Interview of Aki Murata, Chief Operating Officer of OM Digital Solutions (OMDS).

theswanlogo

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Since OMDS said the new product that will be launched is going to worth the wait I am not expecting just the "next mark" of a renowned model, but something people will have their jaw dropping. So if I am to believe their promise (which I'm actually not) this product should be something ground-breaking. And the only thing that crosses my mind is a high mega pixel camera. Somehow without ruining the high ISO performance. That is why I was speculating it will be another class (S or R or whatever) of the already top of the line camera. Otherwise just look at the differences between the EM1.2 and EM1.3 - isn't really much. And if we look strictly at the hardware, then even less so. An EM1Xii with some small improvements over the EM1X will not impress anyone, I guess.

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for the 8-25/4 which is already on their roadmap, but no news regarding this one. That's why I bought the PL8-18.
 

JonSnih

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Since OMDS said the new product that will be launched is going to worth the wait I am not expecting just the "next mark" of a renowned model, but something people will have their jaw dropping. So if I am to believe their promise (which I'm actually not) this product should be something ground-breaking. And the only thing that crosses my mind is a high mega pixel camera.
A sensor with global shutter technology could be this WOW thing because no camera company will have something similar on the market. Otherwise there is not much to do, I guess. 0.5 EV ISO/DR improvement, much better AF-C performance, 8K would be hardly perceived as ground-breaking.
 

RS86

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A sensor with global shutter technology could be this WOW thing because no camera company will have something similar on the market. Otherwise there is not much to do, I guess. 0.5 EV ISO/DR improvement, much better AF-C performance, 8K would be hardly perceived as ground-breaking.
Not really ground breaking, but the 20MP PDAF sensor is not bad compared to Sony APS-C for example. It's very competitive, just like physics say, or even more because the sensor is so "old". If they get that Sony A7iii kind of boost in high ISO's, that's certainly enough for me. Again, not ground breaking, but a very good improvement.

The technology should be there, so Panasonic and OMDS just need to know what is their next sensor move.

I can't see that high MP being that move overall, no way. 8K is mostly a gimmick.

I have looked at updating my TV and computer, and ffs, with 1440p & 55" TV, I need to watch it under 1,8 metres for me to see the difference against 4K. I'd need 8K if I'd watch 55" from under 1 meter distance. For 55" the recommended cinema distance is ~1,7m.

So.. 8K? Give me a break. I can understand 4K for this distance and size for photo viewing, but otherwise, leave me out of it. I have said this before, but 8K to me seems like a workhorse for croppers and pixel-peepers. I'm not one of those, the quality already is awesome.

Imo Olympus has always been clever and having common sense, on what is the needed quality for most people. So I hope they will not fall for this 8K fad.

https://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/by-size/size-to-distance-relationship

On another note, we can of course imagine the times when 8K (or more) is the basic for video, and we can start having 8K photos from that video material. It will be so amazing.

But at the same time, who has the time to go through all that material? If shooting stills, I would never. Much easier to take a couple great shots, and choose from them. And the quality will always be better.

But I'm interested in how others see this development later on?
 
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PakkyT

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A sensor with global shutter technology could be this WOW thing because no camera company will have something similar on the market.

Problem with that is Oly doesn't make design sensors, they buy them from other companies. So a global shutter sensor would be designed by likely Sony who are not likely to make Oly a 4/3rds version before they have them in their own cameras. Maybe if one of the companies not also making (or no longer making) cameras comes out with one? Thinking Samsung, Sigma, etc. Does Kodak even make sensors anymore?
 

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It would be nice to see the top line body available in two forms. One a lower Mp version (say 20Mp) for action shooting genres, and the other a higher Mp version for landscape etc. Landscape is nearly always shot at base ISO, so high ISO performance is not needed, nor is fancy in-camera processing. The emphasis is on the best possible raw file. So, an EM1.4s and and EM1.4r - something like that.
 

pake

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Problem with that is Oly doesn't make design sensors, they buy them from other companies. So a global shutter sensor would be designed by likely Sony who are not likely to make Oly a 4/3rds version before they have them in their own cameras. Maybe if one of the companies not also making (or no longer making) cameras comes out with one? Thinking Samsung, Sigma, etc. Does Kodak even make sensors anymore?
Well... Olympus has in fact designed sensors (perhaps not all by themselves though). They don't manufacture themselves but they have designed them. E.g. before the E-M1X came out, Olympus had at least two different cameras (one with their own 16MP sensor with faster readout speeds) in field tests with select photographers but the marketing department opted to choose the Sony 20MP sensor instead.
 

