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Old May 28, 2006, 9:13 PM   #21
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I think a lot of users will value the live preview. It can be a good thing to have for macro shooting, shooting candids from waist level, holding a camera over your head in a crowd while still being able to frame using the LCD, etc.

ISO usability isn't too bad for most users with the Oly models through ISO 800, depending on subject, lighting, exposure and print sizes needed. Panasonic is making the sensor used in the newer Olympus E-330 and upcoming Panasonic DSLR (Olympus used Kodak sensors in previous 4/3 models), and advancements in sensor technology are still being made.

The problem is that advances in sensor technology are still being made by other manufacturers, too (and the 4/3 DSLR models are at a disadvantage because their sensors are physically smaller). We should begin to see a leveling off of this megapixel race soon (or at least I hope so). Then, we'd have more improvements in things like Dynamic Range and Noise Levels, without losing improvements made to increases in pixel count.

I suspect that was kept in mind during the concept stages of 4/3 system design (expecting advances to be made so that the sensor size would be a viable one in the future).

But, it may not be over just yet (megapixel race). We'll see what Sony does with the new Alpha. It wouldn't surprise me to see a 10 Megapixel Sensor in it (even though Canon decided to stay at 8 Megapixels for it's new EOS-30D). Keep in mind that the Nikon D200 is using a Sony 10MP CCD, and Pentax has already announced that it's working on a 10MP DSLR (probably using a Sony CCD).

Unfortunately, megapixels sells cameras, even if users don't really need higher resolution for the print and viewing sizes they use.

It's anyone's guess who the survivors are going to be, as the market will become pretty competitive. Look at Konica Minolta (they couldn't make a profit in the camera business). Olympus is probably going to be hurting in this area, too (as is Pentax).

I was just reading an article earlier today that included an interview with a large stockholder of Pentax, implying that they shoujldn't be in the Digital Camera business.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/05/...ney/mjapan.php

It's going to get pretty brutal before the dust settles with all of the competition we're seeing. We're starting to see some teaming up of camera companies with electronics companies (Pentax and Samsung, KM and Sony, Olympus and Panasonic, etc.).

But, in the end, the electronics giants may end up swallowing some of the traditional camera manufacturers (as Sony just did with some of KM's assets related to camera manufacturing). Ditto for the lens companies. Sony already owns more than 11% of Tamron, and it wouldn't surprise me to see something going on with Zeiss in the furture (since they already had a relationship with them).

Only time will tell how this market shakes out.

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Old May 28, 2006, 11:15 PM   #22
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QUOTE:''Personally, I do not trust the 4/3 system. I mean, why buy a DSLR with a smaller sensor (and more pixels that just add to the noise problem) when for the same price (or even lower) one can get an APS-C sensor camera that can go as far as ISO 1600 and still have workable results. It appears that the Oly is OK up to ISO 400 and from there onwards it's pretty much close to unusable. I mean, that is pretty low for a dSLR. To make matters worse, Panny has never impressed with their noise reduction approach (ofcourse we're speaking here about their prosumer line). I like their design best for their upcoming dSLR and if it were up to just that I would definetely have waited for the L1.''

I'm curious as to why you think the 4/3 system and by extension a smaller sensor, won't do its job? I don't have a clue so this is why I'm asking.

Since I plan on buying my very first DSLR in the very near future, and I hope it will be the L-1, I need to know the particulars.

And a particular will be what, exactly,in addition to more noisy pixels?

I'm saying, if Panasonic has invested money into research and development, and they plan on their new DSLR competing with the 30D, and since that will be the case, I can't imagine Panasonic falling into any kind of a''shortchanging'' position if they want to compete with Canon on this level. Doesn't it make good business sense to at least equal the30D in critical areas of performance? Also, don't we think Panasonic's engineers will have determined by now what the limits and benefits ofa designed, smaller sensor will mean in terms of noise levels. I really can'timagine Panasonic winging it on a smaller sensor and not knowing what the capabilities will be on a low/high ISO sensitivity.

