Surprise: Olympus E-M1 uses a Panasonic sensor!

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The E-M1 sensor (Image courtesy: Chipworks).

As you know the Olympus E-M5 had a Sony sensor (Code IMX109). But Chipworks dismantled the new E-m1 camera and discovered that the newer OMD uses a Panasonic sensor (Code: MN34231). Quite a surprise because everyone was expecting Olympus to continue to use Sony sensors also because of their recently disclosed partnership.

Reminder: You can get stackable rebates with all OMD cameras (E-M5, E-M1 and new E-M10) at GetOlympus (Click here) and Amazon (Click here)!

All current US deals:
E-M5, 45mm lens and flash special box at Amazon (Click here) and Adorama (Click here)
Save $200 on Select Panasonic Lenses with the Purchase of a Qualifying Panasonic Cameras at Amazon (Click here).
$50 off on the Panasonic GM1 (Black or Orange kit) at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here) and BHphoto (Click here).
Olympus XZ-2 for $299 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), GetOlympus (Click here) and BHphoto (Click here).
Olympus XZ-10 for $199 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), GetOlympus (Click here) and BHphoto (Click here).
Full deal page overview at Amazon and GetOlympus.

 

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  • ONG. Please, folks, do review all your previous comments, especially the ones with fanbouism tint! :D

    • El Aura

      Nobody was wrong saying Olympus is using Sony sensors. All the evidence presented for Olympus using Sony sensors remains unchallenged. People were just wrong in assuming that the E-M1 has the same sensor as the E-M5. And if something challenged that assumption with anything to base it on, kudos to them.

      • El Aura

        Sorry, I meant: “If somebody challenged…”

    • Brian

      HAHA! after all the trolls saying how Olympus is superior, this is sweet justice.

    • Miran

      I see!!!

      No wonder the top dog E-M1’s IQ is no better than the old E-M5 and the E-PM2, and the GX7 … Can’t Olympus afford the newest Sony sensor any more?

      • Horst

        Yet they are asking full frame prizes. I’m glad I didn’t jump one the E-M1 hype. It’s overpricing becomes more and more evident. For a better grip and inferior sensor they are asking a 500$ extra over a good E-M5. There must have been a massive hype created at Olympus. Proof enough the E-M1 helped Olympus out of their financial crisis.
        For me I’m done with Olympus. The king is dead.

        • fl00d

          Fantastic! Now fuck off and don’t come back.

  • Al

    Could this be the reason behind the difference in hot pixels on the EM1 VS. EM5??

    http://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=53621

    • Hypnotic Love

      wow, thank you. That’s a very interesting thread!

    • harnamsc

      Guess this means Olympus should take advantage of their Sony partnership and continue to use their sensors.

      I’m just worried that this news will ‘hurt’ Olympus as their latest cameras have been vital at reversing their fortunes.

    • Horst

      And if you look how the one E-M1 model helped Olympus that much financially one can only think how we customers got ripped of by this ridiculously overpriced camera. Buying cheap components and printing the Olympus logo on them, the rest is brilliant marketing. This company is never going to see a dollar of mine again.

    • Matt Jones

      you are correct, this definitely helps explain the difference between the E-M5 and E-M1 long exposure noise.

    • Hubertus Bigend

      That would seem totally logical, as all earlier Panasonic “Live MOS” sensors since the E-330 and the Lumix DMC-L1 used to show a much higher-than-normal level of long exposure/hot pixel noise, too.

  • Well, that is interesting. Just shows what happens when people “jump to conclusions”.

    In the camera world, nothing is cast in stone, and the possibilities for relationships between different competing companies exists all the time. Any time companies can mutually profit by working together, they do. If I am not mistaken, I believe it had been said that the EM1 chip was designed by Olympus, but of course they contracted manufacture out to somebody else. Many assumed it was Sony, but now we see it was Panasonic. This does not rule out Sony/Olympus cooperation either which we know also takes place on some development levels. It is about what works for all parties concerned. In the end it is always about mutual benefit and companies do contract on different things with different competitors. All companies want to survive, and if that means working with competitors, so be it.

    • MrALLCAPS

      Sony and Panasonic would never be partners, ever.
      This is simply fanboyism, being exposed.
      Now watch as the Olympus Faithful comment on how the sensor in the E-M1 is not as good anymore. Hahahaha!

      Question is, the Olympus Fanboys, -Who dislike Panasonic anything (makes NO sense, really), how do y’all feel now? Still think Panasonic should just stick to microwaves, hair dryers and irons?

      HAHAHAHAHA!

      • Horst

        As you can see Panasonic is two years behind in sensor technology and still doesn’t reach Sony’s level. I wouldn’t care about the brand name but for paying a full frame camera prize I would at least like to have the very best sensor in a MFT camera. But it is not!

        • Tom

          I always wonder if there is just one loser running around with a bunch of usernames to post bull on this board, or if there is actually several people that have so little to fulfill their lives with that they resort to the 5-year old tactics.

        • Ceph

          Very obviously the E-M1 sensor _is_ the best sensor available to use 43 lenses with AF.

          Nobody knows the prize. It is quite unlikely that this sensor is “cheap” or cheaper than the E-M5 sensor.

          • BdV

            Indeed, this might harm future sony sensor sales.

      • Sony and Panasonic were partnering when developing OLED TVs.

  • Jankoff

    Surprise? Absolutely no surprise at all!
    That is why the E-PM2 blows the E-M1 out of the water in terms of ISO capacity!
    Yes! The E-PM2 – that is 4.5 times “cheaper” than the glorious technological achievement E-M1!
    932 against 757!!! See DXoMark! LOL!
    And how wise was I to shun the EM-1 and to buy another E-PM2 a couple of days ago! Yes!

