Is Olympus going in the wrong direction?

Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
1,445
Location
Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
FF in video is the dominant multi-aspect sensor.

From an economic perspective, that's where the logic leads.

Will not differentiate 43 sensors (because now larger). Obviate.

Panasonic differentiated by making L and m43 mounts incompatible.

No-crop market tiny and those most interested in not cropping are likely high-res pros anyway looking at FF to begin with.
 

swifty

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
213
Location
Singapore
Real Name
Dave
1. Yes, you have to crop 1:1. As with any other format for a very small minority of images. No competitive advantage.
2. So...an APS-C system to get there, not a 43 sensor.
3. Either a bigger sensor to not crop, or crop. I thought this was more than 1:1, but a no-rotate portrait mode with full rez.

If it's not video centric, it has all cost, no return. Tens if not 100+ million $$ to get there for maybe a market that cares that are posting in this thread.
1. Yes all different ratios are crops. The point is if you start off with a larger sensor, after cropping to 1:1 you’re still left with a 21.6mm diagonal so it’s the maximum 1:1 square crop that our existing lenses can take. It is a competitive advantage vs starting with a 4:3 ratio that already had a 21.6mm diagonal then cropping in to 1:1, which leaves you a much smaller square.
2. Not an APS-C system. Everything remains the same except use a larger sensor. I just proposed using APS-C sensors if an appropriate one appears as a catalogue sensor. Yes will be some engineering to be done to use the larger sensor for the high end body that would have this feature. But there will be engineering to be done with any sensors. They aren’t plug and play.
3. They are all crops. The point is using a bigger sensor to begin with such that each crop still has a 21.6mm diagonal.

The no rotation of camera thing is a different idea that expands on the same oversized sensor idea and will require a sensor larger than APS-C to work. I’m not for it personally.

Using APS-C to achieve multaspect ratio can help video too. I stopped at 16:9 for my width calculations but since APS-C width of 24mm exceeds the image circle of 21.6mm, any formats wider than 16:9 is possible whilst still achieving a 21.6mm diagonal.
You could have 2:1 Univisium or 21:9 Cinematic widescreen, all fully utilising the 21.6mm diagonal.
 

swifty

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
213
Location
Singapore
Real Name
Dave
Yes, that’s exactly the point they are making. If you want 1:1 ratio images from the current m43 sensors, you are forced to crop in PP and lose resolution.

By placing a higher resolution APS-C sensor behind a m43 lens would allow the capture of 1:1 ratio images at higher resolution in-camera by maximizing use of the image circle.
Just to add, not just loose resolution, but you loose sensor real estate and changes the angle of view of the resultant image.

I brought up a point on resolution because currently the highest APS-C sensor from Sony Semi is 26MP. A crop to 4:3 with 21.6mm diagonal drops this to 15.3MP and would likely be seen by most as going backwaters. But I believe 8K APS-C stacked sensors are coming which might become an appropriate candidate.
 

swifty

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
213
Location
Singapore
Real Name
Dave
I'm not sure what the downside of this from a consumer perspective is.

The concept is to put an APS-C sensor into m43 body and to use current m43 lenses and have the unique ability to choose aspect ratios based on user need with almost zero MP change vs the 4:3 crop, with some even having a slight pixel advantage.

There is no new sensor to develop, there are no new lenses to develop, you can leverage the advances in sensor technology that appear to be more frequent on APSC side vs m43 side...

I don't think any of us know how expensive it would be to iterate the IBIS to enable the APSC vs m43 sensor...but I could think of worse ways for Olympus to spend their RD dollars (the 1.2 primes for example...)

This would at least be unique and help to differentiate m43, and serve a need in market for some...for those who never crop then this is of little interest, but also has zero drawbacks
I think there will be some substantial engineering required as you’d need a new body, IBIS and shutter.
The current body’s internal connections are built for m43 sensors, the IBIS issue we know, and the current mechanical shutters aren’t tall enough to cover 1:1.
However the move to stacked sensors will likely also involve some substantial engineering changes. The electrical connections will have changed as the supporting electronics are now bonded as a second stack. It appears the entire stacked chips are smaller but thicker (note that all the chips are larger than just the 17.3mm x 13mm imaging area) but more info’s needed.
We can only speculate how these changes affect the ibis but I’d hazard a guess they’d need to make some (potentially extensive) changes anyways.
As for mechanical shutters, their days are numbered anyways. But perhaps one more generation to go.
 

