More statements from JIP

JonSnih

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In the imaging business, lenses are the key, so we have had a lot of optical designers come to work for us. However, we have reduced the number of people in the development department as a whole. Of course, this is partly in response to the shrinking camera market, but we also believe that the future is an era of open innovation, of manufacturing through external collaboration. Of course, we will continue to develop our own core technologies and product points.

They will buy as many components as it gets instead of in-house development. But this is an ongoing process. The latest IBIS is a fruit of collaboration with Epson, they have used Epson's EVFs for long time. The CPU/SoC is the same thing - just grab an older Qualcomm design for few $, pay the production cost and rewrite the code for AF, AI, etc. stuff. It will be cheaper than own CPU design. Especially all these lithographics masks cost a fortune without enough sales volume. OM DS has to be cost effective as much as possible.
 

pake

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I don't like the sound of that! We won't see very many firmware upgrades (or buggy ones) coming down the pike, it seems! I agree with them that optical design is very important, but have they noticed that their cameras are falling behind in tech? You need both...
I prefer quality over quantity. If 10 people can do better job than 100, I say go for it. Don't throw away your gauntlet just yet.
 

RS86

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I prefer quality over quantity. If 10 people can do better job than 100, I say go for it. Don't throw away your gauntlet just yet.

Yeah, and also what I have been thinking is that Olympus Imaging management might have been loaded with people after the boom in digital photography. Then what can easily happen, is that the bosses don't dare to fire their pals, and they keep this too big management department in the company. Those wages can consume much money with not much return. This is just a theory of course, but wouldn't surprise me.
 

StefanKruse

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Yeah, and also what I have been thinking is that Olympus Imaging management might have been loaded with people after the boom in digital photography. Then what can easily happen, is that the bosses don't dare to fire their pals, and they keep this too big management department in the company. Those wages can consume much money with not much return. This is just a theory of course, but wouldn't surprise me.
I believe Japan is one of the hardest places to lay off people in and although JIP is also Japanese I would imagine it is easier to lay off people with a corporate takeover. So maybe the takeover has allowed JIP to do what Olympus couldn't and maybe should have.
 

Ross the fiddler

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If you look at the comments in the link, there's a full transcript of the interview. Original question was about both new lenses and/or bodies and Mr Kataoka did systematically use word "product" so it was not clear which one he meant in any part of his answer.

Mr Kataoka did indeed say that OMDS will launch ...something... "Withing the year" but never said that these "products" will be camera bodies and explicitly refused to give any exact launch schedule.

There was also this very important question in the original interview:

"--But if the Micro Four Thirds camera market becomes smaller, is it possible that semiconductor manufacturers will stop making sensors?

Kataoka: I don't think there's any need to worry about that, because we order the sensor, pay the development costs, and they make the sensor.
"

So, getting a new high-end MFT sensor with your custom cross AF sites is just as simple as ordering a pizza? Make one phone call and deliveries will start rolling in. Unfortunately I don't think so.

Unless Olympus made this call and upfront payment a couple of years ago, OMDS will not get a new sensor anytime soon. Chances are that Olympus did just that in 2017 or 2018. Before the overall market implosion and FF avalance Olympus and Panasonic had certainly plans to launch the next high-end MFT body generation around 2020 and both were likely negotiating with Sony about their own variant of the MFT sensor design which is currently available only as "industrial" IMX492
I’m sure Sony didn’t make 4/3’s sensors in the hope someone would buy them, but fulfilled an order request & now is listed in their products.
 

RAH

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What tech do you mean? I bet Olympus will never have as good C-AF as Sony for example. Olympus has been leading some of the tech areas since they started with mirrorless. Or are you talking about sensors or some other things, which they don't do themselves?
I meant the sensor primarily. I am hardly the only one who was disappointed when the E-M1.3 didn't include a new sensor. The camera is nice, IMHO, and I want one (even with my E-M5.3), but I'd want one more if it was upgraded some. Now it seems it won;t be for at least a few years...
 

BDR-529

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I’m sure Sony didn’t make 4/3’s sensors in the hope someone would buy them, but fulfilled an order request & now is listed in their products.

