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Author Topic: Olympus 4/3 imminent  (Read 3539 times)
BJL
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« on: June 20, 2003, 04:56:09 AM »
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For my purposes, the 35mm focal length equivalents for the 4/3 system are a bit lower than advertised, so that for example the 14-54mm Olympus E-system standard lens is better compared to 25-96mm in 35mm format; and this gives it an even clearer advantage over any one lens yet announced for the various "cropped 35mm" DSLR's. (Nikon probably has something coming though.)

The reason comes from the ambiguities of comparing with different image shapes, and the fact that Olympus compares on the basis of frame widths (18mm vs 36mm so a factor of 2), which makes sense if you are going to print at the 35mm shape as with 4x6" prints.

However my wide angle shots are usually somewhat squarer compositions, and if one prints at any of the squarer shapes like 8x10, 11x14, 16x20, 8 x11 or 6x8 you are cropping at the sides and using the full height, and so should compare on the basis of frame heights: 13.5mm vs 24mm, a ratio of 16/9 or about 1.78.

To put it another way, if you use any camera of squarer aspect ratio than 35mm and mostly compose and print in terms of its native shape, you should compare to 35mm by frame height, not width. Most compact digicams are in the same situation: those 35-105's are 31-93 for me.


P. S. The shape of A4 and such falls in the middle, and the advertised equivalents are only negligibly high for them.
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Ray
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2003, 08:06:16 AM »
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Well, it's a bit premature to be talking about a new format before it's released, but we can't resist, can we!

I'd be a bit concerned about fall off in performance in the corners and at the edges. Isn't this what 1Ds owners are concerned about? Seems to me this is going to be a problem with any 'full frame' format. One should also bear in mind that final print quality, even assuming good pixel quality, is going to depend upon the total number of pixels as well as the degree to which the sensor has to be enlarged. Small sensors have an inherent disadvantage because of their size. Small pixels also have an inherent disadvantage because of their size. Technology might overcome the latter, but the degree of enlargement required for a certain size print is unavoidable. There will always be an advantage of the larger format.
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Tony Collins
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« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2003, 07:17:38 AM »
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Whether 4/3 succeeds or fails will depend on the format's results compared to Canon's 10D (and to film scanned on a "consumer" priced scanner), but a major factor will be the cost of assembling a kit of lenses. It will be interesting to see how long before Sigma, Tamron etc announce models in the new fitting. Working Pros will stick with Canon or Nikon so 4/3 will appeal to those without a large investment in lenses. People like me who added to their 50 with a 28 and a medium zoom, tried a digicam to supplement their film camera, but found the lack of a real viewfinder with focus preview a handicap. We will find out tommorrow
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BJL
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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2003, 10:38:42 AM »
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Funny, my reaction to those two items is the opposite.

Olympus, like Canon and Nikon, still quote magnifications for a 50mm lens, which overstates things for the smaller formats.

Scaling for format size, the E-1 viewfinder image is a bit bigger than the 10D, smaller than the D-100.

On the other hand, what is fundamentally wrong with the all-electronic focus control besides being different? If it can offer variable speed response, like a course and fine focus control in one, it could be great once one gets used to it.


P. S. Michael mentioned that the prototypes have no histogram, but apparently the production models will have (says Imaging Resource).

And on one of my favourite subjects, the MTF curves for the 14-54 lens are comparable to those for the Canon 24-70 (Olympus does them at double the lp/mm levels, so it is a fair comparison), so it does look like a true pro quality lens that handles the smaller fomat and pixel size, and indeed the system might be less lens limited than the 1Ds.
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2003, 12:11:36 PM »
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Other than possibly sensors from Kodak, is there any sign that the other 4/3's partners, Fuji & Kodak, are developing any products for the format? You'd think they would want teasers out there to keep people interested but I have not seen anything.
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David Mantripp
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2003, 03:53:25 PM »
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Michael noticed the Chasseur d'Images report on the Nikon ?D2? (http://www.photim.com)  BUT, probably as part of his undercover, CIA-funded campaign against Olympus, paid for by his puppet masters in Tokyo (er, in the Canon office that is), he INTENTIONALLY did not point out that C d'I report on the E1 (below the Nikon to-####-with-the-NDA-article) that the E1 does indeed have a histogram function.

 
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David Mantripp
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2003, 06:05:45 PM »
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Canon hasn't sent this month's check yet, so maybe I should mention the Oly info.

On the other hand I haven't been able to convince them to put me on their dole yet, so... screw 'em.

Michael

Ps: And if anyone takes this seriously I'm going to be really[/i] pissed off. ::
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Tony Collins
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2003, 04:55:47 PM »
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UK's Amateur Photographer magazine announces that the 4/3 launch is a few days away. It will then be make your mind up time for those of us who have delayed see if the Oly can deliver "good enough" picture quality and fast long lenses at substantially less than Canon prices. I think I can live with the reduced wide angle potential of the system by stitching a couple of portait format shots (at least for landscapes). In order to reduce the ingress of dust, I wonder if lenses will be compatible with the E10/20 screw on converters. All these questions (and more) will be answered soon.
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BJL
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« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2003, 05:25:08 AM »
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Smaller DSLR formats for the majority?

Sorry, another thought inspired by the impending 4/3 system revelation.

