OM Digital Germany Interview

mawz

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It's definitely time for a new sensor. The 20MP sensor is good, but there are a number of areas where tech has moved forward and it could stand an update. I'm not looking for world-beating updates but rather just the last 4 years of evolution applied to the 20MP sensor to get those iterative updates. Same thing for the processor, TruePic IX seems either underpowered or underutilized.

Sensor readout speed is one major area. While the 20MP sensor remains probably the third best sensor on the market for this, larger sensors are getting very close and since size directly benefits readout, an updated sensor could improve things here. A stacked sensor would be even better. Note that faster readout directly benefits non-sports shooters as well, it allows for higher EVF refresh, faster multi-shot capabilities and even the possibility of silent shutter with flash sync (like the A1 introduced thanks to it's 1/200 readout). I'd like to see some more PDAF sensors, but not at the cost of cross-type sensors (which remains a unique Olympus offering for some insane reason, I was expecting cross-type on the A1 and consider the lack a major miss for Sony)

Another area is the EVF. The current EVF in the E-M1's is adequate at best. It was excellent when introduced on the E-M1, very good on the E-M1.2 and E-M5.2, quite disappointing on the E-M1X and verging on laughable on the E-M1.3 in a market where a 3.68MP 0.8x EVF is actually getting complaints about being somewhat out of date on a $2k USD body (Z6II), note Fuji and Panasonic both offer significantly better EVF's in their bodies which compete with the E-M1.3, as does Nikon's Z5. I expect the limiting factor here is the processor, especially for the E-M1X. An E-M1X.2 should have a truly competitive EVF, which means at least 5.44MP at 0.8x for its pricepoint, and maybe even Sony's 9.44MP unit.

Battery life is another area, I'd like to see an update of the BLH-1 chemistry to get more capacity from the same package. We've seen a number of other makers do this, most recently Nikon with their EN-EL15c. The BLH-1 was the biggest capacity battery in Mirrorless when introduced, it's now pretty much the lowest capacity of the 'big' batteries. Another option that should be explored with an updated E-M1X would be providing a single high-capacity battery option (like Nikon's EN-EL18), that could potentially make an HLD-10 for the E-M1.2/3 viable as an HLD-9 replacement.

I'd like to see more evolution in the multi-shot capabilities. LiveND in particular needs to evolve (OM Digital should go use Sony's sadly-abandoned Smooth Reflections app for ideas, it's still best in class for simulating ND filters). Computational Photography is an area where Olympus leads and they absolutely need to keep pushing here. I'd love to see the ability to combine features here, like high-res and focus stacking or high-res and HDR. In-camera Brenizer stitches would be a great capability to add.

Everybody sucks at mobile device integration. This is a real area that needs improvement and can benefit the full line. I'd like to see the ability to get high-speed wireless connectivity between the camera and phone/tablet (Sony has finally taken a step in that direction with the A1 and Xperia Pro) plus I'd like to see an app that allows you to fully control the camera (including settings) and let you configure & trade JPEG image settings easily (maybe go license some brands from Kodak to do Fuji-style film simulations based on Kodachrome/Tri-X/Portra/etc). Nikon did half of this (easily swap settings files) and Fuji the other half (great JPEG settings with the right configuration options) but somebody needs to do both.
 

RS86

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For me a 24mp Olympus of basically the same sensor tech is not "Wow" other than "Wow, I only get a bit more cropping room and not much more for my $2400+ usd".

Well, last time I think we got 2/3 stop performance upgrade along with PDAF. (If we compare to the PEN-F 20MP sensor.)

It's certainly enough for me if there is a new sensor with 4MP and another 2/3 upgrade in ISO performance. (As if I'm going to buy such a camera for a long while, just thinking about the system's future.)
 

JonSnih

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For me a 24mp Olympus of basically the same sensor tech is not "Wow" other than "Wow, I only get a bit more cropping room and not much more for my $2400+ usd".

The only theoretical "wow"-factor panny or omds could introduce is that panny-developed organic-sensor technology.

