The real question to current 4/3 owners, as regards the future

Started Jul 5, 2013 | Discussions thread
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TrapperJohn Forum Pro • Posts: 16,450
The real question to current 4/3 owners, as regards the future

This comes out of the body size poll and an exchange with Marty, but I thought it might merit a separate thread. Not so much what would you like, but what is actually coming in the future?

It is not - would an uprated OMD with fast ZD AF be a better solution in all respects than a re-sensored E5? For most, it wouldn't be better... in all respects.

The real question is - Is it worth moving to from an E5, and  is it better than moving to a C/N/P traditional DSLR?

Reasons you may be facing that question:

First, consider what Olympus has said. I've recently taken on a position as software architect for a large and somewhat traditional Japanese firm. What I've learned: the Japanese express themself in a different manner than people raised in the European/Anglo-Saxon culture. They are far less direct in general communications. Not saying don't read between the lines with Oly statements, just don't read the wrong thing. The oblique nature of their statements is not a deliberate attempt to be evasive. That's how the more traditional Japanese businesspeople communicate.

In the interview last fall, Watanabe expressed understanding for those who like the E5 body style, but also brought up the benefits of smaller size. That's a key statement - not wishing to directly offend as a matter of general culture, but also stating the obvious. For Olympus, small sells.

Consider also that a larger M43 body was released recently: the Panasonic GH3. It's somewhere between E520 and E30 size. And even though it's priced about like the OMD, and has most of the same semi-pro features, it has not sold well, certainly it hasn't been the game changer that the OMD is. One can quibble over this feature or that, but the most obvious difference between the GH3 and OMD is... size. The GH3 is definitely larger. Micro/mirrorless is an emerging market, still searching for the optimal combination. The GH3 may have established the upper limits on acceptable body size, for broad enthusiast appeal as an alternative to a full size DSLR.

Meanwhile, ZD autofocus on the M43 bodies has steadily improved with each of the high end M43 bodies. The improvement shows that it is under active development. There appears to be a dedicated core of people at Olympus who want to keep the ZD lenses viable. They have my eternal gratitude.

So, to get back to the original question posed:

My experience using HG and SHG on an OMD is - yes, it's worth upgrading from an E5, and yes, it's good enough to forestall moving to a C/N/P DSLR, if they bring AF up to E5 speed (you get improved accuracy for free), if they enlarge and refine the VF, and if they can make the control buttons a bit larger. The EVF is not an issue. The extra PP headroom is delightful. The new fast primes are very small, very sweet and focus as fast as a thief.

And unlike an E7, you gain a platform that's assured of continued development. I could be wrong, Oly may crank out an E30 size mirrored 4/3 body this fall. But, I'm betting that the dismal GH3 sales put a damper on that idea.

Would it be better than moving to C/N/P, who are keeping the larger DSLR alive? That's for the individual to decide.

But, ask yourself - why do you use 4/3 today, when you could get better sensor performance from a C/N/P body, and you could have for the last few years? What kept you with 4/3 all this time? Most likely, two things kept you with 4/3: HG and SHG.

Olympus E-3 Olympus E-5 Olympus E-520 (EVOLT E-520) Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3
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