Interesting criticism of Olympus now moves on to Canon

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by RichA, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. RichA

    RichA Guest

    The criticism (well-founded) that new Olympus DSLRs lack the dyanmic
    range of cameras with larger pixels can now move to Canon when they
    begin comparing the output from its new 21 megapixel sensor with
    medium format sensors sporting the same pixel count with much larger
    RichA, Aug 25, 2007
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  2. RichA

    Alan Browne Guest

    That's comparing oranges to kumquats.

    The 21 Mpix Canon cannot hope to match the 16 bit/col H3D-39 though it
    certainly will make the H3D-22 back owners wonder why they are paying so
    much for a marginal performance advantage.

    But in the world of 36x24 mm where Canon went one way and Oly the
    opposite (a paltry 18x13.5mm) Canon is well "in bounds" on format and if
    they are at or nearing a fundamental MTF optical limit then they have
    almost achieved all that can be achieved in the 36x24 mm format. They
    can still look at higher dynamics, deeper shadows, lower noise and so
    on. (Maybe improve the A/D architecture as Sony recently did) My bet
    is that they will push the Mpix again in 2 - 3 years when the others
    almost (but never quite) catch up. [Canon have had a FF 16.5 Mpix
    camera out since 2005; Nikon are starting FF at 12.3 Mpix]

    Oly on the other hand reduced their available growth path by choosing
    4/3 and have locked into to the same optical limitation but on 28% of
    the surface. This is more than adequate for magazines but commercial
    photogs have to produce for larger prints than that.

    Oly could have maintained a 36x24 capability (or growth path as Nikon
    did) but did not. Apples for apples in glass and sensor technology,
    their performance can never be better than 50% of the Canon in
    resolution and print sizes will be less than 1/3 the size by area for a
    desired quality.

    Oly F'd up; Canon FF'd up.

    Funny how some people who strongly touted the Oly have been remarkably
    mute of late.
    Alan Browne, Aug 25, 2007
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  3. RichA

    Doug Jewell Guest

    Yeah interesting criticism, Canon release a camera that is considerably
    cheaper than MF gear, and receive criticism because while they are nearing
    the limit of 35mm FF, their camera _almost_ matches it with MF.

    Oly on the other hand, release cameras that are in the same price range as
    APS digis, but because of their smaller sensors, will always lag APS. As
    technology improves APS will _always_ be able to deliver at least one stop
    better noise handling than 4/3 or it will be able to deliver 50% greater
    resolution. This puts olympus at a huge disadvantage against the APS
    players. And every one of the APS players still has another ace up their
    sleeve - Sony, Pentax, Samsung, Nikon and Canon all have the ability to
    produce full frame cameras, because they have retained a lens mounting
    system capable of delivering 36x24mm images. It's quite possible that within
    a few years, the current APS manufacturers will be producing full frame
    cameras at prices similar to the current APS bodies.

    Olympus will be faced with the option of orphaning the 4/3 system and
    alienating their user base, maintaining 2 dis-similar systems which will add
    expense, or remaining locked into a system that has been outgrown by the

    Interesting that Nikon's first full frame entrant, not only maintains
    compatibility with older 35mm gear, but also maintains compatibility for
    people who have invested in DX lenses, by automatically cropping back to the
    APS area of the sensor. Because they have fully maintained mount
    compatibility, Pentax, Samsung and Sony will also have the ability to do
    this - whether they do or not remains to be seen. This means that people
    investing in Nikon glass, and potentially also the others, can be confident
    that glass they buy now will be usable on higher end bodies if they ever
    upgrade. They can also be confident if in the future full frame becomes
    standard, their lenses will still be usable. Canon could do the same with
    small changes in the EFS mount.

    Olympus owners on the other hand do not have the same upgrade path
    available. If Olympus ever decide to go to a larger format, they won't be
    able to use 4/3 lenses with cropping, as a larger format sensor will require
    a greater flange/film distance, and hence a whole new lens mount system.

    Sucks to be olympus now.
    Doug Jewell, Aug 26, 2007
  4. RichA

    Tony Polson Guest

    Oh, what nonsense. Olympus have committed to Four Thirds, along with
    Panasonic and Leica.

    It will be interesting to see if Leica continues with the R System,
    having discontinued the R9/Digital Modul-R DSLR combination. But
    Leica is a small player.

