Olympus going Full-Frame?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by ijm5012, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    So I saw some discussion about the patent filing for the Olympus 28mm f/2 lens. Some thought it was just for the Sony FE system, but Sony already has a very good 28mm f/2 lens.

    Well, today another group of full-frame lenses designed and patented by Olympus have appeared (link). A 20mm, 24mm, and 35mm f/1.4 have all been designed and patented by Olympus. The corresponding text says that the lenses have a large amount of distortion and chromatic aberration, but that's not very different from current m43 lenses, where this is corrected in-camera.

    This would allow Olympus to make small bodies (the A7 series show this) along with small full-frame lenses, as they won't be optically perfect.

    There is a limit regarding what's achievable with a sensor the size of m43, any Sony is making some fantastic full-frame sensors. Take the sensors, match them with Olympus' 5-axis IBIS, and keep the body and lenses small, and it sounds like a great system.

    So, what do others think Olympus is up to? Are they building their own full-frame system, designed lenses for other manufacturers, or just patent trolling?
  2. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
  3. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    It is an insurance policy for Olympus in the event that Nikon and Canon move into the mirrorless game. Olympus has less to gain sales wise as their loyal customer base will be lured by the more mature incumbents. While 20MP sensor from Sony is going to be a very good sensor, the gap will be widened when and if newer generation of full frame and APS-C sensors are introduced in the next few years by Sony which then widen the technological gap further. And since most companies are financed by photographers who would want to likely upgrade their cameras to newer technologies, it will become very difficult to upsell m43 sensor based cameras when a full frame mirrorless by Canon or Nikon would be more appetizing.

    If Olympus is to introduce a full frame OMD version, then it would also have the ability to use its existing m43 and 43 lenses in crop mode. Nikon and Sony A&E mount and to some some extent Canon have been doing this for quite awhile now anyhow.
  4. jonoslack

    jonoslack Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Aug 2, 2011
    I've no idea about the patents or the truth .. . . but what I do know is that it really doesn't seem possible to make small, full frame, AF lenses. Sony have not managed it, and nor has anyone else. I had a long discussion about this with a notable lens designer, and it seems that it's only really possible with screwdriver driven lenses (ie with the motor in the camera body) - as soon as you want a motor in the lens it becomes pretty difficult - and if you're going to have the motor in the camera body, then that won't be small!

    Comparing the quality of the Sony/Zeiss f4 24-70 f4 with the 12-40 Zuiko is really rather a joke - the Olympus lens is so much better it isn't even funny - the only standard zoom I know for full frame which really compares with the Olympus is the Leica 24-90 f2.8-f4, and that weighs over a kilo.
  5. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    I'm curious about all these patent filings, as we speculate wildly on Olympus's intentions. Olympus has shown they can make very compact FF manual and AF lenses (OM remember?). And, with IBIS, the lenses don't require bulky IS motors in them. So, while we know they could, do they really need to produce an FF system? I guess it doesn't hurt to R&D this. Maybe they feel that they have to cover these bases.

    Having already invested in the M43 system and liking it a lot, I'm loath to jump back into FF. I'd prefer them to keep on innovating and producing in the M43 arena. :)
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  6. HalPAnderson

    HalPAnderson Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 27, 2014
    And here in Canada, it costs $7000. Heck, a replacement lens hood for it would set you back $360.
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  7. PhilippePASCAL

    PhilippePASCAL Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2015
    At least, they will not make the same error than Pentax : making a new FF... reflex, not mirrorless.
    Pentax is always late in the game.
    They make amazing lenses (their Limited serie lenses are among the best ever made), amazing bang for the buck (dust/rain and more for a lot less than Canikon) but their marketing choices are less than ideal.
    About Canikon going FF mirrorless, not until they face much sales lost than potential gain in mirrorless...witch mean "probably too late" :biggrin:
    Canikon are making the same error than brands not switching to digital in the film days. Too small moves, too late. We know history (or are supposed to).
    I just wish Olympus are not going to sleep the same way. It seems not ;)
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  8. astron

    astron Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 12, 2015
    It would be interesting, especially if Olympus is allowed by Sony (who owns part of Oly) to enter into FE-mount, making it a multi-company consortium like M43...but what would Olympus really gain from it? They'd still be making their own bodies with a Sony sensor inside...and their excellent weight/size/speed advantage would be gone all of a sudden...but what's the point of reaching for a small fraction of the small fraction that is Sony's marketshare in full frame?
  9. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Filing a patent doesn't mean they've decided to produce anything. Many companies have R&D folks producing all kinds of experimental products that are never produced, but are patented to protect their IP. I'd welco,e a FF Oly, but who knows at this point.
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  10. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Exactly. Some of Oly's other patents include a sensor with built in polarizer, a Google glass type wearable device, light field adapter, 12mm and 14mm f/1.0 lenses, a 500mm f/4.0 IS lens, a modular system with separate components for lenses, bodies, and sensors (that article was from 2010 and the author speculated they were getting ready to release a full frame something (sound familiar?)), a 3D lens and camera, one that allows you to set different exposure times for different areas of the photo, etc. etc. etc.'
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  11. Bruce McL

    Bruce McL Mu-43 Veteran

    Yes, absolutely. This kind of thing goes on all the time at computer tech companies.

    For a look at how cameras were developed at Olympus in the past, there is a transcript of a talk by Yoshihisa Maitani of Olympus, looking back on his career.

    OLYMPUS | Olympus History: the Semi-Olympus I - the Pen Series

    From the introduction: As a camera designer, he was involved in the development of many cameras that triggered major booms and became milestones in world camera history, including the Olympus Pen (1959), the Olympus Pen F (1963), the Olympus OM-1 (1973) and the Olympus XA (1979).
  12. PhilippePASCAL

    PhilippePASCAL Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2015
    For sûre, a patent is not the real thing. And the real thing is not a success.
    Something to remember with the new pen-f. We will see.
    On my side, I would be pleased to buy an Oly FF mirrorless, more than a Sony. But for now, I'm looking at second hand A7
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