Weight comparison m43 v APS-C

Started Feb 18, 2012 | Discussions thread
Anders W
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Re: Bizarre Sony lens
In reply to Melbourne Park, Feb 22, 2012

Melbourne Park wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Could be but I am far from sure. Obviously, IBIS does cost something in terms of bulk and weight. But how much? Look at the PENs and compare with corresponding GF/GX models. Not much difference. Or look at the GH2 versus the E-M5. Again not much of a difference. Furthermore, for the size of a system, as opposed to a single body-lens combo, the OIS solution is likely to cost more in terms of size/weight since it has to be built into every lens.

No need to look at the Gs. Just look at the NEX, and also the Fujifilm X Pro-1, which is even thinner than the Sony. And those cameras have larger sensors. It was Olympus who mostly established the standard, and the bottleneck on width was not just about how to compensate for light issues and lens issues towards the edges of the sensor. The other issue was IBIS. Without it, the platform would have been thinner than NEX, because the sensor is smaller.

As far as camera depth goes, the distance from the bayonet to the sensor is fixed, across all m43 cameras. Hence Panasonic has to put up with a deeper body than they could have designed. But no one is stopping them installing an IBIS system.

And then - we get back to video. I recall reading an interview with the chief of the camera division of Panasonic, when the GH1 was announced. He was very proud of the 14-140 lens, in that it could constantly adjust its aperture, in order to keep the light constant when videoing. It was discussed at the interview, about how Sony was shocked by the GH1's video technology. Sony had and has an enormous mission for its video (and likely still burns about Betamax!!) and they said at the time how much they were impressed by the GH1. And the commentators said they were shocked and cross about its threat. At that time, IBIS did not work with video - but OIS did.

To achieve competitive advantage, what was Sony to do to counter m43? Clearly, they had an edge in sensors - if not in their tech, but also the market's perception of sensor size equating to quality. m43 showed that even to consumers. So Sony would have listed competitive advantage:

1 - Sensor Size

And they'd have worked around that. And of course, guess who would have been driving that sensor issue? The sensor division. The one that makes most of its revenue, from supply Nikon.

So then, Sony had to have a video performance that was comparable to Panasonic. I know this, because when the GH1 was announced, many commentators were talking about the GH1's video, and also that Sony were concerned about it and would likely not allow Panasonic to establish a saturation of a value based, compact sized, large sensor video capability. Hence, IBIS would not work. And with the translucent cameras that came later, their video IBIS overheated, despite being in quite large bodies. The technology for IBIS video was simply not available.

Plus, IBIS and APS-C would have made their new platform thicker.

So, they put down as #2 on their competitive advantage list:

  • 2 Camera body size.

And they had OIS expertise in their video lens areas, and also their small camera areas, but the video lens areas was more relevant because of the size of video lenses being large. I had a prosumer Sony video - a Hi-8 model, years ago, with an OIS system that was outstanding. Its lens was quite heavy. At the time, Sony's OIS was inferior to a Canon's video OIS, which had more movement. Later on, Canon innovated further with video OIS, which had more movement. Interestingly, the IBIS that Olympus has invented, provides superior steady capabilities than OIS. It resembles a "Steady Cam". Its quite a break through.

But Sony did not have time to develop something like that, and besides, the politics might have blurred even its possibility.

This is all my own views, but it all adds up.

Thanks for your additional thoughts. I think we are mostly in agreement about these things although I remain a bit sceptical about how much of a difference IBIS actually makes with regard to body thickness and, consequently, how much of an impact it actually had on the decision-making. Note here that while Fuji and NEX both have a shorter flange distance than MFT, the difference is very slight (about 18 mm versus about 19 mm). Further, a bigger sensor does not automatically force greater flange distance as far as I can see (with our without IBIS). Yes, the sensor grows in terms of surface area, but thickness? Perhaps a tiny amount but that's all.

However, I think you might be spot on when you bring video into the picture. That's what I had in mind in my prior post about the way different brands had chosen between IBIS and OIS. When Panasonic, Sony/NEX and Samsung went mirrorless, they hesitated to go with IBIS because it seemed rather unclear at the time how well IBIS would manage with video. But the E-M5 will perhaps show that (by now) it works perfectly well.

Do you happen to know how well Pentax SR manages with video? Or how well Sony SLTs handle it? I haven't really looked into this but merely picked up the reports about the A55 having to be turned off after a while due to the risk of overheating.

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