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Author Topic: Olympus has Fallen – Who’s next?  (Read 2311 times)

josh.reichmann

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Robert Roaldi

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Re: Olympus has Fallen – Who’s next?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 01:23:16 pm »

Just read the article, very interesting, but the thing that struck me most was the mention of Olympus m4/3's value as a sports/action system. For some reason, I've not seen that aspect mentioned in many places and it's one of the main reasons I use Olympus m4/3s. I could never afford the top of line pro sports bodies from Canon and Nikon and their lenses, even if I felt like carrying them around, which I don't. I could not even justify a 2-generations old D4 for that matter. But for not much money, I bought a used E-M1 and have been using it and a 35-100/f2.8 Panasonic lens for several years now shooting grass roots bicycle racing. I don't understand why the system didn't catch on more with new sports shooters, although I can understand why existing professionals would stick with what they know.

Does anyone print large sports action photos? Do they appear anywhere other than the web? Why spend thousands on a state of the art full-frame sensor to display pics on iPhones and iPads or Facebook timelines?

Other than Fujifilm, there are really no APS/C systems with purpose-built weather-sealed fast-focussing lenses. The reviews say that A Nikon D500 is a good sports shooter but you still have to buy expensive full-frame lenses if you want to shoot sports action, especially in the rain.

Personally I would go even further and say that a weather-sealed 1" inch sensor body with faster lenses would be even a better sports/action system. It's too bad Nikon killed their 1 series before developing it further in that direction. For thousands of amateur or semi-amateur sports shooters or birders, that would have produced perfectly fine image quality for not much money and almost no weight. The auto-focus speed of the Nikon V2 would still be amazing if they released it today. If you look up the "dpreview" page on their "best" sports cameras, a non-interchangeable lens 1"  sensor Sony RX10 IV bridge camera makes the list (https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/buying-guide-best-cameras-for-sports-and-action), something that makes complete sense to me.

But things didn't work out in m4/3's favour, it seems. I'm just content that there will be E-M1 family bodies around in the used market for a few years yet.

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Robert

perl_monger

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Re: Olympus has Fallen – Who’s next?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2020, 04:37:47 pm »

Actually ... I'm not trying to nitpick, but ...

There is no "FE" mount. There is only "E" - "FE" was/is used to designate full frame lenses for E.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 04:48:37 pm by perl_monger »
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Robert Roaldi

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Re: Olympus has Fallen – Who’s next?
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2020, 07:41:35 am »

The horse isn't quite dead yet. I just received this email about an updated M Zuiko lens map. I see there is a new 8-25/f4.0 on the way that I never heard of before, along with some other more minor news.

https://learnandsupport.getolympus.com/ca-en/development-announcements?utm_content=hdr&utm_campaign=2020_07_Development_CA&utm_kxconfid=t5ljhtrz5&utm_source=email_ettips&utm_medium=email&sfmc_sub=5243764.
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thyl

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Re: Olympus has Fallen – Who’s next?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2020, 06:48:39 am »

Given the progress of "computational photography" in smartphones in recent years, I reckon that everything between smartphones and professional cameras will be dead within rather short term. That is good news for the likes of Hasselblad, Leica (count them among pro), Alpa etc, because their business model is shaped towards this situation already. All others will be in trouble.

It really surprises me that none of the manufacturers have tried to combine smartphone with a better camera part. Such a "smartcam" could have full smartphone functionality and similar form factor, though sturdier, but a camera with an built-in lens mount (similar to those accessory lenses & cages available, but with electronic interfacing for improved functions in the lenses), a much better camera app than standard, including direct interfaces to social media platforms, and of course some dedicated buttons and dials for operating the camera, and a tripod mount.

Additional revenues could be generated -aside from the lenses- by offering upgrades and expansions to the camera app at a fee (Arri does that for the Alexa, you have to buy licence keys for certain functions), or accessories like a remote control or an EVF.

The main problem I see here might be the reluctance of Apple to cooperate with third parties, so that such a smartcam would probably have to be based on Android, which will restrict the reachable customers.
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rdonson

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Re: Olympus has Fallen – Who’s next?
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2020, 12:30:25 pm »

Methinks you've been inhaling too deeply. 
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Ron

FabienP

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Re: Olympus has Fallen – Who’s next?
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2020, 05:53:52 pm »

Given the progress of "computational photography" in smartphones in recent years, I reckon that everything between smartphones and professional cameras will be dead within rather short term. That is good news for the likes of Hasselblad, Leica (count them among pro), Alpa etc, because their business model is shaped towards this situation already. All others will be in trouble.

It really surprises me that none of the manufacturers have tried to combine smartphone with a better camera part. Such a "smartcam" could have full smartphone functionality and similar form factor, though sturdier, but a camera with an built-in lens mount (similar to those accessory lenses & cages available, but with electronic interfacing for improved functions in the lenses), a much better camera app than standard, including direct interfaces to social media platforms, and of course some dedicated buttons and dials for operating the camera, and a tripod mount.

Additional revenues could be generated -aside from the lenses- by offering upgrades and expansions to the camera app at a fee (Arri does that for the Alexa, you have to buy licence keys for certain functions), or accessories like a remote control or an EVF.

The main problem I see here might be the reluctance of Apple to cooperate with third parties, so that such a smartcam would probably have to be based on Android, which will restrict the reachable customers.

What you are describing here was attempted by DxO with their DxO One module for the IPhone. It nearly killed the company as it was a complete flop.

