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dennisg
28th August 2008, 08:54 PM
To All,

In the past several days I have read on CNet.com and PC World that Nikon has just released a new DSLR, N90 with some pretty good specs and price points here in the US.

The camera has a 12.3 APS-C sensor, can shoot at 4.5 FPS, and has a HD video capability at 24 FPS and at 1280x720 HD resolution-720P. The rear screen can shoot in a Live View Mode and the resolution of the screen is 920,000 pixels.

The price point is $999.95 for the body and $1299.95 with the kit lens which has image stabilization in it.

So based on these specs and price points, Olympus has its work cut out for themselves considering the E-3 does not sport a lot of these specs and that the Micro 4/3 models will contain live video but have less capability. I have an E-500 and E-520 and a host of lenses. If Olympus is going to compete on specifications, e.g. memgapixels, they will have to find a way to get more pixels on the 4/3 chip while improving the output quality. They might have to go with a Sigma based chip, Froen, and layer the Blue, Red, and Green sites to afford better management of the space available on the 4/3 factor.

Does anyone have any comments on this? I have established my rig-equipment on the Olympus 4/3 model, but the price for the N90 surely seems to have more of a bite than the E-3 for hundreds more. Where do you see this all going for Olympus and the enduser?

Thanks,

Dennis G:rolleyes:

PeterD
28th August 2008, 09:14 PM
To All,

In the past several days I have read on CNet.com and PC World that Nikon has just released a new DSLR, N90 with some pretty good specs and price points here in the US.

The camera has a 12.3 APS-C sensor, can shoot at 4.5 FPS, and has a HD video capability at 24 FPS and at 1280x720 HD resolution-720P. The rear screen can shoot in a Live View Mode and the resolution of the screen is 920,000 pixels.

The price point is $999.95 for the body and $1299.95 with the kit lens which has image stabilization in it.

So based on these specs and price points, Olympus has its work cut out for themselves considering the E-3 does not sport a lot of these specs and that the Micro 4/3 models will contain live video but have less capability. I have an E-500 and E-520 and a host of lenses. If Olympus is going to compete on specifications, e.g. memgapixels, they will have to find a way to get more pixels on the 4/3 chip while improving the output quality. They might have to go with a Sigma based chip, Froen, and layer the Blue, Red, and Green sites to afford better management of the space available on the 4/3 factor.

Does anyone have any comments on this? I have established my rig-equipment on the Olympus 4/3 model, but the price for the N90 surely seems to have more of a bite than the E-3 for hundreds more. Where do you see this all going for Olympus and the enduser?

Thanks,

Dennis G:rolleyes:

Hi Dennis,

Did you mean D90?

Link here http://www.pcworld.com/article/150392/nikons_d90_slr_shoots_hidef_movie_clips.html

Peter

dennisg
28th August 2008, 09:17 PM
Yes I did. Another Typo. This is going to put extreme pressure on Olympus to up the features and improve the output.

Can they do it?

PeterD
28th August 2008, 09:34 PM
Yes I did. Another Typo. This is going to put extreme pressure on Olympus to up the features and improve the output.

Can they do it?

Thanks Dennis. I shall read the articles.

Cheers

PeterD

PeterD
28th August 2008, 09:39 PM
Link to Nikon specs below:

http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/lineup/digitalcamera/slr/d90/index.htm

Peter

Fluffy
28th August 2008, 09:51 PM
I don't think it'll put much much pressure on Olympus at all, except maybe in price and they'll lower the E-3 price another $100 or 200.

Olympus owner typically don't buy on specs; they buy on what the camera feels like and can do for them. Canon competes with Nikon and they're going to probably feel a lot of pressure. Olympus has a wonderful niche product, and probably no plans for moving up.

Again, look at the computer industry. There are Windows PCs that outspec virtually all Macs; more of everything with faster rated speeds. However, Apple does very well, and probably has more cash in the bank than any individual PC company. Plus their niche has expanded a bit in the last few years. Olympus isn't a company at all like Apple, but their camera division seems to work along roughly the same philosophical lines.

Steve

dennisg
28th August 2008, 10:10 PM
Yes I agree, BUT let's go back to the '70s when the SLR market grew from viewfinder models. We had Nikormat, Practica, Canon, Nikon, Bell and Howell, Yashica, Pentex, Minolta, Olympus, Sigma and others. As we know it now, a lot of these no longer exist and Olympus took a hyatus for a while also.

Olympus was always a compact version of the SLR and many users really appreciated that and the performance as well. Their lens quality was and still is second to none. But the others who remain also have the same attributes!

So like in the seventies, the late '90s and the first decade of the twenty first century may see the same shake out. Who the market will shake out is up for grabs and opinions. My only concern is that with the stakes being raised ever more frequently, short obsolecense, the time to regroup gets harder and harder. So for next few years it will be interesting to see who will survive, what niches these manufacturers satisfy, and how we as the end customer will fair if any of these companies cease to make DSLRs.

It is dejavu all over again in the camera market. As far as computers, they are also having issues with speed, size, and performance. Most importantly price. Hopefully we all fair well by our decisions that we make when we decide to buy.

Dennis G*chr

Jim Ford
28th August 2008, 10:30 PM
I can't see that's it's got an articulating screen.

Since I bought my E3 about 9 months ago I'm finding I'm using the articulating screen with live-view more and more for macro photography. I've managed to take shots of wild flowers that would have been totally impossible without it. I don't think I'd buy a camera without this feature now

Jim

dennisg
28th August 2008, 10:36 PM
Well that is the "Voice of The Customer". If these testimonials are made available to most in the marketplace, then Olympus will have something to brag about and can use it to leverage the brand. It is in the branding that we come to associate quality, delivery, and price.

