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(FT5) UPDATED3 -> Four Thirds is dead! Long live Four Thirds!

FT5 rumors are rare but when we publish one you can trust  that we know what we are doing!

I know people started saying that after the MicroFourThirds success classic Four Thirds development is going to die. Forget it! Expect big Four Thirds news between late August and October. Cameras and lenses are coming! The E-3 successor is ready to be announced. It should arrive together with the new prime lenses. I hope to get some concrete specs these cameras and lenses soon!

(FT4) The E-3 successor is rumored to use the 12 Megapixel, E-30 sensor with a weaker AA filter, and little upgrades in the AutoFocus system . It will have Art Filters.

UPDATE: The E-3 successor will be an upgraded E-3. But the same source who gave me the specs told me Olympus will release a completely new high-end camera next year (probably at Photokina 2010)

UPDATE2: This is what of a source told us: “The E3 Evolution (or mark 2) is essentially a repackaged E3 with E30 features. If you add in what the E30 has, like art filters, digital leveler, AF adjustments, you’ll be pretty accurate. The E4 will only be released next year.

UPDATE3: The most improbable rumored name for the E-3 successor is “OM-N1“. The sources told me that the name will not be E-4 or E-5!

  • Mark

    This is the worst FT5 yet. There’s absolutely nothing concrete in this post. Why not wait until you actually have the specs before posting anything. This site is turning into a big pile of ads and obvious predictions. Get your act together.

    • admin

      Hi Marc!
      The concrete thing is the release time and the E-3 successor camera. Sorry if it is not enough. And why should it be obvious? Havn’t read that rumor anywhere, we are the only one telling you that. Because of the ads, look at imaging insider or nikonrumors or photorumors websites as reference…they have tons of ads! And to be honest I am ready to cut some advertising with the new theme upgrade which should be ready in few weeks. The header ads should become less introusive. Really Mark, it is difficoult to find the right compromiss…

      UPDATE: I am still thinking if I should remove all ads and just keep a small header with the affiliate shops list… so that you can support this website through starting your shopping from there…would it be better?

  • Charles

    Honestly I agree with Mark. People have been expecting Olympus announcements before the end of this year for a while. It’s hardly a revelation. I don’t care if you post infrequently, as it is a rumor site and new stuff doesn’t come up everyday. I do want to see something worthwhile when you do post though.

    • admin

      Ok Charles and Marc! I probably will receive some more infos soon and I can’t remove the post now. I will update the post as soon as I can and I will be more careful next time.

  • Thyl

    A very interesting reading i recently found (dpreview?) concerning resolution versus diffraction and aperture. The conclusion was that already at the present 12 mp resolution, the available aperture range is significantly limited, on one hand by the resolution of a lens (wide open), and on the other hand by its diffraction (at smaller aperture openings). When olympus raises the sensor resolution any more, the reasonable aperture range for optimal sharpness could be reduced to something like 4.0 – 5.6. Aps-c sensors seem to run into similar problems at or above 15 mp. So, in the long run, oly might have to reconsider their strategy, since i strongly assume that within 4 years, all competitor models will be “full” 35 mm at 20+ mp.

  • Mark

    Yeah, as Chales says, less posts is not a bad thing if your posts are gold. I don’t think you should remove the ads, if it helps keep the site up and running, just keep the information good, even if it’s less frequent. Anyway, thanks for doing this.

    • admin

      Mark thanks for helping me to make things better!

  • Eric

    IMHO Mark and Charles are taking things a bit too serious. I found some interesting information in this post that I had not read before (even if it was already out there), so just because you already know something, it doesn’t mean everyone else visiting the site does.

    Sometimes I see posts that I am not interested in on my RSS reader, when that is the case I just keep going and don’t click through, but I don’t assume that no one else could be interested.

  • Russ

    Concerning the rumor of a “completely new high-end camera next year,” will this replace the E-3 successor or E-30, or will this be positioned above the E-3 successor?

    • admin

      The E-3 successor.

  • davidk

    Actually I think four thirds is in fact dead. It’s just that it will take some time before Oly and Oly users realize it. Four thirds is a hold-over from when sensors were too expensive and too difficult to make in larger sizes. If quality full frame sensors had been available early on at low prices, APS-C and micro 43s would never have existed. As full frame sensors become less and less expensive, these smaller sensors will become largely pointless. The difference between Oly and other companies is that Oly has locked itself into a single rigid sensor size, based largely on quasi-religious reasons while no other companies (save Panny) have sworn loyalty to any particular sensor size. There is absolutely nothing sacred about 43s and now it is becoming plain there is little that is particularly advantageous either.

