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(FT3) Two new Four Thirds and two new M43 cameras coming?


On Sunday Olympus released an official statement saying that a “Pro camera” is in the works. A 43rumors sent me this small info that may confirm that:

This evening I took part in a survey about my last purchase of a DSLR/Mirrorless camera. I mentioned that it was from Olympus and in the next screen a list with all the actual system cameras made by Olympus came up. In this list where also mentioned E-6, E-650, E-PL4 and E-PM2. May be the author of that survey seams to know more about soon coming FT- and MFT cameras.

The new PEN cameras are certainly coming so it sounds plausible that Olympus is thinking on an E-6 and E-650 release too. But for now trusted sources only confirmed the two PEN release now (and another OMD model months after Photokina).

  • nik

    IBIS + Swivel LCD and im sold.

  • bilgy_no1

    What if the E-6 and E-650 are SLT-constructions?

    Using the new 16MP sensor from the E-M5 of course. Both with relatively simple body updates and some small improvements here and there. Sounds good: having the option to use those excellent 43 lenses on a new body is great.

    • I’d be game. While I love my two E-620 bodies, one has already needed a repair and the other one is also getting long in the tooth.

      I just wish there were a no-gimmick body that puts away with all the stuff that clutters the menu and dials.

      – ergonomically designed body for adult, human hands
      – if EVF, for God’s sakel, make it high-eyepoint and large
      – round or roundish eyecup – not some weird shape that fits maybe some droid
      – index finger dial
      – thumb dial
      – useable CAF
      – backlit buttons
      – ISO direct access
      – exposure compensation direct access
      – spot meter direct access
      – ASM or PASM – no art filters and scene modes
      – tiltable or articulated screen (I prefer tiltaable, but fully articulated okay)
      – dual card slot (either CF and SD or SD and SD – I don’t care)
      – integrated vertical grip with command dial and shutter release

      • Terry


        The high end stuff is all very well but we need something in the mid-range.

        I could have written The Eye’s wish list myself (I know they’re gimicky but I might like the modern selection of Art Filters as well – and I wouldn’t complain if it had video).

        I’d (almost) buy an E-650 sight unseen !

        Keep it under say – £650 for the body and I’m in.

        • You may have the art filters! Their inclusion would not mean a dealbreaker for me.

    • buongustaio

      how much could they ask for a camera like that? still over 1500eur? talking about “e6”

      • I’m not talking about an E-6/7. Compared with an E-620, the only thing, other than design changes and a better sensor, would be the integrated vertical grip, which wouldn’t add much to the cost. Should be doable for $800.

        If someone thinks the EVF will add cost, supposedly, not having a mirror and mirror/pentaprism reduces cost.

        • Bart

          I think production cost is only one factor in this. Lets for the sake of argument assume the rumor is true and Olympus will announce an E-650 and E-6/7, they’ll need to diversify those 2 offerings such that the E-650 is not going to substantially reduce the market for the E-6/7.

          For that reason they will not implement certain features on such an E-650 model, likely candidates are the suggested integrated vertical grip and dual control dials. Also, a substantial increase in the number of direct access buttons isn’t very likely.

          Good C-AF support on a DSLR is only really going to work with many more focus points that are closer together then what the E-620 offers, and actually also then what the E-5 currently offers. Some people may be able to keep a single focus point perfectly centered on the subject, but, if you can do that, you can have pretty good C-AF with an E-620 already. If you want something better then that, it will have to be able to deal with the inevitable camera shake you’ll introduce while trying to follow a subject, deal properly with things temporarily moving between the camera and the subject, and actually be able to track the subject through the frame. Doing this properly simply requires having enough focus points that are also properly spread out over the frame, yet close enough to eachother to quickly pick up on a subject when another focus point lost it.

          This would be a major update to the E-620.

          • Esa Tuunanen

            > If you want something better then that, it will have to be able to deal with the inevitable camera shake

            Further besides OVF’s image also focusing sensor lacks stabilized view in DSLR.

            • Bart

              Lack of stabilized AF sensor hurts indeed, both for low-light AF performance and for C-AF.

              But, the reputation of the E-3 and 5 in this is much worse then it has to be, mostly due to unfortunate default configuration, and part due to lack of documentation.

