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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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Old 19th November 2015
Ricoh Ricoh is offline
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U43 format - why 1/4 FF

When the U 4/3 format was conceived I wonder why Olympus and Panasonic chose 1/4 of the the 35mm FF. It would seem more logical to have chosen FF, like other Mirrorless formats, eg Sony and Leica.
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Old 19th November 2015
SteveJ SteveJ is offline
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Re: U43 format - why 1/4 FF

To make a compact interchangable lens camera system.

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Old 19th November 2015
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Graham_of_Rainham Graham_of_Rainham is offline
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Re: U43 format - why 1/4 FF

Size matters! It always has to Olympus.

I was shooting with a Fuji X100T yesterday and while not FF, it was noticeably larger than my E-P5. Not by much, but when you look at the FF CSCs they really are considerably bigger and heavier.

It's also worth remembering the 4/3rds system was designed from scratch, rather than evolving from 35mm lenses with digital bodies made to fit.

Ultimately it can only ever be the final product, on which judgment is made, so the quality of the print or the image on your HiRes screen, is the one true test.

Having "played" with a lot of different systems, my choice of Olympus has always been based on the way it works for me, and the end results.

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Old 19th November 2015
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Re: U43 format - why 1/4 FF

The 4/3rds system was designed (I believe) around a telecentric model whereby light at the edges of the frame was (nearly) perpendicular to the sensor as CCD sensors suffered severe performance loss with incident light. This meant that the exit lens and the sensor must be of similar size. To have gone for a bigger sensor would have meant that the rear of the lens would be much bigger and so impact the overall compactness of the system. The telecentric design meant that the system punched well above its weight in terms of sensor size. The switch to CMOS sensors half way through the system lifespan meant that incident light falloff is not so much an issue but it was too late by then to change. MFT specifications are based on the 4/3rds specifications hence the same size sensors.
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Old 19th November 2015
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Re: U43 format - why 1/4 FF

Hi Graham,
I'm aware of capabilities myself as I'm able to compare the u43 next to my FF (35mm) digital. Certainly for web use or indeed for normal monitor size and resolution it's hard to see much difference. Perhaps the distinction I would draw would be noise, especially at high ISO. However I wasn't trying to elicit any sort or format war, I'm just curious how u43 came into being. I doubt the clever designers in Japan came up with the format without first conducting some market research, but perhaps not. The Sony Walkman was a good of example of technology driving the market, and likewise the iPad.
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Old 19th November 2015
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Re: U43 format - why 1/4 FF

Can't seem to 'thank you' using the buttons OM User, so I'll do it this way!
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Old 19th November 2015
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Re: U43 format - why 1/4 FF

One of the more comprehensive "reasoning" can be found: HERE

The image sensor in a digital camera can be compared to a "deep well." You cannot see the bottom of the well unless you lean over it. In the same way, light inclined at an angle cannot reach the image sensor (i.e. the bottom of the well). Many of the current interchangeable-lens D-SLR cameras using traditional 35 mm film camera lenses are very susceptible to loss of sharpness, chromatic aberration, and shading of peripheral areas.



Wide-angle type lenses are especially problematic since oblique light inclined at a large angle tends to enter the peripheral areas.
ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-54mm F2.8-3.5, at 14mm (28mm : 35mm equivalent) 35mm film camera zoom lens, at 28mm

With the Four Thirds system, the diameter of the lens mount exceeds the sensor size and the digital-dedicated lens design allows all the light (even on the periphery) to travel perpendicularly to the surface of the image sensor. The result is a sharp, clear image reproduction throughout the image plane.
Linear propagation of light and the high imaging performance made possible by the digital-dedicated design are the biggest features of the Four Thirds lenses.
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Old 19th November 2015
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Re: U43 format - why 1/4 FF

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricoh View Post
When the U 4/3 format was conceived I wonder why Olympus and Panasonic chose 1/4 of the the 35mm FF. It would seem more logical to have chosen FF, like other Mirrorless formats, eg Sony and Leica.
At the time (hugely important factor!) the 35mm sensors were very very expensive, certainly a niche market, not consumer.
Using a 4:3 ratio at least made better use of the image circle while the sensor size allowed the E-1 to maybe be profitable considering sensor cost.

These days I think they would have used a bigger sensor but still the excellent 4:3 ratio.

C'mon Olympus, DO IT.



Olympus 35mm would be a larger sensor then "full frame". Think about it.
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Old 19th November 2015
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Re: U43 format - why 1/4 FF

Remembering back to the heady days when 4/3rds came out there was some mention of the mount diameter (hole for the lens) being compatible with TV / video cameras.
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Old 19th November 2015
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Re: U43 format - why 1/4 FF

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricoh View Post
When the U 4/3 format was conceived I wonder why Olympus and Panasonic chose 1/4 of the the 35mm FF. It would seem more logical to have chosen FF, like other Mirrorless formats, eg Sony and Leica.
I thought 4:3 was half the size of a 35 mm film frame?
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Old 20th November 2015
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Re: U43 format - why 1/4 FF

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Originally Posted by Naughty Nigel View Post
I thought 4:3 was half the size of a 35 mm film frame?
On the diagonal, yes, but 1/4 in terms of area. I was referring to the latter as I believe the comparison is more meaningful in such terms.
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Old 20th November 2015
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Re: U43 format - why 1/4 FF

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulfric M Douglas View Post
At the time (hugely important factor!) the 35mm sensors were very very expensive, certainly a niche market, not consumer.
Using a 4:3 ratio at least made better use of the image circle while the sensor size allowed the E-1 to maybe be profitable considering sensor cost.

These days I think they would have used a bigger sensor but still the excellent 4:3 ratio.

C'mon Olympus, DO IT.



Olympus 35mm would be a larger sensor then "full frame". Think about it.
I suspect cost was a significant factor, the result was probably a workaround.
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Old 21st November 2015
Harold Gough Harold Gough is offline
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Re: U43 format - why 1/4 FF

I'm grateful that the short flange to sensor distance (20mm) allows just about any legacy film lens to be used on a body, via suitable adapters and tubes, as required.

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Old 22nd November 2015
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Re: U43 format - why 1/4 FF

It's a reflection of design decisions made in the early to mid 2000s. Back then big sensors were expensive and tele-centricity was important (as Graham's post has illustrated above). Would they make the same design decisions today? I doubt it, but for me it's still a highly relevant standard since it delivers an excellent blend of compactness and performance.
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Old 22nd November 2015
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Re: U43 format - why 1/4 FF

Ultimately, it was just an arbitrary design decision that through luck, and the the later decision to go with a new mirrorless mount, is still relevant. Size matters to me, but I'm still looking into a modest full frame kit to complement Micro Four Thirds.
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