Olympus SLR boss says 12 MP is enough

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by rpd, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. rpd

    Guest Guest

    | In an interview at the PMA (Photo Marketing Association)
    | show in Las Vegas, Olympus SLR boss Akira Watanabe
    | confirmed what we have known for a long time: That more
    | pixels doesn't mean better pictures. Speaking to ZDNet,
    | Watanabe said that "Twelve megapixels is, I think, enough
    | for covering most applications most customers need. We have
    | no intention to compete in the megapixel wars for E-System."

    Translation: we're not going into the high-end or pro market.

    For the rest, I'd agree, 12 MP is enough.


    | Watanabe also thinks that SLR focusing is set to change.
    | Instead of having a separate focus module as is done today,
    | he predicts that soon systems using the image sensor will
    | take over. Right now, this method is used by compact
    | cameras and SLRs in live view mode. As you may have
    | noticed, it's slow. Watanabe thinks that it will soon be a
    | lot faster.

    This is a sign that camera manufacturers understand the value of a flipping
    mirror is much less with electronic sensors. With film, you had to be sure
    that the film never got exposed until the shot was taken. That plus through
    the lens focusing meant having a focal plane shutter and a flipping mirror.
    Since the electronic sensor doesn't have the requirement of avoiding any light
    until the picture is taken, the focal plane shutter and mirror is no longer
    a requirement. They can be used. But a system with in-the-lens leaf shutter,
    with electronic viewfinder, and electronic focus (even if manually operated),
    is the future of cameras.


    | We can only say "well done" to Olympus. The company has a
    | history of innovation. Perhaps now the megapixel race is
    | finally over, we'll get some fun new toys to play with.

    No. They just aren't going into the high end. The high end market will be
    hard competition from Canon, Hassleblad, Leica, Nikon, etc. Why bother in
    a losing fight. 12 MP is enough for computer backgrounds and printed photos.
    Pros will need more. Hobbyists will want more. There will be more. They
    will cost more, too.

    We'll have a wide variety of cameras with a wide range of pixels sizes, with
    12 MP probably being the base for most consumers.
     
    Guest, Mar 15, 2009
    #41
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  2. rpd

    Guest Guest

    | I know plenty of pro photographers that will jump ship in a heartbeat if
    | some unknown company with even zero market-shares comes up with some better
    | innovations instead of the tired and old mechanically noisy slow-sync crap
    | designs from last century.

    You mean the camera architecture designed for the limitations of the old
    chemical based photography?
     
    Guest, Mar 15, 2009
    #42
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  3. rpd

    Guest Guest

    | Question: At 12mp has the camera sensor hit the electron tunneling wall
    | that the cpu manufactures hit a couple of years ago?

    In terms of efficient photon conversion, not even close. But in terms of
    cheap ways to shift out pixels, probably.
     
    Guest, Mar 15, 2009
    #43
  4. rpd

    Guest Guest

    | Unlimited megapixels for creating more utterly pointless images at ever
    | higher resolutions that no one cares about and will be viewed through a
    | medium, print or online, where all those megapixels are utterly irrelevant
    | and largely discarded.

    So I wonder why it is that people are still stitching together non-wide-angle
    photos to make wide and panorama photos at high resolution.

    The fact is, most consumers have no need for more for what they do. The pros
    and hobbyist do things that can use the extra resolution. They will need the
    lenses that can do it, too.
     
    Guest, Mar 15, 2009
    #44
  5. rpd

    SMS Guest

    Accurate translation: we are not going into the market of people who
    need a camera with high resolution and low noise, and reasonably priced
    lenses.
     
    SMS, Mar 18, 2009
    #45
  6. Er, well, the succint "no" is your opinion, now, ain't it?

    --
    john mcwilliams

    "Youth is full of sport, age's breath is short; youth is nimble, age is
    lame; Youth is hot and bold, age is weak and cold; Youth is wild, and
    age is tame."
    -- William Shakespeare
     
    John McWilliams, Mar 18, 2009
    #46
  7. rpd

    SMS Guest

    No, that's what Watanabe essentially said. 4:3 lenses are necessarily
    more costly to build even at qualities good enough for just 12 MP.
    Increase the resolution and you run into multiple problems.

    There's nothing wrong with Olympus writing off the high-end market of
    professional and amateur photographers and concentrating on the much
    higher volume consumer market. They don't have to make up excuses for this.
     
    SMS, Mar 18, 2009
    #47
  8. rpd

    Alan Hoyle Guest

    I own a 4/3 camera and some of the "Pro" lenses (14-54 f2.8-3.5,
    50-200 f2.8-f3.5, and 50mm f2). When I totaled up the cost to switch
    to Nikon or Canon, the cost for equivalent quality glass is either
    equivalent or higher.

