Fuji gets titanium, Olympus gets...plastic?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
Raist3d Forum Pro • Posts: 40,124
Re: Fuji opts for artificial price / artificial value hike
1

- on Fuji- the DR in the new sensor is the same  but it’s not irrelevant because it’s both a bit more resolution and a notably reduced rolling shutter

- on sensor - yes- the en5.3 is the less old 20mp sensor  we have been commenting on that so I am more than well aware of that  I was referring to still using the 26mp as in new announced epl10

instead of trying to “win” and be argumentative for arguments sake may I suggest you try to put a good faith effort in the exchange   You are starting to act like some politicians supporters

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Androole Senior Member • Posts: 1,448
Re: Some thoughts on plastic vs metal, and Titanium...

cba_melbourne wrote:

Androole wrote:

.............

Titanium is a stupid material for top and bottom plates, given the physical material requirements of those components, but magnesium makes sense for the chassis, and that is what is used...

In my personal experience, in an accident (dropping the camera or hitting an object) it is almost always the top and bottom plates that take the bulk of the hit. Actually, it is the corners of the top and bottom plates. Cameras rarely fall flat onto front/back or side.

The corners of the top and bottom plates are also the ones that show first natural wear and tear. Just think of the old film cameras, where was the paint worn off first exposing the brass underneath?

So, there at least is some logic in trying to use wear and impact resistant materials for top and bottom covers.

I agree Titanium is not the best choice, because it is very difficult and costly to form into intricate and appealing shapes. Exactly because of it's toughness. Cost also matters, because the top and bottom plates are parts relatively often replaced in camera servicing (drives the cost of repairs up).

Plastic:

- A downside of using unpainted plastic for covers, is that plastic often fades unevenly. Different plastic components (even if made of the same material) can take on slightly different colors by the exposure to sunlight, which looks cheap. I am sure you have seen this before, on things other than cameras. This happens because different parts are not made at the same time with the exactly same batch of plastic granules on the same molding machine and melting temperature..

- That is why plastic on cameras is painted. That brings about another problem though. Plastic surfaces are soft and easily dented or scratched, penetrating under the thin paint coat and exposing the different material color underneath. Which now just looks plain ugly, not just cheap. The more the color of the plastic core differs from the paint, the worse it wears. The most horrific example for this, is black plastic sprayed with silver paint.

- Plastic is not a conductor. This has two disadvantages. First, it cannot be used well as a heat sink to dissipate heat generated inside the camera to the outside - then makers have to implant large copper or steel plates or even heat pipes inside the camera to store the heat somewhere away from the sensor, which again adds weight. Second, even with anti static additives, plastic is still is a magnet for dust compared to metal.

Me personally, I believe that the very best and hardest wearing material for top/bottom plates is metal, either hard anodized Aluminium or brass high quality plated with Nickel or Chromium. My second preference would be for painted Magnesium. Injection molded plastic really would never be on my wish list of preferences, unless it was glass or carbon reinforced epoxy resin.

Reinforced thermoplastics (i.e. not thermosetting epoxy, as you mention) are actually reasonably common in this application and do a very good job. Teijin Sereebo carbon-fiber reinforced thermoplastic is what is used on the Nikon D750 and D500, for instance.

Just accept it, the one and only reason to use injection molded plastic in camera chassis and top/bottom plates is money. It has nothing to do with weight or impact resistance, nothing at all. It would be far more palatable, had Olympus chosen to pass-on at least some of the savings they made by using plastic to their customers.

I broadly agree with your analysis, and unreinforced plastic typically wouldn't be my preference either.

But that doesn't mean that titanium is a good choice, either.

And if the choice is between an $1800 body with titanium top and bottom plates or a $1200 body with plastic top and bottom plates, I'll still pick the $1200 body, because the price of the other is simply not justifiable.

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revio Senior Member • Posts: 1,798
Re: Fuji gets titanium, Olympus gets...plastic?

dinoSnake wrote:

Mitrajoon wrote:

The plastic used is as strong as Titanium and bounces better.

Uh-uh. Yeah. Right.

I'm sure the aerospace industry will quickly, and heartily, not agree with that claim.

Of course the heat generated in the material in a flying airplane´s high speed will not be something any plastic will endure, but for *camera* use, it will most probably work as well as metal, even though it may not *feel* as good in one´s hands.

That is, if we look at the 5.3 not marketed as a tough workhorse for a pro shooting outdoors, although it actually is weather sealed, and well sealed at that...

I prefer the metal *feel*, but realise for the goal Olympus have set for the E-M5.3 the actual solution was the right one. Sure, I would like the metal feel if I was in the market for a 5.3.  That said, I may not like to pay the price (purchase price, that is) for a metal bodied 5.3..

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TomFid Veteran Member • Posts: 3,317
Re: Fuji gets titanium, Olympus gets...plastic?

cba_melbourne wrote:

Androole wrote:

.............

Titanium is a stupid material for top and bottom plates, given the physical material requirements of those components, but magnesium makes sense for the chassis, and that is what is used...

