So who was 4/3 originally aimed at?

Started Nov 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 51,037
Re: So who was 4/3 originally aimed at? - Original press release

Big Ga wrote:

Wu Jiaqiu wrote:

Roger Engelken wrote:

the FFT-CCD is distinguished by a larger pixel area, with bigger photodiodes and transfer channels. This means more electrons can be captured. A high signal/noise ratio can therefore be achieved together with a wider dynamic range. Final images benefit from more exposure latitude, greater detail and less noise.

this gets mentioned in equivalence debates, the amount of light falling onto the sensor, and a bigger sensor with bigger pixels captures more photons.

Not necessarily. A 4/3 camera with a lens two stops faster would capture the same number of photons as a FF camera with the slower lens.

But that of course does raise an interesting question ......

That is exactly the case. The FT system was well founded in the understanding that it is not sensor size but the light that the sensor can gather which is the metric (in a sense, equivalence was central to the whole concept), and the smaller sensor gave an intrinsic advantage in manufacturing costs and also potentially in system size and weight. But Olympus made a few crucial errors in what was mostly a very well designed system.

i) They made the sensor too small. The format independent standard for a 'fast lens' has been f/1.4 FF equivalent. So 645 went to f/2 or so, 6x7 to f/2.8 (or, exceptionally f/2.4) and so on. With quarter frame sensor that would need an f/0.7 lens which is on the edge of feasibility. One stop smaller from 35mm (full half frame) would have made that f/1.0 which becomes feasible. The f/2.0 zooms would also have been on a par with 35mm f/2.8 zooms.

ii) They made the register too large. Telecentricity was a good idea, but designing the system so that it was an absolute requirement was short sited, and restricted later developments. One of the successes of the Canon EF mount was the short register in relation to frame size.

iii) Related to (ii) they really failed to give options which took advantage of the size and weight advantage. The first several FT DSLRs were as large or larger than the competition, right up until the D400. The same with the lenses. The question really was not so much whether photographers wanted bigger or larger gear, if you have a USP, you might as well use it and secure the part of the market that wants that.

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