PeterD
28th August 2008, 11:11 PM
Well, I have read through the spec and have to conclude that I shall be sticking with the E3. Like all camera specs these days its a case of swings and roundabouts, there are some nice features but also some ommisions compared with the E3. I guess the price might sway some. The market place has changed considerably since the 1970's with a much greater customer base. I think there's plenty of room today for the existing manufacturers to offer their own models competitively. The E3 is just 1 year old and soon the R&D costs will have been recovered giving Olympus the opportunity to respond with a price cut if this is what is needed.

Peter

dennisg
28th August 2008, 11:50 PM
We'll be watching! Have a great weekend!

Zuiko
29th August 2008, 12:21 AM
Sorry, apart from video capability, in what way can the D90 trouble the E3? In fact, the D90 has these drawbacks:

No articulated screen

No mention of weatherproof construction

No in-body IS

Only 4.5 frames per second

Viewfinder only 95% accurate

Only 12.3 mp - which need substantial cropping to achieve a comfortable image ratio.

Too expensive to compete directly with E520 - against which it might have a chance.

dennisg
29th August 2008, 12:45 AM
The lens, kit lens, has built in stabilization capabilty although this makes the lens heavier and more expensive. The 12.3 Megapixel size can be overcome by cropping properly in the view finder. I found that whe I went from the typical 2:3 in 35 mm to the 4:3 in the 4/3s I had to make some adjustments as well. The delta between 4.5 and 5.0 Fps is minimal also.

The difference here is that when the price point and options are reviewed, it will be certainly easier to convince someone buying an upgrade to buy the Nikon for $1299 American vs buying the E-3 for $1600 American. The water proofing is a good thing but in the 30 plus years that I shot frames I have been through a lot of undersirable situations and never had a rig fail. So unless you take a lot of nature-beach scenes, I just wonder how much of that is really critical in making a choice. Sometimes some precautions can go a long way.

My feeling is that Olympus is going to get off it's seat and will start to push the envelope too. The cost for components should decrease as more of these will be used in the futher change to digital photography. Thus maybe Olympus will use this as leasons learned and meet the challenge.

Last the HD streaming, well I cannot say anything on that, but is sure seems to be a nice addition and none of the Oly rigs have it. We do know the the micro 4/3 rigs will. But will they be up to the same quality? I don't know.

So here we are in a very exciting situation where the technology and capabilities are turning over more than two to three times per year. Where when we shot with 35 mm we were lucky to see one turn every year. Is this good or bad for the consumer? It will depend on what the offerings are, what the price point is, and how much the consumer wants to take out of their pockets.

So far I am very satisfied with the E520 over my E500, but I would really like to see the Dynamic Range upped at least 1 stop. This will certainly improve the overall performance and really take photography to a differnt level.

Stay tuned!

Dennis G

PeterD
29th August 2008, 03:53 AM
Dennis,

I have to agree your point re frame rate. Weatherproofing I think is important as I have used the E3 in lousy, rainy conditions (with the 12-60 lens attached of course). The E500 stays in its weather proof bag in these conditions. I personally would not trust things to luck.
More Megapixels - yes Ok but for me that's not important. The HD video is nice but, not a necessity. These are some of the reasons I said that I would stick with the E3.
I think we are perhaps entering into a dangerous phase for camera manufacturers. Remember the mobile phone problems. I think it would be wiser to improve on camera functions than try and introduce new functionality that a designer thinks the public would want. Let others test the market and see what the take-up is. Oly deliberately are trying to break into the Pro market with the E3 and I think they are succeeding. The in-body IS was a major step forward, weatherproofing was another etc. Improvements on the functionality are still there to be had like the dynamic range, 16 bit image processing, location identification where an image is taken etc. I think Oly are more than ready to take up the challenges. Look at the swift releases on E510, E520 etc. Each revision provided significant improvements over its predecessor.
As you say, interesting times.

Cheers
Peter

blu-by-u
29th August 2008, 04:47 AM
Just wondering how the AF's gonna work in video mode? then there is the WB, aperture and all the other stuff that's needed to make video..but that can and would be seen viable in the micro FourThird (mFT). P&S have always thrive on providing video capabilities and when the mFt really kicks off.. :D

Dick Bowman
29th August 2008, 07:06 AM
I often think that the emphasis on body functionality puts the cart before the horse - it's an easier sell than lenses, and I find it hard personally to adopt the (sensible) view that lenses have a longer lifespan than bodies.

When I was looking at Nikon DSLRs three or four years ago I just couldn't make lens decisions that made sense to me - the range was huge, but without spending extreme money I just couldn't find what I was looking for. Olympus' options seem restricted on paper, but 14-54 plus 50-200 seems "enough" for most of the time.

End of the day, the body just captures what the lens puts on the sensor.

250swb
29th August 2008, 07:45 AM
I can't think of one good reason why Olympus, or Olympus users, should be worried about the specification of the D90.

It won't make your photos better, you don't need a D90 to win the next camera club competition, but you may need the D90 if you want to show off the latest bit of kit and mix in the Nikon circle instead of stand on your own in the corner with your Olympus gear. So isn't this the real problem? As an Olympus user you feel on the fringes of society and need reassurance that Olympus will make something that matches a Nikon or Canon rather than having a different approach to design?


I honestly think anybody who has doubts about Olympus should just jump ship and go and stop worrying about what Oly might do next. And when they get their next mega pixel wonder anxiety will start all over again, and additionally in the Nikon or Canon forums they may even start to ask why, with so many pixels on offer, Nikon or Canon don't make lenses that are as sharp as Olympus (and as small as Olympus) with which to make use of all those pixels.

