CP+ 2013: Interview with Olympus' Toshi Terada

The long wait for the next generation of cameras for Four Thirds may soon be over, suggests Olympus' Toshi Terada, Manager, Product Planning SLR products. He also discusses the role the OM-D has played in increasing uptake of mirrorless cameras in the USA and the future of compact cameras now that smartphones have become many users' cameras of choice.

The progress of mirrorless in the USA

'Market share for mirrorless is increasing in the USA. It's not booming, but it's growing. Now Canon and Nikon have mirrorless products, that will help increase awareness of what mirrorless is and what the benefit is. In addition, the OM-D has become a really big topic of conversation in both the US and Europe. Those two factors are creating a better situation for the mirrorless market,' he says.

'We have three groups of people buying our cameras - OM-D users are mostly people who would have bought a DSLR, then you have users stepping up from compacts and buying PEN models. Then, finally, you have DSLR users who are buying PEN as a second camera. Other manufacturers aren't targeting all those people.'

'DSLR-type users are used to beautiful lenses but we also like to offer lenses for the step-up users - lenses like the 45mm. One of the main reasons for buying a DSLR or mirrorless is the good image quality, including shallow depth-of-field. The kit lens is versatile but to give the shallow depth-of-field you need a fast lens. The 45mm is positioned as a 2nd or 3rd lens, as is the body cap lens. We'd like to offer attractive lenses for both DSLR-type users and step-up users.'

'In Japan, the work to encourage people to buy a second lens has been a success. The 45mm lens has sold well world wide, and in Japan, not only DSLR-type of users, but also Step-up users have purchased it.'

The future of Four Thirds

Building on the promise Olympus has made about continuing to support Four Thirds users, Terada suggests the wait may nearly be over: 'Direction-wise, we'd like to produce products for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds within this year. Because we have to provide a product for users with SHG and HG lenses. And there are people using E400, 500 and 600-series DSLRs, we have to provide products for them to keep enjoying their photography.'

'For those users AF speed is important and a suitable finder is necessary. And also it needs to be the right size - the benefit of Micro Four Thirds and Four Thirds is compact size. We have to provide those things to benefit those users. One of the benefits of DSLR is continuous autofocus. In this respect, we have to promise total AF performance in future.'

They can be confident about image quality, he says: ''They already know image quality from the OM-D. Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds sensors are the same size, so they can imagine that.'

Where now for compacts?

'Smartphones have had an impact on compact camera sales - especially for affordable compacts. We have to make some kind of differentiation from smartphones, whether that's in terms of image quality, optical capabilities or photographic control,' Terada explains: 'We've shifted to high-value products - long zoom, enthusiast compacts and TG-type cameras that have benefits to differentiate them from smartphones.'

'From a sensor aspect this can mean bigger, but a camera need optics. To have optics with an APS-C sensor, capability cannot be offered. Another format combination is something I can see happening - you need to have something that works size-wise as well as quality-wise. If you consider APS-C, you're never going to make a very compact lens. Maybe 1", 1/1.7" or some intermediate could exist in the future, I can't judge at this moment,' he says, and maintains there's some fight left in 1/2.3": 'the XZ-10 is still attractive - together with a nice lens and imaging chain it can offer a big difference from smartphones.'

Comments

Total comments: 242
12
Ulfric M Douglas
By Ulfric M Douglas (Feb 2, 2013)

Is it more delaying waffle (we've seen that already) or an "almost there" teaser?

3 upvotes
Ross the Fidller
By Ross the Fidller (Feb 2, 2013)

Patience Ulfric! ;)

1 upvote
Michael Jardine
By Michael Jardine (Feb 2, 2013)

I love my E-PL5. I'm a DSLR owner (D800) so I opted to go without the EVF, in return for being able to drop it into my pocket (along with the wonderful Lumix 20mm lens).

From what I've researched, the E-M5 and E-PL5 have the best sensors of the MTF group (subjective, I admit) but here are the two main drawbacks, compared to the DSLR world:

- Focus tracking and continuous focus are horrible; don't even bother trying to shoot any kind of action.

- Low light photography maxes out at IOS 1600 and even that is not as good as ISO 6400 on my D800. Ok, subjective again.

- The other drawback is that the manual settings are all buried in the menu. This drives me nuts. But now I have saved settings for my four favorite 'usages' so it's not too bad.

