Future of Four-Thirds

Started Jan 21, 2013 | Questions
ctlow
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Future of Four-Thirds
Jan 21, 2013

Copied from a E-5 news  article (newbie, didn't realize at first I wasn't in a "forum"):

It's all a bit agonizing for an E-620 owner (former E-500). Very happy overall although I'm sure that Olympus wishes it had designed the whole FT line with bigger sensors - the only thing which has really impinged is the poor low-light capability.
Back in the 1970s my siblings all got Olympus TRP-35s - very simple battery-less cameras which took great photos, with at that time very respected lenses. Just to say that it is the lens on which I concentrate the most attention.
But: should one stick with the Olympus FT system? Selling it and starting with something else will be expensive! At the moment, I'm looking for a Leica f25 f1.4 lens - not cheap, even used. What happens when/if the body fails and I have all these lenses and all that's available are upper-end E5s and maybe something like an E7? Pricey for an amateur photographer!
OTOH, my son just got into Nikon, and whatever happens with that in the future won't be for the frugal either!

I like my camera system. What's its future?

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stiger
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Re: Future of Four-Thirds
In reply to ctlow, Jan 21, 2013

What's the Future?

A question all of us here would like the answer to.   I'm thinking maybe a poll taken on DPR. Not just on the Olympus forums but in a general out in the open poll, if that's possible. The outcome may force a public announcement.

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chasfox
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Re: Future of Four-Thirds
In reply to stiger, Jan 21, 2013

The Sony 16mp sensor came too late to save 4/3 which was always held back by poor sensors except perhaps for the E330/L1.

If the E5 had launched with the OMD EM5 sensor, the image quality with high end 4/3 lenses could have reinvigorated 4/3, leading perhaps to an E630 or E40 with the same sensor.

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Historicity
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Re: Future of Four-Thirds
In reply to ctlow, Jan 21, 2013

ctlow wrote:

Copied from a E-5 news article (newbie, didn't realize at first I wasn't in a "forum"):

It's all a bit agonizing for an E-620 owner (former E-500). Very happy overall although I'm sure that Olympus wishes it had designed the whole FT line with bigger sensors - the only thing which has really impinged is the poor low-light capability.
Back in the 1970s my siblings all got Olympus TRP-35s - very simple battery-less cameras which took great photos, with at that time very respected lenses. Just to say that it is the lens on which I concentrate the most attention.
But: should one stick with the Olympus FT system? Selling it and starting with something else will be expensive! At the moment, I'm looking for a Leica f25 f1.4 lens - not cheap, even used. What happens when/if the body fails and I have all these lenses and all that's available are upper-end E5s and maybe something like an E7? Pricey for an amateur photographer!
OTOH, my son just got into Nikon, and whatever happens with that in the future won't be for the frugal either!

I like my camera system. What's its future?

I went through this set of issues some time ago and came to a conclusion not shared (I discovered) by many; yet nothing has occurred in the interim to make me want to change it.  I too liked the FT system and so decided to stock up on the bodies I liked.  One shouldn't forget that the DSLR, and not just the FT, is a mature design.  It has been tweaked by every manufacturer, and every new model by anyone is going to involve more minor tweaking, moving the buttons about, changing the look, producing copies of different colors, giving you more pixels than you need.  And all that is okay.  We buy new cars (most of us) not because of new designs (the "car" is another mature design concept), but because we've worn out the old one.

And if you agree with me so far, then there is a simple solution.  Buy one or two more E-620 bodies.  These should last you until the price of the E-5 drops.  At that time you could buy two or three of those in good condition and they will undoubtedly last longer than you will.

While the "answer" I've provided is logical and sound it doesn't take into consideration "techno-lust."  We don't need a newer FT, but we lust after it.  And if Olympus won't make us one, and the additional lenses we don't need but lust after as well, we are going to lust after something new by someone else.

Now while I've followed my own advice up to a point, that is I have 3 copies of the E-420 & 2 each of the E-1 & E500, as well as an E-3 & E-520, I am not immune to Technolust & when I determined that a Pentax camera was very like the E-3 (the price at the time hadn't dropped enough to suit me) I purchased a K-20.  I liked it a lot and later purchased a K-7 as backup.

I don't need low-light capability, but if I did, the K-5 line (Pentax keeps tweaking this one) provides excellent low-light capability at a cheaper price than the E-5 which isn't as good in that respect.  But I do need weather-proofing and for a time only had the E-1.  It was while waiting for the price of the E-3 to drop that I discovered the weatherproofed K-20.

Now, if Olympus announces that they don't intend to build any more FTs I am well covered.  I would pick up an E-5 (or two) when the price drops.  In the meantime if Technolust overcomes me I can buy a K-5.

