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Thread: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

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    Senior Member RichA's Avatar
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    A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    I think it's been and gone! The GF1 would seem to have been their best (build quality) effort in this regard. It's a bit of a shame because going from a plastic to a metal shell allows for additional size reductions (See: Sony NEX5 and NEX3) and has the possibililty for some weather sealing. But with the GF2 (apparently) and the continued offerings from Olympus, I don't see a Leica-like or Fuji X100 type body on the horizon anytime soon. In addition to a lack of really high quality lenses (apart from maybe the 7-14mm Panasonic) it appears they do not intend aiming the products beyond the entry and mild enthusiast level.

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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    The entry and mild enthusiast levels are probably where the most volume/money is, so the business need is to fill out those offerings first. Rumor is the Olympus E-P3 will be announced soon with the high end model later this year. I wouldn't give up on the possibility of higher end mFT yet....but don't bank on having it for Valentines Day

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    Member kwalsh's Avatar
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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by RichA View Post
    It's a bit of a shame because going from a plastic to a metal shell allows for additional size reductions (See: Sony NEX5 and NEX3) and has the possibililty for some weather sealing.
    Yeah, but metal while it feels nice is typically heavier and less durable than the polycarbonates used on cameras. You'll notice the Glock pistol your local law enforcement agent bets his life on and many military members throughout the world carry as a side arm into combat is made of "plastic".

    I admit, metal feels more like a camera to me!

    Not sure on the weather sealing, why would metal be better for that?

    Ken

    P.S. I think everyone is holding their breath for a "true" follow on to the GF1. There really seems to be a good niche for a nice "pro" m43 rangefinder.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by kwalsh View Post
    Yeah, but metal while it feels nice is typically heavier and less durable than the polycarbonates used on cameras. You'll notice the Glock pistol your local law enforcement agent bets his life on and many military members throughout the world carry as a side arm into combat is made of "plastic".

    I admit, metal feels more like a camera to me!

    Not sure on the weather sealing, why would metal be better for that?

    Ken
    If you drop a camera onto a hard surface, metal will get a dent, while polycarbonates tend to crack, making a repair necessary, but sometimes impossible, and voiding any weather sealing. My GH1 has been in for "re-assembly" once already (the build quality is really second rate, and it's not even made out of one, but several pieces of plastic), after a fall that wouldn't even leave a dent in the D300.

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    Senior Member RichA's Avatar
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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by kwalsh View Post
    Yeah, but metal while it feels nice is typically heavier and less durable than the polycarbonates used on cameras. You'll notice the Glock pistol your local law enforcement agent bets his life on and many military members throughout the world carry as a side arm into combat is made of "plastic".

    I admit, metal feels more like a camera to me!

    Not sure on the weather sealing, why would metal be better for that?

    Ken

    P.S. I think everyone is holding their breath for a "true" follow on to the GF1. There really seems to be a good niche for a nice "pro" m43 rangefinder.
    Glocks are composite, but they are a far cry (materially) than the average camera body which (in Sony's case anyway) is composed of rendered-down CDs. Composites go from cheap glass-fiber filled polycarbonate (cameras) to stuff used in fighter planes that costs more per pound than titanium. Metal tends to be better for weather sealing because o-ring insets are much easier to make accurately in metal and thin edge material under stress won't generally crack the way it can with with plastic.
    But to the original argument, the lenses are a weak point. So far nothing I have will match edge to edge quality I have with a mid-level Nikon 16-85mm zoom on my D300 so I'm left with attching something like an adapter and an Oympus 14-54mm II. I use a G1. Smaller lenses with pro-grade quality (Olympus's pro designation, 1 step below Top Pro) would be fine.

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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    Any hope for a high-end semi-pro m4/3 body will have to come from Olympus at this point as a next-gen replacement of the E-5 in m4/3 mount. It's apparent to me that Panasonic has no interest in serving that market. Their money is on consumers, not on pros, certainly not for stills. I'm keeping my GH1 until a worthy replacement comes along. The GH2 isn't it.
    -Dragos
    Panasonic GH1/G1, Canon FTb(n)/F-1, Mamiya C330F/RB67 Pro SD, Chamonix 45N-2, Nikon F5 + Assorted Lenses

