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Saturday, 21 January 2012


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The projected price point, at least from what I've read, is around $1100. That would make it ground-breaking if full-frame.

Could be full frame but it still won't have just a sensor, a meter, and aperture and shutter speed adjustments which is all I think people asking for a digital OM-1, FM3a, MX really want. At least that's what I want- a minimalist digital camera. Now I'm off to spread the Mike Johnston rumor across the interwebs. (Just kidding of course).

Word is that it will be Micro 4/3rds, Mike.

Ha ! Nice PR stunt !
Just as I finished watching an equally named "Mad Men" episode.


Mike, I think you are wrong this time. It'll be a micro 4/3. If I'm wrong, then "I know nothing". In any case, I will buy the camera from B&H through TOP.


Of course it's going to be full-frame: Full-frame FourThirds format.

Psst: I know as much as Mike does. ]'-)


I wouldn't be surprised. Canikon might be...

There's been nothing I've seen in the rumours, that mentions the size of the sensor. Plenty of presumption in the comments, as ever.

Suspect that micro4/3 has killed off the original 4/3 line, or E-series. Alternatively that could be seen as Olympus has killed them off to make the much cheaper (to produce) micro4/3's. Something a good step away from that is required. Something that many photographers claim they want...

Nothing I've seen suggests a full frame sensor. Haven't they got a huge amount invested in m4/3? Plus they want to sell there new primes that would no doubt look nice on an OM-1 lookalike. I for one hope your right though. I had an OM-1 many years ago and remember it very fondly but without the 'real' viewfinder (the OM-D is said to use an EVF) and lovely manual focus lenses it wouldn't be quite the same.

Pretty please, with an optical viewfinder in that prism.

Here's hoping. But for the record, I think it will be m4/3, citing Olympus' current investment in that format, the rumour mill, and the resurrection of the Pen brand.

No chance. I can't even imagine what a FF sensor would cost Oly but the current rumours have the entire camera in the low $1k range. Plus they would have to start cranking out 35mm lenses again. And who would buy it anyway when you don't know if they'll be around to support it.

If you're right, I'll be happy...and broke!

If you're not right, I'll be sad...and still broke. ;-)

I call shenanigans.

I hope you're right, Mike. I also hope that it mounts all the old OM lenses directly. As far as I'm concerned, If it's anything less, like an M43 or APS sensor, and a mount that requires adapters, it won't be worth a second glance. Frankly, a mirror and pentaprism wouldn't be bad either...

Unfortunately, I don't think there's any chance that it'll be an OM with a digital sensor in place of film.

I agree. I don't see it making sense otherwise.


Todays thought is from Sgt Mike Shultz.

I am glad I am not the only one that thinks so. I can say I think so too now.


Very interesting! What makes you suspect that?

Having a very fond spot in my heart for OM, I would love to see a full frame semi-pro camera body......

But I suppose it would have to use the "old" lenses, as I believe all the current line are optimized for the smaller sensor. I can't see how they would be positioned to release a complete new line of full-frame capable lenses along with a new body.

Frankly, I would be shocked if Olympus went FF. I can't see Olympus supporting another line of lenses. Trying to get 3rd party lens companies to support another mount isn't likely to happen so soon after basically dropping the 4/3 line. I fully expect what they release will be M4/3 but weather sealed, have a built-in EVF, and have more dials and fewer buttons.

BTW, now that Ricoh owns Pentax, a FF digital camera in K-mount wouldn't surprise me. The pleasant surprise would be it resembled the P3/30 bodies, which were my favorite bodies for the way they fit my hands.

While I see a lot of people hoping for that, I highly doubt that will be the case. Oly's whole "thing" is four thirds. If they seemingly abandon their loyal customers at a very crucial time in the m43 format, their camera business is sure to go under. I just can't imagine they would be that stupid. I could, however, see them doing some sort of multi-aspect sensor like what is in the GH2.

Full frame....no way!

A lot of people think they need full frame, but they do not.

I've been reading 43rumors about this and they are under the impression that it's a micro 4/3rds camera.

Can you theoretically have a full sensor 4/3rds sensor?

That would be... surprising. Another mount (which would be required by a full-frame OM-D) is not what a struggling company like Oly needs right now. Based on what 43rumors.com and the like have reported, it's going to be micro-4/5 and very similar in size and spec to a G3, but with better external controls, IS, retro styling, and weather sealing.

Can I ask why you think it will be full frame?

If it is full frame, I might just wet myself! I still have 2 OM-1s and an OM-4T, and they beat most of the new cameras out there today.

I hope you're right....

