We are close to a new year that I am sure will bring us many more innovations and cameras than the finishing 2011. And you already know most of what’s coming. Nikon will release their new FF cameras which as usual will bring a bit better image quality, a bit more features a bit more of everything. We can expect the same “slow advance” approach from Canon. Fuji is going to introduce a revolutionary new sensor made by organic materials that can surpass the quality of any other FF sensor. Sony will very likely introduce a fullframe NEX-9 camera and sensors with more Megapixels (there is already a working 100 Megapixel sensor prototype). Pentax plans to make both a fullframe and a medium format mirrorless camera. Panasonic will bring global shutter, and a new GH3 with top video quality.
But there is one technology that will probably be the ONE BIG THING of the year 2012. It’s the upcoming new Olympus viewfinder technology. I explain you my reasons:
I am pretty convinced (like many others) that mirrorless is the future. But there is one thing I really cannot fell in love with. It’s the electronic viewfinder. While I understand the advantages of such technology (What you see is what you get in terms of framing, depth of field and so on) I still think it will always miss that “special close to reality feeling” I have when I look through an optical viewfinder of a real rangefinder or DSLR camera. I prefer the use of the 3 inch LCD any time over the external viewfinder from my Olympus E-P2. And it’s not because of the poor quality. I also used the super high resolution viewfinder from the NEX-5n. It’s a bit better but it doesn’t change anything to the missing “reality feeling” I am looking for. It’s an unnatural process to look at a digital screen with a linear pattern of pixels that is placed at a couple of millimeters from your eye. It’s completely a different experience to look at the direct stream of light coming from the real subject in the distance. And I believe that’s the real big gap between the current mirrorless cameras and the classic DSLR (or rangefinder) cameras. Neither a 100 megapixels sensor nor a super OLED technology can replace the ONE thing I need.
The Fuji X100 hybrid viewfinder has been the first camera that made step in the direction I want. But it has on big limitation (it doesn’t work with interchangeable lenses). I know the new LX cameras from Fuji will use an optical (non-hybrid!) viewfinder. That sounds damn intriguing but what I heard about Olympus technology sounds far more advanced! It’s a sort of “semitransparent viewfinder“. You will have all the possible advantages. The optical “feeling” and when needed the digital “perfection”. Plus it works on a camera that can take interchangeable lenses. I still don’t know the details of the viewfinder. I only heard about a prototype having an invisible OLED layer on the optical viewfinder. I hope some of my sources can help me to figure out how it works. But all I know is that the camera is coming soon.
So dear Olympus, let others run the Megapixel race, the super fake perfectly boring specs war. What I need is to feel photography, to feel a camera that stays well in my hands, to feel a camera that brings me emotionally as close as possible to the moment I intend to capture. If Olympus will make that camera my little savings will be spent for them. No matter how many Megapixels the camera has.
P.S.: Thanks for all the positive energy you gave me today with your comments on my previous post. It really gave me the kick to write that post about the Olympus viewfinder!
P.P.S.: My favorite camera is still the Mamiya 7 (Click here to see it on eBay). An absolutely non(!) perfect camera that makes me take superb pictures!