I have no idea how well the Olympus-Kodak-Fuji 4/3 system will go, but I have to reject the apparent local consensus by saying that the smaller DLSR formats (4/3 or Nikon DX or the Canon 1.6 solution) will always have a solid majority of the DSLR market, with 35mm size sensors at the top end only, so most of us should be hoping for a few more convenient wide angle lens options for them.

One main reason is the cost of lenses.It seems that the smaller formats can deliver at least 6MP with good noise levels and speed, so that 35mm format sensors will from now on be 10Mp and above. Thus like the 1Ds, they will reveal the weaknesses of anything less than the best lenses. With lesser lenses, even quite decent advanced amateur level ones, the smaller formats might actually give better overall image quality by cropping away their edge and  corner weaknesses.

A few enthusiasts with limited budgets might work around this by using a more restricted and affordable collection of good primes, but the majority want their zooms.
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BJL
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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2003, 10:28:07 AM »
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Ray,

   I quite agree that one of the first critical tests will be to zoom that 14-54 E-system lens to its widest setting and check the corner performance, especially for a wide-angle fan like me. But the corner problem is not unavoidable in "full frame" formats, it depends on whether the lens design spec's have been demanding enough about image circle and such, so I hope that Olympus is serious when they describe this as a professional grade system with lenses designed specifically for the needs of the format. Also, the lens off-set is very large relative to sensor size (as with cropping DSLR's) so that light hits even the sensor corners fairly close to square on, which should count for something in reducing performance fall off in the corners.

About pixel size effects: if they use the only 4/3 format sensor announced so far, from 4/3 system partner Kodak, the pixels are only about 10% smaller in length and 20% in area than those of the D60/10D, and the spec. sheets suggest that the dynamic range should is only about one stop less than the 16MP sensor in Kodak MF backs. Maybe only when chilled though!

But of course the time is almost past for such idle speculation, I want to see samples soon.
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David Mantripp
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2003, 10:21:19 AM »
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one nice thing about the E1, which I suppose will get buried by the arguments over invisible resolving levels and electronic engineering is the 100%, 0.96x viewfinder.  Clearly Olympus have paid some attention to photographic qualities.  On the other hand, the MF-by-wire is a serious let down.

Personally I'm looking forward to trying it. Having no useful legacy (just Canon FD in 35mm) I'm a "free agent".  It looks at least as interesting as the EOS 10D on paper, to me, anyway.
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David Mantripp
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David Mantripp
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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2003, 01:58:30 PM »
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well the magnification may be debatable, but it is the 100% coverage that I like. I have to say that I completely fail to understand why the D30, D60, 10D, etc don't have this - surely they should have over 100% if the prism design comes from a 35mm frame with approx 90% ??  I must be missing something.  I believe the Sigm SD9 shows a larger frame than the imaging area (RF-like).

As for MF by wire, well maybe it will work, but I'm used to turning a barrel...  This could actually be the showstopper for me...unless I finally learn to love AF.
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David Mantripp
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BJL
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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2003, 10:09:21 AM »
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About MF on the E-1, I believe that you do get to turn a barrel on the lens ... which then signals the body electronically, which in turns signal the focus mechanism electronically! Maybe the focus motor is in the body (Nikon style) rather than in the lens (Conon style), and this is their way of avoiding damage when the MF is operated while the AF motor is active (a risk with Nikon's I believe.)

Having to focus with push buttons on the camera body would be a deal-breaker for me too.

And I also agree that Sigma has one great idea for cropping DSLR viewfinders: show most of the 35mm format frame that lens delivers, with crop lines showing exactly the framing that the sensor records, and call it a sports-finder because it lets action photographers anticipate subjects moving into field. Perhaps any SLR with the modern smaller viewfinder image could do that, even at the cost of showing vignetting with some lenses in the out-of-frame parts of the image.

P. S. I have heard it suggested that somewhat less than 100% viewfinder coverage is preferred in lower level SLR designs to match the fact that commercial minilab printing crops significantly too. Still, there seems no excuse for carrying that idea over to a more serious tool like a DSLR.
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BJL
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2003, 07:41:42 AM »
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I have been scouring the web and have found nothing about proposed 4/3 products from Kodak or Fujifilm (still their official name!).

So at a pure guess,

a) Kodak is sticking the what they have always done best: recording the image at the focal plane

 Fuji is planning a 4/3 sensor and perhaps a camera body to go with it. Maybe the second cheaper 4/3 DSLR vaguely promised by Olympus will use a Fuji SuperCCD HD sensor, to back up Fuji's claims of getting high dynamic range out of smaller pixels?


P. S. Now that more precise 4/3 spec's are out, with slightly smaller effective sensor size, I should revise slightly my claims about the focal length equivalence of the 14-54mm standard lens: to be utterly precise, I now call it 25.6-99mm 35mm equivalent, and the scaling factor relative to 35mm format is about 1.8x if you intend to use either the native 4:3 frame shape or crop to anything squarer. So just slightly less wide than I had thought and hoped, but still good, and at least Olympus has added a wider angle zoom (11-22mm f/2.8-3.5) to the product list.
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David Mantripp
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« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2003, 03:54:56 PM »
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Merde alors - this site does auto-censorship!!!   All I said was a word which means the opposite of heaven.  

Allah be praised.
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David Mantripp
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