(FT2) Two rumors from new sources


REMINDER: The rumors we do here are from new and anonymous sources. Those are not from our trusted sources. We post them because many people is sending us very similar rumors and maybe there is some kind of truth behind them!

The bright new future of Olympus
Im afraid this might come as a shock to some of you , but olympus is indeed going to stop developing new four third lensesfour third lensesfour third lensesfour third lensesfour third lensesfour third lensesfour third lensesfour third lensesfour third lensesfour third lensesfour third lenses. The time has come for olympus to move in a bold new direction with its cameras and you might find out it actually for the best. Im sure you are thinking there could be no other move to cripple the olympus fanbase any futher.
You are wrong….
Because even though olympus is working on a new sensor format with newer , sharper , brighter lenses that wouldnt be possible with lessons learned with 4/3’s….
your old 4/3 lenses are going to STILL be sticking around for a long time
Because now… you can switch out the full lense mount with the sensor. Which means that you can still use your old 4/3 lenses on BRAND NEW CAMERAS that will also be able to take the BRAND NEW SENSORS AND LENSES (if you choose to upgrade that is)!
(this is also good news for micro4/3 lovers aswell)

A little while ago I was able to be in a meeting with the local Olympus rep. He would want us to have the 4/3 line and full Olympus gear back in our store. The manager told him that we will not carry it unless they have things coming out that will be “a game changer” because they have never sold well with us. The Olympus rep said he couldn’t give away everything, but that for the 4/3 system (NOT THE MICRO!) there will be a new line of the HG or “High Grade” lenses that will be pancake primes, similar to the special edition lenses that Pentaxspecial edition lenses that Pentaxspecial edition lenses that Pentaxspecial edition lenses that Pentaxspecial edition lenses that Pentaxspecial edition lenses that Pentaxspecial edition lenses that Pentaxspecial edition lenses that Pentaxspecial edition lenses that Pentaxspecial edition lenses that Pentaxspecial edition lenses that Pentax has become so famous for. The most exciting thing is that they will be, in spite of being “4/3” labeled, able to cover a larger image circle – he was not sure whether it would be full 35mm or maybe even larger – but still be a compact pancake design. When we asked him if this meant that Olympus would in the future increase the size of the sensors, he shrugged and said he couldn’t say about that but could only tell us about the lenses because prototypes are already starting to circulate within the company and they could be announced by the end of the summer, of if not maybe the end of the year.

Keep sharing your rumors with us: 43rumors@gmail.com (of course we will not mention the sources)

  • Well this is crap

    This is the first time I’ve been nervous about 4/3 future. I’m not buying anything else until these “rumours” are proven or disproven. Olympus can KMA if they do what you’ve said they’re going to do. I want and need a replacement for my E-3, not some interchangeable lens/sensor mount. The only reason for the interchange is backwards compatability, and that’s not going to make a lot of people very happy. This is just getting lamer by the day.

  • KL

    So basically rumor 1 says no new 43 lens from now on.
    Rumor 2 says new 43 pancake prime lens coming soon.
    So someone’s got to be completely wrong.

    • admin

      Hi KL!
      You could also see it like that. The new lenses will not be FourThirds lenses…but soemthing different. If that is the cause (just my speculation) than both rumors would be true.

  • Zonkie

    Trying to decode what this means…

    – Olympus will move to a bigger sensor, but in order to not let down its current 4/3s userbase, they will release a modular camera where you can use the new bigger sensor with new lenses, or change the mount and sensor to the traditional 4/3s and use your old lenses?
    – What does this have to do with m4/3s? I don’t see how this new system would relate to m4/3s, really…

    Overall, I think this is a crazy idea. Moving now to a bigger sensor and developing a whole new line of lenses would harm Olympus a lot, probably would kill it (even if they provide this modular design to allow use of old format sensor/lenses).

  • Nathan

    These new primes could be “dumb” full-frame lenses intended for use with the 2:1autofocus inverse teleconverter Olympus patented. Such lenses could have no moving parts and fast apertures. They would be inexpensive to produce, and smaller than ordinary primes of the same aperture, potentially. These lenses would also have similar appearance on crop sensors to the full frame focal lengths and be comparable in bokeh and framing, while still being about 1 stop faster.

    The inverse teleconverter that Olympus patented may allow Olympus to build 2 teleconverters: a 2:1 inverse tele for micro four thirds or modular mount, and perhaps a 1:1.6 for use with a larger APS-C or perhaps square 24mm sensor.

    This truly would be a game-changer. With such a system, you could have as many fast primes and zooms in as many lengths as you wanted for inexpensive prices, high grade glass, and you’d only buy the SWD autofocus mechanism one time. As lenses are where photographers go broke, this could actually make modularization AND the abandonment of the standard 4/3 make sense. 4/3 would continue in the sense that your lenses would still work on the new camera, but so much MORE would ALSO work on your new camera.