Sure, when the project to create a new 8 MFT sensor known today as IMX492 was started a couple of years ago, Sony had every reason to belive that they would be able to sell variants of this chip to several customers. After all it's a versatile "oversized" multi aspect sensor so customers can use maximum sensor area for anything between 17:9 and 1:1

If we look at other Sony MFT sensors, same chip is sold under different name and marginally different specs for three different customer segments:
- industrial version for surveillance and machine vision
- two slightly modified consumer versions for Panny and Olympus respectively (and perhaps third generic one)
- 17:9/16:9 4k version for cine cam manfacturers like Z-CAM, Blackmagic

As per today the only customer group that actually exists seems to be in the industrial category. Panny or even OMDS might still launch a camera that uses consumer version of this chip but the last time there were any serious rumours about such product was last September or so.
 
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fortwodriver

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That translated link is not very good. It looks like they might outsource some of the development. Not sure what this means for future bodies but I am sure we will find out.

https://photorumors.com/2021/02/07/interview-with-the-cto-of-om-digital-solutions/#respond

In the imaging business, lenses are the key, so we have had a lot of optical designers come to work for us. However, we have reduced the number of people in the development department as a whole. Of course, this is partly in response to the shrinking camera market, but we also believe that the future is an era of open innovation, of manufacturing through external collaboration. Of course, we will continue to develop our own core technologies and product points.

Lens design outsourcing has been going on for decades... That's nothing new.
 

fortwodriver

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I meant the sensor primarily. I am hardly the only one who was disappointed when the E-M1.3 didn't include a new sensor. The camera is nice, IMHO, and I want one (even with my E-M5.3), but I'd want one more if it was upgraded some. Now it seems it won;t be for at least a few years...

From what I see, the only people really disappointed in the 20mp sensor are online and forum pixel-peepers who may be a teeny bit jealous.

I'd prefer not to conflate jealousy with a market need.

Consumers seem to be happy with as little as 16MP in their ILCs... Putting a higher MP sensor in the camera won't suddenly sell a massive amount. The current sensor is hellishly sharp for what it is.

..and mirrorless camera makers are finally tackling the battery issue.
 

fortwodriver

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If we look at other Sony MFT sensors, same chip is sold under different name and marginally different specs for three different customer segments:
- industrial version for surveillance and machine vision
- two slightly modified consumer versions for Panny and Olympus respectively (and perhaps third generic one)
- 17:9/16:9 4k version for cine cam manfacturers like Z-CAM, Blackmagic


Industrial vision sensors often have vastly faster refresh rates and different tolerances both electronically and mechanically. They're not minor differences.
Those aren't MFT sensors, they are sensors which use the 4:3 ratio. There's already been statements that the existence of a 4:3 ratio sensor doesn't mean it can be used in MFT cameras readily.
 
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RevBob

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From what I see, the only people really disappointed in the 20mp sensor are online and forum pixel-peepers who may be a teeny bit jealous.

I'd prefer not to conflate jealousy with a market need.

Consumers seem to be happy with as little as 16MP in their ILCs... Putting a higher MP sensor in the camera won't suddenly sell a massive amount. The current sensor is hellishly sharp for what it is.

..and mirrorless camera makers are finally tackling the battery issue.
Please try to stick to the point without speculating on people's motivations. We try to keep it friendly here. Thanks.
 

RS86

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I meant the sensor primarily. I am hardly the only one who was disappointed when the E-M1.3 didn't include a new sensor. The camera is nice, IMHO, and I want one (even with my E-M5.3), but I'd want one more if it was upgraded some. Now it seems it won;t be for at least a few years...

Well, having less R&D employees shouldn't affect much the sensor stuff. If a new one comes, it will be designed by Sony. PDAF performance might not be developed as much in the future by OMDS, but isn't that already very good?

E-M1 III not having a new sensor wasn't a big surprise, as it would have stiffled E-M1X sales. Sensor development isn't huge on any system currently, so personally I choose not to be disappointed in relation to that.

