What's all this talk about plastic bodies?

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Raist3d Forum Pro • Posts: 40,094
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?

MrALLCAPS wrote:

  • Auf Reisen wrote:

peter ny wrote:

In his review, Robin Wong says the entire body is polycarbonate, which disagrees with the specs DPR has posted. I couldn't find any information about body materials on the Olympus site.

Wex says it's magnesium alloy as well.

So who to believe, a Store or one that works for Olympus?

I can't decide! It's too hard!

https://www.wexphotovideo.com/olympus-om-d-e-m5-mark-iii-digital-camera-body-black-1719279/

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dinoSnake Veteran Member • Posts: 3,399
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?
1

Gnine wrote:

Except that it isn't. There's a reason why the latest airliners are being made from carbon reinforced plastic. Strength to weight. Unlimited fatigue life.

I wouldn't say that, as modern composites certainly have rated fatigue lives.  See: carbon fiber racing bicycles.  And as for great strength, see AA flight 587 😳

Nothing lasts forever.

MrALLCAPS
MrALLCAPS Senior Member • Posts: 1,072
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?

cba_melbourne wrote:

fstopx2 wrote:

I wear a Casio G Shock watch every day. Both to work and for play. The G Shock is almost entire plastic.

The watch is indestructible. Bang it, beat it, freeze it, heat it - ITS FINE. On top of this its solar powered and synced to an atomic clock. I have had to change a battery in years.

All this for $80.

A Vacheron Constantin watch that costs $30,000 is nowhere near as durable and does not keep as good time.

I think a camera thats made of of polymer will be ok .

Your Casio G shock actually uses a carbon reinforced resin. Not just injection molded Polycarbonate. There is a difference.

For a true comparison (like between a Magnesium camera top and a Polycarbonate top), look at a nice metal watch versus a cheap Swatch.

Thermoplastic molded case and bracelet. It's a short lived fashion statement.

You do not need to spend anywhere near $30k. My Citizen is solar powered too, synced to atomic clock too, never change a battery etc etc. It is made of Titanium, and does not look out of place when going to a concert. And if one day it looks scratched, just take some fine polishing emery cloth to it and it quickly returns like new. Try that with any plastic.

Give me the Swatch. I don't need my watch face looking like a 747 control panel.

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3dwag
3dwag Veteran Member • Posts: 4,238
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?
3

dinoSnake wrote:

Gnine wrote:

Except that it isn't. There's a reason why the latest airliners are being made from carbon reinforced plastic. Strength to weight. Unlimited fatigue life.

I wouldn't say that, as modern composites certainly have rated fatigue lives. See: carbon fiber racing bicycles.

**

And as for great strength, see AA flight 587 😳

That was a completely inappropriate reference, and technically not even applicable to the discussion.

The failure of the composite lugs which partly attach the vertical stabilizer is probably what you are referring to. However, the lugs failed when stressed to more than two times the maximum aerodynamic design envelope of the aircraft, not because of any manufacturing or design flaw of the lugs themselves. I won’t get into the root causes (there are at least 2, as many as 4) of the aircraft being in that situation to begin with, that’s another story.  And would be inappropriate and off-topic here.

Nothing lasts forever.

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cba_melbourne Senior Member • Posts: 1,464
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?
1

Raist3d wrote:

MrALLCAPS wrote:

  • Auf Reisen wrote:

peter ny wrote:

In his review, Robin Wong says the entire body is polycarbonate, which disagrees with the specs DPR has posted. I couldn't find any information about body materials on the Olympus site.

Wex says it's magnesium alloy as well.

So who to believe, a Store or one that works for Olympus?

I can't decide! It's too hard!

https://www.wexphotovideo.com/olympus-om-d-e-m5-mark-iii-digital-camera-body-black-1719279/

Robin would not say it's all plastic, without having been told by someone in the knows within his organization. Him saying "all plastic" sounds to me like this includes the internal chassis. Mind you, he says nothing negative about it. After all he is an Olympus employee. But in his video he mentions it at some length:

"instead of using Magnesium alloy construction which was used in the EM5mk2, this new EM5Mk3 is fully made of plastic. When I first heard about the plastic construction I was not fully convinced, but holding the camera in my hand it does feel very solid and reassuring......"

