Tell Olympus and Panasonic what they should do next!

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The reaction on the new Olympus camera announcement has been quite mixed. Not few people are unhappy with the E-P2 improvements. On the other side people are happy to have seen Olympus fixing some of the E-P1 limits. But what surprised me more is that Olympus failed to announce prime lenses which many of us do need! I am no marketing expert but I strongly believe that there is a lot of money you can make here!
Anyway, competition is coming and next year MicroFourThirds will have to fight hard against big brands like Canon, Sony and Nikon.

UPDATE: We will close the poll tomorrow.

You have a maximum of three votes!

The question is:

If the image quality is on top will you buy that lens?

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  • fuujin

    For me, the most interesting thing of these new cameras is video.

    The GH1 is almost what I need; it just needs a strong codec for video and not that weak and muddy codec. Live output while recording is also needed.

    I know that asking for a decent resizing algorithm is too much, but since asking is free… :)

    Olympus should have released a GH1 killer camera, and not another rival for the GF1.

    So;
    – Strong video codec.
    – Full manual in video mode.
    – 24fps, 25fps, and 30fps (at least)
    – 50fps and 60fps (would be nice)
    – Live output while recording.

  • bri

    I’m interested in high ISO performance (I seem to take lots of photos under dim, ambient light) and small, fast primes for the m4/3 format (what good’s a small body if the lens is just going to stick out like a sore thumb?).

    (Not that I’m in the market any time soon for a new camera or lenses, but when I am, those are the sorts of things that will attract me.)

  • P

    I’m just going to lay it out with some DSLR rankings (Sony isn’t in this list because I don’t know much about Sony and Panasonic isn’t in this list because it’s a rip-off, also, this is my own assessment and you may assess differently):

    Market share: Nikon & Canon (tie), the rest
    Lens optical quality: Olympus, Nikon, Canon, Pentax
    Sensor high ISO: Nikon, Canon, Pentax & Olympus (tie)
    Sensor resolution: Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus
    Sensor dynamic range: Nikon, Canon, Olympus & Pentax (tie)
    Value pricing: Pentax, Olympus, Canon, Nikon
    Lens selection: Canon, Nikon, Olympus (zooms) & Pentax (primes)
    Overall build quality: Olympus, Canon, Nikon (I don’t know where Pentax goes here)
    Continuous shooting: Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, Canon (docked points due to poor showing of their overall best camera, the 5Dm2, in continuous shooting)

    Being a stickler for telecentricity in lenses, and having the luxury of having to cast a smaller image circle than competitors, it should come as no surprise that Olympus is way ahead in the lens department with each lens in the Zuiko Digital line-up being very-good-to-unbelievable.

    Olympus will always be a bit behind in sensors due to relative sensor size, but they don’t need to be this far behind.

    Conclusion: Olympus needs to provide (1) better cameras and (2) prime lenses.

    Hey! Olympus! Better cameras!

  • http://www.earthrisephotography.com earthrise

    For me:

    a m43 inter-changeable lens camcorder. Video in dSLRs is a bit of a kludge.

    a weather-sealed fast fps wildlife/sports camera. Would be great with the to be released 100-300mm lens.

    faster lenses! IS isn’t always appropriate!

  • Andrew

    I second that Olympus should have made a GH1 equivalent, my only issues with the GH1 are also the codec and lack of CF card support. So if that camera was made, a micro 7D maybe, I’d really look into it.

  • Kristofer

    1)
    The E-P3 has to have a higher resolution sisplay and a AF assist lamp. This should have been already implemented in E-P1 and 2.
    2)
    Prime lenses! Faster prime lenses. The digital PEN is made for prime lenses. 17/1,8, 25/1,8 and 45/2,0.

  • Duarte Bruno

    I second FUUJIN and ANDREW.
    We need a EVIL camera that kills the enthusiast video-camera market (4000$).
    The GH1 could be that camera should it have a good codec and some extra features like FOCUS PEAKING.
    It has already has the most important attributes: good EVF and TILT LCD.

  • Jason

    Prime lenses, of course. But more importantly where is the new high-end DSLR with HD video? Is Olympus cutting back their regular fourthirds efforts?

  • Hugo

    It´s simple.

    Pepople want Leica kind of camera. Pepople don´t have 10.000 € for Leica equipment.

    People want a Leica “clone”. Fast and good primes, small camera and viewfinder…

    It´s silly to buy a EP2 or a GF1 with EVF if you can buy a cheaper G1 witch is smaller than those cameras and with better integration EVF-camera.

