“MOST EXCITING digital photography news this year”

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by tony-in-japan, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. tony-in-japan macrumors regular

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    #1
    Phil Askey, Editor of the popular photography website Dpreview.com, wrote the following:

    “This is without doubt the most exciting digital photography announcement this year.”

    With Canon and Nikon (and Sony) battling it out on the professional FF front with their heavy and large bodies/lenses, there will soon be a great option for those more interested in compact, portable and light photography while upholding DSLR image quality.

    There are some of us who are tired of the compact P&S megapixel game which is increasingly offering consumers more MPs in the same small sensor size -- meaning decreasing image quality on photos. What many consumers want is good IQ in a compact form. The Sigma DP1 was close. The E-420 with pancake was close too. The upcoming Lumix LX3 looks interesting, but still has a similar sensor size to compacts.

    The welcome news of a new, upcoming system that gets rid of the mirror-reflex design of traditional DSLRs and instead will use an Electronic Viewfinder with Interchangable Lenses capability will be released by a joint-venture between Olympus (great optical company) and Panasonic (electronics giant) called micro-Four-Thirds.

    This is great news for compact and prosumer lovers. A camera with a sensor area four times more than on a P&S camera, that will be compact and light with the DSLR’s capability to use interchangeable high-quality zoom or prime lenses is what the excitement is all about (and Olympus makes some of the best lenses in the industry). Check out the news/interest on the forums on Dpreview.

    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0808/08080501microfourthirds.asp

    I am definitely excited. If I can get image quality anywhere near I can get on my current E-420 with Pancake, then I will be a happy man. For all those doubting the IQ you can get from Olympus 4/3rds sensors, please check out my Flickr Photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26154011@N07/
     

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  2. rolex54 macrumors 6502

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  3. tony-in-japan thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    More graphical goodies on m4/3rds system

    Okay, here is a mock-up of a possible micro-zoom lens with its bigger brother counterpart. What I have read is that it looks like it has an ‘internal focusing’ mechanism.

    Not bad for a compact zoom. Can’t wait to see what the size of pancake lenses and prime lenses would be like though!

    http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microft/
     

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  4. RainForRent macrumors 6502

    RainForRent

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    #5
    Ha. Just finished reading this on digg this morning. Looks pretty neat, I hope it brings more into the digital rangefinder field– the selection is pretty lacking and pretty expensive right now.
     
  5. Westside guy macrumors 601

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    Thom Hogan has a bit of a countervailing opinion on this - read down below "EVIL on the Horizon". I think he has some good observations on this.

    I'm really curious to see if the APS-sensor Coolpix he mentions comes out soon...
     
  6. tony-in-japan thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    It is good news for everyone...

    This a great news for everyone because if Olympus/Panasonic didn’t introduce this new system, God know how many more years consumers would be forced to play that ridiculous lets just squeeze ‘more megapixel on same sensor’ in this year’s compact game. Canon, Sony or Nikon would not have made this move -- they simply sell too many of their compacts to do so.

    But I got out while I could.

    If people appreciate and support these new kinds of products, then we can see a new wave of cameras with great IQ replacing those crummy compacts.

    In the end, the consumer will decide this, but if this fails, then we can surely expect to be seeing 25+megapixel compacts... (on the same teeny-weeny sensor).
     
  7. tony-in-japan thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    Of course Mr. Hogan would say that...

    Thanks for the link.

    There is a heated discussion on Mr. Hogan’s comments on here:
    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1022&message=28861435

    While I agree with some of his points, the reality is that micro4/3rds will soon be something concrete, but micro-APS cameras? Nobody knows if this is even in Canon/Nikon’s pipeline (and if so, would they dedicate good R&D to its evolution?). Isn’t their battle on the FF front their priority?

    I think Oly/Pana have the advantage also in that:

    1. Olympus already has experience making smaller/lighter high-quality lenses. I think this will be their ace. The popularity of their recent Pancake and fantastic zooms (e.g. Zuiko 12-60mm) reveals what kind of lenses we can expect in the future.

    2. Panasonic is an electronic giant with expertise with LCD (Viera technology) and video (which will no doubt become part of the tech of m4/3rds cameras.) Imagine, recording video with DSLR standard lenses!? Very exciting.
     
