rds isnt doing any better than 43rds has done.

    If the choices were available, we could envisage several pathways, (i) that 43rds keeps going the way it is, (ii) that 43rds gets melded into m43rds with successfully adapted lenses etc. 43rds being essentially stopped as a format in its own right; or (iii) that 43rds be revived.

    Ok so in looking at the options,

    (i) is an expensive single body format necessarily the best way forward, or would something like an Exx update be smarter. An Exx would be cheaper and would get more customer support, has a better chance of surviving. And the Ex pricepoint is getting a little close to cheap FF, already circa $2k. An Ex would keep us going but it seems like it would be like living in an iron lung.

    (ii) I wonder how people feel about transferring their glass to the mirrorless format, this assuming that m43rds is at some point developed to such a condition were AF is no longer an issue, and the EVF could no longer be viewed as something lesser to an OVF. and then theres the problem, what if this technology advance cannot be guaranteed? Is it still worth waiting?

    (iii) In the circumstances revival seems a little pie in the sky, but I wonder if some condensed plan could see that work. Revival is a much cheaper option than a complete format change b/se a lot of it is still in existence, and it still has a base of support. At the least revival would mean 2 bodies, and Ex replacement and a budget body. Perhaps it would mean filling in perceived gaps in the lens suite, even using linear drive technology from m43rds lenses. If that were so what would they be, I think a fast prime would be useful, and some attention needs to be placed on the long telephoto end, but in HG quality at much less money. I think lenses would be important b/se it would make the statement 'we're back'.
    Riley

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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    I, for one, cannot use an EVF. The peculiarities of my eyes mean that the colours from the individual pixels separate, and even at a distance of a few inches it is noticeable. Up close (in an EVF) it is unusable. So I would not buy a body that does not include an optical viewfinder. It is likely therefore that the next E-x will be the last for me (assuming that it isn't mirror-less). That's fine, I can continue with second-hand E-3, E-5 (or E-7) for quite a few years more - for me, the body is something to strap glass to.

    Now, given that the sensor is the same in 4/3 and m4/3, and it is just the distance between flange and sensor that affects the lens size, I can see a situation where a future EVF body is able to focus the "full" 4/3 lenses more efficiently, and this will result in a renewed interest in designing/updating the SHG lenses. Which can only help those of us with older mirrored bodies.

    What I envisage is a unified body (mirrorless) which can use both Zuiko and M.Zuiko lenses. M.Zuiko will be the primary line, with standard and HG lenses. SHG will be split into two lines: Zuiko for still photography (and the standard and HG Zuiko lines will disappear), and M.Zuiko for video (smaller glass being easier to move silently). As a result, the SHG Zuiko zooms and primes will get a refresh, and the HG primes (the macro lenses) will be uprated to SHG, with the addition of a 100mm prime. It would be nice if all the SHG lenses could be f2.0 (or wider), but I don't know if that is physically possible. That gives us OVF die-hards an upgrade path for lenses, and helps rationalise the production lines for Olympus.

    To summarise: three body styles (E-PL, E-P and E-M), with three levels of lens (Standard, HG, SHG). Standard and HG are M.Zuiko, suitable for still and video. For those who want/need the highest quality, SHG comes in two sizes: Zuiko for still (constant aperture, no need for optical correction in software), M.Zuiko for video (small and light, silent focus and zoom).

    Personally, I'd buy new SHG Zuikos to go with my mirrored bodies.
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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    Quote Originally Posted by srtgray View Post
    I can see a situation where a future EVF body is able to focus the "full" 4/3 lenses more efficiently...

    What I envisage is a unified body (mirrorless) which can use both Zuiko and M.Zuiko lenses
    Yes, I agree. I think that this was pretty much stated in one of those translated reviews from the head of Oly awhile ago - a hybrid type of camera that could handle old and new lenses well (especially auto-focus), and almost certainly with some type of EVF. For myself, that would renew my interest in Olympus, depending on the price, of course.
    Rich
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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    (i) I am not sure if the 4/3 market is large enough to sustain a new model at all. I feel that too much damage have been done in the last two years. A two model strategy (E-xx + E-x) can be enough; if an updated E-50 had been released about a year after E-5 it would have been an indication that the 4/3 system is still alive.

