(FT5) “PEN pro” camera in 2-3 years (via Megapixel)

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Image courtesy: Megapixel

Olympus gave an Interview at Megapixel (Click here). There is one big surprise statement:
We see the mirrorless system as the future of digital photography. In 5-10 years reflex cameras will be a niche or will not be there at all. So we believe that PEN in the long run will also be in the professional market – but that will take maybe 2-3 years. In 2011 you will see more PEN products and more lenses (beyond what was discussed in the presentation).

According to Olympus DSLR will become a niche market within 5-10 years. Interesting that Olympus says “PEN-type” cameras instead of “mirrorless” cameras :)

There are a also a few more info about 3D (they don’t plan to support the Panasonic 12.5mm 3D lens) and the new Olympus XZ-1 (it will not create a new line of cameras). Editor’s note: The “good weapons” Olympus is talking about are the new Olympus E-PL2 and accessories.

So dear readers….what do you think about that news? Are you surprised? The good news is that Olympus plans to enter the PRO market. The issue here is to define what is a “PRO” camera. We have been told that an advanced Olympus m43 model will be announced within 2011. It will not replace the Olympus E-5 but as long as it has built-in EVF, a solid body, a new sensor and fast AF this will be PRO enough for me ;)

What is your opinion on that? What defines a PRO camera? What should Olympus do to satisfy your professional needs?

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  • JRK

    There never was a claimed need for a “Pro” Olympus m43 IMO. What was rather in demand was a more enthusiast aimed camera.

    Features like built-in EVF, faster operation, more DR and possibly some resolution, better movie modes, and of course, higher quality lenses. Basically, something in between where the E-620 and E-30 were.

    Something like or a little better than the GH2, so I think at the EOS 60D’s level or D7000.

    • JRK

      pro to me being cameras like the EOS 7D, 5D, 1D, Nikon D300s, D700, D3 and the Oly E-3, E-5

      • That’s a lot of different cameras, only one of which is really pro.

        • Eugene2

          I believe, you meant D3?

    • Eric

      Oh I don’t know, I would love to have a camera with the speed, performance, and build quality of a Canon 7D in a package the size of Samsung NX10. It’s not the size and bulk of the D300 I like, it’s the performance. Even my Pentax K7 is too bulky IMO.

      I’m not exactly sure why companies stopped making small “pro” cameras such as the Pentax LX, but it’s high time someone corrected that mistake. I could see m4/3’s cameras styled like the Fuji X100 taking care of the enthusiast market, and then Olympus could make a mirrorless camera in a body similar to the Olympus E-450 with optional batter grip for pro use.

  • jeff

    Holy shit olympus has no idea what its doing , its official.

    2 to 3 years for a pro camera? do they have any idea that in 2 to 3 years they wont be a relevent part of the mirrorless market?

  • jeff

    Here is what olympus needs to do JUST TO SURVIVE THE NEXT 2 years.

    1. Start putting out GOOD lenses for their pen cameras , if olympus is listening , a good lense for a pen camera is not a 5 inch zoom lense that is extremely slow. A good lense for a pen style camera is a fixed prime lense that is fast for low light and less than 800 dollars so people can actually afford to buy one.

    2. They need to release a pen camera with a built in fucking EVF , im not going to buy a pen camera to look at the lcd screen in the back of the camera and neither is any other photographer. And that dinky little attachment viewfinder is great , even though it completely negates any pocketability the camera had and destroys the sexy image the camera has.

    3. They need to lower the price of the e5 , 1700 dollars is rediculous.

    4. They need to tell people what the hell is coming in the future or im going to sell all my shit.

    • bob

      very well put. Just what I’ve been thinking as well.

    • Mr. Reeee

      1. For the good of the Micro Four Thirds platform, Olympus and Panasonic should collaborate and release COMPLIMENTARY lenses, not keep releasing similar lenses. It’s confusing and detrimental to the platform.

      As for lens quality, I’ll buy whatever lens is best, but unfortunately what I’ve seen from Olympus isn’t very compelling. Their 4/3 50mm macro looks great, but I’m not spending another $150 to adapt a $500 lens. I’ll buy the PL45mm.

      2. Yes. Yes and YES. A PEN with a built-in EVF is an absolute no-brainer! Olympus has really shot themselves in the foot releasing essentially the same camera… FOUR TIMES and keeping them ALL on the market. If I have to download spec sheets to tell the difference between models how will that fly with the uninitiated?

      3. E5? Too little. Too late. Too big. Too heavy. Besides, Four Thirds is DEAD.

    • Eugene2

      It is possible to add the following: Olympus should cooperate with other manufacturers of matrixes (Sony, Fuji). Cooperation with Panasonic looks for Olympus awfully: the jealous partner (Panasonic) simply slowly smothers naive Olympus. Unless this cooperation? If Olympus will receive a good matrix from Sony, possibilities of chambers Olympus will increase.

    • BBernhardt

      Word! +1

  • Good scoop.

    > The good news is that Olympus plans to enter the PRO market. The issue here is to define what is a “PRO” camera.

    That’s not the issue to me. To me the issue is the “couple of years.”

    Should I mention that all competitors – Sony, Samsung, Panasonic (and Nikon if rumors to be trusted) – have much deeper pockets and in 2 years can drive Oly again into next search for the next niche?

    > “Olympus is trying not to sell cheap cameras, PEN is a good example.”

    Oh. Now it makes sense. E-xxx line is the same as PENs to the Olympus: after all they have the same price. Or am I reading too much into the words?

    > “So we believe that PEN in the long run will also be in the professional market – but that will take maybe 2-3 years. In 2011 you will see more PEN products and more lenses …”

    2-3 years is too long. If Panasonic this year gets serious about its G and GH lines, in 2-3 years there might be no cake waiting for Olympus.

    I think Oly *again* is forgetting about effects of the competition and we should expect more “more of the same, but with few new buzzwords” and “rushed to the market” products.

    As NEX-3 showed, Sony can be very aggressive with the prices. And Panasonic can be anti-competitive. And the black horse Samsung is not sleeping either. I do no think that Olympus has the “2-3 years.”

    • Mr. Reeee

      Panasonic IS serious about the GH2, it just took their customers, and all the people who wanted to BUY GH2s, to let them know about it. ;-)

  • Ulli

    There certainly is a need for a pro type camera (and lenses),not every photographer only takes his gear out when the sun shines. on rainy days or during snow, i want to be able to keep a camera in my hands. Olympus did deliver the three finest weatherproof dlsr’s in their 43 range. It’s only logical they will release a similar camera in the pen series. I can imagine if it takes that long (2-3 years), olympus will eventually include a built-in evf, which probably means a different form factor or sized pen body.

  • Miroslav

    If PEN Pro means mirrorless camera the size and weight of E-5, then I don’t care.

    If PEN Pro means anything with more features than E-P2 / E-PL2, then all Oly owners should switch to Panasonic immediately.

    If PEN Pro is a mirrorless camera that could use PDAF on 4/3 lenses and it’s 2-3 years away, that’s also very bad.

    Let’s see what comes out of Oly labs in May.

  • For me, personally, I’d define a “pro” camera as one that I could use while shooting a wedding in place of my current gear. I haul around nearly 30 pounds of stuff for 8-12 hours, so I’d LOVE to see an m43 solution.

    It would need to have much better low light capability than I’ve seen from Olympus so far, better AF and better selection of high quality, fast lenses. I believe this can be done, eventually. Another issue, however, is that there is something to be said of the “look” of big cameras and lenses. Most of the guests and wedding party (my potential future clients) aren’t going to see the finished photos right away and are going to base their opinion of my work on my behavior, personality and (right or wrong) the PERCEIVED professionalism of the gear they see me with. Even if m43 can overcome the technical issues, I’m not sure that it will present the right image for a working pro who has to deal with public preconceptions.

  • Tom

    well
    i guess that we wont see a real PRO mirrorless camera in the next 2 years.
    olys simply realistic regarding the pro segments. ContrastAF needs serious improvements to step up to phasedetection in terms of speed.
    Panasonics GH series isnt “pro” at all!

    Its a good, a very good sign that “In 2011 you will see more PEN products and more lenses (beyond what was discussed in the presentation”

    more lenses? well that means a)fast prime lenses and b)faster wide/tele zooms. That would be simply awesome!

    i dont think that pro means an integrated EVF… oly isnt THAT dumb… a Leica-X100-like oly PEN with integrated viewfinder an the GH2/G3 sensor would sell like hell!

    So im looking forward to
    fast prime lenses
    an fast telezoom aaaand
    an Oly RC-like PEN camera!

    cheers

  • Bu

    I fear I may drop my MFT for a couple of years during which I’ll use the Fuji x100…

    • jeff

      this sounds good actually

      fuji seems like the only company right now that is making any sense

  • Jim

    I think oly has it right! – I know the EP1 EP2 EPL1 EPL2 are basicly the same camera and that pissed everyone off – understandably…. but what they finaly have now (EPL2) is a starting level camera that is shit hot (nearly all the best bits of all those first cams) and have a good range of very small beginer lenses from 9-600mm equiv. Bar the price being a bit steep.. they have awsome entry options, this also includes the convertors for WA/macro – this was a good move as its another cheep way to further your options….

    What I hope and belive Oly will do now is make a good semi pro (if you like) level cam – They are probably done with entry cam – the pro one should have better sensor, faster FPS and faster AF…. EVF/VFs be dammed – I hate the things, always have from film cameras to digital – give me a SVGA/XGA 4″ screen anytime :) but keep an accesory port for those that still like peeping through a bog roll!

    Finaly in 2yrs they might well be able to make a mirrorless that can beat hands down in every department a SLR design – this is what I think Oly mean by 2yrs to Pro – not competative but totaly leaving SLR behind!

    Of course they will also be releasing lenses of ever increasing quality to complement the increase in camra performance…

    I think oly have it right – Its just taken them a little to settle and find their feet!

    • bilgy_no1

      I read through all of the panicky replies to this news, and I think Jim’s makes the most sense:

      Olympus has built a wide system of cameras and lenses (m4/3)in only 18 months since the release of the E-P1. All the small evolutions from E-P1 to E-PL2 should be seen as development with market feedback. It has allowed Olympus to smooth out all the flaws and limitations of their initial release (EVF, screen, AF-speed). Just compare the earlier reviews to the ones that the E-PL2 is receiving now; that’s a very positive sign.

      Now, the time is right to release a step-up model: something to replace the E-P2, E-620, and possibly E-30. This could coincide nicely with a new generation sensor to distinguish this mid-level offering from the entry level cameras (E-PL1, E-PL2). But this is not the PRO-level camera the rumour talks about. I think something for this part of the market will be released soon (‘more stuff is coming in 2011′).