In my personal experience, in an accident (dropping the camera or hitting an object) it is almost always the top and bottom plates that take the bulk of the hit. Actually, it is the corners of the top and bottom plates. Cameras rarely fall flat onto front/back or side.

The corners of the top and bottom plates are also the ones that show first natural wear and tear. Just think of the old film cameras, where was the paint worn off first exposing the brass underneath?

So, there at least is some logic in trying to use wear and impact resistant materials for top and bottom covers.

I agree Titanium is not the best choice, because it is very difficult and costly to form into intricate and appealing shapes. Exactly because of it's toughness. Cost also matters, because the top and bottom plates are parts relatively often replaced in camera servicing (drives the cost of repairs up).

Plastic:

- A downside of using unpainted plastic for covers, is that plastic often fades unevenly. Different plastic components (even if made of the same material) can take on slightly different colors by the exposure to sunlight, which looks cheap. I am sure you have seen this before, on things other than cameras. This happens because different parts are not made at the same time with the exactly same batch of plastic granules on the same molding machine and melting temperature..

- That is why plastic on cameras is painted. That brings about another problem though. Plastic surfaces are soft and easily dented or scratched, penetrating under the thin paint coat and exposing the different material color underneath. Which now just looks plain ugly, not just cheap. The more the color of the plastic core differs from the paint, the worse it wears. The most horrific example for this, is black plastic sprayed with silver paint.

Painted metal wears off pretty fast too. You can consider "brassing" a badge of honor, but I'm pretty sure it kills resale value.

- Plastic is not a conductor. This has two disadvantages. First, it cannot be used well as a heat sink to dissipate heat generated inside the camera to the outside - then makers have to implant large copper or steel plates or even heat pipes inside the camera to store the heat somewhere away from the sensor, which again adds weight. Second, even with anti static additives, plastic is still is a magnet for dust compared to metal.

On the other hand, low conductivity is an advantage for cold weather use.

Me personally, I believe that the very best and hardest wearing material for top/bottom plates is metal, either hard anodized Aluminium or brass high quality plated with Nickel or Chromium. My second preference would be for painted Magnesium. Injection molded plastic really would never be on my wish list of preferences, unless it was glass or carbon reinforced epoxy resin.

It's not that simple. You have to consider the manufacturing properties as well as the physical properties of the result. A material with inferior specific properties might still yield a superior product, if it's easier to produce complex shapes that put the material where it's needed.

In any case, this is solving a problem that doesn't exist. How many reports have we had here of top plates breaking, vs. other problems like strap lugs pulling out and dials, buttons and doors failing? Even in falls, it's usually the lens mount that breaks.

Just accept it, the one and only reason to use injection molded plastic in camera chassis and top/bottom plates is money. It has nothing to do with weight or impact resistance, nothing at all. It would be far more palatable, had Olympus chosen to pass-on at least some of the savings they made by using plastic to their customers.

We have no idea whether Olympus passed on some of the alleged savings or not. Yes, we'd all like Oly to cancel shareholder dividends and give the money to customers, but that's just not going to happen. Almost surely, more expensive materials would have meant a more expensive camera.

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UppercanadianAcadian Regular Member • Posts: 467
Re: Fuji gets titanium, Olympus gets...plastic?

drj3 wrote:

MrALLCAPS wrote:

drj3 wrote:

LoneTree1 wrote:

New Fuji has a titanium (skin?) body. Nice to see that coming back from the SLR days. Yes, I know. The Fuji costs more. Quality instead of cost-cutting usually does.

And you get a camera that is 73 grams heavier which does not have IBIS where the shorter focal length lenses are without OIS. No thanks.

At least it's worth the weight. Can't say the same with the EM5 with it's older sensor, Plastic body, that should be $899 tops. I have a XPro 2, In low light, I could still outperform any M43 camera when it comes to stills. My Primes top any M43 primes easily. Heck, I'll put my Fujicrons against any M43 primes.

I'll take the mFTs where I can hand hold my 12-100 at 1 second and shoot hand held at 600mm on the 2X crop at 1/10 second. Maybe in the next generation Fuji will develop a dual IBIS/OIS combination and a sharp long telephoto lens.

Until then I well stay with mFTs where I get stabilization with all lenses and dual stabilization with the recent long Pro lenses.

The Xt3 Pro does appear to be a good camera when the light is good or when you want to use a tripod.

Attached is an uncropped image of a deer at 1/10 second hand held 600mm (800mm on your Fuji). Show me a better hand held still at equivalent shutter speed/FOV with your XPro2.

I do have an E5, E-M1.1 and E-M1.2 which are metal, but my old fully plastic 10+ year old E510 used as much as the others, looks as good as the metal cameras and still works as well as it did when new.

Sharp and great picture! I’m surprised the deer was still long enough!

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cba_melbourne Senior Member • Posts: 1,527
Re: Some thoughts on plastic vs metal, and Titanium...
1

Androole wrote:

cba_melbourne wrote:

Androole wrote:

.............

