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The future of the E-system

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

  1. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    I shan't vote, cos there isn't a "you mistook me for someone who gives a ...." option. ;) ;) ;)
  2. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    Funny you should say that, it was missing in previous polls too. :D
  3. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    I disagree, Sony were the market leaders in personal music systems - anyone heard of the Walkman or Discman? - and yet they saw that market devoured by Apple. Sega and Nintendo had the conosle gaming market to themselves then first Sony and now Microsoft have come to dominate.

    Non photographers don't see any names on Pro's gear because they're non photographers and they don't realy care. Just because Canon and Nikon dominate now doesn't mean that we won't see two different brands dominating in ten years time.

    It's all about breaking new ground with new products and compelling market drivers. Who's to say that the next generation sensor in four thirds format won't revolutionise the consumer DSLR market just as the Playstation or iPod did to theirs?
  4. Ken_Moffat

    Ken_Moffat Well-Known Member

    I voted no but I hope I'm wrong.

    A digital OM system should be the target.

    A quick refresher on the OM system reminded me when I first handled an OM1 as a boy in the 70's. I can still remember how impressed I was with the product - the large bright viewfinder, bullet proof build quality and the ultimate quality produced by the lenses of the time.

    It made my Yashica TL Electro (which I still have) look dismal.

    If the ideals behind the OM system could be replicated the 4/3 system would be undoubtedly be a winner.

  5. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I quite agree - Oly effectively made a new market sector with the OM series, and that's what they need to do with 4/3. Go head-to-head with Canon or Nikon and they will surely lose, but there's plenty of scope for a different approach IMHO.
  6. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    The question is though, have Olympus attempted to go Head to Head with Nikon/Canon or is it the photographic press that's attempted to view them in competition with the Big 2?

    It could be argued that with the release of the E-System they did make a new market sector.

    Any thougths on the matter?

  7. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I think their own marketing hype, plus the E-1 argue against that interpretation - although they've certainly tried to innovate, they just need to keep doing it.

    Oh, and I would love to see a compact with the 4/3 sensor - I think that would be a real winner.
  8. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    You could be right Nick, I'm still not sure though. I know we've been through the 'Designed for Digital/Well they Had to they had no SLR system' discussion before.

    I still think that looking at the E-System (even the E-1) that they were creating a new niche/market and while they probably did hype it the thing that possibly caused people to look elsewhere was the others hyping the 'compatibility with existing lenses' advantage.

    I think quite a few looked past the size advantage of a 2x crop which perhaps not evident in the E-1, should have been evident in the lenses. The SSWF didn't get the credit it deserved untill the technology had been adopted in some form by the others. The same will probably be true of 'Live View'

    Yes they need to keep innovating but unless the photographic press credit them where it's due the public won't even notice it exists untill it's adopted by the major players.

  9. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    The tele lenses, perhaps - there's no size (or cost!) advantage with the wides - that lovely 7-14 is both huge and hugely expensive, for example.

    I don't think that's at all true - just that the value of it hasn't been considered to be overwhelming - I think the same goes rather more for other manufacturer's implementations of it, TBH, and in every case it's been mentioned as copying Olympus.

    Maybe, although Canon actually offered it first, albeit on a (very) niche model - I think in the circumstances, Oly have done rather well in getting the plaudits on this one.

    I simply haven't seen any sign of the photographic press not giving them the credit due, TBH. I think they've done very well for coverage of the launch of 4/3 and each subsequent camera - now if you were arguing about the amount of retail space they get, I would agree, and that's a whole different ball game.
  10. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    Olympus took a considerable financial gamble in reformulating their optical designs, especially when most of the company's main products were in the manufacture of microscopes and medical optics such as Endoscopes. Maybe developments in both of these fields led to them down the path to Telecentric optics? The 7-14mm stands as a prime example of the benefits of using Telecentric optics, (Though a Prime is definitely not what it is!) by reducing the extreme angles at which the light 'hits' the sensor at, on ultra-wide angle lenses.