On the sensor again: if the four thirds sensor is lacking, can we say the Leica lens will make up the difference in all areas? If the sensor is lacking, and the lens can make a up for a deficit in image quality thereby equaling the Canon 30D in a picture-taking sense, then the price of the lensmay well beabove what I think it will cost and that is a speculative $700. If the leica lens will be asked to perform miracles that a 4/3 sensor can't do then I think the Leica lens may very well cost $1,000. If the Canon competition is $1,400 for the body, and a lot of Canon buyers purchase the inexpensive 18-55 with it, thenwe're only talking about $1,600 for the EOS 30D. This means the LI, given thespeculation above, will operate at an ''out of the gate'' deficit to the tune of $2,400. This also means 5D territory and it won't work. So maybe we can scratchthe $2,400 starting price.

I understand the live view on the L1 will be similar to the Olympus 330. However, I believe the similarity will be just that, but more, whatever that may be. That said, the L1 isn't competing with the 330, it's the 30D it's after. This eliminates the L1body costing anywhereless than$1,000 but more in line with the 30D's body, give or take.

Since Panasonic has said their camera is a 30D-competing camera, then,again, it will have to equal the 30D in the main competing areas and nothing less, even if it sells for $200 to $300 more than the 30D with the 18-55. And I don't think it will begood business sense and strategy that Panasonic will have had all this time, since their announcement in February about the L1, not to make their camera 30D worthy. If not, then they had better hire Canon engineers. :-)


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Old May 29, 2006, 10:50 AM   #23
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Jim's made some really valid points about the upcoming Sony Alpha and the Pentax camera's and I can see how they may change things regards the price, esp as they will bring IS to a lot more people looking for a DSLR. Some of the FZ users on the pana forums have switched to KM simply becuase of the incam IS. Then again Pana may not change its price for the L1 - case in point the LC1/Digilux 2 (darn fine cameras) where even after 2 years they are still retailing for over $1000/£1000.00. The other factor in this equation is Leica - if they introduce a Digilux 3 (based on the L1) I can't see how Panasonic could sell essentially the same camera for a lot less than the Leica version - this happened with the LC1/Digilux 2.

Regards the quality of the leica D lens and eventual IQ - I think the best example we can go with is the LC1/Digilux 2. Here we had a Sony 5MP 2/3 CCD (noisy above ISO 100) paired up with the f2.0/2.4 Summricon (28-90mm) which produced some of the best images (esp jpeg files) from a digicam until Sony introduced the R1. All of the reviews that I've read regards the LC1/Digilux2 point to its IQ coming from the quality of that Leica designed lens. So I'm guessing that paired with a larger sensor and similar quality glass we should be seeing IQ as good as the R1's and definetly better than the LC1/Digilux 2. My only concern IQ wise is how Panasonic implements the NR with the Venus III engine - I've recently seen some outdoor shots posted on dpreview from a TZ1 which has Venus III and was suprised by how much detail was lost in some of the images being posted. Not suprisingly some of the people that purchased the TZ's (all current FZ20/FZ30) owners are extremely disappointed.

Here's the thread to the VEnus III issue on the TZ:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=18622020

Regards the 4/3 system - Jim I had thought the whoel basis for it was to allow the design of smaller cameras and lenses but looking at the cameras and lenses so far they 're not that much smaller than APS system. Any idea why thats the case ?

Have Panasonic left it too late ? My first thoughts when Pana made it known that they would be introducing a DSLR was that their time scale was too long and that they could be leaving it to late to enter the DSLR market. With the release date of Sept 2006 for the L1 we still have several months to go but within that time frame we will have the options go with the new Sony, pentax and possibly new Canon XT/Nikon D50/70 replacments too. One of my reasons for liking the L1 - is the styling - I want a camera that is discreet and doesn;t draw attention when out and about and I know that with that retro look nobody will bat an eye lid. I do have reservations esp with the grip, location of the shutter button and if your goign to have a Live View why not implement a tilt-swivel option. I'm still keeping all options open, including looking at the Sony R1 as it compliments my style of shooting. I'm hoping Sony's Alpha does bring something different to the table and at a competitive price with the option of using Carl Ziess branded lenses. That would force panasonic to either price the camera more realistically or make sure it is really a special bit of kit.