    If you compare a Oly 450+zoom or a Nikon d40+zoom is more o less the same size… (realy a bit biger but in practise are the same). And those have normal viewfinder and are very cheap.

    m43 must do something that not exist.

    I can see a veru easy way to increase sells

    1) Good compact camera with big sensor (m43 is good)

    2) Leica “cheap” clone

  • iMikl

    I’m just referring to the look.
    I find the VF-2 EVF way too bulky! What I would like to see is a shrinked Lumix LC1 with in body EVF.

    Better Hi-ISO capability.
    Fast m43 primes (Does somebody hear us?…. SIGMA maybe?)

  • Tom

    It seems like a huge marketing blunder on the part of Olympus. You can’t update the flaws in a product that was released only a few months earlier, but do it in the form of a new platform. It alienates the people who purchased the E-P1. If you are going to release such a product, it has to have premium features that differentiates it from the predecessor and makes it clearly distinct. In this case, a sensor that competes with the DSLR shooters, such as the 7D and 5DmkII and video suitable for independent filmmakers. Micro 4/3 was supposed to mean cheaper or higher value systems due to the optimization of the non-reflex design, but it doesn’t have to mean cheap. There is obviously a demand for a premium product. A higher performance sensor is a technology / production issue and you can’t force the timetable on such a device. It is either ready or not and obviously it is not ready now. Video capabilities is a design management issue and Olympus has chosen not to address this market space. You can’t blame them for not paying attention to every type of buyer, but the E-P2 is obviously to be passed up for filmmakers and will not be purchased due to its video capabilities. Olympus, perhaps prudently, perhaps not, decided not to go the high end route with the E-P2 in these economic times. The counter then, is that perhaps they should have held off on the E-P2 release altogether.

    E-P3 (the mantra here is that middle of the road solutions make no one happy, stick with mass market popular price/feature target or go high end and give what enthusiasts want… E-P1 cheap and popular, E-P2 not cheap, not popular, dud, E-P3 premium performance for premium dollars)
    1) SENSOR: performance on par with current DSLR sensors or better, accounting for their difference in physical sizes of course.
    2) EVF: flexible EVF might seem to make sense, but come on, it has to be built into the body. People that need flexible monitoring options will hook up an external monitor via live view capable video output.
    3) FLASH: I’m going to go with external here. As long as the hotshoe isn’t being hogged by an EVF or absolutely ridiculous mic input module, most people should be pretty happy with having a better external flash unit.
    4) VIDEO: don’t do it at all unless you want to do it right. 1080p @ 23.976, 25, 29.97, optional 47.952 and 59.94 all at non drop frame, I don’t think drop frame support is necessary here. If you do decide to use AVCHD, use the maximum data rate and not the lite / basic profile. I’d applaud Olympus for using a non-AVCHD “data hog” rate as long as the visual results were good too. Built in stereo microphone with line level option @ 24bit, 48KHz. My personal selfish demands for AV connectivity… mini HDMI for live view monitoring, Lemo-5 for timecode I/O, and TA5 for balanced stereo line level input (no mic input is necessary).

    Olympus, if you fix the firmware on the E-P2 (or E-P1) to support 1080/24p video, I’ll buy two now and also buy the above E-P3 when it is released.

  • Duarte Bruno

    Very important too: a firmware update to improve AF is needed for both E-P1 and E-P2. The current algorithm is ridiculously running in circles around the focus point. When are they going to fix it?

  • http://mattshumate.com matt

    A pro level E-3 follow up with better low light capabilities (a pristine ISO 3200 and a useable 6400) is all I ask for. And it’s the only thing that will keep me with Oly when it’s time to upgrade my gear.

  • Kjelle

    I have been an amateur photog since the late 70ies. The mid market cameras from that period (Pentax Me Super, Canon AE1, Olympus OM2, etc, etc) were all MUCH better photographic tools than the DSLRs of today. They had large and bright finders which made framing and focusing easy in extremly compact bodies. The small DSLRs today have way to crappy finders to be of interest to me. The DSLRs with good finders are on the other hand ridiculously heavy and clumsy.

    The same goes for lenses. In the seventies the best producers competed by delivering their best optics in as compact housing as possible. Since then the design departments seem to have gone mad. Only the worst lenses are delivered in compact sizes. Anything meant for serious use is super heavy and super large.

    I am lugging a Canon EOS body around and have plenty of heavy L-lenses. As soon as anyone offers a lightweight alternative, I will drop the EOS system in a hartbeat.

    My advice to Olympus (and any producer that wants to stay around):
    Build SMALL cameras with GOOD finders using SMALL lenses of GOOD optical quality.