    (ii) It should be possible to get decent AF speed with 4/3 lenses on a -4/3 body. At least if the performance claims of Nikon 1 system is correct. Unless it is a special design where the PDAF system, CDAF system and lenses all work together. For me, EVF is a already better option than an OVF. One issue to also consider, is body size compared to lens size. Not all HG and SHG are well suited to the current -4/3 bodies.

    (iii) I don't think there is any real interest at Olympus to revive 4/3 and put a lot into that system. So new lenses doesn't seem very likely.

    Personally, I think is too late for the 4/3 system. But if Olympus should change it's mind; this is what I would do:

    1. Release two bodies E-50 and E-6; built around the new 16Mpx sensor. E-50 should be around the E-520 size, but with two control wheels (like E-30). E-5 should be slimmed down to E-50 size, but keeping the weather-proofing. Pricing should be so that E-50 is like Canon 650D, E-5 like Canon 7D.

    2. Cut out most of the SG lenses; replace the standard kits (14-42mm and 40-150mm) with better, more solid versions (metal mount etc). The rest should be updated to work as well with CDAF and PDAF as possible.

    3. Not sure if we need new lenses. Maybe a 100mm macro.
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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    Quote Originally Posted by tomsi42 View Post
    (i) I am not sure if the 4/3 market is large enough to sustain a new model at all. I feel that too much damage have been done in the last two years. A two model strategy (E-xx + E-x) can be enough; if an updated E-50 had been released about a year after E-5 it would have been an indication that the 4/3 system is still alive.
    I think the trick is to manage new models on future sensor releases. A good partnership essential, so proper forward planning can result. Makers like C&N produce 70-80k units pa, I would think production runs of 40-50k would be sustainable by lesser makers like Oly, its better to have a production facility that is designed to a particular output. Its only back in 2006 they produced and sold over 310k.

    I think they do need to consolidate into discernible models with recognisable differences bracketing competitive price points

    Quote Originally Posted by tomsi42
    (ii) It should be possible to get decent AF speed with 4/3 lenses on a -4/3 body. At least if the performance claims of Nikon 1 system is correct. Unless it is a special design where the PDAF system, CDAF system and lenses all work together. For me, EVF is a already better option than an OVF. One issue to also consider, is body size compared to lens size. Not all HG and SHG are well suited to the current -4/3 bodies.
    yes i would have thought this to be more easily achievable than it seems, they really need to work harder on AF as on this as one of the smaller formats it is more difficult. Olympus execs seem to be saying that 43rds lenses are the problem, as their sluggish travel speeds compared to linear drives dont help the too and fro motion cdAF requires. And yet still no pdAF, well perhaps next time

    Quote Originally Posted by tomsi42
    (iii) I don't think there is any real interest at Olympus to revive 4/3 and put a lot into that system. So new lenses doesn't seem very likely.

    Personally, I think is too late for the 4/3 system. But if Olympus should change it's mind; this is what I would do:

    1. Release two bodies E-50 and E-6; built around the new 16Mpx sensor. E-50 should be around the E-520 size, but with two control wheels (like E-30). E-5 should be slimmed down to E-50 size, but keeping the weather-proofing. Pricing should be so that E-50 is like Canon 650D, E-5 like Canon 7D.

    2. Cut out most of the SG lenses; replace the standard kits (14-42mm and 40-150mm) with better, more solid versions (metal mount etc). The rest should be updated to work as well with CDAF and PDAF as possible.

    3. Not sure if we need new lenses. Maybe a 100mm macro.
    Certainly some rationalisation needs to occur, theres just too much duplication and too many of everything floating around out there and shortfalls in other key areas. They need to sort out if the systems will be merged, which could pretty much end SLRs (OVF) and 43rds dedicated lenses. Key technologies are pdAF and the EVF, the latter is entirely do-able but it requires on-board computer power that has definitely been lacking in previous SLRs.

