Olympus might have "stopgap" version of EM1 II

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by drd1135, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I'm really hoping for something better than the 20Mp sensor (assuming it performs like the one in the GX8).
     
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  2. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    If I had to guess (and that's all it is, a guess), I believe that the 20mp sensor in the GX8 is a Panasonic sensor, not a Sony sensor. Panasonic, to the best of my knowledge, has never used a Sony sensor in one of their m43 cameras. Many believed that the sensor in the GH3 was a Sony sensor, but further research has show it is indeed a Panasonic sensor.

    I too agree that the sensor in the GX8 isn't all that impressive. I personally would've rather had a next-gen 16MP sensor with even better dynamic range and low/high ISO performance, compared to a 25% bump in resolution (something that those who actually print their images will likely attest really isn't necessary). But, we know how spec-sheet photographers have a hard-on about how good a camera looks on paper, and 16 is a smaller number than the 24 from Sony or 28 from Samsung's APS-C cameras, and a MUCH smaller number than Sony's 42 or Canon's 50 in their 35mm cameras.

    If I had to guess, I'd say the 20MP sensor in the E-M1 II is a good performer, likely a marginal bump over the current Sony 16MP sensor's performance. However I don't see it as being "ground breaking", and it will likely be the features of the E-M1 II that will be the big selling point (larger EVF maybe, hand-held hi-res, 4K video, slow-mo 1080p, improved 5-axis IBIS, etc.).


    Time will tell...
     
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  3. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    What does it mean? They have a new sensor, but will go with the 20mp Sony if rushed? That would seem penny wise and pound foolish if so.
     
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  4. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    I don't see it as the 20MP Sony sensor as a stop gap like the OP thinks. I think the 20MP sensor is going to be in the camera regardless of the release date. Instead, I believe Olympus is waiting to release it so that they can try to incorporate as many features as possible prior to shipping (rather than adding them after the face via firmware, like what is being done with FW 4.0 on the E-M1).

    There haven't been any patent filings about higher MP m43 sensors other than the two Sony sensors earlier this year. If the E-M1 II is announced at Photokina, I believe it will still have a 20MP sensor.


    What is slightly disappointing is that the 20MP sensor from Sony isn't capable of a 30fps frame rate. Assuming that Olympus implements 4K (they'd be stupid not to), will they choose to go with an additional crop factor like what Panasonic does with the GH4 to get 4K 30, or will they simply do 4K 24 and use a full sensor read out (this would be MUCH better IMO). I'm hoping that the E-M1 II will have a better video codec, full sensor read out 4K 24p, and 5-axis IBIS while recording 4K. That would put Panasonic on notice with their GH line...
     
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  5. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I'm not sure the 20 MP sensor is definitive. After all, why not make the early release the main plan if that is the sensor? I wonder if Sony has a better sensor for which Olympus is waiting, with better noise, DR, or even 24 Mp. That would make sense out of the more distant planned release time. Just speculation, of course, but what are forums for?
     
  6. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    What I find disappointing is that Olympus is still trying to hold on to the Photokina release date. Given the current competition and the rumored updates, the E-M1 may not be competitive that long.
     
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  7. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Because if they release the E-M1 II early in the year, they'll have no big release planned for Photokina, the world's largest photography show. The E-M1 II would have been released previously that year, the 300mm f/4 PRO would have been released earlier that year, the E-M5 II and E-M10 II would have been released the previous year. Olympus would be there simply "showing off" what equipment they have.

    I think Olympus would prefer to reveal their flagship camera at the world's largest camera show, rather than just showing up and say "hey guys, here's what we sell. Feel free to have a look around".
     
  8. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Do camera shows still matter?
     
  9. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    That's a good point that you bring up, but when you look at the E-M1 and where it stands today, are you saying that it isn't competitive with more recent mirrorless cameras like the Sony a6000 (released Feb 2014) or the Samsung NX500 (released Feb 2015)? The E-M1 was released a little over two years ago, and I would argue that Olympus is doing a damn fine job of keeping it relevant via FW updates. About the only thing it lacks compared to the NX500 is 4K video, which I fully anticipate being present on the E-M1 II. Other than that, the AF system is fantastic, the EVF is excellent, and I struggle to see where cameras released well over a year later than the E-M1 surpass the E-M1 to the point where it is no longer relevant.
     
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  10. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    It is still relevant and a fine camera. I was thinking more terms of sales given the price drops we have seen for the E-M1 I.
     
