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The future of the E-system

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Damien_Demolder, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    To tie in with our Olympus E-410 and 510 test this week we're asking you about the future of the whole Four Thirds system:

    Do you think the Four Thirds System will develop to rival Nikon and Canon within the next 3 years?

    Head to the Home Page to vote.

    Thanks to all who voted in the last poll. Your views on the price of the Kate Moss pictures are quite clear. About 66% said the collection isn't worth the £84,000 paid. About 27% think they were - though whether that was based on the content or the over all artistic merit I'm not sure. A further 6% couldn't quite make up their minds.

    Thanks again.

  2. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    I said no. I just can't see it as a Nikon/Canon rival, no matter how good it is. They may well go on to be highly successful, but I doubt they have the resources to challenge the big two.

    My personal interest would be to see a 4/3 sensor based digital compact, which should be feasible. The Olympus E-Pen, perhaps? It'd be quite a useful tool for digiscoping too.
  3. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    I voted no, Canon and Nikon have too large a market to be affected by Olympus to any great degree. It doesn't really matter what innovation Olympus develop, the major players have the financial clout to introduce their own version.

    To be honest I think it's a pretty strange question, why Olympus? why not Pentax or Sony, wouldn't they be more likely to bring out a 'Full Frame' DSLR? While a 4/3rds sensor can compete with an APS-C I feel it's asking too much to expect it not only to compete but to overshadow a Full Frame.

    Unless you know something that we don't :D

  4. Dave_Cox

    Dave_Cox Well-Known Member

    If Olympus came up with a digital OM-system they'd stand a chance; but from what I hear there's still a lot of indifference to the 4/3 format. There doesn't appear to be any clear progression through the range like there is from the Nikon/Canon/Pentax alternatices either - although that could be a lack of knowledge on my part.
  5. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    The poll doesn't mention Olympus - it's about the 4/3 system, which of course encompasses more than just Olympus cameras. It seems like a legitimate question to me, since it was always intended to be a completely different approach from the norm (or at least that's how it was marketed). Pentax and Sony are in the same camp as Nikon and Canon in that sense.
  6. TheFatControlleR

    TheFatControlleR :Devil's Advocaat: Forum Admin

    This'll be good... :rolleyes:
  7. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I think it is a very valid question.

    The reason I don't think 4/3 will rival Nikon and Canon is based on a number of factors.

    We know that larger pixels are reckoned to be better pixels and the 4/3 concept of using a smaller sensor rather limits the size of its pixels for even a modest 6MP sensor.

    Anyone buying a 4/3 system camera must be either a new SLR user with no legacy lenses or a convert. Converting from one camera system to another is expensive and not something to be done for "fun". New SLR users tend to but low end bodies, or as we saw with the remaining E1 bodies, they buy cheap.

    To rival Nikon and Canon the 4/3 system needs high end kit with all the qualities of the D2x and EOS1D. Of the 4/3 partners only Olympus are in that class and they are still sitting on their new pro body. Leica are capable but they don't seem to be interested in this particular market. So there is nothing to attract high end users to convert from Nikon or Canon.

    This is not to say that the 4/3 system can't deliver image quality or good lenses. I also suspect that there are others who, like me, remember Olympus in the late 80s and early 90s when support for the OM system seemed to evaporate. I wouldn't want to invest in E system cameras to find that the support dried up. Without Olympus there wouldn't be much left of the 4/3 system.
  8. Monobod

    Monobod Phantom of the forum

    Although I had a good range of Pentax Lenses to go with my Z1-P film slr, I still bought an Olympus E-500 in as my first dslr in preference to a Pentax *ist for two valid reasons. the first being the excellent dust removal/prevention system, which I am convinced is superior to ALL others and secondly because of the high qaulity of the reproduction from the E-500.

    I found a need for a 500mm equivalent lens, to buy one for the 4/3rds system was dearer than buying the K10D body, which with 10mp, dust removal, high image quality and control features similar to my Z1-P was the ideal choice and turned my 80-320 zoom into 120-480, just what I needed.

    I have already, within just a couple of months had a speck of dust on the sensor which needed a Rocket Blower to remove, reinforcing my earlier comment.