    • MrALLCAPS

      -AND the above comment is perfect proof. I’m so looking forward to Fuji… leave this overrun by blind fanboyism of a system.

      • El Aura

        Fanboyism should only bother you if you consider discussing the gear online as part of the gear ‘experience’, because otherwise you won’t be exposed to it.

        • RedTrumpet

          Spot on. Fanboyism shouldn’t impact your enjoyment of a camera, unless your main point of owning a camera is so you can post on some stupid website.

      • BdV

        Yeah right, so that’s a reason to choose whatever camera brand.

    • Uth

      are you serious???

      still believe in DXOmark , and judge everything from those results?

      wow…

      • Jerome LaPlume

        You must understand:some people are stupid.
        No matter if E-m1 shows a better Iso handling against E-m5(for my eye, almost a stop of difference in terms of usability)end E-pm2 sensor, they believe more in numbers on a paper.

        • MarcoSartoriPhoto

          It’s like saying that a truck has better performance than a sport car, because of its much greater number of horsepower.

          Or, as Einstein said, the bumblebee, because of its characteristics, should not be able to fly. But it doesn’t know that, and flies.”.

    • HF

      Reading all those comments reminds me of kindergarten: my dad is better than your dad…
      As if high ISO is the only parameter important. EM1 is fine enough, if I want high ISO I take my FF. As to Fuji, I still don’t believe their results. Many sources showed their ISOs are almost one stop off the indicated ISO values. Looking at their raw files it furthermore liiks like their is some strong noise reduction happening even in raw (water-color effect). I could achieve similar effects with my old D7100 in lightroom.
      Additionally, having phase-detection on sensor reduces the available light-gathering pixels, or am I wrong?

      • HF

        sorry for Mac’s auto language correction, there should be a “look” and a “there”.

    • Svenlovesflo

      I own both the E-PM2 and the E-M1…my experience in shooting in lowlight situations is that the E-M1 has cleaner looking images with more detail than does the E-PM2…this is using ISO 1600 to 3200…just my experience…I can’t explain it..it is just what I have found…but for sure the E-PM2 is better at high ISO than the E-M5

      • lerelere

        Are you talking about camera jpgs??.

        Because e-m1 has more noise than em5 and gh3, check raws on imaging resource from these cameras.

        em1 is a overrated camera

    • davey

      And presumably you don’t mention the color depth and dynamic range metrics because the E-M1 “blows the E-PM2 out of the water” on those? Seriously, 932 vs 757 is a whopping 1/3 of a stop, and the E-M1’s advantages in color depth and DR are also in the 1/3 to 1/2 stop range. In other words the cameras are basically equivalent in IQ to the extent that it’s measured by DxO.

    • john

      E-PM2 still available at least at BnH – $399 for with a kit and $359 body only –
      Interesting how Dxo rates the EM1 overall at 73 even though they rate ISO quite a bit lower –
      Of course the E-PM2 does not have the new fantastic viewfinder – 5 axis IS – and the additional controls – faster shutter speed etc etc
      You are right the E-PM2 is a good deal now – I think the 5 axis IS or the 2 extra will benefit more in video mode – so if one is not doing video the 3 will work fine – as is in the new M10 for example –
      For under $400 one can get a pretty nice M43 camera and a decent kit lens –
      I respect DXO – but I have not always agreed with their scores in real live –
      I am not sure what all factors they combine to come up with their values –
      Simple comparison for me has been the Sony RX100 and Fuji X20 – of course Dxo for some reason is not rating Fuji sensors – but if one is to read a review then the RX100 get much higher marks then the X20 – like in low light –
      RX100 sensor is 1 inch but lens is F1.8-4.9 vs X20 F2.0-2.8 with a 2/3 inch sensor and the X20 does not have a AA filter –
      I own both cameras and love both – but if I need a compact camera for various focal ranges the Fuji X20 to me does a much better job – my Olympus Stylus 1 is also great as it has a back lit sensor – yes the X100m2 will do a bit better than X100 –
      the point is that the RX100 is only at F1.8 really at 28mm –
      So in the real world for example with these 2 built in zoom lenses the lens has a huge impact on overall results – as the Fuji does better at 100mm –
      I have few friends that own both the OMD-em5 and the OMD-em1 and they really do not see in practice much difference –
      I do have the OMD-em5 and the Panasonic GX7 which rates at 718 iso compared to em5 at 826 iso – in real world practice with some peeking I can’t say that the em5 is better – to me they are a total match –
      So the conclusion is there is Dxo and there is the real world and there is price and functionality and weight and size –
      No one should by a camera just based on the Dxo sensor score – but it is still a good reference –
      One cannot go wrong with getting the E-PM2 – you are so right about that

      • HF

        The difference in DXOMARK-scores of the order of 200-300 is quite negligible. You need to look deeper in how those overall scores are obtained, as a weighted combination of different factors (often logarithmic values, so you can’t just extrapolate linearly)
        and therefore represent only an estimate of the real life performance. If you want to get more detail look into the detailed curves (S/N, DR, tonal range …). A camera is not all about high ISO scores, that ridiculous. Most people when analysing their Lightroom database find that they stay below 1000 at 95% of the time (there are always exceptions,
        but people wanting really high ISO go to FF, except for small prints where difference is small).
        DXOMARK is the only source I trust (along with http://www.sensorgen.info) since they test scientifically using optical benches
        under as close as possible similar conditions) factoring out human bias. In real life many other factors come into play, so I take the DXO scores as a reference for best possible IDEAL conditions, I hardly reach in reality. Furthermore, cameras nowadays are so good, that it requires to look at 100% to see larger differences. It makes more sense IMO, to invest in lenses