I remain unconvinced that there is a market between multi-lens smartphones and dedicated 1" cameras. Sure, camera manufacturers should up their games with smartphone integration. The sad thing is that most of them are too entrenched in their hardware manufacturer mentality to leverage software integration. They pretty much killed any firmware customisation (like magic lantern on Canon 5D) and their SDK are so limited for fear that someone might enable high-end features on low end gear and kill market segmentation. I see no end to that and this will ensure that even more people stay away from using dedicated cameras.

Cheers,
Fabien
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thyl

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Re: Olympus has Fallen – Who’s next?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2020, 04:47:11 am »

that is exactly what I have not described. No external module etc, just a plain smartphone with enhanced camera functionality. The idea behind this is that most people are to lazy to carry around more than one item, which in 99 percent of all cases nowadays happens to be a smartphone that fits into a trouser pocket. Was that the case with this module?

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robbiec

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Re: Olympus has Fallen – Who’s next?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2020, 11:12:16 am »

There seems to be an inference from the author that Pentax only use re-branded Tamron lens designs. Might I point out the freshly released HD Pentax-D FA*85/1.4 (July 2020), before that the HD Pentax DA* 11-18/2.8 (Feb 2019) and coming next year will be a redesigned HD Pentax DA* 16-50/2.8 and a HD Pentax-D FA21/?.? Limited. All are Pentax only designs. It may well be that they import designs for the low end and mid range but the STAR Lens series and the Limited Lens series are all and only homegrown.   
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FabienP

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Re: Olympus has Fallen – Who’s next?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2020, 02:27:36 pm »

that is exactly what I have not described. No external module etc, just a plain smartphone with enhanced camera functionality. The idea behind this is that most people are to lazy to carry around more than one item, which in 99 percent of all cases nowadays happens to be a smartphone that fits into a trouser pocket. Was that the case with this module?

See for yourself here. This is still an add-on part but fits more or less with the camera.

There was another phone manufacturer which I forget that made a special phone with a better camera inside but the thing was barely pocketable and relatively expensive.

Same thing for the Nokia 9 with many cameras and advanced features, didn't work commercially and the startup which designed the camera module is now leaving this field.

Cheers,
Fabien
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thyl

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Re: Olympus has Fallen – Who’s next?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2020, 03:45:23 am »

See for yourself here. This is still an add-on part but fits more or less with the camera.

There was another phone manufacturer which I forget that made a special phone with a better camera inside but the thing was barely pocketable and relatively expensive.

Same thing for the Nokia 9 with many cameras and advanced features, didn't work commercially and the startup which designed the camera module is now leaving this field.

Cheers,
Fabien

As far as I can see, none of these products is even close to the concept I outlined above. As I said, one significant aspect is ONE basic device, where software and hardware are integrated. Not the case with the DXO, which also has no exchangeable lenses. Same for Nokia 9. Further, the mechanical operating elements, and the connection to social media (and maybe printers).

And "relatively expensive" is not a counter argument, but the basic requirement for the camera companies to survive.

It is about target group and convenience. People torn between being connected digital natives and being ambitious photographers.

-Most people carry one device, their smartphone. Hence, a smartcam must work without further requirements
-However, operating a camera app is less cameraesk, and hence, for better interaction, physical operating elements must be there
-Add on lenses expand the usability
-Social media connection is crucial
-Fine art printing without much ado, however, also.
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FabienP

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Re: Olympus has Fallen – Who’s next?
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2020, 05:54:09 pm »

As far as I can see, none of these products is even close to the concept I outlined above. As I said, one significant aspect is ONE basic device, where software and hardware are integrated. Not the case with the DXO, which also has no exchangeable lenses. Same for Nokia 9. Further, the mechanical operating elements, and the connection to social media (and maybe printers).

And "relatively expensive" is not a counter argument, but the basic requirement for the camera companies to survive.

It is about target group and convenience. People torn between being connected digital natives and being ambitious photographers.

-Most people carry one device, their smartphone. Hence, a smartcam must work without further requirements
-However, operating a camera app is less cameraesk, and hence, for better interaction, physical operating elements must be there
-Add on lenses expand the usability
-Social media connection is crucial
-Fine art printing without much ado, however, also.

Which is basically what didn't work so far in the attempts at merging both functions in one appliance: the market is too small to sustain R&D and manufacturing costs.

Make it small enough to fit in a pocket and it won't have a substantially better IQ than a smartphone. Make it bigger with interchangeable lenses and it becomes a potentially expensive item in a niche market, trapped between smartphones and 1" sensor cameras.

As for printing, who would do fine art prints without optimising the print rendering in a RAW editing programme, at least on a laptop or an iPad?

Cheers,
Fabien
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Dan Wells

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Re: Olympus has Fallen – Who’s next?
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2020, 12:29:33 am »

I looked at smartphone optics in an article about a year ago. The problem is how thin the phone needs to be. If you put a 1" sensor in a smartphone (not to mention anything bigger than that), you'd need to have a moderate wide-angle lens for a 1" sensor in there as well. That's (roughly) a 12mm or 14mm lens covering the 1" sensor. Such a lens would be about 20-25mm in diameter, about the same in length, and weigh 20 to 30 grams. These are rough estimates, but they aren't too far off. I estimated these specs by looking at a similar very compact  lens for Micro 4/3 (the Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f2.5), adjusting the diameter to the estimated diameter of the actual optics instead of the much wider housing, and subtracting about 30% for the 1" instead of 4/3" sensor (I halved the weight because some of the Panasonic lens's weight is in the housing).

The problem is that a modern smartphone is about 8mm thick and weighs about 150-200 grams. The camera bump would be at least 3x the core thickness of the phone, and the lens alone would be responsible for 10-20% or more of the total weight budget.  A few companies have tried to release smartphones with unusually good cameras, accepting extra-large camera bumps in the process. None of them have succeeded, because most customers want a thin, light phone.
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