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Author Topic: E-M1x specs posted  (Read 1101 times)

Dan Wells

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E-M1x specs posted
« on: January 22, 2019, 11:44:37 PM »

I've just reposted this (my own post) slightly edited from the battery thread, at John Camp's suggestion, trying to put a better title on it.

The full specs just leaked on 43rumors, and nothing bad, but nothing groundbreaking. The version 43rumors has looks Google translated, so my apologies if I mis-interpreted anything from Google gibberish, especially about external power... I hope that isn't the actual English version of the press release  :)

Here are the power specs...

870 shots on two batteries (CIPA) - almost exactly the same as the E-M1 mk II, which is 440 on 1

2580 shots on two batteries under unspecified low power test conditions (probably similar to how people get 900 shots out of a Z7)

Will run on either 1 or 2 batteries (no mention of whether some fast modes require the second battery, so not clear if it can use them in parallel for higher voltage).

Charges batteries in-camera from either an Olympus AC adapter or USB-C - charges with power off.

Also seems to power the camera from USB-C (apparently without charging).

Here are some other interesting specs:

18 fps, 20 mp (widely publicized)

The specs say it's a sensor "with a new coating", although earlier 43rumors posts have said it's an actual new sensor. If it's the tried and true sensor, PhotonstoPhotos has the E-M1 mkII with nearly two stops less maximum photographic dynamic range than the comparably priced Nikon Z7.

 If it's a new sensor, maybe it picks up a stop of DR and becomes competitive with the best of APS-C, while still lagging the best FF cameras?

About the same width and depth as a D850, although significantly taller.

Within a SD card of exactly the weight of a D850.

World's best image stabilization - they claim an extra stop above the already rock-steady E-M1 mk II. The best performance (per Olympus) is on the 12-100 mm lens at 100 mm (they're claiming ~1 second, by my count)

50 MP high-res mode handheld (80 MP on tripod)

Built-in "neutral density filter" with five settings - this appears to be a computational effect, not any sort of reduction in light reaching the sensor.

Has twice as much video bandwidth in Cinema 4K (4096 by 2160) as in regular 4K. Cinema 4K is a GH5 like bitrate.

The EVF is good, but not one of the most modern "super EVFs" - 2.36 million dots (like a Fuji X-T2 or E-M1 mk II), while some modern Sonys, the Nikon Z series and the newest Fujis use 3.7 million.

IPX-1 weather resistance - the first time I've seen any camera company claim an IPX rating.  Looking at the IPX-1 specs, the Olympus E-M1 original and mk II, Nikon D850, Z series and D5 (plus predecessors), Fuji X-T2, X-T3 and X-H1, Pentax (most of them) and Canon 1D/1Ds/1Dx series are all close to meeting it... It's basically heavy rain falling vertically for 10 minutes, and none of the above should have any problem.

As far as I can tell, an interesting, but extremely niche camera... Unless they've made huge improvements to dynamic range (and have a perfect stitching algorithm), the 50 MP multi-shot will be far inferior to any number of smaller, lighter 40+ MP cameras with FF or beyond sensors. It's actually larger and heavier than the GFX 50R or the X1D (although the lenses are much smaller than medium format lenses). The Olympus PRO lenses are large and heavy enough that it's going to be bigger and heavier than a Z7 (including lenses) until you reach significant telephoto focal lengths, and even there the Nikon PF lenses will keep it close.

One practical application I can see is mid-range sports photography (willing to accept significant size, weight and cost, but not a 1Dx or a D5). It has fast AF and an extremely high frame rate, and its overall responsiveness should be superb.  The problem is the Sony A9 (with all of the above plus a superior sensor 4x the size) at around the same price when on sale. Right now, the A9 is back up to $4500, leaving a bit of room for Olympus, but will Sony drop it back down to $3500 for the next promotion? Once it's been $3500, there's little reason to think it'll stay $4500.

The application where Olympus has everything else beat is anything where image stabilization exceeds all other considerations. If you're shooting video under absurd conditions (while skiing, etc.), the "gimbal included" E-M1x is going to be very interesting.

It'll probably also grab some E-M1 mkII owners, although many will wait for a mkIII that is closer to what they have in size and cost. I'm not going to recommend it to my E-M1 mkII shooting friend unless he really wants the extra stop of stabilization (or there's a sensor breakthrough). If it had come out while his son was still playing college baseball, the speed would have been a perfect feature.
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John Camp

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2019, 03:49:53 PM »

What's the reasoning on why the 50mp handheld hi-res will be inferior to the 40mp FF cameras? Does it involve more than the smaller sensor size of m4/3?

