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Sunday, 03 October 2010

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They'll certainly be redefining "Pro Level" if it has no rangefinder, no optical viewfinder, a buzzy, TV-snow electronic finder, and no way to directly set the focused distance. We'll see...My mind is open,...but suspicious.-KB-

Don't lose sleep Mike. They have in-body IS on every interchangeable camera they have made in the last few years. Why would they remove it?

Hmmn - there goes their idea of a "Brown Cloud" Fart Ilter !!

A rangefinder would be really nice. I wonder if the m43 lenses pass focusing distance information to the body.

Adding body-integral IS is pretty much a no-brainer for Olympus, this is the only competitive advantage they have over Panasonic. The more interesting question is whether they choose to continue the megapixel race and use a 16MP sensor or decide to use a lower resolution sensor with better noise characteristics.
I'm also curious whether they will incorporate an EVF to make the camera more usable in daylight, or stick to the optional EVF scheme.

My thesis:
- Stabilization improves image sharpness with long focal lengths at medium exposure times (1/125 to 1/500).
- For landscape or architecture or night a tripod is the best solution.
- In my opinion, it is more effective to adapt the stabilization to the focal length.
- Stabilization can degrade optical performance.
- Stabilization is a sensitive technique.

"No Art Filters"

Don't hold your breath Mike. The idiots even put the Art Filters in the 4/3 flagship. I know you don't have to use them but I don't like to pay for gimmicks in a pro body.

I'm thinking e.e. cummings. With a spot of Gertrude Stein?

If Olympus is indeed working on a high-end Micro 4/3 camera then I have no doubt that it will have body-integral IS, like all Olympus cameras that weren't for the low end of the market have had for quite some time.

I just wish Canon or Nikon would finally put it into their DSLRs.

Not that it helps anyone invested in m4/3 lenses, but I think most, if not all, of what you're waiting for in the pro model is available now at a bang-for-the-buck price in the Sony A33. It's not the beauty a Pen is, but it's light and small and delivers the goods. And as far as I know, it doesn't have Fart Ilters.

Sigh. So, the Fuji X100 DMD euphoria is already fading. When will we be happy?

It will be a real shame if body-integral stabilization is left out!The one inside E-P2 let me shoot as low as 1/4 without shake! It even work with my Panasonic 7-14!!

Another digital Hexar contender, I hope.

Sorry Mike, but "Fart Ilters" are obligatory on new high-end Olympus cameras, witness the E-5. Although I will probably buy one, I really don't want or need the "creative" filters or the video. Cheers, Kevin

It is my understanding that the executives of all the great camera brands clandestinely gather at least once a year, to negotiate who can incorporate which features in their new products. If one camera includes a great must-have (or better yet: want-have) feature then it also must include at least one dumb demerit or lack. This is to make sure no-one will inadvertently create the perfect camera. So every brand will have something to brag about in their marketing materials and still leave room for the others to prosper. This way everybody is kept happy ... except the customers, of course (but who cares about customers).

The same applies to other product categories as well ... cars, consumer electronics, you name it.

Any reason why Olympus should drop body-integral stabilisation? Actually I can see some, but all the MFT-lenses have been without stabilisation so far and they can't launch a new high end model with out any form of stabilisation.

I'm a long time Pentax user and E-P2 convert. I have to go with Steve Huff on the art filters though. The recent news that Pentax is canceling their FA Limited lenses has ruled out my upgrading from to the K5 so I'll be interested to see what Olympus does. I'm selling off all my Pentax gear except a few SMC M lenses that I use on the E-P2 since Pentax appears to be heading in the direction of cheap plastic zooms only. That said I would be hesitant to go with a more expensive Olympus M 4/3 body since they don't really have much of a prime lens line up either. I really like the E-P2 but would like to see Olympus release a few more prime lenses for it. On the other hand, I suppose the Panasonic lenses work just as well it.

