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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Comments

So by July 2011, the NX system will have a wide 20mm/2.8, a "fast" normal 30mm/2, and a tele 60mm/2.8.

That's all about what need a photographer for casual shooting. Sure that NX doesn't have Panasonic EVF, but what i could was that the NX10 was a very competent little performer. And with a pancake it can fit in a coat pocket.

I really don't understand why Samsung doesn't receive more love compared to Sony's Next or Oly/Pana m4/3.

Actually, I thought the I-function, err, function, was pretty a clever idea. Since you won't be using the focus ring most of the time on a modern camera, one might as well make the most of this place the left hand calls home. If (if!) the implementation is solid, this could prove very useful. You won't have to use your shutterhand to change the EV compensation, for example. It is potentially faster and more stable this way.

Guillaume H,
Actually it will have a GF1-style EVF--a clip-on type. You can see the connector for it on the back side view of the camera.

Sorry if my lack of love offends...I'm a little punchy from processing print orders for the last 45 or so hours.

Mike

I'm actually kind of sad. No, strike that, really sad. Olympus seem to be slowly abandoning the 4/3 ship, and so am I. Great lenses, great colour, but with my penchant for shooting available darkness, I think it's time for me to switch brands. Thank G-d Canon no longer has a monopoly on high ISO performance, because I'd rather stay with Oly than put up with Canon's so-called ergonomics, which seem to be the Antichrist to Maitani's divine designs.

Anyone in Europe wanting to buy an E-3, 14-54 and 50-200 SWD in good cosmetic and perfect mechanical condition for a pittance, let me know.

I don't need a swinging mirror, all I care about is what the sensor can capture.
Anything more is just ego fluff.

Hehe, Mike, Samsung's "consumer research" driven solution reminds me of this (sit through the advertisement):

http://www.theonion.com/video/apple-introduces-revolutionary-new-laptop-with-no,14299/

I probably missed this, but does the Samsung still accept Pentax lenses?

That little Samsung is almost enough to get me to abandon my E-P1. When I look at its larger sensor and the nigh-perfect lineup of wee little primes and compare it to Oly's recent addiction to dim zooms, my purchase finger starts to inch toward my mouse button. The only thing that holds it back (aside from the likely spousal wrath, and the regret I'd feel at selling my beloved m4/3 20 mm pancake) is the lack of IS. C'mon, Samsung, it's not like you've got a back catalog of IS lenses from the film days to keep pushing!

The E-5 seems to me like a placeholder until the E-OM platform arrives. The key features of those cameras would be on-chip PDAF and high quality EVFs. They will be able to make the most of 4/3 and m4/3 lenses alike, and will be only slightly larger than the PENs.
In the meantime, the E-5 is certainly a decent camera. I like the idea of extracting all the possible detail from a given sensor before moving on to a higher resolution. Files are kept slimmer this way and good glass gets the merit it deserves. It is a camera made to be used.
On a side note, too much is attributed to numbers these days. Personally, I would rather have a camera that feels good in a purely analogue sense than a shooting machine with all the right figures. Equipment limitations are good for your photography.

The E-5 is a monumental disappointment. 3 years? Seriously?? The camera introduced today should have been presented to us 2 years ago as the E-3s (or a similar name) as it is substantially no more interesting or different than that which it is replacing. A warmed-over sensor/processor and a good LCD do not a new flagship camera make.

AND, to add complete and total insult to injury, they use the old body but CHANGE THE EFFING BATTERY?????

As someone who has a substantial investment in Olympus glass, (which truly is as good or better than everyone says) I am now stuck with the prospects of getting this, a barely 'good-enough' body and waiting to see if the u4/3 system gets interesting and retains full functionality of the (now) legacy lenses, or just jump ship entirely.

Argghhhh!

"basically, you have to like really good, fast, pricey zooms to be happy in the [Olympus] system."

You forgot to add big and heavy too. But to be fair, Olympus does offer a few excellent lenses that are small, light, and moderately priced. They even offer a couple of great prime lenses. It's just that on the whole, Olympus zooms are much bigger and heavier than you'd expect given the slightly smaller sensor.

One side to all this that seems to be going un-noticed is the other lenses that will fit on this body ..... hmmmmm!!! Leica, Voigtlander, Zeiss come to mind. Remember all those adapters the NEX and micro 4/3 cameras spawned? For someone like me who eschews available darkness, high speed motion and heavy DSLRs this could be the long awaited antidote to the M9 price tag.

Setting the ISO (ASA), aperture, and shutter speed on the lens ?

Crazy.. ridiculous... unheard of...

_CA10984

I'm with you on Samsung's i-Function. For one thing, rotating the dial on the lens to change aperture / shutter speed precludes one handed operation. You either have to take your hand off the shutter to turn the dial or get out of shooting position by using your supporting hand to turn the dial. Sounds like Sony NEX's interpretation of 'easy'.

