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View Full Version : Interview with Akira Watanabe at PMA 09


Ian
21st February 2009, 02:04 PM
I'm delighted to say that on 4th March in Las Vegas, I will have half an hour or so out of the very busy PMA 09 schedule of Akira Watanabe to discuss the future of Four Thirds and the E-System in particular. Mr.Watanabe is one of the most senior managers in the Olympus E-System business.

If you have any suggestions for questions to put to him - about Four Thirds, Micro Four Thirds, lenses, strategy, etc., you can post them here or send me a forum mail message.

There is no guarantee that I can include all the questions posed, but I will do my best.

Ian

Henk
21st February 2009, 02:55 PM
Thanks Ian,

- Will all 4/3 lenses be upgraded to work with contrast detection AF?

- Will my non-CD AF lenses in which I have invested a lot of money still work reliably on 4/3 DSLR cameras ten years from now?

- What is Olympus' vision on development of Studio?

- I can still make nice prints of photo's on 35mm film made by my grandfather.
Will my grandchildren be able to make nice prints of my digital negatives (orf) thirty years from now?

*chr

snaarman
21st February 2009, 03:39 PM
Any chance of a near-silent interchangeable lens "Leica like" mFT classic camera???

Pete

RogerMac
21st February 2009, 04:27 PM
Any chance of a near-silent interchangeable lens "Leica like" mFT classic camera???

Pete

^^^WHS^^^^

Roger

crimbo
21st February 2009, 05:55 PM
You could ask if Olympus, from a digital photography point of view, are content with their position in the market compared to CaNikon or if they have plans to break that stranglehold ?

With mFT is there an Olympus compact with a 4/3rds chip and raw in development?

With Braun releasing a very basic film SLR is it likely that Olympus may do similar with a DSLR?

good luck and hope you get at least one scoop from the interview

j.baker
21st February 2009, 06:43 PM
Can you ask if they have any plans for a xxx-400mm SWD lens with similar quality to the 50-200mm SWD?

And, can they please swap the XD slot for a SD or another CF card slot.

:)

Zuiko
21st February 2009, 08:08 PM
Can you ask if they have any plans for a xxx-400mm SWD lens with similar quality to the 50-200mm SWD?

And, can they please swap the XD slot for a SD or another CF card slot.

:)

With simultaneous writing to both cards!

Zuiko
21st February 2009, 08:16 PM
Are there any palns to satisfy the growing demands for reasonably fast but compact primes in either E-System or MFT lenses?

Suggestions:-

10mm (20mm equiv.) f3.5

20mm (40mm equiv.) f2

40mm (80mm equiv.) f2

shenstone
21st February 2009, 10:37 PM
You could ask if Olympus, from a digital photography point of view, are content with their position in the market compared to CaNikon or if they have plans to break that stranglehold ?


I think that's got to be the big question, because it's only with that that 3rd party manufacturers will adopt Olympus sooner and therefore the whole add-on market place changes and brings loads more opportunities

The other question which has to relate has got to be on continued noise reduction at High ISO. I'm not a pixel peeper, but it's constantly thrown as a reason for not buying into Olympus and they should be looking to develop from the E-30

Regards
Andy

dbutch
21st February 2009, 10:39 PM
Could the concept of the art filters be taken further? for example could you have a graduated ND filter that when viewed in live view you could adjust the split line to suit the scene (I know it would probably require different iso from different part of the chip but its an idea) Hmm maybe I should start a thread what art filter would you like :)

Have WiFi adaptors (or built in) been looked at? this would be great for event photographers.

The muti angle screen is great for live view but could it be taken further with a removeable screen or additional remote screen with shutter button?

Last I have always thought that an IR sensor for the remote could be duplicated on the rear of the camera, this would make use on tripod or for macro work easier surely that would be easy to impliment?

Cheers have fun at the PMA

Dave

Nick Temple-Fry
21st February 2009, 10:45 PM
Can you ask if they have any plans for a xxx-400mm SWD lens with similar quality to the 50-200mm SWD?