      The E-5,as Olympus’ idea of a PRO-camera, will be upgraded after 2-3 years (E-1 -> E-3 -> E-5 were all three year iterations). This time is needed to develop mirrorless technology that is equal to, or better than, DSLR’s in terms of AF (incl. tracking), FPS, viewfinder blackout (maybe a ‘global shutter’ design), use of SHG PDAF lenses on m4/3 mount bodies, etc.

      Wether that refresh cycle of three years is fast enough remains to be seen. I’ve always felt that a cycle of two years would allow for faster adoption of new technology, retention of users willing to get the latest and greatest, and more media attention. But there will be business considerations for doing things the way they do (cash restraints most probably).

      • Vlad

        How’s Jim or your comment making any sense at all?

  • Frank

    “Couple”, in terms of numbers, means 2. Not more, not less. Yes there is a need for such camera, and I want it.

  • spanky

    Guess my hope for an E-5-like mirrorless is now dead. I’ve been waiting for that kind of camera body ever since the G1 came out. I doubt I’ll wait two years for an offering from Olympus (Panasonic could care less about a ‘pro’ body). In that time I expect we’ll see some significant entries from the big boys, and unless they flub it by introducing some tiny-sensor mirrorless, then I’m jumping ship.

  • I’m trying to make an educated guess here about the coming “advanced” m4/3 camera.
    The main innovations should be:
    1. a new sensor (unfortunately, by Panasonic) with 14-14.5 MP.
    2. a dual processor, offering more FPS, 1080p video, faster AF of 4/3 lenses (although still not PDAF), faster overall operation.
    3. solid build, perhaps weather sealed.
    4. in-body EVF and flash.
    5. maybe mechanically-based exposure controls a-la X100.
    6. add to that 2-3 very nice prime lenses with fast apertures (circa f/2).

    What we get is a very nice, very expensive package. A camera which cannot replace the E-5 due to lack of PDAF support, but with more competitive image quality and a strong appeal to fast prime enthusiasts and even some professionals. I would predict OM dimensions and weight, rangefinder look and feel.

  • Arg! The E-PL2 and XZ-1 (and vague “pro” lens prototype) prove Olympus isn’t sitting on its hands. But compared with the speed with witch Canon, Nikon and Sony move this is practically glacial.

  • David

    All I want is a weather-sealed E-P2, and weather-sealed 12mm and 42mm f/1.4 lenses. Keep the total package under 5K and I’m in.

  • I am terrible shocked!
    First Olympus Pro MFT in two to three years?!?

    I believe there will be some other beauties available first like Nikonia, Canone, Samsunghexi, Sonynackeda …

    After 30 Years Olympus Fan Paulus has to widen his horizon and thinks: “There are plenty of other fish in the sea”

    Staying with Olympus is very romantic , no immediate action, a bundle of hopes in the far future …
    Instead reading the book “Waiting for Godot” from Samuel Beckett, you will get PEN “Waiting for Olympus – A digital drama or a never ending story?”

    But if you can get all at once that is for a lot of persons cool and sexy!
    So don’t be “bummers” – get real professional “PENners – being first off the mark!

  • I agree with admin. I’m hoping the semi-professional body hopefully to be released this year will tide people over until the release of a pro body. As has been evidenced in the past, Olympus will probably be late to the party with their pro body, but I’m sure it will be very well balanced. At least we have Panasonic churning out bodies and upgrades, so their should be no shortage of good lenses and cameras to choose from in the meantime.

    If m43 were in Olympus’ hands only, I would be very, very worried for the future of the format.

  • Jacques

    To me “pro” first means lenses that actually let some light come through and give DoF control. F3.5 – especially on m43 sensor does not cut it. Oly is perfectly capable of making an affordable quality 4x f1.8 zoom for the XZ-1, why can’y the have a same spec lens for m43? Yes, it will be a bit bigger and more expensive, but if the quality is there, that’s OK.
    “Pros” don’t shoot with arms extended, so it means that the VF must be part of the camera.
    “Pro” means that the image must be sharp, so the AA filter must be very weak, if at all.
    Finally “pro” means that the important photographic settings must be available without clicking through a menu of menus.

    On the other hand, “pro” does not mean choice of pretty body colors, it does not mean 20 dumbed down scene modes, it does not mean funny photo effects that would be better done in post, it does not mean unusable stratospheric ISO, and it does not mean crippled video – do video properly, or don’t do it and use the money saved for weatherproofing.

    Is it that hard?

  • I think the “Pro” should stay on FourThirds. I can’t imagine myself using an EVF instead of an OVF in low light. OVF also allows you to save more battery because it doesn’t use any imaging sensors. By the time you’re done composing using the EVF, the sensor would have generated some heat.

    And also why would the Olympus Pro Micro FourThirds would have a Pen body?

    Maybe a FourThirds body with a better sensor that can support their One-Shot HDR with electronic shutter would be better.

    I thought that the Pen was marketed to attract women, don’t tell me they’re also designing the Pro camera for women too.

    I don’t know why but I find this old prototype more interesting. Maybe just add a larger swivel LCD, buttons and dials.

    http://www.digicamreview.com/images/olympus_e_prototype_front_4.jpg

    • Eugene2

      It agree. Instead of throwings here and there, Olympus it is necessary to let out new Е-6 a matrix from Sony and the size 24х24 mm. Can be after that course Olympus will return a part of the lost trust.

  • 2-3 years until a pro Oly Pen? If they’re going to take that long, they better come out with something amazing, because I can only imagine what Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and Fuji are going to be releasing as their top-tier camera next year, yet alone in 2-3 years!

    • Eugene2

      Olympus will let out the camera with function of an electronic microscope))

  • I just remembered that they mentioned that FourThirds would become mirrorless in the future. Then maybe we could call the E-5 successor a Pro Mirorless Camera?

  • I just remembered that they mentioned that FourThirds would become mirrorless in the future. Then maybe we could call the E-5 successor a Pro Mirrorless Camera?

  • VIctor

    They are full idiots if they think E-5 will be competitive in “couple of years”. It is already absolutely uncompetitive.

  • MP Burke

    I find it hard to believe that somebody has been claiming that “In 5-10 years reflex cameras will be a niche or will not be there at all”.
    It’s hard to believe Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad et al will all roll over and die any time soon. Perhaps the statement was referring only to the 4/3 reflex cameras. I personally never liked these cameras as I found the optical viewfinders too small.
    Olympus really needs to have a coherent range of Pen cameras where one or two models that are clearly aimed at the customer who’s upgrading from a smaller camera or smartphone and who’s never used a viewfinder (as the GF2 is). In addition they could do with probably two models (one with EVF and one without) aimed at the enthusiast who wants more manual control.
    One thing that intrigues me is that Sony had in body image stabilisation in their slrs but opted to go for in lens stabilisation in the NEX cameras. Perhaps IBIS puts Olympus at a disadvantage by adding to both the cost and size of the cameras.

    • About the IBIS, you’re right. They should make use of so the size would be justified. I think it could cover 8-1000mm so they should manufacture lenses win that range, not just using the old OM lenses. And when they earn a lot of cash from Micro FOurThirds, perhaps they could continue developing FourThirds lenses also in that 8-1000mm range.

      • Ganec

        IBIS is good for users, not for the business

    • Nathan

      Maybe it adds to the size and cost of the camera, but wouldn’t you rather buy a stabilization system and accelerometers/MMS gyros only one time?
      Better to add to body complexity than to lens complexity. Lenses are already expensive, there’s no need to add additional cost to each and every lens you buy.
      OIS does shine in video, and if you like that, just turn off in-camera IBIS and pop on an OIS lens from Panasonic.

  • Snowbird_UT

    They must be smokin’ some seriously good grass over there in Olyland. I guess I don’t have to decide weather to buy any more SHG lenses this just convinced my to go buy a Nikon D3S and some Nikkor VR tele lenses instead. They don’t have a clue do they!

  • Unfortunately, you need to define “pro” and when you do things don’t start to look so good.

    At one end we have pros trying to shoot action or events in indoor venues. Typical need: ISO 6400 at f/2.8. At the other end you have pros trying to produce enough pixels to stay competitive in the high-priced ad/high end editorial realm. 24mp is already there and feeling a bit wimpy against the MF offerings, and for outdoor work, dynamic range is the name of the game. Then there’s the pro need for wireless flash and studio light control.

    A working pro currently has 14-24mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, all f/2.8 in FX which would require a 7-12mm, 12-35mm, and 35-100mm f/1.4 in m4/3 to be fully equivalent.

    When you look at the market that way, even the best step forward Olympus (or Panasonic) can take forward is still a step backward from what a pro is currently shooting with except for one thing: size and weight (and yes, I’m assuming you can match autofocus, buffer, dual card, and a host of other features).

    The problem as I see it is that “pro” for Olympus means a niche within a niche. I don’t know any working pro that wants to take a step backward from where we are in terms of dynamic range and noise, and even drawing the sensor development line out three generations I can’t see m4/3 getting to where the D3s is today.

    Thus, Olympus would have to aim narrowly in terms of “pro.” Something rugged enough and convenient enough with enough quality to get a pro to consider carrying it all the time instead of a compact camera. It’s certainly possible, but as I noted, it’s a niche within a niche.

    The target Olympus should be shooting at (and considering their history, should have shot at FROM THE BEGINNING) is the serious enthusiast. They want quality, control, ruggedness, flexibility, but they also want small and light. I can’t tell you how many people love the D700 but for one thing: it gets big and heavy after awhile.

    Olympus is running a small survey of registered users right now. It’s very interesting that their questions show that they don’t get it. For example, here’s one question: “Why did you purchase the PEN and NOT a point-and-shoot camera?” Note the perceived bias in the question itself (the provided answers to rank don’t help, either). Gee, I was one of the nth names that got the survey, but I didn’t purchase my PEN in place of a point-and-shoot camera. How do I answer the question reliably? The questions in the survey show that they think of their users monolithically, instead of in sub-groups. Remember, their initial marketing for the E-P1 was dedicated towards bloggers and the Internet savvy looking to move up from a compact camera. It appears they’ve never gotten over that position.

    And then there’s the two-year thing. Sony is going up-scale with the NEX-7 (or is it the NEX-9, I get conflicting reports?) within a year. That could put a huge hurdle in Olympus’ path, as we all know how well the Sony APS sensors are performing right now. Fortunately, Sony doesn’t get the lens needs, so Olympus still has a chance.