    If 43rds isnt to be a standalone proposition then the lens dilemma is easy, and it actually expands the range of usable lenses, but only on accepting the use of adapters. I think theyve been counting on this strategy, but at 5 yrs now its just taking to darned long to get workable pdAF, and where even for m43rds it will always be an infant system unless they can make this step for reasons of effective CAF mode.
    Riley

    Olympus User, Pro Photographer since 2003

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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    Personally, I don't think we will see another dedicated 4/3 body. This is not meant as a doom and gloom statement but I simply don't see it being financially feasible. I think the best that can be hoped for is a "pro OMD" body that auto-focuses SHG lenses with "acceptable" speed. I doubt that the market segment held by 4/3 is growing at all and is probably actually shrinking. The market for a new 4/3 body is primarily the captive market of people heavily invested in Olympus glass, specifically SHG lens owners. I see the follwing as being some of the reasons for this.
    • Price point - It is hard to justify spending $1700 for an E-5 body when you can buy a camera like the Nikon d7100 for $500 less. Cameras like the d7100 are going to make it extremely difficult for Olympus to compete in the semi-pro DSLR market segment unless they can get their prices down.
    • Upgrade path - Many vendors make it fairly easy to go from APS-C to full frame without an initial huge investment in additional lenses.
    • Third-party support - There is very little for the 4/3 community now.
    • Not much size/weight benefit - The E-5 body is about the same size and weight as a Nikon d7100 body.
    • New lenses - Olympus lens offerings have not changed since about 2008.
    • Micro 4/3 - Micro 4/3 offers the size/weight benefit with an excellent selection of prime lenses. (The E-M5 and the 60mm macro lens are an excellent combination for macro work) The format has more third party support and is more competitive in the global marketplace.

    Of course the Oly glass is excellent but you need more than good glass to sell cameras to the average consumer.

    I plan on keeping my Olympus bodies (E-510, E-3, E-5, E-P3, E-M5) and using them but I have also purchased a Nikon d7100 and a few lenses to give myself some additional options now and in the future. If a new E-x body came out it would have to offer a lot of improvements at a reasonable price point before I would consider purchasing it. A Pro OMD body on the other hand (with some of the improvements offered in the E-P5) would be tempting.

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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    I agree with folks who are saying that there probably will NOT be any more dedicated NEW 4/3 SHG (or probably any) lenses, but that future Oly offerings may well improve AF with existing 4/3 lenses. As far as any new lower-grade 4/3 bodies (e.g. my long-awaited E-50, that I once would have killed for), well, I agree with those who say it is very unlikely.
    Rich
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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    Quote Originally Posted by tomsi42 View Post
    (i) I am not sure if the 4/3 market is large enough to sustain a new model at all. I feel that too much damage have been done in the last two years.

    (iii) I don't think there is any real interest at Olympus to revive 4/3 and put a lot into that system. So new lenses doesn't seem very likely.

    Personally, I think is too late for the 4/3 system. But if Olympus should change it's mind; this is what I would do:

    I've said several times that EVFs aren't a useful development for me. I don't like anything about them and for a variety of reasons. I was perfectly content with 4/3rds until Olympus wrote its epitaph by discontinuing all of the accessories that pro shooters might use; flash battery packs, etc. etc. etc. In the "old days" of the OM series, those kinds of accessories were continued throughout the run of the system. I recognize that perhaps those accessories aren't big money makers, but they're what keep "pro" systems "pro." When they discontinued those accessories, it sent a very clear message to me that they were out of the "pro" camera business.

    That doesn't mean that my E5 and lenses weren't competent any longer, but it did mean that the used market for that gear was going to get very small very quickly and that eventually advances in technology would make it prudent to move to another system to remain competitive in the market place. Like most pros, I use my gear for a much longer period than the general public typically keeps theirs as replacing mine isn't a luxury item, it's a capital investment in my business that subtracts from my bottom line at the end of the tax year. I chose to jump ship before I was forced to (again for a variety of reasons) and I fear that Olympus has dealt themselves out of the "pro" market entirely and purposefully.

    If they have an E5 successor in the pipeline, I fear it will be too little too late now to resurrect the position they held as few as five years ago.
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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    "I was perfectly content with 4/3rds until Olympus wrote its epitaph by discontinuing all of the accessories that pro shooters might use; flash battery packs, etc. etc. etc. In the "old days" of the OM series, those kinds of accessories were continued throughout the run of the system. I recognize that perhaps those accessories aren't big money makers, but they're what keep "pro" systems "pro." When they discontinued those accessories, it sent a very clear message to me that they were out of the "pro" camera business."