So, he is saying that he is not convinced about plastic constructions. But the feel in his hands (and probably his boss) reassured him. Why else formulate it as above, he could simply have said "it's more plastic" - or not mention it at all.

Another way to look at the question is this:

If I had to chose between two otherwise perfectly identical cameras, one with metal chassis the other with plastic and a little lighter, at the same price, I would 100% sure chose metal. Now, if the plastic version was say 25% cheaper (as it ought to be), then the choice would be much harder - I may consider the plastic version.

As it is, there is no metal version of the EM5mk3. But there is the all metal EM1.2 for 20% more. And given the choice, despite me putting great value on size, I think the EM1.2 along with it's extra features is the better overall value of the two. You get a battle tank instead of a Humvee for just a little more. Let's hope the EM5.3 price soon comes down to where it belongs. Nobody would worry about plastic, if the EM5.3 was priced accordingly, eg around US$900.

Likewise, nobody would complain, if Olympus did show that the plastic they use was really some engineered hi-tech wight saving plastic, not just some plain cost saving plastic just one step above recycled food containers. As it is, it seems a big chunk of the weight savings is due the smaller battery.

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dinoSnake Veteran Member • Posts: 3,399
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?

3dwag wrote:

dinoSnake wrote:

Gnine wrote:

Except that it isn't. There's a reason why the latest airliners are being made from carbon reinforced plastic. Strength to weight. Unlimited fatigue life.

I wouldn't say that, as modern composites certainly have rated fatigue lives. See: carbon fiber racing bicycles.

**

And as for great strength, see AA flight 587 😳

That was a completely inappropriate reference, and technically not even applicable to the discussion.

The failure of the composite lugs which partly attach the vertical stabilizer is probably what you are referring to. However, the lugs failed when stressed to more than two times the maximum aerodynamic design envelope of the aircraft, not because of any manufacturing or design flaw of the lugs themselves. I won’t get into the root causes (there are at least 2, as many as 4) of the aircraft being in that situation to begin with, that’s another story. And would be inappropriate and off-topic here.

Note that the metal lugs did not fail, even beyond design spec.  AFAIK no metal stabilizer has ever failed on a modern aircraft in that failure mode.

Anyway, you are right about topics, thanks for the reply.

Keit ll Veteran Member • Posts: 4,574
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?

An interesting topic but some of the protests suggest that the comments about 'plastic' are hurting.

Olympus could put all this controversy to rest by telling us precisely what the construction of this camera is...  If the materials used are superior to older versions then why not say so & boast about it?

If compromises have been made to facilitate construction & save weight  -then why not say so or refute the suggestions that changes have been made for cheapness?

Gnine Senior Member • Posts: 1,002
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?

dinoSnake wrote:

3dwag wrote:

dinoSnake wrote:

Gnine wrote:

Except that it isn't. There's a reason why the latest airliners are being made from carbon reinforced plastic. Strength to weight. Unlimited fatigue life.

I wouldn't say that, as modern composites certainly have rated fatigue lives. See: carbon fiber racing bicycles.

**

And as for great strength, see AA flight 587 😳

That was a completely inappropriate reference, and technically not even applicable to the discussion.

The failure of the composite lugs which partly attach the vertical stabilizer is probably what you are referring to. However, the lugs failed when stressed to more than two times the maximum aerodynamic design envelope of the aircraft, not because of any manufacturing or design flaw of the lugs themselves. I won’t get into the root causes (there are at least 2, as many as 4) of the aircraft being in that situation to begin with, that’s another story. And would be inappropriate and off-topic here.

Note that the metal lugs did not fail, even beyond design spec. AFAIK no metal stabilizer has ever failed on a modern aircraft in that failure mode.