theswanlogo

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It would be nice to see the top line body available in two forms. One a lower Mp version (say 20Mp) for action shooting genres, and the other a higher Mp version for landscape etc. Landscape is nearly always shot at base ISO, so high ISO performance is not needed, nor is fancy in-camera processing. The emphasis is on the best possible raw file. So, an EM1.4s and and EM1.4r - something like that.
This is exactly what I am thinking, albeit the difference being that we already have the lower Mpx version of the camera (say EM1.3, or M1x - both still very competitive), they just need to release the higher Mpx version...

Nevertheless, I think the OMDS has only a bullet to trigger, so on this one depends very much if they will survive or not. I suspect that is why they are so secretive and elusive: they just need that WOW thing to convince and re-gain their ground. I also guess that, in order to survive, each company needs to think many steps ahead (on the R&D territory) and invest money. Not so sure OMDS is able to do this at this (packed with highly uncertainty) moment, so my guess is that they are not going to keep the pace with the rest. Is that vicious circle when you are not 100% committed, therefore you will not invest big time, then you'll find yourself steps behind the competition.

But everything I said is just pure speculation, just me thinking loudly.

L.E. Maybe I need to mention that I really love the m43 system and I don't want to go back to FF ever. So I wish whatever pessimistic thoughts I have now, they will not happen. But, somehow, I really doubt the m43 system will survive on a long term after the Olympus move.
 
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hoodlum

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We may not see a separate high MP body for m43. Olympus in particular has put a lot of emphasis on their hi-res mode and if they can continue to improve the handheld hi-res mode then that can be the m43 solution to more MP.
 

pdk42

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We may not see a separate high MP body for m43. Olympus in particular has put a lot of emphasis on their hi-res mode and if they can continue to improve the handheld hi-res mode then that can be the m43 solution to more MP.
HHHR has its uses, but it’s not a silver bullet. Its biggest downsides are showing foliage movement when windy and the time it takes to produce the composite image. The latter could be fixed by a faster processor (or perhaps some further code optimisation). The former is a tough nut - at 60fps, Olympus’s current e shutter is already pretty fast.
 

hoodlum

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HHHR has its uses, but it’s not a silver bullet. Its biggest downsides are showing foliage movement when windy and the time it takes to produce the composite image. The latter could be fixed by a faster processor (or perhaps some further code optimisation). The former is a tough nut - at 60fps, Olympus’s current e shutter is already pretty fast.
I think we will see a much faster sensor readout with the new body coming this year. I am thinking it could be 4x faster based on existing sensor tech. That would significantly help with foliage movement.

HHHR would never get to the point of being useful for fast moving subjects but it won’t be long before it becomes viable for most handheld outdoor landscapes which is where additional MP/DR are needed the most.

The smaller 43 sensor has an inherent advantage for stabilization so I don’t think we will see FF go this route. That is why FF requires a separate higher MP sensor
 
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Generationfourth

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It would be nice to see the top line body available in two forms. One a lower Mp version (say 20Mp) for action shooting genres, and the other a higher Mp version for landscape etc. Landscape is nearly always shot at base ISO, so high ISO performance is not needed, nor is fancy in-camera processing. The emphasis is on the best possible raw file. So, an EM1.4s and and EM1.4r - something like that.
I disagree, I shoot both and I have both already in the EM1iii- like others have mentioned. For movement like foliage look at the G9 HR mode 2, I have tested it in the front yard with 20mph winds with multiple trees/foilage and couldn't see any artifacts. Really all we need is a FW update. Olympus's value proposition is one light camera that can do everything by taking advantage of IBIS, processing, and the smaller sensor. I doubt they'd muddy the waters by saying you need two different cameras now. Landscape is about taking all the time and spending money on tripods/filters/expensive large format cameras, and Oly destroys that which is why I switched over recently.
 
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pake

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Once the HHHR takes all the photos in less than 1/500 or 1/1000 s, then that should cover 99.9% of my use cases for higher MP count.
 

PakkyT

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Well... Olympus has in fact designed sensors (perhaps not all by themselves though). They don't manufacture themselves but they have designed them.
I would argue that Olympus has traditionally created the specifications for the sensors they want made for them, but likely from a menu of existing technologies a sensor manufacturer offers rather than a sensor company going out of their way to develop a specific new technology for what is a rather small customer (being the imaging department rather than the medical side of things).