  11. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    I think this may well be the driving factor. The problem is they won't get reviewer interest until they release a new model. One "solution" to this problem would be to release an E-M1.1 with the new firmware and the same hardware and roll it out like a new model. This would give the reviewers something to write about.
     
  12. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    Any camera design is usually ironed out a year or two ago, which means that by this time Olympus should already have a fully working prototype to iron out any last minute bugs. If they decided upon 20MP, then they had decided upon it awhile back and this won't change. To lower noise and extended DR, Olympus will have to rely on its fancy sensor shift technology which should be hand-holdable on the E-M1 II because as you could see from the GX-8, there is no monumental increase in both DR and lower noise performance. There should be a 4 shot 20MP version that is hand-holdable which can help extend DR and reduce noise and then a 8 shot version for higher res. If this is the case, then any delay or buying time will help Olympus improve upon the performance of this sensor shift technology. Also the variable polarizer filter would be a nice touch seeing that Sony's RX 1R Mark II has a variable low pass filter. Again, the more time they are allowed to work on their prototype, the more features can be added.
     
  13. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I think that a two-year replacement cycle makes sense given what we see being introduced into the market during a two-year period. I think trying to stretch the cycle to three years makes Olympus uncompetitive in the "lame duck" year.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  14. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    All the cameras that are to be released in 2016 were designed and conceived about 2 and sometimes up to 4 years ago! It's not like it takes 2-12 months to design a new camera system, prototype it and then having it produced. Sony's been good with a 12 month turn around, BUT they are just reiterating models adding a few things to its new model. Whereas a major model upgrade will need more than 12 months of work in order to produce a substantial performance increase. So whatever cameras released in 2016 will all have similar tech specs and features. Performances obviously will go towards any larger sensor because of physics, but Olympus had been working very hard to use non-sensor technology to catch up. The sensor-shift technology is the one they are betting on to not only improve dynamic range and noise through multi-sampling but also improve on the high-res mode which should be hand-holdable. This is no easy task, but a necessary path for Olympus to grow if it needs to keep competing with better and better larger sensors until the development and mass release of the organic sensors and global shutters. Remember that the sensor-shift technology can also become very useful with organic sensors, adding more usable dynamic range and lower noise ontop of what the organic sensor itself can do. But even if organic sensors are perfected to a point of mass marketing, it won't be until maybe the E-M1 Mark III or IV that we could see the benefits of organic sensors bear fruit.
     
  15. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    I think camera makers are forced to align themselves to a 2 year cycle because of fierce competition, but that usually don't produce any monumental increase in performance until another cycle has passed. Olympus' approach is more sensible, but they too have to watch out Sony. Sony is a threat, a big threat because of their willingness to produce new tech and innovations; something Canon and Nikon had been reluctant to do. Olympus gets the cue from Sony that innovations in your product is what will get good press. Firmware updates alone won't because people these days are really fixated on tech advancement.
     
  16. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I see Sony as the big driver for the mirrorless market currently. I like that they have several A7 cameras with different strengths. It would be nice if Olympus follows suit and offers an E-M1 optimized for stills on one optimized for video.
     
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  17. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    That seems rather unrealistic.
     
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  18. Sniksekk

    Sniksekk Mu-43 Veteran

    335
    Apr 7, 2015
    Nothing to show at photokina? Hope you are wrong.

    I don't care about housing.
    A new pro (primes, with f1 in example) lineup @ photokina would open my wallet .
     
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  19. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Why do something like that? That's certainly not what Sony is doing.

    Sony has three distinct groups that it intends to appeal to with its A7 series:
    1. A7 II: casual or "normal" users
    2. A7R II: users who are looking for high resolution or exceptional video quality
    3. A7S II: users who are looking for high sensitivity or exceptional low light video quality
    Sony has not segmented their cameras by "video" and "stills". As a matter of fact, that would be a terrible business model, based on the number of people who do hybrid photography/videography today. Users want a camera that can do both (which the A7 series certainly does). I think trying to implement Sony's normal/resolution/sensitivity product structure would also be difficult with m43 cameras, given the size of the sensor. With the new 20MP m43 sensors, they have roughly the same pixel density as an 80MP full frame sensor would have. Sony's newest high resolution sensor is 42MP, half the pixel density of a 20MP m43 sensor.

    I think creating a "photo" focused and "video" focused version of the same camera would be a HUGE mistake for either Olympus or Panasonic. I also don't believe it would be possible to implement the same type of product structure Sony has created across the m43 line up, unless they went with something like 20 MP (resolution), 16 MP (normal), and 12 MP (sensitivity), and even then, I don't know how successful it would be.
     
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