    And what they have retained is not price competitive with other vendors offerings. Example: Olympus STF-22 twin flash for macro is $739 and Nikon R1C1 macro flash is $700. And the Nikon unit is wireless and has a lot more flexibility. Olympus is simply pricing themselves right out of the market for what they are offering.

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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    Quote Originally Posted by Riley View Post
    We find ourselves in a situation where for most of us Four Thirds isnt getting the attention some of us believe it should. This makes developments beyond slow, and has stopped growth of the system. Historically the reasoning behind this was 'turning attention to m43rds' on limited resources, especially with m43rds assumed to be a better profit generator. Now it seems that just isnt so, m43rds isnt doing any better than 43rds has done.

    If the choices were available, we could envisage several pathways, (i) that 43rds keeps going the way it is, (ii) that 43rds gets melded into m43rds with successfully adapted lenses etc. 43rds being essentially stopped as a format in its own right; or (iii) that 43rds be revived.

    Ok so in looking at the options,

    (i) is an expensive single body format necessarily the best way forward, or would something like an Exx update be smarter. An Exx would be cheaper and would get more customer support, has a better chance of surviving. And the Ex pricepoint is getting a little close to cheap FF, already circa $2k. An Ex would keep us going but it seems like it would be like living in an iron lung.

    (ii) I wonder how people feel about transferring their glass to the mirrorless format, this assuming that m43rds is at some point developed to such a condition were AF is no longer an issue, and the EVF could no longer be viewed as something lesser to an OVF. and then theres the problem, what if this technology advance cannot be guaranteed? Is it still worth waiting?

    (iii) In the circumstances revival seems a little pie in the sky, but I wonder if some condensed plan could see that work. Revival is a much cheaper option than a complete format change b/se a lot of it is still in existence, and it still has a base of support. At the least revival would mean 2 bodies, and Ex replacement and a budget body. Perhaps it would mean filling in perceived gaps in the lens suite, even using linear drive technology from m43rds lenses. If that were so what would they be, I think a fast prime would be useful, and some attention needs to be placed on the long telephoto end, but in HG quality at much less money. I think lenses would be important b/se it would make the statement 'we're back'.
    It's hard to keep, or even achieve perspective when Oly is so murky communicating their plans. I think in part it's because they don't truly know, themselves. Considering the company nearly went under a scant year ago I suspect they've planned to 1. drop the E-system entirely, 2. keep the E-system on minimal life support and 3. extend and expand the E-system--in quick succession or perhaps all at the same time. I'm certain the Camera Division wants to keep it but corporate is quite willing to spike it if it helps keep the company afloat, and it's only what they think that matters. What's critical for us is whether they can keep the lens and body tooling, personnel and supplier chains open before the decision is made for them to kill off 4/3, from the outside.

    Oly's 4/3 effort began with the E-P1 announcement June 16, 2009--a scant four years ago. Since then they're rolled out about a dozen bodies and half again as many lenses, in concert with similar efforts from Panny. It's little wonder why we've seen precisely one E-body in that period, even if my feeble predicting powers had them releasing an E-5 replacement before now. The OM-D line, I think, shows Oly's path for advanced amateur and pro models. One final E-body will almost surely represent the final Oly dslr. But what of the E-system lens portfolio? The uncompromising quality of the HG and SHG lenses is only equaled by a couple 4/3 primes and offers an instant leap forward for that system into the ranks of "serious" cameras. Oly (and Panny) WILL master real-time focusing for 4/3 lenses because they have to, and that will first occur in an O-MD body, possibly the next one to be released. An E-5 overhaul will keep the dslr faithful in a state of grumbling satisfaction, but there won't be any new E-series users joining the ranks. New E-lens buyers will enter from the 4/3 ranks and I suspect the lenses will be repackaged and marketed as "pro-grade" or somesuch, perhaps with updated motors and electronics.

    I'm probably 90% wrong about the above, but what the heck?

    Cheers,

    Rick

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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    My thoughts:

    I own an E-P1, an E5, a hardly ever used E510 and very recently I purchased a Canon 6D for some specialised night time photography. The interesting think about the 6D is that it cost almost exactly the price I paid for my E5 body just over two years ago, and I have been comparing the two bodies for the last couple of months whilst the 6D is bigger than the E5 both it and the standard lens is lighter. The Oly lens I mainly use (12-60mm f2.8) is wider, sharper in the corners and longer than the equivalent Canon (24-105mm f4 L) and I seriously miss it when using the Canon however that does not stop me from picking up the Canon about 90% of the time. Whenever colour rendition is important the Oly gets used. Canon's attempt at imaging bluebells just makes me laugh.