    In body image stabilization meant that we didn’t have to repurchase that expensive mechanism with each lens. In-adapter or modular AF would mean that we may only have to buy SWD AF one time, too.

    If that’s what they’re doing, and it works, I don’t care if it costs 4 grand, I’ll buy one, because it would be BETTER than full frame due to the beam density advantage.

  • JX

    Wasn’t there a rumor about a 0,5x adapter for FT a while ago? Let’s say the new sensor and lenses are approx full format, then a 0,5x adapter for FT would actually make sense.

  • Jón

    Olympus is going to develop S system camera/lenses :)

  • elpaciko

    let see..

    Why the need for mount modularity? Does olympus just want to make easy to change from 4/3 to m/4/3? It doesnt make sense. But if olympus want to put a larger sensor in the new camera, perhaps they do need a new mount, not just a new type of lens. So there will be 4/3 and the new (FF?) mount module. m4/3 mount module probably just a “bonus”

    Now with mount modularity, comes a problem, focus calibration. Thats where the rumored Phase Detect/Contrast Detect hybrid AF comes in. Phase detect will do the initial quick focusing, the the Contrast detect will kick in to do the final calibration. Back focus/front focus will be the thing of the past.

    All the rumor now seems to be connected to each other…….

    I could be wrong though….

  • Agent00soul

    Nathan says: Such lenses could have no moving parts and fast apertures.

    Well, they would need to contain movable (and powered) apertures at least. But no focusing mechanism.

  • Jayson

    I call BS on the “full frame” connotations of this.

    And I heartily welcome the introduction of a series of HG primes!

  • Napalm

    Whether or not these are true, I’m glad you posted them. It was a good read for and I’m quite excited what will be the truth when it comes out. Maybe Oly will rock Photokina, or maybe not.

  • TK

    My innocence speculation

    1. New FF lens is coming

    2. 4/3 and m4/3 system can choose 2x tele advantage or 0.5x 1stop faster advantage though adapter with New FF lens

    But i don’t think that Olympus make FF lens line just only benefit in my 2nd speculation…

  • Chris

    This confirms it… they’re going back to making full-frame 35mm film cameras. ;)

  • Brandon

    Nathan: I believe I understand where you’re coming from, and the general principals involved, but I’d rather not add my $0.02 until I hear you say in your own words, without the bias of my input (which may weaken the discussion–I haven’t spent the time you have looking into this aspect), what you think the disadvantage of a such a system would be. Your description seems like there’s no trade-off… surely not?

  • CR102

    Why not dream: 30X30 mm square sensor with 18MP, large diameter, near telecentric f/2 pancakes. Oh, and mirrorless with 30mm register distance to keep size in check. There you go: a mini medium format. Want a zoom? just switch the mount-sensor module.

  • mochapaulo

    30X30 mm square sensor with 18MP,<< I used to heard about 1:1 sensor for cropping into landscape or vertical format. In fact, if olympus want to maintain the image quality and not being under classed when comparing with 35mm FF, I think she should consider to enlarge the sensor. 14MP for next generation just makes it a DC rather than DSLR.

    Bless you, Oly.

  • RW

    Just when I was wondering what to do with all my spare money…replacing the sensor every time I buy a lens…. That should solve that problem.

  • OMolympus

    Could make sense – The micro system for truly compact bodies and lenses – a take anywhere addition to a photographers bag. And in addition a larger format for studio work high res work.

    Lets face it, regular 4/3 didn’t exactly fly off the shelves, maybe they are taking a new approach with lessons learned.

  • fta

    I just hope they do not abandon m43. They have a really good thing going with their PEN line. Remember 4/3 and m43 are the same sensor, just different mount and mirror-less. This worries me a little. But hey it’s only a FT2 rumour.. I think that what Panasonic and Olympus show this summer (July) and at Photokina will define their commitment to m43.

  • Benotome

    Well, I am beginning to understand what Olympus is up to. They will go radical modularity.

    New lenses will actually be supplied to users as pieces of raw glass modules (normal, ED, superED…) which one can assemble according to his or her will on a special mechanical rack (think camera mount + some clamps), which than fits the camera. So each lens would be actually unique (when you assemble it yourself of course). Primes, zooms, shifts, tilts – anything will be possible with this lens kit. Can you include some broken Coke bottle glass in the formula? It will fit with zero problem. You can also include some rubber gaskets into your lens assembly, to have it splashproof.