They're indirectly refering to a global shutter sensor which might unlock some new shooting possibilities. Olympus has been involved in this area since 2012 or so. If they solved all issues the next OMD generation is e-shutter only.
 

mawz

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They're indirectly refering to a global shutter sensor which might unlock some new shooting possibilities. Olympus has been involved in this area since 2012 or so. If they solved all issues the next OMD generation is e-shutter only.

The Sony A1 pretty much proves you don't need a global shutter to achieve this, just a fast enough readout to meet flash sync requirements. That simplifies the issues somewhat.

I'd still expect global shutter to show up first on a GH camera, but Olympus to push readout to much higher speeds first.
 

RS86

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They're indirectly refering to a global shutter sensor which might unlock some new shooting possibilities. Olympus has been involved in this area since 2012 or so. If they solved all issues the next OMD generation is e-shutter only.

If that happens, they need to program custom sounds for different kind of shutter sounds people can choose from! :biggrin: Some people like the sound.

1/200 electronic shutter with a flash would be awesome for my macro shooting. My last E-M10 II got ~40k shutter clicks in ~2 years just because of macro shooting.
 
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PakkyT

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Another option that should be explored with an updated E-M1X would be providing a single high-capacity battery option

Yes, which they did way back with their first interchangeable digital camera, the E-1. They had the high-capacity BLL-1 battery (which you needed the optional grip to use) that was over twice the capacity of the BLM-1 and it's charger would charge the BLL-1 in the same two hours as the BLM-1's charger.
 

JonSnih

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An E-M1X.2 should have a truly competitive EVF, which means at least 5.44MP at 0.8x for its pricepoint, and maybe even Sony's 9.44MP unit.

We can see diminishing returns (and penalty on battery life) with every extra MP with EVF. You want a bright EVF with true-life colours and minimal lag and high refresh rate. I think that 4.4M dot EVF would be already very good, a 5.76M dot EVF would be superb and more than enough for most of us. How many ppl over 30 has really good eyes? Marketing numbers rule today's world - but you cannot evaluate a component, a product... strictly on one parameter.
 

hoodlum

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We can see diminishing returns (and penalty on battery life) with every extra MP with EVF. You want a bright EVF with true-life colours and minimal lag and high refresh rate. I think that 4.4M dot EVF would be already very good, a 5.76M dot EVF would be superb and more than enough for most of us. How many ppl over 30 has really good eyes? Marketing numbers rule today's world - but you cannot evaluate a component, a product... strictly on one parameter.

I would agree that a 4.4M dot EVF would be a great update and would support a very fast refresh rate. I don't believe any body with the 5.76M EVF can support 120fps without a drop in IQ (ie. resolution drop in viewfinder). The same goes for the 9M EVF in the Sony a1.
 

pdk42

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The EVF is well overdue an uplift. Comparing any Olympus body to virtually any other serious camera is embarrassing in this regard. I‘ll eat something unsavoury if they don’t fix the EVF at the very least. I’m also hopeful for an improved sensor. I think it’s plain there are avenues to go down there - BSI, stacked, faster readout etc.
 

dakphotoman

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I think the biggest hurdle the OMD has to overcome, is the negativity that pervades the internet forums and, more importantly, the Youtube influencers. Most of the influencers appear to be more concerned with specs and have little concern or even experience with photography. Or at least that's how it seems to me. Most are young and have grown up in the smartphone era, where the tech was fairly new and thus advanced considerably with each generation or two. But for the camera companies that have been doing this for a while, the tech has become mature and has advanced little. I think many photographers understand this, but those more interested in gear do not. Thus MFT gets continuously slammed by the influencers and many folks who are influenced are now convinced that MFT is no better than a smartphone.

In my experience having owned Olympus, Canon, briefly a couple Sonys, and also having tried a Nikon, I keep going back to Olympus as my main camera. As a photographer, I don't care if the Oly sensor is 5 year old tech, I care about what my results are. I've owned cameras with newer tech, but sensor tech has changed little in the past 5 years...at least as far as my actual photograhic results. Gained a 1/2 stop in DR? I guess that's not enough for me to see. Should Oly go to 24 mp...I seriously doubt anyone will be able to see a difference between 20 and 24, but to please the influencers they almost have to. (Just as an aside, I recently did some testing between my Canon R in crop mode which is about 12 mp and a Canon 24 mp crop camera. Could I tell the difference between 12 & 24 mp, shootong hand held? Nope. Not until I zoomed in to about 100% or more. So, no, I'm pretty sure the difference between 20 and 24 mp will be indistinguishable. At least for me (your results may differ).