              There are 2 things that can dramatically improve the C-AF performance of both cameras.

              Somewhere in the AF menu, there is an option called C-AF lock. The default is disabled, enable this. Then, use the ‘diamond shaped’ 5 focus point configuration, and always cover your subject by the center of the ‘diamond’ initially. You’ll find that the camera will now be much more tolerant to errors in keeping the subject exactly covered by the focus point due to also being able to use the neighboring focus points when the initial one suddenly indicates being wildly out of focus. This isn’t perfect (actually, its just a different compromise), and not as good as the best Canon and Nikon have to offer in this, but its a lot more capable then the C-AF reputation of both cameras suggests, and is directly related to the number and spread of the focus points.

              • buongustaio

                i didnät know this..! good to know :)

    • Mar

      Bah, SLT is crap.
      There is no point in E-X being SLT, it would only make IQ worse and not bring any tangible benefits.

      SLT would make more sense on smaller E-XXX model because it would give it better viewfinder quality, but I doubt Olympus is going to develop SLT tech just for one model, it’s simply not viable since they’re focused on mirrorless.

      Realistically, E-6/7 is not that hard to make and it would sell well, because of fantastic ZD glass and the fact APS systems are shitty with mismatched lenses.

      Something like this:
      M5 sensor or better
      New AF module with good tracking and low light operation
      Price up to 1500$/€
      That’s it. That camera would sell to a lot of people, and would be a great alternative to a FF rig with fast ZD glass.

      • bilgy_no1

        You are right that SLT is only an imperfect patch to the challenge of providing fast AF and C-AF on non SLR cameras. So, maybe Olympus could use a sensor with integrated PDAF on the (stabilized) sensor instead of the translucent mirror.

        What would be really interesting is such a solution (body ergonomics more like E-620 than PEN/OM-D) with a m4/3 mount and use an adapter for the 4/3 lenses. Then you can use all the Olympus AF lenses out there!

        • d00d00

          The problem with pdaf on the imaging sensor along with IBIS is that when the sensor moves the af points will leave the subject making it hard to track with C-AF. A standard slr mirror is a better option with IBIS. SLT or a beamsplitter like the old E-10 and E-20 cameras would be a better solution when coupled with IBIS.

          Move the IS into the lens, and pdaf on the imaging sensor becomes a good solution for C-AF.

          • Bart

            That is just not true, if it were, IBIS would not work at all.

            Camera shake will cause the subject to move away from the focus point. Both IBIS and OIS try to compensate this, either by moving the sensor so the subject stays in the same place on the sensor (IBIS), or by moving the projection to ensure the subject stays in the same place. IBIS however cannot do this for cameras that use a mirror and separate AF sensors, while OIS can.

            Either way, it is possible to disable IS during AF if it happens to be a problem in a specific situation.

            • Esa Tuunanen

              Again lens based stabilization can’t never correct rotation.
              Which would also enable Olympus to add Pentax like Astro tracing.

              That’s actually only situation for which I could ever see myself getting 35mm sensor camera: Night time sky photography.
              Earth’s rotation speed is just such nasty that without such astro tracing it would limit options by needing use of those higher sensitivities just to keep exposure time short enough.

              • Bart

                I was responding to dOOdOO’s claim about using IBIS and OIS during AF for on-sensor PDAF. I don’t think there is any discussion about if 5 axis IBIS is better then any OIS version.

                But the claim that OIS can’t correct for rotation is not entirely correct. There is one axis of rotation that cannot be compensated for by OIS, rotation around the lens axis. The other 2 rotation axis can be compensated for in theory at least, but this requires a much more complicated mechanism that can do spherical movement of the correcting element (pretty much all implementations can only do horizontal and vertical movements but that is a practical and not a theoretical limit). So, it would be possible to create 4 axis OIS.

                The length axis of the lens however is a rather relevant one, because camera movement due to shutter press is likely to be around that axis also.

                Btw, I use an EQ5 telescope mount with tracking scope and computer for star tracking, but using the sensor for this would be nice for shorter exposures.

