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Crystal-ball-gazing (or - Who and When will meet my DSLR w..

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Anonymous
May 31, 2005 7:47:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Here's my wild prediction, based on little other than what I am seeing
and hearing around the net..

Olympus/Panasonic/Leitz (and possibly one other surprising 'outsider' -
woohoo!!) will join forces more formally, and release a camera system
that meets pretty much all of the following list... but it may not be
before mid-early 2006, and there will be one 'minor' upgrade to the
E-range before then. The 'almost perfect' camera will have:

DSLR, 4/3 format
12 Mp (or greater, but I doubt it, at least for a couple of years!)
'Good' high ISO performance (better than E-300, but possibly less than
current DSLR's)
Extended Dynamic Range (an underrated issue, and one which can help
cancel out any noise criticisms..)
Automatic sensor cleaning (ultrasound + ....?)
In-camera stabilisation
'Live' (but probably 'limited') LCD preview and histogram
Range of new Oly Zuiko, Panasonic/Leitz, Sigma 4/3 lenses
.....

I really do believe Olympus and Panasonic could not give a $%^& about
following the 35mm DSLR path or mindlessly battling it out for the last
megapixel. There is a huge niche market outside 35mm DSLRs, and if
they can achieve a decent high-resolution smaller-format camera, that
'niche' could very well eat up a significant portion of the rest of the
market. There are frequently unflattering comments about Olympus
cameras in these forums (and hey, I criticise them too - there are
several things about my Oly C8080 that really get up my nose), but I
think those who slag off about the 4/3 system are missing the point.
That point is simply this.. I'm not the only one who would love a
system that is SMALL (both camera and lenses), had a reasonable range
of high quality lenses from a number of manufacturers, and was capable
of sharp enlargements to 13" x 19" (ish).

OK, the current offerings from Oly may not quite be there, but they are
very close, they are currently re-structuring the company in a big way,
and they've released some very promising (if horribly expensive)
lenses... I could be wrong, they might also be about to sink like a
stone (O; - but as an eternal optimist, I can dream.

The 4/3 thing is in it's infancy. We've all heard of the higher noise
at high ISO's and the expense/limited range of the lenses. But does
anyone think those issues are insurmountable? All it needs is a
quieter and slightly higher-res sensor... Actually I think the noise
issue is blown out of proportion - hell, my 8080 prosumer has worse
noise than the E-300, and it's perfectly managable and generally
invisible for 90% of my shooting. (The remaining 10% I should be
shooting on medium format anyway.. (O;) Some people just don't seem to
know how to *use* their available dynamic range.. (ducks and hides)


And then, if the 4/3 system does manage to take off, the
limited/expensive lens range problem may simply take care of itself as
Tamron and others flock to fill the need.

I'm not holding my breath, but I still think we should watch the 4/3
space very carefully........... And if I'm right, I am *so* going to
gloat (after I've spent a few weeks playing with my `realised
wish-list`..) And I think Stacey will be impossible too..

So, seeyaz in 2006, when I may return to dig up this post!


PS - I apologise for the 'RichA' style post. I won't do it again.. (O;
Anonymous
May 31, 2005 8:17:23 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

chrlz@go.com wrote:
> 12 Mp (or greater, but I doubt it, at least for a couple of years!)
Wow! With my 300d's 6Mp, I need an already expensive lens to achieve
max resolution...
I wouldn't want to start an unending troll, but isn't 12Mp a slight
case of overbombing???

> And then, if the 4/3 system does manage to take off, the
> limited/expensive lens range problem may simply take care of itself as
> Tamron and others flock to fill the need.

In French, we call that a story of fowls and eggs : it will launch as
soon as the sigma/tamron/etc "fowl" will deliver lenses, laying then
the "egg" of a greater demand for bodys, but to grow that fowl, we will
first need the egg of demand to motivate sigma/tamron/etc investments,
etc...
I do not say that this is impossible, just not as easy as it could
seem. Inch'Allah (in case He is also interested in photography).

Greetings from France (please notice that I did NOT say cocorico)
Nicolas
Anonymous
May 31, 2005 8:50:44 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

>I wouldn't want to start an unending troll, but isn't 12Mp a slight case of
>overbombing???

No, I don't think so. I think the 'sweet spot' in digital to satisfy
most high amateur/low-mid range professional shooting will be around
12-20Mp. That gives a resolution similar to the best slide and even
most black and white films in the 35mm format. I agree that it exceeds
the resolution of a lot of lenses, but it would nice to make the sensor
*not* the limiting factor. 12Mp is also sufficient for really nice
crisp prints at almost-poster sizes, and I don't think it is
unreasonable to make that a goal.

>> And then, if the 4/3 system does manage to take off...
>In French, we call that a story of fowls and eggs:

Yes, that is very true, but I believe that IF the basic camera and kit
lens really delivers (and the current Nikon and especially Canon
baseline DSLR kitlenses do *not* exactly deliver..) it will garner a
good following on that basis alone. Now who will make the kit lens? I
don't know, but we have both Olympus and Panasonic/Leitz in the mix.
And who has some of the finest digital zooms on the market today? (O;
Hint - check the reviews on the Oly C8080, the Panasonic FZ20, and even
the current Oly 4/3 zooms..

