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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Boston, MA (United States)
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    7,765
    Real Name
    Amin

    Default Olympus E-M5 Sensor is (Allegedly) 'Completely New'

    There's been a lot of speculation about the sensor in the news Olympus E-M5. Some have stated that it's the GH2 sensor, while others say it's the G3/GX1 sensor. Still others claim it's a Sony sensor.

    Here's the answer from Olympus representatives during a Q&A today on the GetOlympus Facebook page:









    Until someone from Olympus can verify the specifics, such as who manufactures the sensor and exactly what is different about the design/architecture, or such differences are verified by DxOmark testing, I'll remain skeptical that this is in fact a new sensor.

    There's nearly an hour left to get in your questions: Get Olympus - Wall | Facebook

    I just asked mine:



    Update: I didn't get any answer for my question. Let me explain where I'm coming from with this line of questioning:

    In my opinion, other than the multi-aspect ratio nature of the GH2 sensor, the differences between the G3 and GH2 sensors are a curiosity with almost no practical consequence to the still photographer. It's true that the GH2 files seem to have a tiny bit less shadow noise at base ISO, whereas the G3 files seem to be a tiny bit better at very high ISO, but for all practical purposes they are the same. If the EM-5 has the sensor from either of those two cameras, then it has an excellent sensor. If it truly has a new sensor, then so long as the new sensor can match the performance of those other two, I will be completely satisfied.

    Where it gets silly is when a camera manufacturer tells the sensor manufacturer to replace one weak AA filter with another weak AA filter and then call the sensor a "completely new design". I'm pretty sure we've seen this before with Nikon and Sony sensors, and we've definitely seen it before with Olympus and Panasonic sensors. There's no reason for them to tell us that it's a new sensor just for us to find out a few months later from DxOmark that the claims were "marketing speak".

    I'm a believer in DxOmark. On many occasions, I've found that their results are revealing, and occasionally I find them to be useful from a practical standpoint. On the other hand, their results are often misunderstood and taken out of context. Small differences in DxOmark results are interpreted to be of practical consequence when they simply are not. For example, I've seen many times the claim that the GH1 has a better sensor than the GH2, a claim which no doubt is derived from the DxOmark results. On the other hand, I've yet to see a single person who switch from the GH1 to the GH2 have any disappointment in the image quality of the latter camera.

    Even "large" differences in DxOmark scores can have relatively subtle practical consequences, as I demonstrated in a dynamic range comparison between GH2 and Pentax K5 files.

    The bottom line here is that I actually don't care whether the E-M5 uses a "new" sensor; however, I think the manufacturers and their marketing representatives ought to be forthright with their answers to our questions about the technology.
    Amin
    Mu-43.com Webmaster (Site FAQ | Help Forum | My Disclosures | My Flickriver | My G+ Profile)

    Note: Links in this post may be to our affiliates. We get a small referral fee when you buy after clicking our link. Your price is unaffected.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Houston
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    1,843
    Real Name
    Muttley

    Default

    It's a newly "tweaked" sensor. Yes Amin, your favorite word!! ;)
    OMD EM5, GH2
    12/2 14/2.5 20/1.7 25/1.4 75/1.8 14-150 45-150 45-200
    My FlickR!


  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA, USA
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    615
    Real Name
    Dennis

    Default

    So... it's the "new" as in "new", or "new" as in "Olympus New?"

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  6. #4

    Default

    I thought the dpreview specs indicated they are using a LiveMOS sensor, which means Panasonic right?

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA, USA
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    615
    Real Name
    Dennis

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bizzarrini View Post
    I thought the dpreview specs indicated they are using a LiveMOS sensor, which means Panasonic right?
    Actually is a trademark of Olympus Imaging Corp: https://www.trademarkia.com/live-mos-78786600.html

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    6,736
    Real Name
    Nic

    Default

    When I buy a second-hand camera, it is new to me...

    I'm not bothered if it is "only" the G3 sensor in there, I just don't like the "tell them only what they need to know" corporate speak.
    Nic
    E-M5, E-P5, GH1
    Flickr Photostream
    >> Insert quote here <<

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  10. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA, USA
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    615
    Real Name
    Dennis

    Default

    Heh, I've been flipping through the facebook questions and answers and saw this one:

    Get Olympus: I'm curious, why is everybody so hung up on who manufactures the image sensor???

    If it has the Panasonic sensor- I would like it just fine, it's a great sensor.
    Last edited by mister_roboto; February 9th, 2012 at 05:05 PM.

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  12. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Berkshire, UK.
    Posts
    652

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mister_roboto View Post
    Heh, I've been flipping through the facebook questions and answers and saw this one:

    Get Olympus: I'm curious, why is everybody so hung up on who manufactures the image sensor???

    If it has the Panasonic sensor- I would like it just fine, it's a great sensor.
    For me it would be of interest if is a truly new sensor because one would presume that there is scope to make a 'better' sensor than any previously made. If it was the same as an existing sensor then it couldn't be better. But if it is new there is the chance that it is truly better than any previous Olypan mirrorless one. I don't suppose though that whatever this sensor, good though I trust it is, that it is a quantum leap forward from the Panasonic one.
    Last edited by Spuff; February 9th, 2012 at 05:17 PM.

  13. #9

    Default

    I can't imagine it being anything other than the Panasonic 16MP G3/GX1 sensor.

    I do think that Olympus modified it a bit - such as increasing the readout speed to 240fps during C-AF.

    Does it warrant being called "new"? Even though it probably has the same high ISO/dynamic range performance as the sensors in the G3/GX1? Dunno... What if the improved C-AF is truly much better as Olympus claims (on par with Nikon 1 series)?
    - Hiep
    Olympus E-P3
    my smugmug


  14. #10

    Default

    Funny thing is, Mr. & Mrs. Olympus along with Jesus Christ Himself could announce this as a new sensor, and the trolls will still denounce it.

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