Photography and all its many sub-sections such as equipment envy, are just a part of the human condition that nags in the ear that the grass is greener on the other side. Study closely what the other side is saying and doing however and you will see that their photo's are no better, their equipment still lets them down, and they also get nagging voices telling them they need to be reassured that their camera is 'fit for purpose'. They will never ever win ;-)

Steve

Cathal
29th August 2008, 10:55 AM
I've always had the view that when buying an SLR it is the system you are buying into that is more important than any single body. I see the biggest problem facing Olympus is not the individual strengths and weaknesses of any given model from competitors, but the market perception and presence of Canon and Nikon.

Canon and Nikon dominate the market. Olympus, alongside Pentax and SONY are behind, and trying to make inroads. Why?

It isn't the product! Olympus lost a generation of photographers by failing to see the impact AF would have, and didn't produce an AF OM camera. Likewise, Pentax did embrace AF (eventually) but abandoned the professional market (remember the stellar LX anybody?) and, more importantly today, were very late to the digital party. Minolta, for a long time the "gadget" technology leaders in 35mm photography, were so slow to produce a digital SLR that their user base had already jumped to (typically) Nikon or Canon.

Pentax, with the K10d and K20d, are producing some good products at good prices. They need to produce more glass, but they are staging a good comeback. SONY have the "everybody on planet earth has heard of us" brand value, and a massive advertising budget, not to mention the technological capability, to become a very real threat to the big two.

The issue is that once somebody has bought their first dSLR, be it a D40x, an EOS1000, or e400... and started to get a few "system" bits, when they look to upgrade they will consider their existing supplier as first choice.

Olympus need to win the first time buyer race! That means convincing consumers that the system is viable for every photographic need. There are considerations which mean it may not be for a number of jobbing professionals, but these would be 1 or 2 percent of the market if even that. But the prejudice can mean that the remaining 98% are turned off because of that.

PeterD
29th August 2008, 11:13 AM
I've always had the view that when buying an SLR it is the system you are buying into that is more important than any single body. I see the biggest problem facing Olympus is not the individual strengths and weaknesses of any given model from competitors, but the market perception and presence of Canon and Nikon.

Canon and Nikon dominate the market. Olympus, alongside Pentax and SONY are behind, and trying to make inroads. Why?

It isn't the product! Olympus lost a generation of photographers by failing to see the impact AF would have, and didn't produce an AF OM camera. Likewise, Pentax did embrace AF (eventually) but abandoned the professional market (remember the stellar LX anybody?) and, more importantly today, were very late to the digital party. Minolta, for a long time the "gadget" technology leaders in 35mm photography, were so slow to produce a digital SLR that their user base had already jumped to (typically) Nikon or Canon.

Pentax, with the K10d and K20d, are producing some good products at good prices. They need to produce more glass, but they are staging a good comeback. SONY have the "everybody on planet earth has heard of us" brand value, and a massive advertising budget, not to mention the technological capability, to become a very real threat to the big two.

The issue is that once somebody has bought their first dSLR, be it a D40x, an EOS1000, or e400... and started to get a few "system" bits, when they look to upgrade they will consider their existing supplier as first choice.

Olympus need to win the first time buyer race! That means convincing consumers that the system is viable for every photographic need. There are considerations which mean it may not be for a number of jobbing professionals, but these would be 1 or 2 percent of the market if even that. But the prejudice can mean that the remaining 98% are turned off because of that.

Very well stated, well done.

I was an old Pentax man myself in the 35mm days, still have the Pentax Spotmatic. Was surprised when I entered the digital market that Pentax was not one of the major players. They also produced superb lenses - remember the Super Takumar range?
As for Olympus, as far as I see from their offerings, they are attacking the first-time buyer market with a range of cameras. The packaging of good kit lenses is a particularly clever ploy. It provides for the need for a range of focal lengths and the quality is such that this would tend to satisfy needs of the new consumer until they can afford to purchase other lenses. Owning lenses as you point out is a key point in retaining consumers.
The E3 launch was their attack on the higher end of the market and I don't expect them to stop there for very long. Wonder when the E4/5 will be launched?

Peter

Makonde
29th August 2008, 11:24 AM
I think Olympus have to work hard to stay in the DSLR-type game. Their E system cameras seem to be well thought out with plenty of sensible facilities and usability. The lenses are excellent (but several of the good ones are still big, heavy and very expensive). If they're sticking with the 4/3 sensor, and they really want to take a significant slice of the pro market, then before adding more bells and whistles they really must improve the sensor: dynamic range and noise handling. The latest Nikons and Canons are going for very usable higher ISO settings and how is Olympus going to match those important advances? Available light photography is high on my list and I can't be the only one.

Micro 4/3rds is making the future even more uncertain. Meanwhile, if I were to invest in that expensive top Zuiko glass, the only thing I could look forward to upgrading to is the ISO 3200 E3 with its smallish 4/3 sensor - not that much better than the 520 for amateur use. I'm happy with the E520 for a couple of years but then what's going to be the Olympus competition for the new ISO 12800 Canon or whatever follows the Nikon D700? Do you see any on the horizon right now....?

Zuiko
29th August 2008, 06:58 PM
The lens, kit lens, has built in stabilization capabilty although this makes the lens heavier and more expensive. The 12.3 Megapixel size can be overcome by cropping properly in the view finder.

But you will still lose some of those pixels if you crop to a more comfortable ratio of, say 16 x 12 inches.

