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Thread: New micro 4/3rds format

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    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    New micro 4/3rds format

    Olympus and Panasonic have announced a new, mirrorless format / lens mount based on (and compatible with) Four Thirds. The Micro Four Thirds system uses the same sensor size (18 x 13.5 mm) but allows slimmer cameras by removing the mirror box and optical viewfinder. The new format has three key technical differences: (1) roughly half the flange back distance (distance from mount to the sensor), (2) a smaller diameter lens mount (6 mm smaller) and (3) two additional contact points for lens-to-body communication (now 11 points). Removing the mirror mechanism allows this shorter flange back distance, meaning lenses for the new mount can be considerably smaller than current Four Thirds designs. The format will require framing to be carried out using Live View on either the LCD monitor or an EVF. Existing Four Thirds lenses can be used on Micro Four Thirds cameras using an adapter. Neither company is as yet making product announcements (we expect some more news in this respect closer to Photokina).
    Put a rangefinder on it for focusing and you could have a mini Leica RF with AF and all the digital bells and whistles.


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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: New micro 4/3rds format

    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Graber View Post
    Put a rangefinder on it for focusing and you could have a mini Leica RF with AF and all the digital bells and whistles.

    I sure I don t know what I am talking about .....but....wouldn t the reduced lens to flange distance allow for an M lens to be used with an appropriate adapter.

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    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: New micro 4/3rds format

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    I sure I don t know what I am talking about .....but....wouldn t the reduced lens to flange distance allow for an M lens to be used with an appropriate adapter.

    I believe the M register is 27.80mm. So if such a camera existed I guess they could. IF the format took off (4/3rds has not exactly set the world on fire) it would let Leica latch on to a standard that had economies of scale rather then the M which requires engineering different then all those DSLR's out there.

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    Re: New micro 4/3rds format

    Seems very likely a adapter could be used for M mount or screw mount glass but remember this is 2 x crop so a 50mm is 100mm on the 4/3 body.

    tm

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: New micro 4/3rds format

    This must be the basis for the rumored Leica CL. Leica just can not create another new platform on their own. The M8 is just too complex and expensive to develop a knock off that prices out below $3000. They have to share a platform with somebody to develop a RF offering that at least on price ..lines up with the D700 and the coming 5d whatever. Produce the Summarit line in Japan and the cost would go below $1000. Allow the camera to use the M mount lenses and recapture the installed base ..thats been priced out of the M8 and Noctiluxes. Next prediction....Panasonic will announce a 20MP+ DSLR that takes R glass and Leica will have their version ..the R10 . It will be delayed because I believe Leica gave up on the internally developed R10 and is working off a Panasonic platform. Just my wild guesses based on how I would look at the product positioning. Anyway we will know in a few weeks .

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    Re: New micro 4/3rds format

    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Graber View Post
    I believe the M register is 27.80mm. So if such a camera existed I guess they could.
    Hi Hank
    I think that the problem here is that the whole principle of 4/3 is that the lenses are telecentric (one function of which is that the light exiting the exit pupil is parallel). This removes the problems Leica had with corner lighting and IR). M lenses are about as far from telecentric as one can get, so, even if an adaptor could be made (sure it could) I'd expect there to be problems with vignetting etc.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Graber View Post
    IF the format took off (4/3rds has not exactly set the world on fire)
    It might not have set your world on fire, but every shop I go into has 4/3 stuff visible and on sale - they aren't trendy around this forum, but there are lots of them out there!
    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Graber View Post
    it would let Leica latch on to a standard that had economies of scale rather then the M which requires engineering different then all those DSLR's out there.
    Here I quite agree - it seems to me absolutely in Leica's sphere of excellence - let someone else (Olympus or Panasonic) do the electrics, and then design wonderful bodies and lenses to go with them.

    Here's hoping!

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    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: New micro 4/3rds format

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    This removes the problems Leica had with corner lighting and IR
    Far be it for me to disagree with you, Jono - , but Leica's IR problems surely didn't have anything to do with the lack of telecentricity - wasn't it the lack of anti IR filter.
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    Re: New micro 4/3rds format

    Yes, but the reason they left out the IR filter was because of the lack of telecentricity, so it comes full circle...
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
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    Re: New micro 4/3rds format

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    Yes, but the reason they left out the IR filter was because of the lack of telecentricity, so it comes full circle...
    Thank you Stuart . . .you took the words out of my mouth!

