Monthly Archives: September 2013

What We Need Next from Olympus and Panasonic – A System – Part 2

September 24, 2013

In my last post, I talked about the fact that the Micro Four-Thirds (MFT) format is making great strides in several areas. The Olympus E-M1 looks like it will close the gap with DSLRs in autofocus performance and the Panasonic GH-3 already has industry leading video performance. Nevertheless there are a few holes in the system that need to be filled if the MFT movement is going to take hold. A lack of high quality telephoto lenses was discussed last week. Today I’ll identify two more points that I think are critical for success of the MFT system. Continue reading

What We Need Next from Olympus and Panasonic – A System – Part 1

September 18, 2013

Now that the E-M1 and GX7 are official and have been warmly received by reviewers (if not actually available), what do we need next from Olympus and Panasonic? We need the MFT system to expand rapidly and capture new users into the MFT universe. New adopters will improve the economies of scale for the companies in the consortium and provide a wider range of accessories for users.

The Micro Four-Thirds manufacturers have produced some marvelous cameras over the past two years: the E-M5, GH3, GX7 among others. Technology is improving rapidly in so many areas (sensor, EVFs, processing, etc.) that the tradeoffs inherent in a smaller sensor camera are now minuscule for most users.

Although some may disagree, I sense that the tide is turning for smaller sensor mirrorless cameras. Their acceptance among pros is increasing (e.g. see the recent conversion of Trey Ratcliff), and more enthusiasts are embracing the advantages of smaller, lighter cameras. As I’ve mentioned previously in many posts, the switching costs of changing camera brands is prohibitive for most users. This means that if the technology has indeed reached a tipping point and consumers are willing to consider changing from Canon and Nikon, manufacturers have a rare opportunity to lock-in a new group of consumers for many years. Currently, photographers switching to smaller format cameras have a plethora of choice: Sony, FujiFilm, Micro Four-Thirds, and others. Some might say that Canon and Nikon have a natural advantage if they move into mirrorless in a big way. While brand loyalty may help, consumers moving to smaller sensor cameras will need new lenses and accessories to maximize the utility of the format, even if they stick with the Big 2. The playing field has been substantially leveled. What will make the difference for many users? A system. Continue reading

Should Olympus Go Full Frame? No!

Olympus 12-40 f/2.8

Olympus 12-40 f/2.8

September 13, 2013

The crowds are lining up for the newly announced E-M1. Immediately after the announcement the camera vaulted to the Number 1 Best Seller ranking in compact system cameras on Amazon, and Amazon issued a high demand warning indicating the company may have difficulty meeting demand when the camera becomes available in October. Early reviews of the new 12-40 f/2.8 lens are also very promising.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m excited about the new camera. The E-M5 is so good that it would take significant improvements for me to feel the need for the E-M1. In that regard, I think Olympus has hit it out of the park. The main limitation for me of the E-M5 is it’s continuous autofocusing ability. According to reports emerging over the last few days, the C-AF on the E-M1 is very good. It won’t beat a state-of-the-art DSLR from Nikon or Canon, but it seems like it will be adequate for my purposes.

So now that Olympus has delivered another outstanding mirrorless camera, what next? Continue reading

Why I’m Excited About the Olympus E-M1

EM1__flont_M1240_BLK_______HLD7_September 11, 2013

The new iPhone wasn’t the only big technology announcement yesterday. Olympus announced it’s new flagship micro four-thirds camera, the OM-D E-M1. Like the iPhone, this was one of the worst kept secrets in the corporate world. Images and specifications had been leaking for weeks.

The Olympus slogan for the camera is “A camera as revolutionary as you.” A nice slogan, but frankly the camera seems more evolutionary than revolutionary. Nevertheless, there is one significant improvement: the autofocus system. The E-M1 has a dual autofocus system that uses CDAF for most purposes, yet has PDAF on the image sensor for continuous autofocus and legacy four-thirds lenses. Improved autofocus tracking is what I was hoping for, and it appears we may have it. Continue reading

Learning New Things

September 6, 2013

SassyAfter a life of longing for a horse, my wife finally was able to fulfill her heart’s desire this summer. So we have new member of the family, Sassy. She’s an 8-year-old Missouri Fox Trotter.

Of course, becoming a member of our family means you must have your picture taken frequently. Last weekend we had our first real chance to take a few snaps of Sassy. This was a learning experience for all of us.

The idea was to get Sassy in all of her fox trotting glory. This means she needs to be running (cantering, galloping, something — I’m still not sure of all of the terminology). My wife thought that if we put a bucket with carrots at one end of the pasture and let her go, she would run to get the carrots. No such luck…  She didn’t even walk to get the carrots; she just stood there and grazed. Continue reading