All my photos in the past month were taken with this camera and just two lenses, the Lunix 20mm and the Oly 45mm that is mentioned in the article.

http://qamera.tumblr.com

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Feb 2, 2013)

Like your photos and like your comments .. and agree most of what you said above, and its good that you mentioned "subjective" on most of those points .. bec those are controversial!

The only real drawback I consider is continuous focus on fast moving subjects. Lets see how Pany GH3 will compare on that front.

Pany 20mm and Oly 45mm are my favourite primes too .. also try 14mm f/2.5. Its excellent with its close focus photos, with beautiful outof-focus blur!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hakeem-na/sets/72157628843861947/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hakeem-na/sets/72157628891088035/

0 upvotes
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Feb 2, 2013)

I have both D800 and OMD. Both have their strengths and weak points.

For focusing OMD is excellent in single shot mode. Its CDAF is more accurate and consistent than PDAF in AF-S mode with D800. Period. With D800 I've been frustrated many times by amount of slightly misfocused shots because differences in calibration for each focus point or lens curvature issues etc. No such problems with OMD because focusing is measured on sensor level.

I also may partially disagree about low light quality of D800. After 1600 ISO noise and DR really starts to get worse and by 6400 ISO I'm not sure anymore. I was surprised to find banding noise in visible dark areas already at 3200ISO or which may be hard to clean. For low light work D800 is not the best camera at the moment. That crown might belong to EOS 6D.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
12 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Feb 2, 2013)

@DarkShift well said 6D Or maybe Fuji X-Trans, atleast what one can see on DPR comparison in RAW mode!

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Feb 2, 2013)

"Low light photography maxes out at IOS 1600 and even that is not as good as ISO 6400 on my D800. Ok, subjective again."

Wrong, 1600 on your E-PL5 is better than 6400 on D800. Parity is about ISO 2000-2200.

3 upvotes
plasnu
By plasnu (Feb 2, 2013)

yep. Lumix 20mm is great.

0 upvotes
Robert Eckerlin
By Robert Eckerlin (Feb 2, 2013)

Toshi Terada told: "'For those users AF speed is important and a suitable finder is necessary " .

I am interested in a relatively light/compact camera with an ***OPTICAL*** Viewfinder and a relatively compact and light Zoom lens in the range of 18mm-150mm

3 upvotes
alexpaynter
By alexpaynter (Feb 2, 2013)

I have made mention of this in other threads but i will bring it up again. I used to have a Canon MC camera. It was 35 mm f2.8 film but very compact.

Of course it is nice to have a zoom but many enthusiasts are now opting for fixed lenses like Fuji X100s. I know some of those photographers want a contol ring on the lens but with auto focus getting better with every generation how often will we use manual focus. And with a couple of easily accessible control dials at the finger tips the lens dial wont be missed.

Was there something intrinsically different about the Canon MC which allowed its lens to be so compact? I would really love a full size sensor without the projecting lens. Especially with a Fuji style sensor. Even though it would be a compact it doess not mean the should skimp on the lens quality.

A camera like this would be my ideal. Basically it would be a full frame X100s but more compact.

My only other gripe is that compact cameras do not have stronger built in flashes. The X100s has a guide number of 9. The canon 60d has 12. They could at least match this. I believe that with modern technology a guide number of more than 15 should be possible with a lens angle equivalent of 35 mm on a full frame.

0 upvotes
IrishhAndy
By IrishhAndy (Feb 2, 2013)

Olympus fail to realise that their biggest asset is their glass. I did not buy into fourtthirds because it was small and compact. It was for the lenses. I did not buy the om-d because it was small. I bought it because I thought olympus had stopped making dslr's and I thought they would provide good glass for micro.

I was mistaken. They continue to churn out rehashes of plastic lenses and price gouge on the lens hood etc. Yes they have one or two nice lenses at weird focal lengths but that is not going to work. Where is the high grade 14-54? Where is the 50-200mm ?

As it stands they are lucky that panasonic make video cameras, sony have no lenses and fuji are mad as a box of frogs. When the competition get their act together they will once again be left in the dustl.

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
18 upvotes
KrisPix
By KrisPix (Feb 2, 2013)

Great news ... even if Olympus only brings out just a high-end E-7 this year hopefully there would be an affordable E-xx or E-xxx model sometime in the not too far future as well.

0 upvotes
IrishhAndy
By IrishhAndy (Feb 2, 2013)

If they ever make another E it will be mirrorless or hybrid. I would not hold my breath.

