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Ian
22nd February 2011, 11:06 AM
It's still not official, but my understanding from a good source is that there will be some Olympus gear on show at the Bright Publishing stand (they publish Olympus User magazine, as well as DSLR User, Advanced Photographer, and Photo Pro).

Some of our hire gear may well be part of the hardware line up, so if you are going, please be careful if you handle any of it! :D

Ian

dbutch
22nd February 2011, 11:21 AM
Will you be there keeping an eye on it??:)

Ian
22nd February 2011, 11:23 AM
Will you be there keeping an eye on it??:)

I will be there on Sunday, as usual, because I produce a show report published the same day. But it's rare for me to be there during the week, although I was last year because of Panasonic's first big presence at the show.

Ian

dbutch
22nd February 2011, 11:25 AM
Cheers

I am planning on a Monday trip, hoping its a bit calmer than the Sunday when I've been in the past

Dave

Ian
22nd February 2011, 12:12 PM
OK, I can confirm that there will be a small studio setup on the Bright stand with some gear. Olympus is also supporting some of the resellers at the show.

Ian

StephenL
22nd February 2011, 12:58 PM
No "announcements" expected then? ;)

petemii
4th March 2011, 08:35 AM
Me and the better half will be there on the sunday, will pop by and say hello also will now make sure we have our cameras with us to hopefully try out some of the gear was hoping to pick up some bargain olympus gear *chr

Pete

petemii
6th March 2011, 10:23 PM
Well how very disappointed I am with Olympus
sorry for all you guys and girls out there but I for one and Tina for two my better half are so very close to getting rid of all things Olympus I really am fed up with Olympus not supporting events like this and makes me wonder why I should keep paying out good money on a system that is going the way of the dodo and fast, Olympus reps at focus all they talk about is the Pen and that was all the re-sellers had on offer. So please someone out there tell me why I bothered to buy an E5 and now I cant even buy a spare battery and all you get for the reps is we didnít expect the demand well I doesnít take a rocket scientist to look at all the forums out there and flicker to see how people were feeling about the release of the E5 between us we have spent some serious money on Olympus Tina Has the E5 I have the E3 the lenses are 11-22,12-60, 14-42, 40-150 & the 70-300 and we have owned the E410 & E510 also the EP1 (which although is a good camera is a complete waste of time if you have an E3 or An E5 ) so come on Olympus and I know I speak for a lot of users out there do something make it public either tell us your not going to support the standard 4/3rds or make some cast iron Assurances to the cause because if you donít Iím off to Canon
Sorry if it feels like a rant well it is

:mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:

StephenL
7th March 2011, 07:42 AM
Must be the longest sentence ever written!

But seriously, I understand your frustration. They need to make some sort of firm declaration, not just weasel words.

smartwombat
7th March 2011, 07:48 AM
Seemingly the only company with a budget is Nikon.
They had two huge adverts on the way in.

For the Autosport show there wasn't one single advert.
Yet at FoI Nikon had two, I guess the recession hit autosport harder.

Ian
7th March 2011, 10:18 AM
Well how very disappointed I am with Olympus
sorry for all you guys and girls out there but I for one and Tina for two my better half are so very close to getting rid of all things Olympus I really am fed up with Olympus not supporting events like this and makes me wonder why I should keep paying out good money on a system that is going the way of the dodo and fast, Olympus reps at focus all they talk about is the Pen and that was all the re-sellers had on offer. So please someone out there tell me why I bothered to buy an E5 and now I cant even buy a spare battery and all you get for the reps is we didnít expect the demand well I doesnít take a rocket scientist to look at all the forums out there and flicker to see how people were feeling about the release of the E5 between us we have spent some serious money on Olympus Tina Has the E5 I have the E3 the lenses are 11-22,12-60, 14-42, 40-150 & the 70-300 and we have owned the E410 & E510 also the EP1 (which although is a good camera is a complete waste of time if you have an E3 or An E5 ) so come on Olympus and I know I speak for a lot of users out there do something make it public either tell us your not going to support the standard 4/3rds or make some cast iron Assurances to the cause because if you donít Iím off to Canon
Sorry if it feels like a rant well it is

:mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:

At least they were there. Canon was not. Nor was Samsung, Casio, Ricoh, and Leica.

Ian

petemii
7th March 2011, 11:50 AM
Ian I donít really consider two reps that were only there to sell the pen much really. Yes its a recession but come on Olympus every one knows you have the best glass out there so why leave us all in limbo. As for Canon not being there it really doesnít matter because they have so many lines out there that all the re-seller now that this was just a decision to save on the outlay for the event. I donít remember any of the other manufactures of lenses telling me they were going to stop making canon glass like they told me about Olympus standard 4/3 if you donít believe me try this link I for one
http://www.megapixel.co.il/english/archive/14631
donít now how true this is but very worrying for any one that has placed a large amount of money behind the E system suggest you change the name of the web site to the pen user.
Sorry to go on about this but I really feel for those of us that are high end Olympus users then we have no option other than to Jump Ship if we want to keep out to date with the market.

Ian
7th March 2011, 12:38 PM
On the Bright publishing stand (who publish Olympus User for Olympus UK) there was a regular E-5 studio demo with a model (Kellie) on a Triumph motorbike. Mark Thackara, head of marketing in the UK for Olympus is also on the stand all week. At least two other retailers had dedicated Olympus areas. Their job is to shift boxes and as there are no E-5s in stock at the moment, they were reluctant to give space and time to the E-5. So yes, the Pen - which seems to be selling well, got the limelight there.

Ian

petemii
7th March 2011, 03:35 PM
Very Party line Ian but the truth of the matter is
Olympus Bring out a new Camera launch it for Standard 4/3rds but donít service the standard 3/4rds system, and they seem to forget how much money customers have invested in this range this is not just about the E5 this is about Olympus not looking after there current Standard 4/3rds customer I Like many others will be very angry if we get dumped for the Micro range. I feel we are being swept under the carpet while they concentrate on the micro range.
Look I like Olympus products I like the fact that if I buy a E system Camera any lens that is designed to fit an E system Camera fits them all, not like other manufactures if you ask me Olympus could go the whole hog and really develop the E system into the `only system` (and if they use my saying in a logo i want a cut of the royalties lol)for a Profession or Amateur I really do feel Olympus is being very short sighted in this whole matter and while other companies are floundering in the recession lead a fight back for market share against the other big names Nikon & Canon in this recession. as for the reps selling the pen they really need to know what they are selling i have owned and ep1 and cont rid of the same in less than a couple of months really didnt like it sorry my opinion for the camera good effort but no cigar im afraid

Pete

Ian
7th March 2011, 04:09 PM
Don't misundersatnd me, the situation is not at all ideal for E-System users. Maybe Olympus will produced more Four Thirds E-System bodies, maybe not. Some will feel too uncomfortable with this uncertainty and move to a different system. Canon users move to Nikon, Sony, and even Olympus and vice-versa.