        • Jankoff

          A reply to all those above who referred to my post.
          Yes, lenses make a difference and are a better investment than bodies but sensors also make a difference – look at the DXoMark charts for lenses on one camera and then on another …
          And, by the way, although I believe DXoMark’s results because they coincide with my own experience, the area where DXoMark fail is exactly when they say that “a difference in low-light ISO of 25% represents 1/3 EV and is only slightly noticeable.” How do they know what is “noticeable”, what is “not noticeable” and what is “slightly noticeable”? Do they have a methodology based on objective criteria for measuring these phenomena? No, they don’t.
          Yes, the results from the DXoMark investigations in physics are not to be mistrusted, but this does not hold for their impressionistic estimates in the physiological domain.
          The Oly fanboys’ problem is that they always have expectations that are way too high. It was the same when the E-5 was launched. A lot of ink was spilled (and keyboard clicks made :-) ) on how good the E-5 sensor was finally with respect to noise. No, it turned out to be absolutely in the same league as those in the other E-bodies. Raved around the world as a technological tour de force initially, the E-5 ended up a failure, offering nothing more in the battle with noise compared to E-30, E-520, E-620 – or even the PEN1 for that matter. Now history seems to be repeating itself – the huge praise around the E-M1 is likely to evaporate soon.

          • HF

            I don’t think so. I use a EM1 alongside a Nikon D610 FF. And for most shooting situations a difference is hard to tell for print sizes below A3. Of course a FF always has the possibility of gathering more light on the sensor, however this comes at the cost of shallower DOF, which is not always wanted. I get the best out of my FF for tripod work, since shutter speeds don’t matter and shutter speeds are a problem with non-stabilised primes in many handheld shooting situations where I need to bump up my ISO. Every comparison doesn’t make sense if equivalence principles aren’t met. I can’t compare shooting situations where DOF, angle of view and exposure are different. If you make this equivalent, there is almost no difference at all visible (just consider an example which is stated quite often: I shoot with a 25mm at 2.8 and at ISO 800, then I get the same for FF with a 50mm at 5.6 and ISO 3200 (and here noise is visible, too). As mentioned before, you have the option to reduce the f-stop on FF, but then DOF gets shallower). I’m perfectly happy with m43. For me it’s the best compromise in size and what it offers. Zooms are excellent and much smaller than what you get for FF or Fuji (look at the size of the new Fuji offerings shown on the web). Additionally, there are other factors like responsiveness, options, buttons … and here the EM1 shines.

            • Jankoff

              I am also happy with my three PENs – PEN1 and two E-PM2s, one with vf-3, the other with v-f4. I am not comparing m43 and FF! Each has its strong and weak features, applications, etc. What I am unhappy about is two things: unfair price of most m43 bodies and lenses, and the fact they didn’t make a DSLR with the Sony sensor and the new stabilization. They finally announced a 43-compatible camera and tried to charge me €1500 for it. And failed :-) Now I have 2 lovely pieces of the ISO champion E-PM2 and the best prime m43 lenses (with the exception of the 75mm, which is too expensive, being overtaken in IQ at the same time by the “much cheaper” Samyang 85mm – that I have and am happy with. And I also have three E-series bodies that I hope will serve my 43 glass for years ahead – in normal light. Low light is dealt with by the E-PM2&PanaLeica 25mm killer combination.
              So, all in all, Oly m43 is OK – if it wasn’t for some acts of unloyalty.

              • HF

                I understand. I just found an interesting post at Dpreview comparing the ISO performance of Fuji and EM1, quite interesting
                http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3620217#forum-post-53067082.
                I was really thinking about getting the 75mm, but it’s not cheap. It was compared recently to the Canon 135mm/2.0:
                http://tysonrobichaudphotography.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/olympus-75mm-f1-8-vs-canon-135-f2-l/
                its a great lens. m43 has problems when going to the extremes, i.e. if extremely shallow DOF is required. As the smaller sensor has more difficulties achieving it, the glass needs to be fast and will be expensive and heavy (think of the new 42.5/1.2). This is easier achieved with FF and Samyang or 85/1.8 Nikkor at lower prizes, as you said already.
                Nevertheless I got a used 25mm Voigtländer and this lens rocks, I use it almost 90% of the time.
                If we are honest, most cameras out there give you more than enough for great image quality. Another interesting site showing the capabilities of m43 (National Geographic): http://www.firstlightworkshop.com/wheres-jay/.
                Have a nice week-end.

          • HF

            Addendum: Read Ming Thein’s post on sufficiency:
            http://blog.mingthein.com/tag/sufficiency/
            it helps in getting back on the ground.

    • BobTB

      wow that’s amazing jankoff a whopping quarter of a stop difference lol But don’t fret the E-M1 has a half stop advantage in DR

    • You got it

      You Wankoff understood everything about photography.
      One more tip: upgrade to compact cameras. These M43 things are not really better, just pricier.

  • Yun

    This is huge surprise .
    Anyway it’s a good sign to see Pana’s sensor tech can go so far .
    With Fuji-Pana partnership in sensor tech , likely we will have true breakthrough in m4/3 sensors on it’s way .
    Cheers .

  • Uberprutser

    Good news. Hopefully Panasonic will use this sensor in their upcoming models. I would like to use my old four thirds pro lenses on a new sensor and the E-M1 is a bit to rich for my wallet.

  • Sean Nelson

    This yet is another prime example of how Internet claims (and there were LOTs of them recording sensor sources) simply CAN’T BE TRUSTED without some sort of supporting evidence.

  • MrALLCAPS

    All this really shows is Olympus back pedaling for cheaper (price wise) sensors, made in China cameras and lenses, yet charge a premium because the fanbase doesn’t care, as long as it says “Olympus” on it somewhere.

    What a joke. Are you looking at your E-M1 with hatred, now?

    • I find it more sad to see that someone who can make nice pics, does sound so negative in commenting in general.

