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Old May 27, 2011, 12:09 PM   #11
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I think there's a potential miss here. The real question is whether the foveon technology could ever become less expensive to manufacture. Not just whether the SD1 will be a successful product. I don't expect the SD1 to be very successful but I do think it's important for technology to branch into different directions. So, I'll be more interested to see if the technology survives and grows into something more viable. Much in the same way Sony's translucent mirror is intriguing. It's not a great replacement yet for OVF but the technology is still first-generation. Sometimes you just can't keep trying to "improve" existing ideas you sometimes need entirely new ideas.
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Old May 27, 2011, 2:13 PM   #12
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Never got a chance to use Betamax .. just ended up with VHS when we did get a VCR !

Back to the SD1 - the pricing is simply nuts and if it had been 2-2.5k then I think they wouldn;t have had a problem selling the SD1.
its possible output is to be very low, at least for the present. I simply cannot see the sensor being worth $9k, or $6k depending on what you read. The silicon costs the same. IMO at $2000 they wouldnt be able to keep up with demand

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The other issue is what lenses are going to provide the best IQ with that sensor and Sigma will have to up the ante on their QC across the board. Right now at that 9700 price even with what looks stunning IQ/resolution from the new sensor, I cant see how many they are likely to sell, esp when you can pick up a D3x or a 1D and at least two really good lenses for that price.

Looking at the sensor's physical size, is it possible the existing Ft lenses could cover that image circle without cropping ?
no, I dont think so

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If they had to reduce the Foveon down to FT size, we doubt we would see that much loss in either resolution but what about DR ? Anyway, now that weve seen what a 15MP Foveon is capable of producing, is that Oly for its cameras.. esp for its flagship should be looking at using a similar sensor even though the latest Pana Ft sensors are nice step up in IQ. It would instantly even up the playing field between FT and APS and possibly even FF when paired up with HG/SHG glass. The other question then would be, could the SHG/HG lenses be able to resolve that much detail as well ??
yes I think so. If the sensor is 4/3rds size its less than 9Mp. The thing about this is that although the detail input is high, the actual Mp isnt tasking the glass as though it were 27Mp. It would be an advance in 2 directions over present SD15, better lenses and more Mp. That cant be bad right

But if its a white sheet of paper we are working off, lets bring the 4/3rds sensor upsized to 300sq mm which is the limit of the patent, thats 20x15mm and in foveon terms using the SD1 pixel architecture its around 12Mp. Just about perfect

The diagram below isnt right for the new foveon, which is 24x16mm and 384sq mm, a little bigger than Nikon APSC.
A Super 4/3rds would be between Canon APSC (327sq mm) and the old foveon (285sq mm)
thinking further, if Sigma hold to $7k or whatever, Oly would be in a good position to move in with a piece of the same sensor at a more realistic price

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Cheers

Harj

Last edited by Rriley; May 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM.
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Old May 27, 2011, 4:03 PM   #13
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Hey John

Whats really puzzling me is the huge increase in price from the previous SDXX models ? The camera body isn't that much more complex say than the E5/E3's and I can't imagine the manufacturing processes for the chip have changed so radically either. Its a shame that this new chip looks so promising and could end up being assigned as another cool bit of tech that ends up in some specialised niche market. You would think that Sigma or Oly would have approached one another and suggested a deal of some sorts. I may be mistaken but I think Pana placed a few sensor patents a year or so ago that seemed to be very similar to how the Foveon works.

Hey Riley, mate glad you reminded me that the FT sensor size could actually be larger and I'm sure that the lenses would have been designed to cover the image circle without any issues.

If it were me and I was at Oly looking then i would have gone with the clean slate - fab a Foevon sensor that is at the max size that the FT patent allows. A 12Mp Foveon would give approx equiv to a 30MP sensor..even if it were only 18-20 MP that would be way more than enough and at the same time you don;t loose out in the DR stakes.

My own personal thoughts about Oly recently have been that they should take a leaf out of Leica's book - they make some of the best lenses on the market and that they should just go and make something like the S2. A pro level body aimed at the studio/landscape photographers that don;t want a MF or possibly even a FF cam, nor need a fast and highly accurate AF system, fit it with an over sized FT sensor or now a Foveon and if need be 2-3 SHG quality lenses and then go to market. It wonlt happen now as theyre focused on the consumer end of the market but thats what I would do.

Cheers

Harj
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Old May 27, 2011, 4:17 PM   #14
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Interesting comments guys, but from a business man's perspective it looks like they are pricing it squarely in the medium format digital camera world, where $9k is not a high price. Those guys are used to that price range, and that is what they may be looking at.

Wait to see where there marketing emphasis will be. They will probably tout image quality as being medium format competitive with a more compact body.
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Old May 27, 2011, 9:10 PM   #15
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Interesting comments guys, but from a business man's perspective it looks like they are pricing it squarely in the medium format digital camera world, where $9k is not a high price. Those guys are used to that price range, and that is what they may be looking at.