Titanium is a stupid material for top and bottom plates, given the physical material requirements of those components, but magnesium makes sense for the chassis, and that is what is used...

In my personal experience, in an accident (dropping the camera or hitting an object) it is almost always the top and bottom plates that take the bulk of the hit. Actually, it is the corners of the top and bottom plates. Cameras rarely fall flat onto front/back or side.

The corners of the top and bottom plates are also the ones that show first natural wear and tear. Just think of the old film cameras, where was the paint worn off first exposing the brass underneath?

So, there at least is some logic in trying to use wear and impact resistant materials for top and bottom covers.

I agree Titanium is not the best choice, because it is very difficult and costly to form into intricate and appealing shapes. Exactly because of it's toughness. Cost also matters, because the top and bottom plates are parts relatively often replaced in camera servicing (drives the cost of repairs up).

Plastic:

- A downside of using unpainted plastic for covers, is that plastic often fades unevenly. Different plastic components (even if made of the same material) can take on slightly different colors by the exposure to sunlight, which looks cheap. I am sure you have seen this before, on things other than cameras. This happens because different parts are not made at the same time with the exactly same batch of plastic granules on the same molding machine and melting temperature..

- That is why plastic on cameras is painted. That brings about another problem though. Plastic surfaces are soft and easily dented or scratched, penetrating under the thin paint coat and exposing the different material color underneath. Which now just looks plain ugly, not just cheap. The more the color of the plastic core differs from the paint, the worse it wears. The most horrific example for this, is black plastic sprayed with silver paint.

- Plastic is not a conductor. This has two disadvantages. First, it cannot be used well as a heat sink to dissipate heat generated inside the camera to the outside - then makers have to implant large copper or steel plates or even heat pipes inside the camera to store the heat somewhere away from the sensor, which again adds weight. Second, even with anti static additives, plastic is still is a magnet for dust compared to metal.

Me personally, I believe that the very best and hardest wearing material for top/bottom plates is metal, either hard anodized Aluminium or brass high quality plated with Nickel or Chromium. My second preference would be for painted Magnesium. Injection molded plastic really would never be on my wish list of preferences, unless it was glass or carbon reinforced epoxy resin.

Reinforced thermoplastics (i.e. not thermosetting epoxy, as you mention) are actually reasonably common in this application and do a very good job. Teijin Sereebo carbon-fiber reinforced thermoplastic is what is used on the Nikon D750 and D500, for instance.

Just accept it, the one and only reason to use injection molded plastic in camera chassis and top/bottom plates is money. It has nothing to do with weight or impact resistance, nothing at all. It would be far more palatable, had Olympus chosen to pass-on at least some of the savings they made by using plastic to their customers.

I broadly agree with your analysis, and unreinforced plastic typically wouldn't be my preference either.

But that doesn't mean that titanium is a good choice, either.

And if the choice is between an $1800 body with titanium top and bottom plates or a $1200 body with plastic top and bottom plates, I'll still pick the $1200 body, because the price of the other is simply not justifiable.

Me too. But this is not exactly how it is.

The way I see it, the price of the EM5.3 would be appropriate if it was a premium all metal construction like it's predecessors. I would not unreasonably expect it to be some 20-25% cheaper as an all-plastic "utility" construction.

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LoneTree1
OP LoneTree1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,094
Re: enough with the metal obsession

TomFid wrote:

LoneTree1 wrote:

TomFid wrote:

Photo Pete wrote:

TomFid wrote:

Are you going to pound nails with your camera?

Personally, I'm happy to have polycarbonate. It won't frost up as much in cold weather, and the black edges won't wear off.

I'm much more worried about breaking a lens, lens mount, LCD panel, or control dial than I am about breaking the body itself.

I admit that there's a certain allure to the feel of metal, but I don't think it's particularly rational, and I don't need it to stroke my ego.

Having products which feel good when you use them is nothing to do with ego. Of course, if you want to brag about what you can afford then better built products can help you do that too if you wish.

personally, I think that using significant amounts of plastic to construct a camera which costs £1000 is a really silly cost saving measure.... and if the use of the plastic is also used to create a lot of decorative frippery in the mouldings then it shows a real lack of class.

I would agree with you if there was any evidence that plastic was an inferior material, i.e. more likely to break by any significant margin. Absent that (I'm all ears), I think use of metal for metal's sake is in itself decorative frippery.

I don't really care one way or the other, because plus or minus $100 wouldn't change my thinking. But I'm kind of amazed that people are simultaneously outraged by the high price, and outraged by the use of plastic, and drooling over a hyper-expensive, exotic metal alternative that omits crucial features. Maybe these are not the same people.

Plastic has other problems unrelated to sheer toughness.

Perhaps, but no one has identified any yet. Clearly the main problem is marketing.

Differential of expansion with temperture changes versus metal is worse.  Cameras today require very high precision (IBIS, focus, etc) and having one part change shape with a 30 deg temp drop isn't good.

tjuster1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,134
Re: enough with the metal obsession
6

Only in this forum . . .