In your case, owning just an E-620, I suspect you aren't using it as I use mine, i.e., on hikes and in bad weather; so you might consider a second brand other than the one I've chosen.  But don't give up on your E-620.  Why should you?  It is still going to be able to produce the photos you are presently happy with for many years to come.

Lawrence

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rovingtim
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Oly has already said its abandoning 4/3rds
In reply to ctlow, Jan 21, 2013

Olympus is no longer developing the 4/3rds system:

http://www.43rumors.com/olympus-surprise-we-will-do-the-hybrid-ft-and-mft-camera-by-end-2013-no-classic-ft-e-7-camera-anymore/

and here ...

http://www.43rumors.com/official-olympus-press-conference-news/

What they are hoping to do is succeed in finding a way to practically focus 4/3rds lenses on a new m4/3rds body.

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dave gaines
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Olympus didn't say that
In reply to rovingtim, Jan 21, 2013

The Blogger, 43Rumors specualtes it. Olympus CEO, Garcia said there would be a new Olympus camera by the end of 2013 that will fully utilize the 4/3 lenses. There's nothing new in that interview that wasn't stated in the press release from Olympus that is linked by the OP above.

You and a few others keep repeating that 43Rumors blog like it was from Olympus. If you go to the source article from Quesabesde and read it carefully  it's obvious Olympus made a very short, reaffirming statement and the blogger went on at great length to guess what might be coming.

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dave gaines
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Future of Four-Thirds, tea leaves and lottery numbers
In reply to ctlow, Jan 21, 2013

ctlow wrote:

Copied from a E-5 news article (newbie, didn't realize at first I wasn't in a "forum"):

Did you copy something from this article? I only see your personal experiences here.

Spec's for the next DSLR camera, slated for release later this year, is anyone's guess. It will fully utilize 4/3 lenses. We all expect it to have the latest best sensor from Sony, as good or better than what's in the EM-5 today. Most rational people expect it to be an E-7 type upgrade to the E-5.

Olympus developed the 4/3 line before the release of the E-1 in 2001 with a system they felt fully utilized the advantages of digital sensors of that day. The 4/3 term comes from the archaic 4/3" TV tube that matches the image circle surrounding their 17 mm x 13 mm sensor. It's one quarter the area of a 35 mm film plane. Olympus could have built a camera to fit all those great OM film lenses if they wanted to use a 36x24 mm "FF" sensor. The type of sensor, not the size, is what's limiting Olympus high ISO ability. Canon and Nikon supposedly have both gotten better performance out of APS size sensros, which are not much bigger than 4/3.

Since Panasonic/Leica is no longer producing the 25 mm f/1.4 DSLR lens your only choice is to buy a used copy. It's a great lens for low light shooting like night photography with available light, portraits with isolation and for a normal focal length. With the new higher ISO Sony sensor in a good DSLR this lens could be an ideal lens for events like weddings and evening parties.

Since our Olympus DSLR cameras are still going strong, your E-620, a lot of E-30, E-3 and the E-5 are fairly new, we should get plenty of use out of our cameras for more than long enough to see what Olympus offers next. By the end of 2013 we'll know what Olympus' new DSLR is going to be.

The notion that Olympus will offer micro 4/3 owners yet another upgrade to the Pen and OM-D lines defies logic. They just realeased the EM-5 less than a year ago. It wasn't available for purchase until about 8 or 9 months ago. Among MILC it's a best seller today. Releasing anything better/newer would kill sales for the EM-5. Olympus is not likely to kill sales on a camera they put a lot of R&D dollars into.

The idea of a hybrid is not possible, since the set-back flange distance is different for the 4/3 and micro 4/3 systems. An adapter is required to use a 4/3 lens on a m4/3 Pen or OM-D. You can't use a m4/3 lens on a 4/3 body no matter how much anyone wishes for a hybrid. That's not going to change. What's missing from the m4/3 line is PDAF and CAF that fully utilizes the 4/3 lenses.

Any adapter capable of making 4/3 lenses fully utilized on m4/3 bodies, that incorporates PDAF and CAF, is going to cost upwards of $650. That prices the OMD at $1950 for camera, grip and adapter, which is not competitive with any DSLR in it's league.

A lot of micro 4/3 MILC owners are hoping for more. They want the OM-D advanced to the point of equalling a DSLR in focusing those fine 4/3 lenses with PDAF and CAF. MILC may get there someday, but it's not there today. This wishfull thinking is just gear lust talking. Don't expect an upgrade to the OM-D for several years.