    With lens you will also receive a bunch of mounts (for additional price of course) for most popular cameras. There will also be an Hubble space scope adapter. But no SWWF for Hubble scope, since there is not much dust in space you know…

    Since there is no consensus abot sensor size among Olympus users, they will go really radical here. No CCD or CMOS sensor at all, you just project the image directly to jour visual brain cortex and memorise it there. This explains all the rumors about square, circular etc sensors… Additional sensor / memory modules, fabricated from sheep brain will be provided (these will be designed by Olympus & Cyberdine corp joint venture). Elefant brain modules will be available for FF an smal DOF lovers. And yes, 3D visualisation will be possible too (but for double price unfortunatelly).

    You can consider this news FT6. (Message from future, reaching us back in 2010, with 116.82% probability). I have heard it from she terminator, sent back to our time on a mission to annihilate Oly R&D labs. She was sent by some Canon executives, trying to protect their 2% market share (since Olympus is really big in the future camera market with this design you know…)

    OK, rant mode off.

    I have two 4/3 cameras, and one Canon DSLR too. I would love to read something new about 4/3 each day, but if there is no news, please do not try to make fool of yourselves and publish such rubbish, in an attempt to attract readers. Messages like this have zero informational value,

    I consider Japanese people very trustable and truth speaking. If those Olympus guys promised more 4/3 cameras in autumn, I believe them. And so should you.

  • 43 shooter

    “Because even though olympus is working on a new sensor format with newer , sharper , brighter lenses that wouldnt be possible with lessons learned with 4/3’s….”

    Olympus 4/3 lenses belong to the best lenses out there, it is the sensor which cannot keep up with the lenses so developing a line with even better lenses seems nonsense….
    If Olympus develops new tech for 4/3 which redefines photography the way micro does I would be very happy as long as my current SHg lenses keep fully usable with new to release bodies….

    Exiting times to come…

  • jeff

    As a photographer i can tell you right now that there is no “pro level” future for the current sensor they are using on the oly cameras. FAR FAR too noisy.

    But olympus DOES make the best quality lenses and they have learned alot from trial and error by trying the 4/3’s system

    IMO the four thirds system was a success because it led to the great buisness decision to go micro.

    So while the four thirds system (big bodies) is indeed dying , the glass will live on with these newer cameras and we will get a brand spanking new and possibly (hopefully) really big noiseless sensor great for those low light shots at high ISO.

    Also we will get a brand new line of lenses to play with that will take full advantage of said sensors since they will be designed FOR the sensor (see the failure of nikanon)

  • Hmm…I don’t know what to make of these, but if they’re to be believed, the next model might represent a transition between 4/3 and a 35mm FF model. That would explain some of the news about converters and modularity…they’re trying not to make a clean break between old and new, but to give people a way to upgrade smoothly. Again, assuming any of this is actually true.

  • Brandon

    RW: There’s been no indication Oly is going the route of Ricoh here, indeed evidence is to the contrary. Besides, I doubt there are TWO companies dumb enough to make that move; I still can’t believe Ricoh did.

    OMolympus: the biggest drawback I see in a modular system is the difficulty in creating compact form-factors. This stems from three aspects: One: Parts designed to accommodate various optional add-ons, including some that are not-so-compact, will have to include connections and balance-points in-line with such, and this would impede optimizing for the small form-factor. Two: The connections themselves, and the excess surfaces (separate enclosures) take up space. Three: The smallest parts are the most minimalist (likely shedding of excess features and functions) which by-nature means they will not offer as much… so these parts are viable for the smallest-form-factor-possible crowd, but compromised for other configurations, making these parts less versatile than other options, thereby less useful, less in demand, and possibly relatively more expensive. ….Then again, perhaps people will be able to cut all excess out in a way that was previously unthinkable: no one would buy such a limited camera, but if it’s modular, they might build it to use for a particular gig.

    fta: There’s been every reason to believe m43 is moving front-and-center to their business-model. No worries. (:

    jeff: You got it right. Everything you said. Though I have one niggle: The telecentricity of Oly glass, etc. is not important to the consumer: it’s marketing hype. If you’re hiring me as an lens-designer I look forward to working with digital-from-the-ground-up because it offers me additional resources (advantages) in how I design for you. But as a consumer, I don’t have to worry about this at all: Though I learn about it just as an interested aficionado, in actual use I only care about what the lens can do, not how the maker managed those capabilities. The nikanon glass (such as the refreshed 70-200mm) often equals or bests the Oly offering (in this case the 35-100mm) and sometimes not…. the origin of its abilities changes nothing after-the-fact. …Looking back, before 43 lenses came out, with the initial marketing of the standard, even as a consumer there would be reason to care about truly digital designs (because we might therefore have higher expectations) but when the reality is already here we can just examine the results and ignore the technology (aside, again, from our curiosity as enthusiasts, which is perfectly appropriate in itself).