"AND, to add complete and total insult to injury, they use the old body but CHANGE THE EFFING BATTERY?????"

The battery had to be changed to meet new Japanese safety standards which will become effective in November. The form factor has not changed though, and existing BLM-1's will work in the E-5.

"the becoming-obsolescent fingernail-sized sensor"

You must have small fingers. The imaging area of 1/1.7" sensors is about 5.6 x 7.4 mm. A bit smaller than Lincoln's head on a penny (sorry to be US-centric).

Ross,
The becoming-obsolescent baby's fingernail-sized sensor?

Mike

Charlie H -- no, Samsung struck out on their own here. There's a K-mount adapter (with optics), but it's not inherently compatible. That's not entirely crazy, since the new mount is designed for mirrorless compacts, but it's unfortunate that the accessories like flash aren't compatible.

"I really don't understand why Samsung doesn't receive more love compared to Sony's Next or Oly/Pana m4/3."

they won't mount m-mount lenses with an adapter and both µ4/3 and sony NEX have better high iso performance. i think it it was very foolish of samsung to choose a mount that precludes adapting most rangefinder lenses for use on their cameras.

Mike,
I just wonder how long it will be before someone makes a shift-tilt lens converter for these mirror-less wonders. Seriously!

Bob

It strikes me that the folks who are so down on Olympus not coming out with higher specs don't understand who Olympus really is: they are the Japanese Leica.

Not interested in very large volume (they have their consumer-grade cameras for that), dedicated to the best possible lenses, as well as providing long-term support for their equipment. Olympus makes lenses that, literally, no one else can make (35-100 f2, for instance: no one else comes close, and no, an f2.8 lens is not close). Sure, it's expensive, but this is also the only camera out there that can be routinely and without concern be used in any kind of weather without any additional weatherproofing.

They're not interested in bringing out a new camera body every 6 months with incremental improvements and very large marketing budgets. They leave that to Canon and Nikon: those marketing budgets have to be paid for somehow, and I'd rather pay for the camera rather than the marketing.

This may be the last DSLR in 4/3 using optical paths, but I sincerely doubt that it is the last piece of professional kit from Olympus. They'll bring some of the m4/3 technology up to the 4/3 system and I can envision an E-710 with no mirror box and a EVF built-in. Or an E50 with the next generation Panasonic sensor and EVF, also without the mirror box. Sensor-to-flange distance remains the same, but dropping the mirror box means a potential E710 could look more like the E330.

And video isn't my thing, nor do I think that it really is Olympus' either. Put it in the nice-to-have category...

The first JPGs I've seen are gorgeous. Of course, they would be, wouldn't they? :-)

"The NX100 'i-Function' lens thing actually sounds good.It seems to be like the control ring on the Canon S-90"

I own a Canon s90 and the control ring is far inferior to a second wheel under your thumb or index finger. To operate it, you have to get out of shooting position - your left hand normally supporting the camera now has to be on the ring. With a second wheel solution (or a click wheel to toggle between functions as with GF1), you can make quick adjustments to exposure / aperture without having to compromise shooting stability.

Comments & Corrections

Matthew Miller wrote:
There's a K-mount adapter (with optics), but it's not inherently compatible.

No optics needed! The Novoflex K-to-NX adapter even provides a diaphragm control ring for Pentax DA lenses without aperture rings.

Nick wrote:
I own a Canon s90 and the control ring is far inferior to a second wheel under your thumb or index finger.

The ring on the Samsung lenses doesn't have detents like the S90's does, so it can be rotated with one finger, preferably the index finger of you left hand, which should be in the vicinity anyway if, as you say, you're supporting the camera with that hand.

Hobbes wrote:
they won't mount m-mount lenses with an adapter and both µ4/3 and sony NEX have better high iso performance. i think it it was very foolish of samsung to choose a mount that precludes adapting most rangefinder lenses for use on their cameras.

I agree, but it's possible they could change this in the future if they so wished as the reason for not allowing M lenses is not so much due to a narrow mount, but rather the protrusions inside the camera body past the mount. If one is desperate, one can have a permanent M mount attached to the NX10, as Leitax show here.

-----

The E-5, Oly's Last S(LR)tand?

"I would say that within 24 months the E system will not have a mirror box at all." —Richard S. Pelkowski, Feb 2010 (Olympus's US DSLR manager)

"35-100 f2, for instance: no one else comes close, and no, an f2.8 lens is not close"

John, it's ironic you should pick that lens as a "unique" offering for the 4/3 mount. I heard that the 35-100 was a licensed 70-200mm design (scuttlebutt was that the licensor was one of the Japanese third-party lens manufacturers) with a the last element replaced with a telecompressor group--and that, in fact, the resulting lens could have been even faster were it not for the small throat of the 4/3 mount.