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rovingtim
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I'll gladly eat my words ...
In reply to dave gaines, Jan 21, 2013

if a new 4/3rds body or lens appears. That last serious effort was the warmed over E3 called an E5. The 150 macro was cancelled.

The tea leaves indicate that, for now, 4/3rds is at an end. Everything is looking m4/3rds.

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luckyakash
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Re: Oly has already said its abandoning 4/3rds
In reply to rovingtim, Jan 21, 2013

rovingtim wrote:

Olympus is no longer developing the 4/3rds system:

http://www.43rumors.com/olympus-surprise-we-will-do-the-hybrid-ft-and-mft-camera-by-end-2013-no-classic-ft-e-7-camera-anymore/

and here ...

http://www.43rumors.com/official-olympus-press-conference-news/

What they are hoping to do is succeed in finding a way to practically focus 4/3rds lenses on a new m4/3rds body.

So they finally are saying this? Always through rumors. Any 'unofficial' pdf documents out there yet?

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MilSooper
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Re: I'll gladly eat my words ...
In reply to rovingtim, Jan 21, 2013

rovingtim wrote:

if a new 4/3rds body or lens appears. That last serious effort was the warmed over E3 called an E5. The 150 macro was cancelled.

The tea leaves indicate that, for now, 4/3rds is at an end. Everything is looking m4/3rds.

Would you like salt and pepper?

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luckyakash
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Re: I'll gladly eat my words ...
In reply to MilSooper, Jan 21, 2013

MilSooper wrote:

rovingtim wrote:

if a new 4/3rds body or lens appears. That last serious effort was the warmed over E3 called an E5. The 150 macro was cancelled.

The tea leaves indicate that, for now, 4/3rds is at an end. Everything is looking m4/3rds.

Would you like salt and pepper?

You saying?

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Darrell500
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Re: Future of Four-Thirds, tea leaves and lottery numbers
In reply to dave gaines, Jan 21, 2013

Diddo what Dave says and besides SHG lenses are going at fire sale prices grab them now to use on a new body that fully utilizes FT lenses, that Olympus says is coming late 2013. I might add the E5 is no slouch in lowlight, I shoot events and weddings with the f2 zooms and they are sweet! As for the 25 1.4 Sigma stopped making it but you can still pick up very nice used copies, I highly recommend it.

Quick everyone sell your SHG's cheap before they stop working!

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CollBaxter
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Re: Future of Four-Thirds
In reply to ctlow, Jan 21, 2013

I am just sitting tight and waiting to see what happens. I would love to buy some cheap SHG glass but not until Olympus does it or gets off the pot.   

I will be around for awhile. 4/3 cameras will also be around for awhile.

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dave gaines
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Rumor has it that...
In reply to luckyakash, Jan 21, 2013

luckyakash wrote:

rovingtim wrote:

here ...

http://www.43rumors.com/official-olympus-press-conference-news/

What they are hoping to do is succeed in finding a way to practically focus 4/3rds lenses on a new m4/3rds body.

So they finally are saying this? Always through rumors. Any 'unofficial' pdf documents out there yet?

Rumor has it ... That's not reality.

Read those articles carefully and see what Olympus said and what parts are speculation by the bloggers. The Olympus quote is 1 sentence. The rest is advocacy, which is two steps down from journalism. Rumors, guessing, speculation and wishful thinking are not facts nor official Olympus press releases. Olympus doesn't say anything through these rumor sites. These sites exist to entertain and sell advertising.

A day or two before Olympus is ready to release the next camera, they'll tell us what it's going to be. Not a day sooner.

'Hoping to find a way...' . Hoping that Olympus will find a way to create PDAF and CAF that's good enough for 4/3 lenses is just wishful thinking. Other cameras may have taken a stab at PDAF on sensor but they have patents on those methods. Olympus will have to create their own magic electronics. They haven't done it yet or it would be available already. For all the reasons I gave above, Olympus is not going to release an upgrade to the EM-5 anytime soon.

Sigma beat Olympus to the punch with their 150 f/2.8 macro lens. Olympus had a 100 mm macro lens on it's lens roadmap a few years ago. Today it's not a big gap since the 50 mm f/2 is a 100 mm equivalent and you can add the EC-14 for 140 mm EFL. The EX-25 and 50-200 or 40-150 make excellent macro lenses with longer reach. But a longer focal length macro requires a faster shutter speed, thus a wider aperture with less DOF. A long reach also doesn't work as well with a ring flash. The Olympus ring flash and twin flash wouldn't fit on a 100 mm f/2 lens due to the required lens diameter. A 100 mm f/4 lens would not be considered a HG or SHG lens so how good would the IQ be and what would it have to sell for, $300? And now there's the 70-300 mm macro lens that will shoot at 150 mm. A 150 mm macro lens is not an advantage except for maybe working in bright sunlight with skittish dragonflies and butterflies.

