Biowizard: Nice article, Damien, but one point of order; quote:
"Olympus generally didn’t use big top-plate shutter speed dials until the OM series of 35mm SLRs"
When the OM-1 arrived, one of its best design features was that, unlike any other SLR, its shutter speed dial was NOT on the top-plate: it was a ring around the lens mount throat. Placing it there meant you could control both shutter speed and aperture from similar locations!
No need to talk to Ivor Matanle to confirm this one - I still have my once-new 1976 Olympus OM-1N and set of 4 prime Zuikos, in full working order!
Footnote: when I went to buy my Olympus OM-D E-M1 at Park Cameras a couple of years ago, I took the OM-1N with me to compare them. They are so nearly the identical size, and the styling is incredibly similar. Even more so, than with the two Pen-F cameras you are writing about!
To Brian's footnote about the E-M1's resemblance to an OM camera - you should have a close look at an E-M5 II - it gets several steps closer and is a beautiful design (in my opinion, of course).
Funnily enough, Olympus's only full-frame 35mm SLR prior to the OM-1, the FTL, had a top-plate shutter speed dial like practically everything else at the time - as you say, the OM-1 brought in the "around the lens mount" shutter speed ring to the marque. It wasn't the first SLR to have this, however - numerous leaf-shutter 35mm SLRs had it through necessity, but a big user of this layout which predates the OM-1 but continued into its period was the Nikkormat/Nikomat F series of cameras - the most popular model of their lifespan being the FTn. These were focal-plane shuttered - vertical metal ones, actually, like in modern DSLRs, more or less.
A nice touch with the OM cameras was the Olympus Zuiko lenses having their aperture rings at the front - not common at the time, though it had been in earlier times. This was, I believe, to separate them more clearly by feel from the shutter speed ring - though some Zuiko zooms needed the ring at the back due to their design, so it went there.
Should be, since they are on all the other current and recent Olympuses...
Is it my imagination or does Fuji's announcement above actually seem to contain text copied and pasted from the X-T10's specification? There's mention of "two command dials" and an "Auto mode switch" which don't seem to fit with the X-E2s, unless I'm overlooking something.
RStyga: There is no cost saving (and no logic) behind a plastic mount. Are we certain it is plastic and not metal painted black? Just asking... it'd be very strange to have a plastic mount!
I'm pretty sure cost savings and ease of manufacture have a lot more to do with the plastic mount decision than any safety considerations, somehow. Same as with the plastic bayonet mounts of lenses - these are generally reserved for the more affordable models, in the interests of keeping the price down (and perhaps the weight too).
And referring to a previous suggestion in this thread, I cannot think of any bakelite lens mounts - it was too brittle for the job. Bakelite cameras yes (certain old rollfilm folders, certain Kodak Brownies), and they're all pretty hard to find without cracks and chips.
I just used the term "engineering plastic" as a coverall, since I thought if I said "polycarbonate", somebody would say it's not polycarbonate, it's some other sort of plastic...! I guess the savings are that they can be pretty precisely moulded, and not need much in the way of machining/fettling? It's probably cheaper to use than at least some metals, but of course I don't know for sure. I remember these mounts first turning up in the late eighties (people didn't like the look of them then, either) and they gradually disappeared (or got better disguised as plenty still had plastic claws and still do, but metal seating rings on top) until Sony brought it back on the a58 and now this one.
The bright metal ring you can see is actually the aperture actuator. The seating ring and bayonet claws appear to be a black engineering plastic of some type. This is the same approach as on the still current a58.
GabrielZ: Who's going to want this camera? Its spec seems to be from 2010 or something...plastic lens-mount! I haven't seen one of those since my Minolta film camera from 12 years back. And isn't that Alpha-mount (also of Minolta origin I believe) almost dead in the water by now too?
The still-current a58 also has a plastic lens mount on the camera.
inorogNL: what lenses, what is the problem?
Lenses with plastic mounts were the only problem. Because those mount and unmount with a very smooth action (little friction) on any m43 camera, there was an issue with the E-M10 Mark II's locking pin being a bit too willing to disconnect from the corresponding hole in the back of the lens, apparently. That seems to be because the pin was slightly tapered along its whole length, more so than on previous models. Don't know what they've done with the new production cameras, but on the existing ones, from what I see the fix was to machine a tiny notch across the top and bottom surfaces of the pin, so that it will catch more positively in the hole in the lens mount if it's accidentally partially depressed whilst the lens is rotated.
