Olympus E-M5 and manual focus peaking mode

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by acmatos, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. acmatos

    acmatos Mu-43 Regular

    So far, so good.
    I'll obviously wait for more real photo samples, but as far as I've seen (look, build, functions, etc) I'll probably end up with a E-M5 to replace my E-PL1.

    The only thing I miss is some sort of manual focus peaking mode, Nex-style.

    So this is the question: do you think Olympus could implement that with a simple firmware update?

    I understand they might not be willing to do that, as they want us to buy their nice collection of m4/3 glass, but that would be a huge bonus for all of us who love to shoot with legacy lenses.

    What do you think?

    Best regards.
     
  2. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    989
    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    The NEX-3 and NEX-5 were retrofitted with focus peaking through a firmware update, so it's definitely possible. Ricoh implements it in their own way, so Sony doesn't have a monopoly on the idea. We just have to wait for Panasonic and Olympus to decide that it's worthwhile to add. Then, they'll also have to decide which models to add it to. They could probably implement it in my Panasonic G2 for example or an E-P1, but do they want to give life to old cameras and devote resources to provide us support?
     
  3. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    I'd say it's possible if the processor time is available. I don't think it's likely.

    Fred
     
  4. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    Can you please explain? Thanks!
     
  5. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred

    We know it can be done because it's been done. So it's possible. There has to be enough unused processor time, in other words, unused clock cycles, to actually do it. I would guess that it was designed with some processor headroom. Olympus may want to hold in reserve for something that has to be fixed in the future.

    I don't think it's likely because some mucky-muck at one of the press events said magnification is better than peaking and we'll think about it. So it sounds like they haven't been working on it or aren't very interested in it. Adding a feature like that, that a lot of people think should have been included in the first place, makes them look bad. Like they made a mistake.

    It may show up down the road in another camera, but don't hold your breath waiting for a firmware update including it.

    Fred
     
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I think it could go both ways... for one thing, Olympus seems to have been concentrating their performance upgrades mostly in the area of enhanced processors. All our PEN cameras now have dual-processors, and they are continually upgrading communication in the sensor and lenses. This is what accounts for our blazing fast AF speeds now.

    However... on the flip side, even though their processor capacity is being upgraded drastically, so are their demands that they're putting on it. Now we're tracking in a 3D plane which is checking focus at faster speeds, shooting 9.5 fps burst, able to get double the frame rate on the viewfinder, etc., etc...

    So the question is, is the new processor capacity keeping up with or exceeding the new demands?
     
  7. labcoatguy

    labcoatguy Mu-43 Regular

    130
    Jan 23, 2011
    Cambridge, MA, US
    I assume that one has to choose between focus peaking and autofocus, and that you can't have both going on at the same time. In that case, simply take the CPU time that was being used for autofocus and give it to peaking. I say "simply", but at the very least that's that hurdle taken care of.
     
  8. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    It's definitely possible. However, Olympus does not have a history of adding features via firmware updates.

    They have a more Apple-like approach: "new feature? Only in new camera!"

    Not a big deal to me, personally. If Olympus has the resources to spare to implement it, cool. But not at the expense of other things (like fixing their customization UI!)
     
  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    They've done some... like for instance, the ability to add a manual focal length to IBIS was done through firmware. Changes to the magnifier feature was done through firmware. New power-zoom bars were added through firmware. But I haven't seen a feature as big as peaking added through firmware.
     
  10. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    My experience with Apple is that added software based features are quite common up to the point that the hardware can't handle it comfortably.

    Fred
     
  11. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    223
    Apr 22, 2010
    I'm a great fan of peaking as a focus and depth-of-field aid - it's the main reason I've kept a NEX body around.

    However, I find it hard to imagine that Olympus will ever add this. Why would they devote resources to developing a tool that would promote the use of (non-Olympus) manual focus lenses? Especially since M4/3 has such a rich selection of lenses.

    Remember legacy lens focus-confirmation on 4/3 bodies? Not.

    The only point at which it might make sense to me is once the fast telephoto and zoom lenses have maxxed out their sales and are in decline, when Olympus might devote more energies to the video market, and introduce a new body to one-up Panasonic.
     
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  12. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Roberto, you hit the nail right on the head.
     
  13. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Hmmm... when I read this the first thing that popped into my head was - weather sealed Zuiko lenses. Now we have a new weather sealed body but no sealed lens collection to go with it... except for Four-Thirds.
     
  14. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Actually you're right. I was thinking of hardware features, not software features. :tongue:

    But as robertro said, focus peaking doesn't really help them sell lenses.
     
  15. mambastik

    mambastik Mu-43 Regular

    40
    Jan 19, 2011
    No, not directly. But having the feature means it will be more attractive. Perhaps this one little feature may be the tipping point for NEX fans to switch over. The main point is having the system in the hands of more people, and the lens sales will follow.
     
  16. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    If manual focusing is THAT important to you, odds are you're going to have $$$ legacy lens you want to use all the time (and "you" is meant in a generic form). That segment of the market - the loudest ones shouting for peaking - are IMO the ones least about to buy more AF lenses.

    Sure they can sway those people to buy the body and spend money that way, but not as much as improving AF, other features, etc... which will help them sell both bodies and lenses directly.
     
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  17. mambastik

    mambastik Mu-43 Regular

    40
    Jan 19, 2011
    True, but then again those who have luxury legacy glass have the money to invest into AF lenses. There are just so many different segments to think about. What about those students/EVIL newbies who don't have the money for AF lenses nor luxury legacy glass (like me)? Making an assumption here, but I bet they are a larger group than those who have luxury glass.

    You'll want to grab as many people as possible into your ecosystem. You make them fans of your system, and never let them go. Unfortunately for NEX users (my brother being one of them), I know many who were lured in by the focus peaking feature, but felt cheated when they needed to upgrade to an almost non-existent E-mount lens system. They are itching to switch, but the focus peaking is grabbing hold of them (sounds like you robertro :tongue:). You're not alone, Sony has got a lot of people into their ecosystem and made them fans that won't let go simply because of this one "little" feature.

    I think we can agree that it definitely wounldn't hurt them to add the feature. Doesn't seem too hard either.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Veteran

    356
    Nov 18, 2011
    There is some truth to this. I currently have a Panasonic (GF1) body, and like it a lot. Definitely prefer the control and menu layout over the Olys. Also have a mix of native and adapted lenses. If the OM-D had peaking, that combined with IBIS would likely have swayed me from the current plan of adding a G3. If I had the Oly body with IBIS I'd be more likely to consider Oly native lenses, whereas now I tend to favor Panasonic lenses with OIS.
     
  19. grantb

    grantb Mu-43 Veteran

    I don't hold out a lot of hope for peaking, but if Mr. Olympus likes magnification so much he could do a couple things to make it better:

    less than 5x mag
    less button presses

    I find the implementation on the E-P3 lacking in friendliness.
     
  20. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    813
    Jan 9, 2011
    Canada
    Oly has a strong start to a lens line up to support there cams, where as Sony does not, so it's easier to make your body useable with legacy lenses. Keep your customers content until they can - afford what little native over priced glass is available, or use majority of legacy that is available.
     
    • Like Like x 1