      • MrALLCAPS

        Sorry, Ulli, but the bias here is unbearable.

        • Tom

          You may be a little slow, but you do realize that you are on a 43 website, right? Get the heck out if you don’t like it. You are certainly very much against 43/m43 so I don’t know why you bother.

    • C. C.

      Nope, I’m just looking at our forum bitch, MrALLCRAP,, who just can’t stay away from his m43 masters. Bend over again, Mr ALLCRAP.

      • Horst

        You’re the best example for a fanboy who doesn’t care. Hahahaha

        • Tom

          Horst = MrAllCAPS.

          zzzzz

    • Enzojz

      As a Chinese, I am angry with what you have said.

  • John

    Panasonic and Fuji are working on new sensor technology – very smart move – hopefully they will continue

  • safaridon

    Surprise indeed. I wonder why it has taken so long to bring this to light as this Chipworks photo of this Pany sensor was first published on Dec 13, 2013 and Pany being bombarded that its new sensor was inferior to that used in EM1?

    I guess this is not saying the GH4 Pany sensor is the same as that used in EM1 rather it is Pany producing the chip to Olys specification hence the inclusion of phase detection AF and absence of Pany video capabilities? At any rate it is great for m4/3 to see more cooperation between the two. I would say it is safe to say that this surplus manufacturing capacity probably due to Pany finally dropping their old 12 mp sensor and expect all future GF and G models to have the same sensor at least equal to that in the GX7 or GM1.

  • bousozoku

    Well, sure, the EM-1 (whatever that is) uses a Panasonic sensor but what sensor does the E-M1 use?

    • I think you meant what senzor em10 use …

      • bousozoku

        No, I wrote exactly what I meant.

        It worked much better when people were supposedly talking about the Olympus E-P2 camera body but they ended up talking about the EP-2 eye cup.

  • Oh yes – looking forward to the coming comments. :-)

  • No Surprise At All

    -Sony and Panasonic made sensors
    -Electronic view finders by Epson
    -Lenses designed by Sigma
    -Logo designed by Olympus

    Olympus stopped making anything themselves a long time ago. Now all they do is peel off and stick on the Olympus logo.

    • john

      Olympus not alone in that – Nikon 7100 and Nikon D800 have sensors for Sony –

      It is the same in the automobile world :) they by components from each others –
      like Renault and Nissan just change logos on some models etc –

      To me it is not a real issue as long as I know I am getting the best for my money –

      Leica for example is so small they can’t be developing new sensors year after year so they team up with an electronics company – Sony did not have a huge experience in lenses so they partnered with Zeiss and so does Samsung with Schneider etc etc

      • HF

        D7100 has a Toshiba sensor, as far as I know. D600/D610 and D800 are Sony sensors.

      • Ross

        You’ve only to look at all the Medium Format cameras scrambling to use the new Sony CMOS sensor like Phase One IQ250, as quoted “With its amazing ISO performance, ranging from 100 to 6400 the new IQ250 digital back opens a world of opportunities.” with it being 50mp.

    • bez podpisu

      As long Olympus logo (any logo) is attached to good quality product who cares? Maybe some day we will see Foveon inside!

    • Tom

      I don’t own any Olympus cameras, but don’t see an issue with that. Olympus is well known for their color rendition. If they can put the pieces together well enough, put on some firmware that makes it a quality product, fine.

      The iphone has had several samsung components, at least up until now. Most electronics get key pieces from 1 or 2 manufacturers. (Not many companies produce high quality sensors, lcd panels, cpu’s etc)

  • tripper

    That just shows how much sensor technology from Panasonic matured. It also explains worse dark current and heat dissipation on E-M1 than E-M5. But that still does not change the fact that E-M1 produces fine quality images.

    Which also means that we could expect a step up in IQ from GH3 to GH4 (which probably has even newer sensor minus the problematic on-sensor phase detection).

    I guess there’s still a bad rep for Panasonic from their first generation 4/3 sensors (which are abysmally bad compared to current generation).

    And don’t forget that Panasonic (together with Fuji) is one of the few companies that try to push sensor technology forward. Seems like they’re doing a good job.

    • HarrtMans

      “I guess there’s still a bad rep for Panasonic from their first generation 4/3 sensors (which are abysmally bad compared to current generation).”

      The only real weakness in the last gen Panasonic GH2/gh1 etc is DR regarding noise the difference is tiny.The fact is that since the GH1 came out 5 years ago high ISO is almost stagnant while the best APS models have moved forward in DR and high ISO. I am a little disappointed that image quality has not moved on , low ISO shadow noise is where I would like to see real advances

  • Uth

    so the PDAF+CDAF sensor is made by Panasonic huh.

    it means that they do research and manufacture this sensor without using it in their own camera. it sounds weird to me.

    anyway, let’s see what is coming next.

    • Not so weird. The if the sensor was designed by Olympus. Olympus would hold the rights and may or may not choose to license it to other manufacturers. Or it may be that Panasonic felt they had something comparable in their own “DFD (Depth-From-Defocus)” technology. Just because they are contracted to produce the sensor does not give them the right to use it in their cameras. It maybe also that the Olympus design, would not support Panasonic’s emphasis on video, especially 4K. After all, what we see in today’s chips incorporate design that may have been in the works for a couple of years or more.

      It will be interesting to see which technology works the best for continuous focus on both still and/or video. I’ll wait for the facts in a few months.

    • Rchard

      The E-M1 sensor is designed by Oly camera divison together with Oly medical division and the chip manufacturer.

    • AKA

      Pany was anti-PDAF but they can produce pdaf sensor so easy (on past L-1 4/3 format)
      i think they found any problem in pdaf on-chip that the new GH4 include new AF call DFD still base on CDAF.