2 upvotes
Carlos Echenique
By Carlos Echenique (Feb 2, 2013)

No, the headline is correct for words ending in "s". Single apostrophe after the "s" to denote possession. I have experienced this for my entire life as my first name ends in "s". "Olympus's" is redundant.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 2, 2013)

no, not Olympussy

0 upvotes
Swagon
By Swagon (Feb 2, 2013)

I was taught to use trailing apostrophe only for plural possessive, such as "Birds' beaks come in many shapes." However, singular possessive always gets 's, even when ending in s. My church constantly gets this wrong with Jesus's name (which is the correct way). These rules were absolutely drilled into my head as a high school sophomore by the best grammar teacher I ever had. Thank you, Mr. Shibley. I'm nearly 50 now, but remember most of what he taught me; he was that good.

2 upvotes
audiobomber
By audiobomber (Feb 2, 2013)

"Rule: To show singular possession for a word ending in an s or s sound, use the apostrophe and another s.
Examples: the class’s opinion (one class), a bass’s stripes, Marx’s theories, Dickens’s novels
Rule: To show plural possession of a word ending in an s or s sound, form the plural first; then immediately use the apostrophe.
Examples: the classes’ opinions, the basses’ stripes, the Williamses’ car, the Soos’ house, the Marxes’ children"

http://data.grammarbook.com/blog/apostrophes/apostrophes-with-words-ending-in-s/

PS The above is not what I was taught, but I'm willing to reconsider.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
LKJ
By LKJ (Feb 2, 2013)

That headline should say "Olympus's Toshi Terada". The trailing apostrophe is plural possessive only.

3 upvotes
Alpha Whiskey Photography
By Alpha Whiskey Photography (Feb 2, 2013)

That's the calibre of writers/editors they have on DPreview. Not very enlightened.

0 upvotes
Ulfric M Douglas
By Ulfric M Douglas (Feb 2, 2013)

I think " Olympus' " is right, that's the way I was taught.

6 upvotes
photoguy622
By photoguy622 (Feb 4, 2013)

Ulfric is right. If the word ends in an S, you do not add and apostrophe S because it would be awkward to say.

0 upvotes
andix
By andix (Feb 2, 2013)

Like many others, I too sold the gear that I absolutely LOVED - an E-3 and an E-5 with three fantastic lenses. I'm sure I will miss them dearly but life moves on while Olympus is still stuck in the past with their DSLR branch.
Granted, I'm shooting OM-D today but it's not the same thing.

What I actually wanted to point out is that the interview above is one fine example of non-committal, empty PR. It's all generalities and no substance anywhere. The BS horn was blaring all through the reading. What I am thinking at this point is, Olympus is a sore loser and can't get over the fact that they missed their opportunity (or last chance) on the DSLR market after dropping the E-5 onto their fanbase then forgetting about it altogether. They'd like to grab that market again but it's kinda sorta beyond their reach now.

Sorry, Oly. Get your sh*t together and keep working on the m4/3 thingie. We'll forgive you for the E-series blooper - just don't open that can of worms anymore.

4 upvotes
Darrell500
By Darrell500 (Feb 2, 2013)

Wow don't open that can of worms anymore? Sorry you sold your fine E5 mine still works fine and is barely a couple years old. I still have a fine stable of good HG lenses and dream of adding as many SHG as I can afford.

Olympus never said they gave up on 43rds, yes things were a little tight for a while with the scandle and management changes but that was to be expected. Now Olympus is having some success with their OMD and I think with a few updates and the OMD sensor they will have a winner on their hands with the new E7 or whatever they call it.

6 upvotes
robmanueb
By robmanueb (Feb 2, 2013)

I was hoping they would give up 4/3 and stick to m4/3, now they will bleed development money trying to play catch up with Canikon who have that market sown. Instead they should stick to mirrorless were those competitors have only just got a foot in. Develop some nice lenses for m4/3. :)

0 upvotes
Ross the Fidller
By Ross the Fidller (Feb 2, 2013)

Yes, there are a number that have sold their 4/3's to get an OM-D but maybe after the development of using the new sensor in the OM-D & now the PENs, they might just surprise us. We'll see.

1 upvote
andix
By andix (3 months ago)

(one year later)

And we saw.

0 upvotes
Sangster
By Sangster (Feb 2, 2013)

Is Nikon onto something with their 1" S, J, V series? Their lenses are very compact compared to 4/3.