Bob Rapp,
I just wonder how long it will be before someone makes a shift-tilt lens converter for these mirror-less wonders. Seriously!
You can buy one for micro 4/3's
here.
148 Euros shipped to the U.S., if I read that right. (That's $192.60 this week.)
Review here.

I'm a little more interested in one for an aps-c or (eventual) full frame sensor, just because of how the crop factor works - getting a tilted wide angle on micro 4/3's is hampered by the lack of fast wide angle lenses to adapt. That is, if your goal is to expand depth of field while doing landscapes so you can use a much wider aperture. I mean, an adapted 50mm f/1.4 can make for some pretty darn short exposures (awesome!) but the field of view really leaves something to be desired.

This is not to say that I wouldn't play with one of these adapters for three weeks straight if it dropped in my lap!

Sorry for wandering so far off topic Mike. Um, well, I can look forward to what might be adapted on the Samsung, right? Though, I'm probably the millionth person to say that I'm a little disappointed that there's no image stabilization. Most people who want a pocket-able camera with excellent image quality aren't interested in carrying a tripod.
Will

"Mike,
I just wonder how long it will be before someone makes a shift-tilt lens converter for these mirror-less wonders. Seriously!

Bob"

someone has:
http://sonyalphanex.blogspot.com/2010/08/sony-nex-kipon-tilt-lens-adapters.html

What I think of as the "normal" camera support position has the left hand under the base, with the fingers and thumb around the lens (for focus and aperture ring), with the right hand gripping the right end and a finger over the shutter release. In fact, the left hand did the main support work, and the right could move around to wind, change shutter speeds, and hit the release. This is one reason push-pull zooms were popular -- they didn't add a third ring you had to find by touch on the lens.

I will never for the life of me understand why Olympus insists on making Nikanon-sized bodies. The ONLY reason to buy into 4/3rds is to get a much smaller camera/lens combo. If I wanted to carry around something as big as a D300, I'd just buy a D300, since the sensor is probably better anyway.

Kudos to Olympus for their continued commitment to weatherproof DSLR bodies. It's a shame that there are so few to choose from. Weather can really add some atmosphere - ya know?

I tried the NX10 and the sensor performance was poor. Ugly noise at higher ISOs. But it was a nice handling camera.

Mike, I love a well constructed catty remark.

However, in terms of evolution the Samsung moves the game forward in a much more profound way than the E5 which seems like an afterthought.

Sceptical as I am about some of Samsungs recent ergonomic and image processing choices, the lens lineup and general packaging is another evolutionary step towards what will eventually be the new mass market camera format. There will be a few dead ends along the way, but at least they are trying something new.

Mind you brown body and black lens = aesthetic mess. Meeeeoww. ;)

James wrote:
"I heard that the 35-100 was a licensed 70-200mm design (scuttlebutt was that the licensor was one of the Japanese third-party lens manufacturers) with a the last element replaced with a telecompressor group--and that, in fact, the resulting lens could have been even faster were it not for the small throat of the 4/3 mount."

What???
Don't think that anyone made a 70-200 faster than f2.8.
Voodoo Physics turns a 70-200 f2.8 into a 35-100 f2 by changing the rear element and doubling the light gathering ability?

"35-100 f2, for instance: no one else comes close, and no, an f2.8 lens is not close"

It's somewhat ironic then, that a 70-200mm f/4 lens will do an identical job on a full frame sensor, as far as DOF control and the "look" that can be achieved with identical framing. And you can opt to get the f/2.8 version of the lens for even more versatility! Where is the Zuiko 35-100mm f/1.4?

Don't get me wrong, Olympus make some nice lenses, but if I'm going to carry around something as heavy as a full-frame DSLR, I might as well get all the benefits of the larger sensor.

James said -

"I heard that the 35-100 was a licensed 70-200mm design (scuttlebutt was that the licensor was one of the Japanese third-party lens manufacturers) with a the last element replaced with a telecompressor group--and that, in fact, the resulting lens could have been even faster were it not for the small throat of the 4/3 mount."

That is wrong on at least three counts. Whomever you got your information from obviously doesn't know what they are talking about.

1) Although it has the angle of view of a 70-200, there is no way to actually change the focal length of an existing design like that, throw a telecompressor on the back of it, and it retain the same angle of view.

2) If it were a 70-200 f/2.0 to begin with, the entrance and exit pupils would have to to be enormous (much bigger than twice as big) to have that kind of light gathering.

3) The 4/3 mount has an enormous throat diamater (and also a deep mount to filmplane distance) compared to image circle. Telecentricity was a huge factor in the design of the system, and a huge lensmount was an easy way to help the lens designers.