  • safaridon

    I just looked up the sensor specs on the EM1 and GH4 and long behold they both say 17 mp with effective 16 mp! So this may in fact be a Pany design not a Sony one as assumed but Oly added the requirement to include phase detection AF to the chip? Looks like the same chip also is used on the new EM10 while the EM5 used a 16.9mp chip with 16.1mp effective. So Oly uses some of this memory for phase Af while Pany uses some for video?

  • J.R. Caballero

    People don’t get it! It is the Japan Camera Company Inc. with these companies. It is a national entity with different subdivisions. So Panasonic and Olympus sharing technology is not big news at all.

    • Eddy43

      Indeed. Some people compare Japanese businesses to US ones. I always see these silly stories from doom merchants in the press about Sony/Panasonic/Sharp going away because they are making losses – it’s not going to happen. I have no doubt that the Bank of Japan or subsidiary’s will ensure these companies will never have a problem getting money or issuing debt as long as they are seen to be doing things which are technologically productive.

      After all Panasonic/Olympus/Sony have been making losses for 5-10 straight years. However the Japanese are smart enough to realize that these companies have a very important national purpose – they ensure the the best technology stays in Japan where possible. Allowing companies with the advanced technical knowledge like Sony/ Panasonic/Sharp to just go out of business is just foolish in the long term. The Japanese government invests in tech companies like the US invests in it’s military.

  • David B

    That explains dxo results that are lower for em1 than em5 and other cameras with Sony sensor. Dxo traditionally teats Sony sensors better. The result of this post by admin will be far reach. You will see many people dump their em1 lowering the price of used em1. So good for us consumers.

    • tripper

      LOL, are you seriously suggesting that an owner of E-M1 will go: “OMG, OMG, the sensor is from panasonic, PA-NA-SO-NIC. OMG, what do I do, what do I do? Calm down, calm down… Yeah, I know. Sell, sell, right now, I’m gonna sell it this instant. OMG, how could I have been tricked so easily… it’s panasonic, panasonic, pana… [more muttering]”

      Come on, if the camera makes pretty pictures, does it matter who made the sensor?

      • Tom

        +1

      • Enzojz

        LOL! How stupid he is that someone do this!

    • A rather silly response. As a photographer, I am more interested in results then names. If I was fortunate to have an EM1, I would hardly sell it off just because of who makes the sensor. If it delivered the results, that is what matters, and from the images I’ve seen, in the hands of a good photographer it delivers. I don’t consider Panasonic and Olympus systems exclusive, but mutually beneficial and capable of working side by side. The camera is a tool, not a name. Every person has different preferences in the details of their tools. Outside of a few gearheads, who enjoy arguing over tiny details more then taking photos, the vast majority will use what they have at hand now. They will buy up only when it makes good photographic and economic sense.

  • mimstyle

    This is why em5 and em10 censor are better ….. (the same sony)

    • safaridon

      Wow, so you still do not believe Oly when they say the EM10 has the same sensor as the EM1 and do not believe the specs? Guess you will have to get rid of your EM10 if you just ordered it because it may have that terrible Pany sensor in it? Time to just go out and start taking pictures with these wonderful cameras.

      • dralum

        You’re wrong, they always said E-M10 sensor is the same as E-M5, not E-M1! ;-)

      • tripper

        Maybe it’s you who should have read the specs? Coz it’s all there, on Olympus website. Sensor in E-M1 is 16.8 Mpix / 16.3 effective, and both E-M5 and E-M10 are 17.2 Mpix / 16.1 effective. So it’s pretty obvious.

        And what’s with the “terrible Panasonic sensor” BS? Have you been living under the rock for the past 2 years or what? That “terrible Panasonic sensors” is no worse (and in some cases better) than Canon’s APS-C offerings and can produce professional looking photos (when used by someone who actually knows how to take photos).

  • really?
    Is “MN34230” the proof of Panasonic?
    in most cases, the make name (logo) is curved, e.g. Sony or Panasonic. Can anyone find it?

    I don’t feel that GX7 and E-M1 respond to the light similarly… is the different characteristics between phase detectors or not?

    • tripper

      There’s a lot more to final image than just the sensor. There’s a ton of circuitry that actually controls this sensor, not to mention the image processor that actually constructs the image from the signal it gets from the sensor.

      It’s not uncommon to get slightly different results from 2 different cameras with the same sensor (Pentax K-5 vs Nikon D7000 for example).

  • true homer

    Backpedal fantards! Baaaaackpedal! HahahHahA. The comments are too much, now all of the sudden the em5 sensor is “clearly better”. After MONTHS of posting comments about the em1 this and the em1 that. The em5 sensor still has banding in the shadows over iso 800. 20mm or not. Only a blind brainless fantard can say the em5 is better in any way.

    and I’m supposed to be the “troll” here…you say the truth about anything Oly here and you’re a troll..

    • MarcoSartoriPhoto

      You got it righr Homer! Anyway, I’d like to know who designed the sensor, and why it is only on Em1. As far as it performs, as we can read here, people laugh at it because of its poorer high ISOs performance, compared to Em5 sensor. To me, Em1 noise looks better, more grainy, but it’s a personal taste.
      And I don’t see all that difference (AA filter aside, sometimes) when using the two cameras together.
      Handling and overall shooting experience feel better on the last Em1.

      I think nowadays IQ has reached such a level that people should focus more into other aspects of photography rather wasting time on gearhead/nerd threads.

      • mooboy

        Totally agree. I never notice any real difference between the IQ of E-M5 versus E-M1.. but much prefer the E-M1 shooting experience. I have to laugh at all the Panasonic guys asking if I hate the E-M1 now… am I supposed to hate all my Panasonic lenses and my GH2 too?