    To all: Jeff, Monty Leman and OMolympus all got it right: They’re reinventing the thing, and pushing us forward. Recall that the original 43 standard was a re-conception. Recall that Canon got so far ahead of Nikon simply from the bravery and fore-site of switching their lens-mount early in the game to suit AF; Nikon is still playing catch-up (though now almost there).

  • Dwight

    “Modular” is another word for “expensive”

  • Ross

    With the new lenses, Olympus might be able to produce them with the possiblilty of other brand camera users using them too. Remember, Oly glass is worth buying! Could also be a way of increasing the market for their lenses.

  • Toby McKinnon

    Never have I heard such a bunch of armchair conspiracy theorists in all my life.

    If only you knew how ridiculous you all sound.

    It’s like you just randomly jotted down a list of speculations that you pulled out of thin air, jumbled them up and then regurgitated them as if they’re gospel.

    This site openly admits they don’t really know anything, and they admit that it’s just some crazy emails they’ve received. When are you going to realise that it’s just a lot of crap spewed by more idiots like you guys.

    None of you has a clue and nor do these ‘sources’, so why don’t you spend your time learning your craft rather than talking rubbish on here?

    Oh sorry, I forgot to qualify myself (like Jeff did, thanks Jeff.)……As a photographer I can tell you…..(all of the above).

  • dMS
  • Interesting times ahead for us heavily invested 4/3 shooters. In the end I don’t care about the fate of the 4/3 standard as long as I’m able to continue using my lenses to their full potential. I guess it’s just wait n see till Photokina…

  • marilyn

    this is a crap rumor….. im have the 14-35 and 35-100 lens, 12-60, 50-200 , 25mm, 50mm and 2kits ….they are going to be useless with the new sensor/….. OMG

  • Quote: “Because even though olympus is working on a new sensor format with newer , sharper , brighter lenses that wouldnt be possible with lessons learned with 4/3’s….”

    Sorry but optics is physics and it has limits. Building newer, sharper, brighter lenses than those Olympus has already done with the super high grade lenses is quite next to impossible, unless they go for a smaller format, which is also next to impossible due to the noise problems and critisism they have had due to the chosen 4/3 size. If they are planning for a larger sensor format, there is no way they can achive better lenses to cover larger areas, than what they have already achieved, unless they are insanely large and expensive. I have 5 last generation leica lenses, according to many the best lenses produced today. Mounted on my e-p2 they are not even close to Olympus digital lenses, not even to the modest kit 14-42 f 3.5-5.6 that came with my e-p2. Their result is sharp mounted on a full frame sensor camera because you dont have to enlarge that much.

    I believe Olympus was very clever with the choosen 4/3 size. Time and technology developments with eventualy produce a top notch sensor, without significant noise problems, that will allow small cameras with very high image quality. Then their high grade and super high grade lenses will realy shine. I’m quite shure this technical developments have been taking longer than what Olympus initially anticipated but I’m quite shure they will not deviate from the choosen format, specially now with the success of their M4/3 cameras.

  • napalm

    i dont think some of you get the point. being modular means it will accomodate the 4/3, m4/3 and if its true the new mount. it will not abandon 4/3 or m4/3 but doing this approach.

    i think its a wise decision for Oly because going on an entirely new mount would anger the 4/3 group and it will definitely affect m4/3 sales. so the win-win solution is to be modular: buy the body, pick the mount for your lenses.

    as long as the performance between the modules are similar or at least close, i think its a good solution.

  • Zonkie

    @marcelo Guarini

    I totally agree with you. High ISO performance is not going to be an issue in the near future even for 4/3s sensors. The new generation (GH2, E-5) will already be as good as the best APS-C sensors and good enough for more than 90% situations/users.

    Lenses on bigger sensors will never perform as good as current Oly’s lenses do. To move now to a bigger sensor makes no sense to me. It would take 4-6 years to develop a decent lenses line-up and what for? Better high ISO? By then it won’t matter anyway.

    Moving to a new format ONLY makes sense if it’s something totally revolutionary that would wipe the competition out. Just to start from zero with a bigger sensor for something as lame* as better high ISO performance is simply stupid (no matter if they provide some half-smooth upgrade path for current users of 4/3s).

    * Hey, I do acknowledge that good high ISO performance has it’s importance, but with sensor improvements it won’t be a big issue sooner rather than later and it certainly is not a reason good enough to ditch a whole system like 4/3s.