The long term future Olympus is Micro Four Thirds. There is no escaping from this. But the excellence of Four Thirds lenses is not wasted. I am confident that we will eventually see a camera body from either Olympus or Panasonic, or both, that will be more like a conventional DSLR and enable Four Thirds lenses to be used as they were intended. Even now, I find using some Top Pro lenses like the 14-35 f/2 or 150 f/2 very satisfying to use on a Pen body.

It's not for everyone, and I accept that. Maybe the wait will be too long for yourself, I don't know. We'll just have to see.

But in the mean time, the gear that Olympus has produced to date doesn't suddenly become useless or difficult to use. Many e-group members demonstrate this every day.

Ian

gregles
7th March 2011, 04:26 PM
Interesting link on Oly future here.

http://www.megapixel.co.il/english/archive/14631

Greg

Invicta
7th March 2011, 05:45 PM
Don't misundersatnd me, the situation is not at all ideal for E-System users. Maybe Olympus will produced more Four Thirds E-System bodies, maybe not. Some will feel too uncomfortable with this uncertainty and move to a different system. Canon users move to Nikon, Sony, and even Olympus and vice-versa.

The long term future Olympus is Micro Four Thirds. There is no escaping from this. But the excellence of Four Thirds lenses is not wasted. I am confident that we will eventually see a camera body from either Olympus or Panasonic, or both, that will be more like a conventional DSLR and enable Four Thirds lenses to be used as they were intended. Even now, I find using some Top Pro lenses like the 14-35 f/2 or 150 f/2 very satisfying to use on a Pen body.

It's not for everyone, and I accept that. Maybe the wait will be too long for yourself, I don't know. We'll just have to see.

But in the mean time, the gear that Olympus has produced to date doesn't suddenly become useless or difficult to use. Many e-group members demonstrate this every day.

Ian

Hi Ian

Do you know if a tethered option is available for Four-Thirds? It seems like the new Olympus Viewer software does not have this option at all; there is no paid "Pro" version.

This is a feature I am keen on, I was going to stick with an E-3 and see what happened with Oly over the next year but lack of a PC controlled solution may force me to switch.

padgreen
7th March 2011, 06:43 PM
The long term future Olympus is Micro Four Thirds. There is no escaping from this. But the excellence of Four Thirds lenses is not wasted. I am confident that we will eventually see a camera body from either Olympus or Panasonic, or both, that will be more like a conventional DSLR and enable Four Thirds lenses to be used as they were intended. Even now, I find using some Top Pro lenses like the 14-35 f/2 or 150 f/2 very satisfying to use on a Pen body.

Ian

I wonder at what point did Olympus decide to junk normal 4/3rd's and switch to micro 4/3rd's?. Presumably, Olympus didn't develop the 4/3rd system and plan from the outset to junk it after only a relatively short period of time: if they did that would be rather cynical betrayal of those users who invested in the system. From what I've read, it seems that they were surprised by the success of micro 4/3rds (mainly in Japan) and then decided to go with that. Perhaps the recession played a part. However, when I now read that they are now surprised at the success of the E5 it leaves me wondering whether Olympus actually understands it's user base at all. This certainly doesn't infuse me with confidence.

petemii
7th March 2011, 06:49 PM
fully agree with what your saying Ian but im going to go along the lines of not buying any more Olympus stuff for a while and build a canon kit alongside the olympus that we already own. luckily for us we can afford to do this but im sure they will be plenty out there that cant and for this reason its really not right what olympus have done. Even if they do bring out the in camera terms the next big thing there is a lot of olympus users who feel like us and wont be buying.

Pete

Bobpatchcott
7th March 2011, 07:32 PM
Well how very disappointed I am with Olympus
sorry for all you guys and girls out there but I for one and Tina for two my better half are so very close to getting rid of all things Olympus I really am fed up with Olympus not supporting events like this and makes me wonder why I should keep paying out good money on a system that is going the way of the dodo and fast, Olympus reps at focus all they talk about is the Pen and that was all the re-sellers had on offer. So please someone out there tell me why I bothered to buy an E5 and now I cant even buy a spare battery and all you get for the reps is we didnít expect the demand well I doesnít take a rocket scientist to look at all the forums out there and flicker to see how people were feeling about the release of the E5 between us we have spent some serious money on Olympus Tina Has the E5 I have the E3 the lenses are 11-22,12-60, 14-42, 40-150 & the 70-300 and we have owned the E410 & E510 also the EP1 (which although is a good camera is a complete waste of time if you have an E3 or An E5 ) so come on Olympus and I know I speak for a lot of users out there do something make it public either tell us your not going to support the standard 4/3rds or make some cast iron Assurances to the cause because if you donít Iím off to Canon
Sorry if it feels like a rant well it is

:mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:
Let me know how much you want for the E-5?,
But seriously people have been knocking the system since day one but it didn't stop me buying two E-1's, and I still have one, the other was sold to help fund the purchase of an E-3,and the lenses are a match for anyones
make no mistake this is a superb system and I believe it will continue to be so,
Sorry if this sounds like a rant well it is, [nothing personal petemii]

Best Regards to all and long live Olympus

Bob,:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:: eek:

Homer Simpson
7th March 2011, 08:00 PM
I used to work (10 years ago) for a very well know Japanese company, not Olympus & nothing to do with photography.

I think that gives me an insight to how they work:

Someone “high up” makes a decision and once it’s made no one dare raise any objection even if you can see the company hurtling towards a cliff edge, you just follow the other lemmings. A bad decision is unlikely ever to be overturned as loosing face is the worst thing that can happen.