:)

I'll add my call to that one - with the e-3 weathersealed and the format giving an advantage in 'equivalent' focal length, it is an excellent birding/wildlife camera - but lacking the long/reasonably fast lens to make the most of its competitive advantage. I'd suspect a long weathersealed lens would (if properly marketed) drag e-3 sales along behind it.

Nick

Ray Shotter
22nd February 2009, 03:05 PM
Ian,

I would like Olympus to expand the production of their prime lenses to their splash proof standard. In particular a 70mm f2.0 and a 25 mm f1.4. (I am aware that Panasonic/Leica have produced the latter but would prefer Olympus to use their undoubted lens design skills to produce a high quality 25mm also). The 70mm f2.0 would give those of us who like portraiture more scope than the 50mm f2.0 Macro does despite its excellent quality. (When using film, I found a 140mm fast lens invaluable). Shooting with a 50mm f2.0 Macro with 1.4mm teleconverter attached is not quite good enough particularly as the minimum aperture is increased to 2.8.

We look forward to your comments on the forthcoming PMA.

Ray.

Gwyver
22nd February 2009, 05:44 PM
Ian,

Please ask Watanabe-san to confirm that Olympus intend to continue the long-term development of the original 4/3 format range of lenses and high-end DSLR bodies.

I would welcome reassurance that my investment in Olympus glass etc. will not be wasted and become obsolete as soon as product support is withdrawn for the E3.

TIA

sapper
22nd February 2009, 09:53 PM
Have WiFi adaptors (or built in) been looked at? this would be great for event photographers.
The muti angle screen is great for live view but could it be taken further with a removeable screen or additional remote screen with shutter button?
Cheers have fun at the PMA
Dave

Yes please to both of these.

alert_bri
25th February 2009, 11:33 AM
Please ask Mr Watanabe if he can rule out the possibility of a future flagship 4/3rds dslr having 3 sensors and a beam splitter, to provide better than FF sensor quality which would make the current range of FF cams look like dinosaurs.

Or are there any other approaches which offer similar hope for the 4/3rds sensor to outperform FF sensor cams, with 4/3rds standard ZD lenses?

Kind Regards

Brian

Ian
25th February 2009, 08:52 PM
Ian,

Please ask Watanabe-san to confirm that Olympus intend to continue the long-term development of the original 4/3 format range of lenses and high-end DSLR bodies.

I would welcome reassurance that my investment in Olympus glass etc. will not be wasted and become obsolete as soon as product support is withdrawn for the E3.

TIA

Hope the E-620 goes some way to answering this question :)

Ian

Melaka
26th February 2009, 08:03 AM
One of the irritating things about the E3 compared to the E1 is the removal of the auto/manual focus switch. Could we have that back in future models please?

The model numbering system is now getting confusing. The E620 looks more like an E430 and how on earth does the E30 relate to the E10/20? Should that not have been an E6xx? One of the nice things about Minolta was that you could always tell from the model number (3/5/7/9) where the camera fitted in the current range. Could Mr Watanabe please explain?

Melaka
26th February 2009, 10:00 AM
Another thought. The standard Olympus strap is difficult to put on and take off. Can it be replaced with a quick release type such as many forum members will have bought from a third party?

Steve Lane
26th February 2009, 10:50 AM
Any chance of a near-silent interchangeable lens "Leica like" mFT classic camera???

I would like very much to see this too. Also, more prime lenses for 4/3 please. Finally (and apologies for keeping on banging on about it!), multi spot metering in either 4/3 or m4/3 (or both!).

Regards, Steve.

HughofBardfield
26th February 2009, 02:10 PM
I know a lot of people (especially on the various Flickr sites) are begging for a tilt-shift lens in around the 14mm-17mm range - along the lines of the legendary 28mm and 35mm OM optics. Something along the lines of the new Canon TS-E 17mm f4 would be very nice, Watanabe-San.

A wide T/S combined with the smaller, lighter 4/3rds bodies could open a new market among architectural photographers. After all, who cares about high ISO performance in that market???