    I am keeping the E5 for telephoto work as, good as they may be, I do not want to afford nor carry around Canon's long lenses.

    All this makes me think that I would not buy neither a E7 or an E50, but if Oly produced a "Leica like" body that focussed HG lenses at reasonable speed as well as those lovely new primes I would be very interested as a replacement for the E-P1. Whatever I bought I would keep the 6D for what it is really good at.

    Just my two cents worth, hope it makes sense


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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    I don't think 4/3 needs fixing at all...but there's one inherent problem 4/3 will always have: pixel density.

    Follow me here:

    Full frame is 36mm x 24mm = 864mm2
    4/3 is 17.3mm x 13mm = 225mm2

    If we were to extrapolate our best 4/3 sensor, the 16.1MP in the OM-D that would equate to a 61.8MP full frame sensor.
    Conversely, if we take the Nikon D800 with a 36.3MP full frame sensor and extrapolate down to 4/3 format we get 9.4MP.

    What is the point of this exercise? That no matter how you slice it 4/3 will always be "megapixel challenged" compared to APS-C and full frame cameras.

    Personally that doesn't bother me...throw a 10-12MP sensor in an E-1 and I'm just happy as a clam.

    BUT!

    From a marketing standpoint sensor size and MP are king right now and on those fronts 4/3 simply can't compete. We all know that sensor size and MP count have nothing to do with a good photograph but the reality of the market is that they areperceived to be the end all of IQ.

    4/3 would have to compete in a few more areas:

    - Size, although the E-3/E-5 flagships don't offer any advantage there.
    - Glass, ZD glass sure DOES compete or excel but isn't significantly smaller (see size above).
    - Dynamic range, although the current 12MP sensor falls short by comparison and the 16MP sensor is right there.
    - Noise, although again, the 12MP sensor also falls short of the competition, the 16MP sensor is fine.

    Again, I'm looking at this from a marketing standpoint, what does Olympus have to market to consumers compared to the competition. The 16MP Sony sensor is a good start but its pixel density, even compared to APS-C, is still pushing it.

    So while I think that Olympus could address size, DR, and noise, I don't think they can and keep up with the Joneses on MP count. It's a limitation of the size of the sensor ultimately....APC-S and FF will always be bigger with more MP....the big marketing buzzword.

    All that said, I'm still happy and committed to my Olympus equipment!

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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    Probably my own prejudices showing through, but I stopped counting pixels after Oly went from 10 to 12M, and didn't give a hoot that the E-M5 had 15 (other than to whinge about the jump in file sizes). I look at dynamic range and ISO ceiling when it comes to measured specifications and to crisp rendering and color response when it comes to the more aesthetic realm of image quality. If I'm forever stuck at 15M, so be it. I want to capture the deep woods when there are sunlit patches of snow without having to post process. I want excellent portrait rendition in terrible light. Comparing my oldest and newest Olys--the E-510 and E-M5--we're far past halfway there. Give me clean, workable images and I'm happy.

    I would welcome upping the bit-rate.

    I suspect for non-publication shooters, pixel counts simply aren't a big deal anymore.

    Cheers,

    Rick

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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    Actually the pixel density of the Nikon d7100 and the E-M5 are very close. But the d7100 has better DR.

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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick_D View Post
    Probably my own prejudices showing through, but I stopped counting pixels after Oly went from 10 to 12M, and didn't give a hoot that the E-M5 had 15 (other than to whinge about the jump in file sizes). I look at dynamic range and ISO ceiling when it comes to measured specifications and to crisp rendering and color response when it comes to the more aesthetic realm of image quality. If I'm forever stuck at 15M, so be it. I want to capture the deep woods when there are sunlit patches of snow without having to post process. I want excellent portrait rendition in terrible light. Comparing my oldest and newest Olys--the E-510 and E-M5--we're far past halfway there. Give me clean, workable images and I'm happy.

    I would welcome upping the bit-rate.

    I suspect for non-publication shooters, pixel counts simply aren't a big deal anymore.

