Why is Olympus designing FF lenses?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by zensu, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. zensu

    zensu An Old Fool

    Aug 8, 2012
    Southeastern USA
    Bobby
    Saw this on "43 Forum":

    After the 28mm FF f/2.0 patent Egami spotted another new Olympus Full Frame lens patent describing three new lenses:

    1. 20mm f/1.4
    2. 24mm f/1.4
    3. 35mm f/1.4
    The patent shows detailed optical performance graphs. All three lenses have huge distortion and chromatic aberrations. But Olympus probably did choose to have them corrected in camera anyway.

    Such kind of patent opens many questions: Is Olympus going to launch a new system at photokina? Will Panasonic also be on board of it?
     
  2. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    My best guess is to protect their intellectual property on things that the R&D department are doing.

    Other options could be:
    • developing lenses for other camera systems
    • they could be lenses that they have a use for in their medical imaging division
    • they are looking into the future and preparing for an new camera system
     
  3. zensu

    zensu An Old Fool

    Aug 8, 2012
    Southeastern USA
    Bobby
    All very good points. Do you think Olympus might be thinking of going after the elephant (Sony FF Mirrorless) in the room?
     
  4. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I think that everyone is looking at the top offerings and looking at ways to take that spot.
     
  5. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    It's only a matter of time before Canon and Nikon release a FF mirrorless camera. Olympus would be smart to apply their know-how and technology into such a camera and get the jump early. Also if Olympus supplied some sort of adapter (or even maintained the same mount) there's no reason that they couldn't maintain 100% backwards compatibility with the current M43 line.

    Fun times ahead!
     
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  6. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Olympus has no chance to compete with Canikon or Sony, especially in shrinking down market.
    Smart thing for them will be listening and courting to the user group (us, me and you!) who recognize the value of m43 system. Good example for that was issuing EM1 v4.0 firmware instead of EM1S body.
     
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  7. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    I don't think they are going FF. They might be filing patents simply to keep competitors from copying current designs in a FF form or for the off chance the ever decide to go FF. It would disrupt and nullify all the work they put into M43 and the concept of 43 made for digital concept. They have to keep those engineers and clerks on the payroll busy. Though it might be worthwhile to design or build lenses for the Sony FF system perhaps, but I still doubt it.
     
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  8. Transalp01

    Transalp01 Mu-43 Regular

    55
    Feb 3, 2013
    Täby, Sweden
    Sony and Olympus are working together since Sony helped Olympus with money a couple of year ago. I don't remember the deal. So I guess Olympus building lenses for Sony FF is not that strange. But they might be sold as Sony lenses or will there be Sony FF camera branded Olympus?
     
  9. zensu

    zensu An Old Fool

    Aug 8, 2012
    Southeastern USA
    Bobby
    That's what I was thinking, now that Sony is an Olympus shareholder why the heck would Olympus want to compete with Sony?
     
  10. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I think many are overestimating Canikon's abilities and motivation to go mirrorless. They've been very reluctant and slow to move. Olympus on the other hand doesn't have the legacy of film SLRs to hold them back and they've been able to transition standard 4/3rds to M43 fairly smoothly. Also I don't think Olympus has to abandon M43 since it's technically feasible nowadays to have dual systems that can co-exist and work in tandem.

    Depending if and when Olympus goes FF, I also don't seem them going in alone. The same sort of consortium that governs Four-Thirds can be applied to a mirrorless FF mount.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
  11. heli-mech

    heli-mech Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Mar 9, 2012
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    Andrew
    In fact think I it makes more sense for a manufacturer to sell m4/3 and Full-frame than it does APC and Full-Frame, more separation between systems so more likely to sell someone on both systems rather than one or the other.
     
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  12. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    One way to grow is to develop products for new markets. Producing high-quality FF lenses for Sony would be good for Oly's reputstion and maybe they'd get lucky and actually sell well.

    That wouldn't interfere with their m43 sales IMO. Might even help bit builds presence and reputation.

    Who knows. Being an OEM in a declining industry can't be fun.
     
  13. heli-mech

    heli-mech Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Mar 9, 2012
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    Andrew
    Promoting Sony bodies, which is effectively would they would be doing if they make lenses for Sony, would certainly interfere with a percentage of m4/3 sales. Just read through all the forums including this one about people looking at the Sony system already. I can see the Sony people (salespeople included) saying something like "look even Olympus thinks Sony is better, thats why the make lenses for them".

    If Olympus were to make/design lenses for another system I think they would be more likely to license them and have the other systems brand on them.

    Now if they could convince Sony to make their mount open (at least to Olympus) like m4/3 so Olympus could make a body as well and immediately jump into the Full Frame market that would make more sense.
     
