Robin Wong's Ten Things OM Digital Solutions must do...

pdk42

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No, I don't think that's how it works (and I'd bet my shirt on it). IMHO, you have a generic / industry standard real time operating system like VxWorks, QNX, RealOS or something like that with modules to access various subsystems (like the IP core, but also modules either for hardware like wifi, sdcards, hdmi, usb etc. or software like vfat filesystem, jpeg library, tcp/ip, web server etc.), and tied to that system a big ASIC which is the only Olympus specific part besides fancy graphics and UX, which they have tuned and for which they control the software. But if you wanted to create a new firmware, you'd need a development stack from the main vendor, with system, libraries, compiler, linker, etc.
M.
I strongly suspect you’re right! Pity.
 

pdk42

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And here's one thing where Robin is outright wrong.

Each of the segments are alone just as "tiny segment of the universe of photography" as wildlife photography but if one camera manufacturer tries to please all of them at the same time, they would end up with something that doesn't please anyone. Also a camera designed by a committee.

Small sensors have an advantage over FF when it comes to long focal lengths but on the other hand they are not competitive at wide end so it makes zero sense to put a lot of effort on winning over, say, landscape photographers who are likely to choose FF or even medium format anyway..

Olympus did do the right thing when they studied what kind of competitive advantage MFT has against avalanche or mirrorless FF cameras and quite correctly identified a group of users who need to carry around a camera kit with very long focal length lenses. Yes, this group alone is marginal but there are also sports photographers and other niche groups with similar needs. OMDS has to concentrate on giving 100% to customers who see FF as only 70% answer to their needs.
Well, as a landscape photographer who has a lot of wide glass, and who’s had two forays into FF (Sony E and Nikon Z), I can tell you that FF is not the only and obvious destination for taking landscapes. There are lots of people using m43 for landscapes because :

- The gear is light, rugged, and performs

- IBIS means you don’t always need a tripod

- LiveComp and Live Time are fantastic and open up new opportunities

- DR often exceeds any camera’s capabilities so whether you’re using FF or m43, you’ve got to use some tricks to get the result you need

- HHHR, LiveND, and a 60fos electronic shutter can do wonders for DR and bracketing

- Lenses like the 12-100 are a landscape photographer dream and there are no real equivalents in other systems

- A good landscape shot is not necessarily all about resolution and sharpness. Turner used a bunch of fairly blunt brushes but he created some of the world’s most instantly recognisable landscape images

There are also a number of very accomplished professional landscape photographer using m43.
 
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fortwodriver

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So let's say OMDS actually does everything he says they need to do, even though he's not a software/hardware/optical engineer, nor a real industry prognosticator.

Ok, then. Who exactly is going to buy that mythical camera. Better yet, how will OMDS prevent themselves from losing their shirt making that many changes all at once?

There are no buyers... AND Olympus/OMDS did pretty well in Japan.
 

BDR-529

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What would wow me is for a camera company to come out with a camera that had no video capabilities at all. I'd pay more for that :laugh:

Well, lucky you then. Not only is such camera available but you are also allowed to pay more as you wanted.

https://en.leica-camera.com/Photography/Leica-M/Leica-M10-R

Leica M10 - just because there are people who are willing to pay thousands for disabling a feature they don't use ... instead of just not using it.

"Most of us are curious to know why the video function is removed from M10?

Stefan : The point is that we have intensive customer survey. It also because somehow we’re the customer too, because we use the camera quite often. What came across, many people said that is not really necessary. I hardly or rarely used. Some even say I don’t get M 240 because it has video on it. So we say okay, let’s remove it, because it is not that popular. Many even requested us also a firmware update to disable the video button in M 240.
"

I must admit that at $8,295 M10-R indeed had a "wow" impact on me when I first saw it.
 