Love the fart ilters on the EPL-1 (especially the soft focus and B&W grain) -the soft focus is wonderful for guests at weddings, -no post production at all necessary, and clients love 'em... much better than mucking about with Canon 40D JPEGS... but why should any new Oly NOT have in body stabilisation-it works well, and sorts the Oly's from the Lumix G series m4/3. Hadn't heard about the possibility of a high end Oly.... could be very nice.

But, but - doesn't a crass-processing (or whatever it's called) cool thingy help us ALL to get that individual, creative wow factor with our photos? In a snap? Just like all those famous guys?

You got something against democracy? (grin)

That seems like a safe bet. I really hope they stick with the compact size of the PEN series though.

Hey fart ilters are for treative cypes like me.

Auto Focus. Auto Exposure. Fart Ilters. Priceless!

Olympus believes that the art filters etc are useful for a photographer without a computer and photoshop, i think they are right.
Don't like them. don't use them.

I still don't see in camera stabilization. With a telephoto lens things are still shaking and I have no confidence that the stabilization is working. Just one more thing to go wrong with the camera. I also don't see price a factor, since there are some great IS lenses out there for under $350 and we really don't need that many today with some of the great zoom lenses out there... If we are talking some high end primes I still think a tripod is in order to get the best out of those lenses.

Plus 1!

While they are at it how about a couple of high quality lenses?!

But the ten in-camera Art Filters including new Dramatic Tone round out the E-5's impressive feature set, allowing Limitless Creativity. Do you really want Olympus to decimate their sales by releasing a Micro 4/3 Pro camera less capable than their 4/3 model?

And a few really fast and great pancake lenses...

???
I thought Olympus always put in body-integral stabilization?
Will

To quote Homer Simpson;

'Less artsy more fartsy.'

"P.S. And no Fart Ilters."

You can say that again.

"So, the Fuji X100 DMD euphoria is already fading. When will we be happy?"

Dude, I talk about cameras for a living. Happiness is not my lot.

Mike

"Another digital Hexar contender, I hope."

Our cup runneth over, lately.

Mike

.....and an intergal electronic viewfinder, not that ugly add on lump.

O1af,
I like your theory, except, do you think Coke and Pepsi...er, C* and N* really want other brands to prosper?

Mike

I assume you are referencing one of limericks I found most enlightening in a different era:

There once was a painter, McNeff
Who was cross-eyed, palsied, and deaf
When his work was to be touted
The critics all shouted
"This is art with a capital F!"

I'm not understanding the objection to the Art Filters. If you don't like them, just don't use them. I'm not a video person but I don't really care if they put video on my camera. I just don't use it.

The new GH2 Panasonic seems aimed at movie making, but it has a big thing, a proper ratio shifting, the 3/2 and 16/9 image ratios use a longer sensor area, not just a crop as in the G2. Yes, image stabilization would be enough for me to shift towards Oly.

I predict at least one model that is something of a "transformer." Perhaps OM2 like in style for M43 lenses and a retro look. Then attach the 4/3 adapter and a heavy-duty grip with extra power to drive the regular 4/3 lenses (and hold them comfortably). Then you can be Kevin Spacey or Arnold Schwarzenegger depending on your mood.

Art Filters are a given, software is cheap, especially when it's already been implemented.

Body-IS is also a given. It's in all the Oly bodies now, it will be in the new m4/3 body. It is Oly's biggest selling point in the mirrorless market (As Sony is not doing it with the NEX's).

Expect the Oly to be interesting but no higher in performance than the E-5. The selling point will be sealing and build, not performance. If you want fast AF and high fps, wait for the Sony A77 or get an A55.

I don't get why Olympus gets so much grief for the fart ilters.

They are just a few alternate tone curves and sharpening transforms and are the sort of features where the only cost is the ink for the extra paragraphs in the manual.

It's not as bad as trying to buy a car without carpeting and electric windows.
Ask any dairy farmer what they think of carpets in pickup trucks, it literally stinks.