    Olympus and Panasonic will stay with Four Thirds - and why shouldn't
    they? Olympus are selling digital SLRs at a faster rate than they
    ever sold film SLRs, and making money doing it.
    Tony Polson, Aug 26, 2007
  5. RichA

    Doug Jewell Guest

    Yet thus far only Olympus have manufactured a camera for the format - the
    panasonic and leica cameras thus far are built on the same sensor, body etc
    as the E300, with only the user-interface componentry changed.
    The reason they shouldn't is because every other manufacturer has recognised
    there is a limitation to small format sensors. Canon have long since
    recognised this, Nikon have finally responded, and if rumours are correct
    Sony and Pentax/Samsung will follow soon. They are going to 35mm sized
    sensors for exactly the same reason that people used MF and LF film in times
    past - better control of resolution vs grain/noise.
    Every Olympus DSLR made thus far, has been behind it's contemporaries for
    either noise or resolution or both. That will continue into the future - as
    sensor technology improves to allow better noise management, the APS and FF
    cameras will always be able to deliver either better noise management for
    the same resolution, or better resolution for the same noise.
    There are other drawbacks to the small sensor too. Viewfinders will always
    be darker or smaller. Diffraction limiting cuts in 1 stop earlier. Out of
    Focus areas need 1 stop faster lenses.
    The only real advantage of the smaller sensor is that cameras can be made
    smaller and lighter - the E400/410 are the only models that realise this
    advantage. Yet they are no smaller than most 35mm film cameras. The other
    Olympus cameras are no smaller than their Canon, Pentax and Nikon
    counterparts, so no advantage is gained from the smaller sensor.
    The other manufacturers have the advantage that they can produce a range of
    cameras using both APS and FF sensors, and build an upgrade path for
    customers without requiring them to throw out all their lenses. Olympus
    cannot do this. As technology improves, and the other manufacturers bring
    out affordable FF bodies, olympus will be in the position where they can't
    compete unless they abandon 4/3. Already they are struggling against the
    others, and it is only their unique features that has kept them going. Full
    marks for olympus on being the first to implement dust reduction and live
    view. But as the others implement those features, olympus are once again
    getting left behind.
    The other manufacturers are also selling dslr faster at the moment too -
    because it is in a growth phase. Olympus have a very low market share
    compared to the others.
    Doug Jewell, Aug 26, 2007
  6. RichA

    Tony Polson Guest

    Having a small market share is hardly a damning criticism, except in
    the eyes of someone who believes that whatever sells fastest is best.

    For examples, look no further than McDonalds and Burger King.

    Olympus have never been a leader in terms of market share, and have no
    need to lead in order to survive and prosper. The fact remains that
    Olympus SLRs are selling faster than ever before, and making money.

    The same is true of Pentax.

    But don't forget that, so far this year, the top selling DSLR in Japan
    has been either an Olympus (E-510) or a Pentax (K10D). These
    companies may not have the overall market share of Nikon or Canon, or
    their wide product range, but they are fundamentally profitable.
    Tony Polson, Aug 26, 2007
  7. RichA

    Frank Arthur Guest

    Fascinating- a 24x36mm format (2:3) ratio but no 8x12 Printing Paper
    made that size!
    Frank Arthur, Aug 26, 2007
  8. RichA

    RichA Guest

    The new format should have been 4:3, which more closely matches images
    in the press. The old format makes no sense whatsoever.
    RichA, Aug 26, 2007
  9. RichA

    Alan Browne Guest

    Alan Browne, Aug 26, 2007
  10. RichA

    Alan Browne Guest

    The new formats should have been ISO 216.
    Alan Browne, Aug 26, 2007
  11. RichA

    Frank Arthur Guest

    You mean the 2:3 ratio magically changed so that the American photo
    users can now make borderless prints on 8"x10" or 11"x14" Epson
    Prints? How did you achieve this "again"?.

    Don't be a nasty twirp!
    Frank Arthur, Aug 26, 2007
  12. RichA

    Alan Browne Guest

    You're the twerp. Can't spell either.
    Alan Browne, Aug 26, 2007
  13. RichA

    Frank Arthur Guest

    Frank Arthur, Aug 26, 2007
  14. RichA

    Jan Böhme Guest

    Well, it worked. You stopped top posting, didin't you?