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First off, pretty much every ILC Leica rangefinder is that expensive. This isn't a special edition camera of an existing one where the brand has just disabled video altogether and upped the price, it's a new model. Especially for Leica I'm pretty sure the vast minority of their customers would actually use this feature at all. The M10-R sports a new 40 MP sensor for example when compared to it's predecessors, along with some other improvements. Believe it or not, Leica even produces special Monochrom models which completely got rid of the color filtering array on the sensor, which leaves them as pure B&W cameras. These Monochrom editions seems to be pretty popular not only with the Leica crowd, but beyond, even though they are more expensive, yet technically identical with their color counterparts.

Personally I'd also pay some money for a monochromatic Pen-F special edition which only captures B&W images, in fact such a camera would "wow" me much more than a numbers sporting benchmark camera as that new Sony A1 or whatever the brick is called.

Sometimes I'm actually wondering why you are sticking around with Micro Four Thirds, it seems like you see the sensor size as a whole to be crippling part of the system, only way getting rid of that would be switching to FF and for that, there are plenty of more than capable options already out there.
 

BDR-529

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Personally I'd also pay some money for a monochromatic Pen-F special edition which only captures B&W images, in fact such a camera would "wow" me much more than a numbers sporting benchmark camera as that new Sony A1 or whatever the brick is called.
out there.

This actually makes technical sense because removing Bayer filter would increase substantially the amount of light that arrives on any given photosite and you would get a lot better pure B&W camera. There is typically such version of almost every camera sensor because that variant is excellent for machine vision applications or very low light (IR) surveillance.

You would lose something in the process though because you can't later use RGB filters on RAW image that contains only luminance information but old school physical filters would still work..
 

exakta

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#9 is a weird one. Why would OMD and Panny want to cannibalize their sales by making the other company's products more attractive to their user base?

In the film days, I don't remember any alliance of the m42 brands...Pentax, Mamiya, Fuji, Petri, Praktica, Rollei, Olympus, Ricoh...especially after each developed their own unique couplings for full aperture TTL metering.

That only gave Tamron an edge with their Adaptall lenses :drinks:
 

pdk42

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Well I found some info deep in the bowels of the web : http://lightsnowdev.blogspot.com/ ;
According to the author who apparently did his homework fairly thoroughly, the RTOS of choice used by Olympus (and a lot of Japanese companies across a wide range of industries) is µITron. Which doesn't surprise me at all.
M.
Yeah, I worked in embedded software dev early in my career and remember shopping for an RTOS. It's a niche market, but it makes zero sense for anyone (even a large corporation) to go and write one themelves!
 

DGoakill

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#9 is a weird one. Why would OMD and Panny want to cannibalize their sales by making the other company's products more attractive to their user base?

It wouldn't be like they are doing something out of the blue. This was one of the selling points of M43 from the beginning. The interchangeability between the brands was played up just as Panasonic are playing up the "L mount Alliance" in FF. All this would mean would be for them to actually do fully what they claimed they were doing all along.

IMO the camera industry as a whole should consider a universal mount, especially in FF. Being able to swap glass between different bodies.......no more having to switch systems, just buy the body that works best at the time knowing the glass you've collected already will work. The industry as a whole is dying, all manufacturs are losing market share, the only thing that is going to save it is to do something drastic. At least OM and Panny have somewhat of a history being willing to work together which would give them an advantage.
 

fortwodriver

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IMO the camera industry as a whole should consider a universal mount, especially in FF. Being able to swap glass between different bodies.......no more having to switch systems, just buy the body that works best at the time knowing the glass you've collected already will work.

That didn't work in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60, 70s, 80s, 90s, and camera makers gave up by the early 2000s.

"The industry" has actually died multiple times before, and universal mounts were never what saved it. Usually what saved it was how people thought of photography and how easy it became to take pictures as time marched on. Hence the 126, 110, and Disc formats.
Don't forget that Polaroid was still popular well into the late 90s.

