Aug 4, 2008 at 10:49 pm #1230485
Oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man…
Christmas may have arrived early for hiking photobugs.Aug 4, 2008 at 11:07 pm #1445745
Yeah, I saw that. Currently a Pentax user, but if they can come up with a viewfinder-less SLR that weighs around 10-12 ounces then count me in.
No actual products yet of course. Hopefully we'll get an idea of what the camera and lenses might weigh at photokina.Aug 5, 2008 at 3:03 am #1445753
I bet that we will also see large sensor equipped "compact" cameras from the other guys at Photokina .
FrancoAug 5, 2008 at 10:33 am #1445783
There's more info up at the four/thirds org site:
I too would expect to see the system unveiled at Photokina, hopefully in more than just mock-up form. Pany's involvement implies we might be seeing Leica lenses as well as Zuikos. If that includes downsized M lens designs, all the better.Aug 5, 2008 at 10:57 am #1445785
I'm not much into the digital scene, as I prefer to use film for landscapes. If I were to be given the option of which features to get rid of, I'd unload the LCD in favor of an OVF/EVF. I would imagine that would extend battery life immensely. It's hard to stay loyal to film when I'm carrying around 70s and 80s metal camera bodies, lenses, accessories and see this stuff. A 10-12oz SLR would certainly entice me!
That isn't out of the realm of possibilities. Leica has already put out digital cameras (Digilux) with Panasonic innards. The future looks good so far!Aug 6, 2008 at 10:42 pm #1446074
A couple of days later and DPReview has already 22 threads on this new format with over 800 (!) comments, including one that calls it a "yawn" ….
I read some of them but not all.
The obvious advantages of eliminating the mirror are the possible reduced size (and weight) of the lenses and possibly lower cost and higher reliability (less moving parts) as well as noiseless operation. This pretty much mirrors the similarities and differences between the Leica R and M systems (ignoring the rangefinder) : same size "sensor" same quality (debatable, but users of both mostly agree) but smaller size, less weight.
FrancoAug 7, 2008 at 3:13 am #1446091
You missed a big one. Removing the mirror will also remove the vibration caused by "mirror slap". It's worse on some than others. Removing this source of vibration will improve the chance for focus quality ever so slightly. Still a good thing though!
Until I find myself moving to a mirrorless camera body, I'll stick with the mirror lockup feature and long exposures when possible.
ChrisAug 7, 2008 at 9:57 am #1446140
This is the best analysis I've encountered so far:
I learned quite a bit from the writeup, including strong assertions that the system lenses will be remarkably small (possibly along the lines of the difference between rangefinder versus slr lenses). Of particular interest is the observation that since the shift from CCDs to NMOS sensors, a perpendicular light path is far less critical in digicam design.
So what? It could mean this system won't have to rely on retrofocus wide angle lenses (a hard rule with SLRs since their invention) unleashing designers to use classic, symmetrical lens designs (Elmerit, Biogon, etc.), as well as zooms with rear elements that can intrude well into the body. The existing four-thirds standard is quite rigid about completely telecentric lens design, this new standard, not at all.
Franco's right about the silly kerfuffle occuring among a number of DPR readers, many of whom are taking this as a sign of the apocalypse, with Oly abandoning the slr market to chase new, tiny, unserious cameras. I prefer a more sanguine viewpoint that finally, someone has emerged from the "me too" woods with a fresh digital camera concept that can ultimately be of huge be of huge benefit to the lightweight backpacking serious photographer.
All this, of course, without having seen a single bit of hardware :-)Aug 7, 2008 at 8:08 pm #1446251
Yes, some might remember the gloom and doom predictions when Canon designed the EOS mount….
Vibration reduction, yes another big plus if you are into low light shots, something that some have temporarily given up on using digital.
A minor point is (or could be) less air space between the rear element and the sensor. Some attributed the legendary quality of the M lenses to that. But Rick's point about freedom from a telecentric only design is a major one.
For some reason when I first read the blurb from Olympus, the Minolta Vectis S1 (APS, SLR,weatherproof,rubberized,tiny lenses) came to mind. The very next item on DPReview was about consumer wanting "weatherproof" cameras. How good is that ?
So looks like Photokina will be about going bigger (FF sensors) AND smaller, (larger sensors inside smaller bodies).