Canon and Pentax have similar features, Canon with their picture styles, and I can't remember what Pentax calls their feature. I never use the Canon picture styles since I only shoot raw and they are a big hassle to edit on a computer and I really don't see the point etc. unless I was shooting video. However the kid I sold my Pentax K10 to really likes the ability to edit the curves and post process raw files in the camera.

It costs nothing, it might sell a few more cameras allowing them to either make more profit or lower the price, and it's not like a mechanical feature that might eventually break or wear out.

Now if the discussion was about getting rid of autofocus...

I have to say, I'm not sure I understand the point of this post, since I can't for the life of me imagine why Olympus wouldn't include stabilization. This seems a little bit like hoping that when Nikon releases the D4, it will include fast autofocus.

OK, enough being a curmudgeon. Two quick notes/thoughts:

1) I really hope that "pro-level" means "well suited to the needs of professionals", not just "bigger, heavier, blacker and more expensive" than the non-pro models. I would think that professionals would value fast performance (autofocus, operation), build quality, SMALL size and LIGHT weight.

2) @Keith B.: "TV-snow electronic finder" Have you seen and tried the electronic finder for the E-P2 and E-PL1? I have to admit, I was skeptical about its performance and utility when I read all the reviews about it. It looked bulky and clumsy in all of the pictures of it on the web. And everyone knows that electronic viewfinders suck, right? But recently I was at B&H and saw the viewfinder on an E-PL1. Holy cow! First of all, the thing is tiny. Waaaaaayyyyy smaller than you would think from the web pictures. But more importantly, it is very comfortable to use and the image quality is outstanding. I was completely blown away. I understand that the add-on viewfinders from Panasonic (and soon-to-be Samsung?) have much lower resolution, so I wouldn't lump the Olympus viewfinder in with that crowd. It was extremely impressive, and I have no down that optical viewfinders will be phased out as electronic viewfinders continue to improve. Based on what I saw, that will happen sooner than expected.

@john robison: "not that ugly add on lump" See above. In person, its not nearly as big as you would think, and actually quite charming.

Best,
Adam

I don't have an issue with art filters so long as they burry them in the menu system so I can ignore them. Of course I'd prefer Leica-like simplicity and remove ALL the fluff, but I can let things like filters slide if they give me a weather sealed PEN with built-in EVF, that can focus as fast as the GH2. Heck, I've been waiting so long for my perfect small camera if they give us nothing but a weather sealed EP2 with built-in EVF even that would be enough to get me excited. Hopefully they paid attention to the Fuji X100 and give us something similar with a m4/3's lens mount.

I'm curious what kind of lens they will package it with, none of Olympus' current lenses are pro-grade. I'm hoping for a weather sealed 25mm/1.4 to match the body.

A "pro level" m4/3 needs a couple things.
a. IBS
b. A view finder in whatever configuration (optical or EVF) that is bright,sharp and allows action photography. Preferably in-body. If optical, then it would nice if the body has a built in focus confirmation for manual focus lenses.
c. A good C-AF
d. It must be a system, and not just a body. To that end, it needs "pro" level m4/3 lenses and the ability fully use existing 4/3 lenses. The latter part assumes that some of the larger 4/3 lenses will have to be used on a tripod/monopod even though they can be hand-held with current 4/3 DSLRs.

JSB said:

"... The recent news that Pentax is canceling their FA Limited lenses has ruled out my upgrading from to the K5...."

JSB, I missed this recent news. Do you have a Pentax announcement or other official source or is this how unfounded internet rumors are propagated?

I like "Art Pilfers" myself, at least as a term ;-). I just want compact and TOUGH, and of course, in-body IS. I expect I'll get it, I just worry a bit about the price.

"...a buzzy, TV-snow electronic finder, and no way to directly set the focused distance."

Electronic finders are WAY past looking like TV-snow - check one of the newer ones out and you might be surprised. The only time they get buzzy is in very low light, where you probably wouldn't be able to see anything with an optical finder anyway.

