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Is Olympus 4/3 dead?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Jorge Ledesma, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. Jorge Ledesma

    Jorge Ledesma Mu-43 Veteran

    200
    Aug 27, 2011
    Miami
    I've been thinking with the release of the OMD and integrated EVF will Olympus now focus strictly with M43. The OMD with the option to be gripped has the amazing versatility to act as a mini-dslr ala the Panasonic G/GH.

    Now since the OMD is a new evolution of a camera perhaps they'll kill the 4/3 platform and strictly focus on M43 and produce the E-620/E5 update based on a M43 format. Hmm, I dunno but it sounds plausible with the success they've had on the m43 platform. Thus essentially cutting out their R&D by a percentage and focus on the m43 platfrom and making it more like the Panasonic m43.

    I know perhaps this wishful thinking but I certainly hope this becomes a reality in the not too distant future.

    What do you all think? Would like a G/GH but on a revamped OMD style body with all the pizzaz of, let's say a GH2, I think I would and I certainly would like have the option between G/GH and a similar body for Olympus.

    Sent from my BlackBerry using Tapatalk
     
  2. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Midwest
    Paul
    Olympus is pretty much between a rock and a hard place on this one. The E-m5 is a spectacular little camera and out classes the E-5 in pretty much every category. Unfortunately for Olympus, they still have a stable full of spectacular full 4/3 lenses, and haven't come up with the proper answer towards integrating those existing lenses with micro 4/3. Until that happens their full 4/3 cameras will live on. It wouldn't surprise me to see the E-5 get a final update with the current e-m5 sensor tech, but beyond that is a nebulous region for the regular 4/3 mount.
     
  3. timg

    timg Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Jun 13, 2012
    As a 43 user who's been sitting on the fence for the last couple of years there's a simple answer for Oly that would allow them to drop 43 without losing face... PDAF on chip. I'm pretty sure that most 43 users don't want a dedicated 43 camera, they just want a camera they can put their 43 lenses on without compromise.

    So why haven't I changed to m43 so far?

    EP1: focus speed too slow and screen was still low-res and no VF and a bit of a curiosity
    EP2: focus speed too slow and screen was still low-res
    EP3: getting there
    EM5: certainly a worthy upgrade but too expensive for me at the moment.

    I only have a very modest investment in 43 gear but I'd still be annoyed if they dropped it full-stop... and you m43 folk do seem to forget that some people have major investments... a lady on one of the other forums has £19,000 tied up in FT equipment.

    So, before you get all tied up in "why would anyone still be using 43" please spare a thought for
    us that are... how would you all feel if Oly announced "nano-four thirds" and left m43 lagging?
     
    • Like Like x 3
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I agree that 4/3 is a dead end, and the sooner it is officially discontinued, the better. However, I don't think it will make a difference in terms of R&D. I see no indication that they're spending any R&D on 4/3 as it is. There's not been a new lens in 3.5 years, and the E-5 is the only new body in the past 3 years.

    The advantage to jettisoning 4/3 would simply be a clarification of mission and marketing.

    DH
     
  5. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    As timg mentioned above, until they found a solution for 4/3 lenses to work seamlessly on m4/3 cameras, I doubt if they would kill the 4/3 line of cameras. I don't think it will cost much R&D to drop the E-M5 sensor, and even the IBIS, into the E-5 body, and call it the E-7...

    Might not have a big market for it, but it might do wonders to retain customer loyalty...
     
  6. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    It isn't knocked out, but it's on one knee.

    It's a tough situation for Oly. I think they genuinely want to bridge the gap so 4/3 lenses can be fully functional on a future MFT body, but I wonder whether they can afford to allocate the necessary resources towards that. It doesn't do anyone any good if they go down trying.
     
  7. timg

    timg Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Jun 13, 2012
    Indeed, customer confidence can count for a lot in a cut-throat business like this.

    The one thing I always seem to notice is that the m43 users who claim that 43 is dead and a waste of R&D in one breath then say that they want m43 versions of the 43 lenses in the next.

    I'm no expert but surely the R&D costs of solving PDAF on-chip would be less than the R&D costs of translating all the 43 lenses over the m43?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    I can't imagine them making any revolutionary breakthroughs to merge the systems, but I think the current compromise of (slow) adapters is not bad while keeping both systems. Loyal 4/3 users do deserve some progress though, keep the bodies and just drop in a new sensor (that's the main weakness of the format right). One high end E-5mk2/E-7 and a lower consumer level one. Should be relatively easy..
     