FrancoAug 7, 2008 at 11:44 pm #1446268
Micro four-thirds? Soooo 20th century in concept! ;-) How about a curved sensor instead (like your eye's retina). Imagine how much smaller you could make the lenses and the lower distortion and sharper focus possibilities. Well, researchers have just designed a curved sensor but it might be a while before it makes in way into a camera. It will surely happen though!Aug 10, 2008 at 2:32 pm #1446548
Just one question: When can I get a micro-Biogon lens?
I should start saving now.Aug 31, 2008 at 12:43 am #1449357
But there is more….
Now Samsung has announced that it has been working on a similar (but not compatible) system due to come out early 2010 (!) .
As I previously posted, my guess is that there is at least another compact/large sensor combo to be introduced at Photokina, Sept 23-28.
FrancoAug 31, 2008 at 2:39 am #1449364
@jcarter1Locale: Pacific Northwest
Hmm…I've been salivating over the idea of what this new micro four-thirds format will do for the size and weight of DSLR's, and then Nikon announced it's D90…with 720p video mode. This is really tempting me, as it would be lighter than a micro four-thirds plus camcorder.
Of course, these new micro four-thirds are very likely to sport video modes of their own, but the D90 has some great features like 420-pixel RGB exposure sensor and other high-end features taken from the D300. Plus you get to keep the pentaprism viewfinder.
This is going to be a tough call…but I'm now leaning toward the D90. With the creative video options (shallow DOF), large sensor low light performance, and high resolution, I think one could take very artistic nature videos with this camera and open a whole new area of creativity. Check out Nikon's sample videos:
These next few years are going to be exciting ones!Oct 30, 2008 at 3:25 pm #1456922
Looks like I will go back to the photo trade soon ( after more than a year doing nothing) so I thought of posting an up-date on the Micro Four Thirds system.
At Photokina Olympus did show a mock-up only of their version , due out early 09. The good news is that it is not a conventional lookig DSLR but pretty much a Sigma D1 shaped camera with interchangeable lenses. Reminds me of the Olympus rangefinders of the 70's.
If this idea takes off, I suspect that Pana will also go down that way, because at the moment the G1 is not that much more compact than an Olympus E420 or even Nikon D60 .
FrancoOct 30, 2008 at 5:30 pm #1456942
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I am coming at this from the science market, which I admit has different and far harder requirements.
Smaller lenses on the micro-three-quarters? Means less aperture and poorer light collection, leading to more noise in the image.
Move away from telecentric lens requirement? Means poorer resolution at the sensor due to the laws of physics and optics.
Smaller sensor? Means poorer optical resolution and performance, and lower dynamic range.
Nice marketing spin for sure, but not necessarily better camera performance. Cheaper – most likely.
CheersOct 30, 2008 at 6:59 pm #1456950
Roger, it all depends if you are a retailer or a consumer… (IE Are you buying or selling ?)
As a consumer, this week, I would mostly agree with you. Just received the official announcement for the Panasonic G1 yesterday and the RRP ( about 20% above street price) is on my "you must be kidding" list ($1649 with the standard lens ,$2199 for the twin kit). Of course our low dollar does not help.
The Micro Four Third sensor is the exact same size as the standard Four Third sensor, making the lenses focal length compatible ( some functions may not work) . So a bit smaller than the usual APS-C sized sensor but still much larger than the ones in the other "compacts"
FrancoOct 30, 2008 at 7:11 pm #1456955
Of course bigger lenses have a greater aperture and a bigger sensor less noise but due to other reasons not everybody is taking photos with a medium format camera.
If you want to freeze water drops in nearly pitch-black situations than you won't use a µ4/3 camera ;).
If you choose your camera by size, weight and prize then a µ4/3 could be the one of your choice. Could be – don't have to be.
The sensor of a µ4/3 camera has the same size as the ones used at the standard 4/3 cameras. The image quality should be the same. Since there is no real µ4/3 on the market no prove of this could be made.
Same quality as my E-510 and so much smaller. For me it looks interesting.
Lenses should also be cheaper, because I learned at university the price of a lens is calculated by the third power of the radius.
greeting from Germany
SnuffyOct 30, 2008 at 7:42 pm #1456962
As a keen photographer, I wouldn't call it marketing spin. Marketing spin is when they come out with another compact camera which has the same size sensor, cram another couple of megapixels on to the surface, and try to tell you that it's a better camera.