            • d00d00

              You must have misunderstood, or maybe it would be adequate to your standards but not mine. if the sensor in an IBIS system is busy moving around, then that means the AF point is moving around too. Add VF lag to that, and your chance of holding the AF point on a fast moving subject while tracking it will be very hard. It adds a major amount of unpredictability, especially while panning that anyone who shoots sports or BIF with a big glass would not be fond of. The VF lag alone on the SLT cameras already leaves a poor taste in most action shooters mouths. Of course you could turn the IBIS off, but that is a duct tape way of doing things. It’s quite common to be tracking something with AF for several seconds before you fire the first shot and a stabilized viewfinder helps tremendously.

              If it were a perfect world and the subject moved at a constant speed and in one direction it wouldn’t be so bad. But erratically moving subjects that rapidly accelerate or decelerate while changing direction require panning that also does the same. This often throws off an IBIS system and makes it jump too far to one side or the other for a fraction of a second no matter how smooth you are, add in the VF lag and the AF point will hit the background when you think it is on the subject. That is a very bad combo with these types of subjects especially if they are fairly small like a bird. It just takes too long to recover from.

              In a few years maybe, but with current tech I can’t see it giving a good keeper rate. As soon as m4/3 can track objects that radically change direction and speed like a 1 series Canon or Single digit Nikon, or atleast as good as the E-5…. it will instantly become the best wildlife and sports system around due to it’s compactness. The SHG 300/2.8 is smaller than a 600/4 FF lens, plus the SHG is sharper and a stop brighter too!

              Dunno about you, but running up and down the sideline of a football field with a camera+big lens+monopod, while having another body with 70-200 around the neck isn’t fun in my book. Anything to lighten the load is a god send.

              As it is now, the current E-5 AF tracks pretty well. It’s limitation is high iso. If oly brings another E series to the table with AF at least as good as the E-5 has and the IQ of the OMD it would be a HUGE hit with many pro’s. Mated to the 50-200 and the 300/2.8 it would be a dream due to the smaller size and weight. Anyone who has ever seen or used a Canon 400/2.8, would much rather carry the 50-200 as it’s tiny in comparison and only half a stop slower at 200mm (400mm equiv FOV). Not only that but you don’t have to stop it down as far to get adequate DOF which more than makes up for the difference in half a stop of speed.

              • bart

                I don’t misunderstand, OIS and IBIS will cause the same problem, because both try to compensate for your panning movement. You’ll have to turn off IS or set it up to only compensate for vertical movement.

                I think the confusion comes from some ois implementations detecting this situation and turning themxelves off.

    • d00d00

      I’d dump my 5d2 and L lenses in a heartbeat for a 4/3 slr/slt or even if a mirrorless version if it has pdaf,the OMD sensor, and can track moving subjects. The OMD’s output is every bit as on par as my 5d2 and the only reason I haven’t purchased one is that I often shoot photo’s of things that move and AF-C is very important to me. E-6 + 7-14, 12-60, 50-200, and a macro lens would be the ultimate rig!

  • beautemps

    It looks like Oly had no Sensor for their 4/3-Productline for years.
    “The Beginning of the new live” will be E-M5 technology. And the calculators shall define the additional features. The main target market will be the established customers of 4/3. The system is a long time dead and its rebirth would hardly find new customers. Although it is a question of pricing, but Oly is no low budget producer.

    • elf

      I would welcome an E650… I was willing to buy an E6-7 if I had too for my lenses. I have an OMD but what I really need is an E650 for my superior lenses… If they make it I might sell the OMD the E620 was and still is a wonderful camera. It is still my walk around camera of choice mated to the superb PL 14-150.Nothing in micro can match it. The OMD is nice too but a bit overbalanced with the PL14-150 and with the grip the whole package is bigger and clumsy for walk around. Yep I’ve used it. E650…..YES!!!!

    • JueBieGit

      I am sure all this statements saying “E-System will die” are paid by competitors. The only alternative I can imagine is, some people did not realize that everything will die someday, even themselves. I am very tired to read this.

      • buongustaio

        definitely agree with you!

    • I could not care less about 6 or 8fps on the camera but they need a bigger buffer but they need to fix the stupid implementation of the CF +SD card
      a DNG raw instead or in addition to the Olympus RAW would be welcome and would reassure those who are not too confident of the Olympus DSLR line


  • stickytape

    A question for those with a better memory than mine: Did Admin’s sources say that the E-Px line has been dropped or only that there would be no E-Px camera this time round?