And there's no reason they couldn't start adding focus distance scales to m4/3 lenses - they certainly have them on most of their regular 4/3 lenses.

JSB said "The recent news that Pentax is canceling their FA Limited lenses..."

Is this true? I have the 43, and want at least the 77. Do I have to buy it now - or is this just rumors?

I think it's just rumors, but I'll find out.

Mike

it will probably have an articulated screen that takes up a lot of room and pushes buttons out of place, a built-in evf, weather-sealing, body-integral stabilization, and fart ilters.

also, it's probably going to be larger than the e-p1, which is already dangerously close in size to the leica m9.

argh!

Yes, it's going to be interesting to see what happens when the apparently mutually exclusive goals of "pro" and "small" are set out together. It seems like "pro = big" has been an article of faith to Japanese cameramakers since the Pentax LX. The F3 was also "right-sized," but everything from the F4 onwards has included large size as a signifier of serious intent.

I could almost exempt the A900/A850 from this general rule, but...not quite.

Mike

Dear Henk,

It's more likely the people who want art filters are paying for YOUR features.

The unit manufacturing cost for those is pennies. Doesn't add more than a few bucks to the manufacturing cost of the camera.

But the cost of the camera is unit manufacturing cost plus amortized startup costs, and those are substantial.

If including art filters sells enough more units and it doesn't cost a lot to develop said filters, the unit cost goes DOWN.

Absent data to the contrary, you have to assume that these companies are capable of doing market surveys and figuring out which bells and whistles pay for themselves and which don't.

I never use art filters. I don't even know how to access them. So why should I care if they're in the camera? Perhaps out of some misguided idealogical purity over what photography should be? Not me.

If they ain't in your way and they ain't costing you anything, why care?

pax / Ctein

Why would you care about the filters ?

Wouldn't really want them myself, but since the marginal cost of putting them in approaches zero, and they add nothing to the camera's weight and take nothing from its performance, why dilute your message to Olympus ?

And what if they take note of your appeal, but decide to grant only one of your wishes - would the lack of IS be compensated by the lack of filters ?

If Olympus get this camera right, it will be very interesting indeed. Please hassle them only on the important stuff.

Ctein,
One could make that argument both ways, I think. I quite honestly stopped thinking about buying an E-30 when it came out because the "art filters" just send such a wrong message. Not that I would have bought an E-30 anyway; the point is that the feature was a turn-off.

Even if it's perfectly appropriate in, say, the E-620, I definitely think it sends the wrong message in a camera like the E-5. It makes it seem babyish and puerile to me. Maybe I'm the one who's not being rational here, and I accept that, but then, hell itself will freeze over before I buy a car that parallel parks itself, too--until such time as ALL cars do and I have no choice.

(Although I have to admit I'm kind of liking heated seats.)

Treacly plinking piano music; cue anodyne British voice: "Digitalization. There's no doubt it's made photography easier, and picture quality better. But...I don't know what it is...but my pictures just don't excite me the way they used to."

Music swelling to triumphalist it'll-all-be-all-right crescendo: "The ultimate purpose of the art filter is to make it possible for users to easily express their own personal style and creativity."

Later, plinking guitar this time; enter robotic, Hal-like female voice: "Pale and light color. Produces images enveloped in a solf light, that suggests daydreams, reveries, or memories."

Oh, so *that's* how you do that! Goody. I choose *that* one for my personal style, which is "daydreams, reveries, memories."

I'm doing *art* now.

(Quotes from the "Art Filter" video at Amazon.)

Off to be creative, or alternately to throw up,

Mike

Nigel,
Right, this isn't worth getting polarized over.

Mike

Agree on fart Ilters...

My Please Please Please is for them to follow Leica and Pentax and Ricoh and Please Please Please have RAW capture to DNG. Please - proprietary file formats (insert rude metaphor of your choice here...)