126 replies (and counting) to a stupid trolling post about titanium and Fuji. Sometimes I think this place is mad.

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cba_melbourne Senior Member • Posts: 1,527
Re: Fuji gets titanium, Olympus gets...plastic?
2

TomFid wrote:

We have no idea whether Olympus passed on some of the alleged savings or not. Yes, we'd all like Oly to cancel shareholder dividends and give the money to customers, but that's just not going to happen. Almost surely, more expensive materials would have meant a more expensive camera.

They need to make a fair profit on the camera, nobody disputes that.

But it looks to me, as if they are trying to recoup the cost of the bodged factory move, and maybe some past losses, in a far too short time frame. Imagine if Volkswagen after the costly Diesel emission scandal had raised their car prices by 20%, it would have been suicide. You cannot expect your customers to pay for your management mistakes - well, they eventually will, but spread over many years so they may not notice.

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TomFid Veteran Member • Posts: 3,317
Re: enough with the metal obsession
3

LoneTree1 wrote:

TomFid wrote:

LoneTree1 wrote:

Plastic has other problems unrelated to sheer toughness.

Perhaps, but no one has identified any yet. Clearly the main problem is marketing.

Differential of expansion with temperture changes versus metal is worse. Cameras today require very high precision (IBIS, focus, etc) and having one part change shape with a 30 deg temp drop isn't good.

That's an imaginary problem. Tons of lenses have plastic components with no issues. The reason is that these are feedback systems - if the barrel elongates a bit, the focus changes to compensate. I've used all kinds of cameras, plastic and metal, in bitter cold without issues.

Component fit for weather sealing might be a better example, but OTOH plastic might enable more complex seals, or mixed materials, that made better sealing possible.

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MrALLCAPS
MrALLCAPS Senior Member • Posts: 1,097
Re: Fuji opts for artificial price / artificial value hike
1

MEDISN wrote:

Raist3d wrote:

MEDISN wrote:

Raist3d wrote:

MEDISN wrote:

Raist3d wrote:

Zvonimir Tosic wrote:

LoneTree1 wrote:

New Fuji has a titanium (skin?) body. Nice to see that coming back from the SLR days. Yes, I know. The Fuji costs more. Quality instead of cost-cutting usually does.

If Nikon had issued the X-Pro3 w/ titanium top plate, people would be SMEARING them with sniggers, laughs and mud, found one million reasons why such a camera is badly designed, larger than some FF mirrorless, adds premium materials only to inflate the price on components that basically cost $500.

That would be people's take on Nikon X-Pro3.

But many do not realise the Fujifilm actually did that: added totally nonessential finish as an excuse to raise the asking price, on what is, in essence, LESS and more complicated than found in their other cameras that cost less and are easier to use.

With E-M5Mk3, though, Olympus did the opposite; they created a new category of a camera, for those users that appreciate image taking power in the lightest package possible. I like this approach better because the goal and execution are excellent, and down to earth.

Well imagine this. Fuji has several camera models and they also offer a small light model. that is current, modern- also it's less than $900 USD

Also lacks weather sealing and IBIS. Add those to it and what’s the new size, weight and price?

That is true. It's all tradeoffs. You gain in turn the advantages the bigger sensor brings. And save also $400 USD. Point is- there are several valid markets here. The person I am replying to is criticizing Fuji film as if they had done nothing.

Whether the EM5.3 brings something unique to the table - or not- is besides the point. Thats' why I said this doesn't mean the Em5.3 is bad or anything, not sure why you are so defensive.

and doesn't use years old sensor technology, but the same as the flagships in their line up - XT3 and Xpro3.

BSI has been in APS-C since 2014. “Years old sensor technology” lol

The sensor is 26MP BSI and uses copper interconnect. It's way newer than m43rds sensors

A distinction without a difference.

Oh no no, there's a difference.

Does it count if only you pretend it's there?

The 26 MP is not as old.

Again, a distinction without a difference.

The X-T3 was announced just last year,

Irrelevant. DR hasn't improved over the old XT2

and it brings the big benefit of reduced rolling shutter.

The 20MP mFT sensor (2016) in the EM1mkII has 1/60 readout.

In exchange how long has the 20 MP been around?

28MP BSI w/PDAF - 2014

20MP mFT w/PDAF 2016

I don't think it's that old.

Samsung was playing this fiddle long before Fuji got around to it.

Then we have the 16 MP sensor still around which has been like ages.

Which the EM5mkIII doesn't have...nice attempt at deflection though!

This doesn't mean the Em5.3 is bad or anything. Just putting in perspective what Fuji has done.

Fuji has a nice lineup but there is nothing as compact as the EM5mkIII with IBIS and weather sealing at ANY price.

Ironically an Xpro3 with the smaller primes in size and weights competes with an EM5MKiii because the weather sealed primes that are small don't exist.

