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Old May 4, 2007, 4:36 PM   #1
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The future of 4/3rds I say is looking very good, esp if the initial sample shots from the new Pana nMOS sensor shots from the E410 are anything to go by. I think Oly & PanaLeica's tie up 18 months ago to develop the E330/DMCL1/Digilux3 is possibly the best thing to have happened to Oly and the entire system.

Image qualitywise, recent reviews by Dpreview.com and Sean Reid (reidreviews.com) showed that the DMC L1 and thus the E330 as well was very close to the Canon 30D even at ISO1600. The new Panaleica's nMOS sensor even with an additional 2.5MP packed into the same space seems to have a better DR and lower NR through ISO100 all the way to ISO 1600. I have a feeling that the E1P may just get a different sensor than the other two cam's, whether its from Pana isn't clear, although we could well get a 5/6MP Foevon (it can already do LV) or a new sensor for Kodak. Coupled to the new sensors we're getting IS and just as important LV across the Oly range and I can see PanaLeica doing the same. By 2008 we're going to have both the E1p/E3 from Olympus and PanaLeica's own Pro level cam, although what that will be like is anyones guess - my thoughts are that it could well look like a smaller Leica DR . Coupled to that are the new lenses from Oly/Sigma/PanaLeica - it looks as if the Leica D25mm f1.4 is possibly one of the best lenses available for any mount and we already have the 7-14/11-22 and Top pro grade glass from Oly. The system will be around for some time to come, as long as Oly/PanaLeica continue to innovate ....

Oly's mistake - I think they should have released an interim upgrade to the E1 about 18 months ago, after the E300's release and before the E330's - even if it were a simple 8MP, faster AF/more AF points into E1's body. It would have given them more time and space to work on the E1's successor.

The futures bright... and its not Orange !

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Old May 4, 2007, 8:59 PM   #2
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Its interesting. Other forums clamor for full frame sensors (ie 35mm). They view anything less as less than ideal. Olympus is at the other end of the spectrum. One thing not mentioned is how compact and light the e400/e410 actually are, even with the 40-150.

When the masses run toward large sensors as prices fall into the consumer level, I expect Olympus to be ready to cash in as the pendulum swings back after people discover what a pain lugging that much weight actually is.

I think Olympus is solid. They don't make the most DSLRs, and I don't think they really want to. They want to make a profit and I think their success in doing that will keep them in the ball game. Olympus seems to be a company driven by its engineers (well DSLR division anyway) and they don't seem ready to release a product unless its a solid improvement over its predecessor.

The E1 replacement is taking forever and the delay has lost nearly the entire professional base. After they left and are invested in the other guys glass, I think they are gone for good and Olympus hasto start pretty much from scratch. Its not easy or cheap to jump systems. I hope Olympus realizes this and offers the E3 (or whatever they call it) will be priced so the serious amateur can afford it.
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Old May 4, 2007, 10:12 PM   #3
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Yes you are both right, it is looking a lot brighter. The old noise bugbear seems to have been dealt a massive blow, and the images from 410/510 seem very detailed indeed. I cant wait to hear of further implementations too, Im suspicious that L1 is about to run out for a new models, as the price is falling. What a difference a year makes.

I think if/when we get to the new 4/3 cameras, the noise issue will still be around just less, it looks like they are using Panasonics image engine to supress it in jpg.

As to P1, I think to be worthwhile the sensor will be different, Im thinking its a kodak. I posed this view in another place, and one of the people who actually knows (there are 3 who know but cannot say) seemed to give the notion that a half M8 sensor with no AA filter was possibly on the cards, this with a simple Yes in the title bar.

In another place, one of them made the mistake of suggesting
"The primes will come, but I doubt that they will be small unless they are slow"
when pressed about that he didnt answer, ~very sus~

There are lots of thread tourists hitting Oly boards, so the interest in 4/3 is gaining momentum. The practical reality of dreaming about FF is one thing, addressing the issues with FF reality is another entirely, FF are good tools for low noise, but there are real problems, and thats why Canon itself continues with the rather better featured 1D MkIII 1.3 crop.