Anyway, you are right about topics, thanks for the reply.

That's not entirely true https://community.sw.siemens.com/s/article/the-goodman-haigh-diagram-for-infinite-life

And before you go pointing fingers at fiber reinforced plastic failures in aeronautical situations, Al & Mg alloys are hardly blameless here. Or steels. The Comet springs directly to mind. As does the engines falling off the 737's

3dwag
3dwag Veteran Member • Posts: 4,238
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?

Gnine wrote:

dinoSnake wrote:

3dwag wrote:

dinoSnake wrote:

Gnine wrote:

Except that it isn't. There's a reason why the latest airliners are being made from carbon reinforced plastic. Strength to weight. Unlimited fatigue life.

I wouldn't say that, as modern composites certainly have rated fatigue lives. See: carbon fiber racing bicycles.

**

And as for great strength, see AA flight 587 😳

That was a completely inappropriate reference, and technically not even applicable to the discussion.

The failure of the composite lugs which partly attach the vertical stabilizer is probably what you are referring to. However, the lugs failed when stressed to more than two times the maximum aerodynamic design envelope of the aircraft, not because of any manufacturing or design flaw of the lugs themselves. I won’t get into the root causes (there are at least 2, as many as 4) of the aircraft being in that situation to begin with, that’s another story. And would be inappropriate and off-topic here.

Note that the metal lugs did not fail, even beyond design spec. AFAIK no metal stabilizer has ever failed on a modern aircraft in that failure mode.

Just to be clear, the stabilizer itself did not fail (come apart), but the attachment points did - metal bolts, some lugs aluminum, and some lugs composite which happened to be the weaker points but within design goals.

Anyway, you are right about topics, thanks for the reply.

OK.

That's not entirely true https://community.sw.siemens.com/s/article/the-goodman-haigh-diagram-for-infinite-life

And before you go pointing fingers at fiber reinforced plastic failures in aeronautical situations, Al & Mg alloys are hardly blameless here. Or steels. The Comet springs directly to mind. As does the engines falling off the 737's

Yes.

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Helen
Helen Veteran Member • Posts: 6,967
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?
1

cba_melbourne wrote:

Auf Reisen wrote:

I absolutely agree that metal feels nicer and definitely looks nicer when scratches eventually happen but it doesn't look there are actually any cameras on the market right now that actually have a fully metal top plate.

So overall, this seems to be a well-placed BS campaign which is readily picked up by the trolls who are grasping for straws to have something to complain about.

You see, in the past Olympus was very proud in releasing pictures of the metal chassis and metal top covers of their cameras. They did that for good reason, because they know metal means superior quality and durability as well as look and feel. It does cost more, to manufacture an all metal chassis that is strong yet lightweight.

Many customers simply perceive metal as more premium. Be it in camera bodies, in pro lenses, in watches, in jewellery.... And they like the feel of better too. To some it even makes a difference, if a dial wheel is made of solid metal with a sharp diamond knurling, or just a thin metal outer over a plastic core.

Have you already forgotten pictures like these? In many people, these did influence purchase decisions.

PEN-F top plate, before and after finishing – ©2016 Senzo

Magnesium alloy body panel of the PEN-F – ©2016 Senzo

EM1

I meant to say earlier, thank you for collecting all these images together - they are very interesting to see.

Helen
Helen Veteran Member • Posts: 6,967
Re: There are tons of all-metal bodies out there!
2

Androole wrote:

Auf Reisen wrote:

I absolutely agree that metal feels nicer and definitely looks nicer when scratches eventually happen but it doesn't look there are actually any cameras on the market right now that actually have a fully metal top plate.

So overall, this seems to be a well-placed BS campaign which is readily picked up by the trolls who are grasping for straws to have something to complain about.

While I don't personally care much about the presence of plastic on this E-M5 III, there are many, many cameras that are almost entirely metal, at a variety of price points.