Given these specs, I guess the only reason I'd buy an E-M1x is that I have a lot of m4/3 glass; but I wouldn't buy it anyway because it's way too big, which is the opposite reason that I bought m4/3 to begin with. I *would* like to see an enhanced sensor for GX8/Pen F style cameras, that would make them directly competitive in quality and speed with the Z6 and APS-C cameras, but for my uses, the current crop of m4/3 works well.

It seems to me (and I'm not a tech guy) that for the time being, digital interchangeable lens cameras are settling on two general areas -- ~24mp for fast cameras, ~50mp for high resolution. That may (probably will) change over the years, but if I had a 50mp camera, I doubt that I'd bother to buy a 100mp camera, because I'd see no improvements in photos the size that I print. So I'd wait to buy until my original camera began to wear out. I give credit to Olympus for trying to match the resolution of the top-end FF cameras like the Z7, with its hi-res mode, but again, I don't think most m4/3 shooters bought their cameras for high resolution. I could be wrong.

I currently shoot a D800e and the GX8. Given the news over the past year (like Panasonic going FF) I suspect there are a couple of Z cameras in my future, because that would seem to handle both the size problems I have with the bigger Nikons, and the outdated sensor situation with the m4/3. But I'm in no hurry to switch right now: I'll wait at least until I see the next moves by Panasonic and Nikon.



 
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BJL

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2019, 04:39:45 PM »

Thanks for the summary (and new subject-appropriate thread!)
It is not going to be for me, but one thing that does interest me is even better IBIS, which also I suppose enables that hand-held high res mode that might also serve me well in some situations (for even more cropping latitude). As an extreme case, a few days ago I needed to use ISO 1600 on my E-M5 for a hand-held shot of a very stationary subject(*) so I have a use for three or four more stops of IS. I want my virtual monopod to become a virtual tripod!

I wonder how the mix of improved video, high res. options, vertical grip, enhanced battery life in a package still less bulky than a 35mm format kit (with appropriate lens choices) would serve for events like weddings.

(*) 300mm lens and the lunar eclipse; us, I could have dragged around a tripod, but I really strive to avoid them!

P.S. You missed its “Z-6 killer” feature; not the 60 FPS mode, but the dual card slots!
« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 04:44:31 PM by BJL »
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Dan Wells

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2019, 06:07:09 PM »

There are two reasons I'm highly skeptical of the image quality of the 50 MP stitch mode approaching that of true 40+ MP sensors - dynamic range (and related) performance and stitching/subject movement.

The specs on 43rumors support the sensor (probably) being the standard 20 MP Micro 43 sensor - the article listed "new sensor coating", but not "entirely new sensor". If that is the case, the sensor underperforms just about anything else  on the market (in an interchangeable lens camera) in dynamic range. It's somewhat over 9 stops when the best current cameras approach 12 stops. There are three factors there - older (non-BSI) design, very high pixel density and high minimum ISO.

If it's actually a new (probably BSI) sensor, it will almost certainly be better than the old standby, but it will still have significant disadvantages compared to other sensors. The minimum ISO has been confirmed to be 200, while the Sony 42+ MP sensor goes as low as 100, and the Nikon variant goes down to 64. Assuming all else were equal, there's a full stop of DR in favor of the Sony, and 1 2/3 stops in favor of the Nikon from minimum ISO alone. It will also have significantly smaller pixels, which may cost more DR. If it's a very modern sensor design, it could pick up a bit from advances in technology since the 40+ MP sensors were designed a couple of years ago.

The second issue is that, absent a completely locked-down camera and subject (photographing art on a copystand is one of the few cases where the artifacts might be practically eliminated), there will always be motion artifacts in any stitched image. Really good stabilization and computational processing can reduce, but not eliminate those artifacts. Olympus' stabilization is known to be excellent, and I suspect their processing is also very good, but it still won't be as good as a single exposure. Pentax's handheld multishot mode has significant artifacts, according to dpreview. Olympus may have a better solution, but artifacts are inevitable.

The E-M1x is almost certainly a very fast camera with a tacked-on high-res mode, not a pixel monster. The question is what the market is for a very fast, very durable camera with fantastic stabilization, but modest maximum image quality at $3000.