And the beat goes on,and on,and on.........

On the Pentax FA's the "news" is all over the forum. Two forums members who I suppose are very reliable were told at Photokina that the 31, 43, and 77 were being discontinued by a representative fromm Pentax. There was some heated debate about it but the consensus was that the two individuals were reliable.

I got E-PL1 over Panasonic because of in-body stabilization. It is close to perfect with the unstabilized 20mm Panasonic pancake. Absolutely love the camera - am seriously considering selling my Canon APS-C kit. I'm going to Central America soon, and I can't imagine lugging my APS-C kit around.

In addition to "pro" level body, Micro Four Thirds needs more good primes. The 20mm and 17mm pancakes, and the soon-to-be-released 14mm Panasonic are a good start. A ~7mm ultra-wide and a very fast (f/1 or even faster) somewhere between 50 and 70mm for portraits are my hopes. When those are out, I will have zero reason to stick with APS-C.

Dear Mike,

I don't choose a camera based on the kind of message it sends.

I do it based on the kind of message I can send with it.

Jest sayin'...

(catchy phrase, that)

pax / Ctein

Well, yes, the Art Filters can be ignored.

But those hokey icons on the mode dial can't. "Just don't use them," you say. Well, I never have, but at one point my E-510 started to act like HAL and would take photos in "portrait" mode regardless of what had been selected. This was serious because in portrait mode the depth of field is minimized.

Couldn't be fixed, either. I don't think that Olympus actually understood what the problem was.

All this has caused a question. Would it be possible to construct a camera into which you, for a small fee, download the added featues you want. The camera comes with basic software to control ISO, exposure compensation, Av, Sv, Manual, DOF preview, and also basic white balance and RGB control and auto focus adjustments. After that the 'gee-wizz' stuff could be downloaded from the manufacture's website as desired to be incorprated into the menu system. These features could also be dumped later if so desired.

weather proof.... with fantastic seals and lenses to match... Please..

can't wait...

My EPL-1 is already being used to professional shoots... and everyone thinks it is a toy... so cool...

Sounds nice. Add in a lens that's worth putting on it (besides Panasonics 20/1.7) and you might have something ! Maybe a nice compact 50 ... not an oversized, slow focusing macro.

Just want to say that the E-620 is a wonderful camera, I have been using it since June 2009 and I am still satisfied with it. The art filters are rarely used but when they are I get a RAW file and the modified JPEG as a bonus. Setting the camera to produce a square pinhole JPEG and a full sized RAW file creates a virtual Holga in software and sometimes that is very nice.
With the 25 pancake the camera is small and live view is very useful with the articulated screen. I use the vertical grip and the super sharp 50 macro or the 14-54 II lens for portraits and the size is just right.
Sixteen months of use and I am very happy.

Mike,

The time to worry about art filters is when they are the *only* way to control the camera.

Dave

"Sixteen months of use and I am very happy."

Whew. You know, it *is* a relief to hear someone say that. We do always complain a lot.

It's best to be happy.

Mike

In-camera art filters or Adobe Lightroom "Presets". What is the difference?

Right. That's what I thought.

It won't happen, but I want an OM1-sized full frame DSLR that I can use with my old Zuiko lenses. I'm having fun using them on a 5D, but it doesn't feel quite right.........

People that buy a camera with "the message it sends" as a consideration are the kind of people the marketing departments just love.

Why do they call them "Art Filters"?

Why don't they do it like the producers of perfume? They should ask somebody with incredible taste and style (i.e. Paris Hilton, Annie Leibowitz, Michelle Obama) to create JPG-Profiles. I am sure some of them would do a good job and the marketing virtue would be even better.

Despite of my pretty funny examples, I am serious about this.

Art Filters are rubbish only insofar as it's Olympus controlling the art, not the artist. The people above who use them as part of their creative process have found a way to use a particular setting creatively, but controls we don't use are just clutter, which subtly upset our Qi (Chi).