Cheers

HarjTT

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Old May 29, 2006, 3:09 PM   #24
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HarjTT, when you said Panasonic may be waiting a little too long to take action I found myself gripped by the same feeling. Here we will have between a five and six month interval from announcement to possible delivery (in september)and in themeantime the other participants are ramping up to no doubt offset anything Panasonic may have to offer. So it seems Panasonic will have to do something soon. Put another way, does Panasonic play the waitinggame to see what Sony and others do and risk the possibility of upping their L1 price for potential add ons or do they spring the L1 on the public a month or two before the September show.

I can tell you, if image quality is equal on all the cameras, at all settings, then I for one will definitely be looking at the''ease ofuse'' features. I've waited this long for my first DSLR, another couple of months won't matter I'm sure.
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Old May 29, 2006, 4:21 PM   #25
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HarjTT wrote:
Quote:
Regards the 4/3 system - Jim I had thought the whoel basis for it was to allow the design of smaller cameras and lenses but looking at the cameras and lenses so far they 're not that much smaller than APS system. Any idea why thats the case ?
Don't put too many words into my mouth. lol

One advantage of a system with a smaller sensor is that lenses can be smaller and lighter for equivlaent focal range and brightness. So, that was probably factored into the design. Lenses can be smaller and lighter compared to competing models, but you don't have as much difference in sensor sizes between DSLR models, as compared to a non-DSLR model (which uses a much smaller sensor in comparison).

You will also have more depth of field for any given 35mm equivalent focal length, aperture and focus distance using a model with a smaller sensor (since the focal lengths can be shorter for the same angle of view/35mm equivalent focal length).

That could be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on your perspective.

But, another thing using a smaller sensor does is keeps cost down. I've seen complex discussions of it before, but a larger sensor is dramatically more expensive to produce than the differences in sensor size would lead you to believe. It has to do with the number of defects on a silicon wafer, and how many usable sensors you can get out of one. So, the cost of producing 4/3 system cameras should be lower than the competition from the sensor cost perpective (which we have seen reflected in their pricing). That was probably a big influence in the design of this system, too.

4/3's models do seem to be playing "catch up" in some other areas, that may keep more serious photographers from adopting them. You've got a smaller viewfinder area with most of them, and as a general rule, their AF performance is lacking compared to their competition.. Couple those kinds of things with higher noise (or smoothing of detail from noise reduction) for equivalent ISO speed sensitivity, and they have a limited potential for more wide spread adoption.

I can remember one photographer comment that the AF system in the 4/3 system models is a decade behind competitors. That's probably a bit unfair. But, some of the tests I've seen show that a model like the E-500 may take 4 times as much light to lock focus (giving up in light lower than EV 1), compared to camera like my Konica Minolta 5D which can focus in -1 EV light levels. The 4/3 system cameras are lacking in little things like more (and more sensitive) focus points that some users are going to look for in a camera,

So, in general, I think these models fill a good niche market for those moving from a point and shoot. But, they need to come a long ways before they're adoped by more mainstream shooters (and the competition isn't standing still).

I noticed that Pentax is upgrading the AF system in the upcoming K100D to include 11 Focus points (with 9 of them being the more sensitive cross type sensors). So, they're making an effort to be more competitive in this area (Pentax has also been playing catch up in some areas). Sports shooters in particular are going to look at that kind of thing in a camera, so that it's got better AF in more extreme conditions, with the ability to track subjects moving between focus points.

Olympus (and Panasonic for models sharing components) would probably be wise to try and update their AF systems to be more competive if 4/3 is gong to be taken seriously by more potential buyers. Price alone can only sell so many cameras once the competiton starts heating up where you have less difference in pricing between competing DSLR models.