I found that whe I went from the typical 2:3 in 35 mm to the 4:3 in the 4/3s I had to make some adjustments as well. The delta between 4.5 and 5.0 Fps is minimal also.

Agreed. But it doesn't work in favour of the D90 either, does it? ;)


The difference here is that when the price point and options are reviewed, it will be certainly easier to convince someone buying an upgrade to buy the Nikon for $1299 American vs buying the E-3 for $1600 American. The water proofing is a good thing but in the 30 plus years that I shot frames I have been through a lot of undersirable situations and never had a rig fail. So unless you take a lot of nature-beach scenes, I just wonder how much of that is really critical in making a choice. Sometimes some precautions can go a long way.

My feeling is that Olympus is going to get off it's seat and will start to push the envelope too. The cost for components should decrease as more of these will be used in the futher change to digital photography. Thus maybe Olympus will use this as leasons learned and meet the challenge.

Last the HD streaming, well I cannot say anything on that, but is sure seems to be a nice addition and none of the Oly rigs have it. We do know the the micro 4/3 rigs will. But will they be up to the same quality? I don't know.

So here we are in a very exciting situation where the technology and capabilities are turning over more than two to three times per year. Where when we shot with 35 mm we were lucky to see one turn every year. Is this good or bad for the consumer? It will depend on what the offerings are, what the price point is, and how much the consumer wants to take out of their pockets.

So far I am very satisfied with the E520 over my E500, but I would really like to see the Dynamic Range upped at least 1 stop. This will certainly improve the overall performance and really take photography to a differnt level.

Stay tuned!

Dennis G

All in all, I think for the sake of US$300 I'd still rather have an E3. I agree that Oly will have to watch Nikon carefully as they have the potential to release a camera to seriously undermine the E3, but the D90 isn't it!

dennisg
8th September 2008, 01:15 AM
I agree whole heartedly that Olympus has to get out of the background and get those first time purchasers and change those who buy other brands first.Olympus needs to break the Nikon-Canon mystic. Thus shifting the paradigm away from the these two very competitive brands is going to be a challenge.

The ISO and mega pixel scenario is being challenged by a lot of camera reviewers and they are asking the same questions; how do I stuff more in less real estate. My feeleing is that Olympus may have to go by the way of Sigma and layer (red, green, and blue) within the 4/3 space to get more definition and data on the same chip.

Thus the dynamic range comes into play. We all know that the 4/3 chip has .7-.9 stops less dynamic range. So Olympus will have to deal with that as well. My experience with Olympus has been very good and still better since I got the E520 body. The E500 had some real big issues and E520 has solved a good number of them.

The glass is exceptional and I am very happy with the combinations and ranges of their zooms.

And the FL50 is very a very good performer!!

BUT.................what does the micro 4/3 entry mean? Olympus said that it will support both the full and micro factors. But why aren't they improving the big brother and taking R&D dollars away from the E line? I hope I am not looking at a dead end line. Olympus dropped out of sight at the end of the 35 MM product lifecycle and is in catchup mode for DSLRs like Pentex. You just cannot do this where competition of most sales of DSLRs are Canon and Nikon. This is the reality whether we like it or not.

To ensure that Olympus hears the Voice Of The Customer, all of the Olympus stalwarts need to send messages directly to them and get the message from these forums to the device and service provder, Olympus. Once they hear a lot of noise from us DIRECTLY, then they will keep their sights on what we want and produce even better DSLRs going forward. I intend to do this at the Photo Expo Show here in New York City come October.

Thanks!

Dennis G*chr

Makonde
8th September 2008, 07:30 AM
Well, apart from the AF-in-low-light irritation, the sensor's the place where Olympus really need to work on range and noise. And on present indications that's the same sensor for 4/3 or micro 4/3 so it seems that *more* research dollars are likely to be spent right where needed for both systems.

They'll have to produce yet another range of lenses for the micro system. That's their traditional strength, no? And where they make their money on cameras with interchangeable lenses. But that will take some R&D $$, and so I guess will solving the problems of fast focus with live view.

On good days, I think the micro extension of 4/3 thinking is a really good idea and we'll have lighter, smaller, cheaper, more flexible cameras with professional image quality and less vibration. With smaller lenses that are as brilliant as the DSLR range but considerably cheaper (a big plus point) And that year on year improvements in sensor chips are going to bring Canikon-like clarity and ISOs within Olympus' range for all the resolution we need.

On bad days I think they are going to spread themselves too thinly ever to really compete for the flagship market that more than anything else makes a brand name for a manufacturer. That the uncertainty means I shouldn't buy into more expensive E-system glass meanwhile; and that maybe I should have saved a bit more and gone for the D700 (sorry chaps, but though I bought Olympus again on merit - just - this time, this is a market and it's not like supporting a football team).

dennisg
8th September 2008, 12:06 PM
The real issue here is that Olympus is part of a very small segment of the DSLR market. And it shares that small niche with two other camera manufacturers that formed the 4/3 alliance. So Olympus fights within its own niche.

You bring out some very valid points about ISO, Focus, and Dynamic Range. Olympus should concentrate on the Dynamic Range and fast Auto Foucs so that is in line with the other majors. My point on focus is, what does it matter what camera you have? The picture is of the moment! If the box cannot capture the moment then what good are all of the bells and whistles around it. I just get tired of hearing that you need to spend additional dollars or pounds to get performance. Years ago, the old mechanical 35 MM got the picture no matter if you had a Nikon, Pentex, or others.

I also think that features like "Face Detection" is nice in a camera that is a point and shoot where the opening of the lens is fixed. If you know what you are doing with a DSLR, you hould always get the face in focus. So less gadgetry and more performance is needed in today's DSLRs.