The camera is now as much a computer as a light tool; at this level it should be programmable. Create the camera and set up an Olympus App store. Make it easy to create new Apps and reward good ones. Good Apps will live in many cameras, some will find only a few happy users, some will be deleted two days after installing them. "Art filters" are just bad, unintegrated, and uncustomizable Apps. Perhaps in a few years we'll all be buying the MJ DMD App.

But at the end of the day it's about reducing the post-processing that is needed to get good art by doing creative work beforehand, thinking about the creative flow, seeing and shaping the future, using beautiful tools created by other people to create beautiful things with and for other people.

If Olympus or someone doesn't go this route soon, Apple will do it, and Olympus will be unhappy. Can Olympus imagine the Apple 4/3rds camera? I think the evidence is that they might be able to.

Art filters....

The evolution of the black and white jpeg.

Before pro-level m4/3, I'd hope we'd at least see a few good lenses from them, and an indication that they're capable of making small cameras with decent ergonomics?

So far, it's Panasonic that is producing quality cameras, while Olympus takes a stab at the cameras-as-fashion accessory market.

I think, for Olympus anyway, that image stabilization is pretty much a given. The bigger tragedy would be if they fell into the "pro level equals bigger" mindset.

"I don't choose a camera based on the kind of message it sends. I do it based on the kind of message I can send with it."

Fine, but that's not the point. Your comment made the assumption "If including art filters sells enough more units [emphasis mine] and it doesn't cost a lot to develop said filters, the unit cost goes DOWN." My point is that I think your assumption might be wrong in the case of higher-end cameras like the E-5--that is, that the presence of the art filters might be a turn-off to potential buyers and would result in FEWER sales. Thus the unit cost goes UP, and therefore including the art filters is a mistake. On high-end cameras. Such as the E-5. And a postulated high-end Micro 4/3 body.

Mike

I sort-of understand the objection to "art" filters in the camera. The camera system one uses is an identification point for lots of photographers, and it's a point other people can see (when we're out shooting in public with our cameras). So other photographers might come and talk to me about art filters. And then I'd have to be rude to them. This would be unpleasant.

If it's anything like that, that explains why just ignoring them, or even a way to turn them off and never see them again, isn't seen as good enough. And if they take up any space on dedicated controls, that's both a waste and a constant reminder that they're there.

Re: Limited's discontinued: http://photo.net/pentax-camera-forum/00XMaX?start=40

stupid rumor

Dear Mike,

Ahh, fair point! Dunno what the reality of the situation is, but it's certainly an argument that must be evaluated.

Did the resistance of pros to "amateur" features in film cameras like auto-exposure, auto-wind and auto-focus translate to lower sales for those market segments, would you happen to know? (I don't.)

(Aside to the youth present-- yes, at one time *all* those features were excoriated. That whole "real photographes don't use X" thing. Where X is a moving target.)

pax / Ctein

JSB, now that it appears the FA Limiteds are not going to be discontinued, are you going to buy a K-5?

I am sure it will have IS, I am also fairly sure it won't have a viewfinder. (Olympus seems to have become allergic to viewfinders lately - the E-5 being the exception - and no - add on viewfinders don't count in my mind.

I'll pass, once again.

"I'll pass, once again"

Wait--you're going to pass on a camera that hasn't been developed yet, because of a desired feature you imagine it will lack?

Wow....

Mike

I don't know about Fart, but the other day I saw a scene that would have been perfect shot on 35mm Agfa Vista 400 (ca. 2005). That kind of filter would be handy for me, because apparently that's the way I think about making a picture sometimes--I think about the film, along w/ things like DOF and focal length, etc. Then, even if I had to work the Raw, the jpeg would remind me what I had in mind.

I think some Fuji cameras had filters based on Fuji films. I've never used a camera with fart ilters, but I'd always hoped that at least some are based on particular emulsions, even if they can't be explicitly labelled as such.

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