    The best way to think about this is to use a time machine and go forward a few years. In 2014 Olympus would need a line of four or five PENs to remain competitive, I think. It needs something below where the E-PL2 is now, something at the US$399 price point and probably 16mp. At the other end it needs something that is built tougher than the E-P2 with a built-in finder and weatherproofing, but no bigger and heavier than the E-P2 is now, and probably 24mp, certainly no less than 18mp. Bridge those two with other models (E-PL3 and E-P3). The consumers are already well served by the lenses that exist, so virtually everything in the lens list between now and 2014 should have been enthusiast-level glass. Oh, and the camera has to communicate (and not slowly through an accessory as big as a flash sitting in the hot shoe ;~). But I’ll bet that this isn’t what we’ll see by 2014.

    • Well, one nice thing is that at f/1.4, Olympus only needs to shoot ISO1600 ;-). On the other hand, I think “pro” to Olympus means D300s, not D3x.

      But, yeah, Olympus marketing is never going to get it. Unless you go in there and take over. Please?

      • Charles

        Thom, I really like your opinions, but I’m not sure I agree with you here. I’m not sure that the lens options need to be 100% equivalent to attract professional users. I’m sure a few do, but do they really need f1.4 zooms, wouldn’t the current f2 suffice? If they really need narrow DoF why aren’t they using primes already?

        Traditionally professionals have often used multiple cameras for different purposes. That transition might be happening again with the small size moving to mirror-less from the now over sized SLRs.

        I’m more likely to believe that Oly and Panasonic improve their sensors before Sony comes out with a good line of lenses. Canon and Nikon have to figure out what’s going to happen to their APS-C line of camera. Sony… no flash mount? Not even Sony’s proprietary mount? No EVF? It’s going to be even harder to fit an EVF in a body that thin. Sony seems to be missing a number of features Pros would require on their cameras too.

        Any mirror-less camera with an APS-C is going to suffer from all the current mirror-less camera problems but still be saddled with lenses that aren’t really any smaller then the SLR. If large SLRs are a problem now (often because of the lenses) then a ASP-C sensor based mirror-less camera probably isn’t going to be the issue.

        Just because an EVF sits in the flash shoe doesn’t mean it has to communicate slowly. It may well be to slow, but putting it inside the camera isn’t going to magically fix it.

        • Esa Tuunanen

          > Any mirror-less camera with an APS-C is going to suffer from all the current mirror-less camera problems but still be saddled with lenses that aren’t really any smaller then the SLR.
          Yep, those same laws of the physics which make Four Thirds sensor unable to compete with bigger sensor cameras in some areas also make bigger sensor cameras unable to compete Four Thirds in compactness of lenses of equal optical quality.

        • > Wouldn’t f/2 suffice?

          Yes, it very well might, especially if we substitute enthusiast for pro as the target. But the thing that I’ve felt that Olympus has missed so far is that a lot of their lenses don’t match their bodies. That makes selling systems a lot more difficult. The current 14-xx zooms and even the 9-18mm and the 75-300mm do indeed tend to fit the E-PL2 profile pretty well. But they don’t fit the E-P3 or Pro Pen profile particularly well, which means Olympus needs a range of new lenses as well as that high-end body.

          > More likely that m4/3 gets better sensor before Sony gets lenses

          Sorry, but I wouldn’t agree with that assessment. Sensors run at a fairly predictable pace in terms of improvement, and even two generations of Panasonic sensor improvement is only going to get them to the current Sony APS level under the best of scenarios (and, of course, Sony wouldn’t be standing still). Lenses are a different story, and given Sony’s opening the mount, we’re going to see plenty of lens choice soon, I think. In one case you’re betting on one company making unheard of performance improvements (Panasonic sensors) and in the other case you’re betting on multiple companies using known tools to create known entities (lenses). You’re betting on the wrong horse.

          > APS lenses are big

          Not necessarily. The Sony kit lens isn’t much bigger than the Panasonic kit lens. The primary reason the Olympus kit lens is smaller is because it uses a collapsing system. There’s nothing stopping APS from using collapsing designs, too. As a matter of fact, you apparently aren’t aware of the Samsung NX100 kit lens, which is a collapsing zoom that’s remarkably small for APS. Be sure you’re looking at the right variables. Remember, we had 35mm film lenses that were smaller than many of the existing digital lenses ;~).

          • Ganec

            > Sensors run at a fairly predictable pace in terms of improvement .. You’re betting on the wrong horse.

            GH1 senzor is already on 7D level .. but Panasonic can’t squeeze it’s full power as Oly can (see GF2 vs E-PL2 comparison for example). Olympus already improved processing, they only need to use better senzor (which already exists {older multiaspect one} or will be the same as in G3).

            Then it should be enough: IBIS + light pancake will be better than APS-C senzor + body without IBIS…

          • Tom, there is also a group of photo journalism working in war or disaster zones. These people travel al lot. Having a small rugged system gives them an edge. They do not need 24MP or 600mm. They need to caption the action, drama or terror like we see in our daily newspapers. An f2.8 standard and wide angle zoom is all they need.

            There is also quite a large group of pro’s and semi-pro’s freelancing for magazines, having there piccs at stock agencies. I belong to this group. They do not need 24MP for advertising agencies or iso 6400 like a wedding photographer does.
            For many of us iso 1600 and an f2 zoom would do the trick. To stay competitive, clean high iso (iso 3200) is neccesary to stay competitive in the market in the near future.

            If Olympus could make a small mirrorless E5 with an improved sensor (clean iso 3200 and better DR), many pro’s would be served. But I believe it takes them to long to get there. Nikon and Canon won’t just sit still and let them walk over to a pro pen. There will be a competitive mirrorless camera for pro’s from CaNikon. If Olympus want to grab some of the pro’s, they should release their pro-mirrorless camera + lenses within 12 months from now. When waiting another 2-3 years Olympus will be behind (again).

          • > GH1 sensor is at 7D level

            Not that I can see. You’re talking about something else: post raw processing. Olympus does indeed have a good ASIC engine, better than Panasonic’s. But at the core, the sensor is not at the same point the 7D sensor is, in my measurements (or those of any one else I trust).

        • Vlad

          >Traditionally professionals have often used multiple cameras for different purposes. That transition might be happening again with the small size moving to mirror-less from the now over sized SLRs.
          Following what Thom said, in that case you’ll have a niche within a niche within a niche. It’s even worse.

          >Sony… no flash mount? Not even Sony’s proprietary mount? No EVF? It’s going to be even harder to fit an EVF in a body that thin.
          So they’ll make it bigger. And you are forgetting the A33/55 which while a bit bigger are only around 100g heavier than an E-P2.

          >Just because an EVF sits in the flash shoe doesn’t mean it has to communicate slowly. It may well be to slow, but putting it inside the camera isn’t going to magically fix it.
          At least it will make it more comfortable to take your camera out of the bag.

          >GH1 senzor is already on 7D level …
          On what level? Keep dreaming.

          >Then it should be enough: IBIS + light pancake will be better than APS-C senzor + body without IBIS
          You too are forgetting that Sony also pushes with the A33/55 which has stabilization.

      • Ismael

        ‘one nice thing is that at f/1.4, Olympus only needs to shoot ISO1600’

        And because of sensor size it will give the same noise that a 35mm/Full Frame sensor at ISO 6400, that’s why f/1.4 would be the equivalent. Shoot at f/2 or f/2.8 with a 4/3 sensor and you are at a disadvantage (professionally speaking, as an amateur maybe you won’t care).

        Ant to Charles below, please try to shoot a wedding commercially and you’ll understand why you need f/2.8 zooms or their equivalents. And believe me, you would still asking for more speed! And let’s not start with dynamic range… It’s not about narrow DOF, it’s about image quality with poor lighting (inside a church) and with tough subjects (white vs black dressing).

        • Yes, you are correct on all points, and that is what I was trying to point out.

          A true professional makes money using his tools (cameras/lenses). There work is being compared to that of other professionals. Those other professionals already have a big low-light advantage, at the expense of size/weight. They’re willing to put up with the size/weight disadvantage for the low-light advantage. The number of jobs where a professional would value size/weight over image quality is few, though there are some. Thus, my niche within a niche comment.

        • Well, kinda. You are correct that for the total image S/N, 4/3’s is at a two stop disadvantage vs. 135 (I NEVER use the term “full-frame”, it is incorrect). That shows up in enlargement, but is more apparent on the screen than in print. Regardless, I have extreme doubts that an 18MP 4/3 sensor could have noise performance at 1600 that would be anywhere near what a 135 sensor can get at 24MP at 6400. Unless Panasonic surprises us with BSI and other tricks to push QE into the 80% range.

          • The LX5 probably has Panasonic’s latest and greatest sensor tech at the moment. It definitely moved the bar forward, but they still have a way to go and the rest of the sensor makers aren’t sitting still, either.

            On the plus side, 1080P isn’t a high bar. And Panasonic has already shown that they know how to get fairly clean 1080P out of the current sensors without the moire or line gap issues I see from the other DSLR video implementations. So there’s hope.

      • > Olympus only needs to shoot ISO1600

        Not necessarily. I know plenty of D3s shooters that are using f/1.4 lenses, too.

        But this does point to the problem with m4/3: lenses. Without the right lenses, it would be hard-pressed to compete at the professional level. Olympus sort of got this with 4/3, but then there they produced a great set of lenses for what turned out to be mostly lower-end cameras (recent E-5 notwithstanding). I see a lot of equivocation in design decisions (and not just on Olympus’ part, as most camera makers are making similar strange decisions; Nikon hasn’t produced a wide DX prime despite making DX for 12 years, and much of that time with pro bodies in the lineup).

    • Kenneth Sorensen

      Thom, I agree completely. Why aim at the pro segment, when the serious enthusiast segment is getting bigger (and spending more and more – just look at how many enthusiasts are buying Nikon and Canon pro lenses)

      • One thing the camera companies keep getting caught up in is ego. They want pro-level equipment because the other companies have them ;~). It’s a pride thing. It’s not designers competing for customers, but designers competing against designers: “see, I can design a better pro offering.”

        The auto companies went through that craze, too, and look where they ended up. Better to be the Subaru and concentrate on what you do best.

        • I think that in the film days, Olympus was more Subaru than Nissan, and it worked for years: after all, they kept making a manual focus system far longer than anyone else.

          As for what Olympus’ core competency today? Well, they seem to lead in tough compacts, and the OM-4 was well regarded for its toughness. I’d love to see a tough m4/3’s with good, weatherproof glass. That wouldn’t be a tough sell at all to travel photographers, and people who want to think of themselves as travel photographers ;-).

  • I think Thom is spot on. I am not a pro and never will be. But I want more camera than I need because some of the features that I would use are not available elsewhere and because price is not my focus.

    When I read the specs on the Canon 7D, I thought that it was perfect and actually went to get one. At the time it was about $1,800, which is a lot of money, but for something that I will use a lot for 5 years, it would be worth it. That is especially true if it transforms my ability to shoot sports and indoors.