    • beautemps

      I remember there was a “dropped” Rumor…

      @ Admin: A rumor status bar for Products would be very fine. You summarize it sometimes yourself. But I would like a button with “rumors status” for the listed comming products & features.

  • > In this list where also mentioned E-6, E-650 […]

    I would have preferred E-550 with swivel LCD.

    E-6xx/E-4xx bodies lack good grip and too thin to hold comfortably for prolonged period of time (with PL25 or Sigma 30mm or 12-60). Also battery is smaller (and battery life is shorter) than in the E-5xx bodies.

    Though this is overall bit unexpected, since I have thought that Oly would rather release successor to the much praised E-30 – than the so-so E-620.

    • bart

      According to local resellers here, they sold many more e-620s then e-30s. Our local Mediamarkt actually only sold on e-30, their showroom model, and only after they reduced the price substantially. They sold a couple dozen e-620s.

      I’d prefer an e-30 over an e-620, but, much praised or not, the market seemed to dislike the e-30 when compared to the 620.

  • buongustaio

    e6..? sounds a bit odd to me, i mean, e1 e3 e5 and now e6?
    even if it had most of its technology taken from the em5… i don’t know but imho it would be like more like an owngoal, talking about marketing strategy.
    we all know how these things go, cameras borrowing tech from others, who cares as long as it’s an improvement over the past models, but a clearly stated “midstep” model wouldn’t sound very nice to most of the customers, especially since we are talking about the top-of-the-line model…
    what about e50? :) i could consider buying it if it was as good as the e30!

    • Republic

      Definite error on there. It will be the E-7. There will be no E-6

  • blohum

    As much as I’d love to see an E650 this definitely belongs in the “believe it when I see it” category, especially when you consider how Oly says that lower-end users should be better served with m43.

  • DonParrot

    Well, a sealed E-650 with a proper AF/C-AF could indeed lure me back to FT. But without a really competitive C-AF – and with competitive I mean at least as good as the one of the 7D – I don’t see any reason to return to the anachronistic mirror.
    And even if the E-650 would deliver in this area, I’d wait at least until next spring to see what improvements in this area the next top-class µFT-Oly will come up with.

  • Anonymoose

    Sony has a 16 megapixel sensor with PDAF, right?

    I want to see that sensor in a mirrorless E-650!

  • Wouldn’t it rather be called E-PL5? I thought Japanese companies skip the 4 in model numbers most of the time, or is Olympus an exception?

  • st3v4nt

    Let’s hope this time is not a vaporware :-)

  • It’s a common tactic to insert “null” responses into market research surveys to help calibrate the results. It’s also been known to happen that companies research bogus products to throw off competitors about their development plans.

    So, don’t bet the house payment on these being real products in development…

  • Martin

    An E-6 or E-7 with an ISO performance of an OM-D and 4/3rd mount – My CC is already ready …

  • charles

    time to abandon sinking m43 ship I guess…
    what started as an excellent compact replacement of my Nikon FF gear, with surprising image quality even compared to my cameras (at that time not to D800 these days!) with GF1 + 14-45mm + 20mm combo = cheap/sharp/compact lenses, what a times…

    Now it has grown to be bigger and bigger and more expensive…(X12-35?!?)
    Did I say super-expensive? (all the quality lenses are now around £900-1000, 75 f1.8, 12-35, 35-100)

    Did I say bigger and superexpensive? OMD, GH3..

    With proper idea being compact/cheap and still good (to combat P&S pro shooters from Canon/Nikon) forgotten, and thrown to the public for old stock recycle, like upcoming EPL4/EPM2…

    No proper revolution only slight evolution (apart from amazing OM-D with Sony sensor), heck, I still use my old lenses mostly!
    Although on E-P3 now – which, honestly – SUCKS at any ISO above 1600 in DR/noise even in comparison to compacts these days, is same as the first camera I had (GF1)…

    Not everybody wants OM-D, expensive and rather bulky camera body…when PL3 body cost 1/4th of it!!!
    Where is the revolution? Ah, I guess we need to recycle old Panasonic sensor stock again and again – in ‘new’ cameras with ‘improved 12->16MP’ count!?!