To do otherwise sees your career shrivel up. Anything less than full enthusiasm for “the party line” can set you back years. Bear in mind in Japan, people are far less likely to change employer and most vacancies are internal promotion, you work is secondary to your loyalty.

Our only hope is the new Brit CEO sees all these complaints and thinks we might have a point and challenges “the decision” to dump DSLR.

drmarkf
7th March 2011, 08:11 PM
Yes, despite all the doom & gloom that some people are peddling it really is way too early to dump Oly!

m4/3 is now giving me all the compact travel & street photo support I ever got when I used my OM-1 in the early 1970s (well, it is now I've discovered manual focussing via the electronic viewfinder...). We have the possiblity of the 'pro' m4/3 model to look forward to.

That just leaves me wondering what to do for wildlife/motorsport/low light.

This is much more difficult, and I agree we're in a bit of a dilemma about this (those of us who could afford to switch, I guess). Do I swap the E-620 for an E-5 and keep all my 4/3 lenses? (They won't suddenly all stop working, you know :) ) Or do I sell most of the 4/3 kit and invest in a second-hand D700 (when Nikon replace it in the near future with the D800) plus a couple of fast Nikon zooms?

I really do most strongly recommend anyone thinking of a switch to CaNikon spends a proper length of time trying out the kit and thinking about the images that result. Don't just follow the reviews and the fanboys. I recently spent a fascinating day trying out a friend's D700 and new D7000 plus several lenses. As a result, I'd say the D700 plus 70-200 VRII is a simply fantastic combination that gives good full-frame (FX) results and has a really wonderful focussing system for moving subjects. It weighs a ton, but that's the price you pay (and why you have a m4/3 as well).

In contrast, the D7000 isn't a patch on the E-620 IMHO, certainly in terms of handling, and most Nikon DX lenses are old/large/uninspiring in comparison with our Zuikos (even the plastic ones).

Yer pays yer money...

Homer Simpson
7th March 2011, 08:26 PM
Well I'm staying with my kit - its way beyond my capabilities and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
One day I will get an E30 but just so as to ensure my lenses are future proof.

As DrMarkf says they are not going to suddenly stop working are they?
My 50mm macro is still the best lens going and the thing is over 30 years old.

The commercial decision to stop selling E620 & E30 and limit supplies of E5s is perplexing. They ought to be the nearest thing to pure profit now.

photonutter
7th March 2011, 09:32 PM
I'm certainly not looking to jump ship, but if anything looking to expand my collection of glass in the future. I usually buy on impulse, having seen something on my wish list.
Thing is Olympus glass is exceding rare in shops these days, there's also the worry, with taking 3-500 shots a week how long the bodies are going to last and if I'll be able to upgrade them.

drmarkf
7th March 2011, 09:44 PM
there's also the worry, with taking 3-500 shots a week how long the bodies are going to last

The E-5 is validated for 150,000 exposures, so I make that between 961 and 5.8 years if my maths is right. Since one can still buy near-immaculate condition Leica III bodies, I don't think one should worry over much...

Now, where I do agree up to a point is that a collapse of the 4/3 system will devalue the lenses' resale value. I don't think it would be too terrible, however, and certainly not to the point where anyone should just dump the system immediately.

benvendetta
7th March 2011, 09:49 PM
I have just come back from Focus (another tiring day) and was disappointed to see that the only Oly stuff on sale was Pen this and Pen that. Not that I am against the Pen but I was rather hoping to see some HG and SHG Oly lenses on the Jacobs stand just like last year. The only E-System kit was on the Bright Publishing stand being use by the Oly Pro there and an Oly rep (both E-5s).
So at least there was a sort of Oly presence but everyone taking pictures of lovely Kellie (apart from the pro) was using non-Oly kit (grhhhhh!). Not one E-System camera in site (I decided not to take mine this year).
Not all bad news though - the pro was also using an XZ-1 on Kellie giving results almost as good as the E-5. I had a brief play and seems a cracking compact although I had to ask myself how much I would use it (usually take the E-3 when I go anywhere). I was sorely tempted by the special price of £349 on the Jacobs stand though. Maybe one day.
This compact deserves to do well so COME ON OLYMPUS PROMOTE IT HEAVILY!
Other bargains at Focus included the Lowepro Pro Runner 200 backpack for £34 from 1st Cameras (half price). I got one as it is a better size to carry around so my Pro Runner 300 will now be my main 'storage' bag.
Can't have enough camera bags, which is just what my wife says about her jeans!
Also got a Lightcraft ND500 in 72mm from Premier Inks for £54.
Roll on Focus 2012 :eek:

photonutter
7th March 2011, 10:39 PM
The E-5 is validated for 150,000 exposures, so I make that between 961 and 5.8 years if my maths is right. Since one can still buy near-immaculate condition Leica III bodies, I don't think one should worry over much...


Thing is over the last ten years I've been upgrading not through necessity every two or three years, with a new camera. With the exception of the E620, which to my mind was an unmissable impulse bargain, and a lens every six months or so. Having big hands I just feel in the short future I'm not going to be given a choice to buy into the brand I love using. A m4/3 just 'feels' too small for me, and don't care how good they perform if they don't 'fit' right in my grip.
Yes, I could no doubt buy second hand equipment in the future, but doest this say there is a market for Olympus 4/3 to continue?

padgreen
7th March 2011, 11:33 PM
The interview over on Megapixels with a Dominic Papenheim from Olympus Europe about Olympus's so-called future plans is interesting. He says"

"We see the mirrorless system as the future of digital photography. In 5-10 years reflex cameras will be a niche or will not be there at all. So we believe that PEN in the long run will also be in the professional market – but that will take maybe 2-3 years. In 2011 you will see more PEN products and more lenses (beyond what was discussed in the presentation)."

So that's most likely this is why it's just Pen's at Focus (plus the E5 stop-gap) as no ones going to push the pro-grade lenses from a system that is being phased out.

As I said earlier, it all just makes me wonder why Olympus bothered to develop 4/3rd in the first place: did they know from the start that they were going mirror-less or is this something that got decided recently.

I continue to think this is all a huge mistake. While cameras with electronic viewfinders might be appealing to people trading up from a compact, I continue to believe that they are a step too far, not just for me, but for many users who continue to want a proper optical viewfinder.