Again, we need to tell Olympus that what we need is a quick, agile, and high performance rig that can stand up to the others. I still have concerns about segmenting the market again within the 4/3 market. This may send out a mixed message................do I buy micro or big brother?

Let's keep the conversation going and get this all back to Olympus!

Have a great day!

Dennis G:)

Makonde
8th September 2008, 01:00 PM
I have no doubt that in UK and USA and other countries they monitor the worthwhile forums very closely. The best kind of user research - because not influenced by considerations of conscious market research artifice.

If not, they'd deserve to go under. But they do.

As to the answer to 'do I buy micro or larger' - I think that within the Oly range, recent developments will make me buy neither until it is very clear which way things will go. That's going to take two or three years at least. So meanwhile my own question is: can I get better clearer, brighter images out of the E520, especially in anything other than easy light, or in pursuit of that will my best option be full frame rather than the E3 (new thread).

dennisg
8th September 2008, 01:36 PM
I hope you are right about the manufacturers following the threads on forums such as this. We shall see if this conversations bear any fruit going forward. Hey one bright note, Olympus changed the lens cap so that it is much easier to take off and put back on. So let's see if they dig in for more important issues.

Thanks!

Dennis G

Howi
8th September 2008, 03:49 PM
seems megapixels rule, check out any of the latest camera mags, everyone wants more. Why? because DLSR manufacturers are trying to get sales from the point and shoot brigade, and why not! their money is as good as anyones.
There is more money to be had from this segment of the market than the 'so called professional' end. You only have to look at the features on modern DSLR's to see what market they are after.
Everything is driven by money(sales), Oly is no different to any other manufacturer.
WHY! should Oly look after people who have bought into their present system?
it simply just does not pay.
Personnaly I think Oly WILL support it's present user base in the near future, just don't hold your breath too long.
Have we as users, any right to expect Olympus to still support the present systems 10 years from now?
It is a consumer led economy, a world wide economic resession is on its way, like it or not - It may have some influence on what manufacturers give us, as consumers will look for better value before spending money they can't afford.
Credit is harder to get and harder to pay back, the situation is only going to get worse in the near future, certainly in the UK.
We can only use what we have now, worry about what we might get or not get, when it comes.
To some extent I think it is our own fault, how many who bought the e-510then the e-520 after only a few months? is the e-520 THAT much better?
*zzz *zzz *zzz WAKE UP AT THE BACK THERE!!!! :D

dennisg
8th September 2008, 04:08 PM
I guess you said it all! Yes the megapixel war is on and it will continue until they cannot populate the sensor anymore with better results. And the worldwide economiic slow down is another issue as you point out. Here in the good old USA, we are feeling same economic pressures that you folks are. Today the Treasury Department is taking over Freddie Mac becuse of the mortgage mess here. So cameras are going to be the last thing on people's minds.

For me, the E520 is a much improved model over my E500. Whether it is much better than the E510, that needs to be stated by those who have both.

Stay tuned, more chaos in the works!

Dennis G

dennisg
10th September 2008, 01:40 AM
Just read that Sony has just introduced a full frame DSLR, A900 that supports a 24.6 megapixel sensor. The only draw back its $3000. It incorporates image stabilization in the body and has a 910,000 pixel screen as well.

So the plot thickens!

My feeling is that eventually all DSLRs will sport full frame sensors as the standard. this is an eveolution and not a revolution! So where does the 4/3 frame stand and its future? Seems that the DSLR market offerings is a moving target.

Dennis G

bully74uk
10th September 2008, 06:50 AM
The packaging of good kit lenses is a particularly clever ploy. It provides for the need for a range of focal lengths and the quality is such that this would tend to satisfy needs of the new consumer until they can afford to purchase other lenses.

This was almost 100% of the reason why I chose Olympus over Canikon for my first DSLR :D

R MacE
10th September 2008, 11:34 AM
I think Olympus are in for a rough ride unfortunately. I'm satisfied with the E-System in general, sure there are things that I'd like or directions that I'd like to see Olympus go but I don't see it happening. It seems that the market still demands 'Full Frame' and a high pixel count and they don't really care how big the equipment is.

If Pentax/Samsung release a Full Frame that leaves Olympus on it's own with the smallest sensor in the DSLR sector, they don't make their own sensors and IMO the Panasonic sensor isn't as good as some of the others, add to that the fact that Olympus are effictively tied to using Panasonic sensors.

How are Olympus going to sell DSLR's when the only upgrade path from an entry level DSLR is a more expensive version with exactly the same sensor?

I certainly didn't expect Full Frame to take off like it has and in any case it's not something that I'm interested in unless they can get the size down to something smaller than an E-3. Olympus haven't listened to their user base, how many times have you heard people say they wanted a High Spec E-4**? what do Olympus suggest, a down-specced micro 4/3rds compact.

What m4/3rds suggest is that Olympus know that they won't be able to compete in the DSLR sector for much longer so they're trying to create a new sector which they hope to fill with m4/3rds.

I accept that the DSLR market is a small percentage of overall cameras sales so I don't expect Olympus to drop out of the market completely but it's only the E-System that interests me so where do they go from here. There's only so much they can add to their current range that makes them more attractive than the competition and even if they did come up with some major new breakthrough the competition will quickly adopt it. Olympus can't re-write the laws of physics, sure they can improve DR but others will have similar DR but a higher pixel count (which seems to be important for the market) It's becoming increasingly clear that they can't hope to off-set the linitation of a small sensor by producing a smaller system, nobody sems to care about the physical size.