The first competitor I would worry about if I were Olympus is their own E-M1 mkII. It's already very fast and responsive, and the stabilization is better than anything other than the E-M1x. Will very many people pay twice as much, and accept a camera twice as heavy, for 18 fps instead of 15, one extra stop of stabilization, a couple of new computational effects (the "ND filter" is purely computational) and some sort of a handheld multishot mode? Especially if it's the same fundamental image quality?

The second issue is the Sony A9, which offers two stops of extra DR and otherwise much better image quality in a similarly speedy camera for a similar price (when the A9 is on sale). Yes, you trade off some stabilization and the best-in class weather sealing for the image quality.

How many photographers are going to find that the E-M1x threads the needle between the E-M1x and the A9 perfectly? For that matter, used Canon and Nikon sports pro bodies are also serious competitors (or even a brand-new D5 or 1Dx II with a used supertele).



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faberryman

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2019, 06:35:16 PM »

I am pretty sure Olympus did market research before they gave the go ahead on manufacture. Maybe they have modest expectations. I don't see it, but I don't shoot m43.

BJL

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2019, 10:35:20 PM »

There are two reasons I'm highly skeptical of the image quality of the 50 MP stitch mode approaching that of true 40+ MP sensors - dynamic range (and related) performance and stitching/subject movement.

... the standard 20 MP Micro 43 sensor ... high minimum ISO.
Of course this and all multi-shot modes are for stationary subjects (as is the IS that it relies upon); but within that category, we have to wait for test results to see how it compares to other 40+ MP options.

Also, I am not sure about that "high minimum ISO". If you are referring to the minimum exposure index setting available on the E-M1 Mk II [200 standard, but with 64 expanded low setting] that is not a measure of base ISO speed—there is no good reason to expect the two to be equal (they do not measure the same attribute at all and there are good reasons why minimum EI is almost always higher than base ISO speed) or even to differ by the same amount in different cameras. Instead, they are further apart with Olympus MFT cameras than with most other brands. The gap is based on a decision about how much highlight headroom above metered mid-tones to aim for in AE modes.
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Dan Wells

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2019, 02:13:37 AM »

Well, it's out.

Disappointingly, it's the Same Old Sensor, complete with image quality that lagged the field in 2016. In response to BJL's question on actual base ISO versus minimum marked ISO, Photons to Photos shows its maximum dynamic range just under 10 stops, and it reaches maximum at ISO 200 (so the true base ISO is either similar to the minimum marked ISO or there's no other reachable setting that's closer).

It looks like the multi-shot mode is very clever in how it uses the IS system, but it uses 8 shots, so it's going to take a while to record everything (good luck with any wind at all). Even if the stitching were perfect and nothing is moving, it will look like a 5Ds (which also has just under 10 stops of DR), not a Nikon or Sony pixel monster with 12 or more. For some scenes, that'll work just fine - but there's a reason the 5Ds is often seen as underwhelming.

Once you get past thinking it's a high resolution camera and treat it as a pure speed demon, it has some interesting tricks up its sleeve. It's the first time we've seen computational photography heavily used in something other than a phone.

It has an AI driven AF system that the early reviewers say is uncanny. Right now, it recognizes cars, motorcycles, planes and (oddly) trains - I would have thought "athletes" would have been a much higher priority than "trains"? Is there a huge genre of train photography I don't know about? Its AI database is expandable, and I'm sure athletes is the next item on the list! I wonder if it will automatically select depth of field to blur the ump/ref (in honor of how the ump sees the game)? Without an AI target, it's still extremely capable - faster than an E-M1 mk II, which is already fast. Give it a target that it knows about, and it takes the next step...

There are other AI effects, notably the ND filter...

This may well be a breakthrough that isn't quite ready yet - what I'm reminded of is the days of the Nikon F5 (back when film was a going concern). It had a revolutionary RGB metering system that used an unfathomable number of metering zones, and was sensitive to color. Nobody really knew what to do with it back then - it exposed slide film a little better than other cameras (print film had enough latitude that you generally couldn't tell). It was a little less likely to be fooled by backlit subjects than other cameras, too.

I shot an F5 for quite a while (after its heyday - I bought mine used), and it was the most accurate metering film camera I ever used. It wasn't that much more accurate than other cameras, though - standard multipattern metering was already darned good.