Equally, I'm not that impressed with the mirco 4/3rd lenses either: the first Zukio 14-42 didn't even take a lens hood and the 75-300 is slower at the long end and is also considerably more expensive that it's normal 4/3rd counter-part.

Sure, I will continue to use my E30 for the time being but that's (apart from the cost of switching) primarily because I'm in the middle of a long term project and switching at this stage from a 4:3 aspect ratio to 3:2 would be a bit strange.

benvendetta
8th March 2011, 07:56 AM
It was good to see Ian's flyers at Focus for the hire service - but I wonder how many were picked up....................

Grumpy Hec
8th March 2011, 08:02 AM
Very interesting views and opinions in this debate.

As someone who is thinking of investing in some new Oly glass, starting with macro gear, and eventually an E5 I find myself, and have been for some time, wondering if it is financially wise to do so. All the available evidence would seem to suggest that 4/3 is possibly going to be formally dropped in 2 to 3 years and maybe even less.

The only hope is that someone in Olympus sees the possibilities of buidling and EM (E Mirrorless) range based on existing 4/3 glass and having the E series size and feel for enthusiasts rather than a more consumer orientated bias as with PEN.

I say mirror less as, despite many peoples preference for the SLR design, getting rid of the mirror with the advantages it can offer is a real step forward in my view. Especially so as the technology improves and what we see through the viewfinder is more like the optical view we are used to. I also believe it fits in with the desire for innovation that Oly have which makes it more feasable from the company strategy point of view.

Which brings me to my point/question. How do we get this mesage to the powers that be in Olympus??

Should we send an open letter or send a barrage of emails to someone in Olympus to attempt to ensure the sort of concerns expressed in the thread are understood??

I welcome views on this because I think we can and should try and take some positive action lest we are confined to unwilling passenger status in the knowledge that we did not even try.

Hec

Ian
8th March 2011, 09:31 AM
The interview over on Megapixels with a Dominic Papenheim from Olympus Europe about Olympus's so-called future plans is interesting. He says"

"We see the mirrorless system as the future of digital photography. In 5-10 years reflex cameras will be a niche or will not be there at all. So we believe that PEN in the long run will also be in the professional market Ė but that will take maybe 2-3 years. In 2011 you will see more PEN products and more lenses (beyond what was discussed in the presentation)."

So that's most likely this is why it's just Pen's at Focus (plus the E5 stop-gap) as no ones going to push the pro-grade lenses from a system that is being phased out.

As I said earlier, it all just makes me wonder why Olympus bothered to develop 4/3rd in the first place: did they know from the start that they were going mirror-less or is this something that got decided recently.

I continue to think this is all a huge mistake. While cameras with electronic viewfinders might be appealing to people trading up from a compact, I continue to believe that they are a step too far, not just for me, but for many users who continue to want a proper optical viewfinder.

Equally, I'm not that impressed with the mirco 4/3rd lenses either: the first Zukio 14-42 didn't even take a lens hood and the 75-300 is slower at the long end and is also considerably more expensive that it's normal 4/3rd counter-part.

Sure, I will continue to use my E30 for the time being but that's (apart from the cost of switching) primarily because I'm in the middle of a long term project and switching at this stage from a 4:3 aspect ratio to 3:2 would be a bit strange.

Olympus launched the E-System back in 2003 and was most likely working on the concept as much as 3-4 years prior to that. Olympus was early to get into digital, both with compacts and reflex-style cameras, although not with an interchangeable lens system until the E-1. Remember the C-1400L? That was 14 years ago and it was the first digital camera I used that produced natural looking results, not like video-stills of most other cameras until then. In 2000 we had the E-10, again a reflex camera but with a fixed lens. I do wonder if Olympus waited in order to launch a mirror-less design system camera, but the technology was far from being ready. The biggest headache for Olympus was the sensor and they had to settle for the Kodak Full Frame Transfer sensor for the E-1, which was not suitable for live view and so a mirrorless system. But Olympus did have electronic viewfinder cameras over ten years ago - the C-700 UZ, C-2100 UZ, E-100 RS, to start with. But with no suitable sensor for a larger sensor system camera there was no choice but to go with a mirror and reflex prism. And the rest is history.

Even before the E-1 was launched I was hoping Olympus would go for a mirrorless system. It was (and remains) the most logical development of the SLR in my view.

And let's just not overlook the fact that Olympus does provide a very high degree of functional compatibility between Pen bodies and Four Thirds lenses. I know I will be using Four Thirds lenses for many years to come, attached to derivatives of the Pen.

Ian

padgreen
8th March 2011, 01:09 PM
And let's just not overlook the fact that Olympus does provide a very high degree of functional compatibility between Pen bodies and Four Thirds lenses. I know I will be using Four Thirds lenses for many years to come, attached to derivatives of the Pen.

Ian

That's OK if you like the Pen bodies, I don't. I bought an E30 because that was the size body my lenses (14-54 Mk1, 70-300 & 50) felt most balanced on. Prior to the E30 I had an E1. I tried a E620 (my dad and sister have them), but I thought that my lenses felt a bit unbalanced on it. I would hate to have to use them (especially with an additional converter so they work) on an EPL2 or similar.

As for hoping for a mirror-less camera, I'm sorry but I don't get that. That would be OK if Olympus continued to offer both types of camera product, but they not planning to. They want to give up on normal 4/3rds.

I see mirror-less camera's as a bit like digital audio files: somebody somewhere decided that digital downloads were the future, but they didn't seem to care that they sound worse than a CD played through a decent Hi-Fi. Digital files offer a convenience factor over CD's but that's it. When you consider that some people still prefer vinyl to CD's you then get an idea of just how un Hi-FI a MP3 file actually is. Similarly, FM radio sounds better than digital radio which is also compressed, but FM radio is being phased out.

Electronic viewfinder's seemly offer the functionality of optical viewfinders, but no one has yet produced one that is as good or better than an optical one. All they can say is that current electronic viewfinders are getting better: yet Olympus has already decided to phase out the optical one.

As for DSLR's becoming a niche product, that's OK there are plenty of successful niche products out there. Electric guitars sound better through value amps: transitor or digital amps offer the same or even more functionality but some people still buy analogue because it sounds better. Similarly I think there will always be people that will want an optical viewfinder.