This implies one is limited to small primes. The EM5mkIII with 14-150 is a weather sealed package ($1500) Fuji can’t match. There are more WR mFT primes and zooms than X-system offers.

Certainly but when you go with the bigger lenses the package is no longer as small (which is why they should re-issue the small primes).

Smaller than anything Fuji offers in several focal lengths.

Fuji has the lenses. What it doesn't have is the multi-redundant focal length copies of Olympus and Panasonic that go from OK lenses to the superb.

Fuji's fastest primes aren't weather sealed. Only the oversized, overpriced zooms are. mFT offers options for every budget and more focal lengths than Fuji.

I'd wager that the Fuji 35mm f/2 on a XH1 outperforms Olympus 25mm pro lens on a EM1 MkII. Same goes for any of the Fujicrons. The Fuji combo easily beats it on price too.

It would be great if Olympus re-issued the lenses.

Agree 100%

They should have issued the 45mm and maybe the 17mm or 25mm? I think just two would have gone a long way here.

10mm/2.8, 20mm/2, 50mm/2 - and I would be thrilled

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Ruairi
Ruairi Regular Member • Posts: 329
Re: Fuji gets titanium, Olympus gets...plastic?
3

LoneTree1 wrote:

New Fuji has a titanium (skin?) body. Nice to see that coming back from the SLR days. Yes, I know. The Fuji costs more. Quality instead of cost-cutting usually does.

While I’m sure we can mostly all agree that m43 is a much better, more practical camera system than the stunted, hipster Fuji X system, it’s pretty cool that Fuji are putting some extra craft into their cameras. Other manufacturers could take a leaf out of their book, on the style front at least.

Olympus were pretty clear that one of the objectives with the E-M5iii was lightness, which makes polymers a pretty good call. Redesigning the IBIS system was likely quite an expensive endeavour, already proven to be too much of a stretch to match for other manufacturers. A metal,larger body is already available.

That’s my echo-chamber contribution for the day. 😅

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MEDISN
MEDISN Senior Member • Posts: 1,063
Re: Fuji opts for artificial price / artificial value hike
3

Raist3d wrote:

- on Fuji- the DR in the new sensor is the same but it’s not irrelevant because it’s both a bit more resolution and a notably reduced rolling shutter

That only highlights how bad rolling shutter was on the XT2.  Readout speed of the EM1mkII sensor released in the same year the XT2 was already 16ms for full frame stills and 10ms for 4k video.

- on sensor - yes- the en5.3 is the less old 20mp sensor we have been commenting on that so I am more than well aware of that I was referring to still using the 26mp as in new announced epl10

That makes no sense.  What does "still using 26mp" have to do with the EPL10?  It's a much lower price point ~$500.  Fuji doesn't use latest sensors in the low end either - XT100 and XA7 still rocking the ancient 24MP APS-C from 2012.

instead of trying to “win” and be argumentative for arguments sake may I suggest you try to put a good faith effort in the exchange You are starting to act like some politicians supporters

Sorry to let facts get in the way of your narrative.

whumber
whumber Senior Member • Posts: 2,816
Re: Fuji opts for artificial price / artificial value hike
1

MEDISN wrote:

- on sensor - yes- the en5.3 is the less old 20mp sensor we have been commenting on that so I am more than well aware of that I was referring to still using the 26mp as in new announced epl10

That makes no sense. What does "still using 26mp" have to do with the EPL10? It's a much lower price point ~$500. Fuji doesn't use latest sensors in the low end either - XT100 and XA7 still rocking the ancient 24MP APS-C from 2012.

Most likely a typo. I think he meant "still using the 16mp [sensor] as in the new announced epl10".

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Androole Senior Member • Posts: 1,448
Re: Some thoughts on plastic vs metal, and Titanium...

cba_melbourne wrote:

Androole wrote:

cba_melbourne wrote:

Androole wrote:

.............

Titanium is a stupid material for top and bottom plates, given the physical material requirements of those components, but magnesium makes sense for the chassis, and that is what is used...

In my personal experience, in an accident (dropping the camera or hitting an object) it is almost always the top and bottom plates that take the bulk of the hit. Actually, it is the corners of the top and bottom plates. Cameras rarely fall flat onto front/back or side.

The corners of the top and bottom plates are also the ones that show first natural wear and tear. Just think of the old film cameras, where was the paint worn off first exposing the brass underneath?

So, there at least is some logic in trying to use wear and impact resistant materials for top and bottom covers.

I agree Titanium is not the best choice, because it is very difficult and costly to form into intricate and appealing shapes. Exactly because of it's toughness. Cost also matters, because the top and bottom plates are parts relatively often replaced in camera servicing (drives the cost of repairs up).

Plastic:

- A downside of using unpainted plastic for covers, is that plastic often fades unevenly. Different plastic components (even if made of the same material) can take on slightly different colors by the exposure to sunlight, which looks cheap. I am sure you have seen this before, on things other than cameras. This happens because different parts are not made at the same time with the exactly same batch of plastic granules on the same molding machine and melting temperature..