The end of the F5's story, though, came in the digital era - that meter that knew about color, but couldn't adjust it, ended up paired with digital sensors where you can adjust color. Every camera today meters like an F5 (although off the image sensor instead of a separate metering sensor). The color information is what adjusts the white balance.

Could Olympus have the first generation of some technologies that will really make sense in a few years? Might AI-driven AF become more than a novelty for improving tracking at an auto race? Could the E-M1x be remembered as the first computational camera that was really a camera instead of a phone?

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BernardLanguillier

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2019, 02:42:18 AM »

Could Olympus have the first generation of some technologies that will really make sense in a few years? Might AI-driven AF become more than a novelty for improving tracking at an auto race? Could the E-M1x be remembered as the first computational camera that was really a camera instead of a phone?

Indeed, that may very well be the case.

The question in the end will be that of UI and control IMHO. When you have a face and a train in the frame, how do you tell the camera what to focus on?

Cheers,
Bernard

John Camp

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2019, 11:57:59 AM »


It has an AI driven AF system that the early reviewers say is uncanny. Right now, it recognizes cars, motorcycles, planes and (oddly) trains - I would have thought "athletes" would have been a much higher priority than "trains"? Is there a huge genre of train photography I don't know about?

I would have gone for "athletes" as well, but yes, there is a huge genre of train photography, and if you go to large train yards, you'll occasionally see groups of guys wandering around with cameras.

http://www.railphoto-art.org
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Dan Wells

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2019, 12:16:00 PM »

Yes, including some brave souls who photographed moving trains (from what looks like directly in front) with view cameras... I would think that was a great way to get run over by a train (hopefully, they took advantage of a curve and weren't on the track).

I hope Olympus goes for "athletes" soon (as far as I can tell, that's the obvious use for the technology), then perhaps "horses", which is a subgroup of athletes that needs different AI instructions - about four or five of Sports Illustrated's top 100 athletes of the 20th Century were listed with their position played (amusingly) as "horse".  Secretariat, Man o'War, Seabiscuit, etc. I wonder whose face you want in focus when photographing the Kentucky Derby - the horse or the jockey?

Animals in general (including birds) would be a useful one, but a very broad thing to train the AI on - I wonder if the current processor is up to the task, or if we are still a generation or two from that. I wonder if the initial choices of machines were made because they are easier for AI to pick up than athletes?
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faberryman

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2019, 01:07:04 PM »

Forty years later and we are still trying to figure out autofocus.

Martin Kristiansen

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2019, 01:43:02 PM »

Forty years later and we are still trying to figure out autofocus.

That’s actually very funny. Sometimes I still think stuff it, I will focus manually. But then I have avoided auto focus until just two years ago.

This camera looks very interesting to me. Would love to play with one. Can’t see myself selling all my gear and moving to Olympus but still.

The name is a total loser though. I would ever be able to tell anyone what camera I was using if I bought one. Who can remember all those letters numbers and hyphens. Make a good banking app password.
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BJL

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E-M1X specs; using IBIS for hand-held DR enhancement too some day?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2019, 07:17:55 PM »

The "virtual ND" mode gives me an idea for the future (it might already be implemented, but I doubt it). That mode apparently works by combining several successive exposures of different durations, so sort of HDR. Combining that with the high resolution method of taking multiple shots with slight (1/2 pixel) offsets of the sensor, one could enhance both resolution and dynamic range—the former within lens limitations, the latter as much as one desires with enough exposures to combine. And with the 7-stops of IS (increasing total time to take the various exposures about hundred-fold), some of this could be done hand-held. That would mess with the kit weight and size comparisons, if alternative kits require a tripod.

BTW, I see some basic physical reasons why it is somewhat easier to do IS in a smaller format: roughly, a doubling of linear format size requires about an eight-fold increase in forces required, so far heaver magnets or servo-motors for moving the sensor. Maybe that is why Olympus seems to have put a higher priority on this aspect of performance than other systems with bulkier sensors.

(Still waiting for this in an OM-D E-M1 Mk III — smaller, less expensive, but with an even longer name.)
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JaapD

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2019, 12:48:31 AM »

“Combining that with the high resolution method of taking multiple shots with slight (1/2 pixel) offsets of the sensor, one could enhance both resolution and dynamic range …”

Not to forget true R-G-B capture on pixel level instead of demosaicing, like Foveon or 3CCD.