    Been nice few years, but NEX6 is waiting for me, with newly designed sensor with PDAF!, new compact zoom, and already few good and cheap lenses (like the portrait one) with either smaller, or completely comparable size of upcoming GH3 or OM-D combos these days…

    I guess I sell old stock and buy the new one for free, as in SONY land, there isn’t madness. I didn’t want to bring advantages of NEX system of which everybody here is aware (stellar video, one stop of DOF/light, focus peaking, PDAF to name few) because it wasn’t about SONY.

    It was about m43 going down for a year now, and it was standing still year ago…

    P.S. NEX6 with integrated viewfinder and new sensor, still more compact and cheaper than OM-D – I guess I am waiting for you!

    P.P.S. I am fully aware OM-D is dust proof & offers IBIS, it wasn’t about that, re-read my post

    • bart

      How about the 45/1.8, 14/2.5 etc? Those lenses are good to very good, and nowhere near the prices you mention.

      High-end lenses like the 12-35 do cost, and their ‘premium’ nature, build and optical quality justify higher prices.

      What I really don’t understand about your argument is: what in the universe is wrong with having choice? You can pick a small m4/3 camera with cheap lenses, a big one with expensive lenses or any combination of the 2, and there is nothing besides your own choices forcing you to buy big and expensive

      Oh, and the smallest possible aps-c lens for a certain fov will always be bigger then the smallest possible m4/3 lens for that same fov, that is a simple matter of physics.

    • buongustaio

      there are a few things i don’t understand here: if you were fine with 14-45+20mm combo… what’s the problem with prices and new lenses?
      market has been asking for superior lenses for quite a while now, so that’s basically why X series has come to life. but you don’t need to buy a 12-35 if you are fine with your 14-45. they will still be making 14-45. as well as 14-42, for budget/entry level bodies. same with 35-100. if you were fine with your 14-140, or 45-200, you can still use them, or even buy them if you never had it. but if you want something better, dust proof, then you might consider the fact that m4/3 system now has more professional gear too.
      for example, i’m definitely going to get me a 12-35, because its quality is absolutely outstanding :) but that’s it, i don’t think i’ll need a 35-100, i’ll probably be fine with the cosy 14-140, especially for the gap between 12-35 and 100-300. and it’s funny when i think that i’ve had this 14-140 as my first m4/3 lens and i still don’t dislike it :)
      to cut it short: if they are making more lenses, for different wallets, does it really have to be a bad thing? :)

      PS as far as i know gh3 shouldn’t be bigger than its precursor, on the contrary it should be smaller!

    • bilgy_no1

      If the GF1 + 20mm + 14-45mm was worthy, what’s stopping you from using the GX1 (improved IQ and operations) with the same lenses???

      In fact, the NEX-6 looks like a very nice body spec-wise, but what lenses are you going to use on that camera? AFAICS only the 24mm f/1.8 provides good quality (on par with the 20mm f/1.7), but that lens is around $1000!!! It’s also much bigger than the 20mm, making the combo of NEX-6 +24mm much less compact than the GX1 + 20mm.

      The sensor improvements of the E-M5 will trickle down into the lower priced models as well.

      Anyway, your arguments seem a little far fetched, only to justify a choice you have already made. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, doesn’t it?

  • toronto1818

    I’d buy both the E-650 and E-6 if they make them…

  • Esa Tuunanen

    Two DSLRs and only updates to compact/low end mirrorless doesn’t really sound right.
    4/3 DSLRs already lost to Canikon and have been drifting in the water for couple years.
    Further Olympus and Panasonic both have been releasing lenses for m4/3 and Panasonic is definitely going to make all new lenses for mirrorless so why put now so much resources to bodies which couldn’t use any of those?

    More sense making would replacing one DSLR with real high end mirrorless body. That would score against Canikon’s advance to mirrorless which is the important spot for 4/3’s long term success.

  • Harvey

    I’m a novice… and not really a techie. I’ve been using a Canon G9 for a few years and I’m interested in getting a 4/3 camera. I’m looking for better pictures in low level light situations.

    I like Canon products, so my first question is: are there any rumors about Canon coming out with such a product?

    $600 is my comfort level for a pocketable 4/3 camera with a zoom, image stabilization, a selection of setting for scenes. Video isn’t important.

    Any suggestions?

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