  • robfi

    who cares who made it it works
    as for the comments about sigma designing lens they make good lens some of the best out there
    i hope they design and make more for MFT just wish they would do weather sealing
    i dont care who makes MFT gear as long as it works

  • Renato S.

    Is it the same as the GX7/GM1? And is that why the E-M1 is better than the other OM-D for video? Quite interesting.

    • Not the same. The EM1 has a sensor designed by Olympus but manufactured apparently by Panasonic. Panasonic makes many different sensors for themselves and for others, including those designed for their own cameras. The GX7 and GM1 sensors are closer to that of the GH4 in basic design then the EM1. The EM1 sensor has only a moderately improved video component. Olympus emphasis was on still quality. However, if the rumor mill is correct, they are re-examining this approach, but I wouldn’t expect anything too much very soon.

      • Renato S.

        I don’t really understand why Panasonic only modfied the GX7 sensor for the GH4 instead of building one exclusively for it. A multi-aspect one with 2:1 proper pixel for 4K, without the need for cropping. My guess, just like the GH3 didn’t have a Panasonic sensor and isntead they used the same E-M5 one from Sony is that Panasonic doesn’t have the necessary resources to do so.

        • Well it is a totally new sensor for the GH4 that incorporates the capabilities of the GX7, etc. I know there are a lot of people that would like another sensor that multi-aspect sensor like before, I would like that also, but there may be other design constraints that prohibited it at this time.

          I suspect, but don’t know, that Panasonic really wanted to get this out at this time, to get a jump on the competition with 4K video, and to upgrade some aspects of the GH3 (like the finder) that were lacking. Further development to make it “multi-aspect” may have delayed release, if it was even possible. There are many different constraints in design, and sometimes adding one feature will negate another. It wouldn’t surprise me to see another multi-aspect sensor one of these days as it is a common request. All design especially cameras, involves some compromises, somewhere. As technology improves, some of those compromises are no longer needed, but there always seems to be some give and take.

          • Renato S.

            It’s probably based on the GX7, if not, why would they keep the same pixel count when they should had made a proper 2:1 pixel for 4K? Had they done that, they wouldn’t need to make a 1.2x crop for 4K. I understand that given the heat dissipation issue and all, it might had not been possible to have a multi-aspect sensor but that still doesn’t explain the 4K problem, and it seems pretty clear that Panasonic doesn’t have nowhere near the same amount of resources as Sony, for that matter. I still think that if Panasonic had it, they could had done both multi-aspect AND proper 2:1 pixel count for 4K.

            But nonetheless, for the price, the GH4 is a heck of a camera. 1080p96fps, 200mbps All-I and 100mbps IPB, HDMI out 10-bit 4:2:2, etc. All that for about €1500? Despite some people complaining and we always wanting more, that’s more than anyone would expexct for this kind of camera, much more in fact.

            • I guess I am not quite understanding you. Then again I am quite tired and am on medicine that messes up my sleep so not sleeping well. The full default usable pixel range of the sensor is 4608 x 3456. GH4 Cinema 4K is 4096 x 2160. Now keep in mind this is designed as a hybrid stills and video camera, and from what information I have been able to find based on the GH3, at least half of all users shoot both. Panasonic had a choice. They could use the full sensor of 4608 x 3456 and then bin it down to 4096 x 2160 which would require more processing power and reduce quality or just use a crop of pixels for 4096 x 2160. (and yes that requires an additional focal length crop as you indicated).

              Now then, I imagine they could have altered the pixel count to of the 4/3 sensor so it would be a reduced megapixels of 4096 X 3072 and there would be no additional lens crop but that would then be a 12.56 megapixel for still photos. So they could build a camera dedicated to 4K and deemphasize still abilities or could maintain the current hybrid model and just used a direct pixel crop for 4K rather then use full sensor and bin the image down. Based on feedback from professionals they queried, the current design was deemed the best compromise. The biggest professional concern was lack of wide primes, wider then 12mm to compensate for the lens crop. The upside of the crop is that the 4k image uses the best center portion of the lenses where they are sharpest and reduces corner sharpness, CA, flare and vignetting issues. So pros and cons to all approaches.

              As a still photographer who dabbles some with video (and wanting to learn more), the current hybrid model is best for me. For a dedicated 4K photographer I can see where it might not be. As you said though, the price is right. Hope that all made sense. On high dose of prednisone for multiple days which really messes me up from fatigue and lack of sleep.

            • pewp ew

              dont spread misinformation, theres no crop in 4k 16:9, but you have the option to crop to match the cinema image ratio for indiemakers.

        • Eddy43

          I assume they only want to modify what’s necessary to carry the 4k stream and deal with the heat dissipation. A brand new sensor would take much longer to develop, fabricate and test making the final camera more expensive. I think Panasonic having been over a year late with the GX7 due to sensor manufacture issues did not want this on the GH4. They wanted to be first on the market with consumer 4K.

  • pauly

    Features 1080p/60fps, 4k2k/30fps

  • Tom

    The interesting thing about this is the rumour that Sony blocked focus peaking on the E-M5 and the rumour that it’s coming in a firmware update! Pressure from Panasonic’s chip fabs or the fact that Oly and Sony now have shared interests?

    • john

      That is why I like Panasonic and Olympus more than Sony even though own 4 Sony cameras – Sony loves to cripple features and charge an arm and a leg :)
      If Sony was fully in charge of Olympus they would have crippled the Touch LCD and the Touch to Shoot and Focus on the Stylus 1 for example :) – and it explains why Sony just does not believe in Firmware updates unless they absolutely have to –
      So hopefully Olympus will do well so Sony will not take them over –

  • pauly
  • Nelson

    Does that means E-M1’s sensor is capable of 4K and 1080P60?