Regards,
Jaap.
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SrMi

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2019, 01:10:27 AM »

I read somewhere that virtual ND mode is essentially what one can do with Nikon DSLR's multiple exposures: shoot n x 1-sec shots to get the same results as n-sec shot. Olympus has also Live view of that mode where you can see the effect in the viewfinder and LCD.

Sad to see that there is no top LCD.
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Dan Wells

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2019, 01:18:47 AM »

Very interesting... I could see Olympus trying it. Two exposures in each position, three stops off, gives dynamic range at least equivalent to a Z7 at ISO 64. They're actually using eight exposures for 50 MP handheld pixel shift, so doubling that would mean they need 16 (I'm not sure if they could get away with somewhat fewer with clever combination)?

Two questions: Is it easier to stabilize the Olympus for a full second (it's an 18 fps camera, so it'll take around a second to capture all the images it needs) or the Nikon for 1/20 or 1/30 second? Exposures where the Nikon is around 1/20 or 1/30 are the Olympus' best shot, because its  individual exposures (ISO 200 vs 64) will be around 1/100 of a second. If there's any less light, the Olympus has to use shutter speeds slow enough that it's no longer 18 fps (or higher ISO, which reduces DR). If there's more light, the Nikon has a shorter exposure, taxing its stabilizer less.

 I agree with BJL that, given relatively equivalent exposure times, the Olympus can have better stabilization, because its sensor is much lighter and doesn't have to move as far. This isn't relatively equivalent exposure, though. The Olympus has to deal with whatever motion takes place during the full second of captures. Some of that can be handled through good algorithms when stitching...

The second question is subject motion... How many things really stay still for a full second? Still life and product photography, certainly. Architecture, if there are no people or windblown trees in the image. Landscape, if everything in the foreground is unaffected by wind (rocks, dead trees, etc). No living being does, whether plant or animal, including people, unless there's absolutely no wind or you're photographing a sleeping animal.

If Olympus (or someone else) can get this to work, they have one advantage over a big, slow sensor taking a single shot. They also have a native 20 MP mode with OK dynamic range at 18 fps, while a Z7 is always relatively slow, whether you need the big pixel count and huge DR or not.

Of course, it would also be possible to come at the same problem from the other direction. It might be easier to have a big, slow sensor with enough resolution to bin pixels 4:1 to quadruple readout speed. I could see a Z7 successor having a 60 MP sensor (recent leak) that has a 15 MP high-speed mode. Those huge "pixels" would offer less resolution than the Olympus, but not much less, and they'd come with enormous DR and high ISO capability.

I'd imagine binning pixels on a high-resolution sensor is easier than mechanically moving a fast sensor to generate extra pixels, but I don't really know.

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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2019, 04:43:21 AM »

Seems to me every company is trying to get a piece of the upper market pie: pro expensive cameras, pro expensive and large lenses (both primes and zooms). Sony A9, Fuji XH1, Panasonic new FF, now Olympus...

This is where the profit seems to be at the moment, Sony saw it first, others are following suit. Getting ready 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

BJL

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2019, 02:22:10 PM »

Since we have discarded the limit to 35mm format, I’d expand beyond mirrorless too: then I’d say that in the high end, Nikon and Canon have been there for far longer than Sony, and, even Olympus has pursued the high end of digital cameras with some bodies and lenses since back in the Four Thirds DSLR days. I agree that their home country hosting the 2020 Olympics might be one motivation, but also just the prestige effect of a “flagship” camera or “tent pole” products, even though the main source of revenue and profits is down in the far more affordable mainstream.
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DP

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2019, 09:31:36 PM »

Seems to me every company is trying to get a piece of the upper market pie: pro expensive cameras, pro expensive and large lenses (both primes and zooms). Sony A9, Fuji XH1, Panasonic new FF, now Olympus...

Fuji X-H1 is now dirt chip... Fuji reduced the price to : Fujifilm X-H1 + vertical grip + two additional batteries for $1,299... peanuts vs other flagships : https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1388298-REG/fujifilm_16568755_x_h1_mirrorless_digital_camera.html
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DP

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Re: E-M1x specs posted
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2019, 09:35:18 PM »

Those huge "pixels" would offer less resolution than the Olympus, but not much less, and they'd come with enormous DR and high ISO capability.

nothing "enormous" was in Sony A7S* with 12mp sensels (so nothing enourmous will happen with binning 4:1 from 60mp sensels)
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