  • Roger porter

    Having worked in a big camera store for a decade, I a fairly confident saying that rumor 2 is bogus… I have never met a rep that would give that kind of info at a training, due to non disclosure rules. Secondly, what kind of meeting would a rep be having with emloyees if they didn’t carry the product… He wouldn’t, because reps only visit the ones they are getting paid to visit-their paying customers. If the rep was talking to a buyer, he would never in a million years hint at anything coming out soon, they are commissioned sales guys. They are only interested in what they can deliver now. It sure sounds like something we have all been dreaming of but this one is just that, a dream.

  • Ross

    Who says they are going to ditch 4/3’s (apart from the rumours)? What is the possibility that as some have been asking for a full frame camera in the Olympus line-up that this is what is being considered (not necessarily FF) & as Canikon (not sure which) has a FF body that will accept APS-C sized lenses & use that part of the sensor for that size format? This may or may not be part of a modular system. Just a thought. I think a lot of panic & wringing of the hands of some are all for nothing. I’m looking forward to seeing what new innovative ideas come out of Olympus & I don’t see it as being an abandonment of present gear, just an improvement or addition to it.

  • Nathan

    OK, I’ve been asked to discuss possible tradeoffs for the idea of full frame lenses through 0.5x autofocusing reverse teleconverters:


    1. Looks like full frame, IE same bokeh, same framing, but shutter speeds are FASTER for the same glass.

    2. Only buy the AF mechanism one time.

    3. Lighter weight for a pack with multiple focal length lenses.


    1. Pixels remain the same size or smaller. This means diffraction limiting still happens at the same point because it’s a sensor-dependant characteristic.

    2. Because of pixel density being higher in comparison to an equal number of pixels on a full-frame camera, even though you gain one stop for the same lens element, full frame, having four times the surface area per pixel, still has a one stop noise advantage for identical sensor technologies.

    3. Because the rearmost lens elements are typically similar but not identical, one can expect chromatic aberration and contrast to suffer just slightly from the addition of extra glass in the optical path, and the use of the same rear elements in a wide variety of focal lengths. In the case of using full OM lenses in front of a 0.5x converter, adding 2-3 additional lens elements to the original lens will increase internal reflection and lead to a slight decrease in contrast. This will be further compounded by the diffraction coma increased by the smaller pixel size. Not an insurmountable problem, but it means that while image quality will be vastly greater than four thirds, it should still lag behind a full-frame sensor approach.

    4. Because the 0.5x converter has a fixed lens element diameter, it will further limit the potential to go to extreme apertures. I would not think a lens ending up with an aperture equivalent of F1.2 would be possible via this approach, although a 50mm F2 full frame lens would end up approximating F1.4/25mm on a Four Thirds sensor. In addition, because there is glass in the optical path, it is not possible for a 0.5x converter to gain a FULL stop of beam density advantage. The additional reflection and loss to glass would be small, but take away a tiny fraction of the advantage. I would expect eventually SHG converters as well as HG converters, with a significant weight penalty to SHG for a marginal return in optical efficiency.

    To clarify, these comments refer to full frame image circle objective lenses with 0.5x wideconverter onto 4/3 equivalent sensors. It is possible that any final product may have multiple wide angle converters such as 1:1.5 AF, 1:2 AF, 1:1 AF, giving different final focal lengths to the same objective lens. In addition, the objective lenses would be vastly simplified and probably lack focus mechanisms of their own. These objective lenses would ideally be telecentric in design.

    It is also possible that the sensor size could be slightly increased, or made modular, although the expense and complexity of modularized sensor boxes seems silly.

    I conclude that an improved sensor and a modular lens mount assembly, plus EVF instead of mirror box will allow a camera with a micro four thirds mount to take photos which look like they were taken by a full frame camera, and that with 1:4 or even 1:3 (.25x and .33x) wide converters, it would be possible for a micro four thirds camera to produce results that looked like medium format, provided that they look like medium format images taken at F4 and higher apertures, but that would be rather pointless. The tradeoffs for the photographer affect image quality, sharpness, and contrast, but the benefits to the manufacturer AND the photographer include extremely reduced complexity and cost.

  • Brandon

    Marcelo Guarini:

    You make several contradictory assertions.

    Yes, sensor density creates greater demand on the optics (the reason your Leica work better on FF)… but this new sensor being larger, it should have lower sensor-density, so your concern is for naught.

    Regarding the resolution of the glass itself: the larger the lens, the greater the resolution assuming equal construction. Yes, ‘equal construction’ will cost more for a larger lens (no surprise there: there’s more of it) but the optical path is strengthened not weakened by increasing the size of glass. Why? Because this is the inverse of sensor density: they both just increase the glass that an individual pixel is allotted. The less glass and denser the photosites, the more surface-area they must share to produce their image, and the proportionally greater each optical defect. The more glass and less dense the sensor, the more breathing room for the pixels, and the more diluted the imperfection of the glass.