As far as the EVF...again higher numbers are better, but having just tried a Nikon Z5 and rented a Canon R6, and then shot those 2 cameras alongside my Oly E-M1 II, did I ever once notice that those cameras have EVFs with higher resolution? Not once. But here in this thread, and in other forums like this one, many folks are criticall of Olys EVF and you can be sure the influencers will slaughter OMD if they don't "match the competition."

To many, it's all about the numbers. Higher numbers must be better, right? Even if you can't tell the difference.
 

JonSnih

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To many, it's all about the numbers. Higher numbers must be better, right? Even if you can't tell the difference.
Your obervations are correct. But we live in era of consumerism driven by marketing. It is no wonder they push numbers. The idea is to sell as many products as they can. I dont understand the never ending sensor MP race/ FPS / EVF... (see the Sony A1). Do we need 30 FPS with AF? Do we need 9.4MP EVF etc? A compromise in specs with longer battery life would be more desirable. Olympus/OM DS hinted in recent interviews they might be more sober here; they always were. The E-M5i was a good compromise in 2012, the E-M1ii as well in 2016. I am more on optimistic side.
 

PakkyT

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I dont understand the never ending sensor MP race/ FPS / EVF... (see the Sony A1). Do we need 30 FPS with AF? Do we need 9.4MP EVF etc?
Yet I bet you have upgraded once or twice over the years. Did you old 8-12MP cameras stop working? :hide:. ;)
 

JonSnih

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Yet I bet you have upgraded once or twice over the years. Did you old 8-12MP cameras stop working? :hide:. ;)
Well, you know how it was meant😉 In general there is no issue with reasonable progress. Namely a resolution increase is fine if there are more positives than negatives. 4/3 sensor is quite small and we need gain in more areas at the same time: better low-light, DR, colour, e-shutter performance. Targeting one spec does not make sense. 4/3 sensor is despised by FF crowd and so it will remain, no matter how many MP will future m4/3 cameras bring.
 

PakkyT

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4/3 sensor is despised by FF crowd
Ya the die hard FF crowd who only shoot FF because they feel anything smaller is inferior is not the target of Olympus or Panasonic m43 products.

However for m43 users then any improvements to the sensor we will be thrilled. And for many of us, like me, I don't really care how it compares to FF performance since I do not use nor have any desire to move to FF now nor in the near future (just like I don't care about a comparison my 4-cylinder (m43) car to the performance of a 6-cylinder (FF) or 8-cylinder (medium format)). Any comparison is just academic as I only care about how my photos look to me. Considering I have been very happy with my Olympus photos for many years now, I don't anticipate IQ getting worse, so the future is bright! :thumbup:

I know a lot of people around here say things like needing to improve the sensor to be closer to FF quality but the mistake is they seem to think this will somehow win over those die-hard FF users. It won't. That subset has no interest in m43 and likely never will, so why chase them? Improve m43 sensor quality for existing customer and for potential new customers who are not already strongly biased to a particular system (mobile phone only users, people still using old APC dSLRs, etc.) and demonstrate we get great photos from our equipment. And then market that the self-evident high quality of our m43 photos also won't give you shoulder and back pain when using.
 

doady

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4/3 vs. FF vs. MF seems more analogous to sedan vs. SUV vs. truck than 4-cylinder vs. 6-cylinder vs. 8-cylinder. Larger size or extra capacity doesn't necessarily mean more power.

I think if I had to choose between E-M1 II and E-M1 III now, maybe I would not mind paying the extra $900 CAD for the latter. People obsess about newer and/or bigger sensors with more megapixels, but the extra stop of IS and the HHHR thanks to the new TruePic IX processor affects resolution too. Even if the E-M1 IV has a new and higher MP sensor, it would not necessarily be a bigger upgrade from E-M1 III than the E-M1 III is from E-M1 II, even for people obsessed with resolution.
 