    Jan Böhme
    Jan Böhme, Aug 26, 2007
  15. RichA

    Jan Böhme Guest

    Much larger pixels here, much larger pixels there...The pixel pitch of
    1DsMk III is 6.4 µm, the same as 20D/30D. The P45 back from Phase One
    has a pixel pitch of 6.8 µm.

    Of course you can get either larger pixels, or more pixels, when you
    go up in format - at a price.

    But the criticism levelled at Olympus isn't that they don't use the
    largest sensor format available - which seems to be your criticism
    towards Canon.

    The criticism against Olympus is that they _had_ cameras and lenses
    for FF, and scrapped them, voluntarily reducing the maximal
    projectable image. Or in other words, that they dumbed down their
    sensor opportunities.

    Canon didn't; they stayed with what they had. Which means that there
    now is a camera capable of delivering an IQ and resolution, which
    earlier only could be achieved in the MF range, using ordinary small
    format lenses.

    Not too bad, in my book.

    Jan Böhme
    Jan Böhme, Aug 26, 2007
  16. RichA

    Doug Jewell Guest

    8x12 is one of the sizes in the standard configuration of a Fuji Frontier
    printing lab.
    8x12 is very close to A4 (210mm x 297mm), which is the most common paper
    size outside the usa.
    2:3 ratio matches 6x4 which is far and away the most popular size for small
    format prints - the size that most albums are designed for.
    4:3 matches just how many common print sizes?
    Fact is, no matter what format you choose, cropping will be required for
    many print sizes. There are many other things about a camera that are more
    important than the aspect ratio.
    IME having worked in a lab, the cropping required to go from 4:3 to 6x4 is
    much more annoying to customers (chops heads etc), than the cropping that
    happens going from 3:2 to 8x10.
    Doug Jewell, Aug 26, 2007
  17. RichA

    Doug Jewell Guest

    It depends why they have a small market share. If they have a small market
    share because people are sheeple, and just buy whatever has the popular
    brand name regardless of it's quality, then you are right - small market
    share is not a damning criticism.
    However, if they have a small market share because they are inferior to
    other products, then small market share is a damning criticism.
    Having worked in the industry, my experience is that for a large part
    Canon's dominance in the market place is because people are being sheeple -
    so having the highest sales isn't really a positive for them. On the other
    hand though, Olympus SLRs don't sell because most SLR purchasers do heavy
    research prior to purchase, and most purchasers therefore are already aware
    of the limitations of the 4/3 format. The other nail in their coffin is that
    a lot of people make their purchase decision based on lens compatibility.
    Olympus are the only manufacturer to have ignored that important factor.
    There are still a lot of OM users out there, but whether they stick with
    olympus or go to someone else is the luck of the draw.
    However they will be left further behind as technology improves. If current
    rumours are true, every other manufacturer will have FF cameras available
    within 12 months. I would not be surprised if 3-5 years will see FF become
    almost the standard. Every other manufacturer has a system that will allow
    them to move to FF, Oly doesn't, and if the market does move to that, they
    will be left even further behind.
    Who have just, for the first time, released a camera that competes on a
    level footing with cameras from the big 2. Film pentax users are now
    starting the transition to digital in a big way, because they now have
    something worthwhile to go to.
    For now. Longterm though? While pentax haven't yet announced anything, their
    design does allow for a future upgrade path.
    Doug Jewell, Aug 26, 2007
  18. RichA

    Tony Polson Guest

    But Four Thirds **is** full frame, by definition.

    I can see that further discussion is pointless, so I will stop there.
    Tony Polson, Aug 26, 2007
  19. RichA

    Guest Guest

    by that measure, a cellphone camera is also full frame.

    the term 'full frame' means 35mm film size frame, or 24x36mm and the
    crop factors are based on that. olympus' crop factor is 2x, so it is
    obviously not 'full.'
    Guest, Aug 27, 2007
  20. RichA

    Alan Browne Guest

    But always limited to 18 x 13.5 mm in any case, and that of course is
    the point that means anything in this discussion.

    So, at a measly 28% of the surface area of a 36x24mm sensor a very
    limited platform for the long term. It will always be resolution,noise
    and dynamic range limited v. a 36x24.

    At 18mm on the long edge, always limited to half the potential
    resolution of a FF (36x24) camera. This format will be of limited
    interest to pros for the long term.
    Alan Browne, Aug 27, 2007
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