Armoured

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
May 5, 2015
Messages
195
SO...
A square crop of APSC using m43 lens can yield a 44% increase in sensor size (243mm2/169mm2) vs a square crop from our m43 sensors
For 3:2 the benefit is about 8% vs today m43
For 16:9 the benefit is 27%
...
My conclusion: For those who like to shoot in multiple aspect ratios, there is real benefit (wrt sensor area) of putting an APSC sensor behind the m43 lens vs cropping the m43 sensor.
My conclusion using your own numbers above is that while the benefit is 'real', it's actually a rather modest benefit - and what benefit there is accrues to a) the very small number that really prefer square format above all else), and b) those who prefer/use the 16:9 format.

Even the 44% number - to take the high end - is hardly a game changer, even for 1:1 aficionados. Other than that, well, it's a nice bump.

While I like the idea (for me), the discussion of the engineering changes and costs involved - more costly than I perhaps had realised - has pretty much convinced me this is likely a dead end.

Hence my intuition is that Olympus' direction will have to be more in the direction of computational photography - but combined with the hardware side to have some advantage over the phone makers. (IBIS being an example).

I don't have any particular bright ideas in that area, but would be interested in the spitball ideas of others here.
 

BDR-529

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 27, 2020
Messages
971
The concept is to put an APS-C sensor into m43 body and to use current m43 lenses and have the unique ability to choose aspect ratios based on user need with almost zero MP change vs the 4:3 crop, with some even having a slight pixel advantage.

I have really hard time following this APS-C sensor-in-m4/3 discussion because it has not made any sense for the last three pages.

For starters: there has been a native m4/3 multi aspect 8k sensor in mass production for a year. This sensor (family) is the one everyone believed in early 2020 to show up in GH6 which was scheduled for release during Photokina in May 2020. There was also a rumour of 42MP Olympus model as early as December 2019.

Unfortunately neither 8k video nor 42MP still image m4/3 bodies ever made it into production and Sony only released this sensor in their industrial category as IMX492.

There's also no need to mess up with weird APS-C sensor + m4/3 mount contraption because you can just place a mass order for native m4/3 sensor that supports 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 17:9 aspect ratios without cropping the latter ones from 4:3 image area. It's also an oversized sensor with corner pixels outside the MFT image circle which enables all aspect ratios to have 21,6mm diagonal. (GH5S and BGH 1 use IMX299 which has similar setup but only 10MP)

The fact that IMX492 has even native 17:9 DCI 8k suport reveals the true purpose of this sensor. It was intended for camera that is capable of cinema production because this is the only place where 17:9 aspect ratio is really needed.

/edit: DPR even created an interactive image which explains how oversized sensor can maximise several aspect ratios inside any given image circle
https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-dc-gh5s-review
 
Last edited:

Leolab

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Sep 26, 2015
Messages
73
I have really hard time following this APS-C sensor-in-m4/3 discussion because it has not made any sense for the last three pages.

For starters: there has been a native m4/3 multi aspect 8k sensor in mass production for a year. This sensor (family) is the one everyone believed in early 2020 to show up in GH6 which was scheduled for release during Photokina in May 2020. There was also a rumour of 42MP Olympus model as early as December 2019.

Unfortunately neither 8k video nor 42MP still image m4/3 bodies ever made it into production and Sony only released this sensor in their industrial category as IMX492.

There's also no need to mess up with weird APS-C sensor + m4/3 mount contraption because you can just place a mass order for native m4/3 sensor that supports 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 17:9 aspect ratios without cropping the latter ones from 4:3 image area. It's also an oversized sensor with corner pixels outside the MFT image circle which enables all aspect ratios to have 21,6mm diagonal. (GH5S and BGH 1 use IMX299 which has similar setup but only 10MP)

The fact that IMX492 has even native 17:9 DCI 8k suport reveals the true purpose of this sensor. It was intended for camera that is capable of cinema production because this is the only place where 17:9 aspect ratio is really needed.

/edit: DPR even created an interactive image which explains how oversized sensor can maximise several aspect ratios inside any given image circle
https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-dc-gh5s-review
Okay, call it whatever you will, its an 'oversized sensor' vs todays m43 sensor, allowing multiple aspect ratios from at least 17:9 to 1:1 with a 21.6mm diagonal...the minimum sensor size to achieve that would be 19.1x15.3mm. Sonys APSC sensors are currently 23.6x15.7mm...these are pretty close in size such that the idea was to use something 'off-the-shelf' vs a unique sensor size, thereby reducing costs...thats all
 

Leolab

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Sep 26, 2015
Messages
73
I have really hard time following this APS-C sensor-in-m4/3 discussion because it has not made any sense for the last three pages.

