Terada: New 4/3's body (bodies?) in the pipline for 2013

Started Feb 2, 2013 | Discussions thread
sderdiarian
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Re: What it means - one interpretation of Terada's tea leaves
In reply to DonParrot, Feb 3, 2013

Whether or not Olympus will introduce an E-M5 sensored DSLR with fast AF/improved tracking ability to support HG/SHG lens users and, if so, in which model line (x,xx,xxx) it will be is clearly still a sensitive subject.

Speaking solely for myself, I no longer would mind whether it's a DSLR or mFT provided it accomplishes those goals. Wouldn't have said that a month ago, more on that in a moment.

I've long used an E-510 and E-620 based on my preference for smaller bodies in the OM tradition. Very well featured, sturdily built and comfortable to hold cameras, I really enjoy them both. Stumbling blocks? Behind-the-curve sensors, tunnel OVF's and mediocre tracking ability.

Onto Terada's latest statement:

"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. One of the benefits of DSLR is continuous autofocus. In this respect, we have to promise total AF performance in future."

Compare this with Pekka Potka's interview of Terada on 10/2/12:

"These images led into comments on several usability issues. One of them was of course the present ability to use FT lenses only with quite restricted AF capabilities with mFT cameras. We agreed on the great value invested in FT lenses, both for Olympus and for owners of FT lenses, me included. A few weeks ago I met Mr. Akira Watanabe from Olympus Imaging and he told me that there will be new bodies with which FT lenses will have their real AF performance. Now Mr. Terada gave me a similar, very strong assurance for the future usability of FT lenses. The words were different as Mr. Watanabe told me exactly how he sees FT lensesĀ“ AF capabilities being integrated with future bodies. Because of confidentiality I can't write more on this. Now the situation was more official and Mr. Terada was not as candid on how this integration will be implemented and used more words like "investigate", "research", "discuss" and "no decision (on particular implementation) yet". Even so the message was clear."

Full interview here: http://www.pekkapotka.com/journal/2012/10/2/discussion-with-mr-terada.html

Put the two together and I see this:

  1. Both state a commitment to full usability of 4/3's lenses on a future platform.
  2. Terad'as most recent statement teases us by mentioning the "E400, 500 and 600 series DSLR's", leading us E-xxx users to restart our daydreams of an E-7xx with the E-M5 sensor and actual improvements to their dated E-xxx AF system when it comes to tracking.
  3. He states the obvious when saying "For those users AF speed is important and a suitable finder is necessary." and "One of the benefits of DSLR is continuous autofocus. In this respect, we have to promise total AF performance in future."
  4. He's careful to never state the solution will be a new 4/3's body.
  5. He does state "it needs to be the right size - the benefit of Micro Four Thirds and Four Thirds is compact size.

Putting this together with Pekka Potka's interview I now lean towards thinking they're still working on an mFT body that solves the 4/3's lens AF issues in some manner, not the easier fix of a new 4/3's E-xxx body simply utilizing the E-M5 sensor and updating their AF system as some of us had hoped for. Makes sense given the profits mFT is reaping, and okay by me: it's the results that count.

For E-x and E-xx users his statement about "right size" being compact may seem disheartening, but I wouldn't go there. They've also in the past stated their commitment to their HG/SHG users, and this I would guess will be a re-sensored E-5. Cheap and easy to produce and it will make many loyal users who've laid out a lot of cash for HG lenses happy.

As for myself, I finally replaced my E-xxx's with their new similarly priced model, a reconditioned E-M5 stolen for $750 with 12-50 lens during the fabled GetOlympus website pricing "mistake" just before Christmas (yes, they honored it without any hesitation, kudos to Olympus).

I wouldn't have bought it for full price given my then strongly felt preference for a natural appearing OVF experience along with maintaining tracking ability for birds in flight (which I have been known to joyously torture myself with using my E-xxx's ).

Having now used it for several weeks, I've come to appreciate its virtues. For those who like a very well built and weathersealed small-bodied IL camera, not much to complain about beyond loss of tracking ability. The EVF has been, frankly, a revelation. After tuning it for brightness and color tone it now rivals my E-620 for natural appearance but with the added benefit of being able to layer on a histogram, various grids, and a slew of other information. Or not, and simply shooting uncluttered.

My advice, don't be like I was and judge the newest generation of EVF's without having used them. And their going to continue to get better while still allowing more slender and light bodies. For us smaller body fans, good stuff. Solve AF speed/tracking ability and I'm on board.

E-x users, I'd simply be patient and continue using the excellent E-5 and HG/SHG lenses. My sense from these latest statements, they get it and you will be taken care of.

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Sailin' Steve

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