It seems to me that all the key elements are there, and it just awaits
a better sensor, the will to put it all together, and agressively
market it...
Related resources
Anonymous
May 31, 2005 11:46:23 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

>The 'almost perfect' camera will have:
>DSLR, 4/3 format
>12 Mp

Here is the 4/3 dilemma ... if they can fit 12 Mpix in a 4/3 sized
sensor then at the same pixel pitch Nikon and Canon can fit 19 Mpix and
18 Mpix in their entry level models. almost 30 Mpix in the 1.3x sized
sensor and over 40 Mpix in the full frame sized sensor. Less is still
less. Would you buy a Rebel with 18 Mpix over an Oly 4/3 with 12 Mpix
at near-equal prices?

> I think those who slag off about the 4/3 system are missing the
>point. That point is simply this.. I'm not the only one who would
>love a system that is SMALL (both camera and lenses)

The sensor is small but the camera is not (check the weight of the
E-300 vs the Pentax or Rebel dSLRs) and the lenses are not. They
screwed up and missed their design target.

>Olympus/Panasonic/Leitz (and possibly one other surprising
>'outsider' - woohoo!!) will join forces ...

You left out Kodak and Sigma ... what all these companies have in
common is that they are losers (or non-competitors) in the 35 mm SLR
market, which is why they are jumping on the 4/3 boat, they have no
other option. They were losers in a parallel market, why do you think
they will be winners this time around?

Note that the past two years digital camera sales have been rising
about 50% annually (per PMA figures) yet Oly's camera division lost 24
billion yen last year in this booming market. The parent company won't
allow that to continue for long before they cut their losses.

Bill
May 31, 2005 12:26:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

<chrlz@go.com> wrote in message
news:1117536437.359094.141850@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Here's my wild prediction, based on little other than what I am seeing
> and hearing around the net..
>
> Olympus/Panasonic/Leitz (and possibly one other surprising 'outsider' -
> woohoo!!) will join forces more formally, and release a camera system
> that meets pretty much all of the following list... but it may not be
> before mid-early 2006, and there will be one 'minor' upgrade to the
> E-range before then. The 'almost perfect' camera will have:
>
Leica, I doubt it. They are in bankrupcy now. The 4/3 system is pretty much
dead as it only has attracted 2nd and 3rd tier manufacturers. I can see
Sigma as they already are tooling up for 4/3. Hey they could make a Foveon
chip 4/3 camera and call it 16 mega pixels using Sigma math.
Anonymous
May 31, 2005 9:30:06 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

>Here is the 4/3 dilemma ... if they can fit 12 Mpix in a 4/3 sized sensor
> then at the same pixel pitch Nikon and Canon can fit 19 Mpix...
>..Would you buy a Rebel with 18 Mpix over an Oly 4/3 with 12 Mpix
>at near-equal prices?

Actually, *if* the Oly had in-camera IS and reasonably low noise, I
would buy it in a heartbeat. In fact, even at 8Mp, if it met those
features, I would buy it. I do NOT like lugging around more weight
than I need - been there, done that..

I fully agree that you will always be able to squeeze more pixels into
a larger format. But like i said, it becomes mindless, and you would
have to agree that at *some* point it is no longer a critical issue.
How did 35mm survive against the quality of medium format? It survived
because it was *enough*.

To me, reaching the 10-20Mp range is *enough*, provided those pixels
are 'clean'. And once there, I have *much* more interest in things
like:

- is my sensor going to require cleaning every 3 months? (I live/shoot
in a very dusty environment)
- do I have 'free' image stabilisation for all my lenses? (only
Minolta do this currently, but I think it is a very valuable feature)
- is my entire system small and portable?

I left out Kodak and Sigma as I don't see them as the big
players/innovators - although Sigma may have a role for cheaper lenses,
and maybe Kodak will surprise everybody and come up with a great
sensor.. (I can't see either Olympus or Panasonic being foolish enough
to go down the Foveon path, given the woeful history of that
technology. Not unless they employ George P. as CEO..)

And large losses can mean many things - impending problems,
re-structuring, write-downs.... *or* large r&d investments in upcoming
products...

Like I said, I can dream, and I remain convinced that the 4/3 system is
a good idea not quite realised.. but it's time may come.. (O;
Anonymous
June 1, 2005 5:29:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <1117585806.303194.88750@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
chrlz@go.com wrote:

> I fully agree that you will always be able to squeeze more pixels into
> a larger format. But like i said, it becomes mindless, and you would
> have to agree that at *some* point it is no longer a critical issue.
> How did 35mm survive against the quality of medium format? It survived
> because it was *enough*.

Chrlz-

You have a good point, and I'm sure that is part of the rationale behind
the 4/3 system.

Over the last century, Kodak has been one of the major innovators in film
photography, especially for the casual home photographer. Their ideas of
what is "enough" have included several formats smaller than 35mm. I, for
one, was disappointed in results from disc, 110 and APS formats.

Yes, grain is one of the limiting factors. But as you pack more digital
pixels into any given sensor size, you eventually surpass the grain
limitation. That leaves lens sharpness as the dominant limitation. Then,
the crop-factor that multiplies your focal length also divides your lens
resolution for the smaller sensor.

Now that we know how good 35mm film photography is, how can we settle for
something less? I can accept having to use 6 or 8 MPixel cameras because
that is all that is available today for a reasonable (?) price. That
doesn't mean the crystal ball shouldn't contain visions of a better
future.

Fred
!