Bottom line for new OMD Camera and some key comentary

Started Jan 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Raist3d
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Bottom line for new OMD Camera and some key comentary
Jan 21, 2012

Seems like the new OMD camera bottom line boils to two things: (as in important two big questions unanswered):

  • sensor - GX1, GH2 class tech or something new/different

  • can it autofocus 4/3rd lenses fast

You will notice I didn't mention the EVF, and that's because I expect the EVF to be pretty good. So I would like to talk first about it because I have read by now many comments pointing out that the Nex 7 has a higher rez. This also brings the interesting point of Nex 7 and this camera being at a similar price potentially, more on that below.

The EVF:

EVF being lower rez- I honestly don't think Sony/Nex-7 will have the upper hand on this one- or to put it another way- make the OMD EVF any less nice. While the Sony EVF is the highest resolution one, it also has some noise and starts to lose refresh rate in lower light situations which take away from its advantages.

I really expect the EVF of the OMD to not suffer from this- to keep up the refresh rate and low noise. My hunch comes from what I saw Olympus did with the EVF with the Pen 3. If they were hyping the EVF in an interview as a unique selling proposition for this camera (i.e. key feature why anyone would want to buy it), the EVF can't s*ck.

The camera will probably come out at a price similar to the Nex 7. I still think the OMD can holds its value because it does something unique the Nex 7 isn't doing which is the weather sealing, along with what I expect will be a better interface for photographic use.

I personally would take an EVF of 1.4 megapixels that can operate in a very wide range of conditions with low noise, fast refresh vs one that is higher resolution but falls apart a bit when light goes lower- but then I do some low light photography.

Sensor:

I think it is very unlikely this is a new sensor design outside of what Panasonic has. I expect yet another Panasonic sensor tweaked. To me the question is - GX1/G3 class or GH2 class (technology wise, not the oversized sensor with multiple aspect ratios).

With the GX1 class sensor, things move forward but not as much as I think they should. But still, at the rumored price taken as a whole, the camera woudl look competitive. There would be a big difference if this camera was priced say at the $1700 USD bracket, but priced at the $1,100 bracket with this sensor seems to me reasonable when looking at the camera as a whole. ISO improves a little, DR not so. Would be interesting to see if the rumors claim on better DR apply only to JPEGS which is sort of meaningless as far as sensor tech performance goes.

Even a bit better ISO combined with the recent faster primes starts to get more interesting for lower light needs.

Ignore the ISO 25600 - that's a marketing ISO, just like 12800 was on the current pens. But it may mean that ISO 3200 may be pretty decent and 6400 fairly usable. This combined with the recent faster primes again, gets interesting.

With a GH2 class sensor it would actually put the camera closer to the typical distance that has always existed from 4/3rds to APS-C. ISO improves, and DR improves. If it has this at the $1,100 USD bracket, I would find that fairly competitive.

In either case I expect a sensor tweak, probably for higher speed (maybe higher fps or maybe finally some decent continuous AF capability). Would be a first if the camera could do continuous focusing well- a first for contrast autofocus. Of those two I would rather have them focus on the continuous autofocus rather than the faster fps.

Since the sensor would be Panasonic, I am not sure if they will be able to eliminate the dreaded banding but the new Panasonic sensors are more resilient to it.

43rds compatibility

Something tells AF speeds rivaling the E-5 with 4/3rd lenses isn't happening yet. But I have heard from someone I trust that the AF of 4/3rd lenses has improved with the newer pens, so I would imagine at least another step of improvement is not too far fetched- just no E- 5 speeds just yet. I base this on Olympus recent interview with commentary of yet another model that should unify both systems.

Other general thoughts

If Olympus is truly aiming semi-pro market here, I really do expect the ergonomics and interface reworked a bit. In particular, no more "canon power shot" dial on the back. I fear for an E-3/E-5 interface of buttons too close to each other and a dial operation, but hopefully they will have the commonsense to put a PASM dial realizing that it wasn't that hot of an idea to do that on the E-3/E-5.

I think there's a good chance this could be Olympus best camera overall to date since the E-1/E-330/e-4xx. Weather sealed, fast, good ergonomics and small. If the sensor is GX1 class the price can't go too high to look fairly competitive, imho. The $1,100 rumored body only sounds about right.

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Raist3d/Ricardo (Photographer, software dev.)- "You are taking life too seriously if it bugs you in some way that a guy quotes himself in the .sig quote" - Ricardo

Olympus E-1 Olympus E-3 Olympus E-5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 Sony Alpha NEX-7
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