Are you sure this isn't one of those "establishing credible denial" things?

sure, that just made a weathersealed m43 format zoom lens ( http://www.dpreview.com/news/2011/12/14/olympus1250EZ ) and now they will pair it w/ a weathersealed FF format camera... how logical.

Can't some camera company just make a manual, metal bodied digital SLR? Why does it have to have auto white balance and auto-stabilisation, video, and endless exposure modes? Auto damn focus trying to make my mind up for me. I'm perfectly capable of sorting out my own exposure settings and focus. I don't need help.

A battery to drive a camera of equivalent functionality as a Nikon FM2 (or Pentax Spotmatic, etc etc) could fit into the well in which the film canister did. I personally don't even want a LCD screen on the camera, but some might.

Did I just see a flying unicorn?

How about an OM-m43 lens adapter that has reduction optics?


We'll know the answer on February 8

Dream away until then. While you're at it, please dream up a nice range of primes to go with it!

Sweet dreams,

Daniel Fealko: "So let me see if I understand this. You're right, unless you're wrong, in which case, you're right about being wrong. Is that right?"

Mike replies: Right. That way, right or wrong, I'll be all right.

Mike: your a**-covering skills are of presidential proportions.


I'm glad no one will remember this post in a month. Let me make a link from my blog ;-P

Of course the E-1 was "full frame" transfer, referring to the way info is gotten off the sensor, so may be you will be right in that sense...

As in the words of a now sadly deceased rotund German
in Hogan's Heroes " I know nut ting!"

The flagon with the dragon is the brew that is true.

Wells Fargo has already reported that the OM-D will sell for around 100,000 yen, roughly $1300. I don't see how any new full-frame camera, let alone one from a niche player like Olympus, being possible at that price.


Good question! Because Nikon finally buckled under the pressure to go full-frame after holding out with APS-C exclusively for as long as it could, and Olympus has been taking it on the chin for dogs' years now for its supposedly "too much smaller than APS-C" 4/3 format. A smart direction for them to take would be to settle on Micro 4/3 for the lion's share of their offerings (which they're already doing, and doing well--#1 mirrorless in Japan during December '11) and then offer a carriage-trade retro FF for anybody who still wants to complain about the Micro 4/3 format size. It'll fit old OM lenses and Oly will offer a modest number (3? 4?) of deluxe new lenses for those who want the latest modern made-for-digital glass and can pay for it. Everybody's happy and the marque covers the waterfront.

Make too much sense?


Would they, could they? Leica proved FF is possible in a small body. A Leica rep also once said the only Japanese company that they considered to be competition was Olympus! I for one will be very happy to sell off my hulking 5d's and overly heavy lenses for a small and lighter? full frame camera. I am eyeing the Xpro1 with great anticipation. I also feel that the 4/3 proportion is more 'natural' than the 35mm full frame a scaled up 4/3 would be very attractive... Just thinking!

If that's true, none of the E mount lenses will fit, causing a run on the already short supply of used OM lenses. Should be interesting to see this transpire. Unless they change the mount, or make a whole new line of OM lenses. OM1 was my first camera. I always thought it was a shame that they abandoned the system, it was very elegant, and they made some great glass.

Looking forward to seeing just what exactly the Oly OM-D really is!

I have a general question for you. Why do some of the ILC cameras NOT have image stabilization? Do those manufacturers see it as a negative? Do the professional shooters not want it on a camera?

Wouldn't that be something -- maybe a manual focus, digital OM-4 with that gorgeous viewfinder and multi-spot metering...

But I suspect you're joking. What plans would they have for that new weather-sealed 4/3 zoom, if not to put it on their new "OM" camera?

Not even April 1st yet, but, on the other hand, I'd be happy to eat my words.


Highly unlikely. The new waterproof lens is supposedly going to be the "kit" lens with the new body. Since the lens is built on a micro-4/3 mount, it won't "light" a full-frame sensor.

So you're right (about being wrong).

Well then, what is your guess on the new lens line that they would have to launch, for a full-frame camera.

And do you think that it'll have the OM lens mount so I can use my old Zuikos? You realize I'm setting myself up for major disappointment here.

"A Leica rep also once said the only Japanese company that they considered to be competition was Olympus!"

But that was in about 1978.


"Mike: your a**-covering skills are of presidential proportions."

I'm putting the probability I'm right at about 14%.


Nope. Nuff said.

Full Frame? - No Way! - it's going to be something like an EP3 with upgraded sensor, built in EVF and "retro" styling.