    • No, it only means it is manufactured for Olympus under contract. It does not mean it is the same sensor used in any Panasonic cameras. The EM1 sensor was designed by Olympus and they hold the licensing rights. They contracted to Panasonic for the actual manufacture. That is all it means. Panasonic designs and manufactures sensors for their own equipment and for other companies, just like Sony and a few other companies. It generates profit and makes good business sense. They have the capacity to produce many different types or designs of sensors at once.

      • Eddy43

        I doubt this is the case now as it shows up as a “Product” on the Panasonic website so it’s distribution is not controlled by Olympus but by Panasonic.

    • Tom

      I’m not sure how tightly integrated ibis is, but that could be one indication that the sensor would be different, or possibly why it is exhibiting more noise than the sensor on the gh3 etc. Olympus may not be good enough at keeping the sensor temperature down for extended time exposures (and I suppose it can also show up in longer running videos).

  • Cupid Stunt

    Who gives a f*ck…

    • pauly

      Yes we should just get over it.

      Cheers

  • Its not as if the camera stop working overnight.

    …then again, PL25 was a very fine lens with no major complaints, up until the PL25 appeared in the wild. All of the sudden, it has constant huge rattle snake sound, its soft, too big, too slow to focus, made up of cheap plastic, it is way over priced and you pay huge premium for the Leica branding.

    I now expect new issues…

  • pauly

    Second source for your silicon is common and a sound business practice. Amongst other advantages, It allows the designers to play a game of leapfrog with design & development lead-time, farming out to alternate foundries with each generation.

    As long as a foundry has the required feature size and layers to make the circuits clear of the pixel area, the pixel active area (which dominates the noise budget) will give the required sensitivity irrespective of foundry source, silicon is just silicon after all.

  • Charles

    Interesting – most interesting is how similar (if not undistinguishable) the output of the sony sensor in the oly em5 and pana sensor in the oly em1 look. there are slight differences though and I tend to like the em5 sony sensor more – but it´s not by any significant margin.

  • pauly

    The image sensor can it seems read-out 4K and 1080p/60. The question is did Olympus put an analog front-end and back-end processor that is capable of supporting these features, and is it supported in the firmware…

    Today it is clear these features are not a part of the OM-D E-M1 product.

    • Steve

      Olympus has said that their next major sensor upgrade will support 4k video. I suspect Olympus will continue to use Panasonic sensors. The faster read-out of Panasonic sensors allow support for enhanced video and faster on-sensor PDAF.

      • jim

        I missed that bit of news… olympus said 4k next? I’de be happy with good HD first!

        • I missed that also, and would like to see a source cited. All I read was that Oly will look into improving video in future models without being specific.

          • rrr_hhh

            I remember that when the E-M1 was launched Olympus said that their next effort would address video performance, but I didn’t hear that they would offer 4K video.
            Let them start at the first most important things like adding 25/24 video before, like increasing bits rate etc.

  • Eddy43

    I assume the “Sony” sensor was an Olympus design which was fabricated using a Sony foundry. The latest generation in Em5/Gx7 shows there is little difference in performance.

    This is good news for m43 because Sony is a competitor and having a third party and direct rival manufacturing the best sensors is not a good place to be for Olympus or Panasonic.

    Also good news is that Panasonic have the capability for on sensor phase detect and this will improve with time. When the 2nd/current generation of electronic viewfinders became better than optical all DSLR cult users had to cry about was “You don’t have phase detect auto-focus” – Seems like this is on it’s way now to m43. Finally it’s interesting that Panasonic had this on sensor phase detect in house but seemingly did not have time to put it into the GX7.

  • Neo

    This is good news for panasonic. Personally I wouldn’t care if it is Sony sensor or Panasonic, as long as the end results are good. But while the OM-D EM1 is a fine camera it is ridiculously over priced. The news that this one camera model alone is reversing the massive losses of olympus indicates the huge profit margin on OM-D EM1.

    • Horst

      Tell that the Olympus fanboys. Haha Olympus has done a great job ripping all of them of. I thought Apple is master of creating hype and overpricing their products but this time the crown goes to Olympus. They will never see one dollar again from me as long as I live.

  • MrALLCAPS

    I like men

  • This is the end

    of my time with Olympus!
    Finally selling my my E-M1 now. I just bought it for the superior sony sensor giving usable results in the E-M5 but now I know where all this long exposure noise comes from… Panasonic needs a long time to come even close to the high fidelity Sony can deliver.

  • Des

    LOL I ain’t surprised too. Pana has been keeping best sensor technology to themselves and giving worse sensors to Olympus before E-M5 come out. So Olympus decided to build a partnership with Sony and there was a period the E-M5 sensor put Pana sensor to shame.

    Competition works out greatly for Olympus. Now Panasonic has to crawl back in modest manner and offer the best sensor to Olympus :)

    • Martin

      How do you know that Panasonic was keeping its best sensor technology for themselves? The sources available to us consumers simply do not provide any justification for this claim. Could just as well have been that Oly at the times didn’t have the capacities for rapidly redesigning the emedding circuitry to accomodate the Pana’s new sensors. Remember that Oly had a crisis at the time?

  • Rob

    This bodes well for the future of m43.

  • PanasonicOutdatedCrap

    Thanks for exposing this terrible lie! My E-M1 is still within return window and it is going back to Olympus next Monday. There is no way in hell I would pay 1400 for crappy Panasonic sensor no matter how good the IQ is. We the consumers have to teach Olympus a lesson and make sure it will NEVER use Panasonic sensor again.

    • fl00d

      What does it matter what sensor/camera you have when your pictures suck balls anyway?

  • These last anti-Panasonic comments are HILARIOUS!!!

    And I’M the fanboy/troll?

    HAHAHAHA!!

    -WOW!

    • MsAllCrap

      No kid, you are just one of many not-so-fortunate children here.