And another vote for the wonderful multi-spot metering from the OM4... much more useful than the so-called "Art filters"...

Archphoto
26th February 2009, 03:36 PM
I vote for a shift lens !
I am using the 7-14 for architecture right now, together with the 11-22.
Works good, but a shiftlens would be better.

Peter

Invicta
27th February 2009, 07:39 PM
Hi Ian,

I would be grateful if you could ask Akira Watanabe the following question:

1) With the latest four-thirds sensors is the near telecentric construction of lenses optimised for the Four Thirds standard still an advantage or has improvements in sensor design reduced the advantage of telecentric designed lens?

I would also be interested to know:

2) Is there is any publically available information on the timescale for the E-3 replacement?

3) What is the roadmap for new Zuiko lenses in 2009?

sapper
27th February 2009, 08:03 PM
I vote for a shift lens !
I am using the 7-14 for architecture right now, together with the 11-22.
Works good, but a shiftlens would be better.

Peter

Oh yes please!!

dbutch
27th February 2009, 10:34 PM
Putting thinking cap on for a second - ding

M4/3 has a nice space between standard 4/3 lens and the mount for which an adaptor is required - how about a tilt shift adaptor option to allow 7-14 and 11-22 to be used as TS lenses on m4/3:)

Mr Watanabe can PM me to get my address for the royalty cheque*chr

Dave

Graham_of_Rainham
27th February 2009, 11:06 PM
Please request the return of multi-spot metering. Ask him to look back at how well it was received on the OM4 and C8080.

Also the storage of MyMode onto a card, with the capability to set/edit the settings in Master/Studio.

Thanks

Invicta
10th March 2009, 05:29 PM
Hi Ian,

Some good questions in this thread so I am keen to hear the outcome of your interview with Akira Watanabe. Any idea when it will be published?

Ian
10th March 2009, 05:46 PM
Hi Ian,

Some good questions in this thread so I am keen to hear the outcome of your interview with Akira Watanabe. Any idea when it will be published?

Originally there was going to be a set 1-2-1 in a meeting room, but this was changed and we talked over dinner instead. So it was not possible to record the conversation. I have made notes, and will have to parphrase the answers. Mr.Watanabe has also asked me to do him a favour - he has asked me ask all of you (and the folks at FTU) to propose all your favourite wishes and expectations for future Olympus developments, in order of priority.

I will collect the data and then present it to him. Watch this space!

Ian

Ian
10th March 2009, 05:48 PM
Please request the return of multi-spot metering. Ask him to look back at how well it was received on the OM4 and C8080.

Also the storage of MyMode onto a card, with the capability to set/edit the settings in Master/Studio.

Thanks

Unfortunately, Mr.Watanabe was personally not convinced that multi-spot metering was a good idea. So don't hold your breath on that one...

Ian

Ian
10th March 2009, 05:49 PM
Putting thinking cap on for a second - ding

M4/3 has a nice space between standard 4/3 lens and the mount for which an adaptor is required - how about a tilt shift adaptor option to allow 7-14 and 11-22 to be used as TS lenses on m4/3:)

Mr Watanabe can PM me to get my address for the royalty cheque*chr

Dave

I did mention this to him, and he thought it was quite a good idea :)

Whether it has enough importance in relation to the lmited development resources is another matter.

Ian

Ian
10th March 2009, 05:55 PM
Hi Ian,

I would be grateful if you could ask Akira Watanabe the following question:

1) With the latest four-thirds sensors is the near telecentric construction of lenses optimised for the Four Thirds standard still an advantage or has improvements in sensor design reduced the advantage of telecentric designed lens?

I would also be interested to know:

2) Is there is any publically available information on the timescale for the E-3 replacement?

3) What is the roadmap for new Zuiko lenses in 2009?

There was a firm no comment with regards to the E-3 replacement. At least one more model further down the model line up will appear first.

Only the 100mm macro is confirmed. I did mention fast primes and a longer telephoto, and he is very aware of these requests.