    Cheers,

    Rick
    Rick, I'm right there with you, as I'm sure many on this forum are. However, I don't think we represent the majority of photographic consumers. Do you?

    Quote Originally Posted by saburns View Post
    Actually the pixel density of the Nikon d7100 and the E-M5 are very close. But the d7100 has better DR.
    I know, some get very close...but there's more MP in the Nikon, so it HAS to be better. For Joe on the street that's the prevailing thought and that fact that one or the other has better DR is simply not understood.

    Don't get me wrong guys, I'm perfectly happy with 10/12/15/16MP too. I don't need any more. "More is better" seems to be the mantra though.
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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    Quote Originally Posted by saburns View Post
    And what they have retained is not price competitive with other vendors offerings. Example: Olympus STF-22 twin flash for macro is $739 and Nikon R1C1 macro flash is $700. And the Nikon unit is wireless and has a lot more flexibility. Olympus is simply pricing themselves right out of the market for what they are offering.
    I got my refurb for $375 Woo hoo!
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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    I wish I can get 4/3 sized sensor with 8-10MP with noise/DR characteristics as D800.

    That's plenty of pixels for anything I need and clean ISO (up to 3200 and usable over 6400) and 1-2 more stops of DR would be dream come true.

    90% of my files are sold in M-L sizes wich is anywhere between 4-10MP anyways.

    With smaller files processing would be much faster as well and with a bit more buffer shutter could shoot all day long.

    I believe there would be market for it....put it in L1 body with EVF as in A99 and I would preorder it now. E-1 body would suffice as well.
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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    Quote Originally Posted by KHatfull View Post
    I don't think 4/3 needs fixing at all...but there's one inherent problem 4/3 will always have: pixel density.

    Follow me here:

    Full frame is 36mm x 24mm = 864mm2
    4/3 is 17.3mm x 13mm = 225mm2

    If we were to extrapolate our best 4/3 sensor, the 16.1MP in the OM-D that would equate to a 61.8MP full frame sensor.
    Conversely, if we take the Nikon D800 with a 36.3MP full frame sensor and extrapolate down to 4/3 format we get 9.4MP.

    What is the point of this exercise? That no matter how you slice it 4/3 will always be "megapixel challenged" compared to APS-C and full frame cameras.

    Personally that doesn't bother me...throw a 10-12MP sensor in an E-1 and I'm just happy as a clam.

    BUT!

    From a marketing standpoint sensor size and MP are king right now and on those fronts 4/3 simply can't compete. We all know that sensor size and MP count have nothing to do with a good photograph but the reality of the market is that they areperceived to be the end all of IQ.

    4/3 would have to compete in a few more areas:

    - Size, although the E-3/E-5 flagships don't offer any advantage there.
    - Glass, ZD glass sure DOES compete or excel but isn't significantly smaller (see size above).
    - Dynamic range, although the current 12MP sensor falls short by comparison and the 16MP sensor is right there.
    - Noise, although again, the 12MP sensor also falls short of the competition, the 16MP sensor is fine.

    Again, I'm looking at this from a marketing standpoint, what does Olympus have to market to consumers compared to the competition. The 16MP Sony sensor is a good start but its pixel density, even compared to APS-C, is still pushing it.

    So while I think that Olympus could address size, DR, and noise, I don't think they can and keep up with the Joneses on MP count. It's a limitation of the size of the sensor ultimately....APC-S and FF will always be bigger with more MP....the big marketing buzzword.

    All that said, I'm still happy and committed to my Olympus equipment!

    Thoughts?
    yes Mp equity is a challenge, one of the issues is that the pixel geometry doesnt compare well with APSC, which always means the 43rds size sensor needs smaller pixels and higher density to compete, hence it has to be a more expensive special build. That said, the other side of the Mp barrier is just about processing, at 16Mp a FF sensor with the same pixel would be 61Mp, but the processing chain would have to be mammoth to deal with it or it would be painfully slow.

    Ok so that gives rise to an outstanding practical problem. FF wont ever be on the same density, and particularly 'cheap FF' will always have a lesser fps and lower shutter speed spec. This should give credence to the idea that a sealed camera, already with sealed HG and SHG lenses, and a much higher frame rate would provide a good point of difference. And this is where Canons 7D replacement is said to be going, high speed shooting, longer reach. If it had one, the lighter mirror can respond and fire at a repeat rate much quicker than FF, if it didnt have a mirror even better. Without a mirror there are less limitations to the flapping mirror.