    For example:

    moderate tele, large aperture macro:

    Olympus ZD 50mm f2: $400.
    Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro: $400
    Nikon 60mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Micro-Nikkor: $700
    Nikon 60mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor: $470


    normal zoom with larger than basic aperture:

    Olympus ZD 14-54mm f2.8-3.5: ~ $450
    Olympus ZD 12-60mm f2.8-4.0: ~ $950
    Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS: $500+
    Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8: $1000+
    Nikon DX 18-105mm f3.5-5.6: $300
    Nikon DX 17-55mm f2.8: $1100+


    Tele zoom with larger than basic aperture

    Olympus ZD 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD: $1100
    Canon EF 70-200mm f4 IS USM: $1100 (f2.8 is more expensive)
    Nikon 80-200mm f2.8: $1100
    Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 IS: $1800+

    I would love to switch to Nikon for better sports shooting, but it's
    a prohibitively expensive proposition.

    -alan
     
    Alan Hoyle, Mar 18, 2009
    #48
  9. So why are they? Why don't they just say they are going to focus on the
    high volume consumer market instead of dressing it up as a megapixel
    war?

    The fact is that when Olympus chose to use only the 4/3 format they
    locked themselves into a megapixel limit which was lower than other
    manufacturers and eventually they would not be able to compete. I
    suspect that day has arrived much sooner than Olympus expected, even
    though many of us were predicting it as soon as 4/3 launched.

    Nikon did the same when they announced that they did not foresee any
    requirement for anything larger and APS-C, and full 35mm format was not
    in their development plans. That caused enough Nikon users to switch to
    Canon FF solutions that a new management team at Nikon recanted and
    overturned that policy. Now the Nikon-Canon performance battle has
    reached parity, if not turned.

    Earlier Olympus management had no qualms whatsoever in announcing that
    they were going to focus on the high volume consumer market with cameras
    like the mju and OM development slowed, almost to a standstill, soon
    after the 1984 introduction of the OM-4. It took almost 20 years for
    the OM series to formally cease production, but that was due to owner
    demand, corporate policy was announced in 1985.

    These days it has become unfashionable to announce bold corporate (or
    government) policy without dressing it up in spin to dilute the
    reactionary impact.

    I, for one, would love to see a new Olympus management team recant the
    4/3 dogma in the same way that Nikon were forced to. Olympus have
    consistently made far better glass than Canon or Nikon for the 40 years
    I have been interested in photography, but its a long time since they
    had a body that could fully exploit it. Unfortunately, the recession
    will make survival itself the biggest battle Olympus face in the next
    few years. That's why I am disappointed to see the way they spun this
    announcement: far better to have firmly said they were focussing on the
    volume consumer market, thus leaving the door open to re-introduce
    performance leadership if that strategy paid off.
     
    Kennedy McEwen, Mar 19, 2009
    #49
  10. rpd

    Me Guest

    Really?
    Nikon made 4/3?
    Nikon stated that they would not make digital cameras in the old 35mm
    format?
    After Nikon made cameras in the old 35mm, they stopped making digital
    cameras in other formats, or lenses for those formats?

    Your statement is completely silly. 4/3 isn't "dogma", it's a format
    subject to the same advantages and disadvantages of any other format.
    If you print very large, then perhaps it doesn't suit you. If you need
    larger format/resolution for the advantage that you can crop more, then
    perhaps you could benefit by taking some photography classes.
     
    Me, Mar 19, 2009
    #50
  11. rpd

    Guest Guest

    nikon did *not* announce that they had no plans for full frame. what
    they said was that it was not cost effective at the time (and that was
    when the only option was an $8000 1ds).
     
    Guest, Mar 20, 2009
    #51
  12. rpd

    SMS Guest

    The difference was that Nikon was never serious when they said they
    would not be going full frame, they were just putting on a brave face
    because they had no full frame sensor. As soon as they had a full-frame
    sensor they changed their story. I think Olympus is very serious about
    sticking with 4:3. They have such a tiny market share that it's too late
    for them to try to compete in the amateur or professional market. The
    other problem they have is lenses, since Olympus has alway lagged Nikon
    and Canon at the high end, even when they were making 35mm cameras.
     
    SMS, Mar 20, 2009
    #52
  13. rpd

    Me Guest

    Err...
    They didn't ever say they "wouldn't go 'full frame'".
    If they'd wanted a Fx sensor, they had a choice of suppliers - even then.
    Jesus wept...
     
    Me, Mar 20, 2009
    #53
  14. rpd

    Guest Guest

    they *never* said they wouldn't be going full frame. what they said
    was that it was not cost effective at the time and that would probably
    change in the future. and it did.
    actually olympus lenses are very good, as were olympus film slrs.
     