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Old May 4, 2007, 10:14 PM   #4
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found this comparison
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Old May 5, 2007, 5:40 AM   #5
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Hi Riley

Regards the L1 replacement, I don;t think we will see one until 2008. Panasonic have stated that the top of the range camera will always be on a 2 year product development cycle and they proved they meant that - just look at the LC1. We'll definetly be seeing a low end e410/510 equivalent this summer but are going to have to wait unitl 2008 before we get to see an DMC L2 and whatever they will call the pro model. That last shot you posted shows you how small the package is - I'd go for the 510 anytime though, you need the grip and getting IS for an extra $100 is a no brainer.

Springer,

Your right over the pro users - from what I can tell most have switched and unless Oly can really sweeten the pot or the E1P is such a revolutionary must have cam they're going to have a tough time getting them back, esp as most of them woudl have invested a serious amount of $$$ waiting for an updated cam that failed to appear.Like you said the E1P needs to be priced just right. For me that means around the Nikon D200 - Fuji S5Pro price range.

Regards the sensor, I do have the feeling that it will be either a smaller version of the M8 sensor or something similar to it from panaleica. I'm not too sure whether FF or cropped sensor's -will eventually prevail but for the reasonable future 4/3rds will be just right for me.

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Old May 5, 2007, 7:18 AM   #6
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The "masses" are mever going to run to Full 35mm Frame cameras. Gearheads might, and propfessionals might, but those are both much smaller segments than the mainstream market. I was dissappointed at the amount of time that it took Olympus to develop a camera that was a step beyond the E-500, and I am not willling to pay several hundred dollars premium for live view, a feature that I consider to be of limited interest. But, it looks to me that the E-410 and E-510 are very interesting cameras for amateur use. I am now waiting for the E-3 to get real before I make my next purchase, but it does look to me that Olympus is finally back in the game.
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Old May 5, 2007, 8:01 AM   #7
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I think it's looking good. I've looked at alot fo E-410 samples. Only saw one that looked noisy at ISO 800, and I think that was probably pushed (it was an amusment park ride where even 1/1250 sec wasn't quite quick enough to stop motion blur--probably underexposed and pushed to get that speed.) On the whole I'd say noise looks comparable to a D80.

As for the format generally, I think the growth is going to come with the smaller formats, 4/3 and APS-C. Look at digicams and how everything has moved towards smaller sensors (1/2.5" and smaller). Nothing is going to change the fact that the smaller sensors will always be significantly lower in cost. Because Olympus is out in front in having lenses designed for the smaller sensor, they are well positioned.

I used to think the 2x crop meant 4/3 might be good for longer focal lengths. But that trurns out to not really be the case, while Olympus seemss to do well on the wide angle lenses. For those who need long and bright lenses, there's not much size savings. A 200mm f/2.8 lens for example has to be capable of an aperture of 71mm (200/2.8 ). So you can't make it that small and lightweight anyway.

And for those who really need those big heavy lenses, there's not much advantage to a small lightweight body either. With a big lens, the camera can be even easier to handle with a bit larger body. So I suspect larger formats will continue to do well for some professional uses, especially sports and action (where Canon also has an edge in autofocus).

But the growing part of the market isn't professional sports shooters. It's people who want a high quality camera for travel, family events, and walk around use. Look at the sales of those big zoom "walk-around" lenses, which aren't optically up to the standards of many pros.

What Olympus has here in the E-410 and E-510 are the best "walk-around" DSLR bodies. Combine that with these newer small zoom lenses, with Zuiko quality glass, and you've got a winner for I think the majority of consumers. The Nikon D40/D40x are trying to target this market, but the E-510 is noticeably smaller, at least matching image quality, with in-camera IS (why make a walk-around camera without it?), and market leading dust reduction (a huge advantage for any ordinary consumer), better lens selection, and better features/controls.

And these advantages aren't temporary. I think Olympus has an inherent cost/size advantage due to the format. The high ISO equity is likely temporary; the APS-C sized sensors in the long run should be 1/2 to 3/4 a stop better. But once you've got a decent quality ISO 1600, I'm not sure how critical that is. How many really need to shoot at the same quality at ISO 2800? A stop or two of IS might be at least as useful.

Canon is still in a strong position on the whole, but I think they are going to need to switch strategies and agressively develop a full line of smaller EF-S lenses designed for the smaller sensors if they want to remain on top of the consumer market. Right now they seem more concerned about the higher end markets.

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Old May 5, 2007, 8:23 AM   #8
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I have doubts about the M8 deal because I don't think it will support Live View. There has been precious few details released about the P1, but that it has live view is one of those details.