    This is why even mediocre medium-format lenses often give top-shelf FFs a run-for-their-money. Put simply: if Oly was producing some of the best glass (they were) with a small-sensor… they should be all the better (at greater cost, or else maintain the same image quality at identical or decreased cost) with a larger sensor.

    Now regarding the foresight of 43: Sensors are evolving quicker than glass, with no sign of letting up. Already Canikon are running into the issue of their sensors reaching the limits of their glass in terms of resolving power. We WILL have the technology to produce 60MP FF sensors in several more years. We will NOT have optics capable of resolving such resolutions. Now, whether or not we need 60MP is another issue entirely, but the fact is Canikon are heading towards a wall, and soon. Oly would be right there with them save for the age of their sensor. The idea that a small sensor is forward-thinking is in direct conflict with this growing resolution gap between sensor and glass.

    I predict that sensors will develop such freedom from resolution overhead (and no glass to utilize it) that one of (or a combination of) 3 things will occur:

    1) Layered sensors a la the Sigma Foveon X3 (admittedly disappointing but perhaps ahead-of-its-time) will come into their own. Emphasis will concordantly pass from ISO and resolution to dynamic range and color-accuracy.

    2) Sensors will be de-emphasized. In the film-era change was more gradual. I think this may come again as the sensors all become over-achievers and so any sensor will work just fine–bringing the cost drastically down and suddenly other aspects of the camera are considered more important.

    3) Medium format goes mainstream. Think about how Leicas are FF but use tiny glass. EVIL cameras would allow medium-format sensors to be used with glass about the size of current APS-C lenses. EVIL itself will have developed sub-retina resolutions and the optical viewfinder will be history, at that point clearly inferior.


    It would be a major misstep to downplay high ISO right now. For the first time visible-light non-specialty cameras are knocking on the door of what the human eye can see. They literally are beginning to ‘see in the dark’ better than we. This is not something to shirk. You may say ‘Why do I need that?’ because previous generations of photographers haven’t used it… but they weren’t able to. When ISOs first got better than film it marked the beginning of the end of film. No longer would we need to switch out rolls and use specialty films just for lighting changes. When ISOs first enabled true shoot-anything handhold-ability with normal lenses, and shoot-most-things-most-of-the-time with teles sans any tripod, it again revolutionized us. Imagine a world where lighting is never an issue of ‘Do I have enough?’ but simply ‘Is it the right angle (etc.)?’ …The ever-increasing ISOs are destined to create several revolutions I’ll address in four categories:

    One: shooting in the dark. I mean the dark. Many still don’t appreciate this because they don’t realize the potential. Imagine it’s pitch black and you shoot a photo that can easily be printed at normal sizes without loss of quality. Imagine shooting for billboard sizes with only the most minimal of lighting; No soft-focus, no photoshop, just snap a photo at dusk and no noticeable noise even printed thirty feet wide. Then consider the new art that is dark-shooting: Think about all that photography has shown us we never before could picture, such as bullet-hits-apple. Think about the uncharted depths of our seas. This, metaphorically would be such as that. In fact, these cameras might just take pictures of that—it’s pretty dark down there…

    Two: Shooting with natural light, and never coming short. Dynamic range is ‘increased’ here dramatically because there are no bright points. I don’t just mean we’d have the ability to shoot freely without worrying if we’d get detail: I mean the Indeed the sensor may have to be held-back a bit because it will try to resolve even patches of darkness the human eye could never see into–producing an unreal effect.
    Three: Slow glass is all we ever need. Already Canikons ask what’s the point of Oly’s 2.0 zooms on 43 if they lose more than 1 stop of ISO from their 2.8s. I’d have to agree. Imagine f/8 being more than you need for those 90% applications you spoke of. Now that’s compact glass!
    Four: Simplicity. Rangefinder enthusiasts wax poetic about the spiritual connection with their camera. Meanwhile our feature-rich DSLRs are bogged-down with too many options. But if noise doesn’t start until ISO-one-million, why not leave it high all the time? If we’re not wanting long-exposure or motion-blur, shutter-speed can also stay in the upper echelons. Even aperture becomes important only for DOF—so it’s an easier consideration. In fact the camera could probably just offer a ‘DOF-selector’ with real-time feedback (EVF, remember?) rather than worry the user about ISOs. Suddenly our cameras can do more, offer greater versatility, usability and control, but don’t require as much user input to function.
    The current seemingly temporary ISO-race is an illusion: this is going to be one revolution after another. If Oly ignores the current race it would be market suicide for now (because ISO numbers are driving sells) but would also ensure Oly’s eventual obsolescence (when it becomes clear this isn’t just a short-term race).