Generationfourth

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To me the perfect analogy is the wagon vs SUV, especially here in America.

Honestly, photography is all about tradeoffs and if M43 isn't cutting it for some folks then I think they should just go with a different format and accept the size/weight/cost trade off. I feel that no matter what happens next, it simply will not be good enough. The mkiii is a giant FU to the physics of photography. HHHR? LiveND? I can handhold 7" exposures! There is no other camera that can do that (well aside from em1x) and it's made as big of an impact to my photography as when I switched from film to digital. Yet even m43 users just shrugged their shoulders and said 'meh' or as I read in this thread "truepic 9 is underutilized" :roflmao: along with a list of other nitpicks.

Much like the second coming of Christ, there is no sensor tech coming that will make that much of a difference much less eclipse FF/APS-C, and Oly will continue pursuing the computational route- which I am very excited for. Don't get me wrong I think any progress is good- but I think cameras have reached the point where you can go 5+ years without upgrading, and when you do you will not notice much of a difference. I prefer it this way. Similar to how I upgraded from an iPhone 7 to iPhone 12. Even the camera phone improvements were leaps and bounds, the sensor was even bigger! After a couple of weeks I hardly noticed a difference and was taking the same crappy cell phone photos. The difference between a camera and a phone is one has a much easier replaceable battery/storage and doesn't slow down due to OS updates eventually rendering the CPU useless.

After downsizing from a G9 to em1iii the smaller EVF was a trade off for the stills oriented features. I would've liked a more pixel dense EVF with more accurate highlight representation (basically not blown out looking) but I wouldn't wan't a larger EVF. Why? I don't want a larger or heavier camera. A Z6 is very close in dimension to a mkiii but 18% heavier. To me that is a no go. Lets be mindful of what asking for more and more brings us (remember what happened to the GX series when Panny tried to answer everyone's wants in the GX8).
 

Lcrunyon

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A sensor upgrade doesn’t have to be about chasing full frame (I agree that it’s pointless to do so), nor does it necessarily even have to be revolutionary (though it’s always nice when it is). I think it would be about two things:

First, there are real qualitative benefits to be had, at least for some. A better sensor will make those amazing computational features even more powerful, and bring out more of the sharpness of these great M.Zuiko lenses. While 20mp resolution is usually enough for the vast majority of cases, and more resolution brings its own set of issues, more dynamic range and better noise performance will always be welcome. While each innovation might be incremental by itself, together they can have a multiplicative effect. This has nothing to do with chasing full frame, which is arguably overkill for most people. Nevertheless, Olympus in it’s own right still has more room to grow. What constitutes “good enough” for a person’s needs is subjective, but the more people whose standards are met, the better.

More importantly, it’s about winning hearts and minds. Regardless of how little difference it truly makes to one’s photography output (and I agree, it’s usually subtle differences at best), Olympus had taken a beating because of the lack of progress in their sensor, and there is no doubt that the market share has suffered because of that negativity. Furthermore, consumers want to see continuous progress to maintain faith that the system is moving in the right direction (even if it’s only incremental progress) if they are going to invest heavily in that system. Yes, there has been innovative progress in other areas, and it is a valid argument that those areas are equally important. But, for people who don’t look at these things more holistically, or necessarily understand what these innovations can bring, (which includes a lot of people), Olympus has been less compelling. They had taken so much public flack for their sensor size, and a lot of their innovations have been mistakenly dismissed as gimmicks — even in this forum. It only makes this marketing problem worse that they have not had a new sensor in a long time. I think, with all of the recently shaken faith in the brand’s future, introducing a new camera that does not have a new sensor (or EVF, for that matter) would be a marketing catastrophe and probably even spell a premature end to the OMDS venture.
 

PakkyT

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4/3 vs. FF vs. MF seems more analogous to sedan vs. SUV vs. truck than 4-cylinder vs. 6-cylinder vs. 8-cylinder. Larger size or extra capacity doesn't necessarily mean more power.

To me the perfect analogy is the wagon vs SUV, especially here in America.
:rolleyes:

Man, you make an off the cuff analogy and you nerds run with nitpicking the accuracy of the analogy. :doh:
 

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