When video cameras became popular, all those special formats basically shrivelled up and and died again - but film camera companies figured out how to make 35mm film easier to load. By the 90s, 35mm cameras were basically fool-proof for those who wanted one. In the meantime, virtually every film camera company (Including Olympus) branched out to video and the battles resumed with 8MM and VHS-C compact video formats. Fun times, those were.
 

doady

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A black-and-white only camera just seems like marketing to me. Losing 99% for 1% gain. I've never had problems with doing black-and-white with ORFs, even taking advantage of separate red and green and blue channels. If people don't care about the flexibility of digital, then they should go back to film.

Same with the obsession with sensor size now. Smartphones, 1/2.3", 1/1.8", 1 inch, 4/3, full frame, medium format, large format, whatever - eventually it's diminishing returns, and costs will outweigh the benefits. People who buy Leicas obviously don't care about costs, and I'm not just talking about money either. Cameras are much more than a fashion statement.
 

RS86

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Topping competitors in any one feature would certainly help but the reason why M1.2 and GH5 were so successful four years ago was that they were excellent in several categories, not just one. This would be very difficult today.

GH6 would be a hit among serious videographers if it can introduce even 10-bit unlimited 8k RAW at or below $2500€ mark but at that price level it would never become a high volume model. It would be a profitable niche product for panny and increase their status as ILC video standard though.

Throw in ToF or better yet LiDAR sensor to aid DFD and panny would be finally accepted in the cool kids club but they would instantly add this to all FF models as well.

Curved sensor is the only single feature that would create a "wow"-effect and building one in MFT size would be easier than FF but it would also render every existing lens obsolete so why bother even using MFT mount when nothing that fits will work.

This guy has R5, which is a very recent release compared to GH5, and he still says he will keep the GH5 because it has advantages over R5.

Weird huh, compared to what you say? How come a professional will keep using GH5 along with R5? And that GH6 in your opinion can't compete without something unbelievable, even when it would be much upgraded compared to GH5, which is over 4 years old.

For example he says R5 can only do 10-bit in C-log, while V-log is much better. Now imagine GH6 comes with that 12-bit V-log, like Panasonic surprised the world with the GH5 10-bit years ago.

 

whumber

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A black-and-white only camera just seems like marketing to me. Losing 99% for 1% gain. I've never had problems with doing black-and-white with ORFs, even taking advantage of separate red and green and blue channels. If people don't care about the flexibility of digital, then they should go back to film.

Same with the obsession with sensor size now. Smartphones, 1/2.3", 1/1.8", 1 inch, 4/3, full frame, medium format, large format, whatever - eventually it's diminishing returns, and costs will outweigh the benefits. People who buy Leicas obviously don't care about costs, and I'm not just talking about money either. Cameras are much more than a fashion statement.

Definitely a niche product but the benefit of a monochrome camera is the increase in effective luma resolution/sharpness along with increased sensitivity, >= 1 stop, for low light shooting.
 
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I thought this had been posted earlier, but I couldn't find a mention of it. So, here it goes. Robin Wong says that OM Digital Solutions must do these ten things. I thought he had excellent points.


I quickly watched Robin’s video and took a few notes. Really great suggestions. I concur.

The 10 things:

1) New image sensor - not necessarily higher resolution, but improve dynamic range and high ISO noise. Wasn’t I just saying this?

2) Fulfill the lens roadmap - before the split, Olympus tempted us with the announcement of an 8-25 f4 and a 100 macro. Must release those. Robin also suggests they release weather sealed versions of their f1.8 primes. I agree.

3) Upgrade EVF and touchscreen display - higher res EVF and add multi-touch to touchscreen.

4) Rework menu and UI - an old complaint of mine. Don’t make us dig so deep to find obscure, but essential features. Robin suggests they hire someone from Apple to help rework the menu and UI. I've always wished for this.

5) Improve video features - absolutely. Olympus has lagged far behind other manufacturers in this. IMO, the future is in hybrid cameras.

6) AI and computational photography - Olympus Subject AF is good, but they could and must do more.