  • charly

    Semi-Pro New Four Thirds camera:
    – 8 MP sensor (larger pixel);
    – 5 fps;
    – Thin AA-filter;
    – No Live View;
    – Big, bright viewfinder with 100% view;

    Lenstip.com:
    “I don’t envy Olympus reflex cameras owners. The company, introducing an original Four Thirds format and deciding to use small sensors, should stay original to the very end and didn’t enter the megapixels race because it results only in image noise and small tonal range. The Four Thirds system lenses, though, are something I do envy its users and handling such devices as the ZD 12-60 SWD irrefutably contributes to this feeling.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

  • Alfons

    I’m still using om-2 as my carry-around-camera. Why? It’s light and compact and has quality optic available. Viewfinder is great with freshnell update.
    It is simple camera. In no way stupid or underestimating photographer like new bodies. It’s simple in professional way.
    I can’t say how to make such a legend today, but I’d like to use a digital body as legendary.

  • http://nccu.edu.tw/g7254007/ elf0724

    I wish Olympus could release E-3 successor which is loaded on new 3CCD or CMOS as soon as possible. Also, the new pro level camera should better be smaller than E-3. ^_^

  • Dick

    Olympus should do a digital version of their famous XA rangefinder camera for real light traveling. Including the famous 2.8/35mm lens (full frame!), the famous red feather shutter release button, the sliding dust cover. No AF (just the good old manual rangefinder), no art filters or that stupid crap. Install a little but powerful flash where the film chamber/rewind knob is on the original XA. Use two AA (Mignon) cells for power, since it’s a camera for traveling. Integrate a hi-res 2″ or 2.5″ non reflective LCD with saphire glass (so it won’t get scratched). Use a weak or even no AA filter like Leica did on some models. Concentrate on a great dynamic range. More than 10MP resolution is really not necessary. Think about an easy user interface.
    Seal the camera completely against dust and moisture if it is cover is closed, so no one needs to carry an extra-bag. Keep the price below $500.
    THAT would be something. I pre-order three of them.

  • Erik from Sweden

    The compact bodies have to get the weight down at least a bit below 400g with pancake to be comfortable in a coat pocket. (More plastic but don’t remove features, please.)
    The EVF should be built-in to the top left corner. (No need for built-in flash and the LCD can shrink.)
    The firmware needs live, raw-based highlight clipping indication; a very configurable auto-ISO; a blurred-shot warning (if nothing has high contrast); a best-shot selector like Nikon Coolpixes; a way to load user-defined colour profiles to the JPEG engine.
    The Panasonic raws need to stop clipping at the black end, to eliminate banding by subtracting a reference of blind pixels, and to be unaffected by NR settings for the JPEG.

    A hotshoe-mounted, very small flash should be made that’s powered by the camera battery and controlled via the camera user interface.

  • http://www.harold-glit.com Harold Glit

    My question is a simple one :

    How do they expect us to buy a $1,100 camera that prides on a small size without offering ANY olympus serious and high quality single focal length ( and no the 17mm does not meet that standard)
    You want us to buy a camera within the next 3 monthes and ask us to wait for at least A YEAR AND A HALF to get a single wide angle lens ( like a 12mm or a 14mm ) that EVERY camera MOUNT HAS EXCEPT OLYMPUS
    simply ridiculous
    Harold

  • John

    I have been saying this and will repeat again.

    Do not abandon the E4x0 range. They are roughly the same size as the G1/GH1. http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/DMCG1/ZG1vsE420L.jpg

    What Oly should do is to add video and IS into the next E4x0. I am sure, if they move to SD card from compact flash, they can reduce the size a little more.

    The m4/3 is an interesting concept but you lose some quality when compared to 4/3. Here is why I think the E4x0 has advantages:

    – The CDAF is always slower than Phase Detect
    – EVF is always more expensive than OVF and the added bulge would make the m4/3 roughly the same size as the E4x0.
    – OVF is always better than EVF
    – The 4/3 zuiko lenses are almost always better quality than the M.zuiko ones.
    – Built in Flash of GN12 that even the G1/GH1 cannot match

    So, my message to Oly is, continue doing whatever you want with the m4/3 but the E4x0 has some unrealized potential that can be unleashed. Some suggestion includes.

    – Put the 12mpx sensor into the E4x0
    – Include in body IS
    – Reduce size by switching to SD Card and/or circuit miniaturization. The mount portion cannot be reduce but the rest can.
    – Improve the design of E4x0 to include multiple color, etc
    – Include HD video capability
    – Improve CDAF speed to make it closer to E-P2 (for video purposes)
    – Create a way (Mirror Lockup, etc) to allow m4/3 lenses to be mounted on 4/3. This will allow a smaller camera+lens profile to be created. This is not that important though.