Those really fast zooms are the type of lenses that can only happen in the 4/3 system, specifically because the mount is so big and deep. (Again, compared to image circle.) In my opinion, they were not big sellers because of 1) lack of SWD, size, and the fact that for a given focal length equivalent, your depth of field (actually lack of) is 2 stops deeper. I.E., the Olympus set to 100mm f/2.0 has the 35mm FF angle of view as a 200mm, and the depth of field of f/4.0

"They're not interested in bringing out a new camera body every 6 months with incremental improvements"

Indeed. They just brought out a new camera 3 years later with incremental improvements instead.

"I own a Canon s90 and the control ring is far inferior to a second wheel under your thumb or index finger. To operate it, you have to get out of shooting position - your left hand normally supporting the camera now has to be on the ring."

For a bigger camera like the NX, shouldn't your left hand be on the lens anyway?

"No optics needed! The Novoflex K-to-NX adapter even provides a diaphragm control ring for Pentax DA lenses without aperture rings."

I'm certain there are Chinese-made adapters for Pentax that will do that for 1/5 Novoflex is asking for; there's certainly one for F to m4/3.

James, I don't know where that story originated (about the 35-100 f2 being a stunted 70-200mm) but I've spoken to several Olympus people in Japan and it's just not true. Olympus has an incredibly rich tradition of designing and producing great optics. They are a leading microscope lens manufacturer and also a top tier maker of medical imaging devices.

Stories like that get their genesis on the web and become "fact" but don't make much sense at all.

I've shot with Leica M and R as well as Canon and Nikon and the best Oly lenses are on par with any top of line product from their competitors. The smaller sensor is a different philosophy, for sure, but let's not detract from the things that Olympus does really well. One of which is designing and building great lenses.

Help me remember.....who built and produced the first 24mm shift lens. Oh yeah....Olympus. Jogged my memory because a friend who owns the latest Canon T/S lenses just bought one. The Olympus lens is smaller, lighter and just as sharp....

Moderator's note: I think I made a mistake in letting James open the door on that 70-200 myth. I asked him for sources and he cited numerous forum posts, so I let the comment through (he said "I heard," and he was right, he did hear). I think Kirk's comment should be the last word on the subject here; as you know, the TOP comments section isn't a forum, and this topic looks like it has all the ingredients of one of those typical internet footles....

Thanks y'all,

--Mike the Ed.

The control layout on the back of that E5 is awful. Tiny buttons that are not clearly marked as to function, spread all over the place. I don't care how good the photos are, I'd get a headache just trying to operate the thing.

I think we're seeing the rise of Samsung and the fall of Olympus. Samsung has introduced a compact camera with fast prime lenses aimed at advanced photographers, while Olympus has been able only to release an essentially outclassed/outdated camera as its flagship along with a couple of slow consumer zooms. What Samsung (and Panasonic, and Nikon, et al) seems to understand and Olympus never got was that advanced photographers want a selection of both fast primes AND fast zooms, depending on mood/intent/assignment. Olympus seems to have run out of ideas, simply re-releasing reiterations of its existing consumer grade (read: SLOW) zoom lenses. And putting fast but gigantic zooms on medium sized cameras with undersized noisy sensors just never made sense to me. But it could just be me.

My layman's observation: Olympus has gotten squeezed from the dSLR side (unable to compete with comparable offerings from the big boys), and now it will get plenty of pressure in the mirrorless segment as Samsung and the bigger players start innovating and introducing their own cameras, eating away at Oly's market share and any advantages it may have had.

Wow, some of you guys are really hard on Olympus. I had no idea there was that degree of obloquy out there.

Mike

Clearly, as the saying goes, one man's meat is another man's poison. For me, the main attraction of the 4/3 and m4/3 formats and the Olympus f2 zooms (used via an adapter), including the stellar 35-100 "discussed" above, is the fact that their smaller sensor provides greater DoF than a full-frame sensor for similar aperture and shutter-speed settings, not less.

For my particular type of nighttime photography, the ability to focus and compose using a bright f2 lens and then achieve a similar DoF while using shorter exposures made all the difference, the full extent of which I'm only now realizing after making the leap to medium-format digital via a Contax 645 / Phase One P30+ combo and once again being saddled with slow f2.8 lenses and shallow DoF due to a much larger sensor size. (Don't cry for me, though, as this combo is a stunning performer and so far, the resulting IQ is proving to be more than worth the associated hassles!)

Why has 'incremental' become a dirty word? Yes, an incremental improvement on crap would be, err, crap; but incremental improvements to a fine camera makes an even finer camera to me. Or am I failing to be infected by the HEA (Hardware Expectation Acceleration) virus?