    But when I had it in my hands, I was shocked. It is not large. It’s huge, unwieldy and heavy. Not for me in this lifetime. An E-PL1 on the other hand was just what the doctor ordered. With a few tweaks and improvements, it would be more camera than I need.

    But it’s never going to the satisfy the pros that Thom identifies. Even if it could shoot 6400 at f/2.8, the size of the lens would defeat the purpose of the camera. Even if you could cram 24mp on a 4/3 sensor, you could do a better job on an APS-C or FF sensor. Until they change the laws of physics, bigger is and always will be better. No matter how great a MFT camera Olympus or Panasonic creates, it will be possible to do more with a larger scale.

    High end MFT cameras are only going to make sense for people who want advanced features and for whom size is critical. Amongst the pros, that is truly a niche within a niche. But in the enthusiast market, it probably is a sizable part.

    Olympus needs to aim for the top of the relevant market, not the top of the entire market. It seems utterly feasible to do this, and the demand for the GH2 should put to rest concerns about the enthusiast market.

    So I want the “pro” model too, and I think a lot of other people would as well. But “pro” means talking MFT as far as it makes sense, not pretending that everyone wants a smaller camera.

  • Tom

    I’ll put it plainly and simply: Olympus cameras are just not meant to be pro cameras for pro photographers.

  • Gato

    I agree that the moving-mirror reflex camera will be well on the way out withing 3 to 5 years, but that does not mean that Canon or Nikon will be going away. EVF and fixed mirror cameras simply have too many potential advantages — high frame rates, accurate framing and information overlay, remote viewing and control, seamless transition between still and video and more. The Big Two will have to go there. The question is how they move into the market and to what extent will they compromise the future to protect existing users.

    Olympus and Panasonic jumped into the market and took a good lead, but we have to wonder if they can capitalize on it.

    IMO, 2 to 3 years is too late for Olympus to be entering the pro. By then I expect we will already see pro cameras from other makers, at least from Sony, and if Canon and Nikon are not already in the market they will be very close.

  • Zaph

    I think basically what the above is saying is – we’ve had or research budget cut by the profitable sides of the business, so for a couple of years we need to try to get through with some minor updates. A couple of years is way too long.

    (Though, that said – when the E-P2, E-PL1 and E-PL2 were released, everyone was whinging about how they are putting out new camera models too fast – so who knows)

  • Zaph

    “Thus, Olympus would have to aim narrowly in terms of “pro.” Something rugged enough and convenient enough with enough quality to get a pro to consider carrying it all the time instead of a compact camera. It’s certainly possible, but as I noted, it’s a niche within a niche.”

    They need to combine their strengths – E-T1 (T = Tough)

  • Craig

    I’ll be happy with a decent ep3 – doesn’t need to be complete pro spec for my use. An inbuilt viewfinder solution is what I’m after.

  • It’s too simple. Weatherproof Pen. Camera side fixed.

    14-35T2, 35-100T2, weatherproof, MSC. Purely supplying the semi professional AGAF market they will sell enough of these to justify the design time.

    12-60T2.8, weatherproof, MSC. All in one µ4/3 lens for the rest of us.

    • > Weatherproof Pen. Camera side fixed.

      No, it’s not quite that simple. Enthusiasts want to hold cameras to their face and see an optical view, so a built-in viewfinder is a must, even if it has to be EVF (but see X100). There are probably a couple dozen small tweaks that are necessary that aren’t present, too. If Olympus were to contact me directly, I’d be happy to define those for them ;~).

      Moreover, the further we move into the digital age, the more workflow becomes a big issue to the enthusiast. The sneaker net thing has got to go away (card out of camera into card reader, software ingest program moves them). That, too, is a camera design issue.

      Your lens choices are reasonable, but I would argue that you need a 12mm, 25mm, and 45mm prime set, too.

      So one camera body and six lenses, all targeted to the high-end enthusiast would suffice.

      • No disagreement there; I’d expect the EVF mounted internally to a weatherproof PEN.

        And, yes, your digital age concepts seem logical so no objection there. I’d still suggest that most would be happy without those (knowing no better).

        12, 25 and 45 should have been out day one, and should all be fast (1.4 or better). Unfortunately (for Olympus) I wouldn’t be surprised to see Voigtlander beat them to all three of those lenses.

        My only comment on the selection of primes is that given that there is an almost certain 50/2 macro on the way, something like 11 , 21, 38 may be a better set.

      • Ok, Thom, the bet is on. I’m going to send a message to Olympus requesting that they contract you to define a product and marketing plan for an enthusiast Pen line. And I’m requesting that everyone on this forum do the same.

        Draft Thom!

  • Eugene2

    Olympus has created system 4/3, and in some years has refused this system. Now Olympus develops system m4/3 but who is assured of that, as this system won’t die? The trust to Olympus is lost iza-for muffled politicians of the company. Personally I don’t have trust to promises Olympus. Alas.
    Forgive for bad English. I use the translator.

    • That indeed is one of Olympus’ big issues right now. They lost five years worth of customer build-up and essentially started from scratch. The possibility that this may recur is indeed on people’s minds, and is a dissonance that you have to market better to clear up. But the missing high-end camera is one of the tools to fix that, and if it’s two years out, that’s too far.

      • Marcel

        I already did happen when Olympus abandoned their OM line. The original 4/3 was a build up from scratch. It seems to me that m4/3 has already overtaken 4/3. Olympus does not have a loyal customer base and as soon as such a base starts to grow it is put aside in favor of a newer and better technology. Perhaps that is the price to pay when your goal is to be (super) inventive.

        • In fairness to Olympus, they stayed with OM FAR longer than any other camera company held on to their MF line. Except maybe Pentax. And some of the OM lenses are among the most sought after in the world.

          • Paulus

            I agree.

      • Paulus

        +1
        J. M. Keynes: “In the long run we are all dead.”
        The idea for a PRO MFT was born in 2008!
        So Olympus should have had a reasonable time of at least five years to develop a high end camera for MFT.!
        In the digital age the life cycle of a camera corresponds to the life cycle of a computer – especially in the pro market. Today only high quality lenses are a long term investment. Pros need updates in a two years cycle (… not only in terms of sensor improvements, also in regard to communication tools [WIFI, Bluetooth …], etc.).

  • I think the definition of pro and how it would be used by a pro is key here. For all the reasons Thom mentioned I don’t see M4/3 replacing D3/1DMk4/5DMk2/D700 type bodies anytime soon or forever. But there is one area where I see M4/3 being successful – photojournalists, street photographer, travel photographer.

    I’m a full time photojournalist. I got a GF1 (and the 20mm f1.7 then the 14mm f2.5) last October and a quick check of my Lightroom catalog since then shows that about 40% of the photos added to my catalog since then were made with the GF1. I love this little camera. It fits into my photo ecosystem the same way my Leica M6 (and then my Contax G2 after I sold the Leicas) did back in the day.

    I don’t see the M4/3 ever being usable for sports, but for features and news and what I need it’s darn near perfect. What would make it better?

    The usual evolutionary things: better dynamic range, better high ISO, faster AF and fps. Add to that better viewfinder and weathersealing. But what’s really holding me back is lenses. Specifically fast primes. I know I am in a minority here, but I don’t care a whit about zooms. Give me a 12mm f2 and a 50mm f2 to go with the 20 (all pancake or at least compact) and I’m a happy camper.

    jack

    • jonas

      hear hear! nowadays many photojournalists are combined reporter et photographer. what jack is talking about here along with a compact, quality zoom would be just the ticket!

      • Hmmm… And a built-in voice recorder for later transcription of stories. And good video, of course. Wireless multichannel audio?

    • +1

    • frank

      I am with you all the way! GF1 + some nice 12 and 50 primes besides the 20/1.7 (and 14/2.5 maybe).

    • Esa Tuunanen

      Yeah, Four Thirds sensor can never compete in uses needing highest image quality and lots of megapixels for huge prints or shallow DOF so along with secondary light camera use Olympus should target lot more strongly to enthusiasts to whom it can offer advantages:
      By replacing mirror and OVF system with mirrorless EVF design body can be made smaller and lighter than mirror bodies and smaller image circle with 2x crop factor allows smaller lenses so you can carry equal FOV range lenses in lot lighter package. (big flange back distance caused by mirror made design of wide angle 43 lenses very complex)
      You have to remember that body is just one part of the size and weight of the system so even if body is “medium” size for good ergonomy and controls instead of miniaturized PEN whole system is lot more compact and lighter than bigger sensor mirror systems.

    • Right. That’s one reason why further up I say that they need three high-end primes as well as a high-end body.

      • Zaph

        What they need is very simple really. I can see a picture of it exactly in my head. Weatherproof, 3 primes, in a set. Padded case (maybe leather, felt lined) a bit bigger than a sunglass case to carry the two lenses you aren’t using. Done. 12mm, 20mm, 50mm, all around f2. One on the camera, the other two handy in a pocket. Bloody simple.

  • It’s no surprise that they call the camera “PEN type”. If they can get people to talk about their own trademark, rather than some generic term, that’s all the better for them.

  • TR

    It’s a bit disappointing about the pro MFT. I think a whether sealed PEN with great Oly glass would be the perfect travel camera – just what you would want for serious hiking and backpacking. It may not have the best sensor but you could take it to some great places.
    Having said that I would be happy to see a decent ep-3 in the near future. I like the look of e-pl2 JPEGs, but at the moment my G1 is killing all the PEN cameras in functionality. It is easier to do just about everything especially manual focus assist with zoom, and it has built n EVF. I would love the Olympus cool factor and better JPEG output (because I don’t want to process all my images), but I do need to actually use the camera to be able to do simple things easily.

  • Soldar

    Actually samsung offer an interesting alternative with their large sensor and small, fast pancakes 30mm f2, upcoming 16 f2.4, they already announced a future pro cam, nx classic. All they need is in body stabilization and a better sensor and they’ll have a serious competetor in their hands. They just made some weird lens choices as well like the 20-50 which makes me wary.

  • I am so happy i sold my E-3, 12-60, 50-200 and got a GH2 7-14, 14-42 and 100-300 for 400 euro extra, now i have a brilliant video camera as whell and much more focal range.
    No more waiting for Olympus to get it together. What happend to the company that made the E-3XX, dust reduction, live view…..Sad it is. A camera that just takes good pictures is just not enough any more.

  • Pro mFT camera in 2-3 years is FAR too late!!!
    Lars

    • reverse stream swimmer

      -It’s never too late.
      Maybe for generation x, but not for generation y or z.

      The technology maybe is already mature enough to make a PRO MFT kamera, but it seems Olympus probably has a 10 year plan for their MFT products, and we’re just in the beginning of it.