At least since the 4/3rds days, Oly cameras have always had another company's sensor in it (Kodak, Panasonic, Sony).
 

Paul C

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The idea of 100 megapixel sensors makes me wonder if I should get the 8mm F1.8 fisheye instead of rectilinear ultra-wide lens. Maybe software will become more and more important than hardware. That could close any gaps between m4/3 and full frame systems too.
"The idea of 100 megapixel sensors makes me wonder if I should get the 8mm F1.8 fisheye instead of rectilinear ultra-wide lens"

The weakness of mirrorless M4/3 crop cameras is in the cost of making high quality wideangles - all that high density glass and multiple lens elements to correct the distortion and chromatic aberration and yet you still get barrel distortion on near all the current lenses - yet as the earlier post suggested, the easier, cheaper and better optical solution is a fisheye. Heck, even the 7-artisans 7.5mm F2.8 M4/3 takes great shots at <£70 / $100 USD !

The mirrorless advantage would be to have in-body "defishing" so that the viewfinder renders a rectilinear view when it recognises the fisheye lens is mounted. Shoot JPEG+RAW and add defishing into the Olympus Workspace programme and the weakness of M4/3 now becomes another strength as good fisheye lenses need not be large or heavy or expensive.

If Panasonic and Olympus don't do this - can we at least have 7-Artisans make a 15mm FF equivalent viewfinder to fit the hot shoe. There is aother manufacturer who has missed an innovative trick !
 

RAH

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The mirrorless advantage would be to have in-body "defishing" so that the viewfinder renders a rectilinear view when it recognises the fisheye lens is mounted. Shoot JPEG+RAW and add defishing into the Olympus Workspace programme and the weakness of M4/3 now becomes another strength as good fisheye lenses need not be large or heavy or expensive.

If Panasonic and Olympus don't do this - can we at least have 7-Artisans make a 15mm FF equivalent viewfinder to fit the hot shoe. There is aother manufacturer who has missed an innovative trick !
The E-M5.3 (and no doubt the E-M1.3) DO do this, with the Oly 8mm FE.
 

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I'll put this here. A new tough camera will come, and another camera later in the year it seems. Also Olympus name can be used for longer than thought.

They will also likely develop less entry level models, so combining them in some way might happen.

"OM Digital manager says there will be a new camera within weeks

The Swiss website Digitech intervewed MR. Sandro Rymann. He confirmed that they will announce a new camera “within weeks” and this will not be the only camera coming this year! I guess this new camera may a be a Tough model…

More tidbits:
– OMD Digital employs 200 people in Europe (before the move to OM Digital they were 400)
– It’s likely we will develop less entry level models
– Smartphones will never be able to track animals at a distance. That’s a niche were MFT will always have it’s advantage also over Full Frame (lighter gear to carry).
– There will be a nw Tough camera model
– We can use the “Olympus” name for many years (many more years than actually initially expected)."


https://www.43rumors.com/om-digital-manager-says-there-will-be-a-new-camera-within-weeks/
 

mawz

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A few thoughts.

1. The E-M1X is a 2 year old camera built on a 4 year old platform. It really needs an update.
2. The E-M1.3 may be 'new' but again, the basic platform is 4 years old. The TruePic 9 processor is clearly a TruePic 8 with a speed boost, nothing more.
3. The E-M5III either needs to come down in price and effectively replace the E-M10 line, or it needs an update to combine its upgrades with TruePic 9 and the features lost from the E-M5II (tethering/webcam support, it's silly that a $1199MSRP body can't do this in today's world, the grip and the EVF. I think the BLS-50 was the right choice even if technically a downgrade)

Olympus needs to do a few things overall.

1. They need a new processing platform. The current TruePic line is reportedly based on a processor family that's no longer being actively developed. Hopefully the reported partnership with Samsung results in getting access to Samsung's supply of ARM processors (getting an allocation from Samsung's massive orders should allow Oly to get better for cheaper than the much smaller orders they would be placing). That would be the perfect trade, Samsung gets better camera tech, especially around computational photography (so they're not stuck with whatever features from the Pixel's that Google lets them use), Olympus gets world-class embedded processors. To be clear, a modern Snapdragon is wildly more powerful than even the latest EXPEED, DIGIC or Bionz XR processor and could enable some truly amazing capabilities.

