Translation of interview with Ogawa Haruo about M4/3 (part I)

Started Aug 12, 2008 | Discussions thread
OP Hokuto Veteran Member • Posts: 4,908
Re: Translation of interview with Ogawa Haruo about M4/3 (part III)


DCW: Certainly, it should be possible to overlay on EVF or liveview displays a wealth of information that would be impossible on conventional optical viewfinders. That’s an important point to look forward to, but on the other hand, one can’t escape the negative impressions regarding the speed of response [for immediate shooting]. Can we surmise that you have announced the M4/3 standard at this point because you are able to now see shooting response with an EVF approaching that of an SLR system?

OGAWA: Practical use of liveview has been considerably improved with the E-420, and if we continue improving that system, we anticipate it will be possible to use it at a level without significant problems. Technical development continues to advance. However, if one asks whether it is currently on a level with current SLRs, it’s not there yet, no. We want to develop M4/3 over a long span of time, so please take things on a bit more of a long-term view.

■ No Problems with Telecentricity

DCW: The mount diameter has become smaller, but will that cause any problems with telecentricity?

OGAWA: The original 4/3 standard used a very large mount diameter, so reducing it by 6mm will not cause any problems. The concept of introducing light rays at a perpendicular angle to the sensor will carry on into the M4/3 system.

DCW: “Back-illuminated” imaging sensors are steadily becoming more realistic, and with the introduction of imaging processing technology that eliminate low-pass filters, it seems that telecentricity won’t be so necessary in the future as it is now. If so, then the length of wide angle lenses will become shorter, so it should be possible to make an ultra-compact system that makes the most of the benefits of the short-back-focus distance. I really thought that the M4/3 was going to be seated firmly in order to take advantage of that kind of technological direction, but . . .

OGAWA: “Certainly, it may turn out in future that telecentricity is not required so much as it is today. But at present, technological development hasn’t progressed to that point, so we continue to believe that telecentricity is important. Telecentricity in the 4/3 system does not exist merely as numbers sought in lens design, but represent a common consciousness among the manufacturers participating in the 4/3 consortium. We don’t know what the future may hold, but it doesn’t make sense to make lenses for use only in cameras that use a certain kind of sensor, so for the present we continue to design lenses with an important emphasis placed on telecentricity.

DCW: The M4/3 supposes a compact imaging sensor with interchangeable lenses that have short back-focus. Assuming an EVF, the borderline with video cameras will become more and more ambiguous. Do you also have a consciousness of including motion video capture? For example, it you had a camera that not just allowed conventional “video” shooting, but was specially oriented toward shooting with interchangeable lenses on a par with “movie making”--that would represent quite an interesting development.

OGAWA: We have our eye on moving pictures, yes. But there would be nothing interesting if it were merely the addition of a video function [like ordinary P/S cameras]. As you say, [true] movies are the continuous shooting of still images, so we think it would be interesting to have a camera that shot movies with the same sensibility as our own still-picture images. In that, we can take advantage of the excellent 4/3 lenses. Afterwards, it would be nice is we had functions that linked to SNS sites and movie upload sites.

DCW: Have you thought of building a camera that uses the 4/3 sensor, but without interchangeable lenses?

OGAWA: We haven’t considered it in particular. Of course, there may be talk of using a 4/3 standard sensor in a compact camera, but we aren’t thinking of defining that kind of product as part of the M4/3 standard.

DCW: Two additional pins have been added between the lens and body, but what are they going to be used for?

OGAWA: They’ll be used to enhance the control characteristics of the lens. They’ll allow the lens to extend more rapidly and more accurately than before.

DCW: Can we understand it to mean that the focus positionng accuracy will be increased by two bits?

OGAWA: Well, one can pretty well estimate how behavior will change by increasing control bits by 2. It will mean greater accuracy.

DCW: The 4/3 standard started as an open lens-mount standard, but how will the M4/3 standard be treated?

OGAWA: Already five years have passed since we first announced FourThirds, and our corporate stance toward digital cameras has become settled. Panasonic aggressively stepped forward and so we jointly made the M4/3 standard. But when many items have to be negotiated between individual corporations, the pace of advance slows down, so we can’ t do this with any company that isn’t aggressive about it. In that sense, it’s different from before. We’re still canvassing for partners, but it won’t be a completely open standard.

DCW: With the M4/3 system it should be possible to use Leica M-mount lenses through a converter. I’m excited about the potential of using those old interchangeable rangefinder types of lenses, but will it be possible?

OGAWA: As an interchangeable-lens camera system, [M4/3] will have the shorgest flange-back distance, so it should be possible. I personally hope that it becomes possible. As a lens-mount standard, some problems may occur in guaranteeing operation, so it may not be possible to support it from the corporate perspective, but I do hope that it comes about.

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