      Remember Olympus in the past has taken a long time to develop first the E-1, later the E-3. Don’t expect the PEN PRO to be a rapid project either. However the XZ-1 came as a positive surprise.

      • Vlad

        It’s never too late? Maybe. But late? For sure.
        While Olympus is sitting, the others are eating the current market. And the future market – generation y or z – it will be based on this one.

  • napalm

    hmm… is the GH2 a “pro” camera? I dont think so. so the possibility of them releasing something GH2-like (feature-wise) is still possible. so maybe when Oly is thinking pro, their thinking on the likes of E-5. maybe a Pro camera that will be able to focus with 4/3 glass as fast as PDAF. maybe they’re just suggesting that that tech is not here yet.

    but as the quote suggested, they will introduce a couple of PEN-type cameras. maybe a PEN with advanced features will come up soon?

    • ihateidiots

      Any camera is as pro as the user.

      • Vlad

        Let’s just use disposable ones then.

    • pdc

      While the GH2 is designed for the enthusiast it has become a professional video camera by default, with a lot of commercial stuff being shot on it. While not as powerful as the AF100, it actually shoots as good or better video. So, yes, the GH2 is “pro”.

      • Vlad

        Professional video camera? Most have used it just for the fun, dslr-shaped cameras will never become pro in the video world.

  • Matthias

    I think “Pro” means something like the E-5. I’m sure they will bring out a “semi-pro-PEN” with a larger body and built in EVF before, so don’t care ;-) And I will buy an E-5 next month and I will be happy whit it the next years.

    • mahler

      In my opinion, Olympus has no idea what “pro” means. Not for the market, not for themselves. They are still in a self finding phase, and no one knows, if they ever get over it and what will come out of it.

      They suffer clearly from the PEN-only strategy and don’t know, how to get out of it.

  • KI

    PRO mFT camera should contain;
    * “SWD” speed autofocus (also in low light)
    * Weatherproofing
    * At least 5FPS continous shooting up to a minimum of 20frames in RAW.
    * Batterygrip (for extended shooting, and shooting portraits)
    * Two memorycard slots with options (mirroring etc)
    * PRO lenses. Like the 35-100 f2. No pros will buy a system without a series of top pro lenses. The existing 4/3 lenses work with m4/3, but it’s not optimal… at least not for PRO use.

    • Mike

      +1

    • Paulus

      +1

  • Actually, I am hoping for a E-P3 with the same form factor as the E-P2, possibly smaller.

    The camera doesn’t need to have an internal EV, but it should accept the external accessory, which I already use and I’m totally happy about.

    The one thing an E-P3 should absolutely have are dials and buttons equal in handling to what the Fuji X100 offers. If I have to enter any kind of menu to change exposure settings, then I will probably rather buy the X-100, as the one lens I have attached to my E-PL1 right now is the 20mm for 90% of the time and that makes the X-100 a comparable tool. Also, autofocus should be on par or faster with the GH2. Full-HD video without the 7 minute limitation would be nice, but not really necessary for me.

    The art filters are nice to play with. My E-PL1 is too weak in terms of processing power to actually apply most of the filters on the fly to video. If the E-P3 would be able to have an equal video performance with and without filters applied, I would use video more often, I guess.

    • +1

    • Michael Meissner

      For some things the VF-2 is sufficient, but for a second camera, I really would prefer a camera with a builtin EVF (but can still take the accessory port for other things), particularly one that can be viewed with polarized sunglasses on. Either that or a second hot-shoe so I can use flash and the VF-2 at the same time for stills, and an audio jack so I can use the VF-2 and external microphone for video.

      Also, a flipping LCD is useful in many situations such as putting the camera on a pole to shoot over one’s head (I was doing that with my E-3 last weekend). Yes, there are solutions involving combined remote viewers and shutter releases that are starting to show up in ebay, but it would be nice if I didn’t need to buy 3rd party accessories.

      For me, weather sealing is a must. I really hate having to carry plastic sandwich bags to protect the poor little camera. I remember realizing when I first got my E-510 after using the E-1 for 2 years that I had to once again protect the camera from rain.

    • I would be ok with an external EVF so long as they create a new version with a hot shoe on top. Flash and EVF is not an either/or thing for me. I need an EVF while I use my strobes. I would suggest removing the hinge on the current VF-2 (does anyone use it an 90 degrees anyway?) and build it a but tougher with the hotshoe on top and call it a day.

      That said, I’d still rather just have one built into the body ala the X-100.

  • mahler

    PEN-type is the future? What is PEN-type? PEN-type means nothing and in this context only that Olympus does not plan to release alternative body concepts, thus excluding an important part of the market. To make people believe that they should stick to an already outdated E-5 for the next 2 to 3 years until Olympus dares to release something substantially different than PEN, shows that they still stick to a rather narrow minding product strategy.

    With this announcement, it becomes clear, that Olympus is not planning to exploit the full potential of m4/3: different body concepts – same lenses. So far, Olympus thought it is enough to just offer incrementally the same stuff again and again. The competition will likely tell them, that this won’t be enough.

    For the 4/3 owners this means definitely to move to something else rather sooner than later.

    • Inge-M

      Now in 2011 is Pen-type camera future,
      but in 1991 is IS-system type camera future.

      Maybe Olympus only talk by OM-system for Pro in 1991,
      and also E-system for Pro in 2011, at all events to 2014-2015.

      Olympus can not produce a Pro M43, and not Pro lens,
      a 12-60,50-200 and 14-35 is not a good combo by a Pro M43.

  • WT21

    Thanks for the post! Not waiting for that. I’ve been on the edge with this system for a while, thinking there could be something around the corner. Now I see that’s a really long corner!

  • full beam

    As it’s too late to retro-fit a whole line up of m43 lenses with an aperture ring, does anyone think it possible to have one on an m43 body in the future? And wouldn’t this make the lens stick out further? The X100 is looking more tempting every time I visit this site ;)

  • Tom

    Fast zooms dont and won’t have a place in m43 because they will be big. That 12-60 2.8 that I see people asking for is unlikely to ever materialize because it will be nearly as big as the 43 counterpart (huge). A good selection of good and reasonably priced primes is likely their only chance. Recent oly lenses have been overpriced and by all accounts, mediocre. Good primes under $500 each (and we know they can do it because of the 50 mm f2) along with a weatherproof body with a built in viewfinder with acceptable (doesn’t have to be blazing) af, and they will be fine.

    Superfast 1.4 lenses will be too big and too expensive
    To become popular regardless of whether 3 dozen people on forums beg for them. No lenses over about $500 are going to sell. Fast zooms will be too big and too expensive to sell. Thousand dollar professional level 1.4 primes are not going to sell (though having one may help it’s image for those considering oly).

    • WT21

      Well, Tom, then what will sell? Oly’s not exactly tearing up the sales charts with dark zooms (they have three long zooms now). If fast zooms won’t sell, and fast primes won’t sell, and slow zooms aren’t selling, maybe they should just go home???

    • “A good selection of good and reasonably priced primes is likely their only chance.”

      From our point of view. By “our” I mean the prosumer enthusiast, edging on the borders of being a professional photographer. But for Olympus, the healthy choice is to support the mainstream consumer market versus the prosumer market. The PEN is a consumer camera, not a prosumer camera. Just take a look at the recent PEN accessories, marketed alongside the E-PL1. Add-on lenses, the bluetooth module etc. All of that are expensive luxury toys targeted at consumers who would otherwise buy a Canon PowerShot G11 or some super-zoom bridge camera. These people would never be interested in an expensive, fast prime lens. They want the 18-180mm zoom, because they don’t care about aperture or f-stop. They don’t even know what it is.

      Take a look at any PEN advertisement and you’ll see I’m right. “Pro” and PEN don’t match and that’s the intention in the first place.

      I hope Olympus will at least try to appeal at prosumers with a more powerful E-P3, keeping the form factor (and thus not adding stuff you can get from a ‘real’ camera system, such as built in EV, flipping LCD screen, weather sealing etc.) but adding more direct control dials and buttons so at least in terms of handling a PEN can compete with a DSLR. Hopefully, the X-100 and its successful marketing will have an impact on the E-P3’s product management and development.

  • Per

    Sad.
    I realy like my E3, it is a few things that could be better but I can live with it one or maybe two more years. But what makes me start looking for another brand is, 1. The future Olympus is talking about, 2. No more 4/3 lenses nor by Olympus or Sigma.
    I can not see myself using EVF as long as it is not at the same standard as a tradiotional viewfinder. I have to be able to fast manual focusing and I beleive it will be a long time before an EVF can be used for that. I have started to look at Pentax K5, or maybe Canon 7D, but I’m afraid that I will miss the Olympus quality and feel, also the very fine jpg’s out of the camera.

    • What 4/3 lenses would you like to see?

      To be honest, I am just an amateur. I don’t do photography to earn money, it’s a way to kick back.

      In terms of expensive glass, I own the 12-60mm and the Panasonic/Leica 25mm. I plan to buy the 50mm and the 50mm-200mm eventually. That’s a lot of money for a hobby. If I have those additional two lenses, I wouldn’t know what else I really need for my use cases. I understand for Macro photography, a 100mm lens with a longer working distance at maximum magnification is beneficial to not scare away the photographed subject.

      What else do you lack?

      • Per

        I’m using the 12-60 and the old version of the 50-200, using the 50-200 for almost 90 percent of my photography. It is a great lens, so I’m not lacking anything immediate. But it would feel good if I knew there was still a development of new lenses and technique. And if Sigma would convert the 100-300/4 or maybe the 120-300/2.8 to 4/3 I would consider buying one or both of them as soon as I could. Btw. The 50-200 is great for both “kind of macro” photography and also portrait photography. So if I where you I would first try the 50-200 before buying the 50/2.

        • Thanks for the hint. What’s the magnification factor I can get out of the 50-200mm? Anything close to 1:2?

          Thanks!

          • cL

            I have the SWD version of 50-200mm. I think it’s not close to 1:2. It’s more like 1:5. It’s not for macro. Close up maybe, but not for “true macro”. Another thing for that lens is, its minimum focus distance is very long at ~1.2 meter (around 3 feet). It’s okay for large subject.

            That said, it’s my favorite lens. It’s just not for true macro. SWD version is definitely the way to go because of its stellar bokeh quality.

          • Per

            Not “real” macro but you get 0.42x and a working distance around 100 – 110 cm. With autofocus you get down to 120 cm.

  • M

    Too bad. They had a really nice thing going with 4/3, but now it’s all dead, and m4/3 will die soon with this kind of marketing.

    Out of curiosity – what are you people switching to? Nikon? Pentax?