    Guest, Mar 20, 2009
    #54
  15. I really don't think they ever considered that they would lose such a
    large market share as a result of the APS-C only policy. FF only came
    back onto the roadmap once the senior management changed and a decision
    was made to restore Nikon to their former position.
    I agree, but it only takes a few execs to fall on their swords for that
    commitment to change.
    Its never too late - apart from personal pride of execs and CEOs. People
    said it was too late for another player when the OM series appeared in
    1973. Nikon, Canon, Pentax were market leaders at the time and Olympus
    dared to challenge their cartel having only a heritage of half frames
    (the FTL wasn't an Olympus design) and glass.

    Olympus don't have a problem with lenses at all. Many of the OM series
    lenses still challenge and, in some cases, exceed the capabilities of
    equivalents from Nikon and, especially, Canon. Buy, borrow or steal a
    convertor that lets you put Oly glass on a Canon full frame body and you
    will regret that Olympus ever bought into the 4:3 format.
     
    Kennedy McEwen, Mar 20, 2009
    #55
  16. Really?
    Nikon made 4/3?[/QUOTE]

    Read what I wrote instead of cutting it out of context to suit your
    childish agenda.
    It is a dogma which has prevented the very benefits that Olympus
    management have now admitted they cannot provide. It went with the
    dogma that telecentric glass was the only way to avoid peripheral light
    loss on digital sensors. 4/3 format and telecentric lenses - Olympus
    dogma.

    Many said at the time of introduction that 4/3 would prevent them from
    competing at the top level in the long run. Its taken until now for
    Olumpus to realise/admit that the dogma was a blind alley and they don't
    have a seat at the top table anymore.
     
    Kennedy McEwen, Mar 20, 2009
    #56
  17. rpd

    SMS Guest

    Perhaps they can make enough money catering to those that would
    otherwise buy P&S or ZLRs and can write off those that want more than
    snapshots.

    They'll just have to seriously cut prices because why would anyone limit
    themselves in terms of upgrades when they don't have to (even though
    they'll likely never upgrade to full frame anyway).

    4:3 is the answer to a question that nobody asked. Kind of like APS film.
     
    SMS, Mar 20, 2009
    #57
  18. rpd

    SMS Guest

    Actually APS wasn't bad in terms of quality of the photographs it
    produced. There were advantages to the APS system. First, it allowed
    non-mechanically inclined individuals to load cameras without screwing
    up. Second, it allowed physically smaller cameras like the original
    Canon Elph. Third it was supposed to help automate processing. Fourth,
    there was supposed to be an advantage in storing negatives inside the
    cartridge.

    If APS hadn't coincided with the explosion of digital photography then
    it might have had more success. One thing that helped kill APS was the
    producers demanding big premiums for both film and proccessing. Had they
    priced it the same as 35mm then maybe it would have done better.
    Yeah, I had a Minolta 110 camera. I remember foolishly buying some slide
    film for it, getting back slides with the tiny positive in a big square
    of cardboard.
     
    SMS, Mar 21, 2009
    #58
  19. rpd

    SMS Guest

    But the Micro 4:3 cameras suffer from many of the drawbacks of P&S
    cameras, while the 4:3 SLRs aren't much smaller or lighter than the
    smallest APS-C sensor bodies. I.e. the Olympus E-520 body is 16.2
    ounces/52.5 cubic inches, the Canon XSi body is 16.7 ounces/48 cubic inches.

    You're making it out to be full frame versus 4:3 but that's not being
    honest. It's more of APS-C versus 4:3, with the option for the APS-C
    users to move up to the bigger heavier full frame bodies in the future,
    should they choose to do so. No sense locking yourself into the 4:3
    system unless you're absolutely positive that you'll never want to move
    up in resolution or down in noise.

    About the only advantage of 4:3 at this juncture is that the lack of
    demand has driven prices really low.
     
    SMS, Mar 21, 2009
    #59
  20. rpd

    Bruce Guest


    But Four Thirds has never actually offered those claimed advantages.

    The Olympus Four Thirds DSLRs are only very slightly smaller than the
    small APS-C DSLRs from other manufacturers; the Pentax K-m and Nikon
    D40X are tiny cameras.

    The near-telecentric Zuiko Digital lenses are also surprisingly large
    and heavy.

    So the theoretical advantages of Four Thirds have never been delivered
    in practice. Micro Four Thirds might offer them, but only at the
    expense of losing reflex viewing. And the EVF in the Panasonic G1 is
    far from convincing.
     
    Bruce, Mar 21, 2009
    #60
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