2. Get competitive EVF's. The current EVF's in the top end of the line badly lag the competition (except Sony crop stuff, which are worst in class). A huge jump isn't needed, but 3.69MP and 0.75x or better is needed to match Fuji's top-end and the Nikon Z5/Z6II (FF of course, but in the same price range). I suspect the current TruePic processors are the real limiter on EVF's, and a new processor should be optimized to drive better EVF's.

3. Do more with multishot/computational photography. Oly already leads here, but there's a lot more that can be done and the competition is starting to play here too. The first thing I think is to do a multishot long-exposure mode like Sony's old Smooth Reflections app (that's still the standard for doing this in camera, LiveND is not as capable). I'd like to see both De-Bayer and regular High-res modes and more control over stacking. How about a guided multi-row pano mode? Brenizer pano's are a real win, especially if they can be built in-camera. I'd love to see some of the computational features from smartphones show up here as well.

4. Push sensor speed further. m43 already has a real advantage here, being able to deliver readout speeds that require a stacked sensor in FF via a regular sensor thanks to the inherent speed advantages of smaller sensors. But the current sensor is behind current readout tech and needs a refresh (BSI?). It's a solid sensor overall, but there definitely is room for improvement after 4+ years. I'm NOT asking for more MP, but better readout speeds and some mild DR/noise improvements.

5. Better connectivity. Why can't I shoot to a USB-C SSD? Why do all the wireless options suck. Again, some real potential gains here from partnering with Samsung (how about a USB-C SSD integrated into a USB-C power bank. Charge/shoot/backup all in one unit, it would be absolutely amazing for interval shooting or major stacking on a tripod, as well as camera-integrated backup/charge while in the field). Heck, a E-M1X update should get either 2 short or one long M.2 NVMe bays. Why go CFE? Get real speed for better pricing with M.2 and keep the much easier to buy UHS-II SD for removable media.
 
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pake

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3. The E-M5III either needs to come down in price and effectively replace the E-M10 line, or it needs an update to combine its upgrades with TruePic 9 and the features lost from the E-M5II (tethering/webcam support, it's silly that a $1199MSRP body can't do this in today's world, the grip and the EVF. I think the BLS-50 was the right choice even if technically a downgrade)
Couldn't agree more. I don't understand why Olympus feels they need to cripple the E-M5s to "protect" the E-M1s. Most people will make the decision based on the ergonomics & size. And even the battery crippling alone is enough to differentiate those two line-ups from each other so there is no reason to remove all the essential features (such as backing up settings on pc, tethering etc.). The E-M5III is way too expensive compared to the other OMD models with its stripped features.

4. Push sensor speed further. m43 already has a real advantage here, being able to deliver readout speeds that require a stacked sensor in FF via a regular sensor thanks to the inherent speed advantages of smaller sensors. But the current sensor is behind current readout tech and needs a refresh (BSI?). It's a solid sensor overall, but there definitely is room for improvement after 4+ years. I'm NOT asking for more MP, but better readout speeds and some mild DR/noise improvements.
Yep. 20MP is enough. When the readout speed allows taking HHHR in 1/500 s there is very rarely a need for a true higher MP sensor. And I think it's a stacked sensor that improves the readout speed and not the BSI technique. But honestly, I don't care how they do as long as they can significantly increase the readout speed.
 

mawz

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Couldn't agree more. I don't understand why Olympus feels they need to cripple the E-M5s to "protect" the E-M1s. Most people will make the decision based on the ergonomics & size. And even the battery crippling alone is enough to differentiate those two line-ups from each other so there is no reason to remove all the essential features (such as backing up settings on pc, tethering etc.). The E-M5III is way too expensive compared to the other OMD models with its stripped features.


I literally just bought an E-M5II over the III because of the webcam/tethering loss. Price on the III has come down but the E-M1.2 blowout hid that, few will pay new E-M1.2 money for an E-M5.3


Yep. 20MP is enough. When the readout speed allows taking HHHR in 1/500 s there is very rarely a need for a true higher MP sensor. And I think it's a stacked sensor that improves the readout speed and not the BSI technique. But honestly, I don't care how they do as long as they can significantly increase the readout speed.
BSI enables faster read outs as well, but not the same sort of jump as stacked designs do. A 1/500 readout with current tech would need stacked design, BSI would be a far smaller but easier improvement to implement
 
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