    In summary, imagine the G1 except it is a 4/3 camera with in body IS and OVF instead of EVF and lighting fast AF using Phase Detect…. Maybe the video capabilities are not as good but at half the price of the G1/Gh1, I would buy it in a sec.

  • Mike

    John says:
    November 5, 2009 at 11:03 pm
    – Create a way (Mirror Lockup, etc) to allow m4/3 lenses to be mounted on 4/3. This will allow a smaller camera+lens profile to be created. This is not that important though.

    This is technically impossible because of different flange back. So mFT lens can not be mounted on FT camera however FT lens can be mounted on mFT camera (smaller mFT flange back can be enlarge to bigger FT ones). I really like your idea with E-4×0 series, John. It’s not expensive and pretty compact and more reliable than pricey mFT cameras. I’m still waiting for more fast single focal lenses from Olympus (12mm f2.0, 17,5mm f2.0 or better, 25mm f2.0 or better no pancake versions because of best IQ possible, but compact Digital Zuiko, Standard grade class is good for its price). Weather sealed body (not necessary if significantly increase the price), viewfinder size/brightness equal to best APS-C sized budget cameras and silent shutter sound in E-4×0 series will be good addition. Keep it well priced, strongest E-4×0 series point is price, compactness and performance from higher-middle grade camera’s market. The FT is not dead but it is going to start dying if Olympus will nothing to do with it in a short time.

  • OM

    + 1000000 to Kjelle, charly.

    Olympus can’t fight Canon and Nikon in high-megapixel pro-field. But they can bring nice, fast, robust camera for PJs and amateurs. That would be FT camera, not mFT ( if only they’re not planing to kill FT silently).
    They must rely on their strengths: color, compactness and build quality and fight noise, low DD.

    My version of “back-to-roots” FT camera:
    – 8-10 million effective pixels;
    – Thin AA-filter;
    – Magnesium alloy body;
    – Body IS;
    – Big, bright optical pentaprism viewfinder with 100% frame coverage;
    – Quick Phase Detection AF;
    – 3-5 fps;
    – No Live View;
    – No video;

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/realityscans/ Reality Scanner

    the suggestion “…develop a second MicroFourThirds line with fullframe sensor ( Make a cheap Leica M9!)” is rubbish .
    4/3 can’t be full frame, then it wouldn’t be 4/3 anymore! and a full frame camera can never be as small as m4/3 – that’s why m4/3 was invented.
    Think first, dreamers.

  • Mike

    Kjelle says:
    November 5, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I have been an amateur photog since the late 70ies. The mid market cameras from that period (Pentax Me Super, Canon AE1, Olympus OM2, etc, etc) were all MUCH better photographic tools than the DSLRs of today. They had large and bright finders which made framing and focusing easy in extremly compact bodies. The small DSLRs today have way to crappy finders to be of interest to me. The DSLRs with good finders are on the other hand ridiculously heavy and clumsy.

    The same goes for lenses. In the seventies the best producers competed by delivering their best optics in as compact housing as possible. Since then the design departments seem to have gone mad. Only the worst lenses are delivered in compact sizes. Anything meant for serious use is super heavy and super large.
    Yes, totally agree with you, Kjelle. It’s funny (and sad) but 70’s SLR film camera are better tool than nowadays digital SLR. Just look at the OM series they were really compact with huge viewfinders. In the other hand: look at the original PEN and digital PEN, I think it’s obvious which one is the winner. Lenses was small and bright, no zooms, no AF, true jewels in its design. And all was in 70s clear, one look at the (for example OM-2) camera and you knew instantly its settings (ISO, f-number from aperture ring, shutter speed, exposure compensation for A, S modes). Nowadays manufacturers argue that digital sensors is not flexible like film, so lenses cannot be so small and fast like in film applications and digital sensor has to be small as possible. I thought that is true until M9 was developed. 135mm format digital camera with ability to fully support of any old film Leica lenses with no loss in image quality.
    So my message to Olympus or any camera manufacturer with history of making famous photographic tools is: look what you made in film cameras history (OM series etc.) and make it better or at last equal in digital way. No retro style looking only, but usability/simplicity like was in gold 70s film era. Develop digital sensor with film advantages (for example, high dynamic range like B&W negatives, flexibility for using film lenses, 35mm format)… If this not possible nowadays, Olympus, better reintroduce original OM film series. Why it is so difficult to make this kind of cameras in digital era? Many photographers want to shoot with M9 not because of red dot (unlike Leica fans) but this digital camera is like perfect tool you remember when you were shooting with film (in good way). Leica is the proof that film-like camera can be made in digital form (although overpriced for many amateurs and professionals alike).