  • jazzcrab

    I don’t understand this discussion. The fact that the E-M1 uses a Panasonic sensor doesn’t make it a worse or better camera than before.

    • Just think about the placebo effect. :D

  • Excellent. Let’s hope Panasonic puts OSPDAF in some of its sub 1000 dollar models.

  • aa

    good thing the money stay within the m43 family :)
    all sensors are fine, all cameras are good, I still own gx1 and its fine.
    spend your money on a long vacation. you will get better photos !! and avoid cats ;P

  • PLI

    Haha, this is the most sensitive news admin ever wrote :))

    After reading the comments, I would like to see the statistics of how many EM-1 owners will sell the camera just because of this news, even though they loved it a day before :D

    Glad to see Olympus and Panasonic together.

  • pewp ew

    I never post here neither I have a 4/3 although I´m kinda a fan of pana cameras for video, but I must say its pretty funny reading the pana vs olympus fanboys.

  • FlemmingS

    I own both the EM-1 and the EPM2and I love bth.
    The EPM2 probably offers best value for Money, incredible IQ in a small package when used with fast primes and a nearly perfect travel and walk around camera.
    The EM-1 on the other hand offer a completely different shooting experience, espeically when sed with the grip and HG or SHG 43 lenses.
    I find AC tracking satisfactory (in dayulight) and the camera is suich a joy to handle.
    These 2 cameraes are both great and doesn’t compete, as they compliment each other.
    As for fanboyim:
    I have Oly gear but would gladly have bought the Panny GM1 if I didn’t already have the EPM2.
    And if I ever get into video I would surely not hesistate to buy a Panasonic M42.
    Fuld Frame might be interesting for studio use, and hopefully Olympus or Fuji will offer FF in near futur.
    They are simply the most innovative Companies in business today and both offer great lenses.

  • BdV

    If this is true I’d be interested to see how the next panasensor will perform.

  • Per K

    It is great that Sony is not the only sensor manufacturer to build quality sensors. ( = competition).
    I always thought the EM-1 primarily was a better photo making machine with, more or less, similar IQ as EM-5.
    Very amusing, but not impressing, to read some of comments above…….

  • I respect dxo, but how they can give e-pm2 and nikon d5000 the same score of 72 is beyond me. The nef files from the d5000 is soooo much better at everything. Strange and sad as I based my purchase on their scoring system. Will never do that mistake again.

  • Peter

    118 comments on news of no importance at all… is anyone taking pictures here? Come on… and go shooting instead of dxoing ;-)

  • A picture of a turd with zero noise, razor like sharpness and super duper bokeh… is still just a picture of a turd.

    most of the guy who keep on going “brand x is better than brand y” in this forum are just turd picture taking gearheads with no skils whatsoever.

    • john

      Maybe, but they can spell Skills

  • Beautemps

    Until now Sony did not present a good PDAF on sensor solution! That’s why it is not a Sony sensor. And Panasonic was able to build it. This way it becomes a shoe.

    But where are the results of a Sony-Olympus cooperation? Wait for next OMD…

  • Damn. This means that all my prints from the E-M1 will curl up and the colour will fall off.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Some bright spark will say what has the print got to do with it. So I say who cares what sensor, it works for me.

  • dau

    The bottom line is that oly decided to use this sensor on their top of the line camera aimed at the prifessional/enthusiast market, whilst choosing to keep the sony srnsor on the cheaper em10. Obviously oly felt the panny sensor is superior.
    As an em1 and g3 owner, i really dont care who makes my camera or its parts, just that the overall package fulfills my needs!

  • anymouse

    I am curious as to why it says 4K2K/30fps as a feature of this sensor. Could this mean the E-M1 successor will have 4K too.

    http://industrial.panasonic.com/www-cgi/jvcr13pz.cgi?E+SC+4+CGA7001+MN34230+8+SA

  • Paul

    Like a friend of mine said: “Good job Panasonic!”. More than 100 people commented on this wonderfull news. How many persons are more interested about real photography, and how many about the tehnical details of the cameras, hmmm…I think we have a lot of engineers here, and just a few photographers. :)

    • Chez Wimpy

      Since sensor performance has repercussions on “real photography”…

  • jimbo

    This is interesting news. Olympus hasn’t abandoned their m43 partner. It’s good news actually. They are not confined to Sony sensors. Maybe there’s a chance Olympus will get the exciting Panasonic/Fuji organic sensor into their cameras next year.

  • mooboy

    I think this is good news. One thing I have really wanted to see brought back is the multi-aspect sensor a la GH2. It would be great to see the multi-aspects back (though, I would prefer an oversized square one instead).

    And good to know the Pana and Olympus are still working together to keep m43 going forward :)

  • Frank

    So what the hell is Olympus gaining from Sony partnership? It’s only a matter of time before 5 axis IBIS makes it into the 2nd gen A7/R for a truly formidable stills and video FF mirrorless. The only thing I like about Sony is a. they can make a damn good sensor if they want to and b. their video capabilities. So why is Oly not taking advantage of either?

    • stu5

      The A7’s though has very poor video. More noise than the E-M1 produces on video.

  • Enzojz

    This news explains well why GX7 have on sensor IS system. They made a deal.

  • Laughing

    If I had more free time (and really cared), I’d go back and find all the people who were talking about how great the sensor in the EM1 is, and are now trashing it just because it’s from Panasonic.

    You Oly F-B’s are just too pathetic to even bother laughing at.

    • mooboy

      Can you name one person who first praised it, then trashed it after finding out it was Panasonic?

  • Linus

    Interesting. Obviously some people posted here believe they are more knowledgeable about image sensors then those engineers in Olympus.

    I tend to believe when Olympus build their best cameras, they know which components are the most suitable.

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