As I recall, Olympus's top line products have always reflected a steady development of an excellent concept - look at the OM1 - OM4Ti lineage - rather than frantic reinvention. Good on 'em.

Regarding Samsung NX-10, the predecessor of NX-100: I bought this camera, because I was fascinated by Oly EP-1. Just I could not live without the viewfinder. NX-10 seemed to be a reasonable solution. But it did not work for me:
- The viewfinder seems to be too small.
- When unpacking the brand new camera, the black plastic stripe around the front lens was falling away! (Overall a plastic feeling comparing to OLY EP-1.)
- Anyway I gave it a try: I liked the colors and the very nice 30/2 pancake lens. But: from time to time the picture was strange, partially blurry, like a wavy paper photograph.
http://www.erbak.com/archives/tag/samsung-nx10
- In the end I returned the camera after a week and swapped it for two Pentax Ltd. lenses.

(Since English is my second language, my apology to all having hard time to read this.)

regards
Peter

@Mike: I see no sign that finger-nail sized sensor are becoming obsolete. Anything that allows you such a compact camera with such (relative) image quality will stick around - just like APS-C has been called doomed many times. See http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/G9-Japan.shtml for one example why it's not going away.

Another thing: While I haven't scrutinized every camera review out there, one thing I've never seen so far is an 'EV' mode. If I find the exact exposure I want (say, in a studio) and want to adjust aperture, I can either use Av mode and lose control of the EV or use manual mode and have to counter-adjust the ISO or shutter speed myself. Why can't I tell the camera 'I want this exposure, no more than this ISO, and the ability to adjust aperture with a simple dial'? Any camera got this?

I do hope Olympus continue with their 4/3 system as, together with Pentax, they make a genuinely interesting alternative to the Pepsi/Coca-Cola battle between the guys with the huge ad spend. Not saying that Walmart Cola is genuinely interesting, but, hey, where else can I get a 31mm f/1.8?

Jim in Denver, I think you are mistaken about the batteries. Olympus Europe points to E-3's HLD-4 grip as compatible with E-5. So the only thing that's changed is the capacity. 1620 mAh against 1500 mAh for BLM-1. And as Olympus Global says, you can use BLM-1 in E-5, although they "don't recommend it". No reason why stated.

What I don't... let's say, like... is the fact that E-5 doesn't have the hybrid focusing system of E-30. That means, no contrast focusing and in LiveView the camera autofocuses only after you press the shutter fully. OTOH, they probably couldn't achieve the speedy autofocus they boast of with the hybrid AF.

Finally, what people are missing is that Olympus raised ISO from 3200 to 6400. They have been conservative with their markings* on the higher-end 4/3 cameras, so I'd guess this camera is really one stop better than E-3. I'd wager you can use it at ISO 1600 without particular problems, just like you can use ISO 800 on E-3.

* for instance, the RAW files are in the vast majority of cases smaller than 14MB they specify. Or - Jim, you probably remember - like their batteries still had quite a lot of juice when the battery alert went on. that's why they introduced the battery alarm adjustment in... E-30, IINW.

Dear Mike,

recently you posted about Canon S95 and 60D, Pentax Kr and Nikon P7000. And now these 3 new models. So your silence about the new Sony A55, which on the paper is one of the most innovative products on the market, is more and more intriguing. We know you are and old fan of Konica-Minolta, and your old friend Michael Reichmann showed a lot of interest. So, what are you hiding to us?

My beloved OM1 has a nice shutter speed selector...

"obloquy"?
Well, as a former Olympus user (OM1, E1, E3) I can't but understand a certain anger...
From as small camera to a huge one, yes outstanding (zoom) lenses, but nonetheless a huge, heavy camera with a sensor that is not and is not going to deliver.
Investment in the micro that has a bright future, but there... just fine to bad lenses, with Panasonic (!!!) making better lenses.
If I switched to Pentax is mainly for the little primes, but my thoughts go with comprehension to those people with outstanding, heavy and very expensive lenses getting a mega-brick with an E-PL1 sensor.
A very good one, yes, but don't name that "pro", it's not.

I also cannot see where all this Olympus hatred comes from. I don't encounter it in the real world - nobody has ever come up and abused me because I'm carrying an Olympus camera. Olympus tends to get praise from the quieter, more thoughtful sectors of the internet, also from people who maybe have got over the whole "mine's bigger than yours thing". As a probable E-5 customer, there are a few things that disappoint me - video, for example, total waste of space IMHO, theE-3 rather then E-1 ergonomics ... I really wanted the AF switch back - but otherwise they have fixed stuff that wasn't broken, and they have adressed the two key areas of screen resolution and IQ.

And I'm sure it will still work happily in the sort of weather conditions that will send it's Canon, Nikon & Sony (but possibly not Pentax) cousins into electronic oblivion.