Zuiko
8th March 2011, 02:55 PM
That's OK if you like the Pen bodies, I don't. I bought an E30 because that was the size body my lenses (14-54 Mk1, 70-300 & 50) felt most balanced on. Prior to the E30 I had an E1. I tried a E620 (my dad and sister have them), but I thought that my lenses felt a bit unbalanced on it. I would hate to have to use them (especially with an additional converter so they work) on an EPL2 or similar.

As for hoping for a mirror-less camera, I'm sorry but I don't get that. That would be OK if Olympus continued to offer both types of camera product, but they not planning to. They want to give up on normal 4/3rds.

I see mirror-less camera's as a bit like digital audio files: somebody somewhere decided that digital downloads were the future, but they didn't seem to care that they sound worse than a CD played through a decent Hi-Fi. Digital files offer a convenience factor over CD's but that's it. When you consider that some people still prefer vinyl to CD's you then get an idea of just how un Hi-FI a MP3 file actually is. Similarly, FM radio sounds better than digital radio which is also compressed, but FM radio is being phased out.

Electronic viewfinder's seemly offer the functionality of optical viewfinders, but no one has yet produced one that is as good or better than an optical one. All they can say is that current electronic viewfinders are getting better: yet Olympus has already decided to phase out the optical one.

As for DSLR's becoming a niche product, that's OK there are plenty of successful niche products out there. Electric guitars sound better through value amps: transitor or digital amps offer the same or even more functionality but some people still buy analogue because it sounds better. Similarly I think there will always be people that will want an optical viewfinder.

Bear in mind that future mirrorless bodies might not neccesarily be the same shape and size as the current Pens. There is no reason why a "pro" body similar in form to an E-5 but mirrorless shouldn't be produced.

I agree that it's all very worrying and unsettling but there are firm reasons why the E-System suits me too well to even contemplate moving to an inferior system just for peace of mind. If the ride with Olympus is bumpy I can take it. Who knows what the future may hold? In 10 years I may be using a mirrorless pro spec E-x series camera or using an E-5 as it is today. In either case I'll be happy.

Ironically the only other brand camera I think I could get along with is the Pentax K5 but their market share raises doubts about long term viability and they don't seem to have a Plan B like Olympus do with mirrorless.

As for Olympus underestimating demand for the E-5 they've now had time to source another factory in China and the fact that they still haven't sorted it means the company's top brass deserve a thoroughly good kicking! :D

padgreen
8th March 2011, 03:39 PM
Ironically the only other brand camera I think I could get along with is the Pentax K5 but their market share raises doubts about long term viability and they don't seem to have a Plan B like Olympus do with mirrorless.

As for Olympus underestimating demand for the E-5 they've now had time to source another factory in China and the fact that they still haven't sorted it means the company's top brass deserve a thoroughly good kicking! :D

Pentax is an interesting firm, remember it's now owned (read underwritten) by Hoya. Years ago one of my friends had a Pentax LX which was a lovely camera. They are rumoured to be looking at mirrorless too, but in a digital version of their old Auto 110 SLR.

Pentax also has it's new digital medium format camera. So in ten years time, digital medium format will probably be cheap enough for normal people to afford!

Ian
8th March 2011, 05:27 PM
There is just as much agonising going on among the Pentax faithful as over here. At least Olympus has a consistent ally and partner in the form of Panasonic. It now looks like the 'relationship' between Pentax and Samsung is finished.

Ian

StephenL
8th March 2011, 06:04 PM
And maybe the success of m4/3 for Olympus (remember, many optical firms must have faith in that system to recently declare their interest) will serve to prop up the niche market that "full frame" 4/3 will surely become.

There is just as much agonising going on among the Pentax faithful as over here. At least Olympus has a consistent ally and partner in the form of Panasonic. It now looks like the 'relationship' between Pentax and Samsung is finished.

Ian

MartinF
8th March 2011, 08:42 PM
Bear in mind that future mirrorless bodies might not neccesarily be the same shape and size as the current Pens. There is no reason why a "pro" body similar in form to an E-5 but mirrorless shouldn't be produced.


Fascinating discussion; I recall that when the E-300 appeared, at least one magazine dismissed it as a serious camera largely because it didn't look like a serious camera - i.e. it didn't have an awkward lump otherwise known as a pentaprism housing. I thought that was one of its selling points (and of the original Pen F film reflexes come to that - though the only one of those I owned literally fell to pieces within hours of buying it - but I'd still like another one). I still use an E-300 in preference to the E-3 for some jobs because it slips into a small bag more easily. It might have a mirror on the side, but at least it's optical - my limited experience with electronic viewfinders is not encouraging, slightly jumpy, false looking images. They will get better, but until then, please Olympus, keep the real 4/3 flag flying.

Back to Focus on Imaging - despite the minimal Oly presence, I was surprised how many Olympus users there were - several times I was looking at a stand to realise that the person next to me was also looking for 4/3 lenses or querying whether this firm or that had compatible bits. No cameras in sight - but the demand must be there.

drmarkf
8th March 2011, 09:05 PM
... my limited experience with electronic viewfinders is not encouraging, slightly jumpy, false looking images. They will get better, but until then, please Olympus, keep the real 4/3 flag flying.


I agree what you see through the VF2 isn't an accurate representation of how the image recorded on the card will look in terms of colour and contrast, but it does show the full frame, it's fully visible wearing glasses, you can alter the angle, and it's great in poor light and for macro work especially for manual focussing at 14x.

Yes, motion's a bit jumpy.

You just have to have faith that the camera will produce a fair representation of the actual scene! Raw is best, therefore, and you need to check the histogram and keep the exposure up to minimise noise.

m4/3 has got a really LOOOOONG way to go in focusing speed and low-light ability (especially continuous focus of fast-moving subjects - IMHO it's b. useless for that, although I haven't tried the new Panasonic body) so I don't think any semi-pro offering this year will be much of an upgrade (except possibly of my E-PL1). Focussing of the 20mm Panny's quite good, but my experience with the kit, 14-140 and -150 zooms is a bit of a joke. Manual focus is great, though, and it's like a return to my OM-1!

padgreen
8th March 2011, 09:57 PM
m4/3 has got a really LOOOOONG way to go in focusing speed and low-light ability (especially continuous focus of fast-moving subjects - IMHO it's b. useless for that, although I haven't tried the new Panasonic body) so I don't think any semi-pro offering this year will be much of an upgrade (except possibly of my E-PL1). Focussing of the 20mm Panny's quite good, but my experience with the kit, 14-140 and -150 zooms is a bit of a joke. Manual focus is great, though, and it's like a return to my OM-1!