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Old May 29, 2006, 5:14 PM   #26
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Hi Jim

Thanks for clarifying that for me and also pointing out another area that I think everyone's overlooked and thats the feature set of the camera and how to differntiate from the competition. I think that Panasonic have given themselves room for flexibility here as they haven't mentioned what the feature list will be and becuase of the time gap between announcing the cam, Oly introducing the E330 (essentially testing the water with the new LiveMOS sensor and associated Livepreview feature) they can add or remove features if need before before launch. An example here would be to go for the tilt and swivel LCD - its a feature that is just perfect for Livepreview and regarding the dim viewfinder of 4/3 systems perhaps they should have gone for a very Hi Res large EVF (like the KM's 1MP) instead. Hopefully, they would have noticed the reception that the E330 recieved - nice camera, an improvement over the E300 but too many not worth an extra $400 just for Livepreview over the E500+twin lens kit. So they must add features that people want or are not available on other cameras.

Regards Olympus, have they given up on the pro end of the market ? Do you think the L1 and any replacment E1 will be good enough for Semi/Pro level work? Ive read posts from some really frustated E1 Pro users, who have bought into the system over a number of years but now feeleffectively left in the dark as if Olympus is no longer interested.

Andrew, I had originally had those thoughts about being too late when they made the first announcment to produce a 4/3 DSLR after PMA 2005 and that the first prototype would be shown at PMA 2006 !

Cheers

HarjTT

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Old May 29, 2006, 6:31 PM   #27
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Your guess is as good as mine on what Olympus' plans are for an E-1 replacement. I see the usual rumours in various forums (my Olympus rep told me [insert rumour here]....). But, nothing official.

We'll just need to wait and see. I actually considered buying an E-1 not long ago. It's very inexpensive for a camera with it's build quality now. Olympus also has some unique lens offerings (for example, their 35-100mm f/2 zoom). This lens is over $2 000 though, when you can find it.

Also, you need the extra stop that f/2 provides to make up for the difference in noise levels compared to using an f/2.8 zoom on competing models, and these more exotic lenses are somewhat pricey (and hard to come by in the U.S.), especially since you have a large number of 3rd party f/2.8 zooms in the used market for competing DSLR models.

Heck, I only paid $119 for a used Tamron 35-105mm f/2.8 lens for my KM 5D. Sure, it's not going to be in the same class as a lens like the Zuiko. But, I'm more concerned about shutter speeds in low light, versus any image quality differences at typical viewing/print sizes between these types of lenses. On the wider end, I only spent $174 for a Tamron f/2.8-3.5 20-40mm zoom lens new in the box (and it's one of the sharpest wide zooms ever tested by photodo.com, even testing sharper at f/2.8 compared to the Minolta 20mm and 24mm f/2.8 primes at f/2.8 ).

So, the availability of AF lenses also comes into the equation, and with a new lens format, 4/3 is at a disadvantage in that area. Even though you can use a number of manual focus lenses via an adapter, the smaller viewfinders make that option more limiting (although the E-1 viewfinder isn't bad compared to the other 4/3 system models).

Don't get me wrong... the 4/3 system models are very well liked by their owners, and most users probably don't need the extra "bells, whistles and buzzers" that can make shooting in more extreme conditions practical

But, given the competition, they have a ways to go yet, even if they have very high quality lenses and make a good upgrade path from P&S models with a very good price point (IMO anyway, since competing models are going to improve over time, too).

It's not all about the technical differences, either. Any user is going to have preferences in a camera (ergonomics, control layout, how the images look from in camera processing, etc.), and you can get into "splitting hairs" between image quality in most conditions a user will be using a camera in. No one camera is going to be "just right' for all users in all conditions.

For most users, any of the entry level DSLR models are going to do a great job (especially compared to most non-DSLR models now). So, I wouldn't underestimate their potential. But, I also wouldn't underestimate the potential to lose a lot of money trying to compete in this market as the competition heats up with lots of pressure on pricing.


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Old May 30, 2006, 3:21 AM   #28
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And I surely do appreciate everything I've been reading here the past two days.