For starters: there has been a native m4/3 multi aspect 8k sensor in mass production for a year. This sensor (family) is the one everyone believed in early 2020 to show up in GH6 which was scheduled for release during Photokina in May 2020. There was also a rumour of 42MP Olympus model as early as December 2019.

Unfortunately neither 8k video nor 42MP still image m4/3 bodies ever made it into production and Sony only released this sensor in their industrial category as IMX492.

There's also no need to mess up with weird APS-C sensor + m4/3 mount contraption because you can just place a mass order for native m4/3 sensor that supports 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 17:9 aspect ratios without cropping the latter ones from 4:3 image area. It's also an oversized sensor with corner pixels outside the MFT image circle which enables all aspect ratios to have 21,6mm diagonal. (GH5S and BGH 1 use IMX299 which has similar setup but only 10MP)

The fact that IMX492 has even native 17:9 DCI 8k suport reveals the true purpose of this sensor. It was intended for camera that is capable of cinema production because this is the only place where 17:9 aspect ratio is really needed.

/edit: DPR even created an interactive image which explains how oversized sensor can maximise several aspect ratios inside any given image circle
https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-dc-gh5s-review
BTW I just looked up IMX492

It is a ~3:2 sensor with diagonal of 23.1mm, the 4/3 crop from this sensor (diagonal 21.6mm) takes up the full height of the sensor, therefore a square crop from this sensor with 21.6mm diagonal is simply not possible

https://www.sony-semicon.co.jp/products/common/pdf/IMX492LLJ_LQJ_Flyer.pdf
 

Leolab

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Sep 26, 2015
Messages
73
The desire/idea that some of us are putting forward (see earlier posts) is to use an oversized sensor allowing the user to shoot anything from square to cinematic aspect ratios with taking full advantage of the m43 lens projection circle of 21.6mm diameter to maximize #pixels and area of sensor used. This can be fully accomplished by using an existing/upcoming APSC sensor (or a custom made sensor size of at least 19.1x15.3mm), and nobody currently does/has this feature thus would be differentiating for those who value this. Many oil us believe that Olympus needs to do something that would differentiate themselves from the rest of the competition to stay relevant.

Its clear to some of us that this would be an advantage to their use/enjoyment of the m43 cameras if Olympus would be able to do this.

We can debate how hard/easy it would be to do this for Olympus, but for me at least it would add to the pros of using m43, and would diminish the counterarguments against m43 by many (smaller sensor...)
 

BDR-529

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 27, 2020
Messages
971
The desire/idea that some of us are putting forward (see earlier posts) is to use an oversized sensor allowing the user to shoot anything from square to cinematic aspect ratios with taking full advantage of the m43 lens projection circle of 21.6mm diameter to maximize #pixels and area of sensor used. This can be fully accomplished by using an existing/upcoming APSC sensor

Yes I can see that and it was actually me who proposed a year ago that should no new m4/3 sensor become available, it would be possible to take for example 32MP Canon APS-C sensor (At 1.6 crop it's smaller than other 1.5 APS-C sensors) and use just the pixels in the 17.3 mm × 13.0 mm center so I'm well aware of how the math works.

Now there are actually three (!) new m4/3 sensors in Sony catalogue alone (42MP, 19,5MP and 21,5MP) but nobody is using them and based on GH6 specs, it will use fourth yet unknown one so the idea of using APS-C silicon as ersatz MFT sensor is pretty moot.

Square aspect ratio from entire m4/3 image circle sounds like a solution that is looking for a problem to me.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
1,445
Location
Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
The desire/idea that some of us are putting forward (see earlier posts) is to use an oversized sensor allowing the user to shoot anything from square to cinematic aspect ratios with taking full advantage of the m43 lens projection circle of 21.6mm diameter to maximize #pixels and area of sensor used. This can be fully accomplished by using an existing/upcoming APSC sensor (or a custom made sensor size of at least 19.1x15.3mm), and nobody currently does/has this feature thus would be differentiating for those who value this. Many oil us believe that Olympus needs to do something that would differentiate themselves from the rest of the competition to stay relevant.

Its clear to some of us that this would be an advantage to their use/enjoyment of the m43 cameras if Olympus would be able to do this.

We can debate how hard/easy it would be to do this for Olympus, but for me at least it would add to the pros of using m43, and would diminish the counterarguments against m43 by many (smaller sensor...)

The moment m43 uses an APS-C sensor there will be calls to shoot landscape using an actual APS-C lens.

They would no longer be m43 cameras.