From Panasonic:

GX7

GX8

GH5

G9

From Canon:

EOS-R

From Nikon:

Z7

From Sony:

A7R III

From Fuji:

X-T3

From Pentax, of course:

K3

And finally, from Olympus - look at those lumps!

E-M1 II

E-M1X

Thank you for finding all of these images and putting them together - really interesting. I had a feeling there were lots I had missed!

Wu Jiaqiu
Wu Jiaqiu Forum Pro • Posts: 25,183
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?
1

dinoSnake wrote:

Gnine wrote:

Except that it isn't. There's a reason why the latest airliners are being made from carbon reinforced plastic. Strength to weight. Unlimited fatigue life.

I wouldn't say that, as modern composites certainly have rated fatigue lives. See: carbon fiber racing bicycles. And as for great strength, see AA flight 587 😳

Nothing lasts forever.

pilot error and poor training caused that one

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cba_melbourne Senior Member • Posts: 1,464
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?

Helen wrote:

cba_melbourne wrote:

Auf Reisen wrote:

I absolutely agree that metal feels nicer and definitely looks nicer when scratches eventually happen but it doesn't look there are actually any cameras on the market right now that actually have a fully metal top plate.

So overall, this seems to be a well-placed BS campaign which is readily picked up by the trolls who are grasping for straws to have something to complain about.

You see, in the past Olympus was very proud in releasing pictures of the metal chassis and metal top covers of their cameras. They did that for good reason, because they know metal means superior quality and durability as well as look and feel. It does cost more, to manufacture an all metal chassis that is strong yet lightweight.

Many customers simply perceive metal as more premium. Be it in camera bodies, in pro lenses, in watches, in jewellery.... And they like the feel of better too. To some it even makes a difference, if a dial wheel is made of solid metal with a sharp diamond knurling, or just a thin metal outer over a plastic core.

Have you already forgotten pictures like these? In many people, these did influence purchase decisions.

PEN-F top plate, before and after finishing – ©2016 Senzo

Magnesium alloy body panel of the PEN-F – ©2016 Senzo

EM1

I meant to say earlier, thank you for collecting all these images together - they are very interesting to see.

All sorts of combinations have been tried. How about metal top and bottom, and plastic chassis in between?

I think with the larger cameras like this, it is easier to make a plastic chassis thick enough so that it is rigid. Without having to resort to expensive types of plastic. With this very large body, the use of plastic saves weight (weight goes up with the cube of the linear dimensions).

With very small cameras space becomes more of a problem. A metal chassis can be made with much thinner walls. I cannot imagine something like the GM series could be made with plastic, it is all so tight inside. Well, at least not with cheap injection molded plastic. It could be made with composite plastic, but that means manual labor and the end result would no doubt cost more than metal. Also, with smaller cameras there is less weight to be saved by using plastic.

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Raist3d Forum Pro • Posts: 40,094
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?

cba_melbourne wrote:

Raist3d wrote:

MrALLCAPS wrote:

  • Auf Reisen wrote:

peter ny wrote:

In his review, Robin Wong says the entire body is polycarbonate, which disagrees with the specs DPR has posted. I couldn't find any information about body materials on the Olympus site.

Wex says it's magnesium alloy as well.

So who to believe, a Store or one that works for Olympus?

I can't decide! It's too hard!

https://www.wexphotovideo.com/olympus-om-d-e-m5-mark-iii-digital-camera-body-black-1719279/

Robin would not say it's all plastic, without having been told by someone in the knows within his organization. Him saying "all plastic" sounds to me like this includes the internal chassis. Mind you, he says nothing negative about it. After all he is an Olympus employee. But in his video he mentions it at some length:

He's no longer an Olympus employee, but he's a Visionare.

"instead of using Magnesium alloy construction which was used in the EM5mk2, this new EM5Mk3 is fully made of plastic. When I first heard about the plastic construction I was not fully convinced, but holding the camera in my hand it does feel very solid and reassuring......"

