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  #31  
Old 8th March 2011
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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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Originally Posted by padgreen View Post
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.
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.

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  #32  
Old 8th March 2011
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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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Originally Posted by Ian View Post
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.
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  #33  
Old 8th March 2011
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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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Originally Posted by padgreen View Post
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!
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  #34  
Old 8th March 2011
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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
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!
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!
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  #35  
Old 8th March 2011
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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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.

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  #36  
Old 8th March 2011
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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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.

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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.

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  #37  
Old 8th March 2011
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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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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.
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  #38  
Old 8th March 2011
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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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... 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!
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  #39  
Old 8th March 2011
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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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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.
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  #40  
Old 8th March 2011
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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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?
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  #41  
Old 9th March 2011
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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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.

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  #42  
Old 9th March 2011
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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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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.

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  #43  
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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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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.

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  #44  
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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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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.

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Re: Olympus presence at Focus on Imaging

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Originally Posted by drmarkf View Post
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.

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