1 upvote
Fazal Majid
By Fazal Majid (Feb 2, 2013)

Bodies aren't, though. The big advantage of the Nikon 1 system is the fast PDAF, but Nex has it now, and soon Fuji as well.

0 upvotes
noirdesir
By noirdesir (Feb 2, 2013)

NEX has PD AF but not fast Pd AF.

0 upvotes
deep7
By deep7 (Feb 2, 2013)

I hope this isn't too late for Olympus, in that they may have lost a lot of ground over the last two or three years. Sadly, I already shipped off my 4/3 gear and moved to another brand. I loved my E3 but the sensor was getting really dated. The E5 was only marginally better for a LOT more money than a second-had E3.

I miss the lenses, the amazing autofocus and the weather-proofing but, in the end, it wasn't enough. I really, really hope 4/3 has a resurgence. Olympus has been wonderfully forward-thinking and could produce an ideal system for many.

2 upvotes
Darrell500
By Darrell500 (Feb 2, 2013)

I disagree that the E5 was only marginally better then the E3. The E5 was and is a stellar camera and actually is quite adequate in most lowlight situations up to 1600 ISO.

0 upvotes
robmanueb
By robmanueb (Feb 2, 2013)

I really hope 4/3 doesn't have a resurgence. I would rather see them make a clean break from that and concentrate on m4/3, which do do pretty well, if they went hard they could cleanup in that field...

1 upvote
Ross the Fidller
By Ross the Fidller (Feb 2, 2013)

@robmanueb
You might like to see that clean break, but that's just you. Others are still hoping for something to use their HG & SHG lenses on that is current in performance. And those lenses weren't just throw away toys either.

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
88SAL
By 88SAL (Feb 2, 2013)

I wonder if the 4/3 sensor could be introduced into compacts. its cetaintly not APS-C sized but with that being said look at the large sensor SonyRX100 - it is reatively compact while offering great performance. Im sure readers could agree that a 4/3 sensor with some compact optics, a 12-50 f2 (remember 2x crop) lens or something similar might offer a compelling compact product, especially if its under $400USD. We dont need a compact zoom camera that is a brick like the RX1 or X100 by Fuji for an occasional use performance compact. (dont get me wrong, lovely cameras, awesome cameras - but think smaller).

0 upvotes
Albino_BlacMan
By Albino_BlacMan (Feb 2, 2013)

Look at the 14-35 f2 Olympus made for 4/3 ... No way a 12-50 f2 is going to be anywhere near compact

1 upvote
supeyugin1
By supeyugin1 (Feb 2, 2013)

4/3 sensor is 2 times bigger than Sony's RX100. The lens won't be compact as Sony. Look for example at Canon G1X. Its sensor is 2.3 times bigger than on RX100.

0 upvotes
Swagon
By Swagon (Feb 2, 2013)

I have the Oly 12-60mm f/2.8 for my 4/3rds E620. That lens is pretty big -- certainly not compact. Going to micro 4/3rds and cutting down the maximum zoom to 50mm might help shrink it a little, but asking for f/2.0 brings the size right back up.

BTW, I hope to stick with Oly DSLRs. I love the color and exposure. Every time I see Canon and Nikon photos unmanipulated from the camera, I am so glad we have Olympus. I know this is a controversial opinion, but it has to do with my preferences. Oly, please don't change your recipe any more than you already did. I am referring to my judgement that the older E420 had just slightly nicer colors and exposures than the E620. I still have the E420, and can't bring myself to sell it for this reason.

0 upvotes
SkiHound
By SkiHound (Feb 2, 2013)

I think optics kind of becomes the limiting factor with sensor size. The RX100 looks like a great compact camera. But the lens, which is pretty fast at the wide end, is pretty slow at the long end. By comparison, the Panny LX7 which has a much smaller sensor has a much faster lens. And the sensor in the RX100 is considerably smaller than a 43 sensor. Someone might be able to create some kind of folded optics (like you find in some of the all weather cameras) that would make this doable, but my impression is that those kinds of lenses suffer poorer IQ. Physics just imposes some constraints on camera design.

0 upvotes
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Feb 2, 2013)

The 4/3 sensor has twice the area of a 1" sensor (as in the RX100) but that is area, not linear dimensions. In width, it is a little over a third wider (17. 3mm vs. 13.2mm). The width, height, and depth of a camera are proportional to the sensors linear dimensions. And the electronics, controls, and LCD don't scale at all. For an example of good packaging, check out the RX1 and RX100. A 4/3 compact would have to be bigger than the RX100, but probably not by much. Just depends on how much zoom range you want and how slow a lens you find acceptable.

