Olympus' Toshi Terada discusses the future of Four Thirds and compacts

Started Feb 7, 2013 | Discussions thread
Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 40,388
Re: Four Thirds upgrade cycles

boggis the cat wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

boggis the cat wrote:

Canon only fairly recently produced a 70-200 mm f/2.8 that was comparable to the SHG 35-100 f/2 (and it is still a stop down).

You know, I never did see a shootoff between a 70-200 / 2.8 IS on a 5D2 against a 35-100 / 2 on an E5 just to see how "uncomparable" the Canon was. It reminds me of this post:


but that was with the non-IS version of the lens on a 5D, rather than a 5D2. Sure would be nice to see a comparison of the same scene with the same framing and DOF, though.

DOF is not a lens parameter usually tested. I leave that to you to consider why that may be.

DOF was not in question, except to say to compare sharpness between systems only for the portions of the photo within the DOF.

The fact is that Canon did produce an updated lens that 'caught up' with Olympus' equivalent (or near equivalent, since it is f/2 rather than f/2.8). This means that Canon can build lenses as good as Olympus -- and presumably anyone can do so.

But "caught up" in what way?  "Near equivalent" in what way?  The way I see it, you cannot make a photo with just a lens, or just a camera -- you need both.  Thus, we cannot consider the lens in a vacuum -- we must consider it's performance on the camera on which it is used.

So, as f/2 on 4/3 projects the same total amount of light on the sensor as f/4 on FF for a given shutter speed, and also results in the same DOF for a given perspective, AOV, and display size of the photo, it makes sense to compare f/2 on 4/3 with f/4 on FF unless a more shallow DOF results in a better photo, or, at least, the lower noise associated with the shallow DOF that comes with the wider aperture is preferable to the deeper DOF.

I mean, does it make sense to compare two systems by using settings which artificially handicapp one of the systems?  For example, if 50mm f/2 on 4/3 produced a better photo than 100mm f/2.8 on FF, might not it make more sense to compare to 100mm f/4 on FF if that resulted in the better photo?

For sure, FF must give up its noise advantage over 4/3 to get the same DOF and shutter speed, but if captured detail and/or deeper DOF matters more than noise, is that not what the competent photographer would do?

In short, if 50mm f/2 1/200 ISO 400 represents the ideal photo on 4/3, then either 100mm f/4 1/200 ISO 1600 represents the ideal photo on FF (same DOF, more captured detail) or 100mm f/2.8 1/200 ISO 800 (more shallow DOF is preferable for the sake of more shallow DOF itself, and/or the lower noise with the wider aperture is preferable to the deeper DOF).

It also means that Olympus cannot rest on the SHG line in perpetuity, and it is likely that they will eventually build f/2 monster zooms for Micro FT or simply drop down to f/2.8.*

It seems to me that Olympus has decided to leave speed for the primes, and compactness combined with "fast enough" and "good enough" for the zooms, which, in my opinion, is the sensible thing to do.

I don't see Olympus supporting standard FourThirds any longer than necessary. If they do have a PDAF capable high-end Micro FT body then I'm sure that would be the 'E-7' (assuming that the latest Epson EVF is a 'good enough' replacement for an OVF). That is not a problem provided it meets the requirements of present E-x customers.

From what I've read, Olympus, if anything, is looking for a way to make 4/3 lenses work on mirrorless bodies, rather than investing in one more 4/3 DSLR before that technological hurdle is overcome.  In my opinion, that was a mistake.

(* Closing down the maximum aperture would, as you allude to, cause shallow DOF to be less comparable to the 135 format. But it has always been questioned whether Olympus FourThirds was a direct competitor in any case, and they were and are a competitor to APS-C variant systems.)

When 4/3 first came out, it was, indeed, marketed as a direct competitor to FF.  This was unfortunate.  Instead, it should have been marketed, and developed, in accordance to the strengths of the format, which, ironically, is what they are doing with mFT.

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