What you want for portrait convenience becomes someone else's APS-C landscape format.
 

Leolab

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Sep 26, 2015
Messages
73
Yes I can see that and it was actually me who proposed a year ago that should no new m4/3 sensor become available, it would be possible to take for example 32MP Canon APS-C sensor (At 1.5 crop it's smaller than other 1.6 APS-C sensors) and use just the pixels in the 17.3 mm × 13.0 mm center so I'm well aware of how the math works.

Now there are actually three (!) new m4/3 sensors in Sony catalogue alone (42MP, 19,5MP and 21,5MP) but nobody is using them and based on GH6 specs, it will use fourth yet unknown one so the idea of using APS-C silicon as ersatz MFT sensor is pretty moot.

Square aspect ratio from entire m4/3 image circle sounds like a solution that is looking for a problem to me.
I love shooting in square but will not do that with my m43 system (too few pixels left)...so there are clearly some who would value the ability to shoot square with max pixels/real estate, its not for you but it may be for others.

Panasonic will continue along their path with m43 focused on video, Olympus however needs to find a niche for itself, this could be a differentiator.
If m43 caters only to video then it clearly is not the format for me, and probably many others who shoot m43 almost exclusively for stills, square is a very traditional stills format. Recently Fuji adopted many of the aspect-ratio crops for its GFX camera including square...emulating film camera aspect ratios (3:2, 4:3, 4:5; 1:1, 65:24 amongst others), they have enough pixels to pull it off as a simple crop of sensor, we don't in m43 land. To me this is a real selling point of the GFX system (in camera aspect-ratio choice), aimed at stills photographers, this ability adds creative options for stills photographers. The GFX system is pretty big and expensive however.

I think Olympus could generate some market interest in this by hearkening back to the classic stills cameras and the epic work of those who shot in the various formats and position themselves as 'dedicated to the art of stills photography'. Also, assuming they can pull this off, I see zero downside for someone who does not want to shoot one of those aspect ratios, then you just use the m43 crop.
 

Leolab

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Sep 26, 2015
Messages
73
The moment m43 uses an APS-C sensor there will be calls to shoot landscape using an actual APS-C lens.

They would no longer be m43 cameras.

What you want for portrait convenience becomes someone else's APS-C landscape format.
Sure there will be folks who want to use the full sensor, but they can't and so its up to Olympus to market this well.
They would be m43 cameras since its defined by the mount and the compatible lenses
Im not sure what you mean by portrait convenience, I want to maximize the pixels in all aspect ratios while using my m43 lenses to keep a small system
 

John King

Member of SOFA
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
3,300
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Real Name
John ...
I love shooting in square but will not do that with my m43 system (too few pixels left)...so there are clearly some who would value the ability to shoot square with max pixels/real estate, its not for you but it may be for others.
Square format with mFTs 20.5 MPx sensor is approx. 15 MPx.

I've printed A2 size prints from my 5, 10 and 12 MPx FTs cameras that are excellent when viewed with a 4x loupe.

15 MPx is plenty.
 

doady

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
595
Location
Canada
To have a choice for aspect ratio is one advantage of digital over film, or at least it should be. I am not a fan of 3:2 at all, so m4/3 and GFX were basically my only choices. For a smaller format like Micro Four Thirds, a multi-aspect ratio sensor arguably should be a standard feature.

Full resolution and full FOV 5:4 and 3:2 to go along with 4:3 would be interesting for wide angle. 1:1 might be too much. Even Instagram eventually moved away from 1:1. If they were to go so far away from 4:3, I'd rather have 16:9, for video.

I think the biggest issue with cropping to a certain aspect ratio is losing the FOV rather than losing the resolution, especially for wide angle. But how popular is 1:1 for wide angle?

4:3 is closer to 1:1 than 3:2 is anyways. Cropping 1/4 of the photo vs. cropping 1/3 of the photo, which is worse? I'll let you decide.
 

swifty

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
213
Location
Singapore
Real Name
Dave
We understand multi-aspect ratio sensors in its current iteration which covers the wider formats. The idea is to extend this to the taller formats all the way to 1:1 as that'd be making more use of the image circle.
Currently no sensor made for m43 (industrial or otherwise) can do this which is where the APS-C idea comes in.
It's NOT trying to make m43 into APS-C. It is only looking for alternative sensors suitable for the purpose of multiaspect ratio up to 1:1, of which none exists for m43.