  14. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Or 1" and Full Frame, ultra small vs. ultra capable.
     
  15. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran

    628
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    You know, I think that's what Nikon was thinking of in the beginning - shame they chose the wrong strategy and still haven't figured out what they actually want to do so many years later. The 1 system is a mess - an interesting one, but way to inconsistent to warrant an investment.

    I really don't know anything about the purpose of these patents. However, I ended up with a DSLR for FF after trying the Sony A7 II (yes, I'm aware of the fact that it's the entry level offering from Sony - nevertheless, in terms of price and features, it was the direct rival of the other camera I was looking at): The Sony is a gorgeous camera to hold and look at and through (the EVF), but still too slow and way too gimmicky for my liking. That's what Olympus mirrorless got right (if you get their way of doing things, that is - avoid menu diving if at all possible, or it ceases to be fun): The E-M10 is still my most used body because I've set it up to suit my way of doing things and now can just pick it up and shoot, quickly and reliably. Now, if Olympus would implement something as slick and functional for FF (including I.B.I.S.), I'd actually have a hard time *not* going for it (something like the Leica Q with interchangeable lenses at half the price - oh, my ...).

    However, the lens specs I read about appear, shall we say, unwieldy ... That's the trouble: Fast (and well corrected) glass for FF has to be big and heavy (physics at work here), even though mirrorless glass can be a bit more compact due to the smaller flange distance. Still, for me, that fact alone negates most of the advantages of mirrorless. DSLRs are so well designed nowadays that they use their bulk mostly to their advantage, balancing rather well (to excellent) with big and heavy glass and putting a lot of functionality at your fingertips without appearing cluttered. Not so for mirrorless - as far as I've tried them. That's why I use my D750 for event shooting with big lenses and heavy zooms - it's just so much more comfortable and practical (apart from being a sturdy, yet comparatively compact powerhouse with great IQ and superior low light capability ...). I still wish that camera had an EVF, though ... but it's not too hard to put up with the fantastic OVF of the Nikon :)

    I think for small and (phenomenally) capable, :mu43: really strikes an ideal balance. So any FF offering will have to be vastly(!) superior to even start to be an alternative. Of course, if someone's just after the ultimate best, :mu43: will hardly ever be their choice. But it doesn't have to be - being as good, and above all, as usable as it is. So if I were Olympus, I'd rather emulate Sigma than Sony ...

    M.
     
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  16. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 14, 2010
    Finland
    Teemu
    What if Olympus adds a speedbooster to these lenses to make 'em faster for m4/3s? :) I wish that was the case since every other option will most likely send the wrong image to m4/3 supporters.
     
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  17. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Let's face it, mirrorless FF is gaining momentum with the latest A7 range and if Canon or Nikon were to enter the market too then I think it likely that FF would become the go-to system for enthusiasts. Olympus and Panasonic have developed four thirds/micro four thirds to a remarkable extent but we need to remember that the system was designed back in the days when large sensors were prohibitively expensive to manufacture. If you were starting today with the objective of building a top quality enthusiast system, you'd go FF wouldn't you?

    So, I'd be surprised if Olympus weren't at least considering their options in FF. I'm sure they're more than capable of producing an FF camera. But will they? A year or two back I'd have dismissed it - but now I'm not so sure.
     
  18. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Nope, I'm perfectly happy with m4/3... I don't hear the siren call of FF.

    There's always talk of how FF lenses would be just as small if they made equivalent primes (say f5.6 to be the same as our 2.8s) however the problem is no one has made these lenses (and I doubt they ever will)... I'm ignoring kit lenses because for larger formats they're almost universally terrible.
     
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  19. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I'm actually pretty happy with u43 too. Most of the time the IQ is way more than adequate and I really appreciate the compactness of the system and the features on the bodies. However, FF needn't mean large lenses (at least for wide to short tele) - as exhibited by the Leica M lenses (all of which are mirrorless of course). I was looking a friend's Nikon 85/1.8 G lens recently and it's not a lot bigger than our 75/1.8. Wide and normal primes for FF in the f1.8 to f2.8 range should be plenty compact enough and would deliver shallower DOF than we get with u43 (not that narrow DOF is necessarily a driver).

    The Olympus OM lenses are all pretty compact in fact.
     
  20. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    Sony is going to sell whether Oly makes lenses or not. Participating in Sony's growth won't impact m43. People are buying them for different reasons and who's name is on the lens isn't a decision point. I'm sure Oly lenses won't be inexpensive alternatives like Sigma, tamron, tokina for canikons. Besides....m43 is so small and vulnerable it's not a bad strategy to hedge your bets some. If Oly/Sony lens sales exceeds any erosion in m43 sales it would still be a positive.