The big problem with the E-5 is the Pentax K-5 coming next week.

Simply put it's expected to have the same price as the E-5 and exceed the E-5 in every way except in the articulated LCD. Expected specs are16MP, 8fps, 18 point AF, fully sealed, a truly compact body (Oly has never lived up to the potential of 4/3rds to produce a compact, high performance DSLR. The E-5 is a beast in terms of size just as the E-3 was)

The E-5 is merely what everybody was asking for when the E-30 came out. The E-30's sensor, updated processing and a 920k LCD.

What Oly's brought to the table is a high-end body with low-end guts. 5fps? I can get that for $500 from Pentax in the K-x, the K-r is 6fps. 12MP? Enough, but it ocmes as the market moves up to 16MP after mostly stagnating at 12MP for 3 years. Weather sealing, 100% viewfinder, magnesium body? Sounds an awful lot like the Nikon D7000 which retails for $1200.


The E-3, when it launched, had a hard time competing with the competition, but it at least had something to differentiate it in its superb sealing as Pentax was only offering low-performance bodies at that point (the K10D was a good body, but not a high-perfomance one). Now with Pentax stepping up and delivering a lot of performance in compact bodies and Nikon's decision to join Pentax in driving high-end APS-C features downmarket with the D7000 which is essentially a D300-level body in a more compact package (it even has metering with AI lenses) the E-5 is left hanging by delivering $1200 performance at $1700 price.


quote:
Wow, some of you guys are really hard on Olympus. I had no idea there was that degree of obloquy out there.

Mike
/unquote

Their sensors have more noise, less dynamic range, and less color depth than their equivalent competition from canon, nikon, and sony. For people who care about doing post work on their images, the 4/3 sensor just can't deliver the goods unless all you're doing is sharpening.

Lifting shadows or bringing down highlights and increasing contrast is hell on low dynamic range sensors.

"Wow, some of you guys are really hard on Olympus. I had no idea there was that degree of obloquy out there."

I think many are understandably miffed that after a long wait, Oly's latest SLR update is somewhat unexceptional (compared with the D7000 for instance). If I had a big investment in 4/3 lenses, I would personally start worrying and feeling a bit let down.

And yes, I accept that the 4/3 system includes some of the best zooms on the market.

But I like Oly, and want them to succeed. I like the Pen - I think it was brave, innovative and stylish and the IQ is IMO better than any of the competition. But they need to keep ahead of the curve. The market benefits from innovation AND competition.

Samsung's i-function is clever and (and that's where they clearly demark themselves from Sony), they didn't force the user to use the lens ring to access settings.
They actually have included two (2) control wheels on their tiny NX100: who else does that?
I can clearly see how this i-Fn thingy will be helpful when adjusting ISO in M-mode or EV comp. in AV.

By the end of 2011, Samsung will also have a nive prime setup that really looks good (on paper so far...): 16mm, 20mm, 30mm, 60mm macro and 85mm. What more does one need?

I see that the lens on the NX100 is labeled Samsung but it has a blue stripe which I always thought was a Schneider Kreuznach trademark. I wonder if that means somthing or if it's just a case of prototype-itis

"So your silence about the new Sony A55, which on the paper is one of the most innovative products on the market, is more and more intriguing. We know you are and old fan of Konica-Minolta, and your old friend Michael Reichmann showed a lot of interest. So, what are you hiding to us?"

Roberto,
Not hiding, I just haven't fully formulated my thoughts yet.

Mike

Sure, it's expensive, but this is also the only camera out there that can be routinely and without concern be used in any kind of weather without any additional weatherproofing.

Pentax K10/K20/K-7(and in a couple of days the K5), WR lenses.

@Lars Clausen: have you looked at Pentax's unique exposure modes, especially hyper-manual?

Don't think this works with other cameras, but in hyper-manual mode you set your shutter and aperture and hit AE-L. Assuming you have a dual dial camera, the one assigned to aperture will automatically adjust the shutter when changed and the one assigned to the shutter will automatically adjust the aperture.

The exposure stays locked until you hit the AE-L button again.

See here for some more discussion about the unique modes:

http://www.ok1000pentax.com/2009/04/pentax-hyper-program-and-hyper-manual.html

Hyper-program does much the same but will adjust the exposure as well.

You may also be interested in the other unique modes, Sv (sensitivity priority) and TAv (Shutter AND Aperture priority)!

Mike, if you're going to dazzle all the mulligrubs on this site with 'obloquy', expect few sprankles in reply.

"I see that the lens on the NX100 is labeled Samsung but it has a blue stripe which I always thought was a Schneider Kreuznach trademark."

Can a simple blue stripe be registered as a trademark? Samsung has made a point in the past of putting the Schneider Kreuznach name on some of their point-and-shoot cameras. Why would they want to not use the name on the NX lenses?