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    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: New micro 4/3rds format

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Thank you Stuart . . .you took the words out of my mouth!
    Apologies to you Jono - grovel, grovel . I don't understand it, though - must be my age.
    Sláinte

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    Senior Member 4season's Avatar
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    Re: New micro 4/3rds format

    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Graber View Post
    Put a rangefinder on it for focusing and you could have a mini Leica RF with AF and all the digital bells and whistles.
    Unless a lens focusing cam is part of the spec, some sort of electronic finder seems far more likely. This isn't the new Leica CL, it's what the Digilux 3 should have been. Back to the basics of small camera, big sensor, and not the other way around.

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    Re: New micro 4/3rds format

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Campbell View Post
    Apologies to you Jono - grovel, grovel . I don't understand it, though - must be my age.

    Basically, the light rays from the back of the M lenses (wide angles anyway) are hitting the sensor at a strong angles. If you are familiar with lighting, digital sensors are kind of like grid spots -- light passes through them, but only straight on. Film does not behave this way -- the light can hit it from any angle and it more or less does fine.

    The problem with the Leica lenses on digital sensors was this, along with the added problem of the sensor cover glass. The thicker the filter on the cover glass, the more glass the light traveled through (remember, it's going through on an angle, not just right through like on an SLR, so with a .5mm cover glass on an SLR, the light is passing through .5mm of glass, where on a leica with .5mm of cover glass, it might travel through .5mm on center, but 1mm at the edges.). Basically, Leica had a choice -- mushy corners or a thin IR filter. They chose a thin IR filter, but it is clear they greatly underestimated the effect this would have on daily use. Then they had to back pedal and give everyone free filters etc etc.

    I am still shocked this happened though. I remember going to Photo Plus in NYC right when it was released. The problems were SO obvious.

    This was the first photo I took with it:


    It had it all...nasty IR contamination, a lot of noise and banding. P.S. There was not a purple shirt in sight there...everyone was wearing black. They have come a long way though, and the M8 is now a great camera when used within its limits (with IR filters and only up to 640, maybe 1250 for black and white).

    Anyway, sorry that was a long digression!
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    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: New micro 4/3rds format

    Thanks, Stuart. I think I understand this now - the Leica filter is both thin and weak, and weak because it is thin. I think I was sort of comparing it to neutral density filters which are all the same thickness, even though their strengths differ. Presumably it isn't possible to make an IR filter which is thin and strong.
    Sláinte

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    Re: New micro 4/3rds format

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    Yes, but the reason they left out the IR filter was because of the lack of telecentricity, so it comes full circle...
    The reason they went with an absorptive filter (rather than the dichroic which could be as thin as they liked) was a fear of internal reflections leading to lowered contrast or flare problems. The mantra from Solms that the filters couldn't be thicker keeps obscuring this point, but the owners of Leica seem to have gotten the point, according to recent statements, so i don't think this choice will be made again.

    And M lenses are far from symmetric (see post in "other cameras"), but perhaps not as extended as R and other DSLR lenses.

    scott

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    Member Hank Graber's Avatar
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    Re: New micro 4/3rds format

    Jono,

    with a 2x crop Leica M lenses would have limited appeal but the upside is the marketing department can call it an M and the crop is small enough to avoid most of the problems of non-retro focus lenses. The extreme angles are outside the crop area.

    Personally I think Olympus has the best set of lenses for digital of any manufacturer and a very attractive package in the E3 but market share is far behind the Canikon APS-C and 35x24 offerings.

    As long as Olympus remains committed I think 4/3rds will continue to progress although one or two more serious players would help. The micro 4/3rds seems an ideal format for a small Leica reportage camera. The current M8 is in many ways more a digital Mamiya 7 then a real digital barnack camera.

    Fast lenses with more depth of field at wide apertures for available light photography. Compact size and lower cost for smaller image circle exotic glass. Most importantly no need to develop the sensor and supporting electronics from scratch, you can piggyback on to a mass market platform that would include the usual digital niceties like sensor cleaning and in camera vibration reduction. f/1.4 with a DOF of around f/2.8 in 35mm format + vibration reduction + no mirror slap and even with an ISO limit of 800 you could shoot in any light.

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