"It'll fit old OM lenses and Oly will offer a modest number (3? 4?) of deluxe new lenses for those who want the latest modern made-for-digital glass and can pay for it. Everybody's happy and the marque covers the waterfront.

Make too much sense?"

Mike, didn't you complain that Sony's strategy of making full format cameras that support film lenses while only creating a smattering of full format digital glass was a "big mistake?"


Dear James B,

Such a camera would sell poorly. Far, far more people want the features you don't care about. Now, if cameras cost nothing to design and tool up for, your camera could have a viable niche. They don't. Amortizing those costs over a small camera runs means that, paradoxically, your much-less-featured camera has to sell for more than a full-featured one.


Dear Mike,

Y'know, this *almost* makes sense. I think you're wrong... But people go so buckfuck crazy about cameras being "full frame" that Olympus probably could make a go of it with a significantly poorer sensor (which that price point would almost necessitate). Combined with the users of legacy lenses, yeah it might be viable.

pax / Ctein

I believe that we can gain some insight from the new 12-50mm weather-sealed zoom that Olympus released last month. That's supposedly the first of a new line of more affordable but still high-end lenses.

No Pen is weather-sealed and there's no reason to weather-seal a lens unless there's a weather-sealed body about to be released. The 12-50mm focal length range clearly fits a Four-Thirds sensor rather than something larger.

Those factors, and the recent rumors about an OM-styled body, suggest a Micro Four-Thirds body styled like the OM-1 (as the E-Ps are styled like the 1960s Pens). It's most likely an M43 equivalent to the E-5 and to Panasonic's successful GH2 series.

That would plug an obvious hole in Olympus's current line-up (integrated eye-level EVF) without the cost and chaos of trashing the existing lens mounts during a time of serious financial stress.

Not happening. Not full frame.

I'd say that you'd be right being wrong and it'll be a very full frame Micro 4/3rds camera!

I guess we'll need to wait for the OM-Dx...


Yeah right, and they will produce a new system of FF lenses with AF ... And even if they would, who would buy it ? To feew to earn money on it. But wait, ach, Olympus does not need to make money on anything, they can simply hide loses and smile :-)

yeah, absolutely full-frame m4/3, perfect :)

This is a matter of branding, just like the m4/3 Pen series that doesn't natively accept old Pen lenses and has a sensor smaller than half frame. The OM-D will just be Olympus' m4/3 camera with a built-in EVF, like the GH2.

There are so many reasons why this won't happen, mainly because us guys who want a full frame OM-4D are nothing more than a significant minority in today's market of generic Rebel buyers.

Plus do we really need multi-spot metering in a world where RAW + software will do it better?

The most important thing to get right is the controls. Too many cameras are like synthesizers in the 1990s - full of cheap menus and buttons, but lacking the spontaneity of knobs and dials. Innovative companies realised why people liked the Moogs and Junos of the 80s so produced thoroughly modern digital synthesizers that captured the spirit of their forebears. It's all about understanding what the user wants to do at any given time and my MX managed (mid-roll) with 3 controls: aperture, shutter speed, focus.

That is what the OM should do. Sure, it would be nice to have a bigger sensor, but let's be realistic. Where are the lenses? Olympus aren't going to survive if we buy 30 year old Zuiko glass. I get perfectly good results from my PEN, but a huge viewfinder and the right controls are the most important thing. After all, photography is about seeing the picture, not whether you get a few speckles in the shadows.

I doubt it, but we can hope.

And just to clarify what some people are saying: Micro 4/3 and 4/3 sensors are exactly the same size. It's only the lens mount that is different.

I doubt it but one can dream that finally some smart decisions are being made over at the Oly headquarters... For what's it worth, anyone can still pick a cheap OM10 off the fleaBay and load it with some fresh 400asa film and have fun throughout the day - small, compact and easy to use FF cameras are still available.

New OM will either be a retro styled MFT camera with built in EVF, or a rebirth of their FT DSLR format in a cool, retro-styled body. I would bet on the latter, to be honest.

If they decide to produce another format they will be committing business suicide. If they do either of the above they will have a decent market, and if they do the latter they will have a very nice range of very high quality lenses already.

I concur with most opinions expressed here: it wouldn't make sense that Olympus released the weather-sealed 12-50 lens - which is supposed to be the future high-grade m4/3 camera's kit lens - and now come up with yet another mount. While it is possible to make adapters to fit a large lens in a small mount (e. g. OM to m4/3), the opposite can't be done. It would be senseless to make such huge investment on lenses - it's not just the 12-50, but also the 12 and 45 primes and all other m4/3 lenses - and come up with a format that's new to Olympus, what with the yet incalculable repercussions of the financial scandal that nearly drove Olympus Corp. to bankrupcy.
It's not impossible, however (despite all the rumours ensuring it'll be m4/3), that the OM-D will be a 4/3 camera. Olympus 4/3 owners, who have made substantial investments in 4/3 lenses, have been upset about Olympus having apparently abandoned this format, so this could be a way of keeping those customers satisfied. But this is just another speculation; we'll all have to wait until the 8th of February to know what this camera is about.

