Crystal-ball-gazing (or - Who and When will meet my DSLR wishlist?)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by chrlz, May 31, 2005.

  1. chrlz

    chrlz Guest

    Here's my wild prediction, based on little other than what I am seeing
    and hearing around the net..

    Olympus/Panasonic/Leitz (and possibly one other surprising 'outsider' -
    woohoo!!) will join forces more formally, and release a camera system
    that meets pretty much all of the following list... but it may not be
    before mid-early 2006, and there will be one 'minor' upgrade to the
    E-range before then. The 'almost perfect' camera will have:

    DSLR, 4/3 format
    12 Mp (or greater, but I doubt it, at least for a couple of years!)
    'Good' high ISO performance (better than E-300, but possibly less than
    current DSLR's)
    Extended Dynamic Range (an underrated issue, and one which can help
    cancel out any noise criticisms..)
    Automatic sensor cleaning (ultrasound + ....?)
    In-camera stabilisation
    'Live' (but probably 'limited') LCD preview and histogram
    Range of new Oly Zuiko, Panasonic/Leitz, Sigma 4/3 lenses

    I really do believe Olympus and Panasonic could not give a $%^& about
    following the 35mm DSLR path or mindlessly battling it out for the last
    megapixel. There is a huge niche market outside 35mm DSLRs, and if
    they can achieve a decent high-resolution smaller-format camera, that
    'niche' could very well eat up a significant portion of the rest of the
    market. There are frequently unflattering comments about Olympus
    cameras in these forums (and hey, I criticise them too - there are
    several things about my Oly C8080 that really get up my nose), but I
    think those who slag off about the 4/3 system are missing the point.
    That point is simply this.. I'm not the only one who would love a
    system that is SMALL (both camera and lenses), had a reasonable range
    of high quality lenses from a number of manufacturers, and was capable
    of sharp enlargements to 13" x 19" (ish).

    OK, the current offerings from Oly may not quite be there, but they are
    very close, they are currently re-structuring the company in a big way,
    and they've released some very promising (if horribly expensive)
    lenses... I could be wrong, they might also be about to sink like a
    stone (O; - but as an eternal optimist, I can dream.

    The 4/3 thing is in it's infancy. We've all heard of the higher noise
    at high ISO's and the expense/limited range of the lenses. But does
    anyone think those issues are insurmountable? All it needs is a
    quieter and slightly higher-res sensor... Actually I think the noise
    issue is blown out of proportion - hell, my 8080 prosumer has worse
    noise than the E-300, and it's perfectly managable and generally
    invisible for 90% of my shooting. (The remaining 10% I should be
    shooting on medium format anyway.. (O;) Some people just don't seem to
    know how to *use* their available dynamic range.. (ducks and hides)

    And then, if the 4/3 system does manage to take off, the
    limited/expensive lens range problem may simply take care of itself as
    Tamron and others flock to fill the need.

    I'm not holding my breath, but I still think we should watch the 4/3
    space very carefully........... And if I'm right, I am *so* going to
    gloat (after I've spent a few weeks playing with my `realised
    wish-list`..) And I think Stacey will be impossible too..

    So, seeyaz in 2006, when I may return to dig up this post!

    PS - I apologise for the 'RichA' style post. I won't do it again.. (O;
    chrlz, May 31, 2005
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  2. Wow! With my 300d's 6Mp, I need an already expensive lens to achieve
    max resolution...
    I wouldn't want to start an unending troll, but isn't 12Mp a slight
    case of overbombing???
    In French, we call that a story of fowls and eggs : it will launch as
    soon as the sigma/tamron/etc "fowl" will deliver lenses, laying then
    the "egg" of a greater demand for bodys, but to grow that fowl, we will
    first need the egg of demand to motivate sigma/tamron/etc investments,
    I do not say that this is impossible, just not as easy as it could
    seem. Inch'Allah (in case He is also interested in photography).

    Greetings from France (please notice that I did NOT say cocorico)
    nikojorj_jaimepaslapub, May 31, 2005
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  3. chrlz

    chrlz Guest

    I wouldn't want to start an unending troll, but isn't 12Mp a slight case of
    No, I don't think so. I think the 'sweet spot' in digital to satisfy
    most high amateur/low-mid range professional shooting will be around
    12-20Mp. That gives a resolution similar to the best slide and even
    most black and white films in the 35mm format. I agree that it exceeds
    the resolution of a lot of lenses, but it would nice to make the sensor
    *not* the limiting factor. 12Mp is also sufficient for really nice
    crisp prints at almost-poster sizes, and I don't think it is
    unreasonable to make that a goal.
    Yes, that is very true, but I believe that IF the basic camera and kit
    lens really delivers (and the current Nikon and especially Canon
    baseline DSLR kitlenses do *not* exactly deliver..) it will garner a
    good following on that basis alone. Now who will make the kit lens? I
    don't know, but we have both Olympus and Panasonic/Leitz in the mix.
    And who has some of the finest digital zooms on the market today? (O;
    Hint - check the reviews on the Oly C8080, the Panasonic FZ20, and even
    the current Oly 4/3 zooms..

