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Old Feb 27, 2010, 7:30 PM   #1
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Default The E3 replacement and its competitors

Hi Guys and Girls

As we all know, that when Oly was working on the E3 they had the Nikon D200 and Canon 40D as the E3's direct competitors and there was a powerpoint presentation that clearly pointed this out. Its clear that even as a "pro" camera the E3 was aimed at the semi-pro segment of the market and not at the real pro (Canon 1D/Nikon D3) cameras.

Now my question is this .. Where should Oly be pitching the E3 replacement ? Should it be the likes of the D300s and Canon 7D or the lesser D90/50D models ? Clearly Oly's flagship camera can't compete against the likes of the Canon 1DMKIV, Nikon D3/D700 and Sony's A900 FF cameras but my own thoughts are that the E3's replacement has to clearly be better than the current 7D and D300s and as good as any D400 (my bet is Nikon will show a D400 at Photokina 2010). I'd be interested in your opinions on this esp as I have recently seen posts on a couple of forums where some oly users have stated that any E3 replacement has no chance of competing against the D300s/7D.


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Harj

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Old Feb 27, 2010, 7:57 PM   #2
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I doubt it will compete with anything but the D300, 7D type competition, as that's where I think the pricing will be.

There are a host of rumors that swirl around, but I'm content to wait until the anouncement.

One of the rumors is a multi-exposure mode that takes a short, then a normal exposure and use it to extend dynamic range. Panny claims the new sensor to have more DR than the 5DII. I just don't know how that translates to action photography.

The one thing that will interest me the most is improvement in C-AF.

In any event, I'll let it be on the market several months before I make a decision.

Greg
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 8:03 PM   #3
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Whatever Olympus introduces to replace the E3 needs to be at least as good or better than everyone else other than Canon or Nikon....that's it. Those "other two" companies simply have the share of the market they have and no one, not even Sony, can make a dent in it. Thinking anything will is unreasonable. Very, very few who owns a 7D or D300 and a set of lenses to fit those bodies will be buying anything other than a D400 or 8D, not Olympus, but micro four-thirds buyers who decide to start shooting something those bodies still are not good at might look at the Olympus DSLR system if the Olympus option is good enough and those users are not already married to one of the two gorilla's of the market.
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 9:52 PM   #4
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Hi Guys

Agree with both of your comments - and Greg, I also read the report by Panasonic regards the new sensor for the G2 - 4 stops improvement over the existing GH1/G1 4/3 sensor. All new process and a new plant to manufacture it and according to the site that had the info, the new plant is th reason why Pana had to delay the G2. Whether the 4 stop improvement truns out to be real or not we'll have to see but if it does then 4/3's going to have a sensor to shout about (the GH1 sensor is pretty fine as it is). I've been trying to find taht original link but so far no joy.

Now if Pana do have a new sensor as good as they claim it is (the claim was made at an International electronics meeting - Sony was there too) then Oly needs to make sure that :

1. AF - E3's achillies heel if you ask me. I know the E30 has an improved AF but Oly needs to up the game and make sure that AF - SAF or CAF is spot on from the get go. So that means as good as Nikon's D300s and the 7D.
2. Resolution - If the new Pana sensor is as good as they say how far do you push the MP count ? 12MP, 14 or 16MP ? Personally 12MP would be fine esp if it meant good DR but 14 if it was to balance resolution and DR.
3. Video - any new camera flagship camera has to be able to do HD video whether we need it or not. I'd use it for video but thats me as I'm sure a lot of others wouldn't.
4. Focus Assit lamp - that needs to come back for the E3+
5. LCD - Articulated and as high res as the comptetion or higher.
6. Dual CF or CF + SD cards
7. Standardise on DNG as the RAW file format or at least give an option to shoot in DNG.
8. Improved Live View - its handy but on my E3 its clunky to say the least.
9. As theyre competing against the semi-pro cameras and not the Pro Can/Nikon they need to keep to a 2 year product cycle instead of the current 3-4.