  9. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Canon and Nikon both have on-chip PDAF now. Olympus -- and everyone else -- do not have a choice at this point. Oly arguably has the most of any company to gain here, as their stable of 4/3 lenses is world class. A pro class E-7 micro four thirds body using the E-M5 sensor with on-chip PDAF could support 4/3 lenses perfectly through the existing MMF adapters. Such a camera would be an incredibly heavy hitter in the market, and draw the path for the rescue of the 4/3 user base.

    It would close the gap in performance against the SLRs; full tracking AF with the new sensor and a 35-100 f/2? That would be a simply devastating pro kit, with all the advantages of the compact MFT lenses for more relaxed work.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Jorge Ledesma

    Jorge Ledesma Mu-43 Veteran

    200
    Aug 27, 2011
    Miami
    Yes, the 4/3 lenses should be integrated somehow with better results into the m43 but I think its an undeniable fact that we're living in a new world m43 is what they envisioned 4/3 would maybe become and never really did. M43 is now firmly established and becoming more so everyday. I think the OMD incarnation is just the tip of the iceberg for Olympus.

    I do agree that "terminating" 4/3 would be a bit rough for folks who have invested tons of $$ into that system but that's hardly a premise on which to continue to support a failing platform, wouldn't you say. The same thing can be said about the Nikon vs Canon wars and switching between these back and forth and the investment of doing so.

    Ideally, as they've mentioned on the thread, a full 4/3 lens integration into m43 would be great, I can't argue with that, no doubt, I love to venture into some 4/3 lenses and gives those a try like the famous Oly 50mm f2 Macro. I would so love it but again, I think its a matter of time before we, m43, get one, and as the rumor mills have been saying the Olympus m43 line is going on full throttle.

    Just noticed the new 75mm 1.8, talk about a commitment to the m43 platform. As far the E5 and having the OMD's sensor on it and calling that the E7 as the last man standing, why not, it would not cost them that much to support that camera. But who knows perhaps they'll continue to support and release a new E-720 with an OMD sensor. Who knows, but then again, wouldn't that be too close to the OMD, know what I mean.

    M43 is the future, notice how Sigma, Tokina, et al are all following on that road and quickly pumping out lenses in order to bite into this new apple (m43) that becoming more sweet by the year.

    Personally, I'd love OMD style camera that looked like a Panny G/GH. They've proven they can do an integrated EVF like Panny so why not. Let's level of the playing field between Panny and really start producing top notch quality bodies, in the end, we all benefit from all this.
     
  11. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Midwest
    Paul
    I completely agree with all of that. Of the two micro 4/3 camera makers, it surprises me just how much Oly dedicates their R&D to shrinking their micro 4/3 lenses, rather than simply porting them over, when they do have such a large 4/3 base of lenses from which to draw upon. Panasonic on the other hand has generally made their lenses with little focus on the final product size, often being comparatively similar in size to standard aps-c lenses of similar focal lengths.
     
  12. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    Simply porting them over? Would that be adding a built-in adapter? That's what we already have in modular form. The thing that "optimizes" a lens for contrast detect auto focus are lighter moving parts with shorter travel. Increasing the power of the motor would also help, but may result in bigger lenses. In any case making one of the existing 4/3 lenses perform better on the current m4/3 bodies involves redesigning them. Might as well start with a blank sheet.

    Fred
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Jorge Ledesma

    Jorge Ledesma Mu-43 Veteran

    200
    Aug 27, 2011
    Miami
    To add, that's exactly what Oly is doing to m43, continually adding great quality lenses. I'm wondering if anyone can chime in with the lens roadmap for Oly, but as we've seen they seem to be focusing on primes lately, and that's just great, let Panny build the fast zooms. Best of both world.
     
  14. timg

    timg Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Jun 13, 2012
    I completely agree m43 is where we are heading, it's just how they handle that transition... as I see it, we're not asking for anything outrageous; PDAF on-chip has been put into production by both Nikon and Canon (and I believe Fuji had it in the X100 too) and Sony has the adaptor with the translucent mirror (though that's not particularly elegant).

    If they could get PDAF on-chip working it would also help with CAF on m43 too so as far as I see it it's a win-win situation.

    m43 already has the best lens selection of any of the mirrorless systems by a long shot... imagine if they could integrate the 43 lenses too... it would be years before anyone else could catch up.