  • Ali

    They might just go a way that is both by definition modular, as well as addresses all issues. A full-frame sensor with half-frame capability (a special mode).

    So basically the change could be a special sensor (FF) that has a half-frame mode, and perhaps a new lens mount. Lets call it X. They will probably give a 43-to-X adapter. Plugging in previous 43 lenses would mean the camera would function at half-frame i.e 2.0x crop factor. Using new X lenses, it will be a full frame.

    Either this or completely modular, two sensors.

    Regardless of whichever way Olympus goes, I would hope for it to continue on 43rds and work on improving existing sensor technology. Perhaps less AA filtering would help with IQ issues (I’ve always wondered why people complain of this). The crop factor is a major plus for quite a few of us. We get some good length glass at rather low prices (comparitively).

  • Brandon

    EDIT: (I apparently accidentally deleted a couple sentences) Here they are re-inserted:

    “Two: Shooting with natural light, and never coming short. Dynamic range is ‘increased’ here dramatically because there are no bright points. I don’t just mean we’d have the ability to shoot freely without worrying if we’d get detail: I mean the

    –lighting everywhere we go would be ‘studio quality’–effectively soft and plenty of it. The only issue, again, would be directionality/ modeling of the light source. This would perhaps be the greatest single revolution in the history of photography.

    Indeed the sensor may have to be held-back a bit because it will try to resolve even patches of darkness the human eye could never see into–producing an unreal effect.”

  • Brandon


    Got ya. Makes sense. Thank you for your efforts there. My biggest concern would be this: I’d want the internal teleconverter and focus-drive to be absolutely top-drawer; If I only have to buy it once I want it to be able to out-resolve and out-perform what my glass would otherwise accomplish, so it’s never the weak link.

    It seems another advantage would be more robust glass: with no moving lenses (aside from zooms, of course) I can imagine glass more durable than any before.

  • Miroslav

    I don’t like the idea of new mount. Introducing one every couple of years is bad for people looking to build up a system.

    I think m4/3 still has a lot of potential and is the future and doesn’t have to be reserved for lower-end ILCs only. New sensor in Oly cameras should be that multi aspect one from GH1, that’s enough. Lens compatibility wise Olympus and Panasonic haven’t done ( or couldn’t do ) a good enough job in 4/3 to m4/3 transition, so I doubt it would be better this time.

    I don’t see a sense: larger sensor = larger lenses. Olympus should stick with m4/3 format, make better quality lenses and the improvements on the sensor side will give us better high ISOs and more DR anyway.

  • JNMPhoto


    I don’t see a sense: larger sensor = larger lenses. Olympus should stick with m4/3 format, make better quality lenses and the improvements on the sensor side will give us better high ISOs and more DR anyway.

    So your saying that Olympus should drop 4/3 and only continue with m4/3?

  • Nathan – A 0.7 converter would be one stop, a 0.5 is two stops. Both in dof and lightgatering.

  • Miroslav


    Olympus should continue developing only high(er) end 4/3 camera(s), for people who have invested in 4/3 lenses over the past years and for one reason or another prefer DSLR. But their R&D should concentrate on m4/3 ( and on making 4/3 lenses more compatible with them ). Mirrorless will catch up in performance with DSLRs eventually.

    But introducing a new mount a year after m4/3 and possibly leaving two groups of its current users in the cold … I don’t know who would buy Oly anymore.

  • Russ

    How is Rumor #1 FT2? FT1 would be generous.

    This person writes “Olympus is indeed going to stop developing new four third lenses.” One little problem with that prediction. If Olympus is developing m43 lenses, then, in many cases, they have already developed a 43 lens as well. That’s the whole point of m43. Its not a completely separate format. Olympus and Panasonic have been leveraging 43 technology into m43, and they can do the same in the other direction. Olympus now has a larger R&D budget as a result of m43, and even if it is tilted towards m43, much of it can be leveraged into 43.

    Will we see many new lenses in 43? I doubt it because the line is close to complete. The only lenses that are missing are a handful of primes, redesigning existing lenses in the HG and SHG line to become SWD, and perhaps designing an HG Bigma-type lens. If they release an effective tilt-shift adapter, there will be no need to develop that type of lens.

    Rumor #2 has a lot of problems as well. I get the feeling that a lot was lost in translation and misinterpreted. “The most exciting thing is that they will be, in spite of being “4/3″ labeled, able to cover a larger image circle.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t that already apply to other 43 lenses? isn’t that how they are able to mitigate vignetting among other issues at image corners? Where is the news? Prototypes being tested is not news. it happens all the time, and not every prototype gets produced. Will these new lenses be made in an Olympus factory? If so, in light of m43 success, does Olympus even have the capacity for these new lenses?