These cameras will be smaller and lighter than existing cameras for a given level of image quality. Will they be able to match, say, an existing 4/3 dSLR in image quality? I suspect any loss in IQ will be pretty small. They will give *much* better image quality than current compact cameras with their tiny sensors.
IMHO these sorts of cameras will sit very nicely in-between truly compact (small sensor) cameras, and chunky dSLRs which weigh twice as much. I'll certainly buy one when then come down in price. They may be a bit too pricey initially… but that's fair enough as they must be costing quite a bit to develop.
dSLRs will remain the best for image quality and serious photography, but when size and weight really count these cameras will no doubt beat the pants off the average compact camera you can buy today.Oct 30, 2008 at 8:54 pm #1456971
My man, David Pogue, gets it:
G1's are shipping in Europe and elsewhere, should be widely available by Christmas. Additional lenses and the 4/3 slr lens adapter are lagging. I'll most likely wait until Oly unveils their system to jump. I'm hoping for a smaller camera and in-camera IS.Oct 30, 2008 at 9:20 pm #1456973
You can probably guess this has been discussed ad nauseaum on the photo lists. My understanding is that since the photosites are closer to the surface on the NMOS ("live MOS") chips, a strictly perpendicular light path is no longer necessary. This frees up lens designers in serveral regards. The elimination of the mirror box also allows the rear element to be much closer to the imaging chip. Too, the micro 4/3 mount diameter is considerably smaller than the slr version, shrinking several key components without affecting the glass whatever.
Add up all these elements and there are several realms in which lenses can be shrunken, with no implicit degradation of performance. A comparison of M-mount lenses versus their SLR equivalents is an eye-opener, especially in the wide angle ranges. A look at the mockup of the Panasonic G 7-14 is a true eye-opener.
There's no doubt the 4/3 format is sufficiently robust for pro-caliber output. If Pany and Oly don't drop the ball on their µ4/3 system rollouts (and their timing couldn't be worse, considering the economy), two years hence should find us (backpackers) with access to the ideal gear for our pursuits.Oct 30, 2008 at 10:34 pm #1456984
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> discussed ad nauseaum on the photo lists
Yeah, I know. I gave up reading them as the chaff level was over the top.
> a strictly perpendicular light path is no longer necessary
No longer *quite* as necessary. Diffusion path length still matters.
> The elimination of the mirror box also allows the rear element to be much closer to the imaging chip.
Now this is where there is a huge difference. Oh yes indeed.
The 4/3 format looks good. Where I am having reservations is over all the compromises made in the micro-4/3 format. I think we will have to wait on production models to see what the effects are. In particular, what damage has been done to the MTF, vignetting and colour aberrations.
Fun stuff, except for the wallet!
CheersJan 15, 2009 at 11:55 am #1470397
@craig_shelleyLocale: Rocky Mountains
Now that this Micro Four Thirds camera is available for about $670 with a lens, has anyone tried it?
It looks interesting to me.
CraigJan 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm #1470464
@jcarter1Locale: Pacific Northwest
post deletedJan 15, 2009 at 5:52 pm #1470484
A couple of days ago I was discussing this one with a mate of mine that is the resident guru in one of the top shops in Melbourne ( I left the trade sometime ago) His comment was that it has the best EVF he has ever seen and yes it is a bit smaller but you can get similar or better quality out of something like the Olympus E410/520.
I have great expectations from the Oly version of the Micro4/3rd. Maybe 2nd quarter this year.
FrancoJan 19, 2009 at 5:59 pm #1471374
Here is the more relevant information :
Just posted there today….
Note the comparison with the Olympus E520. The Pana comes on top, up to you to decide if that difference is worth the extra dollars.
Just a bit of trivia.
To illustrate how "evolutionary" the G1 is, we are in need now of a new term for this class of cameras. At the moment is in the DSLR camp. It is Digital alright, it does have a Single Lens (IE not a viewing and a taking lens as with the Twin Lens Reflex like the Rolleiflex) but the Reflex bit is not there, IE there is no mirror. DSLEVF (Digital Single Lens Electronic View Finder) is a bit too cumbersome.
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