I guess I should admit to not having any real photographic credentials as I only consider myself a weekend warrior, i.e., family vacations and birthdays. That said, I'm quite familiar with the rule of thirds, composition and so on. I know what it takes to get a pleasing picture but not a very good oneso in that sense my having a $2,000DSLR camera will undoubtedly be overkill for me.:roll:

Even if the L1 doesn't fit in for me I know my original choice , the 30D,will be just great.And I say it this (really trivial) waybecause I don't really like the top front end of the 30D as well as the sleek look of the L1. If Canonwould have made the 30D with the more rounded (top/front end) appearance of its bigger brothers that would have set me on the right path to digital heaven. And I'm sure the non-rounded ends have something to do with the built in flash on the 30D.

One final comment to anyone here: I was at the Akron, Ohioairshow a couple of years ago and took a few pictures of a B-17 coming in for a landing. It was a really sunny day. Since the propellers aren't at full speed because of retarded throttle (my way of describing it) I automatically adusted my shutter speed on my Canon F1Ndown to about 1/30 of second to get motion in the propellers.I believe I was usingISO 100.

The results were more than satisfactory for me.

Here's the rub. The next day the local newspaperdisplayed this same B-17 in flight, coming in for a landingwith stationary propellers. This really struck me as odd. I found myself scratching my head to determine what the photographer meant, if anything, about the static propellers. Beautiful picture but technically inaccurate.

So I decided to email him (twice, but later)at the newspaper to see if I could get an answer. I never received a response.

Another picture takentwo months laterat theCleveland, Ohio airshow,by the local newspaperphotographer, showed the same thing : static propellers in flight. Only this time the picture was taken from inside the cockpit of aB-25a couplethousand feet in the air.

I emailed him too, twice in a month,searching for an answer. I carefully worded the email so as not to give an erroneous intepretation of my thoughts. No answer.

Did I blow this out of proportion? Is there a ''story'' to be told in the stationary propellers? What did I miss in the photograph?
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Old Jun 1, 2006, 6:14 PM   #29
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Found this on letsgodigitalorg:

http://www.letsgodigital.org/en/news...tory_6783.html

quote

"Thank you very much. The Panasonic Lumix L1 is not for the entry-level user, nor for the digital photography starter. We are also not aiming at the professional user although they may want to use the Panasonic L1 as a compact DSLR, giving them a convenient and small sized high quality camera in the field. We are aiming at the middle range of photographers, the advanced users. "

"As far as the price range, although keep in mind that we cannot give you the actual price yet, we are aiming at cameras like the Canon EOS 30D and Nikon D200. At first we will be offering the Panasonic Lumix L1 in a kit, but we haven´t decided yet if we want to sell the body and lens also separately. This will depend on the demand and reaction of the market. To be realistic, we don't expect to sell many and many of the new Panasonic L1 digital SLR camera, so it will be unrealistic to predict any high sale numbers. It is our first DSLR product, but off course it is our wish that it will sell very well!"


I find the above comments in that interview a bit suprising - why introduce the L1 if your not expecting to sell at least a decent number of camera's and lenses ? If its over priced then it won;t sell well at all esp as its competeing against the 30D and D200.

I had a look at the 30D today and to me its a different beast altogether - a fine camera but its not for me. I'm definetly going to wait for the L1, possibly have a look at the E330 if theres a decent enough price drop, definetely the Sony R1 and the new Sony Alpha - esp with IS and all that good quality glass readily available that Jim mentioned.

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Old Jun 1, 2006, 6:27 PM   #30
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I guessmost of the peoplewaiting to buy the L1 would be disapponted after reading that interview.

If I were an advanced user I would certainly NOT get a 4/3 system. The D200 or the 30D are fantastic machines with more than any advanced user should ever need.

It is disappointing that the L1 won't be aimed at the entry-level user. I think it would have been best suited for that job. But after reading that interview, it seems like they will most certainly sell the L1 forabout 1500$ which isway too much. For that amount of cash I'd get the D200 without a second's thought.

Panasonic: ideas for nothing!
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