I think the new Panasonic is supposed to be better, but it really does make you wonder how micro 4/3rd's has been such a success in terms of sales: it's more expensive and not as good as what it's replacing.

benvendetta
8th March 2011, 10:15 PM
Let's hope that Oly can drive forward with some better and largher sensors now that their contract with Panasonic is just about over.
Kodak anyone?

Grumpy Hec
9th March 2011, 07:55 AM
I agree that M 4/3 is expensive. For a camera you may want to own for carrying around all the time for grab shots I think there are more cost effective, and more pocketable, alternatives.

In the meantime I have today only to convince my wife that I should spend more money than I can afford or justify on a Sigma 150 I lust after for macro work. Doesn't stack up to be honest but nothing ventured as they say.

Hec

Ian
9th March 2011, 08:21 AM
I agree that M 4/3 is expensive. For a camera you may want to own for carrying around all the time for grab shots I think there are more cost effective, and more pocketable, alternatives.

In the meantime I have today only to convince my wife that I should spend more money than I can afford or justify on a Sigma 150 I lust after for macro work. Doesn't stack up to be honest but nothing ventured as they say.

Hec

Care to enlighten us? :) What else is there that has a much larger sensor than a compact that is cheaper and smaller and lighter than a Micro Four Thirds camera? Maybe one of the Sigma DP series? Marginally cheaper, but no interchangeable lenses and a lot less features. Something like a Pen is not a pocket camera and I don't think anyone is claiming that, but the reduction in weight and bulk compared to even a small DSLR is radical.

Ian

Ian
9th March 2011, 08:25 AM
Let's hope that Oly can drive forward with some better and largher sensors now that their contract with Panasonic is just about over.
Kodak anyone?

Where has this suggestion that there is some sort of contract with Panasonic over the supply of sensors and that it's expired?

I put this to Olympus' Toshi Terada and he knew nothing of the suggestion.

Panasonic sensors are manufactured by their semiconductor division, which is completely separate from Panasonic's Lumix camera division. It's in Panasonic's interests to sell sensors to Olympus, not restrict their supply to Lumix.

And size? If the size is changed, it would mean a new system would have to be developed and if you think that's going to happen any time soon, then I'm sure you will be sorely disappointed.

Ian

Ian
9th March 2011, 08:34 AM
I think the new Panasonic is supposed to be better, but it really does make you wonder how micro 4/3rd's has been such a success in terms of sales: it's more expensive and not as good as what it's replacing.

It's unfortunate that Micro Four Thirds is being regarded as a replacement for Four Thirds. In an ideal world they would continue side by side as they are actually complimentary, although certainly overlapping.

The future of Four Thirds is definitely obscure, but Micro Four Thirds is designed to mop up people who fail to upgrade from compacts and bridge cameras to DSLRs for a number of reasons: size and weight, complexity compared to compacts, and cost. The potential market for hybrid or compact system cameras is several times larger than the entire DSLR market.

Even in the UK the market for Pens, Lumix Gs, Samsung NX, and Sony NEX, grew massively in the last year while DSLR sales were stagnant.

Compact system cameras should, if they reach their goals, overtake DSLR sales in the next 3-5 years, while the DSLR market shrinks slightly.

I thnk we will see Canon and Pentax, and possibly Nikon, enter the mirrorless market within that time.

Of course small and light is not for everyone and it's something I'm patiently expecting these manufacturers to show that they recognise sooner or later. Olympus has all but said they will develop a more DSLR-like Micro Four Thirds body (maybe not branded 'Pen') and this should handle better than a Pen when used with Four Thirds lenses. But from all my research I won't expect this for around a year to 18 months.

Ian

Ian
9th March 2011, 08:43 AM
I agree what you see through the VF2 isn't an accurate representation of how the image recorded on the card will look in terms of colour and contrast, but it does show the full frame, it's fully visible wearing glasses, you can alter the angle, and it's great in poor light and for macro work especially for manual focussing at 14x.

Yes, motion's a bit jumpy.

You just have to have faith that the camera will produce a fair representation of the actual scene! Raw is best, therefore, and you need to check the histogram and keep the exposure up to minimise noise.

m4/3 has got a really LOOOOONG way to go in focusing speed and low-light ability (especially continuous focus of fast-moving subjects - IMHO it's b. useless for that, although I haven't tried the new Panasonic body) so I don't think any semi-pro offering this year will be much of an upgrade (except possibly of my E-PL1). Focussing of the 20mm Panny's quite good, but my experience with the kit, 14-140 and -150 zooms is a bit of a joke. Manual focus is great, though, and it's like a return to my OM-1!

VF2 motion gets jumpy in low light as the frame rate (rather like a shutter speed) has to slow down. But bear in mind that at these levels of brightness an optical finder would already be very dark.

Currently the VF2 and Panasonic's G1/GH1/G2/GH2 have the same 1.44 mega-dot resolution but this will double with the next generation of finders. I spoke to a Japanese analyst who predicted these would appear by the end of 2010, so we're a bit behind schedule, but any time soon.

And focusing speed? Panasonic is already attracting comment that its Micro Four Thirds AF is as fast and even faster then some, DSLRs. Olympus has less experience in this field but all the latest lenses (14-42 II, 14-150, 40-150, 75-300, 9-18) focus fast and almost silently. I think Olympus still has some catching up to do compared to Panasonic when it comes to AF algorithms in their bodies, but the gap is much closer than it used to be. Complaints about Micro Four Thirds AF are largely out of date now.

Ian

padgreen
9th March 2011, 12:44 PM
It's unfortunate that Micro Four Thirds is being regarded as a replacement for Four Thirds. In an ideal world they would continue side by side as they are actually complimentary, although certainly overlapping.
Ian

I agree. When micro 4/3rd was first introduced, Olympus said basically the same. They are different products aimed at different segments of the market. I have no problem with the Pen's driving Olympus R&D and then this trickling down to their DSLR's, the E5 being a case in point.