    • This is boring. I thought you have switched from Olympus to something else months ago, reading posts like this for so long now…

  • Nathan

    Olympus has no balls. It’s run by old men who lack the ability to take risks. The engineering department is tasked with making point and shoots most of the time.

    Meh.

    • Mark

      It really depends on your budget and preferred subject matter.

      Many sports and wild life photographers prefer the cropped sensor D-SLRs
      for the extra reach.

      For image quality and value for money you can’t go wrong with either a Nikon D7000 or Pentax K-5.

      I was thinking Nikon though.

      For it’s superior AF and metering systems.

      High ISO performance is good on a Pentax K-5, equal to the Nikon D7000,
      but not as good as a Nikon D700 (about a stop behind).

      Pentax has some good prime lenses and a couple of higher quality weather sealed zooms that on paper compete with the Zuiko SWD HGs. Although some users report softer edges and purple fringing problems.

      Check out lens reviews here:
      http://www.photozone.de/

      Obiviously Nikon has a greater selection of lenses than Pentax.

      Better resale value too.

      I like to shoot a variety of subject matter including wild life.

      Although I am convinced going full frame is the most future proof option.

      I need more dynamic range and cleaner images up to 3200 ISO.

      So, I will probably get a Nikon D800 when they become available or a cheap D700.

      And a Nikkor, 24-70mm f/2.8 and a 70-200mm f/2.8, plus a 2 x TC.

      I was shooting with the Olympus E-3 and Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0, 50-200mm f/2.8-f/3.5mm SWD and the 50mm f/2.0 for the past couple of years.

      Added a second body and upgraded to the E-5 in December 2010.

      I was able to get a very good deal. Practically paid a wholesale price as I live in Japan and one of my friends is the store manager of a retailer.

      The images from the E-3 at ISO 100 are still hard to beat. There is something special about the colours and contrast that I am not able to reproduce so easily in my E-5.

      Although the E-5 is clearly sharper and resolves finer details.

      The digital level and larger, higher resolution LCD have proven to be very useful for tripod based photography too.

      Will trade my current Olympus kit to fund the switch.

  • For those who still have unfounded thoughts that µ4/3 wont be smaller than 4/3 for bright zoom lenses, disabuse yourselves of that notion.

    The only instance for which this is the case is where the zoom lens starts past 40mm. I.E lenses like the 50-200 would not see a benefit.

    µ4/3 doesn’t transition to retrofocal design until 20mm, as opposed to 40mm on 4/3. What this means in practice is that the smallest lenses for any given aperture on µ4/3 are going to be 20mm primes, whereas it was 40mm on 4/3. A 20/1.4 on µ4/3 requires an objective of no less than 14mm diameter; on 4/3 it would have required 56mm. And given that µ4/3 is limited to F0.95 as opposed to the F1.4 limit of 4/3, the practical advantage is even greater.

    Far from being the case where bright zooms show no advantage, it is on lenses like the 12-60 F2.8-F4 and the 14-35 F2 where the most difference would (and hopefully will) be seen from the transition to µ4/3.

  • calxn

    Let’s be optimistic. Say 2 years. That’s 4 more iterations of the same camera they released 2 years ago. By then, there will be 30 art filters. Unfortunately, those 4 more iterations will lack built-in EVF. Also, Panasonic will have a 20mp sensor by then and Oly will be using the same 12mp sensor they are using now.

  • Voldenuit

    > According to Olympus DSLR will become a niche market within 5-10 years.

    The only thing that statement tells me is that Olympus is 5-10 years out of touch with reality, if indeed their hypnogogic state can be measured chronologically.

    • WT21

      Translation, using their own language (albeit at the extremes):

      “We killed our second-rung DSLR system, as DSLRs will be dead in 10 years, so why even bother? Who wants to sell product for 10 years. We hope to have an alternative ready in 3 years”

  • Mumbly

    What defines a pro-camera is NOT its feature set, but the use one makes of the camera. Even the simplest compact camera will turn into a pro camera as soon as its owner uses it in a professional way… So this is more a question of talent and individual skills as a matter of technology!

  • CRB

    The question is : if sony comes up, in a year, with a pro NEX and the new lenses….will Oly be loosing market share? i believe so…2-3 years may be too late…

  • Outrageous!

  • Jesper

    Fuji x100 and Olympus E-P1 should have some babies ;-)

    • Inge-M

      :-)

  • Per

    Looking at what real Pro photographers use, it is neither 4/3 nor m43. To be able to sell their photos it is FF or better. At least 90% of pro’s use Canon/Nikon. Then we have Leica and medium format. The few pro’s that could do with m43 are a few journalists that sometimes may use small sensor. Some art photography people can do with small sensor 4/3.
    It is the rest of us, ambitious amateurs, that are interested in m4/3 with high quality cameras and lenses that are “non FF”.
    I owned many years ago a Leica CL and much later a Contax G1 with slow auto focus and three outstanding quality Zeiss lenses with it. What I long for is a digital G1 (or G2 with decent autofocus speed). I have an E-P1 with image stabilising and excellent lens compatibility and a GF-1 with good usability. Neither have good enough EVF. After 1,5 year my conclusion is: Just LCD is a limiting factor in creative photography. With the information from Olympus above, I have to see what Panasonic will come up with…. -or go APS-C

    • I don’t think you’ll be happy, then. If you want small, you will again be bumping up against EVF limitations, as Olympus seems to have the best right now. Sony doesn’t have one, and Samsung is lagging in many areas. Or you could go with a DSLR, but the system size goes up substantially, and frankly the OVF’s on affordable DSLR’s are nothing to write home about. And any OVF is but a pale shadow of ground glass focusing, which is what LCD’s most resemble. Maybe what it all boils down to is learning to use the tools you have, rather than looking for better tools.

      As for the press conference, I have no idea what any of it means, as the terms are not defined. Do keep something in mind: Its about the Glass. If the glass is good, you’ll find a way to use the body. And Olympus is focusing on glass.

  • MP Burke

    The best definition of a “pro” camera is something that is a bit too expensive, big, heavy or complicated to be used by most amateurs. When the first Canon 5D camera came out with 12.8MP. I read that of one pro photographer who had started using it instead of his old 6x7cm Linhof.
    Now, a few years on, when lots of amateurs have cameras that can deliver 16-18MP, many pros feel they need to have more pixels, so they will say something like “you need at least 24MP for big prints”. In the past, when they had e.g. a 16.7 MP Canon, then 16.7 MP was more than sufficient. You can bet your house that if, in future, many amateurs have 24-30MP full frame cameras, then the pros will be saying that you need 60MP medium format for big prints.
    Olympus and Panasonic should concentrate on trying to provide a sensor at about 15-16MP with good dynamic range performance and supporting this with a coherent range of lenses with more fixed focal lenses and a perspective control lens. This will be good enough for most practical purposes. I agree with previous comments that their main “pro” type users will be travel journalists and mountaineers (many of whom used to use the Olympus OM-1). They ought to be marketing these cameras as combining versatility, portability and quality, perhaps by sponsoring a photographer on an expedition or mountain climb.

    • They actually do this sort of thing already. Go check out the Olympus Visionary galleries. Lots of really good stuff there.

      A true expedition camera needs to be able to operate without batteries, though, which is why the OM-1 was so popular. Now, if there were an “PEN Expedition” camera that used a crank to charge a capacitor bank for a shot, I’d be all over it ;-).

      • Per

        OM-1, I was one of the first to buy that. It worked well until I did a longer journey to India. Midway the 135 mm lens started to fall apart. Then I changed to Contax 139, excellent camera and lenses, very easy to see the difference in quality compared to the OM-1. Olympus are innovative as now with the digital Pen but they do not seem to have resorces to really implement the innovations.
        To me 16 – 18 MPix is the sweet spot: Enough for some cropping. m4/3 are not heavy to carry around. If I need more pixels/better quality I use my 50mm Contax or 90 mm Leica, not often the 35 mm Voigtländer. Then take several exposures and put together in PTGUI. Result is very close to FF!

    • To me wildlife, travel, and photo journalism are they only areas were a pro would be interested in a m4/3’s camera. Size isn’t that big of a deal to sports, wedding, and portrait photographers since those professional’s don’t have to lug their gear around for miles. So I think the OM-1 is a great example and a digital version is what Olympus should focus on. If it takes two years to develop then so be it. In two years if Olympus has a 16mp sensor capable of delivering clean ISO3200 in a weather sealed OM-1 body then I imagine a good number of NatGeo photographers would be interested. I sure know I would be if that were my job.

      In the mean time they can keep their focus on the amateur and enthusiast market. That’s where the real money is anyway. Bragging about your pro users has no bearing on most people. It’s just marketing fluff. Who cares if pro’s use the Canon 1Ds if you’re shooting with a Canon Rebel.

  • Martin Lind

    I strongly disagree with some people here that says m4/3 will fail with this kind of marketing, I would say their marketing is great.

    I bought a E-PL1 some months ago. To have together with my Canon 20D, but after reading about the E-5 and seeing all good zooms they have. I bought a E-450 with 14-42 + 40-150 kit zooms. Just to be able to use Olympus in a studio and build up a storage on good lenses until a pro PEN, is released.

    The PEN lenses are adequate as of now, the only thing that I personally believes missing is a 25mm pancake. Since they don’t try to sell the camera to the people who buy the Canon 1D or 7D, Nikon D3 or D300, Leica M9 or their own E-5 (at least I believe this is their intended market).

    To continue with my believes, if they would start with releasing pro lenses and pro cameras no one would buy the system because lack of maturity, so the only way to get a pro market is to have a mature and stable system.
    And I hope the will continue releasing the E-PL? and E-P? alongside their pro-PEN. an E-PL for beginners and a low cost alternative, E-P series for people who like the looks of the camera and their new pro-body, with built in EVF, weather seals, battery grip and faster continues shooting.

    My few thoughts about Olympus and PEN in general.

    • M

      1) Olympus issued FOUR EXACT SAME m4/3 cameras. Same. Even their marketing has no idea which one is which.

      2) People have invested money in 4/3 lenses which are almost useless on m4/3 when it comes to focusing speed. Even if that wasn’t the case, they would be useless on small m4/3 bodies because they simply do not balance well. Even the E-xxx kit lenses would be too big for the PENs. So what happens when 4/3 is officially dead? You can throw all that glass away.

      • Beomagi

        To be fair, the kit lenses – 14-42 and 40-150II balance fine. The 40-150 II and m.zuiko versions are the same length even.

        Both 35 and 50mm macros are fine on m43, for macro purposes as manual focus for macro is normal.

        The newer kit lenses and the 14-54mm II do focus well and work great on m43. On the epl1, the 14-54mm II balances as well as using the 12-60 on the e620.

        the 25mm F1.4 Panasonic is fine on the epl1 – in fact, focusing is better in low light with this using contrast detect.