I would be very skeptical that the camera is 100% plastic. You can even see a metal mount. But the main body being like the OMD 10 MKIII line.. sure.

So, he is saying that he is not convinced about plastic constructions. But the feel in his hands (and probably his boss) reassured him. Why else formulate it as above, he could simply have said "it's more plastic" - or not mention it at all.

Another way to look at the question is this:

If I had to chose between two otherwise perfectly identical cameras, one with metal chassis the other with plastic and a little lighter, at the same price, I would 100% sure chose metal. Now, if the plastic version was say 25% cheaper (as it ought to be), then the choice would be much harder - I may consider the plastic version.

As it is, there is no metal version of the EM5mk3. But there is the all metal EM1.2 for 20% more. And given the choice, despite me putting great value on size, I think the EM1.2 along with it's extra features is the better overall value of the two. You get a battle tank instead of a Humvee for just a little more. Let's hope the EM5.3 price soon comes down to where it belongs. Nobody would worry about plastic, if the EM5.3 was priced accordingly, eg around US$900.

I just can't touch the Em1MK2.  Too big for me. But that's for me.

Likewise, nobody would complain, if Olympus did show that the plastic they use was really some engineered hi-tech wight saving plastic, not just some plain cost saving plastic just one step above recycled food containers. As it is, it seems a big chunk of the weight savings is due the smaller battery.

Anyway, my question was in jest (the reply I did with the question).

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dinoSnake Veteran Member • Posts: 3,399
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?

Wu Jiaqiu wrote:

dinoSnake wrote:

Gnine wrote:

Except that it isn't. There's a reason why the latest airliners are being made from carbon reinforced plastic. Strength to weight. Unlimited fatigue life.

I wouldn't say that, as modern composites certainly have rated fatigue lives. See: carbon fiber racing bicycles. And as for great strength, see AA flight 587 😳

Nothing lasts forever.

pilot error and poor training caused that one

No, the technique was appropriate for other airframes and had been used for decades without issues, which is why AA had it in the training regimen to begin with.  AA carried the technique over as a commonly known pilot action.  However it turns out that the A300's rudder system design was especially sensitive at cruise speed to this maneuver, overloading the connection points.  It was design error, pilot error, inappropriate training due to AA not understanding the A300's rudder conditions which varied over standard, and Airbus' lack of communication regarding said issue (a la 737 Max).

The Comet was.metal fatigue of course; the DC10 AA Chicago crash of engine falling off was airframe damage due to service technician error, the 747 Amsterdam crash was overload of the (metal) fuse pin.

Anyway, to the topic, of course metals fail.. Like I said, nothing is forever.  But metals brought within their fatigue range will usually show signs of this before failure, while modern composites can have an overall greater maximum load capacity but it can more difficult to detect failures due to overload damage over time.

Metals have a 'memory' and, even when overloaded, may be able to withstand the damage with deformation.  Composites generally have lower memory and can have less deformation tolerance - unless expensive or exotic, a lot of composites will fail, not deform, at overload.  I believe this is the point of discussion and concern for the camera owners: you can dent some metal cameras and you'll still have a camera, while the composite material will shatter but possibly at a higher failure point.  But as cast magnesium is not ductile anyway it will end up failing in the same mode as composites, but probably at an even higher energy level.

I do indeed, personally, like metal cameras for their perceived built quality, their 'feel'.  It does add weight though, but we accept that for the perceived quality tradeoff.

Brian Wadie
Brian Wadie Veteran Member • Posts: 9,838
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?

dinoSnake wrote:

3dwag wrote:

dinoSnake wrote:

Gnine wrote:

Except that it isn't. There's a reason why the latest airliners are being made from carbon reinforced plastic. Strength to weight. Unlimited fatigue life.

I wouldn't say that, as modern composites certainly have rated fatigue lives. See: carbon fiber racing bicycles.

**

And as for great strength, see AA flight 587 😳

That was a completely inappropriate reference, and technically not even applicable to the discussion.