Then, for reasons which aren't clear, the message from Olympus changed, the E5 is probably their last DSLR and there will be no more 4/3rd lenses. So now we're left with a one size fit's all strategy that has left an awful lot of Olympus's existing DSLR users rather less than happy. There has always been whining about cameras on internet forums and I've always tried to avoid this, but recent Olympus statements are a really bad move on their part.

There's an interesting article by Thom Hogan on his website about what camera's are aimed at what section of the market. See:

http://www.bythom.com/

Although he's primarily a Nikon user he also uses micro 4/3rd. The relevance of this to the current discussion is that he expects Nikon to move into the mirrorless market but he doesn't expect this to lead to the demise of either Nikon's DX or FX DSLR's.

So why does Olympus? Either Olympus is being really visionary or they are making a monumental mistake. Certainly, earlier Olympus innovations such as dust busters, live view and moveable LCD's have now been taken up by the other main players: dust busters and live view particularly.

However, it's a shame that Olympus haven't been able to match the other players innovations namely less noise at higher ISO and wider dynamic range. The performance of the E5 in this regard is certainly better than seen in the E3, E620 or E30 but still, arguably, it is not as good as, say, the Pentax K5.

Note I'm not saying the E5 is a bad camera, just commenting that on basis of the DxOMark scores (which are bore out by other reviews), that the Pentax K5 has a wider dynamic range and is better at higher ISO than the E5.

I get noise in some circumstances at ISO 400 with my E30 and really, I would like better. Having made the investment I am going to continue with my E30 and lenses. However, if I were buying from scratch now, I'd read the reviews and I wouldn't buy Olympus: firstly because other cameras get better reviews and secondly because Olympus has said 4/3rds is effectively dead. I certainly wouldn't buy micro 4/3rd's either. I not the only person who thinks like this, and this is bad news for Olympus.

Maybe, Olympus thinks it will pick up enough sales of micro 4/3rd's that it won't matter it if loses a few legacy E series customers. That certainly is the message it is projecting.

Ian
9th March 2011, 01:12 PM
Off the top of my head, the Pentax K5 has a Sony sensor. There is no doubt that Sony's sensors are exceptional. Panasonic has special sensors that are only used in the GH1 and GH2, and I must admit I was disappointed that the E-5 didn't get this class of sensor. The key to the improved quality of the GH1/GH2 sensor is the use of on-sensor A/D conversion. On all other Panasonic Four Thirds sensors (including Micro Four Thirds) the A/D is done off-sensor and the extremely low voltages from the photosites need to be amplified and the shifted from the sensor to the A/D converter. And this introduces more noise than if the A/D was local on the sensor. If you have more noise, your signal to noise ratio and so your usable dynamic range suffers. Olympus has improved the circuitry, and this is shown in the E-5, but it would be noticeably better with the GH2 sensor, even though it's a 16MP part.

The problem for Olympus is that they have only every had a small DSLR market share. Nikon and Canon have 85% of the DSLR market. They have no vested interest in eroding their own dominant shares by producing mirrorless cameras.

The Four Thirds short telephoto macro lens (probably a 90mm) that has been on the Four Thirds road map for a while is not cancelled according to my sources. There is no promise that it will appear but at the moment it's status is 'in the pipeline' rather like the E-5 was this time last year.

The logical future for Olympus is to develop Micro Four Thirds for DSLR-style fans like many of us here, and the compact and easier to use Pen models we already have.

The technical fact is that Four Thirds lenses are not optimal for the shorter flange/back distance offered by Micro Four Thirds. So if Olympus is switching entirely to Micro Four Thirds there is little point in investing further in new Four Thirds lenses.

But! And it's a big 'but' - Four Thirds lenses do work on Pens. AF improvements do need to be made to embrace some of the older models and Micro Four Thirds lenses work better in this respect, but the optical excellence we all know and love from Four Thirds is entirely usable on Micro Four Thirds.

What we really need is a Micro Four Thirds body (which I won't call a Pen) that is designed to work optimally with both Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds lenses and in a form factor that is not constrained by the design goals of the Pen (ease of use, and very small and light).

And the Micro Four Thirds m.Zuiko lens range will have to developed to include high performance, hopefully dust and moisture resistant, lenses like the Pro and Top Pro lenses we are already familiar with.

That's what I'm waiting for.

Ian

PS Incidentally, while I'm a huge fan of DxO and their DxOMark initiative (we use DxO test tools ourselves), I find it puzzling that their sensor tests haven't shown an improvement in the Panasonic sensors, apart from the GH1/GH2, because we have all seen improvements in real world use. I have raised this with my contacts at DxO although no conclusion has yet been reached.

benvendetta
9th March 2011, 01:24 PM
Care to enlighten us? :) What else is there that has a much larger sensor than a compact that is cheaper and smaller and lighter than a Micro Four Thirds camera? Maybe one of the Sigma DP series? Marginally cheaper, but no interchangeable lenses and a lot less features. Something like a Pen is not a pocket camera and I don't think anyone is claiming that, but the reduction in weight and bulk compared to even a small DSLR is radical.

Ian

I'd take the XZ-1 as an alternative to my E-3 rather than a Pen.

benvendetta
9th March 2011, 01:27 PM
Where has this suggestion that there is some sort of contract with Panasonic over the supply of sensors and that it's expired?

I put this to Olympus' Toshi Terada and he knew nothing of the suggestion.

Panasonic sensors are manufactured by their semiconductor division, which is completely separate from Panasonic's Lumix camera division. It's in Panasonic's interests to sell sensors to Olympus, not restrict their supply to Lumix.

And size? If the size is changed, it would mean a new system would have to be developed and if you think that's going to happen any time soon, then I'm sure you will be sorely disappointed.

Ian

This is what I was told by one of the Oly reps at the NEC. By larger, I meant in MP not physically.

StephenL
9th March 2011, 01:31 PM
Here Here! My worry is that, if they don't make an announcement soon, they will lose ground to Panasonic in m4/3, and others in the generic mirrorless camera class.


But! And it's a big 'but' - Four Thirds lenses do work on Pens. AF improvements do need to be made to embrace some of the older models and Micro Four Thirds lenses work better in this respect, but the optical excellence we all know and love from Four Thirds is entirely usable on Micro Four Thirds.