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R2elk
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Re: I'll gladly eat my words ...
In reply to luckyakash, Jan 21, 2013

luckyakash wrote:

MilSooper wrote:

rovingtim wrote:

if a new 4/3rds body or lens appears. That last serious effort was the warmed over E3 called an E5. The 150 macro was cancelled.

The tea leaves indicate that, for now, 4/3rds is at an end. Everything is looking m4/3rds.

Would you like salt and pepper?

You saying?

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He isn't saying anything but that is the best news I have heard in a very long time.

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Roger Engelken
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Re: Future of Four-Thirds, tea leaves and lottery numbers
In reply to Darrell500, Jan 21, 2013

With the purchase of the 35-100 SHG ZD lens two weeks ago, I have completed my set of those lenses.  Depending on your point of view, a fire sale now and then is not a bad thing 

Of course now I own them so then a fire sale could be considered a bad thing. 

With all this, who needs tea leaves and lottery numbers.

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Craig from Nevada
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Re: Future of Four-Thirds, tea leaves and lottery numbers
In reply to Roger Engelken, Jan 21, 2013

Roger Engelken wrote:

With the purchase of the 35-100 SHG ZD lens two weeks ago, I have completed my set of those lenses. Depending on your point of view, a fire sale now and then is not a bad thing

Of course now I own them so then a fire sale could be considered a bad thing.

With all this, who needs tea leaves and lottery numbers.

Dragging the 35-100mm obviates the need for gym membership.

You are saving money.

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ctlow
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Re: Future of Four-Thirds, tea leaves and lottery numbers
In reply to dave gaines, Jan 22, 2013

dave gaines wrote:

Did you copy something from this article? I only see your personal experiences here.

Sorry, I meant I copied it from my comments on a News article - didn't realize at first that I wasn't in a forum.

Anyway, thank for all of that, and to the many others with excellent observations and analysis. (Historicity Lawrence, for example.) I'm quite surprised at how busy this place is ... having visited dpreview.com for many years but "joining" just yesterday. What a lot of replies in a very short time!

I'm having difficulty finding out what kinds of sensors are in which cameras. I have found that the E-620 has a Panasonic Live MOS sensor. Is that good? What would be better? (Why?) Where would I find that? Apparently, all of the FT E-Series cameras use Panasonic sensors.

Is the small size of the Olympus E-Series sensor really not a limitation, compared with larger sensors with Nikon, Canon, etc.? Isn't there a correlation between sensor-size and low-light performance?

So, I think I'll go ahead with that Panasonic 25mm f1.4 lens if I can find one.

Thanks very much again.

Charles

P.S. Any idea how many E-Series cameras Olympus has made? It's not always even mentioned after  Nikon and Canon, Pentax and several other "newer" camera-manufacturers.

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dave gaines
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Four-Thirds sensor types for next camera
In reply to ctlow, Jan 22, 2013

Hi Charles,

Apparently the E-620, E-30 and E-5 all have the same 12.3 MP Live MOS sensor. When Olympus created the E-5 they upgraded the E-3 to put the better sensor that was already in the E-30 and E-620 and to reduce the AA filter. I think it's a fine sensor. Everyone seems to rave about the Sony 16 MB sensor Oly put in the OM-D EM-5 for it's higher ISO performance and better resolution. Some people like the 16.1 MP Panasonic sensor in the Panasonic m4/3 GH-2 and GH-3. We all expect the next DSLR camera, later in 2013, to have the Sony sensor or the next better one that may be available for development now.

The 36x24 mm sensors in Canon and Nikon "full frame" DSLRs have an adavantage of low signal to noise ratio or High ISO performance, resolution and DR compared to the 4/3 size sensor in Olympus. There's not much difference in size between 4/3 and APS sensors. For the FF sensors there is a considerable cost for the same weatherproof, rugged, mag alloy body. Also compare the lenses required for the two systems. Compare equivalent focal length lenses at the same f-stops. For FF you need all the best f/2.8 lenses to get the high IQ that it offers. When you get to any telephoto lenses Olympus has a big cost and size advantage. When Olympus builds a new DSLR with the best 4/3 sensor available today then the differences in high ISO performance, resolution and DR will be a lot less.

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Roger Engelken
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Re: Future of Four-Thirds, tea leaves and lottery numbers
In reply to Craig from Nevada, Jan 22, 2013

And following the Doctor's orders for more exercise.  I lugged the E-5/35-100mm and E-620/50-200mm combos around yesterday seeking bald eagles.  Those two combinations with a couple miles hiking....just what the Doctor ordered.  

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