If OMDS were to use an APS-C sensor, they would have no need to disclose it is an APS-C sized sensor. It would be purely for the m43 image circle where all m43 lenses would work and it would be up to OMDS's marketing to communicate the benefits of multiaspect ratio.
It'd only be for us techno geek's interest sake to figure out any similarities to existing APS-C sensors and for ppl like TechInsights to tear down and examine the sensor to confirm any of our suspicions if they actually used an APS-C sensor instead of a custom oversized m43 one.

So we're not saying it must be an APS-C sensor, just that an APS-C can do the task. And it also relies on an assumption that using an APS-C catalogue sensor would be more economical than a custom sensor, which of course is not a given. If it was cheaper to procure a custom sensor, then of course that'd be the route to take.
The other issue with m43 that is often the subject of complaints is the long intervals between sensor iteration. So being able to use APS-C potentially has the benefit of shorter intervals between iterations to bring sensors up to current state of the art.

So the thread is about advancing OMDS for the future so they'd need to spend their engineering efforts on something.
They can't please everybody but I'd argue that endeavors such as pursing the integrated grip platform on the EM1X benefits far fewer m43 users than pursuing better use of the available image circle.
Yes, there will likely be substantial engineering involved in establishing a new body platform that can accept larger oversized sensors, but I'd argue this would eventually benefit the entire line and a feature that would close the perceived deficit to APS-C as well as having a leg up on Panasonic. FWIW, I wouldn't mind if Panasonic did it instead as they've shown more interest in this idea anyways.

Incidentally the GH6 is said to feature 5.7K video. If you take the IMX472's horizontal 5280 pixels and extend it to the width of a 16:9 multiaspect ratio sensor, you'd get 5743 pixels.
(5280/17.3*18.82)
So what's the bet the GH6 sensor is the IMX472 with a greater active imaging area disabled on a regular catalogue IMX472, or alternatively a small custom variation of the IMX472. If the custom variations are inexpensive to procure, then OMDS could request a variant of the IMX472 that is large enough to cover 1:1 too, if they want to explore this multiaspect ratio (16:9-1:1) idea. I'm not hung up on APS-C, its just one way to get to this larger multiaspect ratio sensor idea which I think can be beneficial for a lot of OMDS and m43 users.
 

BDR-529

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 27, 2020
Messages
971
Let's have a quick reality check here and assume there is indeed a group of users who are willing to pay $$ for square image that uses maximum sensor area.

The maximum square that fit's inside mft 21,6mm image circle is 15,3mm × 15,3mm or 234mm2. This is actually only 10mm2 more than standard area because 4:3 is already quite square.

On the other hand anyone can crop a 24mm × 24mm square from a standard 36mm × 24mm FF image and end up using 576mm2 sensor area.

Also 2,5 times larger than what could be achieved with this weird APS-C sensor in m4/3 body Chimera that would be so low volume product that it's bound to cost way more than average FF body.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
1,445
Location
Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
Let's have a quick reality check here and assume there is indeed a group of users who are willing to pay $$ for square image that uses maximum sensor area.

The maximun size square that fit's inside mft 21,6mm image circle is 15,3mm × 15,3mm or 234mm2. This is actually only 10mm2 more than standard area because 4:3 is already quite square.

On the other hand anyone can crop a 24mm × 24mm square from a standard 36mm × 24mm FF image and end up using 576mm2 sensor area.

Also 2,5 times larger than what could be achieved with this weird APS-C sensor in m4/3 body Chimera that would be so low volume product that it's bound to cost way more than average FF body.
Not only is there no demand for this sensor other than this thread, it would force a costly redesign for all compatible m43 bodies, making them larger. EVFs, too. IBIS a total rework. All those up-front costs paid for by the end user already tempted by compact MILC FF.

Olympus with m43 lost almost US$1 billion over the decade before giving Imaging to OMDS. With no proven demand, there's no capital. This would have been done long ago if there was a market.
 

BDR-529

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 27, 2020
Messages
971
With no proven demand, there's no capital. This would have been done long ago if there was a market.

This "square image" thingy has actually been done several times over a period of 60-70 years. The last very popular one was 126 cartridge which was launched as late as 1963 and discontinued in 2007.

Good lenses were so expensive to manufacture during first decades of consumer photography that almost all manufactures tried to maximize use of image circle which led to square pictures.

As it turned out, square image is not pleasing to human eye and very few topics look best when framed in 1:1 aspect ratio.

It was no surprise that 3:2 format became dominant once it reached affordable price point so it is really proven that there is no mass market demand for square images.

Thanks to smartphones, tablets and TV-screens the bulk of still images and practically 100% of video is captured today in 16:9 or even wider format
 
Last edited:

Latest threads

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom