Micro 4/3 - the next big innovation(s)?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by dhazeghi, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    So m4/3 is now 3.5 years old. Olympus and Panasonic between them have released 19(!) different bodies in that timeframe. The interesting thing to me has been how similar most of these bodies have been. Of course, there have been a number of new features added, but on balance most of the new models look an awful lot like the old ones in terms.

    On the whole then, I think the list of major innovations introduced by m4/3 over this period amount to:
    • Losing the mirror and replacing it with LV (EVF/LCD)
    • Built-in software correction of lenses
    • High-speed contrast detect autofocus
    • High quality HD video (technically a Canon first, but...)

    Interestingly, all of these (with the partial exception of fast CDAF) came early on.

    So I'm wondering what the next big step forward by m4/3 will be. The most obvious possibilities to me are:
    • Electronic ('global') shutter - many advantages for users over the current mechanical shutters, as well as simplifying design and manufacturing
    • On-sensor Phase-Detect AF - allows for effective AF tracking without needing a mirror (ancillary benefit - 4/3 lenses will work well again)
    • Non-Bayer sensor - theoretically could lead to better detail and lower noise

    Curious what you folks think! Cheers,

  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    The only companies with serious research into non-bayer sensors are Fuji and Sigma, and I don't foresee them turning over their sensor tech nor do I foresee Panasonic trying to buy it. We can dream of a Fuji investment in Oly that puts their sensors into a PEN though :D

    Would very much like to see on-sensor PDAF, but no idea how difficult it is and who it needs to be licensed from. Olympus in particular stands to gain a lot, since they've made it clear that their continuation of the E series requires a fast way to focus four thirds lenses. If we had high speed focusing of those lenses...oh man. Sure they're not small, but there are some frankly incredible lenses in that series and surely developing the PDAF is cheaper than developing comparable lenses.
  3. tuanies

    tuanies Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 13, 2011
    Graham, WA
    Real Name:
    Tuan Huynh
    The next advancement IMO will be 4K video recording in GH bodies. It would really just need a new processor while using the same GH sensor
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    I don't think there's any chance of Fuji doing anything for m4/3 now that they have their own mirrorless system. Sigma have less at stake as their own cameras sell in very small quantities and so they might conceivably sell Foveon sensors to others. But does Olympus, or Panasonic really want to rely on Sigma? Do we? I'm not sure.

    The other possibility is that Olympus or Panasonic make their own non-Bayer design.

    That's my thinking too. But the longer they wait, the less of a boost it will be. Also, it seems like Panasonic has really been driving things on the AF front, and they've got a lot less to gain from 4/3 compatibility. So it seems like Panasonic at least would be more motivated by improving AF tracking.

  5. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Nikon also has some non Bayer patents. They also have phase detection on sensor for their Nikon 1 cameras.

    Here are my predictions.

    I think we can expect the first 20x zoom lenses. It'll be very large and designed for video cameras.

    120/240 FPS HD video.

    non rangefinder or dslr styled bodies. Cameras will look more like camcorders.

    Apps and connection to the Internet,

    Ability to live stream video to the Internet.

    The new generation of m43 will be video focused.
  6. sin77

    sin77 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 9, 2011
    And I like the Ex Tele Converter feature
  7. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    Good point about the focus on video. I am sort of curious though - is video really going to drive m4/3 sales beyond a small niche? I mean video is nice and all, but how many people are going to upgrade to a new camera just to get slightly better video performance or features? Or are 'stills-only' shooters like myself a dying a breed :smile: ?

    • Like Like x 1
  8. nseika

    nseika Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 22, 2010
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    Real Name:
    Don't forget collapsible interchangeable lens :D
    I think the biggest one is the live view only camera.
    The next innovation in camera doesn't have to come from m4/3 only.

    Did Olympus still talk about the IR-assisted focusing they introduced with the Pen-3 series and 12/2 lens ?
  9. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    I think it'll be the focus of all cameras. Camera phones have 40mp sensors now. So megapixels won't drive sales. So it'll be whoever can shoot, edit upload video the best. I think in this regard M43 has an advantage.

    Shooting video is a hassle on SLR or mirrorless, I believe it's like 32 steps before you can upload to YouTube or Facebook.
  10. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I think backside illuminated sensors would be the only "revolutionary" improvement as it would wipe out the pixel density advantage to FF. Combined with fast lenses, the technical objections about the sensor size would be eliminated.

    I think things like better C-AF tracking and many of the other things listed above will be evolutionary improvements. Look at how long Canikon have had to get PDAF where it is now. CDAF is almost there in MUCH less time, it won't be long before it catches up.
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    What are you guys all on? Obviously, the next big thing coming to Micro Four-Thirds is Light Field Technology! Everybody knows that. It's coming to Micro Four-Thirds first, probably by the end of 2012!

    CDAF, PDAF, EVF, PMF, that's all old news...
  12. JohnF

    JohnF Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 1, 2010
    Oberursel, Germany
    Quantum film, of course...anyone remember that one? Was supposed to replace CMOS by 2011...oh. Never mind...
  13. jff1625

    jff1625 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 14, 2012
  14. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    Really? My impression was that backside-illumination is only effective with extremely dense sensors where light reflected off the sensor is a significant proportion of total incident light.

    Yes, it has been pretty impressive, hasn't it. CDAF integrates nicely with the increased processing ability of small ASICs.