- That is why plastic on cameras is painted. That brings about another problem though. Plastic surfaces are soft and easily dented or scratched, penetrating under the thin paint coat and exposing the different material color underneath. Which now just looks plain ugly, not just cheap. The more the color of the plastic core differs from the paint, the worse it wears. The most horrific example for this, is black plastic sprayed with silver paint.

- Plastic is not a conductor. This has two disadvantages. First, it cannot be used well as a heat sink to dissipate heat generated inside the camera to the outside - then makers have to implant large copper or steel plates or even heat pipes inside the camera to store the heat somewhere away from the sensor, which again adds weight. Second, even with anti static additives, plastic is still is a magnet for dust compared to metal.

Me personally, I believe that the very best and hardest wearing material for top/bottom plates is metal, either hard anodized Aluminium or brass high quality plated with Nickel or Chromium. My second preference would be for painted Magnesium. Injection molded plastic really would never be on my wish list of preferences, unless it was glass or carbon reinforced epoxy resin.

Reinforced thermoplastics (i.e. not thermosetting epoxy, as you mention) are actually reasonably common in this application and do a very good job. Teijin Sereebo carbon-fiber reinforced thermoplastic is what is used on the Nikon D750 and D500, for instance.

Just accept it, the one and only reason to use injection molded plastic in camera chassis and top/bottom plates is money. It has nothing to do with weight or impact resistance, nothing at all. It would be far more palatable, had Olympus chosen to pass-on at least some of the savings they made by using plastic to their customers.

I broadly agree with your analysis, and unreinforced plastic typically wouldn't be my preference either.

But that doesn't mean that titanium is a good choice, either.

And if the choice is between an $1800 body with titanium top and bottom plates or a $1200 body with plastic top and bottom plates, I'll still pick the $1200 body, because the price of the other is simply not justifiable.

Me too. But this is not exactly how it is.

The way I see it, the price of the EM5.3 would be appropriate if it was a premium all metal construction like it's predecessors. I would not unreasonably expect it to be some 20-25% cheaper as an all-plastic "utility" construction.

Do we actually know that it's all-plastic? That would be very surprising to me. Not even the E-M10 is all plastic.

As I understand it, the main chassis on the E-M5 III is a magnesium casting (on the E-M10 I believe it is aluminum), the downgrade is simply that the top- and bottom-plates are now plastic.

Magnesium main casting with plastic auxiliary plates is pretty par for the course around the $1000 price point. (The Canon RP has just a very small magnesium casting for its lens mount and sensor, and the rest of the plastic components are hung off it). More cameras sold for $1200 will be all metal, I will certainly grant you that.

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cba_melbourne Senior Member • Posts: 1,527
Re: Fuji gets titanium, Olympus gets...plastic?
1

TomFid wrote:

cba_melbourne wrote:

Androole wrote:

.............

Titanium is a stupid material for top and bottom plates, given the physical material requirements of those components, but magnesium makes sense for the chassis, and that is what is used...

In my personal experience, in an accident (dropping the camera or hitting an object) it is almost always the top and bottom plates that take the bulk of the hit. Actually, it is the corners of the top and bottom plates. Cameras rarely fall flat onto front/back or side.

The corners of the top and bottom plates are also the ones that show first natural wear and tear. Just think of the old film cameras, where was the paint worn off first exposing the brass underneath?

So, there at least is some logic in trying to use wear and impact resistant materials for top and bottom covers.

I agree Titanium is not the best choice, because it is very difficult and costly to form into intricate and appealing shapes. Exactly because of it's toughness. Cost also matters, because the top and bottom plates are parts relatively often replaced in camera servicing (drives the cost of repairs up).

Plastic:

- A downside of using unpainted plastic for covers, is that plastic often fades unevenly. Different plastic components (even if made of the same material) can take on slightly different colors by the exposure to sunlight, which looks cheap. I am sure you have seen this before, on things other than cameras. This happens because different parts are not made at the same time with the exactly same batch of plastic granules on the same molding machine and melting temperature..

- That is why plastic on cameras is painted. That brings about another problem though. Plastic surfaces are soft and easily dented or scratched, penetrating under the thin paint coat and exposing the different material color underneath. Which now just looks plain ugly, not just cheap. The more the color of the plastic core differs from the paint, the worse it wears. The most horrific example for this, is black plastic sprayed with silver paint.

Painted metal wears off pretty fast too. You can consider "brassing" a badge of honor, but I'm pretty sure it kills resale value.

I agree paint on brass wears too. But slower than paint on soft plastic. And it does not look as unpleasant, by far. Consider that some people even like the "distresses look" of polished brass corners. People pay extra for "distressed" jeans, think of "stone washed". I cannot imagine anyone liking the looks of worn paint over dull or dented plastic, though.

- Plastic is not a conductor. This has two disadvantages. First, it cannot be used well as a heat sink to dissipate heat generated inside the camera to the outside - then makers have to implant large copper or steel plates or even heat pipes inside the camera to store the heat somewhere away from the sensor, which again adds weight. Second, even with anti static additives, plastic is still is a magnet for dust compared to metal.