Cheers

Harj
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 10:11 PM   #5
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I don't have an E30, but on my E-620, #1, #4 come to play... having to buy a lens to get better AF (kit lens vs 12-60mm SWD) shouldn't be required IMO.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 1:15 AM   #6
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Pentax does #7, as does Leica. Anyone else? Olympus is far from the only one that use only their own proprietary RAW format.

They could probably go a long ways toward fixing #2 by keeping the current 12MP sensor and just use the same AA filter used on the EP models.

No comment on video modes. Even if you could press a button and magically have professional video, I'd never use it.

I wouldn't mind a dual CF/SD slot only because I already have several SD cards from a few Panasonic digicams I have used that are just sitting around these days.

Live View isn't anything I will use much no matter how good it gets, unless they figure out a way to have a dual optical/electronic finder the user can select based on subject matter. that would be quite cool.

Olympus' AF system is coming around. Unlike all the other traditional camera makers, they never had a fully developed 35mm AF system that could be carried over to the digital platform. As a result, they were, literally, 18-20 years behind everyone else in 2004 and today are probably on the same footing Canon and Nikon were in the early 1990's with the benefit today of better technology to learn with. Nikon's AF system as late as the mid 1990's with the F4 was far from the system they use today.

I can vividly remember, in the mid 1980's, going into a camera store and trying Canon's first AF SLR, the T80, with those hideous FD autofocus lenses with the huge humps in them that were necessary to house the AF motors. The first AF SLR I ever purchased was a Nikon N-2020 and the AF was anything but 20/20, and those first AF Nikkors may have had a mechanically-link manual focus system, but man did they feel cheap!

The AF system on the E30 is much, much better than the E1 and no doubt, the next upper level bodies will be incrementally even better.

Last edited by Greg Chappell; Feb 28, 2010 at 1:28 AM.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 8:44 AM   #7
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I must admit I'm concerned about the Oly-USA product manager comment that in 2 years the 4/3 cameras will not have a mirror and OVF. I'm just not interested in an EVIL camera.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 10:22 AM   #8
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Hi Ted

Agree with you on the EVF/OVF statements. If anyone is going to make a really good EVF then its going to be the likes of Pana or Sony first with all of their Pro broadcasting experience. I wasn;t impressed with the interview between Oly's reps at PMA over at IR, I think we all know that Oly's marketing dept has always left a lot to be desired but that was an own goal if there ever was one.

They do need to change the 3year+ product cycle for the Ex as the flagship cam is competing against cameras that are on a 2 year cycle. The E3 was competitive when it came out in 2007 but it wasn't a new break through camera or revolutionary in terms of IQ/DR etc to be on a 3 year cycle.

Cheers

Harj

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Old Feb 28, 2010, 10:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkurkowski View Post
I must admit I'm concerned about the Oly-USA product manager comment that in 2 years the 4/3 cameras will not have a mirror and OVF. I'm just not interested in an EVIL camera.
I've stated this on a different site, but boy is it how I feel.

I did the eagle trip in -14F temperatures, and LCD technology tends to struggle in extreme cold. The fuel pump display was basically useless until the pump stopped and the digits eventually read correctly. They would need to fix that.

The other concern is what would happen to a panning situation, such as birds in flight, when the rate of panning might cover 40 degrees in less than a second. The refresh rate would lead to the breakup of the digital image in the viewfinder.

The third is the lag. If you react to a moving object in the viewfinder, you are reaction to something that happened some time previously. Of the three things listed, this would likely be the easiest to make "acceptable".

The time for technology to fix all three is more than a couple years away. Any implementation before that (and elimination of the mirror system) would turn the system into a static scene camera system only.

Greg
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 12:09 PM   #10
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Greg, at -14 F I'd have been happy to get gas in my car at all.

I occasionally use a pro video photographer friend's high-end Sony DV camcorder. For obvious reasons video camcorders use an EVF and no pro video photographer believes that what they're seeing in the EVF bears much resemblance to the actual video when viewed on a good monitor. The EVF is only used to allow them to track the action.

That said, I do believe that at some point in the future EVF technology will be good for still cameras. But I think that's more than 2 years away. The good news is, when that happens I'll have a camera that can take a burst of frames without sounding like a machine gun. Near-silence is one thing I do miss about rangefinder cameras.

Ted
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