I also asked him about the status of the E-3 as a pro camera. He accepts that the E-3's specification precludes it from being the main system camera for most top pro photographers, but he says that in Japan a good number of such pros use an E-3 as a supplementary system, for particular jobs, and especially for work in bad weather environments.

Actually, this doesn't surprise me - I have seen a picture of a top Japanese pro sports photographer who has both Canon and Nikon DSLRs and lenses, for example.

Ian

dbutch
11th March 2009, 09:16 AM
I did mention this to him, and he thought it was quite a good idea :)

Whether it has enough importance in relation to the lmited development resources is another matter.

Ian

Well there you go :)

Thanks for asking.
So how do you propose doing a rated wish list?

Dave

Dicky
11th March 2009, 10:44 PM
i'd like an INFRA RED sensative body so i can hand hold my I-R pics :D and allso a split image focus screen so i can manually focus accuratly ..esp with legacy lenses or maybee even some new manual focus wide primes

HughofBardfield
12th March 2009, 02:06 PM
Unfortunately, Mr.Watanabe was personally not convinced that multi-spot metering was a good idea. So don't hold your breath on that one...

Ian


:eek::confused: You have to ask yourself whether he actually uses a DSLR for serious photography if he doesn't understand how useful it was and could be. If it could be done on the OM4 as far back as 1983, it should be a very, very simple thing to introduce on modern cameras.

This idea keeps coming up (and not always from the same people) so I hope it will be well up the wish-list when compiled.

Perhaps a poll would be the easiest way?

Ian
12th March 2009, 02:43 PM
:eek::confused: You have to ask yourself whether he actually uses a DSLR for serious photography if he doesn't understand how useful it was and could be. If it could be done on the OM4 as far back as 1983, it should be a very, very simple thing to introduce on modern cameras.

This idea keeps coming up (and not always from the same people) so I hope it will be well up the wish-list when compiled.

Perhaps a poll would be the easiest way?

I will see if I can get an explanation for Mr.Watanabe's view on multi spot metering.

Of course you do get spot metering, with highlight and shadow spot metering modes. It's not the same as averaging a number of spot readings, I know, but it's not something I miss, personally. Taking lots of readings can slow you down, for a start? Or you can bracket very easily with digital, which was wasteful in film days.

Ian

dbutch
12th March 2009, 03:59 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if the view relates to the fact we have multi-zone ESP metering these days that with a bit of computer power thrown in is more accurate that the old centre weighted in a lot of scenarios so using that with the highlight and shadow spots should cover most things. And yes I do have an OM4 still and think the multi spot was great.

Now if multi spot could be used to set the tonal range...

Dave

maccabeej
13th March 2009, 01:00 PM
Now if multi spot could be used to set the tonal range...

Dave

And Ansel Adams eye built-in too, please.

Jim

talepictures.com
15th March 2009, 06:58 AM
I will collect the data and then present it to him. Watch this space!

Ian

Good news that he'd like to here what we think. Should we be posting somewhere our wishes or are you in the processbof setting up a feedback or voting system of some sort? I'd certainly like to contribute.

Zuiko
15th March 2009, 08:23 PM
I will see if I can get an explanation for Mr.Watanabe's view on multi spot metering.

Of course you do get spot metering, with highlight and shadow spot metering modes. It's not the same as averaging a number of spot readings, I know, but it's not something I miss, personally. Taking lots of readings can slow you down, for a start? Or you can bracket very easily with digital, which was wasteful in film days.

Ian

I never found multi spot metering on the OM4Ti to be as useful as I thought I would. Take too many readings and you might just as well have taken a centre weighted reading anyway. Surely the whole idea of a spot reading is to take it from a carefully chosen mid tone that you want correctly exposed within a scene of difficult lighting conditions? If you are skillful enough to select an area with the correct tone in the correct lighting then a single spot reading is enough, job done.

Far more useful on the OM4T1 was the option of locking a spot reading into the memory for up to an hour, which preserved the recorded EV value regardless of what exposure compensation you set. This was a real boon when taking landscapes with the camera tripod mounted in difficult and constantly changing light, where the illumination you wanted occurred only fleetingly and unpredictably. Could we have that memo facility instead of multi spot, please?