        I do agree, for most who would like to know that their glass will sustain more than just a couple camera upgrades are being left in the cold – especially with the top tier glass. But for those that do have the aforementioned lenses, they should be fine.

      • If you define a camera by it’s sensor, then yes. The four PENs are the same cameras.
        The E-P1 and the E-P2 is almost the same camera, I guess it’s the hot-shoe that’s the difference, E-PL1 and E-PL2 are not that different either, just a new body design (though the new body are much better than the old in my opinion). But the E-P2 and the E-PL2 are different as much of a difference the Canon 600D and the 60D have.

        On 2) you’re argument are valid today, but not in 2-3years. And this is usually the time it takes for a new camera upgrade to be released. In 2-3 year contrast detection AF will probably be as fast as the ordinary phase detection used in SLRs.
        And about the balance, It should be possible to develop a grip/mount combination that would improve the balance. Like the Leica M grip.

        Also when 4/3 is officially dead, I will have a lot of cheap glass available on second hand photo shops.

        I’m optimistic about the future on this topic.

        • Boooo!

          The problem is that amongst the (S)HG glass *only* the 14-54 Mk II is CDAF-optimized. Nothing else is. You have that fancy 12-60 SWD or a 14-35? Well, sucks to be you, now wait two seconds until the camera focuses. Nothing can change that, apart from some way to include PDAF in the new bodies (which I honestly don’t think will ever happen with Olympus) – it’s simply a matter of the physical design of the lenses.

          To Beomagi above: the 14-54 balances well on E-30 and above. It’s slightly too big and front-heavy with the E-xxx series (I know that, because I have an E-520 and an E-3). On a PEN, it’s a small disaster – it’s a camera attached to the lens, and that’s just the smallish 14-54. I don’t even find the m.Zuiko 40-150 to balance well with the PENs, as the regular 40-150 did on the E-xxx cameras.

          When 4/3 is officially dead, you’ll have 7-8 years worth of shooting. After that, they won’t be able to fix your E-5 because the spare parts will be gone. What then? You’ll have glass that will still take two seconds to focus on the E-9 or E-11, which will be a “pro PEN”, if Olympus survives in the first place. That’s just about as good as useless, unfortunately.

          Olympus needs to get their act together and clearly state “yes, we are dedicated to the 4/3 mount, and yes, our future models will be able to use PDAF for your über-expensive legacy glass” or “sorry, guys, get rid of those (S)HG beauties and switch to a different system”.

          I am ready RIGHT NOW to splash on a 7-14, a 50-200 and an EC-14 if I get a clear statement that I will be able to use those lenses properly with a new camera model five years from today – and by “properly”, I mean “with fast PDAF”, not “slow CDAF”. However, I’m not getting that statement, and neither is anyone else, which hurts Olympus tremendously. I thus have an 9-18 and a 70-300, both of which are CDAF compatible. Oh, the irony.

          • M

            +1

            Except that I have the 12-60 and the 50-200. They ***SUCK*** on the PEN models.

  • cL

    Instead of getting into the thicket of debate, I’ll just simply state what I want from a “pro” camera:

    Keep this in mind, as I mostly shoot landscapes. Landscapers uses very different camera than let’s say, a wedding photographer.

    1. Reliability. #1 factor in what I believe what a pro camera should have. It also includes things like consistent result. Somebody mentioned OM-1 can work manually, which is also what Olympus 35 line could do too, all could still work when battery dies. Obviously this is not possible with digital camera, but just to let you know, that’s a pro needs.

    2. Accurate, large and bright viewfinder. A viewfinder that’s not accurate has little use.

    3. Good grip. Some also likes to have battery grip. I personally has no such need, but if you want to handle a good lens (i.e., usually very heavy because of the large glass elements used), an ergonomic grip is important.

    4. Good battery life. I find my Olympus E-620’s battery life is sufficient and you can always bring a second battery if you shoot like 500 shots per day. But battery life is very important. Because this belongs to that reliability thing.

    5. High resolution LCD screen with accurate color reproduction. I can’t stress enough a lot of times after I shot a photo, I thought I screwed it up, when in fact I didn’t. When I brought the photos home, they look perfectly beautiful, but the LCD, under sunlight, made them look underexposed and color was all wrong. Because I was too afraid I would throw away bad photos, I retained all the bracketed photos with different exposures, just to be safe…. End result is, I spend way too much time on clean up those redundant safety photos during PP process. If the LCD is correct, I only need to shoot one or two photos per scene, but instead, I have a dozen on my memory card. Waste of memory space and battery life.

    6. Quick access button to things like custom white balance. It would be nice to have one button that switch between handheld and tripod mode. In tripod mode, stabilization should be automatically turned off, mirror lock up and remote shutter turned on, and an option for users to switch to manual focus, if they desire MF when doing tripod work (which I prefer). As of now, I need to do all those steps manually and it gets tedious. It will be nice if I could do all of that with just one button.

    7. Superb dynamic range at base ISO. This is vital for landscape photographers. Landscape photographers spend most of their time shooting on a tripod, so we shoot at base ISO for maximum detail and luscious color. The “real” base ISO (ISO 200 for E-620) also retains the best dynamic range a sensor could give (think of it as the native resolution of a LCD monitor. Yes, you can use other resolutions, but they won’t look nearly as good as the native one).

    8. Good flash synch speed and 1/8000 shutter speed. I rarely use any shutter above 1/4000″, but it’s nice to have when something comes up that requires it, such as a humming bird shot or something blazing fast. Very quick flash synch is important for fill flash in broad daylight…. I hate flash, but when a situation requires it, you need it. You don’t want to miss the shot or screw it up and post processing instead. That’s not the same as shot it right from the get-go as you lose detail from your photo when you stretch too much in your post-process work.

    9. Weatherproof. I love my camera, and I don’t abuse it. But I had some chance to shoot some great scenes where water vapor were everywhere and I don’t want to worry about my camera damaged and photos ruined with minimal amount of exposure to such situation. No, I don’t (and won’t) put my camera in the shower, like someone did with their E-5s…, but it’s nice to have some peace of mind. Though with what Olympus did with E-5, which has three layers of magnesium shells, how could you keep it small and light?

    10. Dust removal. Olympus does a good job with this, but nobody mentioned, because it’s almost like a matter of fact sort of thing now. We are jaded.

    11. Pro camera system means that! Not just the body is pro, but also the lens line up. If the new m4/3 pro system doesn’t have any pro lens, then it’s crap.

    12. I don’t need fast autofocus, but I do need accurate AF. AF speed requirement depends on the type of photo shoots you do. Mine is landscape, so speed is not as important as accuracy. SWD is fast, but not accurate as I often find. Zuiko 50mm f2 is slow, but at least it focuses accurately. But then, 80% of my photos are shot MF, so I shouldn’t complain about AF.

    13. Intuitive control. I think with Fuji x100, people should get it…. Pros prefer separate dials for aperture and shutter speed so we can shoot without taking our eyes off viewfinder. I customized my E-620 so all my controls are done without needing my eyes off OVF, and I memorized all the button positions.

    In any case, a pro should know their camera inside out so they are focusing on their photos rather than their tool. It takes a while to do that. I wonder how many people who replace their camera every 6 months can do that. I even wonder if they read through their camera manuals and other readings off the Internet for best use of their camera. A pro camera stays with you for years. It’s not a disposable camera for snap shots. Fine photography is a craft, not snap shots!

    • Good list. Let me annotate.

      > 1. Reliability.
      Needs to survive heavy, rough travel and weather.

      > 2. Accurate, large and bright viewfinder.
      A high proportion of enthusiasts are eyeglass wearers. So I would add “needs flexible eyepoint and diopter”. Also, once we get into EVF, large and bright aren’t as important as fast refresh and enough pixels.

      > 3. Good grip.
      I’d rephrase this: “Close attention to creating functional shooting position.” And that needs both small hand and large hand consideration.

      > 4. Good battery life.
      Even more important since we’re using the LCD (and possibly EVF) a lot. There’s a corollary: EVF use shouldn’t lower the number of shots per charge (it currently does, and by a considerable margin).

      > 5. High resolution LCD screen with accurate color reproduction.
      You won’t get the latter. Indeed, because you’re viewing in different light all the time, you can’t easily get the latter. That’s why I vote for “consistent color reproduction.” The bigger concern with the LCD is viewability in all types of lighting conditions, and a sub-concern: stop using anti-reflection spray-ons that wear off.

      6. Quick access button to things like custom white balance.
      This goes with your #13, which I’ll drop. Instant access to exposure mode, drive mode, focus mode, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. Quick access to aspect ratio, image quality, metering, flash settings, perhaps one or two others. FN button access to user defined things.

      7. Superb dynamic range at base ISO.
      Unfortunately, this plays against the m4/3 sensor size. It’s a bit like asking for more horsepower in a four-cylinder engine the size of the old VW Beetle’s. Moreover, dynamic range is related to low light performance, as both are measurements related to shadow noise. So you could say, for instance: emphasize low noise over pixels. Or pixels over low noise. But not both.

      8. Good flash synch speed and 1/8000 shutter speed.
      Flash is a whole ‘nother subject and needs its own discussion in m4/3 forums. I won’t go there at the moment. As for 1/8000, I’d vote no. I’d rather have built in NDs in the system.

      > I rarely use any shutter above 1/4000″, but it’s nice to have when something comes up that requires it, such as a humming bird shot

      Most successful hummingbird shots are done with flash, and shutter speed starts to be irrelevant for that, as the flash pulse IS the shutter speed.

      > I hate flash, but when a situation requires it, you need it.
      This is one of the reasons why I said that flash needs its own discussion. What I’m finding amongst mirrorless users is a high propensity AGAINST using flash. Getting flash specs too intricate is playing against the audience, I think. Of course, flash solves the small sensor problem, so there’s dissonance that needs to be resolved.

      > 9. Weatherproof.
      See #1.

      > 10. Dust removal.
      We need a landing zone for manual cleaning, amongst other things.

      > 11. Not just the body is pro, but also the lens line up.
      My point exactly. Two zooms, three primes. That’s all it will take. Get me from 24 to 200 in the zooms (that implies 12-35mm, 35-100mm to keep to the 3x rule of thumb), give me fast 24, 50, 85mm primes.

      > 12. I don’t need fast autofocus, but I do need accurate AF.
      Unfortunately, these sort of go to together. Faster AF makes for more accurate AF. But improving contrast AF is simple: run the sensor faster.

      • > Unfortunately, these sort of go to together. Faster AF makes for more accurate AF. But improving contrast AF is simple: run the sensor faster.