What we really need is a Micro Four Thirds body (which I won't call a Pen) that is designed to work optimally with both Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds lenses and in a form factor that is not constrained by the design goals of the Pen (ease of use, and very small and light).

And the Micro Four Thirds m.Zuiko lens range will have to developed to include high performance, hopefully dust and moisture resistant, lenses like the Pro and Top Pro lenses we are already familiar with.

That's what I'm waiting for.

Ian

padgreen
9th March 2011, 01:54 PM
Off the top of my head, the Pentax K5 has a Sony sensor. There is no doubt that Sony's sensors are exceptional. Panasonic has special sensors that are only used in the GH1 and GH2, and I must admit I was disappointed that the E-5 didn't get this class of sensor. The key to the improved quality of the GH1/GH2 sensor is the use of on-sensor A/D conversion. On all other Panasonic Four Thirds sensors (including Micro Four Thirds) the A/D is done off-sensor and the extremely low voltages from the photosites need to be amplified and the shifted from the sensor to the A/D converter. And this introduces more noise than if the A/D was local on the sensor. If you have more noise, your signal to noise ratio and so your usable dynamic range suffers. Olympus has improved the circuitry, and this is shown in the E-5, but it would be noticeably better with the GH2 sensor, even though it's a 16MP part.

And:


And the Micro Four Thirds m.Zuiko lens range will have to developed to include high performance, hopefully dust and moisture resistant, lenses like the Pro and Top Pro lenses we are already familiar with.

That's what I'm waiting for.



But wouldn't the Panasonic 16 MP Sensor be defraction limited from F5.6 compared to F8 for the current 12 MP Sensor? When I read this on your DP Now article I wondered whether it meant that 12 MP was the effective limit in size for 4/3rd sensors? Or is there a way around this technically as there is not much point in buying a camera with more mega pixels on the sensor if the image is soft after F5.6.

I think designing a body that is optimised for both 4/3rds and micro 4/3rd lenses is a big ask. Certainly, and if the EVF was better than a optical viewfinder then that would satisfy critics of Olympus's current strategy. However, that's another big Ask. But, given that this is at least three years away, that's along time to make do with what lenses you've already got. I would like a 50-200 mm f2.8-3.5 SWD, and EC14 converter and a Sigma 60 mm 1.4. However, there is no way I am going to buy them not knowing whether they are compatible with Olympus's plans. Just working on a micro 4/3rds is not enough. I would want the optical performance I get now.

Maybe I'm misinformed, but I also don't see great optics as really being part of micro 4/3rd's. From what I've read, the optics are OK but the on-board processing engine does an awful of optical correction when making JPEGS. I don't know how this works with raw.

Ian
9th March 2011, 01:56 PM
This is what I was told by one of the Oly reps at the NEC. By larger, I meant in MP not physically.

I think they are only repeating stuff from rumour sites.

I'm sure that Olympus is free to source sensors from whoever they like, but nobody else currently offers a Four Thirds format sensor.

Ian

Ian
9th March 2011, 02:18 PM
But wouldn't the Panasonic 16 MP Sensor be defraction limited from F5.6 compared to F8 for the current 12 MP Sensor? When I read this on your DP Now article I wondered whether it meant that 12 MP was the effective limit in size for 4/3rd sensors? Or is there a way around this technically as there is not much point in buying a camera with more mega pixels on the sensor if the image is soft after F5.6.

I think designing a body that is optimised for both 4/3rds and micro 4/3rd lenses is a big ask. Certainly, and if the EVF was better than a optical viewfinder then that would satisfy critics of Olympus's current strategy. However, that's another big Ask. But, given that this is at least three years away, that's along time to make do with what lenses you've already got. I would like a 50-200 mm f2.8-3.5 SWD, and EC14 converter and a Sigma 60 mm 1.4. However, there is no way I am going to buy them not knowing whether they are compatible with Olympus's plans. Just working on a micro 4/3rds is not enough. I would want the optical performance I get now.

Maybe I'm misinformed, but I also don't see great optics as really being part of micro 4/3rd's. From what I've read, the optics are OK but the on-board processing engine does an awful of optical correction when making JPEGS. I don't know how this works with raw.

Three years? Who said that?! My personal prediction is 18 months. Photokina 2012 maybe.

There is probably a fraction of a stop in difference concerning diffraction limiting. Not much. And of course diffraction limiting only gradually erodes resolution, so if you start with more, lose a little and you still have more than a lower resolution sensor, up to a point.

RAW is RAW - no corrections are made to the RAW data. Panasonic does a lot of corrections to its JPEGs, but Olympus do a lot less.

A Canon user on the DPNow forum was asking about options for travel zooms and I did a quick poll of tests of 10x-11x super zooms (28-280 equivalent focal lengths) and there isn't a great deal of choice for a decent Canon-fit lens, even Canon's own EF-S example, and yet the m.Zuiko 14-150, which is tiny, rates really well.

Even the original 14-42 kit lens is a good performer, optically. Panasonic's 7-14 is a very good performer. I'm seeing impressive results from both the new Panasonic 100-300 and the m.Zuiko 75-300. The only lens that has disappointed me so far is the 17mm pancake, but then I wasn't a great fan of the 25mm Four Thirds pancake either.

There is nothing in theory that should mean Micro Four Thirds will naturally be inferior to Four Thirds lenses, in fact wide angle lenses should be better.

Ian

padgreen
9th March 2011, 03:56 PM
Three years? Who said that?! My personal prediction is 18 months. Photokina 2012 maybe.

Ian

Sorry, I don't know where I read that, I'm know I read it somewhere: it's certainly a figure that sticks in my mind for some reason. Maybe I'm paying too much attention to rumour sites!.

I would hope that by late next year that Olympus would show us a pro spec body with an EVF that is as good or better than an OVF: but that really depends on by what margin the EVF is judged. My view of current technology is that they are miles off. I know others think otherwise. Really, for their strategy to be a success they need to launch a model that carries everyone with them and that is what worries me. I fear that they will come up with something that is still a compromise compared to an OVF: by which I mean it will offer improved functionality but optically won't be as good. I really hope I'm wrong on this.