    I am sure that the E-510 will prove to be an excellent choice for those users who are upgrading, or for new first time buyers without a legacy. I am still drawn to the 4/3rds system, designed as it is to be digital from the outset must have its advantages. I do not think it will displace Canon, Nikon, Pentax or Sony but I hope it survives as a very viable inovative alternative. With live view for macro being one inovation I am already envious of.
  9. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    Well the thread title is The Future of the E-System

    As for the Poll, well yes my mistake, it does say 4/3rds rather than Olympus. In my defence Damiens post does refer to Olympus and they are the driving force, I don't think that could be argued.

    Now I did say it was a strange question, not a stupid question. Again I feel thats a reasonable description and I'm not questioning the legitimacy of the question. As I said maybe Damien knows more at this stage than the general public, he certainly knows more about the AP review of the E-410/E-510.

    In any case I voted no based on the current state of play. :cool:


    edit Sony and Pentax may be in the same camp as Nikon/Canon but they aren't being classed along with Nikon/Canon. The question is can the 4/3rds System rival Nikon/Canon, I assume that Damien means at Pro Level.
  10. whistley

    whistley Well-Known Member

    As an Olympus E-1 owner I voted no, because I can only vote based on the cameras currently available from Olympus, Panasonic and Leica. Oly users know the replacement for the E-1 will be launched later this year but there has been no word from Olympus about the specs. We know it will have live view, image stabilisation and be at least 10mp. Will it have the same sensor as the E-510 or do Olympus have something radically new up their sleeves, I hope they do because they will not impress anyone by launching a more robust and waterproof version of the E-510.

    The fact is Olympus are not daft, they released a statement last years saying “Our future product plans include everything from a flagship model aimed at working professionals, to entry-level models for users who are new to SLR photography.” They seem confident they can supply the goods, we will have to wait a few months before we can confirm their optimism.

    There is a rumour on another forum that Olympus supplied Nasa with an E-3 to test on the shuttle mission that has just landed and this will be used on the promotion for the E-3 launch. I would prefere to have David Bailey promote the camera, at least he is a photographer. But it is only a rumour (the Nasa part not David Bailey).

    As for a system that can rival Nikon and Canon, I think the only company that could take them on is Sony. They have huge resources, if they set themselves the goal of becoming a market leader in three years I wouldn't bet against them. The question is, do they want to.
  11. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    No matter how big a comany is, they can still lose significant market share.

    Look how the iPod and the Playstion came out of nowhere to dominate their markets.
  12. Ellie527

    Ellie527 Well-Known Member

    I think there's a good chance, with proper and fair marketing where potential buyers can choose from a good range of products.

    If some photographic stores continue to stock exclusively Canon and Nikon dslrs, (two high street stores I visited recently only stocked Canon and Nikon) or have if they have 'Canon Discount Days', I don't think any of the other manufacturers have got much chance, irrespective of who they are. Panasonic, Leica and Olympus are jolly good, but they are as 'in your face', so fewer people buy them.

    I don't entirely agree that new users buy in at the lower end or go for the cheapest. I know too many people who have bought in at the most expensive end of a range because they think they'll be able to take better pictures.

    I bought the model I've got because I liked it better than the opposition, and I chose very carefully. I'm not bothered about what the books say about noise, because I haven't found it to be a problem. I've never yet had any dust specks on the sensor, and the lack of IS isn't noticeable for me because I'd never previously relied on it. The size/weight of the body and the new lenses are a huge benefit, especially if you're going to carry a whole kit around all day.
  13. TheFatControlleR

    TheFatControlleR :Devil's Advocaat: Forum Admin

    Ah, the yoof market, so easily swayed by hype, fashion, and style over substance (allegedly). :rolleyes:
  14. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    I have an E-1 plus 'legacy' Minolta Dynax 9. I bought the E-1 for three reasons, firstly, Minolta still hadn't produced their 7D, (which I subsequently bought) so I could use the Rokkor lenses I already owned. Secondly, the E-1's build quality is excellent, as are it's ergonomics and balance, the lens range, which is excellent to outstanding.