7) 1” sensor for TG-series - yeah. The TGs are good, but they could be great with a larger sensor.

8) Enhance marketing strategy - Olympus overemphasizes wildlife photography, because Robin says this is a tiny segment of the universe of photography. They should be aiming at wedding, portrait, landscape, and the other sectors which make up the vast majority of photographers.

9) Work closer with Panasonic - solve compatibility issues such as dual or sync AF and weather-sealing. The camera market is shrinking and no company can do it alone. Must identify allies and work with them.

10) Be less conservative - Olympus has been too conservative. They must be more daring and innovative. He cited the Air-A01 that Olympus did not release widely and while wasn’t hugely successful, they didn’t push it. Now the Alice Camera is pushing this innovative approach combining a smartphone with a 4/3rd sensor and micro-four-thirds lens mount. Olympus could have been there. OMDS, take off the blinders.

Anyway, I found his video to be very interesting and thought he made excellent points. I hope OM Digital Solutions is listening. If they implement even just a few of these suggestions, they could really break out of the envelope.

I'm glad everyone is finding this discussion interesting. But, please view Robin's video and listen to what he has to say before criticizing. My notes are incomplete and much abridged versions of what Robin said, and don't include his reasoning. Thanks.
 

BDR-529

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I'm glad everyone is finding this discussion interesting. But, please view Robin's video and listen to what he has to say before criticizing. My notes are incomplete and much abridged versions of what Robin said, and don't include his reasoning. Thanks.

Robin hasn't really studied Olympus history which should absolutely repeat itself here.

You see, the only reason why Olympus cameras exist today is due to a decision they made in 1970. Namely they decided to discontinue their analog "crop sensor" Pen-F product lines entirely and switch to "full frame" 35mm SLR cameras instead.

Olympus had introduced Pen-F cameras in 1963. Not only were they innovative but also very cool lookind devices. Since they used only half of the 35mm film frame, Maitani was able to create a very compact and lightweight camera which did still deliver almost as good image quality as full frame 35mm competitors. Most imporantly cropped image circle made it possible to create small and compact high quality lenses which were in theory less expensive too because they used less optical glass as well as some spectacularly long telephoto lenses for the time period.

Does this all sound eerily familiar?

Unfortunately another thing was familiar as well: they didn't sell all that well and the whole "half frame" thing just wasn't financially sustainable.

While Olympus was busy producing Pen-F, a new standard had emerged in the camera world. 1959 Nikon-F (first widely adapted 35mm SLR camera) became the new standard and everybody had to jump into this new "mirror 35mm" bandwagon because those were selling like hot cakes at high profit margins.

Including Olympus. After they closed down production of cropped Pen-F in 1970 they introduced a short-lived M42 stopgap-model untill a proper 35mm SLR aka OM-1 was introduced in 1972 and the rest, as they say, is history.

In 1970 they realized that "If you can't beat them, join them" and excecuted this move succesfully. This time it was more like "If you can't beat them, just dump the whole thing to JIP"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympus_Pen_F
 
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RichardC

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Robin hasn't really studied Olympus history which should absolutely repeat itself here.

This is film technology. The quality improvement from half frame to 35mm to 6x6 is easily visible on a small print. It's not a comparison equivalent to MFT and FF by any stretch.

"Here are your beautiful wedding photos - 72 on a roll. You can order them in 5x7, 5x7 or 5x7".
 

John King

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This is film technology. The quality improvement from half frame to 35mm to 6x6 is easily visible on a small print. It's not a comparison equivalent to MFT and FF by any stretch.

"Here are your beautiful wedding photos - 72 on a roll. You can order them in 5x7, 5x7 or 5x7".
Yeah, Richard. Even my E-510 beats the crap out of my Rolleiflex 2.8 F. In fact, by dear little old Nikon Coolpix E5000 with its 2/3" 5 MPx sensor comes close! Specially using 2020 CC on the old RAW files.
 
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