  8. Westside guy macrumors 601

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    I don't disagree with you on this; but I'm not sure the average point-and-shoot buyer will think about it the same way you (or I) do. A 12-60 zoom, no matter how good, may not hold someone's attention if the next camera over has a 10-300 zoom - even if it's on a tiny sensor, and most of that range is electronic "zoom". :rolleyes:

    FWIW a rumor about the upcoming Nikon D90 says it'll shoot video. Of course that's not a small camera...
     
  9. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #10
    In the end I see "micro" versions of even Nikon, Canon, Pentax, and Sony...

    The form factor does usher in a new era of smaller cameras and lenses...
     
  10. tony-in-japan thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    Isn’t the D90 a DSLR (with Reflex)? I wonder if the mirror need to be up continuously to record video and how long you can actually record for? I am not too sure about Nikon integrating video into their products as they are primarily a ‘Camera’ company. Unless another company is creating that tech’ for them.
     
  11. tony-in-japan thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    I think it depends on whether consumers are interested in this kind of camera and the commercial success of this micro4/3rds system first. The wallets of consumers will dictate changing trends.

    Otherwise, the status-quo of current compacts will continue. Canon, Nikon and Sony with their compacts will not want to interfere too much with the profits they currently gain.
     
  12. tony-in-japan thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Don’t hold your breath in hope though...

    Funny you should say that...

    Nikon has just released news of their ‘high-end flag-ship compact’ which will be available in September. Does this reveal where Nikon are heading with their Coolpix series? (Hint: more megapixels on small sensor: 13.5 megapixel, 1/1.72 inch sensor (0.41 square cm). Yawn.

    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0808/08080702nikonp6000.asp

    What do you think of this release?
     
  13. Westside guy macrumors 601

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    Reading that announcement, I'm more bothered by the apparent tie-in to Windows-based software. What's with that?

    But yeah, that does seem to run counter to the rumors Thom mentioned.
     
  14. tony-in-japan thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    Not sure...

    RAW-DRM?
     
  15. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

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    We will have to see how see how this shakes out in the end
     
  16. TheReef macrumors 68000

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    This sounds pretty interesting. But does that mean no more ka-chick? :eek:
    Not so sure about an electronic viewfinder either.
     
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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    Yeah, after I read about this a couple of days ago at DPR, I became really set on buying one of these after their release. I was actually thinking of buying a DP1, or possibly an E-420 after I graduate and earn money, but to be honest, neither are what I really want. The DP1 seems wonderful except for its slow focusing, while the E420 is too big to be a compact. I can keep it in a jacket pocket without issue (using the pancake lens), but what if it's summer?

    I'm curious about their focusing though, and how fast it'll be. I don't think I'll mind the EVF if it has as many ppi as the LCD on my D300.
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

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    Coolpixes are mostly underwhelming, but that would have been in design 6-8 months ago at the shortest. I think an APS-C P&S makes sense, as the stop of noise over 4/3rds and ~2.5 stops over current P&S sensors would rock low light indoor shots, though if they couldn't get a price premium, they'd have to take lower margins due to increased sensor cost. If the Japenses sales are impending P&S doom, the quickest "new" answer Nikon could do is to put an APS-C sensor in a P&S with a good zoom attached.

    The bigger question is will this kill "normal" 4/3rds, or effectively split the coalition? Also, folks looking for small/light are most likely to stick with one lens- seems to me that they'd need some really interesting lens options to not drop down to 1:1 lens/body sales.
     
  19. tony-in-japan thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    I think existing 4/3rds and pro lenses will continue...

    I don’t think so. Olympus will still continue to support and develop the semi-pro/pro lines of 4/3 system and lenses. The new m4/3rds is aimed at the P&S and prosumer market, and with Panasonic as a co-partner and their interest to integrate HD video into this new system as it evolves, I can see them funding alot of R&D into it.

    If it was just an Olympus venture, I could see problems with them trying to maintain two systems, but with Panasonic onboard too, it will allow Olympus to also focus some of their energy on their existing 4/3rds system too. There are rumours of a tweener DSLR between the E-520 and E-3 in the pipeline. Should know more if this is a reality soon.
     
  20. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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    #21
    If they handle the situation right, maybe people would buy a mix of micro 4/3rd lenses and 4/3rd lenses.....where the really "important" lenses would be normal 4/3rd lenses, as they can also fit well on their regular 4/3rds DSLR, such as the E-520 or E-3, which may be someone's normal use DSLR, as it may offer far better controls, better grip, etc.