Mike Johnston: "Wow, some of you guys are really hard on Olympus. I had no idea there was that degree of obloquy out there."

Has to do with the fact that they consistently overpromise and underdeliver.

For example, anybody who saw the original 4/3 lens roadmap (http://i194.photobucket.com/albums/z179/realink_album/zuiko-2004.jpg) and believed it had a rude awakening. Not one of the primes promised for 2005 ever appeared.

"Their sensors have more noise, less dynamic range, and less color depth than their equivalent competition from canon, nikon, and sony."

Ben - This same argument goes on an on (and I assume you're saying APS-C is equivalent to 4/3). Specifically, the same thing applies to APS-C versus full frame. And full frame versus medium format. Everyone needs to find their comfort zone. In some cases that means a 4/3rds sensor with some nice primes and the additional DOF you get with the smaller sensor.

It's not a fair comparison APS-C to Full frame because unless you count high end APS-C to a used 5D, you can't get them for the same price. There are several APS-C cameras for the price of the E-3/5. Same with MF, you can't get digital MF for less than the cost of 5 FF cameras.

For people who want extra dof, nice lenses, and do very little post work, I will agree that Olympus is a very nice camera maker. The shame is that if they improved their sensor quality, they would have a real all-around beauty on their hands.

what in the name of all that's holy are these Olympusphobiapalooza people griping about?

my E-3 and E-P1 cameras are perfectly mated to my Epson Stylus Pro 7800 - none of which are "state of the art" - all of which turn out truly beautiful 24'x36' / 24'x24' prints.

Have any of these state-of-the-art gearheads ever actually viewed such prints from these vastly under-rated and under-appreciated pieces of equipment?

I suspect not because, pixel-peeping aside, there is absolutely nothing to be "ashamed" of / apologies needed - where the rubber meets the road or the ink meets the paper the result are nothing short of picturelicious.

Maybe all the "obloquy out there" is simply due to the fact that Olympus just ain't doing their part to stimulate the economy (of endless and conspicuous consumption).

Well as we all know most camera people want to sit around and compare specs and declare themselves the winner. The fact is the E-5 will deliver stunning photographs in the right hands, as well as 99.9% of the cameras ever made. But that's no fun to argue about. For me, nothing is finer that a beautiful 300mm f2.8 strapped onto a weatherproof body with a superior dust removal system. No worries out in the field. This camera will work fine for me. Now, back to your spec sheets.

@Lars Clausen: Nikon cameras can do this. Set to aperture priority or program mode, then enable auto ISO from the menu. Be sure to set the parameters (highest ISO you want the camera to go, and minimum shutter speed before the camera raises the ISO). If in A mode, remember to lock the exposure first before changing aperture.

For example, anybody who saw the original 4/3 lens roadmap (http://i194.photobucket.com/albums/z179/realink_album/zuiko-2004.jpg) and believed it had a rude awakening. Not one of the primes promised for 2005 ever appeared.

Er, what promised primes? Sorry, Mike, I simply have to join.

The link doesn't work, there's no image there. But IIRC the only promise they broke is the one about a telephoto macro. And Olympus users have been riding them hard about that.

I don't count various forum wishlists and rumours as promises.

Plus a bit of arrogance: if you cannot take a good photo with an Olympus, you cannot take it with anything else either.

Not sure why people are thinking Samsung is rising and Olympus is falling. Samsung is the one that failed. They no longer make DSLRs while Olympus does. Sigma, Panasonic, Kodak, Fuji, Contax, Leica, Minolta all failed in making DSLRs. Olympus to their credit is releasing new models which is great. Olympus after all was the only major player other than Leica that did not pursue an auto focus body and in a world where can choose between a camera with a Sony sensor or a camera with a Canon sensor, it's nice to have players like Olympus still around. Still won't buy one but still nice.

Quote Mark Hobson: «Maybe all the "obloquy out there" is simply due to the fact that Olympus just ain't doing their part to stimulate the economy (of endless and conspicuous consumption).»
Well, you are right.
12 Mpx should be enough for any pro assignment, giving they are very good, except for rare specific needs.
That said, if it's what it seems - a temporary camera waiting for the upcoming mirrorless development and diffusion - it looks like a dear one to... swallow.
Good (huge) camera, but isn't Panasonic possibly coming out with a newer, better specified 4/3 sensor? The E-5 doesn't seem a good value in perspective, sure not enough to sell new systems (read expensive lenses).
A pro or "pretending" pro will likely look elsewhere (well, that's not news...). And a sensible photographer who has bought into that system, perhaps, would have appreciated a stronger effort, in other words a sort of promise: keep your excellent lenses, we won't let you down. Now this is not that clear, IMHO.