Samuel Dilworth: In Europe, the defective cameras never got sold. Sales have just started here – I know because I have had a pre-order for a month and finally got mine a few days ago.
Seems to have been worth the wait, by the way! A nice camera at a sensible price.
Actually, they kind of did - they fixed them first and then sold them, pretty much what they said they'd do in the European announcement about the issue - at least that's what happened in the UK (mine is one like that, and none the worse for it, thankfully). I've had it for around a month now.
Patrick Kristiansen: That G5X looks awesome, first time in a really long time I´ve said that about a Canon product. Looks like an OM-D, in fact:)
As an OM-D owner, I don't think it looks at all like an OM-D (I wouldn't mistake them for one another even at 30 feet). Just saying! A bit more reminiscent of Nikon's V2, really...
Markol: Wow, now?With a 3 year old sensor and shutter shock problems that were long denied and ignored, that's a surprise.I love their jpgs and lens lineup, but I tried the E-P5 and got rid of it.I'd love to see Olympus getting out a model with more MP (m43 cropped to 16:9 is a mere 12MP), decent video and sound and OIS that doesn'T make a lot of noise. Ah yes, and once and for all, after so many years, fix the SS problem, without work-arounds. Design a new shutter.
They get very nice results out of that old sensor, though - and they did release an effective fix for the shutter shock issue in the E-P5 some months after its launch (0-second Anti Shock, effectively electronic first curtain shutter operation), which has been provided on the ensuing models too (with the E-M5 II having additional countermeasures - quieter shutter, true EFCS, silent electronic shutter mode etc.). The onscreen info for setting EFCS makes it fairly obvious it's for minimising shutter shock, so it hasn't really been ignored by them at all.
I'm a little surprised they bothered, since a firmware update for the Stylus 1 gave it all of the updated functions (I did it on mine and AFAIK it covered all of them). The new pattern on the 1s grip material is nice and the BLS50 has slightly higher capacity, but these are pretty minor. I suppose they are probably only manufacturing the 1s now. A surprisingly good camera for the sensor size, I've found.
What an excellent update. These are pretty much all the features that the Japan-only Stylus 1s offers. I am particularly pleased to see the small AF target and the replacement of zoom ratio display in the viewfinder with 35mm equivalent focal lengths, as on the m43 cameras. And focus peaking too. Well done, Olympus.
I have a Stylus 1 and it's a decent, pleasant little camera (it's a supplement to my m43 cameras). It's nice that it has the OM-D control interface (largely) and the same EVF. Perhaps the fact that the Stylus 1s won't be sold outside Japan might make it more likely for firmware upgrades to be provided for the Stylus 1 in countries where it will continue to be sold - I'd welcome the small AF spot setting most of all. It might increase the sales a bit amongst those aware of it. The 1s seems so similar that it ought to be quite easy for Olympus to provide a firmware update for the original model in non-Japanese territories, where doing this wouldn't cannibalise sales of the Stylus 1s.
Helen: "Sadly, Auto ISO is not available in Manual exposure mode"
Is that certain? It always has been available on previous models and it would be unusual for Olympus to delete a function, going by their previous track record. It isn't available out of the box, but has always been available after one visit into the appropriate page of the "gears" menus.
Richard - thanks for the update (and the smile!).
I'd still be surprised if Auto ISO in manual has gone away though, given that Olympuses have had it since the year dot. I find program shift useful too, but it does tend to unpredictable and require constant twiddling if one is after a particular aperture and shutter speed combination. Once the instructions are online all will be clarified, I hope. It would be a shame to see the feature go as other manufacturers finally bring it in (e.g. the FZ1000 and also Sony on the a6000).
It's one of those "contradiction in terms" features that sounds illogical until you have a use for it - then you realise how useful it actually can be, and miss it if it's not available. Weirdly, Panasonic stubbornly leaves it out of their m43 cameras, but has included it on the FZ1000, so maybe it will turn up soon in a firmware update if they've had a change of heart about it. Or not - who knows?!
Yes, kind of. It equates to Pentax's Sv mode, really. Comes in handy for certain types of shooting when you want to be sure that (for example) the aperture and shutter speed stay at certain values but the camera still keeps the exposure correct if the light changes. I find it useful for shots of small birds on a fairly nearby feeder, for example.
"Sadly, Auto ISO is not available in Manual exposure mode"