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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by photoSmart42 View Post
    Any hope for a high-end semi-pro m4/3 body will have to come from Olympus at this point as a next-gen replacement of the E-5 in m4/3 mount. It's apparent to me that Panasonic has no interest in serving that market. Their money is on consumers, not on pros, certainly not for stills. I'm keeping my GH1 until a worthy replacement comes along. The GH2 isn't it.
    I'm not so sure about that. There are two high end lenses that are supposed to be coming out (25 f1.4 and 12-50 f2.5-3.3). If these lenses come I predict it at least one will be a kit lens to a high end camera. I don't think eliminating the GF1 for the G2 is Panny's ultimate plan. There is a gap that I think is going to be filled by a camera sold with a fast lens. I have no knowledge of any of this but it is a gut feeling.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    I'm not so sure about that. There are two high end lenses that are supposed to be coming out (25 f1.4 and 12-50 f2.5-3.3). If these lenses come I predict it at least one will be a kit lens to a high end camera. I don't think eliminating the GF1 for the G2 is Panny's ultimate plan. There is a gap that I think is going to be filled by a camera sold with a fast lens. I have no knowledge of any of this but it is a gut feeling.
    Agree, and I think we'll see some very high-end, hybrid photo/video cameras coming from Panasonic (and sooner or later from Olympus) within the next couple of years. If they do their homework, they will take parts of the market with storm. Canon and Nikon probably see this coming, but it's a question if they have the technology or even the ability to turn things around fast enough. Panasonic is an electronics firm by nature, while the traditional manufacturers are solidly weighted down by mirrors and legacy lenses. Nothing wrong with DSLRs, but if an EVIL camera is smaller, cheaper, more practical in a work situation and delivers the needed image or video quality, many professional users will jump onto this bandwagon sooner rather than later.

    m43 is the first integrated photo/video system that can take anything from the cheapest kit-lens to extremely expensive PL-mount cine lenses, with most lenses ever manufactured filling up in between. Although some of the highest end cameras, like the AF100, will be dedicated video or photo cameras, the advantages and opportunities by having one, integrated system are great both from a financial and creative point of view. I'm sure Panasonic will be using this for all that it's worth.

    Only a couple of years ago, I, and probably many of you, believed that EVFs and professional hybrid cameras were distant future options. Even for months after I bought the GH1, I was skeptical. Now, my Nikon gear hasn't been out of the dry cabinet for weeks.

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    Member kwalsh's Avatar
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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by RichA View Post
    Composites go from cheap glass-fiber filled polycarbonate (cameras) to stuff used in fighter planes that costs more per pound than titanium.
    Well, the same goes for the metals used in cameras - I've seen plenty of bodies with a thin veneer of metal to get the feel that don't handle even minor drops - but I get your point. I guess what I was trying to say was that plastic does not necessarily equal weaker than metal and metal does not necessarily equal quality or durability. With a camera system that is aiming to be lightweight it might be a better play with quality plastics. On the other hand, as you point out if you want it to be compact there is some advantage to metal.

    Metal tends to be better for weather sealing because o-ring insets are much easier to make accurately in metal and thin edge material under stress won't generally crack the way it can with with plastic.
    Ah, got it. Interesteing, thanks.

    But to the original argument, the lenses are a weak point.
    Yes. From the 4/3 side there are some really great optics, when or if they'll migrate to m43 designs is the big question I guess. I think that is a larger EVIL/MILC question as well. Adapting big DSLR Sony/Nikon/Canon lenses to any EVIL/MILC that has/might appear from those manufacturers kind of removes the point of the small size body and those manufacturers seem even less likely to come up with quality optics designs in this form factor than Olympus or Panasonic.

    Ken

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    I actually could not care less which materials a high end M43 camera would be - for me anything from build quality as the GH2, EP2 etc. is already ok. It needs to be durable, weather sealed and rugged.

    More important than the material of the body are the inner values of that pro body, like even better EVF, or Hybrid VF or video capability, maybe less bells and whistles and knob etc (take a Leica S2 as what it should be to make it simple) etc etc .....

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    Senior Member Tim's Avatar
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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    Considering the brand new price on a GF1 body is now, it has to be one of the best bargains in digital cameras at the moment. The IQ is virtually the same as its replacements anyhow. Its strange but a new EVF for the GF1 is about 2/3 the new GF1 body cost.

    I was considering selling my GF1 a while back, but I may as well keep it for what I could ask for it.

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    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    What do we mean by 'high end'? How many of us actually need 'weather sealing' on our cameras? I used my GF-1 several times in the middle of blizzards recently without problems. Do we need ruggedisation? I don't, it would add to the weight of the camera, and the whole point of m43rds to me is high performance in a low weight, small form factor. In any case unless lenses were also weather sealed/ruggedised what would be the point?