I don't want it to be full frame. The 4/3 sensor makes the most out of the glass and is just good enough for any purpose I can imagine (OK, professionals would like more pixels to meet the absurd requirements of the 'industry', but there is no REAL need). Besides, full frame is so 2008...

You mean full-frame pocket (110) or full-frame disc or full-frame 126 ?

"Doug: The OM-D will just be Olympus' Micro 4/3 camera with a built-in EVF, like the GH2

Mike replies: That's probably the best guess"

In that case, it would be a silly implementation of retro design. OVF from a pentaprism have to be where they are, EVF should be put at the extreme left.

A full 4/3 frame, sure.

These kinds of teasers always end up being big disappointments in the end. The rumors and speculation build up to a level that no final product could ever hope to match.

Mike, don't be a fool—nobody's gonna let you forget this blunder :-)

My first thought is that the first one or two OM-D models would have both 43 and M43, a'la the Canon 7sz rangefinders breech lock mount for the 50 .95, as a sop to the death of the 43rds line. But that seems messy. Whatever happens, I hope they replicate the shutter controls, would be a nice contrast to the interface-deprived mirrorless market.

full frame m4/3rds with a carbon fiber lens mount, a magical EVF and new sensor. Sealed and filled with helium to keep it lightweight...

Like others, I think the new m43 12-50 zoom points unequivocally to this being a weather-sealed m43 body.

Some more details, courtesy of rumour mill logic (you can go mad following this stuff):

- someone from Olympus once mentioned, in an interview with an obscure Russian magazine, that this excellent new camera will be (once the interview has been Google-translated to death) "Micro Four Thirds *compatible*"... therefore, by rumour-mill logic, it will have a revolutionary new modular mount system that will delight absolutely everyone, most especially regular Four Thirds owners!

- Olympus appears to have patented a revolutionary hybrid EVF/OVF, and even though no one on the internet can make head or tails of the patent diagrams or description (Google-translated from Japanese), or even be sure that the patent doesn't refer to endoscopes, the rumour mill turns this tidbit into the certainty that Olympus has solved the riddle of the TTL hybrid viewfinder, maybe with a clever mirror that's both pellicle and porro!

- somebody's friend of a friend who works at Olympus (in shipping-receiving, but so what?) mentioned something about a great new sensor. To the rumour mill, this means Oly has finally broken free of Panasonic's shackles, and will use a special version of Fuji's new sensor! Or maybe a Foveon! The fact that Fuji unveiled its new beauty just as Oly started its teaser campaign is proof... isn't it? Or maybe the proof is in the lack of comment from Sigma!

- the OM had interchangeable focusing screens, therefore so will the digital OM!

- and of course the OM name fuels the hope for something other than a Four Thirds sensor... say, something around 24x36mm!

...and then, when the camera turns out to be essentially an E-P3 with weather sealing, the Panasonic G3/GX1 sensor, an incrementally better LCD, integrated 1.44 MP EVF with a high refresh rate, and a few other incremental improvements over previous m43 bodies, all built to look and feel like a 70s SLR, the Internet will fairly burn with disappointment, even though Olympus never actually promised a fully modular camera system with magic TTL opto-electronic viewfinder and top-secret Fuji (or maybe Sigma) biodynamic FF sensor.

I suspect it will be Nikon who comes up with the small, minimalist DSLR if anyone. The F-mount is still compatible with a host of buttery-focusing manual focus lenses, several of which I believe are still made.

Moreover, no doubt Nikon could switch resources to reintroduce several other of these lenses if consumer demand dictated, especially with the market for conventional, all-singing, all-dancing DSLRs now becoming saturated. Even if it were not so bold, the F-mount supports perhaps the most comprehensive range of autofocus lenses around (which can be manually-focused if needs be).

Nikon also has the full-frame sensor. With the D4 almost here and the D800 around the corner, it could use the 12MP D700 sensor (or better still, the D3s sensor) in an FE-D without competing with the new models on resolution. Nevertheless, 12MP is enough for most purposes (and won't fighten legacy Nikkors to death).

Make us happy, Nikon. Just do it!