    I have many years experience in retail, at many different levels. My retail experience with photography is very limited, and I can’t speak specifically to Olympus. All of that said, vendor reps rarely get critical new product information very far in advance. Many companies won’t even tell their reps that a product is being discontinued until the same day of that public announcement. Why is all of this information held back? It is on a need-to-know basis, and until the reps need to know, they are simply not told. A company does not want information to leak out, and it only takes one person to spill the beans. A company wants reps to be honest with their available information, so if they’re not put in a position of lying, they won’t lie. The existing product has to sell, so a company will want their reps focused on moving existing product. I simply find it hard to believe that a vendor rep knows this information so far in advance.

  • Nathan

    It just occurred to me that while the patent makes no mention of zoom function within the 0.5x converter, Olympus uses just such an approach in the 9-18, the 7-14, and the 11-22 lens- it’s just that the teleconverter in that case is a 1-2x zoom AF converter. Should such an approach be possible in the reverse direction, it may be possible that a prime 50mm F2 could be zoomed and autofocused as a 25mm F1 to a 50mm F2. So, with such a theoretical adapter, a 50mm F2 OM lens could be a 25-50 zoom autofocus F1-2 lens.

    The patent would not mention such a feature, because Olympus is patenting the novelty of the approach, in this case, it is the use of a separate lens module to accomplish 0.5x focal length multiplication and light intensification while adding auto-focus to another lens, which may be either manual focus or focally fixed to infinity.

  • Adrian Lewis

    @ Nathan

    A zooming teleconverter is an interesting idea, but I don’t think it is likely given the *current* designs. The new m.Zuiko 9-18 and 14-150 use a central focusing element and a moving front group for zooming. Whilst it may be possible to fit the outside diameter of that front group into the internal diameter of the front mount of the adapter, there very probably wouldn’t be sufficient room for the group to travel back and forth.

    To be more specific, Drawing 7 from patent JP,2010-026120,A shows a schematic diagram of the autofocus unit from the teleconverter (http://www4.ipdl.inpit.go.jp/TD2/web006/IMAGE/20100615105733182391.gif). That patent schematic is remarkably similar to the 3D model of the autofocus unit from the m.Zuiko 9-18 (http://www.exakta.net/images/stories/Digital/Olympus-lens-technology-up/Oly-drive-completa-AA.jpg, from http://www.dslrmagazine.com/digital/objetivos-para-camaras-digitales/olympus-tecnologia-msc-3.html).

    As far as I can tell from that 3D model, the autofocus unit from the m.Zuiko 9-18 is about 24-28 mm long. As the overall thickness of the 4/3 to µ4/3 adaptors is about 24 mm, it will be a tough enough job getting an AF teleconverter in, let alone a zooming AF teleconverter …

  • Adrian Lewis

    Ooops, the Japanese Patent Office website cookies are stronger than I’d realised.

    To get to the patents and the drawings go to:
    Then enter:
    “Kind code” = “a” & Number” = “2010-028328” << patent for teleconverter adaptor
    "Kind code" = "a" & Number" = "2010-026120" << patent for teleconverter adaptor with autofocus

    If the above link doesn't work try http://www.ipdl.inpit.go.jp/homepg_e.ipdl, then click on "Patent & Utility Model Gazette DB".

    On another matter. I find it interesting that both these patents describe — and illustrate e.g. Drawings 1,3,4 in either of the patents — interchangeable lens cameras with built-in EVFs.

    Whether this means that a PEN with an inbuilt EVF is on its way is anyone's guess, but we at least have confirmation that Olympus has been thinking about the concept.

  • Interesting. I would think they would make a full frame equivalent live view camera for the higher end market and the micro-four-thirds for the compact end market. The micro-four-thirds could use the center portion of full frame lenses through an adapter just as nikon FF lenses are usable with APS-C systems.

    So not one system replacing another, not a new modular system, but instead 2 systems to cover two markets with Olympus, Panasonic and perhaps Leica participating..

    that’s my ideal view..

  • aaa
  • Adrian Lewis


    Those links are good for linking to the English language summaries, but there is no through-link to the details. The details are in Japanese, with an on-the-fly translation run through the frameset setup, and the frameset seems to be cookie-bound, hence the problem … :-)

    If there is a way of bypassing the frameset AND geting the auto-translation, it’d be great to have that posted! But I’ve not got any more time to dig around the backend … :-) Good luck!

  • Adrian Lewis

    @ myself (@ Nathan)

    I should have been clear that the length of the 9-18 AF unit compared to the 4/3 – m4/3 adaptor was something of a worst case. Adaptors from other mounts to m4/3 are generally deeper and so may have more scope for a zooming AF teleconverter.

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