    I'd rather Panasonic put their efforts into continued improvements into sensor performance, EVF and a broader range of primes.

    LouisB

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by biglouis View Post

    I'd rather Panasonic put their efforts into continued improvements into sensor performance, EVF and a broader range of primes.

    LouisB
    Hopefully, one doesn't exclude the other. I need a more robust camera if it's going to survive all my travels and being hauled around at pit lanes, golf courses etc. That goes for lenses also obviously, but hopefully, something will happen in that area as well, from at least one of the two suppliers.

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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by biglouis View Post
    (...) In any case unless lenses were also weather sealed/ruggedised what would be the point?
    Louis,

    I'm among those wanting tougher bodies and lenses. The arguments "what's the use when there are no lenses?" or "what's the use when there are no bodies?" are common.

    I think they should start somewhere. Maybe with some high grade lenses, then make a body. I guess Canon started somewhere, as did Nikon. Pentax has managed to introduce sealed bodies and cameras during the last years. So can Panasonic and Olympus do if they believe 4/3 is a system for the future and for a diverse user group.

    regards,

    Jonas

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    Senior Member Ario Arioldi's Avatar
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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    I think that the AF technology presently used in the m4/3 is not yet suitable for a high end camera and this is probably one of the major challenge for the manufacturers.
    Cheers,
    Ario

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    Member kwalsh's Avatar
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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ario Arioldi View Post
    I think that the AF technology presently used in the m4/3 is not yet suitable for a high end camera and this is probably one of the major challenge for the manufacturers.
    On the other hand it is a lot better than the AF technology in the Leica M9, which is a fairly high end camera by most standards

    (And yes, I know what you are driving at, I'm just being silly)

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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by kwalsh View Post
    (And yes, I know what you are driving at, I'm just being silly)
    Not that silly in my opinion. Surely a high end camera can be about other things than focus speed? "High end" is probably not a good general denomination anyway. I mean, the Olympus E-5 is a high end camera, no? Still, why pick such a small sensor for a high end camera?

    There can be a high end camera of the segment and for 4/3 cameras a high end model is not to compete with those cameras used by todays sport photographers. It is also not made to compete with an S2 or with a Hassy or even with a FF camera for image quality. Thinking about it, it also doesn't compete with P&S cameras for portability... Why did I buy one at all?

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    m43 is good enough for what many professional photographers do, and apart from AF, better than almost any DSLR on the market 6-7 years ago. FF will always be better in low light and have shallower depth of field, but I don't doubt for a second that 4/3 sensors in 2-3 years will surpass the FF sensors of today. And as for shallow depth of field, we already have the CV 25/0.95. I'm sure more will follow. Most photographers won't bother with shallower DOF than that anyway.

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    Re: Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by RichA View Post
    In addition to a lack of really high quality lenses (apart from maybe the 7-14mm Panasonic) it appears they do not intend aiming the products beyond the entry and mild enthusiast level.
    No mention so far of the excellent 20mm f/1.7. Try one; you'll be surprised.

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    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    I would be into a fast 12–50 zoom, even though its range duplicates my superb 20mm 1.7. Which is probably the best lens I have ever used at wide apertures. And as also noted, the 7–14 has an excellent rep.

    So why the to-do about *not-great lenses*? These two lenses mentioned plus the Leica 25mm f1.4 and 45 f2.8 make a pretty damn good start, and if the 12–50 comes through and is good, it’s even better.
    Last edited by mediumcool; 11th January 2011 at 02:55. Reason: changed *even though it covers* to *even though its range. Removed plural. duplicates*

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    Senior Member Tim's Avatar
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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    but I don't doubt for a second that 4/3 sensors in 2-3 years will surpass the FF sensors of today.
    If this is the case I see plenty of room sales wise for a HQ mFT camera body. Something akin in size to my old OM4 would be ideal - come to think of it thats about the size of a GF1 with an integrated OVF or EVF.

    Of course this has been asked for before

    I like the DOF/sensor size ratio with mFT a bit better than APS-C. It leaves a bit more lattitude for hyperfocal effect, and hence a few more keepers.

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    Re: A high-end micro 4/3rds?

    A higher end body will usually mean a slightly better feature set and easier to navigate and make changes. I am hopeful that olympus will produce a pro/semi pro spec body, but we need the lenses, I would be interested to see how big any faster zooms will be ( M4/312/60 2.8/4) because if they are to big if kind of defeats the object of the system

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