    There's no technical reason why they couldn't produce a larger m43 body that would be more suited to the size of HG/SHG 43 lenses but could still use the smaller m43 primes. (I know that goes against the grain of what m43 is all about up until now).

    It does look like a top-notch performer, though it is interesting how the "high grade" m43 lenses are all primes... if the rumoured m43 12-60mm lens comes out that would not bode well for 43.

    I'm not for one second expecting them to come out with a revolutionary 43 camera, just putting the new sensor in an E5 and E620 bodies would satisfy a vast majority of 43 users even if they made no other changes at all.
     
  15. Jorge Ledesma

    Jorge Ledesma Mu-43 Veteran

    200
    Aug 27, 2011
    Miami
    I'd love to see such an upgrade to the E-720 I'd buy one in a heartbeat :smile: but again, I'd rather just have 1 system and not be bothered with multi platform lenses. As it is right now. I have the 20mm and the 14-45, I'm going to add the 14mm ( I use to have it but sold it with a G2 I use to have ) and the 45mm and then I'll research the longer zooms but that's farther away. If I could use this lens collection on a E-720 body I would be in heaven but I'll probably need to add a GH2 for that.
     
  16. timg

    timg Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Jun 13, 2012
    So would I! :smile: but I admit the likelihood of it happening is rather slim... a couple of years ago I was starting to build a lens collection and thinking the 50mm macro and 50-200mm would be next on the list, then I put that on hold waiting to see what was happening with 43 and m43 and here I am 2 years later with the same gear.

    I know the official line is "we'll always have a body for 43 lenses" but it would be nice to get some clarification... I suppose we'll have to see what Photokina brings; thing is, I know the moment I sell my 43 gear they'll bring out an E1 mkII for which I'd happily kill for! :biggrin:
     
  17. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    In addition to on-chip PDAF, I sure hope Olympus would come up with a PDAF-enabling adaptor, so that I don't have to switch camera body to take full advantage of my 4/3 lenses...
     
  18. st3v4nt

    st3v4nt Mu-43 Veteran

    317
    May 26, 2011
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    On technical side what would be the challenge Olympus must face if they want to build 4/3 lens to m4/3 body adapter with PDAF capability? It sounds like everybody suggesting it but dropped to the deaf ear of Olympus R&D...While I still keep my E-1 alive along with several 4/3 lenses I do hope they come with faster AF 4/3 to m4/3 adapter than the one they currently have.
     
  19. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    I have seen reports of PDAF-enabled adapter design patent filed by Olympus, and rumors that they are indeed working on one, so I can only attribute the fact that it hasn't come out yet to one of the following reasons:
    1) they are still working on it and will be launching one some time down the road;
    2) they ran into technical issues that they couldn't resolve;
    3) a change of strategy that they decided it is better to launch m4/3 versions of the 4/3 lenses;
    4) they decided to launch on-chip PDAF cameras instead.

    I sure hope the answer is 1)!
     
  20. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    Most points in this discussion have been already made in this discussion:

    https://www.mu-43.com/f42/future-pro-camera-olympus-wishlist-discussion-27310/

    I fully realize how frustrating it must be to have several thousand $ "slaved" in a dying system, but, unfortunately this is the way things are. And, I'd say again, Olympus discontinuing the whole 4/3 line, doesn't automatically render tens of thousands of cameras automatically useless!

    PD-AF is a requirement for the simple reason that it will equalize mirrorless systems with DSLR. In fact a highly capable such system shall sound the begining of the end of DSLR technology altogether, since it shall allow manufacturers to make any size sensor mirrorless cameras that will offer all DSLR advantages with none of the many drawbacks.

    My belief is Olympus must kiss 4/3 off. There is no other way to push things forward. Sorry for sounding harsh, but if I were Olympus, I wouldn't care about a few thousand people that want to upgrade their E-3/E-5. I'd work to improve the OM-D line and also port the magnificent 4/3 glass to :43:.

    Another, and perhaps the best way to approach this, would be for Olympus to make a mirrored adapter for the OM-D line. Like the Leica Visoflex or something. Here is a pic of that on a Pen:

    4328264670_1fb5219036.

    And, believe me, if I was a 4/3 user, I'd continue to use my gear for what it does best and invest in the new(-er) technology anyway. This is actually something two different professional 4/3 users told me.