I really don't know where the E-System is headed, anyone else got an opinion?

dennisg
10th September 2008, 11:49 AM
Excellent observations! As I have stated before, when 35MM was the king of the hill, there was a flushing out of lesser brand names and we wound up with a few good camera companies and all of the others either went bye, bye, or when into the point and shoot market for the masses who were not interested in a professional rig.

My feeling on Olympus is that they need to design their own chip and find ways to improve performnace. But there, as you have pointed out, are limitations based on the physical size of the sensor. The other issue that needs to be recognized is the pixel size on the 4/3 sensor is from 35 to 50% smaller than in the larger sensors offered by other camera makers. Thus even though we have the same pixel count, the data captured by the 4/3 rig suffers from blumming and less data. Thus the dynamic range is not as wide as others.

Olympus needs to take more R&D dollars-pounds and start to find their own way to make the sensor more resilliant. Unfortunately, there are only a few sensor manufacturers and there's where the rub is.

We need to have more converstaions like this here! Let's keep it going. There are just too many of us who have invested hard earned dollars and pounds in the E System. It would be a big bust if the line were not to continue to be innovative and robust in design for performance needs and wants!

Dennis G*chr

RogerMac
10th September 2008, 12:47 PM
I think Olympus are in for a rough ride unfortunately. I'm satisfied with the E-System in general, sure there are things that I'd like or directions that I'd like to see Olympus go but I don't see it happening. It seems that the market still demands 'Full Frame' and a high pixel count and they don't really care how big the equipment is.

If Pentax/Samsung release a Full Frame that leaves Olympus on it's own with the smallest sensor in the DSLR sector, they don't make their own sensors and IMO the Panasonic sensor isn't as good as some of the others, add to that the fact that Olympus are effectively tied to using Panasonic sensors.

How are Olympus going to sell DSLR's when the only upgrade path from an entry level DSLR is a more expensive version with exactly the same sensor?

I certainly didn't expect Full Frame to take off like it has and in any case it's not something that I'm interested in unless they can get the size down to something smaller than an E-3. Olympus haven't listened to their user base, how many times have you heard people say they wanted a High Spec E-4**? what do Olympus suggest, a down-specced micro 4/3rds compact.

What m4/3rds suggest is that Olympus know that they won't be able to compete in the DSLR sector for much longer so they're trying to create a new sector which they hope to fill with m4/3rds.

I accept that the DSLR market is a small percentage of overall cameras sales so I don't expect Olympus to drop out of the market completely but it's only the E-System that interests me so where do they go from here. There's only so much they can add to their current range that makes them more attractive than the competition and even if they did come up with some major new breakthrough the competition will quickly adopt it. Olympus can't re-write the laws of physics, sure they can improve DR but others will have similar DR but a higher pixel count (which seems to be important for the market) It's becoming increasingly clear that they can't hope to off-set the linitation of a small sensor by producing a smaller system, nobody sems to care about the physical size.

I really don't know where the E-System is headed, anyone else got an opinion?

Richard

I think that you are crying woe rather too soon - most of the Photokina offerings from Oly are not yet even rumoured, and we probably should wait a couple of weeks before evaluating them against the opposition. Just to start restart a rumour I put onto the AP site a few weeks ago here is a description of a "triad" sensor. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3CCD

If Oly adopted something like that they could easily match full frame IQ and still use the current glass (with all its enormous advantages) and the laws of physics would not even need to be bent.

I suspect that it would be difficult to get such a sensor into a conventional mirror box but we know that a major advance in EVF is coming, don't we?

Roger

R MacE
10th September 2008, 01:39 PM
While that is true you need to look at those already using '3 Chip Technology'

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&tabact=ModelFeaturesTabAct&fcategoryid=165&modelid=7512&pageno=2

Remember that it's not just a matter of Olympus producing products that we as Olympus users want, they have to compete for sales against the likes of Canon/Nikon. While they may not compete directly against the Full Frame models they need to compete with the lower end of the market but that market is driven by the promise of higher end products and the image that a company has due to it Pro user base. In that respect Olympus have to compete with the likes of the 1 DSmk111/D-3/D-700/a900 whether they or we like it or not.

It doesn't really matter what technology is best, Canikon are the main players in the DSLR field, in fact they own the ball and as such make the rules. The pro market has certain requirements and all Canikon need to do to ensure that the DSLR rules are to their liking, playing to their strengths, is to only provide those features in a product that they make and want to continue to make. They are not going to change to a system that places them on level terms with the competition regardless of what advances technology brings, they'll incorporate it as far as they can while still producing DSLR's in a form which is really only a evolution of what they now have and what preceded their current models.

IMO of course :)

RogerMac
10th September 2008, 02:01 PM
Sorry I could not make that link work!
Roger

R MacE
10th September 2008, 02:09 PM
:o Oops, try it now.

dennisg
10th September 2008, 02:54 PM
Well with three sensor breaking up light into their primary colors seems to be a route to take, but it's another configuration over and above the current one chip-sensor model that exists in our current E line.

This is similar to what Intel and AMD are striving for. Putting multiple "Cores" on the same landscape to route information to a core that is not fully being used. Thus increased speed in a single core is no longer an issue or a need. By having several cores working in tandem, more work gets done in less time and produces less heat.

So again we are back where we are in the "Current State", how does this translate to the "Future State" for Olympus? Does the route take Oly to multiple sensors for a higher level of performance OR do they layer their 4/3 senor to split the primar colors to incorporate better dynamic range and performance. Once we get over 16 Megapixels, if you cannot get an excellent 16x20 enlargement, then there are other issues beyond the scope of the rig! The statements made in earlier replies states that the "Glass" then becomes the over riding factor!!