    The third reason was the 4/3rds format, based on being able to field-test one for 3 days before purchasing, finding that because the format of the sensor is closer to that of A4 paper, image cropping is less, so I didn't get hassles with cropping the image, which results in finding when you print to the width of the paper, I 'fill' the A4 and do not have to slice off so much unprinted paper, because 35mm is narrower than the paper.

    Having compared the 7D to the E-1, I find markedly less 'unwanted artifacts' in images taken on the E-1, but that may just be my technique or the better ergonomics on the E-1.

    As for the 4/3rds system, one hears of people dismissing it, but is that based on using one, or just their view of the specification sheets for it?!! I have the 7-14mm, which is optically outstanding and to a large extent 'proves' the benefits of their telecentic optical design, especially in relation to the evenness of exposure, lack of fringing at the edges of the images, etc, etc.

    The 4/3rds system may well not capure as much market share as either Canon or Nikon, but then there are still people out there who still hanker for 35mm sized sensors, but seem to ignore the fact that to get the optimum image quality from these, a separate range of Telecentric optics, (something Olympus pretty well championed via the 4/3rds system!) will need to employed, negating the usually perceived advantage of a full-frame sensor, being able to use existing optics. Maybe the cost of developing and manufacturing Telecentric optics (and yet another new mount!) is why a 35mm sized sensor is taking so long to appear!

    We have the all pervading IBM PC, and yet the Apple Mac still retains a fairly substantial part of that market, so why shouldn't exactly the same kind of thing happen with the 4/3rds format?
  15. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Not quite the same situation though - Apple and Sony have a lot more clout than Olympus/Panasonic/Leica. Photographers know the companies, but non photographers see Canon and Nikon on all the pros' gear, just as Apple appears on most creatives' computers.
  16. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I voted no, but then I think that the 4/3 system is best not targeted at Canon and Nikon directly, but rather to further develop a different market sector, taking advantage of 4/3 strengths (especially size) and not trying to compete in areas where the system is intrinsically weaker. Innovation, and compact but usable size - that's where Olympus have always succeded, and it's where they can now.
  17. Ellie527

    Ellie527 Well-Known Member

    Sorry :eek: previous post should have had a gobbledegook warning attached.

    Should have read ...

    "If some photographic stores continue to stock Canon and Nikon dslrs exclusively, (two high street stores I visited recently only stocked Canon and Nikon) and/or have 'Canon Discount Days', I don't think any of the other manufacturers have got much chance, irrespective of who they are. Panasonic, Leica and Olympus are jolly good, but they aren't as 'in your face', so fewer people buy them."

    How much of that is because they've been given the gear by the manufacturers?

    It comes back to marketing, and surely it depends who the 4/3rd consortium see as their target audience.
  18. Nod

    Nod Well-Known Member

    Interesting, Footloose, that the aspect ratio was a factor in your choice. The 4/3rds system has the aspect ratio of 1 : 1.33333333, A4 is 1 : 1.4142 and the Dx sensor (and 35mm film) is 1 : 1.5 (slightly wider than the paper in Landscape format) - all fairly close. I suppose it depends on whether you prefer to crop a little off the edges or off the top and bottom to fit on A4.

    To avoid slicing a few milimetres off each Ax print, I crop my images (for printing at A sizes) to the exact size of the paper so I can chose exactly which bits to lose.
  19. zuiko

    zuiko Well-Known Member

    I think the 4/3 system is a slow burner, it will take sales away from the big two but to what extent? Light, compact, high spec dust free images is what's on offer. I haven't seen the new reviews on the 510 and 410, i guess from the question that it is positive. High MP is no longer the holy grail, weight restrictions on flights might have more bearing perhaps. I bought the E1 despite being a Contax and Canon user. I made the right choice.

  20. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    As yes, the Yoof of today, the Amatuers and Pros of tomorrow, influenced by hype, fashion and style over substance.

    Not perhaps influenced by DSLR ‘s that can trace their roots back to;

    A film Introduced in 1892 and popularised in still photography due to the Leica, designed by Oskar Barnack and released to the public in 1925

    :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

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