    So think high fps, then think high again and you will be somewhere in the zone. Such a camera needs better AF than we presently have, it needs many times more processing speed and buffer than we have, but its potentials in high fps are many times greater than than bigger cameras. FF couldnt ever hope to get there on the hardware we have today.

    While a camera is a camera, and can do all the ordinary things, the real question is what is such a camera good for? As a stills camera this is a competent sports shooter able to pull high res frame by frame plays, and its also a lighter more able, more mobile wildlife shooter. At 24fps its virtually video in stills, its already high resolution mjpeg movie way...way beyond HDTV which introduces some super editing capabilities not available elsewhere. With the ability to have full res stills from any part of the video stream.
    Riley

    Olympus User, Pro Photographer since 2003

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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    Is it me, or are people in this forum just unhappy and prone to complaining about what they don't have vs. working and celebrating what they can capture and create with what they do have? I have some thoughts from reading all of these comments/speculations....

    1) Consider ceasing to fall into the trap of technical limitations.
    If any of you have any specific examples of why a higher frame rate, higher ISO, more of this, or more of that could have made any real significant difference whatsoever in your images, I'd really like to learn more about what those challenges were. I've had phenomenal results with projects ranging from fitness competition, HDR landscape portraits, companion pet portraits, etc. If you go to my studio FB page, you'll see that all of my images are shot w/ Olympus- specifically with my E-5 (although I have some favorites from my E-1 that look amazing when integrating a digital darkroom workflow).

    2) Be patient and wait until this fall to see what 4/3 or m4/3 lenses and bodies actually do come out.
    There is nothing you can speculate at this point whatsoever that could have any impact no the Olympus development and release schedule for this year. You can't personally get more 3rd vendor support, so I'd embrace companies like Paul C. Buff for studio lighting options, and

    If some of you look at photography more as a craft and want to do everything in-camera, then I would suggest that to take a capture a great portrait, you have more than enough options to work with what you have available to you in an Olympus system. The glass rocks and the E-5 body can still pack quite the punch when it comes to turning out some amazing images. Even if the E-5 or Olympus for that matter goes by the wayside, it will be a while before I feel I need to retire from the system completely.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by findramon View Post
    Is it me, or are people in this forum just unhappy and prone to complaining about what they don't have vs. working and celebrating what they can capture and create with what they do have? I have some thoughts from reading all of these comments/speculations....
    Ramon:

    It's no different over on the Leica forum. 837 posts on the teaser announcement about the Mini M and that's just the English thread. And then there are the ad infinitum threads about what's wrong with the M9, the Monochrom, and the new M and how the last decent M was the M4.

    I'm too busy shooting with my EP2 and my M9 to care.
    John

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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    Am pretty sure there was a rash of M8 owner suicides after the M9's announcement. I could google that but am too busy hating on Adobe.

    Cheers,

    Rick

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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    Ramon, there's much true in your perspective and I agree with most of it. Doing this as a business, though, brings in some different issues. When you invest in a system, there are certain lenses that become key to your business, mostly because they fit your style and you can make them sing. There are accessories that you come to rely on such as accessory flashes and battery packs. You should be able to expect that investment in lenses should last through about four generations of bodies spaced five years apart. You should be able to expect to replace any given piece of gear in the lineup for years to come with a piece that is similar or improved.

    Yes the gear you have will serve you well for years to come, but if you intend to do this for a living, you need to be able to maintain and expand your system as necessary to accomplish whatever jobs may come your way. You also need to be able to anticipate where, more or less, the company is going with their system that you've bought into so that you can stay current.


    The direction Olympus is headed with mirror-less cameras that don't use the HG and SHG lenses to their fullest is concerning. Continuing development of automation that is problematic to override is of concern. There are rumors of an E-5 successor, but no official announcements that one is in the works. Meanwhile Olympus has dropped the majority of the "pro" accessories from their line... there is no longer a battery pack available for the FL-50r from Olympus.