    It seems to me that all the key elements are there, and it just awaits
    a better sensor, the will to put it all together, and agressively
    market it...
    chrlz, May 31, 2005
  4. chrlz

    Darrell Guest

    Leica, I doubt it. They are in bankrupcy now. The 4/3 system is pretty much
    dead as it only has attracted 2nd and 3rd tier manufacturers. I can see
    Sigma as they already are tooling up for 4/3. Hey they could make a Foveon
    chip 4/3 camera and call it 16 mega pixels using Sigma math.
    Darrell, May 31, 2005
  5. chrlz

    Bill Hilton Guest

    The 'almost perfect' camera will have:
    Here is the 4/3 dilemma ... if they can fit 12 Mpix in a 4/3 sized
    sensor then at the same pixel pitch Nikon and Canon can fit 19 Mpix and
    18 Mpix in their entry level models. almost 30 Mpix in the 1.3x sized
    sensor and over 40 Mpix in the full frame sized sensor. Less is still
    less. Would you buy a Rebel with 18 Mpix over an Oly 4/3 with 12 Mpix
    at near-equal prices?
    The sensor is small but the camera is not (check the weight of the
    E-300 vs the Pentax or Rebel dSLRs) and the lenses are not. They
    screwed up and missed their design target.
    You left out Kodak and Sigma ... what all these companies have in
    common is that they are losers (or non-competitors) in the 35 mm SLR
    market, which is why they are jumping on the 4/3 boat, they have no
    other option. They were losers in a parallel market, why do you think
    they will be winners this time around?

    Note that the past two years digital camera sales have been rising
    about 50% annually (per PMA figures) yet Oly's camera division lost 24
    billion yen last year in this booming market. The parent company won't
    allow that to continue for long before they cut their losses.

    Bill Hilton, May 31, 2005
  6. chrlz

    chrlz Guest

    Here is the 4/3 dilemma ... if they can fit 12 Mpix in a 4/3 sized sensor
    Actually, *if* the Oly had in-camera IS and reasonably low noise, I
    would buy it in a heartbeat. In fact, even at 8Mp, if it met those
    features, I would buy it. I do NOT like lugging around more weight
    than I need - been there, done that..

    I fully agree that you will always be able to squeeze more pixels into
    a larger format. But like i said, it becomes mindless, and you would
    have to agree that at *some* point it is no longer a critical issue.
    How did 35mm survive against the quality of medium format? It survived
    because it was *enough*.

    To me, reaching the 10-20Mp range is *enough*, provided those pixels
    are 'clean'. And once there, I have *much* more interest in things

    - is my sensor going to require cleaning every 3 months? (I live/shoot
    in a very dusty environment)
    - do I have 'free' image stabilisation for all my lenses? (only
    Minolta do this currently, but I think it is a very valuable feature)
    - is my entire system small and portable?

    I left out Kodak and Sigma as I don't see them as the big
    players/innovators - although Sigma may have a role for cheaper lenses,
    and maybe Kodak will surprise everybody and come up with a great
    sensor.. (I can't see either Olympus or Panasonic being foolish enough
    to go down the Foveon path, given the woeful history of that
    technology. Not unless they employ George P. as CEO..)

    And large losses can mean many things - impending problems,
    re-structuring, write-downs.... *or* large r&d investments in upcoming

    Like I said, I can dream, and I remain convinced that the 4/3 system is
    a good idea not quite realised.. but it's time may come.. (O;
    chrlz, Jun 1, 2005
  7. Chrlz-

    You have a good point, and I'm sure that is part of the rationale behind
    the 4/3 system.

    Over the last century, Kodak has been one of the major innovators in film
    photography, especially for the casual home photographer. Their ideas of
    what is "enough" have included several formats smaller than 35mm. I, for
    one, was disappointed in results from disc, 110 and APS formats.

    Yes, grain is one of the limiting factors. But as you pack more digital
    pixels into any given sensor size, you eventually surpass the grain
    limitation. That leaves lens sharpness as the dominant limitation. Then,
    the crop-factor that multiplies your focal length also divides your lens
    resolution for the smaller sensor.

    Now that we know how good 35mm film photography is, how can we settle for
    something less? I can accept having to use 6 or 8 MPixel cameras because
    that is all that is available today for a reasonable (?) price. That
    doesn't mean the crystal ball shouldn't contain visions of a better

    Fred McKenzie, Jun 1, 2005
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