    However, that does not explain why they decided to employ a smaller sensor, and I think the reasons for this, go something along the lines of discovering that optics for larger formats, deliver very large diameter lens barrels and mounts, which might well ended up with a camera that looked like you were using 6x7cm lenses on a 35mm body! The lens barrel diameter would be huge, maybe more than 125mm, which might not go down well with users.
  11. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    But the thing is that other manufacturers had seen digital coming for a long time, and had taken it into account whilst designing lenses even in the pre-digital age. Canon, for example, have gone on record to say that all of their current range of zooms were designed with digital in mind, and that's to cover 35mm. Yes, it's fair to say that Olympus have gone further down this path, and their choice of the smaller format is entirely consistent with this approach - but it's perhaps also consistent with the Olympus history, both with the Pen F series and the OMs. There can be little doubt that it's a perfectly good strategy that delivers excellent results, and I suspect that it might have done an awful lot better but for one thing - Canon's success with "full-frame". Had the Canon cameras been as poor as the Contax and Kodak offerings, full-frame would've been dead in the water and sensor size (within DSLRs) not an issue at all. Instead it's become the spectre at the wedding for the other manufacturers, at least as regards top-end cameras. No matter that the E-1 produced fantastic results with only 5MP on a smallish sensor, the interest (bordering on mass hysteria at times on some boards) over the possibility of Sony and Nikon full-framers is evidence that the interest of many equipment-minded enthusiasts is on the benefits of larger photosites and sensors, rather than the optical benefits of a smaller format. And to be honest, given that with my EOS 5D I can produce more or less noise-free A3 prints with massses of detail, perhaps it's not surprising. But what Olympus managed technically with the E-1 was eye-opening for me - the problem was trying to sell that in a market that was and is obsessed with numbers of pixels and larger sensors. And further, seeing what their future path is in the advanced amateur/pro area...
  12. miked

    miked Well-Known Member

    I've half a mind to say 'no'.
  13. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    I voted No; although I firmly believe that the Four-Thirds system is an excellent one, and generally well thought out.

    The Four-Thirds system is different to Canon and Nikon systems, and so has different strengths and weaknesses.

    The Four-Thirds system is an excellent choice for those who need to use long telephoto lenses, and I'm sure could be developed further for the benefit of sports and wildlife togs' and maybe even the paparazzi. The system is also reasonably compact at ‘normal’ focal lengths, although it tends to get very expensive at wide angles.

    In this regard, the Four-Thirds system is something of a ‘niche’ product, and from what I have seen seems to be popular with people like myself who are happy to use more than one camera system; whereas Nikon and Canon systems seem to be more popular with those who want to do everything with just one body. And as Nick has pointed out in another thread, there is no option to use film with Four-Thirds lenses, which is a great shame.

    Apart from the huge market lead enjoyed by Canon and Nikon, the Four-Thirds system is also challenged by the current obsession with pixel counting:

    I am perfectly happy with my 5 mega pixel E1, but many consumers now expect 10 MP plus even in digital compacts - even though the image quality may not be any better than the E1. Maybe when Joe Public stops chasing pixels for the sake of it, the Four-Thirds system will gain more ground, but for now I cannot see that it will seriously challenge the big two.
  14. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    I've four-thirds a mind, that's why I'm so clever! :D
  15. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    LOL, Yes Nick, how did I overlook that one? it is a bit on the big side. I must have a look for the AP issue that Geoffrey Crawley tested the 7-14.

  16. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Four thirds was founded on the belief that the sensor technology will improve. It is as the stage 135 was at pre war(39-45 for the youngsters). When the four thirds sensor can achieve the quality achieved by C size today, then it has a chance.
  17. AGW

    AGW Well-Known Member

    "were in the manufacture of microscopes "
    Are! in the manufacture of microscopes!! Just got nice new CX with a BX head absolutely brilliant optics and ergonomically well designed. The detail that can be resolved is fantastic. I just wish I had been able to persuade the bosses of the advantages of phase contrast and Normarski optics. I cant wait to get a camera tube made up and I will post you some spores....

    On the down side.... it did take them two months to deliver.
  18. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Same argument as APS film, then - with the same weakness - that any improvement will feed into larger formats, too.
  19. bagpuss

    bagpuss Well-Known Member

    I voted no.
  20. miked

    miked Well-Known Member

    Oh, come on, old chap, let's not be too fractious.

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