As I have stated, I will be at the Photo East Show here in NYC in October. I will have a lot of questions to be asked when I get to the Olympus exhitbition booth.

RogerMac
10th September 2008, 02:56 PM
Thanks - I see what you mean!

Roger

RogerMac
10th September 2008, 03:39 PM
Once we get over 16 Megapixels, if you cannot get an excellent 16x20 enlargement

Not quite sure what you meant by that - I reckon that I can easily get excellent 16X20 from my current E510 - (usually as a cropped print on a smaller piece of paper) and the quality does not seem to run out till something over 1.5 that in linear size.

Roger

dennisg
10th September 2008, 04:01 PM
What I am saying is, how many pixels do we really need to get a good quality enlargemnet. How big is big? How red is red? How sharp is sharp?

We take pictures for the moment, message, the mood, etc. When we get all pent-up with specs we lose the true art of photography. So if we as photographers need more megs to make great shots, where does the need end?

Remember when we shot Plus X, Kodachrome, Agfa, we were all able to get it done. So a baseline for equipment needs to be established and all of the bells and whistles are a nice thing but don't add anything to the quality of the shot.

As stated before, I think full frame sensors are going to be the standard by which others are measured by due to the fact they are becoming more prevelant in the marketplace. Thus over time, the price point will come down as all technologies do. So the other size sensors, are going to be in jeopardy of being passed by by certain segments of the marketplace. It has happened before, and will continue in the future!

AND let make a statement, "I am very satisfied with my E520 and the lenses that I have. JPEGS that are at 11 Megs do a real fine job and the RAW format even better. So I will not in the near future move to some other format. What I am concerned about is the support and the proliferation of the E line. As an informed customer, it's the life cycle of the product line that concerns me.

Dennis G*chr

R MacE
10th September 2008, 04:11 PM
I think what Dennis means is that if people can't get high quality 20"x16" from a 16mp DSLR then they'd be better spending the money on a photography course than on another camera.

R MacE
10th September 2008, 04:30 PM
AND let make a statement, "I am very satisfied with my E520 and the lenses that I have. JPEGS that are at 11 Megs do a real fine job and the RAW format even better. So I will not in the near future move to some other format. What I am concerned about is the support and the proliferation of the E line. As an informed customer, it's the life cycle of the product line that concerns me.

Dennis G*chr

My sentiments exactly.

I'll try to further clarify my comments about Canikon 'Owning the Ball'

When the E-System was launched Olympus were trying to provide a DSLR that could equal a 35mm SLR in terms of IQ. To all intents and purposes they did just that. The 5mp E-1 was and still is capable of producing prints well above the 35mm standard of 8"x10". At that point Canikon could have followed suit but they didn't simply because they have a bunch of Ace's up their respective sleeves in the form of a significant users base who wanted to utilise their investment in 35mm equipment. Canikon can hardly be blamed for supplying the demand. Had they opted for a designed for Digital system, not nescessarily 4/3rds, they would have been throwing away the user base Ace's and would have been playing on a level playing field along with Olympus. There would have been less reason for people to stick with Canikon if they were going to have to buy into a completely new system. Canikon still have the user base and regardless of what technology appears they will simply continue to implement it into their existing range. The Digital Single Lens Reflex is going to be around for a very long time, the drive towards Full Frame is well established and with Sony now wanting to play (to Canikon rules) the race is well and truely on. I expect Pentax/Samsung to join sooner rather than later as they also can play the Legacy card. That leaves Olympus as the only DSLR maker without a Full Frame option, they however have no legacy 35mm lenses unless you count the OM system which aren't really going to cut it in the current pro market. The E-System lenses obviously won't work on a Full Frame body so Olympus would need to go back to the drawing board and design yet another system from the ground up. Are they capable? of course, can they reassure enough prospective buyers that they are a good long term investment? I doubt it. The question remains how long can Olympus invest in the E-System and still remain profitable. I don't have the answer and I suspect neither do Olympus which is why we're seeing the emergence of m4/3rds.

IMO of course :)

dennisg
10th September 2008, 05:26 PM
Now I think were are all on the same page. Thanks for all of your inputs, but lets get back to "Best Practices" and see where the technology can truly help the photographer do his or her job better!

This was a great volley!

Dennis G*chr

Zuiko
10th September 2008, 10:24 PM
Just as a post script, and to play Devil's Advocate, let's suppose for one moment that Oly did abandon 4/3. What would that mean to us?

I can only speak for myself, of course, but I would be left with a superb camera (E3) that fulfills all my requirements and is robust enough to continue to do so for many years to come. It may have become obsolete but it would still produce the same high quality images it does now.

As a bonus, many existing users would migrate to other systems and e-bay would become flooded with cheap, high quality glass that I could actually afford! http://www.clicksmilies.com/s1106/teufel/devil-smiley-032.gif

But what effect would it have on potential sales of my work? Would magazine editors reject it because it was taken on a camera no longer in production? I don't seem to have that problem with trannies taken on my Bronica which is equally obsolete, unloved and unwanted.

But what if 10mp became so outdated because most cameras eventually had 100 (yes, 100) MP? Well, currrent magazine printing technology can only realistically utilise 300ppi - any resolution beyond this is wasted. The E3's 10mp can easily produce a front cover at 300ppi.

In any case, the concept of magazines physically printed on paper must be destined for obsolescence itself. Surely in the future most magazines will be downloaded online. Who needs 100mp to produce images for the Web at 72ppi?