On the other hand, low conductivity is an advantage for cold weather use.

I agree. But then, the leatherette helps insulating from the cold metal.

Strictly speaking, plastic cameras would not need to have a leatherette at all, A soft grippy surface can be moulded onto plastic. Unfortunaly the plasticisers used on such surfaces make it wear terribly bad, they very often turn into a sticky mass of gunk. Ask people that had such cameras... some Panasonic models come to mind.

Me personally, I believe that the very best and hardest wearing material for top/bottom plates is metal, either hard anodized Aluminium or brass high quality plated with Nickel or Chromium. My second preference would be for painted Magnesium. Injection molded plastic really would never be on my wish list of preferences, unless it was glass or carbon reinforced epoxy resin.

It's not that simple. You have to consider the manufacturing properties as well as the physical properties of the result. A material with inferior specific properties might still yield a superior product, if it's easier to produce complex shapes that put the material where it's needed.

In any case, this is solving a problem that doesn't exist. How many reports have we had here of top plates breaking, vs. other problems like strap lugs pulling out and dials, buttons and doors failing?

Top plates do not "break". They sometimes get replaced because of cosmetic wear or dents. Often you have to replace them, because switches and wheels and circuit boards that are built into break and you can only get the whole assembly because the way these plastic top plates are made means they break if you try do take them apart. Even hybrid top plates that have a stamped metal outer shell can be that way, like for my GM1 you can only buy the top plate with all switches and the circuit board pre-assembled.

Strap lugs pulling out, I think that was an EM1 problem. I suspect the screw attaching the lug had no threadlock. That would be more an assembly mistake, than poor material choice.

Even in falls, it's usually the lens mount that breaks.

True if a larger lens was attached. I think that is why they use 4 tiny M2.5 screws on the flange, they should break before the chassis. In the case of a plastic chassis though, I suspect the thread in the chassis itself would be ripped out long before the screw breaks. Of course one could mold metal thread inserts into plastic chassis's, but that would defeat it's cost advantage over a Magnesium chassis, so why bother?

Just accept it, the one and only reason to use injection molded plastic in camera chassis and top/bottom plates is money. It has nothing to do with weight or impact resistance, nothing at all. It would be far more palatable, had Olympus chosen to pass-on at least some of the savings they made by using plastic to their customers.

We have no idea whether Olympus passed on some of the alleged savings or not. Yes, we'd all like Oly to cancel shareholder dividends and give the money to customers, but that's just not going to happen. Almost surely, more expensive materials would have meant a more expensive camera.

answered before

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Zvonimir Tosic
Zvonimir Tosic Senior Member • Posts: 2,984
Polycarbonates
2

Coasting wrote:

A plastic camera god what are Olympus thinking please don't leave it in the sun.

Sorry no, no warping in the heat. You would not pass the chemistry exam.

Let me help.

There are plastics of various kind, and there are polycarbonates (also various kinds). It's not always the same, because the word plastic precedes the polycarbonates and is used nonchalantly as a noun, not as an adverb.

Polycarbonate plastic is a lightweight, high-performance plastic that possesses a unique balance of toughness, dimensional stability, optical clarity, high heat resistance and excellent electrical resistance.

Polycarbonates offer superior strength to weight ratio; for example, several days ago I admired a brand new racing car, body and interior fully constructed from polycarbonates. It weighs less that a comparable 'metal alloy' car, it is more manoeuvrable, faster and – safer too.

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cba_melbourne Senior Member • Posts: 1,527
Re: Some thoughts on plastic vs metal, and Titanium...
1

Androole wrote:

cba_melbourne wrote:

Androole wrote:

cba_melbourne wrote:

Androole wrote:

.............

Titanium is a stupid material for top and bottom plates, given the physical material requirements of those components, but magnesium makes sense for the chassis, and that is what is used...

In my personal experience, in an accident (dropping the camera or hitting an object) it is almost always the top and bottom plates that take the bulk of the hit. Actually, it is the corners of the top and bottom plates. Cameras rarely fall flat onto front/back or side.

The corners of the top and bottom plates are also the ones that show first natural wear and tear. Just think of the old film cameras, where was the paint worn off first exposing the brass underneath?

So, there at least is some logic in trying to use wear and impact resistant materials for top and bottom covers.

I agree Titanium is not the best choice, because it is very difficult and costly to form into intricate and appealing shapes. Exactly because of it's toughness. Cost also matters, because the top and bottom plates are parts relatively often replaced in camera servicing (drives the cost of repairs up).

Plastic:

- A downside of using unpainted plastic for covers, is that plastic often fades unevenly. Different plastic components (even if made of the same material) can take on slightly different colors by the exposure to sunlight, which looks cheap. I am sure you have seen this before, on things other than cameras. This happens because different parts are not made at the same time with the exactly same batch of plastic granules on the same molding machine and melting temperature..