The failure of the composite lugs which partly attach the vertical stabilizer is probably what you are referring to. However, the lugs failed when stressed to more than two times the maximum aerodynamic design envelope of the aircraft, not because of any manufacturing or design flaw of the lugs themselves. I won’t get into the root causes (there are at least 2, as many as 4) of the aircraft being in that situation to begin with, that’s another story. And would be inappropriate and off-topic here.

Note that the metal lugs did not fail, even beyond design spec. AFAIK no metal stabilizer has ever failed on a modern aircraft in that failure mode.

Anyway, you are right about topics, thanks for the reply.

you may find this and other such papers interesting:

https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:8573/FULLTEXT01.pdf

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Brian Wadie
Brian Wadie Veteran Member • Posts: 9,838
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?

" I believe this is the point of discussion and concern for the camera owners: you can dent some metal cameras and you'll still have a camera, while the composite material will shatter but possibly at a higher failure point."

by which time the impact forces will be such that internal components and probably the lens mount / lens will have failed

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Wu Jiaqiu
Wu Jiaqiu Forum Pro • Posts: 25,183
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?

dinoSnake wrote:

Wu Jiaqiu wrote:

dinoSnake wrote:

Gnine wrote:

Except that it isn't. There's a reason why the latest airliners are being made from carbon reinforced plastic. Strength to weight. Unlimited fatigue life.

I wouldn't say that, as modern composites certainly have rated fatigue lives. See: carbon fiber racing bicycles. And as for great strength, see AA flight 587 😳

Nothing lasts forever.

pilot error and poor training caused that one

No, the technique was appropriate for other airframes and had been used for decades without issues

like i said....poor training, AA revised their pilot training after this as it was out of date

, which is why AA had it in the training regimen to begin with. AA carried the technique over as a commonly known pilot action. However it turns out that the A300's rudder system design was especially sensitive at cruise speed to this maneuver, overloading the connection points. It was design error, pilot error, inappropriate training due to AA not understanding the A300's rudder conditions which varied over standard, and Airbus' lack of communication regarding said issue (a la 737 Max).

The Comet was.metal fatigue of course; the DC10 AA Chicago crash of engine falling off was airframe damage due to service technician error, the 747 Amsterdam crash was overload of the (metal) fuse pin.

Anyway, to the topic, of course metals fail.. Like I said, nothing is forever. But metals brought within their fatigue range will usually show signs of this before failure, while modern composites can have an overall greater maximum load capacity but it can more difficult to detect failures due to overload damage over time.

Metals have a 'memory' and, even when overloaded, may be able to withstand the damage with deformation. Composites generally have lower memory and can have less deformation tolerance - unless expensive or exotic, a lot of composites will fail, not deform, at overload. I believe this is the point of discussion and concern for the camera owners: you can dent some metal cameras and you'll still have a camera, while the composite material will shatter but possibly at a higher failure point. But as cast magnesium is not ductile anyway it will end up failing in the same mode as composites, but probably at an even higher energy level.

I do indeed, personally, like metal cameras for their perceived built quality, their 'feel'. It does add weight though, but we accept that for the perceived quality tradeoff.

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ZapperVT Regular Member • Posts: 151
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?
2

I agree.  Modern "plastic" has a huge range of capabilities.  I have no objections to any photographic equipment made with the high grade polymer materials that are used by the major camera companies.

cptobvious Contributing Member • Posts: 838
Re: What's all this talk about plastic bodies?
2

Last year I bought a brand new Nikon D750 and within a couple of uses on a tripod, it had indents on the plastic bottom from the tripod plate. Meanwhile my E-M10 II cameras that are a few years old with metal bottom plates still look basically new.

To me there was nothing wrong with the weight of the E-M5 II. It had a premium feel to it and I’d expect as much for a $1200 MFT camera. The move to plastic on the III (and on the E-M10 III) just feel like short-sighted cost-cutting moves.

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