    I'm not a doom-and-gloom guy. I'm not even a gearhead. I use my gear for making images, and if the gear does the job, is intuitive to use, and fits my shooting style, I don't care what brand it is. I do expect the system to be around as a system into the future, and for subsequent bodies to use all of the equipment I already own, and I expect that the company will continue to offer those products I need to do the jobs I need to do.

    Long time members here know that I've always said that the best indicator of future performance is past performance, and Olympus did maintain the OM system for nearly 30 years. I expected we'd see that long term commitment with 4/3rds as well. I fear that the financial debacle of the past year or so at Olympus has changed their game, and changed it in a way that doesn't favor long-term pro system development.

    So, yes while the E5 itself and your lenses will do you well for a number of years yet, I fear that as a system Olympus isn't there any more. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see any indication on the immediate horizon that indicates otherwise.
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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    2 years ago, I used to have the same attitude - why care about new Olympus cameras when the current ones take excellent photos?

    Then I bought a Fuji X100 and it was like... it takes pictures at ISO3200 HOLY CRAP. In my head I went though the situations I could have gotten non-blurred photos by quadrupling the shutter speed going from ISO800 to 3200.

    Even today, as I sold my 4/3 gear, I thought, this gear takes good enough pictures. Really, the number of challenging situations is minimal. BUT, am I going to be using it in 3-5 years when even newer and better sensors come out and ISO 3200 turns into ISO 12800? No. Am I going to spend $1700 on a new E-7 that weighs the same as a full frame? No.

    If Olympus had announced they would release an E-30 successor, even if that release would be a year from now, I would still be a 4/3 user. But I switched to m4/3, so I guess ultimately Olympus got me to do what they really wanted all 4/3 users to do - switch and shut up, so they don't have to face the embarrassment of abandoning a system.
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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    I consider these things very simplistically:


    • If Olympus is making a camera or camera system that has the features I want and works the way I like, I buy it.
    • If they're not, I don't.
    • If I'm worried that some other product would be better for my use, I buy one and test it. If it is, I sell the old equipment.


    Done, zero angst and lots of conservation of energy.

    Put your energy into photography.

    G

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    Default Re: Does Four Thirds need 'fixing'

    You haven't used a Sony. If you could see the EVF in the a99 you would love it. It has a fast refresh time and no blinking out. I hardly know it electronic unless I shoot enough burst to fill the buffer. I think if Olympus makes an E7 it will be very much like the a77.

    Quote Originally Posted by srtgray View Post
    I, for one, cannot use an EVF. The peculiarities of my eyes mean that the colours from the individual pixels separate, and even at a distance of a few inches it is noticeable. Up close (in an EVF) it is unusable. So I would not buy a body that does not include an optical viewfinder. It is likely therefore that the next E-x will be the last for me (assuming that it isn't mirror-less). That's fine, I can continue with second-hand E-3, E-5 (or E-7) for quite a few years more - for me, the body is something to strap glass to.

    Now, given that the sensor is the same in 4/3 and m4/3, and it is just the distance between flange and sensor that affects the lens size, I can see a situation where a future EVF body is able to focus the "full" 4/3 lenses more efficiently, and this will result in a renewed interest in designing/updating the SHG lenses. Which can only help those of us with older mirrored bodies.

    What I envisage is a unified body (mirrorless) which can use both Zuiko and M.Zuiko lenses. M.Zuiko will be the primary line, with standard and HG lenses. SHG will be split into two lines: Zuiko for still photography (and the standard and HG Zuiko lines will disappear), and M.Zuiko for video (smaller glass being easier to move silently). As a result, the SHG Zuiko zooms and primes will get a refresh, and the HG primes (the macro lenses) will be uprated to SHG, with the addition of a 100mm prime. It would be nice if all the SHG lenses could be f2.0 (or wider), but I don't know if that is physically possible. That gives us OVF die-hards an upgrade path for lenses, and helps rationalise the production lines for Olympus.

    To summarise: three body styles (E-PL, E-P and E-M), with three levels of lens (Standard, HG, SHG). Standard and HG are M.Zuiko, suitable for still and video. For those who want/need the highest quality, SHG comes in two sizes: Zuiko for still (constant aperture, no need for optical correction in software), M.Zuiko for video (small and light, silent focus and zoom).

    Personally, I'd buy new SHG Zuikos to go with my mirrored bodies.


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