Then again, with the ability to adjust shutter speed on the modern E-System in half or third stop increments (as opposed to full stops only on the OM4Ti) it's just as easy in the situation I described to spot meter in manual mode and bracket by changing shutter speed. :)

Something I'd much rather have would be electronic focus confirmation when using manual focus legacy lenses. ;)

Oh, BTW, the best way to spot meter is with a seperate Pentax Digital Spot Meter. A fantastic and deadly accurate piece of kit that knocks in-camera spot metering into a cocked hat!

Xpres
15th March 2009, 11:07 PM
Are we going to see a write up of the interview/dinner then Ian?

crimbo
16th March 2009, 07:14 AM
Are we going to see a write up of the interview/dinner then Ian?

You could start with the menu :D

snaarman
16th March 2009, 08:36 AM
Something I'd much rather have would be electronic focus confirmation when using manual focus legacy lenses. ;)

Yes, yes yes. Three more votes here for that suggestion...

Pete

PS, once they have got the above modification sorted, can they post it as an upgrade to the 510 400 420 etc etc

Xpres
16th March 2009, 10:52 AM
The panasonic L10 has focus confirmation for MF lenses. I've been playing with it a little and really haven't managed to get on with it yet. It's a very different experience from confirmation with a AF lens as the focus doesn't lock so it's forever blinking and is quite distracting when you're used to looking at the image for focus.
How it is implemented is quite important. I would like something in the middle of the viewfinder telling me if focus is right in a particular area. But this is no good for a firmware update and a different route perhaps for AF, so unlikely.
the only thing the green dot is useful for is tripod stuff with a static subject.

crimbo
31st March 2009, 01:23 PM
Are we going to see a write up of the interview/dinner then Ian?

Did time become available to write the interview up?

Stewart G
15th October 2012, 01:47 PM
(oops, just noticed the date of this thread, so forget everything that follows.....)
My question would be what does Olympus really expect a customer to do, a customer (like me) who loves the E series, owns a modest collection of 4/3 lenses? To suggest I switch to micro or wait for an expensive pro model is to risk losing me as customer. Is Olympus okay with that? (Not that I have any such plans, but Olympus doesn't appear to have any products planned that meet my needs, like a 620 with the new sensor in it, or even just the e-5 brains inside a cheaper dslr.)

Zuiko
15th October 2012, 01:48 PM
My question would be what does Olympus really expect a customer to do, a customer (like me) who loves the E series, owns a modest collection of 4/3 lenses? To suggest I switch to micro or wait for an expensive pro model is to risk losing me as customer. Is Olympus okay with that? (Not that I have any such plans, but Olympus doesn't appear to have any products planned that meet my needs, like a 620 with the new sensor in it, or even just the e-5 brains inside a cheaper dslr.)

That's fair comment, Stewart.

Stewart G
15th October 2012, 02:10 PM
Thanks, John, for not pointing out my idiocy. Is embarrassing to be such a sloppy post-er. I blame the coffee. And I'll confess that the OMD does generate a kind of "got the hots for the cheerleader" feeling. I've used evf cameras in the past, thought they were a marvelous invention.

Zuiko
15th October 2012, 02:44 PM
Thanks, John, for not pointing out my idiocy. Is embarrassing to be such a sloppy post-er. I blame the coffee. And I'll confess that the OMD does generate a kind of "got the hots for the cheerleader" feeling. I've used evf cameras in the past, thought they were a marvelous invention.

There's a lot to commend Micro Four Thirds and it could not have come at a better time in my life for a number of personal reasons, but it's not for everyone and doesn't yet fulfill every requirement to the standard of a DSLR. I do think it is short-sighted of Olympus not to throw their loyal DSLR users a bone in the form of an exising budget/mid range camera with an updated sensor, just as a stop gap until the focus issue of Four Thirds lenses is resolved and available in an entry level OM-D.