35mm full frame isn't ideal. I guess no system is. The 5D has been the only real player and its getting dated. As old as it is, it still commands very high prices and I would imagine very high margins for Canon. I don't think the rest of the manufacturers will allow them to be the only game in town, especially considering the 35mm legacy of those companies. As the chip prices continue to drop and competition drives prices down, I could forsee $1500 for such a camera and that will sell alot of these cameras. I guess we'll see. I could certainly be wrong.

As to the 1D, rumor has a 22mp full frame in the works. I'm quite sure they won't have a 10 fps sequential shooting mode because the data stream would be huge.

I don't want a full frame camera. It would offer no benifit to my photography and would carry many negatives. I love the 4/3 system and would consider a smaller sensor if someone did as good a job. Different strokes I guess.
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Old May 5, 2007, 8:54 AM   #9
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kenbalbari wrote:
Quote:
I used to think the 2x crop meant 4/3 might be good for longer focal lengths. But that trurns out to not really be the case, while Olympus seemss to do well on the wide angle lenses. For those who need long and bright lenses, there's not much size savings. A 200mm f/2.8 lens for example has to be capable of an aperture of 71mm (200/2.8 ). So you can't make it that small and lightweight anyway.

And for those who really need those big heavy lenses, there's not much advantage to a small lightweight body either. With a big lens, the camera can be even easier to handle with a bit larger body. So I suspect larger formats will continue to do well for some professional uses, especially sports and action (where Canon also has an edge in autofocus).

I agree with most of what you say, but no advantage in long lenses? To reach the same as that 200mm f2.8, an APS-C would need to carry a 250mm f2.8 which would be much more barrel to support a 90mm objective lens. That's a HUGE advantage in both weight, and more importantly, length as the heavy lens that far out is not going to balance as well.

To match a monster like the 300mm f2.8 ZD, they would need 375mm and the objective opening would go from 107mm to 135mm. What's more is where to find a lens that large, that bright and at what cost.

As far as body size, I'm not going out and buy the E410 to do extreme telephoto. One of the reasons I bought the E500 is because it fit me well as it was larger than the XTi, D40 type camera. Its great that they have the E410 for the best pocket DSLR, but I hope they keep owners of the top pro glass in mind and continue with the full sized body too. While you don't support the weight of a heavy lens with the camera body, there is no advantage of a small body.

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Old May 5, 2007, 12:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
I agree with most of what you say, but no advantage in long lenses? To reach the same as that 200mm f2.8, an APS-C would need to carry a 250mm f2.8 which would be much more barrel to support a 90mm objective lens.
Or carry the same 200mm f2.8 and crop. With the larger sensor, you are using more of the lens. Since the resolution of the lens is more the limiting factor at those focal lengths than the pixel pitch of the sensor, you really aren't losing much by using the larger sensor and cropping instead.

I guess what I'm saying is it's not as much advantage as I would have thought before thinking it through. Looking at some of the Sigma long lenses that have recently been released, they really aren't sharp enough at the longer focal lengths for the four-thirds sensor.

I don't think there's any disadvantage there though, either. In practice, that 50-200 and 1.4 TC combo you've got his hard to beat. And if you're out hiking, maybe that is a real advantage over any equivalent.

I think it will be interesting to see how they do with the 70-300mm on the way. I suspect one reason Sigma hasn't released their own 70-300 is that it gets a bit soft in the 200-300mm range, and this flaw will simply be more noticeable on the smaller format. My guess is Zuiko will make a version with sharper glass to compensate. Also, if you only need f5.6, rather than f2.8, it might be possible to make a surprisingly small and lightweight 300mm which will give an impressive 600mm equivalent.

In the end, I'm not really sure how much an inherent advantage is there for the format. Olympus is compensating for the smaller format by making sharper lenses. I'm not sure what the cost tradeoffs really are there. Just judging by the lack of avilable product so far on the long tele end, I'm guessing it might not be as advantageous. In the more normal focal lengths, however, there seems to be relatively inexpensive glass available which will take full advantage of the resolution of even the newer 10MP 4/3 sensors. The Sigma 18-50 f2.8 and 30mm f1.4 (at least when stopped down a stop) are still very sharp. Here, where lens lpmm is not a limiting factor, I think Olympus likely has a real advantage in being able to deliver higher quality overall at lower cost.

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