Personally I have still used E-M10 II for my macro shooting (even if I have two 20MP bodies), and it is good enough even for some photo competition success.
 
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fortwodriver

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Please try to stick to the point without speculating on people's motivations. We try to keep it friendly here. Thanks.

I am. Notice the reference to battery issues. Batteries for mirrorless cameras are getting better now faster than they were in the past. If better batteries allow the camera makers to shrink the bodies, that will likely have a greater effect on sales than putting a new sensor in the camera.

Virtually all cameras provide generally good quality now. The megapixel race or sensor age doesn't really matter if the image quality is there. In fact, adding more megapixels creates other problems - with more, you now have increased the storage requirements - which could potentially delay sales more as people wait to update their computers. Otherwise, they get the camera home, fiddle with humongous JPEGs or RAW files and may decide it's not for them - and go running back to their smartphones... right?

If JIP wants to sell more cameras, I can't see them moving to a higher-resolution providing much incentive to the general camera buying public as quickly as something quirky, fun, and connectable.

There's a balance always in play.
 

StefanKruse

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Virtually all cameras provide generally good quality now. The megapixel race or sensor age doesn't really matter if the image quality is there. In fact, adding more megapixels creates other problems - with more, you now have increased the storage requirements - which could potentially delay sales more as people wait to update their computers. Otherwise, they get the camera home, fiddle with humongous JPEGs or RAW files and may decide it's not for them - and go running back to their smartphones... right?

If JIP wants to sell more cameras, I can't see them moving to a higher-resolution providing much incentive to the general camera buying public as quickly as something quirky, fun, and connectable.

There's a balance always in play.
Well I might agree with you, in that more megapixels may not actually be necessary and does come with other problems, but what we have seen the last few years is very much a megapixel race in my opinion. With all the Sony's , Nikons and what else releasing 40+ mp cameras, not to mention Fuji with 100 mp medium format and 400mp pixelshift.

You also get the argument from FF: well yes M43 gives you more tele than FF, but I can just crop my 46mp file and achieve the same thing.

So I don't think Olympus can disregard the mp race if they want to compete
 

Reflector

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You also get the argument from FF: well yes M43 gives you more tele than FF, but I can just crop my 46mp file and achieve the same thing.
46MP cropped to a 4/3 sensor's area is somewhere around close to 12mp, so while that argument gets made it'll be the equivalent of 12mp but with a larger lens.

A more comparative case is a hypothetical ~80mp sensor (to match the modern 20mp sensors) and a lens that resolves that well for a sensor like that since it'll be diffraction limited or alternatively compromised in a multitude of manners (ex: fixed aperture, bad MFD like the recent Canon releases) if the option is to try to make the lens smaller and lighter.
 

doady

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I think if people are really that concerned about megapixels, maybe they wouldn't consider a Micro Four Thirds camera anyways. Micro Four Thirds is dead.

I don't think Olympus/JIP can ignore megapixels, but it's another thing to take part in a megapixel race, if there is one. Better to focus on the system's strengths.
 

RS86

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46MP cropped to a 4/3 sensor's area is somewhere around close to 12mp, so while that argument gets made it'll be the equivalent of 12mp but with a larger lens.

A more comparative case is a hypothetical ~80mp sensor (to match the modern 20mp sensors) and a lens that resolves that well for a sensor like that since it'll be diffraction limited or alternatively compromised in a multitude of manners (ex: fixed aperture, bad MFD like the recent Canon releases) if the option is to try to make the lens smaller and lighter.

Am I correct that Sony's biggest MP sensor is found in Sony A7RIV, and it's 61MP? It's about 1,5 years old tech.

Is it a good and fast camera for action? How are the operative speeds with the crop mode? It doesn't make the sensor faster I would think, so E-M1 series is a totally different beast for action?

The new Sony Alpha 1 seems to be 50MP, and it's fast for a FF (and costs ~6500 €). 50MP means ~12,5MP crop mode?

To me it looks like a competitive camera against E-M1 series will not have 80MP in many many years, which would give ~20MP crop mode. And like you say the lenses will be bigger for similar results, and IBIS is always worse for bigger sensor.
 
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