Another harebrained scheme to make 4/3 more popular?

Started Sep 22, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Wyepics_Wizard Regular Member • Posts: 126
Another harebrained scheme to make 4/3 more popular?

I was thinking (this is based on a post I made on another thread) that there is a way to open the market for Olympus dSLR's to almost the owner of almost any dSLR made in the last several years.

This is simply to make adaptors that allow existing lenses to work on four thirds cameras, fully supporting all features such as AF. This is physically possible due to the short sensor plane to lens mount distance relative to all the 35mm derived formats. The adaptor to each type of lens mount would have to translate a large number of electronic commands between the camera and lens, and there are bound to be some bugs at first. However the adaptor could be continuously updated to add new functionality using firmware updates just like the Olympus lenses. For this hypothetical adaptor we will ignore in-body motor drives!

The next obvious move after doing this would be to put a APC-C sensor in the back of four thirds cameras. I understand it is still plenty sufficient for an APSC sensor with the larger mirror within the four thirds body. The camera would automatically detect when a four thirds lens is mounted and crop the image sensor whilst also showing this crop in the viewfinder. Otherwise the full APSC sensor would be active.

If we imagine this camera has an 18mp APSC-like sensor, Four thirds users would get, say, the 12mp from the centre of the sensor, users of APSC or 35mm lenses would get, say, the full resolution offered by the sensor. But users of 4/3 could also choose different aspect ratios, just like in the Lumix GH1, to make most use of the 4/3rd projected image circle.

Owners of 35mm and APSC lenses in Canon, Nikon, Sony and Pentax formats could then try out Olympus cameras for the cost of a body. Many would, I feel, be happy to do so knowing that their APSC lenses would have the same field of view they are currently accustomed to.

In due course the 4/3 lenses could be revised so as to provide an APSC sized image circle in conjunction with other design revisions that Olympus and others make from time to time such as SWD motors, etc. However owners of existing four thirds lenses need not worry as these lenses would still work exactly as they do now. There would be no difference between a 12mp image from a 12mp four thirds sensor or the central part of a larger APSC-like sensor. In fact the long lenses in four thirds may be a useful choice for some application where there size advantages are still relevant.

The only thing that I would like agreed on is that this descendent of four thirds is not the 2:3 format of the rest of the dSLR field. I suggest that an APSC descendent of four thirds has the name and aspect ratio of 'Seven Fifths', a very sensible proportion, particularly those of us who print onto ISO paper sizes such as A4. The name even has a nice resemblance to 'four thirds' whilst sounding bigger.

I know it's a flight of fancy, but would it be possible? It would certainly benefit us as Olympus users if that company had more of the market and had an incentive to grab a bigger slice from the competitors through providing even better kit than they do now.


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