Here's my take: it will be a m4/3 camera that fills the role that the E30 used to fill (well still does fill, but you can't really buy one today new except for the rare NOS), a semi-pro camera close to the "real" thing but with some compromises. It's a m4/3 system camera with a new sensor, a tweaked 16MP, not because they think they need more MP (12 is enough...), but because it's what they can get without going through a complete development cycle for a new sensor.

From what I've been able to gleam, I think Olympus has super-tweaked the 1.44MP viewfinder, very high refresh rates (120Hz) and nice optics to give you a seriously large image viewpoint (think a perspective like that of a 40cm screen at 50cm distance). Weather sealed, of course, with the ability to work really, really well with 4/3 lenses, especially the SHG lenses that are world class (and which are sadly lacking from the m4/3 line).

Me, I think that while this doesn't destroy 4/3 as a permanent fixture of this system of systems, it does mean that there will never be anything but an Ex, no Exx and Exxx cameras. I can imagine an E7 towards the end of 2012 that will be quite a performer with the same sensor coming in the OM-D.

Hence 2 parallel tracks for Olympus: world-class pro body and pro lenses for 4/3, along with consumer kit based on Pen and OM-D and the m4/3 set of lenses, which, while not world-class the way that the SHG lenses are, are still pretty darn nice performers...

All in all, a good thing. :-)

If high quality fast wide lens will be available and the camera will have simple controls in relatively small body for me a 4/3 sensor is more than adequate. In the times of first Leica many photographers were complaining because of the small size of the sensor, opps the 35mmm film compared to the 6x6. Just mu idea which could be wrong...

Why couldn't Olympus put two 4/3 sensors side by side in a digital body and call that full frame?

I'd like to think this is possible. They could use an OM-compatible mount, then provide adapters for both 4/3ds and micro-4/3ds lenses, which, when mounted, would activate a mode that would use only the center portion of pixels on the sensor.

Probably just an m4/3ds camera, though. Which is fine by me.

El Inglés wrote:
I suspect it will be Nikon who comes up with the small, minimalist DSLR if anyone. The F-mount is still compatible with a host of buttery-focusing manual focus lenses, several of which I believe are still made.

They had their chance and proved they care more about marketing and than photography. My rant about that particular subject (if Mike doesn't mind me linking to it):

One Small Step for Photographers, One Giant Leap for Nikon’s Marketing Department

Gee, Mike, thats the nuttiest thing I've ever seen from you. Though I wish it was true....

Look back at the last few all-new FF cameras that came to market. The Pentax 645 arrived after years of on-and-off announcements. The Sony a900 was shown in mockups over a year before it arrived, giving the impression that FF is a major undertaking, even for the world's largest companies that don't happen to be in the midst of financial scandals.

It will be far easier for Oly to wrap an m4/3 body in a OM-style case and call it done. Frankly, I think that's all they're capable of-- especially since, unlike Sony and Pentax, there's not a single Olympus-branded AF lens available to use with it.

But if Oly does all that, and sticks to the $1200 price target in the rumor mill, I might be eating my own words from the very next post (about not wanting to give up my OVF FF SLR, PDQ, AFAIK)...

I don't get the opinion that if the OM-D is not FF, it is a failure. To me, the whole point of the OM system was not its negative size, but the fact that delivered high quality from a compact system. An olympus take on the GH2 would give exactly that. This is what I expect and hope for, and if that is what it is, and the rumoured 1100 Euro price with the kit lens is real, then I am buying (along with 12/2, 25/1.4 and 45/1.8).

'Twas a time when 35mm was the compromise of quality for portability. My have times changed..

It would be so awesome if you were right... I just don't see it happening, especially because if it has an OM mounts I'd see a lot of people (including myself) just using the good old manual focus zuikos & not buying any new lenses.

That said, it would be amazing to have a full frame digital OM.

I was 99% sure it was going to be a M4/3 camera, but then I saw this teaser image (photorumors.com/2012/01/23/a-better-picture-of-the-olympus-om-d-camera/). The lens mount seems to be proud of the body. This isn't a feature of any existing M4/3 camera as the flange distances involved are so short. The only thing I can think of is that they have moved the sensor 'forward' in the camera to give more space for a screen and the viewfinder. Anyway...I'm now only 97% sure. :)

The last picture leaked confirms it is sadly a micro four thirds camera, the lens in the picture is the new 12-50 (the minimum focusing distance shown in the picture matches with the one in the new lens). http://www.43rumors.com/ft5-next-small-om-d-image-leak-name-of-he-camera-is-e/

It would had been awesome if your guess was right...

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