Just a thought, if we all started shooting 24mp RAW files (never mind 100mp files!) just how big would the hard drives on our computers need to be? And how much RAM would we need for Photoshop?

And eventually, by the time we got to 500mp cameras, don't you think that the Fancy Dans driving the demand for ever more pixels might start to realise that their pictures were still going to be crap at any resolution?

At that point, having exhausted all other innovtions, it's quite conceivable that at least one manufacturer would re-invent the wheel by introducing a miniature camera system with a smaller sensor of about 10mp, "All you'll ever need for producing high quality Web images and even traditional prints up to 20x16."

And of course, my E3 will still be going strong! http://www.clicksmilies.com/s1106/teufel/devil-smiley-019.gif

dennisg
10th September 2008, 10:53 PM
A great ending! With all of the hoopla about megapixels, your discussion on the computer side is very valid. As the file gets larger, it puts more demand on other resources to produce larger files. Thus the cost is not just the camera and lenses, it also entails the post processing. If you print at home on a 8 or 10 ink cartridge Epson, Canon, or HP (wide carraige) the cost for replacing these cartridges is very high.

We need to put all of this in perspective and understand all of the issues and determine the point where more will only dictate more diminishing returns. When I owned 35MM rigs I held on to them for at least 5 years before I started to turn over the equipment. In today's scenario, it is way faster, but does more really give you more, or less?

10 to12 megapixels really gives the majority of end users enough data to get prints from 16x20 down to the standard 4x6s. Several days ago I sent a JPEG from my E520 and edited it, then uploaded it to MPix an online print house. When I selected the 16x20 size for the enlargement, it stated that my 11 plus Meg JPEG could actually be used to make a 20x30!!! So 24.3 megs? I guess with that much data I can make a wall mural:rolleyes:.

My point here is we need to stop the more and demand the quality. I am with you on the current breed that we own and use. Maybe we should do more critquing of the the output and not so much emphasis on the light box-camera!

Dennis G*clap

R MacE
10th September 2008, 11:08 PM
Excellent, *chr

RogerMac
11th September 2008, 08:33 AM
That was an informative and adult thread, so unlike those on a rival forum that seem to degenerate into name calling after about 6 posts. Various points were raised and here are some of my disjointed comments:

1. Thanks Dennis and Richard for reminding me that “excellent 16X20” can have two meanings – either “sharp and well exposed” or “worth looking at” and these are not the same thing. In fact I rather like Richard’s suggestion of a course – if I can find the right one I might well enrol.
2. Canikon did not always own the professional’s playing field. When I started photography the news ‘togs were using Nikons exclusively and while Canon produced good cameras they never quite cracked that market. Along came the AE1 and Canon sold a million a year for at least two years (mine is no. 1,531,638 and I bought it about 18 months after they came out). On the back of the cash flow from the A series Canon broadened and deepened their product line and the rest is history, very few ‘togs used the A series but they all benefited from the products that it funded.
3. I still help run a small IT company (although it’s now owned my son) and believe me cash flow is king. As soon as we find a nice little earner we plough back the profits into other (related) products – if Oly find that they can make MFT a success I am quite sure it will result in new R&D for the full series.

As you may gather I think that the E series remains the one for me and I have just put my money where my mouth is by ordering an expensive lens – it should arrive today so I am looking forward to a new toy


Hope that's not too verbose


Roger

Makonde
11th September 2008, 09:38 AM
While personally I'd much rather see lower noise at higher ISOs, to help extend the range of available light photography, I must put in a small word for megapixels. Editing a quarterly local magazine I'm usually looking for usable images of things that have to be in it. Very often such images are found not in a subject as composed in a formal shot, but in a crop that can be quite a small area of the original. The more pixels there are to play with, the better the chance of getting a crop that makes 300dpi for printing. So it's not just about full print size (the mag is A5) ....

dennisg
11th September 2008, 11:35 AM
I agree that if you need to crop a shot to get a portion of the shot into print. More pixels will lend itself to producing a good reporduction in print materials. But this is a purpose that needs to be satisfied. Not just some need for more. I guess that's why there were press cameras in the past.

Going forward we will need to establish all of the needs of the end user and make sure that there is a true need rather than the hype.

Thanks!

Nova Invicta
2nd October 2009, 08:47 PM
Guys
Let me put this debate current perspective, the full frame movie image is roughly equal to the old half frame Olympus made in the original Pen series, it fits between APS-H and APS-C at 24.92mm x 18.67mm the reality is cameras like the Sony F35 are closer to APS-C and they fill a screen the size of the Odean Leicester Square with grain free images that almost match the best 35mm film stocks from Kodak. Movie HD cameras come as either CMOS or CCD although they are all going CMOS. Sure four thirds at 17.3mm x 13mm is smaller and more like say 16mm in movie terms but is larger than 2/3" CCD cameras which can also fill the Odean Leicester Square with decent pictures. Sensor sizes are important but you can get great dynamic range from small sensors its the noise that becomes critical (movie HD cameras have anywhere up to 13 stops of dynamic range more than enough for most situations.
Newer sensors like the Panavision SVI Dynamax sensor read data in an entirely new way and can extract the same kind of performance a full frame still camera can in an area less than half the size so dont be seduced into thinking Olympus and the 4/3rds system cannot be improved, it can.
Olympus old sensor partner Kodak are the ones behind Leica S2 camera and they are improving their technology continuosly including a newer version of the bayer pattern which now uses chroma to increase dynamic range over the simple red / green so I would keep hold of those Olympus lenses that were designed for digital completely and are near telecentric in design they definately got one thing right over their bigger competitors.