June 29, 2011
Posted in Rumors

(FT5) First (front-) picture of the new Olympus E-PM1.

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This is the very first picture of the upcoming new E-PM1. When I first saw the picture I noticed the camera looks like a mix between the Olympus XZ-1 (Click here to see that cam) and the Samsung NX100 (Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBayClick here to see that cam[/shoplink]). The design is certainly more modern and elegant compared to the current PEN series. We have been told the E-PL3 has exactly the same design (but with more buttons and tilt LCD screen). The E-PM1 is less high and less wide than the Panasonic GF2. But unlike the GF2 it has built-in image stabilization. The E-PM1 shares the same fast AF and same new 12 Megapixel Olympus sensor and TruePic VI engine of the upcoming E-P3, but has a 410 milion dot LCD instead of the E-P3 OLED screen. What I don’t know yet is the price. My speculation: During the last two weeks there were price drops on the Olympus XZ-1 (from $499 to $420 on Amazon). So will the E-PM1 cost $499 (body only) and $549 with kit lens? But I would like the camera to be even cheaper. The Samsung NX100 with lens costs $427.00 only !!! (Check at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay).

Reminder: Olympus will announce the new products tomorrow (Thursday June 30th) at 6am London time. Follow us live on 43rumors! We will update you with all the first news, previews images samples and so on! And don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter! Subscribe our RSS feed!

P.S.: The just announced GF3 will be still smaller than the E-PM1 (preorders on Amazon (Click here)).

Reminder -> Rumors classification explained (FT= FourThirds):
FT1=1-20% chance the rumor is correct
FT2=21-40% chance the rumor is correct
FT3=41-60% chance the rumor is correct
FT4=61-80% chance the rumor is correct
FT5=81-99% chance the rumor is correct

June 29, 2011
Posted in Rumors

Olympus patent do show the new AF system and sensor (Infrared is the key?)


Image source: Mirrorlesscam

UPDATE: Now that Olympus announced the new PEN’s we know that Olympus isn’t using the IR technology for the autofocus sytem. But what remains true is that Olympus filled a patent with that technology.

Here is the “old “article:
—-
Anton Rahmadi contacted me to share his idea on how the new Olympus AF system works. He found an Olympus patent (See google patents) that describes a new type of AF system. Anton shortly descirbed how it works:

(1) TruPict VI consists of two cores. “Left brain” is for image processor, “Right brain” is for focus processor.
(2) The new Focus Processor:
a. During focus attempt, image is recorded once and stored in “buffer memory”.
b. Focus prediction will be calculated based on reading in two channels: in visible band (“G” of the R-G-IR-B) and IR band (“IR” of the R-G-IR-B)
c. Predictive focus is opted and sends message where the focus drive should move.
(3) Tweaked sensor: Olympus adds IR channel onto Green channel in R-G-G-B sensor (making it into R-G-IR-B). The tweaked channel occupy some area at the focus points.
(4) Microlens design: IR band should not be filtered.
(5) New lens: Coating should allow IR band to enter the sensor. Previously, Olympus patented special glass (in 2002) and coating (in 2008) to block IR band completely.

This patent also shows that Olympus (E-P3) will have IR assist focus.

Possible weakness? any filter attached to the lens may block IR band, resulting AF to slow down “as before”.

Via MirrorlessCam

June 28, 2011
Posted in Rumors

More thoughts about the “new” Olympus sensor.

The real mystery about the upcoming new PEN’s is the new 12 Megapixel sensor. I have been told that Olympus markets it as a “completely new” sensor. And I know for sure that it is not going to be used by any future Panasonic camera. But I don’t know yet how deeply Olympus redesigned the sensor. There are basically two options:
1) The sensor is 100% from ground up new.
2) The basis is the same 12 Megapixel Panasonic G2 sensor and Olympus only did make some kind of changes on it.

The truth is that my sources tested the jpeg quality only so it’s difficult to say if the changes in image quality are the results of the sensor or of the new Truepic VI engine. The good news is that my sources noticed a visible improvement. Dynamic range has been increased (more in the dark areas than in the highlights) and so the colors (with better blue). They told me it’s the best Micro Four Thirds sensor to date. But let’s not get too enthusiastic. The improvement is here but not extraordinary. The best news is the fact that Olympus recognized the need to become independent from Panasonic sensors. Anyway, I am reposting a comment from Thom Hogan about the posisble future Oly sensor:

I don’t have the original source to look at for that statement, but…those three specific things say to me that this is a sensor redesign, not a from-scratch design. Let’s do it backwards:
* Autofocus speed: highly dependent upon how fast you get data off the sensor. There are two basic ways to do this: up the frame rate and sub-sample the pixels, preferably both. This is work mostly in the add-on circuitry in a CMOS sensor. It doesn’t touch the sensel itself (other than how fast it is taking information from it).
* Color fidelity: highly dependent upon the Bayer filtration. We’ve been all over the map on this one during digital’s history, increasing filtration, decreasing it, flipping it to CYMG instead of RGBG, you name it. It’s an optical issue, and Olympus is an optical company.
* Dynamic range: can be dependent upon a lot of things, including sensel efficiency, read noise, microlenses, and so on. But read this and the previous one together and I get “Olympus changed the layers on the top of the sensor.”
I’m guessing here, but it’s quite possible that Olympus really meant it when they said 12mp is enough (it isn’t, but for different reasons than most people think, and Lytro is a good example of that). With Panasonic showing them sensors with similar traits but more pixels, Olympus might have simply asked to be given access to the original sensor design for improvement. So they put engineers working on the two easiest things to tweak: the photosite support circuitry (goosing the bandwidth) and the filtration layers (Bayer, microlenses). This would also explain why Panasonic is the fab.

I’ll be watching the details in the Japanese press when the release happens. What I’m looking for is evidence that the sensel is changed or different, or that the underlying transistor type is changed. Differences in substrate materials or flipping the sensor (BSI) are also fundamental design changes. Those are all things that would indicate a ground-up sensor design. But based upon what we’re hearing as leaks, I’d bet this is a reconfiguration of an existing sensor.

June 28, 2011
Posted in reviews

The giant battle: The new Leica 25mm versus the Voigtländer 25mm lens!

So here we are with the first battle between the two top Micro Four Thirds lens. Which one is better? The manual focusing and ultrafast Nokton or the new, cheaper and autofocusing Leica lens? At SLRclub you can find the answer! A forum user just posted an image comparison you can see below (Click on image to enlarge). As you see the Panasonic lens is much sharper at the center of the image (at f/1.4) but the border performance of the Nokton is still better than the border performance from the Panasonic. This is so because the Nokton has a much larger lens.

If you prefer the manual focusing and ultrafast Voigtlaender lens you can get it right now at eBay (Click here) and at Amazon France (Cheapest price),
The Leica will be available in early August and you can preorder at Adorama (Click here), J&R (Click here) and Digitalrev (Click here).

Now let’s vote:

What lens would you buy?

View Results

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June 27, 2011
Posted in deals

UPDATE: AG-AF100 now comes with free 14-140mm lens!


You can now get the AG-AF100 Micro Four Thirds camcorder with a free (!) 14-140mm zoom lens at BHphoto (Click here). The lens alone would normally cost $849.95! That’s a great deal!

There is a new price drop on the Panasonic 100-300mm lens. It is now in Stock for $508 at Amazon (Click here). And also the Panasonic 20mm is discounted at Amazon (Click here). The new RED G3 is in Stock on eBay (Click here).

P.S:: The new Panasonic-Leica 25mm will be available in early August and you can preorder at Adorama (Click here), J&R (Click here) and Digitalrev (Click here).

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