        And read out the focusing regions separately, not the whole sensor. This can speed things up dramatically.

  • PEN IS FOR ENTHUSIASTS => OM-3/4 RETRO IS FOR PRO
    *************************************************
    Let the retro wave flow. Having seen first the Leica X-1 and now the Fujifilm X100, and the well deserved popularity those gains, it’s easy to think that a well integrated camera body is what many are looking for:

    * Integrated EVF (more robust than the modular approach PEN is using)
    * Aperture ring / Shutter ring / ISO ring (like on the XZ-1)
    * Second control dial that must not be fiddly (as it is on E-PL2)
    * BLM-5 battery (multi-core image processor needs more juice)
    * Built in flash for wireless RC flash
    * Additional Grip like the Richard Franiec’s, but needs to add features with it, like a GPS (GPS is great since it synchronizes your camera clock), but problem then is with electrical connectors.
    * Looks like we need to reuse the Accessory Port 2 (AP2) from the PEN again for the GPS. That could host the GPS with it’s antenna into the hotshoe, call it GPS-PAL.
    * Comparing with GlobalSat DG-100/DG-200 GPS Data Loggers, we could wish for the GPS-PAL to mate with an accessory device hosting internal memory, internal battery, and USB control interface, so the kit together could work as an independent GPS logger, when not residing in the AP2.

    • > Leica X-1 and now the Fujifilm X100
      One thing the retro designs prove is that cameras weren’t “broken” back in the film days. We do have more things we need to control these days (e.g. white balance), but subsuming controls down into a menu system wasn’t the right approach. Direct control works just fine. Spraying those controls all over the body doesn’t work: you have to think about the user’s hands and where they are while shooting and what they’re doing. A lot of people (and most camera companies) miss one subtle nuance in Nikon’s DSLRs: the button-dial interface is designed so that your index finger is ALWAYS over the shutter release. Your thumb is on the rear dial, your middle finger on the front dial. Most buttons then are on the left side (different hand) or within reach of the right thumb or middle finger. The impact of that is this: once you know where the buttons and dials are and are comfortable with that, you never take your eyes from the viewfinder and you never take your shooting finger off the shutter release. In other words, you stay connected to seeing and reacting to the moment.

      > grip needs GPS
      No. I’d vote against this. The camera needs to communicate. Communicating to a GPS is just one thing it could do. Those of us who carry iPhones with us already have internet access, GPS, and more. What we want is the ability for our camera to take advantage of that.

  • Canon is laughing it’s derriere off. Olympus floundering around with several cameras that are nearly indistinguishable from eachother, Panasonic releasing a downgraded GH2… On the one hand it’s like they are killing themselves and on the other Canon gets all this free market research and beta testing if it does decide to go mirrorless.
    As a pro that shoots fashion/travel/lifestyle I am hoping for a solid mirrorless camera to use in addition to 5D2. The only two cameras I would consider now are a GF1 and an X100. One of which is discontinued the other may be impossible to get for some months…

    And Olympus is talking about a “pro” camera 3 years from now??!!!
    What’s Sony and Fujian gonna have by then? What if Canon and Nikon are in that segment by then?
    What a missed opportunity…

    • When Olympus is serious about grabbing some market share from pro’s, they should release that pen pro body and lenses before CaNikon releases anything that comes close to a mirrorless (pro) camera.

      In the digital photography era, two three years is a very long time. A missed opportunity indeed!

    • The only problem with your assessment is that Canon is losing market share at the expense of all that experimentation going on by others. In some areas of the world, considerable market share. While they’re still profitable and big, they have to respond at some point soon, and respond well, not join the random fray. This is one of the reasons why I say that Olympus needs to get tightly focused, in control, and must do so quickly.

      As for the GF1/GF2, I think you’re reacting wrong. While there is plenty of gimmick added to the GF2, to a serious shooter you can pretty much ignore it. In analyzing whether I was going to keep my GF1 or GF2 long term, I was surprised to find that my decision tended towards the GF2.

      • Vlad

        How much market share is Canon really losing? The DSLR market grows, so I am pretty sure that at least they are not losing current users. Another thing is that mirrorless cameras don’t eat only DLSR share, but also a lot of compact share. Yet another thing is that, for example in the case of Sony, NEX is eating some part of their own compact and DSLR share.
        I certainly do not disagree with your opinion, but how do we account for the above?

        • Esa Tuunanen

          Sure Europe and NA are pretty brainwashed to Canikon only attitude but in Asia mirrorless cameras have very notable chunk of interchangeable lens camera markets which can’t be without effect to Canon’s sales as Canon and Nikon are the ones dominating that market area.
          Of course Sony has their DSLRs to eat share from (although Point&Pray automatic NEXes don’t even compete them) but Panasonic and Samsung don’t have mirror bodies and also Olympus DSLRs are essentially dead in the water.

  • Should have said “downgraded GF2” sorry for confusion

  • Dandelion Empire Photography

    This announcement makes total sense even though it saddens me. On the one hand, there are those that would simply take the innards of the E-PL1/2 and put a weatherproof shell around it. That would make some of the segment happy. But there are others that won’t be happy until they get a better EVF, better high-ISO, DR, and the grail of AF speed. Olympus is probably being realistic in its time estimate…there are probably some big issues to overcome, like, how to get a smaller version of the Sony sensor that’s in the D7000/k5/A55-580. The suggestion that the E5 will hold pros over until the pro m4/3 is really telling to me, and it means to me that they have their sights set on a dual-mount camera that can use either 4/3 or m4/3 lenses with equal performance. I wonder if they will just create a new sealed adapter or even further integrate it into the camera body, with a removable adapter unit like that on the Ricoh. But I bet THIS is the real challenge. I hope this is the right path for Oly to take, instead of spending their precious R&D dollars on scaling down the classic 4/3 lenses to m4/3.

  • Ganec

    great announcement:

    if only 2-3 years is necessary to PRO PEN replace E-5 (and meantime no E-5 successor is planned) it means:
    – such camera is already in production
    – technology is mature enough to outperform all DSLR features
    (because they said DSLR will be produced till they will have advantage)
    – they solved slow focus with (legacy) 4/3 lenses

    • Paulus

      Dear Ganec!
      I agree with you and I hope Olympus will apologize my angry previous comments.
      If someone reads the megapixel interview carefully there will be no hint that a Olympus Pro Pen will be available only in the long run.
      I suspect Mr. Papenheim is holding that a Pro Pen could have penetrated a considerable market share in the professional market in 2-3 years. That would mean – as you mentioned before – that the pioneering Olympus Pro Pen Camera is already in production and will be launched 2011 with the first professional M.Zuiko lenses. A brand new compatible (4/3 and MFT) communicating Pro-E-System (even more professional lenses, WIFI, Bluetooth, GPS communication even within the E-System – for example cameras with wireless transfer to additional external displays …) could be available in 2013/14 when Pro MFT should have got the effectual momentum.
      That could also explain the massive dedication of “Nikon Guy” Thom Hogan in our 43 rumors forum and his interest in the future of Olympus.
      I guess he sees the mirror less system and especially the Micro Four Thirds System as the future of digital photography as well. Leaving the sinking DSLR-ship he is “looking for new employers and perspectives”.

      Best regards
      Paulus

      http://www.megapixel.co.il/english/archive/14631

      Megapixel-Q: “What can you tell us about the future “PEN Pro” you mentioned in your presentation?”

      Mr. Dominic Papenheim, Olympus Europe:
      “We see the mirrorless system as the future of digital photography. In 5-10 years reflex cameras will be a niche or will not be there at all. So we believe that PEN in the long run will also be in the professional market – but that will take maybe 2-3 years. In 2011 you will see more PEN products and more lenses (beyond what was discussed in the presentation).”

      • Inge-M

        +1 :-)

  • Mindlessbuttonmasher

    A pro camera need to be, obviously, built solidly with weather sealing, etc. Think Leica M Series or Nikon F Series. It need to perform under harsh circumstances flawlessly, think Nikon D3. No pop-up flashes or tilting LCDs, which are the first thing to break when dropped. Needs to have quick access to the obvious ISO, metering, etc. Needs to be part of a “system” where everything is interchangeable like rhe classic OM System. Will need more pro quality lenses such as the 12mm f/2.0. Such as a 35-40mm f/2.0 or faster (but small), 50mm f/1.4, etc. All with true manual focus override. No cheap plastic lenses that break the first time they are bumped. Also, the camera needs to be ALL black as do the lenses. Olympus needs to sell it BODY ONLY! it seems I’m the only one noticing that if you want a new Pen, you’re forces to buy the cheap lenses. Pros do NOT buy the kit lenses unless it’s paired with an L-Series like the Canon 5D MkIi was. But it was also sold separately.
    Another feature is a pro camera should have is low ISOs. I’ll tale ISO 100 but would prefer ISO 50. As mentioned before a high quality, 100% view EVF. Finally, a quieter shutter. Thus is very important when shooting in delicate situations and, although listed last, for me one of the most important features. I almost sold my E-PL2 because if it loud shutter.
    This us My opinion coming from 20 years experience as a newspaper photojournalist. I know how hard the job is on the equipment. Even the best, pro Nikons fail. I bought a Nikon D7000 to tide me over until Nikon announced their new pro cameras. Although the D700/D3 is still top notch, I couldn’t justify paying full price for three year old technology. I used the Nikon D7000 for two months, put 19,800 pics through it and it died. Nikon had it fir over a month, fixed it as new and I promptly sold it. Bottom line, it’s not pro grade and couldn’t handle the stress.

  • I hope Olympus reads this because in my opinion they need to get their act together. 4/3rds is essentially dead despite the E-5. and no matter how they spin it I am pretty sure that m4/3 will never be capable of offering the same dynamic range (just one important variable) as a larger sensor built on similar technology.

    In the days of film, every good photographer knew that when all other variables were equal, larger film size meant better image quality. The same appears to be true of digital imagers. If 4/3rds is dead, then for goodness sake bring on smaller cameras with larger sensors as a second line. Every good make needs its formula one racer, if for no other reason than to prove that it can run in the same league as its competitors. Olympus needs something to complete with the likes of the D3s and 1ds of this world.

    Looking at the latest offerings from Sony, a pro Pen two years down the line will be way too little and way too late. I’m a die-hard Olympus user, and even I am looking at the new NEX7 and thinking, Wow! Bigger sensor, smaller body, impressive build quality and finally some rational controls that offer direct access to shutter speed, and aperture. Frankly, if I don’t see something, at least, comparable from Olympus within 6 months, I’m very likely to switch systems. Patience is one thing, and blind hope is another.

  • Eric

    I just can’t wait to get rid of this x100. I would love to see a tiny camera with built in EVF and FAST AF.

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