0 upvotes
g7star
By g7star (Feb 2, 2013)

I like Olympus' point of view on compacts (and the sensor sizes) better than Canon's.

2 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (Feb 2, 2013)

To me this hints that a 1" "xz-2" is at least being considered. I think that's great news: match it with a fast lens please

0 upvotes
g7star
By g7star (Feb 2, 2013)

You mean "xz-3"? Sounds good to me.. Hopefully they don't make it any bigger than xz-2 though.

0 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Feb 2, 2013)

At this point I just want to see a 4/3 product hit the shelves. I've heard enough talk since the E5- and I don't think I'm alone thinking that way. Talk is somewhat reassuring but a product is the pudding. This is the best talk yet since the E5, that's for sure, but lets hope something good comes for 4/3 this year. I'd hate to see another mount lost for DSLR shooters, no matter what brand I shoot at the time.

Carl

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 2, 2013)

the design of the Oly 4/3" is a failure. the design of the Pana 4/3" is a less failure. Oly should move on to NEX (Sony invested heavily though they are more interested in medical equipment). both Sony and Oly have challenges in lens design but things will change if they can unite the two departments.

0 upvotes
Darrell500
By Darrell500 (Feb 2, 2013)

Thanks for clearing that up for me, so glad to hear my E5 is a failure. If you mean 43rds is a failure in the market place then there is some truth in that statement but if you mean as a camera then please do tell?

0 upvotes
Timbukto
By Timbukto (Feb 2, 2013)

Portrait shot with OM-D + 45mm 1.8 wide open and its very sharp.

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Feb 2, 2013)

sharp on a low resolution body.

MZ45mm f/1.8 is a 88mm f/3.5 equivalent on a 35mm format body. this lens is easy to design and low cost to make. compared to 85mm f/1.8 lenses on the market, the MZ45mm f/1.8 should worth about 100 US.

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Light Bender
By Light Bender (Feb 2, 2013)

Yes and the moment one of these other manufacturers can make an 85mm f/1.8 the size of the M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, I'll be the first one to buy it...

12 upvotes
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Feb 2, 2013)

@yabokkie

I don't quite follow you. Zuiko 45/1.8 is already way cheaper than fe. Nikkor 85/1.8 AF-S G. The Zuiko is small, fast and silent. The Nikkor is not small and silent. And sadly AF-S on my D800 has lacking accuracy compared to CDAF on my OMD. Focus points have been adjusted twice and I'm not still sure about it. PDAF has its issues and the Nikkor doesn't have true USM AFAIK.

Nikkor 85mm on D800 will deliver better quality, but when this extra quality is not needed I prefer grabbing OM-D instead.

3 upvotes
Timbukto
By Timbukto (Feb 2, 2013)

I shoot FF with an 85 1.8. It is Canon so not quite as sharp wide open as Nikons but has super fast AF with accuracy that does not make me yearn for CDAF. Also on FF wide open chances are more of the frame is OOF instead of in focus so I care about longitudinal CA.
First in APS-C none of the 50mm even compare and their PDAF results are marginal, especially Canons 1.8...the Nifty Fifty has crap AF or wide open performance. Nikon is better but now the price heavily makes up the MFT premium gap. But still rather marginal PDAF results on D7000.

Also low resolution sensor is a joke unless some of the best performing APS-C sensors are also low. Finally it has IBIS.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Dennis Linden
By Dennis Linden (Feb 2, 2013)

Bring on the e7 em7 and shg hg lenses!

1 upvote
Roger Engelken
By Roger Engelken (Feb 2, 2013)

Thank you for posting this article and interview. As an E-5, E-620 and E-420 user, along with several of the Zuiko four thirds mount lenses, I would welcome continued investment in the line by Olympus. Time alone will tell.

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
Entropius
By Entropius (Feb 2, 2013)

What I'd love from Olympus, honestly: pretty much any new DSLR with the E-M5 sensor and a quality AF system, along with a 300 f/4 SWD lens.

0 upvotes
RichardTerrio
By RichardTerrio (Feb 2, 2013)

Sell all of your DSLR Olympus equipment and switch to the OM-D5 and build our system arround the future.

4 upvotes
Total comments: 242
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