  • Mike

    Reality Scanner says:
    November 6, 2009 at 4:45 am

    the suggestion “…develop a second MicroFourThirds line with fullframe sensor ( Make a cheap Leica M9!)” is rubbish.
    Yes, mFT will not be fullframe camera, that would be another system and it is just a dream that Olympus goes this way in near future. (FT1 rating) 😉

  • Marcus Sundman

    1) The option “swivel lcd for every camera” is worded badly. Obviously one of the main benefits of full-digital (i.e., mirrorless) cameras is that they have good support for swivel/tilt displays. However, that doesn’t mean every single model should have one. (I can only assume that those who voted on “swivel lcd for every camera” thought of it more like “swivel lcd on most models”, and that those that didn’t vote for it simply thought it would be bad to have swivel LCDs on *every* model.)

    2) I can’t believe there’s no option like “Faster lenses!” Almost all the released zoom lenses are less than f/4 throughout most of their respective ranges. That’s very bad, especially considering the sensors are quite small, which makes it even more difficult to get a shallow DoF. Small sensors also enable larger apertures without sacrificing as much DoF. Also, with these mini-aperture zoom lenses the IS is “wasted” on counteracting the small aperture instead of being able to use lower iso-numbers, and low iso-numbers are obviously important with smaller sensors.

    3) I’m also surprised there’s no option like “Better low-light handling.”, considering how much criticism μ-4/3 cameras keep getting for how much their operation is degraded indoors and in other low-light situations. How about something semi-innovative, such as a tight-beamed infrared “modeling-light” that attaches to the hotshoe (with hotshoe passthrough for a normal flash, of course)?

  • http://www.radiantlite.com Enche

    Leica is not a threat for Olympus because of the differences in philosophy and price point. But Panasonic is. So Oly should

    1. improve AF & overall performance
    2. Release professional quality m43
    3. more quality low light prime lens (f/2.8 is too slow for prime lens)

  • Anwar

    Hey Olympus: Improve AF sensitivity, target selection, and focus speed, especially in low-light. In other words, we want Panasonic level AF performance.

    Hey Panasonic: Add in-body IS to your cameras. Half of your lenses don’t offer OIS, and a lot of MF or legacy lenses don’t have it either.

  • Gonzi

    All I want is an internal Flash on the E-P2!!!!!!!!

  • Borbarad

    Simple:

    1) Release the E5 (which needs to be a direct competitor of the Canon 7D)
    2) Top High-End m4/3 Model (fast autofocus, wheatersealed and well made body, and all the best features you can add) which feels, handles and looks like a Leica M
    3) New Lenses. Especially fast Primes with F1,x

    B

  • Rik

    They need to better support HDR photography:

    extend bracketing from 2/3 stop to at least +/- 2 stops and the range to at least +/- 3 stops but better 5 stops
    make it possible to use the self-timer while shooting bracketed shots by making the timer accessible from the quick menu or the function button
    include an HDR – dynamic range scene mode

    If possible allow shutter noise to be quieter
    Offer a fast wide angle lens equivalent to about 28mm, ie 14mm in m4/3

    Some of the original poll suggestions are fairly dim, but the overall idea of feedback to Panasonic is appreciated. When are they releasing a firmware update? They seem to have really messed up with the limited bracketing range and self timer on the drive wheel problems.

  • hornet

    What needs to be addressed is the distribution of these cameras. Why are Panasonic and Olympus driving so much of their business to Amazon and ignoring the CAMERA stores that helped build their digital brands over the last 10 years? Do they just want people ordering online sight unseen? Do they not want to compete against Canon, Nikon, and Sony who are still dominant in retail? I just don’t get the reliance on Amazon to be the dominant distributor for their m4/3 if they are really trying to build this category. Frustrating!

  • http://www.scottgtrenorden.com.au Scott

    “…make a m4/3 camera with monochrome sensor” – What an interesting prospect.

    For me, the ISO quality/noise is the biggest issue.
    The GF1’s EVF is pretty crap quality but all I wanted it for was to frame and it does that perfectly. That could improve but isn’t essential in my opinion.
    Noise and higher ISO quality, however, is pretty bad from my experience.

    A GF1 that could do 6400 ISO and have it pretty clean looking would be awesome!

  • achiinto

    Show use some dedication to the original Four Thirds system.

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