- That is why plastic on cameras is painted. That brings about another problem though. Plastic surfaces are soft and easily dented or scratched, penetrating under the thin paint coat and exposing the different material color underneath. Which now just looks plain ugly, not just cheap. The more the color of the plastic core differs from the paint, the worse it wears. The most horrific example for this, is black plastic sprayed with silver paint.

- Plastic is not a conductor. This has two disadvantages. First, it cannot be used well as a heat sink to dissipate heat generated inside the camera to the outside - then makers have to implant large copper or steel plates or even heat pipes inside the camera to store the heat somewhere away from the sensor, which again adds weight. Second, even with anti static additives, plastic is still is a magnet for dust compared to metal.

Me personally, I believe that the very best and hardest wearing material for top/bottom plates is metal, either hard anodized Aluminium or brass high quality plated with Nickel or Chromium. My second preference would be for painted Magnesium. Injection molded plastic really would never be on my wish list of preferences, unless it was glass or carbon reinforced epoxy resin.

Reinforced thermoplastics (i.e. not thermosetting epoxy, as you mention) are actually reasonably common in this application and do a very good job. Teijin Sereebo carbon-fiber reinforced thermoplastic is what is used on the Nikon D750 and D500, for instance.

Just accept it, the one and only reason to use injection molded plastic in camera chassis and top/bottom plates is money. It has nothing to do with weight or impact resistance, nothing at all. It would be far more palatable, had Olympus chosen to pass-on at least some of the savings they made by using plastic to their customers.

I broadly agree with your analysis, and unreinforced plastic typically wouldn't be my preference either.

But that doesn't mean that titanium is a good choice, either.

And if the choice is between an $1800 body with titanium top and bottom plates or a $1200 body with plastic top and bottom plates, I'll still pick the $1200 body, because the price of the other is simply not justifiable.

Me too. But this is not exactly how it is.

The way I see it, the price of the EM5.3 would be appropriate if it was a premium all metal construction like it's predecessors. I would not unreasonably expect it to be some 20-25% cheaper as an all-plastic "utility" construction.

Do we actually know that it's all-plastic? That would be very surprising to me. Not even the E-M10 is all plastic.

As I understand it, the main chassis on the E-M5 III is a magnesium casting (on the E-M10 I believe it is aluminum), the downgrade is simply that the top- and bottom-plates are now plastic.

We do not know this. Robin said in his video it is all plastic. As a former Olympus employee and current visionary, he may still have drinks with the people in the know and get some insights. But no, we cannot know for sure if the EM5.3 has internally a metal chassis.

In the past, Olympus was always very quick at releasing pictures of their raw metal castings, they always used such pics as sales arguments. It seems they are less forthcoming with releasing pictures of their new plastic construction. Maybe they do not think it could be helpful as a sales argument.

One would think tat if it was a metal chassis, they would mention it somewhere in the sales blurb? It would certainly put some worried souls at rest ... metal = peace of mind, confidence,  plastic = nagging uncertainty, doubts. They can't for years present their all metal constructions as superior, and then suddenly change their mind without presenting the rationale behind it. All they said is weight savings, but that only explains the smaller battery.

Magnesium main casting with plastic auxiliary plates is pretty par for the course around the $1000 price point. (The Canon RP has just a very small magnesium casting for its lens mount and sensor, and the rest of the plastic components are hung off it). More cameras sold for $1200 will be all metal, I will certainly grant you that.

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whumber
whumber Senior Member • Posts: 2,816
Re: Polycarbonates
2

Zvonimir Tosic wrote:

Polycarbonates offer superior strength to weight ratio; for example, several days ago I admired a brand new racing car, body and interior fully constructed from polycarbonates. It weighs less that a comparable 'metal alloy' car, it is more manoeuvrable, faster and – safer too.

Polycarbonates alone don't offer a particularly impressive strength to weight ratio. It's when you use the polycarbonate as a binder to allow glass/carbon fibers to carry loads that they have excellent strength to weight properties. You'll find that no structural component in a racing car is made purely from polycarbonate. The only place you'll find pure polycarbonate is in the non-structural components of the car.

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JaKing
JaKing Senior Member • Posts: 6,065
Re: Polycarbonates

whumber wrote:

Zvonimir Tosic wrote:

Polycarbonates offer superior strength to weight ratio; for example, several days ago I admired a brand new racing car, body and interior fully constructed from polycarbonates. It weighs less that a comparable 'metal alloy' car, it is more manoeuvrable, faster and – safer too.

Polycarbonates alone don't offer a particularly impressive strength to weight ratio. It's when you use the polycarbonate as a binder to allow glass/carbon fibers to carry loads that they have excellent strength to weight properties. You'll find that no structural component in a racing car is made purely from polycarbonate. The only place you'll find pure polycarbonate is in the non-structural components of the car.

My E-510 and E-30 both had fibre reinforced covers. The E-510 also had similar chassis, with some metal plates. IIRC the innards of my E-30 were mostly/fully metal.

Regardless, more than ten years on, both work perfectly.

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