In any case, we all welcome a pro specified camera at a relatively reasonable price. Results on the table, there's no more the need for 24*36mm sensors to produce excellent and perfectly printable photographs.
Pitifully, regular 4/3, born as an open system, is now very lonely and closed on itself. Better chances seems to have the micro, let see if economic and marketing rules allow a winning consortium...

erlik: The link doesn't work, there's no image there. But IIRC the only promise they broke is the one about a telephoto macro. And Olympus users have been riding them hard about that.

You'll have to remove the ')' at the end: http://i194.photobucket.com/albums/z179/realink_album/zuiko-2004.jpg

The other three 2005 primes were silently morphed into significantly less ambitious and useful products:
fast wide (14mm?) => 8mm fisheye
fast macro (25mm?) => 25mm f/2.8
fast mid-telephoto (45mm?) => 35mm f/3.5 macro
fast telephoto macro (100mm?) => MIA

As someone who bought an E-1 when those lenses were still on the roadmap I have been pretty annoyed with the E-system development. The big and expensive (for what it offers) E-5 doesn't help.

12 Mpx should be enough for any pro assignment? Don't think so! Over on a Nikon mailing list I'm on there are several pros who say 21 Mpx is the minimum the market will even look at in their part of the industry.

The link to the 4/3 lens roadmap is slightly borked, the image is actually still online here.

(The closing paren became part of the clickable link, which of course doesn't work. It's safer to take the trouble to write the actual html, rather than counting on typepad and the browser to work things out.)

«12 Mpx should be enough for any pro assignment? ... several pros who say 21 Mpx is the minimum the market will even look at in their part of the industry.»

Market requests can be silly. I said enough cause the technical data are that a 4/3 12 MPx can be (offset) printed at the highest quality at 34*25,6cm.
That is enough for any kind of traditional press publication.
Then, there are specific needs: many of your friends work perhaps in the part of the industry requiring high resolution posters. ;)
Or sell images to agencies requiring the highest standard on the market. That is not what's normally needed, but they don't differentiate.
The interesting part is that the requirements dictated by agencies don't depend on the actually needed quality, but on the limits reached by camera makers. Have a Canon camera reaching 50 Mpx, and the market will not accept less than 30...

Of course, I agree a pro camera would be better if equipped with the best sensors around, but point also the attention to the real technical requirements as opposed to the market/marketing ones.

I wasn't going to buy an E-5 anyway, but for me the good news is buried in the dpreview story: they've "lightened" the low-pass filter and revised the image engine for more "professional" (?) results. I think (I hope?) this means that they've addressed the problem that most reviewers have mentioned about many recent Olympus cameras: a nagging lack of sharpness due to over-agressive anti-aliasing.

I hope that this change trickles down to the lower-level E420/E620 lines, which I think are pretty nifty little machines.

The other three 2005 primes were silently morphed into significantly less ambitious and useful products:

fast wide (14mm?) => 8mm fisheye

fast macro (25mm?) => 25mm f/2.8

fast mid-telephoto (45mm?) => 35mm f/3.5 macro

fast telephoto macro (100mm?) => MIA

If you read the fine print on the image, it said the roadmap was a plan and could be changed without notice. And the details were to be announced.

It seems they were thinking about creating such a lineup. I'd say they revised their thinking after the initial all-out attacks on the E series. And they refrained from such broad and vague announcements.

Olympus does indeed produce some very wonderful products within their limitations,
however failure to listen to your customers
will ultimately result in business suicide.
For whatever reason they absolutely refuse to provide their customers with the fast primes they have all but begged for several years now.how do you explain this?

"For whatever reason they absolutely refuse to provide their customers with the fast primes they have all but begged for several years now.how do you explain this?"

I don't. A mystery to me.

Mike

"how do you explain this?"
I don't. A mystery to me.

Well, not a great mystery. After the initial attacks, they had great success with the entry level E-500. That model saved the Olympus DSLR division. Just like their other entry-level models had more success than the more advanced models.

So why would they cater to the crowd that spit acid on E-1 and E-300? For every action there's a reaction. They now pay more attention to the vast majority that buys lower-level cameras with standard zooms. Galling, but here we are. Besides, the attacks don't stop. Every little while somebody finds a reason why Olympus sucks.

And in that light, it is surprising that they produced such terrific super-high-grade lenses...

"12 Mpx should be enough for any pro assignment....Market requests can be silly. "

Tell that to Kirk Tuck ( http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/ ) who was using Olympus gear until he was told that he was losing (or going to lose) work without higher-pixel results. He got a 7D and a 5D2 and is extremely happy with the results. He was not unhappy with the Olympus results (aside from some issues with high-ISO noise) but pro assigments required different gear, and the alleged silliness of the market is irrelevant when the job is on the line.

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