    If Olympus plays this wrong, 4/3rds is going to be dead, as it doesn't offer a sensor advantage or size advantage.
     
  21. compuwar macrumors 601

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    #22
    I wasn't really thinking R&D or even production capacity- I was thinking market- I keep seeing Oly fans raving about small and light- if that's the largest part of their niche does regular 4/3rds become unsustainable? It's like Leica in the SLR space without the premium branding- Leica fans were generally rangefinder enthusiasts- the R series really didn't do well (hence Leica's move to 4/3rds.) What happens to long-flange 4/3rds if say 75% of new 4/3rds buyers are micro-4/3rds buyers? If N/C/S produce an APS-C P&S which has better low-light capabilities then do they win the market share for the folks who're purchasing an extra light-weight camera instead of a new-to-digital camera? If purchasers go with Micro-4/3rds and one lens, do they ever reach lens price points that are more profitable...

    Oly's been doing relatively well, but they're still less than 5% of the market for dSLRs, does a new lens mount effectively split their share? If Panasonic is the focus of the mini-mount, do they effectively grow share at Oly's expense? That's the sort of thing I mean, and obviously only time will tell- but I also think that's the jist of Thom Hogan's argument about sustainability- in business the "first mover" advantage is only really an advantage if you can protect your portion of the market, otherwise you spend all the R&D, advertising and building the segment and all the copy-cats just do one incremental improvement and obsolete your product- and if this is really the segment their customers want, then everyone else will come to play if it's profitable- and they'll have the larger sensor advantages.

    Also, I don't see many Oly owners with multiple bodies- and certainly not multiple new bodies like you see with C/N- so again, I wonder if normal 4/3rds can survive Micro-4/3rds.
     
  22. compuwar macrumors 601

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    #23
    That assumes people purchasing two bodies because of portability rather than angle of view or sensor characteristics because of size- I think that's a stretch, but that's just my opinion. Also, we don't know what the flange extender is going to do to all the lenses vignetting-wise.

    This move must be due to marketing saying the 4/3rds size issue with the mirror is not playing well-- otherwise they'd have stuck to their mount- so we're at "what does this do to normal 4/3rds?" and "What happens when the competition releases P&S cameras with a bigger sensor?" IMO, 4/3rds Micro doesn't compete with APS-C or bridge cameras as much as it competes with 4/3rds normal. It may grow the second camera market, but since you can't go from Micro to normal, you're going to see limits on folks trading in other systems to go to 4/3rds normal- if it's the light camera, then long lenses with a different system are going to be no bi deal.
     
  23. tony-in-japan thread starter macrumors regular

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    #24
    I think the key here is whether non-Olympus users are interested in the kind of cameras/lens the m4/3rds system produces, whether they will make that jump quick or simply wait for their own version from their existing brand of choice (assuming they do release an equivalent competing product). It all depends on timing, which makes me wonder if Canon, Nikon and Sony will be too preoccupied with the other FF end to be too concerned with this market audience? If they are, it could well be the key for the m4/3rds to build enough sales and market awareness to be successful.

    In regards to maintaining their market share of existing Olympus DSLR users. I have the E-420 and I wonder would I have bought this if I knew about the m4/3rds? Probably not. Hence, I think the E-4x0 series will be discontinued unless it can offer something different from an m4/3rds body which I doubt. But I think Oly could keep their market share of DSLR users if they released a semi-pro weathersealed DSLR that is inbetween the E-520 and E-3 (an Ex0?). The cameras from the m4/3rds could be a portable back-up to their Olympus DSLR. Since I got the E-420, I have become interested in the higher-grade lenses, so I could see myself as owning a m4/3rds body with a few pancake/compact lenses along with a semi-pro weathersealed Oly body to go with higher-grade lenses (like the 12-60mm I own). If Oly does it right, I don’t see why one would need to trade the 4/3 system for the m4/3 system. I can see them co-existing with advantages to each system/body when needed.
     
  24. Consultant macrumors G5

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    #25
    Not happening. Any serious SLR user would already have invested in "full size" lenses and equipment for Nikon and Canons.

    Sensors in most digital cameras are already a small sensor, compred to 35mm film.

    Nikon already have DX lenses that are designed for the small sensors.

    It will end up like that small film format which failed. It's just a gimmick, some people will buy it, but professionals won't. By the way one benefit of a full size camera is that heavier camera = less likely to shake
     

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