Wait to see where there marketing emphasis will be. They will probably tout image quality as being medium format competitive with a more compact body.
The problem with pricing it in the medium format range is, I do not think it's going to deserve, image quality-wise, as being medium format-priced once someone other than the Sigma marketing department gets ahold of them to shoot pictures, and Sigma has far from a solid reputation for consistent quality in its' products. SIGnificant MAlfunctions.....a term I learned long ago in Canon forums, and a hard one to live down.

For the number of these they'll sell, they should be hand-assembling no more than a half-dozen or so a day, and testing them as each part is added so they don't screw something up. The last thing they need at this price is hearing about ANY problems out of the box. Even at that rate, production would probably far exceed demand.

Last edited by Greg Chappell; May 27, 2011 at 11:23 PM.
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Old May 27, 2011, 9:11 PM   #16
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I know I wasn't impressed with Sigma & Foveon back when...it was one of the three cameras in contention for me back in 2005...the other two being the Panasonic DMC-FZ30 & Olympus E-330...guess which one won the competition?
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Yep .. the E330 is still a mightly good camera.. pretty easy choice if you ask me know!
Oops...should have said the E-300, the E-330 didn't exist in 2005! I also have an E-330 & E-3, so you can see how I get the "threes" confused.
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Old May 28, 2011, 12:14 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by HarjTT View Post
Never got a chance to use Betamax .. just ended up with VHS when we did get a VCR !

Back to the SD1 - the pricing is simply nuts and if it had been 2-2.5k then I think they wouldn;t have had a problem selling the SD1. The other issue is what lenses are going to provide the best IQ with that sensor and Sigma will have to up the ante on their QC across the board. Right now at that 9700 price even with what looks stunning IQ/resolution from the new sensor, I cant see how many they are likely to sell, esp when you can pick up a D3x or a 1D and at least two really good lenses for that price.

Looking at the sensor's physical size, is it possible the existing Ft lenses could cover that image circle without cropping ? If they had to reduce the Foveon down to FT size, we doubt we would see that much loss in either resolution but what about DR ? Anyway, now that weve seen what a 15MP Foveon is capable of producing, is that Oly for its cameras.. esp for its flagship should be looking at using a similar sensor even though the latest Pana Ft sensors are nice step up in IQ. It would instantly even up the playing field between FT and APS and possibly even FF when paired up with HG/SHG glass. The other question then would be, could the SHG/HG lenses be able to resolve that much detail as well ??




Cheers

Harj
The Foveon size pictured here is the old chip. If I'm understanding the new chip correctly, its a 1.5x APS-C format like Nikon/Sony/Pentax.
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Old May 29, 2011, 1:55 AM   #18
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There are several ways Olympus will believe they are moving forward.
* Persist with a stalled 4/3rds and continue to invest in consumer grade micro.
* Kill 4/3rds and go all micro with adapters, say bye bye to western markets b/se it isnt working there
* Kill 4/3rds and develop something larger that can use the existing lens suite, the Super 4/3rds.
* In any event develop another system, doesnt matter if its S2 size or 1.4x this method is very expensive and requires an entirely new lens suite.

Is there any other way?
What they have been doing is using the same guts of a camera regenerated into several different bodies, thats the history of 4xx, 5xx, 6xx, Exx and Ex, as well as offering so far 4 lens suites, SHG, HG, SG and micro. What they should be doing is developing less bodies that make more people happy with more sensor diversity, and reducing the lens range (drop SG) to something more easily handleable. Give photographers what they want, choices that count for something, cameras that work like cameras. They used to make the prettiest cameras in the business, now most of them are plain fugly

In this way we can have
* 2 micro bodies, one with an EVF built in, Im fascinated why this hasnt been done.

* 2 SLRs that are basically the same camera almost identical from the outside, and use analogue controls that have proven exceptionally popular with Panasonics LC1 and Leica Digilux 2, Panasonics L1, and the amazing success of Fuji X100.
Fit within these camera types 2 different sensors and respective imaging engines, and foveon is perfect for this. In this way they still market 4 cameras, but with less actual mouldings. They still offer more market intensity in micro at last with a built in EVF.

Swinging more the SLRs way, it would be a good opportunity to have an outsized sensor using 20x15 of foveon for 12Mp, but I dont think foveon can stand on its own so offer a different guts with an nMOS as well. Olys better build quality and industry standard jpeg engine with some of the best lens options in the business would exceed Sigmas own, but perhaps we can get all their SA mount options to swing over to us this time to replace SG and offered under the Oly flag, that is after all their core business, it is overall a better deal for Sigma.

If Sigmas design routine remains the foveon model would be with us a very long time, perhaps updated every 5 yrs or so, the nMOS can be updated every 2 yrs, but I would expect the familiar shell would remain much the same, perhaps as long as a decade. This has a low impact on resources that would otherwise belong to micro. Sizewise a tad above small but enough to get your hands around, but with accessories like a battery grip to make handling those SHG a little easier for those that need it.

Last edited by Rriley; May 29, 2011 at 2:14 AM. Reason: additions / corrections
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Old May 29, 2011, 2:16 AM   #19
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double post

Last edited by Rriley; May 29, 2011 at 2:17 AM. Reason: clueless !
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