    However, micro four thirds is something else entirely and it is in this niche that Oly may just be able to not only survive, but excel for some time to come. Unless of course, other manufacturers build similar quality, size, ergonomic and feature rich cameras with bigger sensors. Then Oly has nothing on which to hang its hat except its lenses and that is not enough.

    • admin

      Hi David!
      I partially agree with you.
      Partially only because if it is true that Fullframe sensors are becoming cheaper and cheaper it is even true that APS-C or FourThirds sensors are going to be cheaper and cheaper. Anyway I am sure Panasonic and Olympus will go Fullframe soon or later…

  • radis2

    Whoa! the header made me jump !

  • Winder

    Yes, as FF sensors become cheaper, 4/3rds also become cheaper. As low-light-high ISO performance for 4/3rds it also gets better for FF.

    The only thing I think the E-3 needs to do is reduce noise. If they can produce a 12MP sensor that can produce clean 3200 ISO images (and eventually they will) then they have a winner.

    High MP images require really good glass and looking at images from 5DMKII and Sony 900 the edges show the limitation of the glass.

    The Olympus SGH glass is over kill for the current line up, but I think it is an indication of how far they plan to take the 4/3rd system.

  • Thomas

    Olympus surely must have a new sensor-design, if they want to be able to top the E-3 performance in signal/noise ratio and picture-per-seconds performance. the rest is just the application of existing technology in a new body. Imagine, if the course of evolution is not going up to bigger (full frame) sensors and all this heavy glass, but to sensors with rgb-splitting, uv-receiving, backlight illumination, or just more intelligent noise reduction (neuro-net designed software, multiply exposure with ultrafast image combining, motion prediction preventing smearing in long exposured pixels, etc)… this all can take a completely other course, than we might think today. and the market will also play a role, not every good technic can survive, although it seems superior from a rational point of view, and not every inferior technic is doomed to vanish.


  • Shawn

    Yes, I agree with Dave and the trend towards FF and away from APS-C and classic 4/3 to an extent, but let’s not forget that 4/3 wasn’t just a design decision based on sensor production cost. It was also based on wanting a higher level of optical performance across the frame that is difficult to achieve with bigger (FF) sensors unless you have proportionately larger lenses to match. (Otherwise, corner performance suffers at large apertures.) If you want the same level of optical performance across the frame for the same EFL, you will need a FF lens that is 2-4x the volume of a 4/3 lens.

    Another couple things to think about:

    1. The optical performance of lenses declines the further away you get from the center. 4/3 lenses generally hold on to their performance better at wider apertures because the system design calls for lenses that are much larger than the 4/3 sensor itself, avoiding the generally weaker corners. Compare this to FF lenses that are not that much bigger than the sensor. This is why you often have to stop down FF lenses to get sharp corners but not with 4/3 lenses.

    2. While smaller sensors become diffraction limited earlier, since 4/3 sensors are smaller, you will have more DoF for any given aperture, so you don’t need to stop down as much to get the DoF that you require — in effect, canceling out the diffraction phenomenon. Granted, if what you want is razor-thin DoF for subject isolation, a larger sensor helps give you that.

  • Admin,

    Regardless what negative feedback this rumor attracts, I find 43Rumors to have some of the best as well as most informative and solid info on the net. I visit this site approx. 3-5 times daily, mainly looking for additional info on the Oly E-3 Successor, but this site has completely gotten me to do a 180 and research both the Standard 4/3’s and M4/3’s systems. I am a wildlife shooter and the 2x crop factor is extremely appealing to me; as I researched, I have found that the Oly lenses are nothing to snicker at and are some of the fastest lens on the market today.

    I am awaiting the Oly E-3 Successor as I said and if it is a Nikon D300 Killer, the switch is on for me.

    Your rating system is very good as well, I like it.

    As far as adverts, they have no negative effects on me at all, you do whatever needs to be done to keep this site up running, educating, and informing!

    Hail…, keep up the outstanding work.

    • admin

      Hi Scout!
      This is the best compliment I received ever! Many many thanks! You gave me some positive energy and motivation today :)
      Have a nice day!

  • Imeline

    I like this page and the polls are a very nice idea (by the way, the 50mm focal length is more voted than the 14mm, check it out admin)

    Keep up the nice work :)

  • Alex

    Dave, what you say is totally wrong. Becouse we are in tehnological era, things become smaller, lighter and very performant. If you think that somebody will squise a FF sensor in a smaller body i think you don’t see the future. The future is for those company who will made a smaller sensors with a very high quality of image. That’s FF. Today you have a pistol or a granade, 200 years ago you throw with arrows and sword. So don’t tell me that in 5 years you will cary a 2kg camera when you will get the same result with a 0,7kg camera.

    This will apply to 98% of users.

    Escuse my english.

  • Alex

    That’s 4/3 format instead of That’s FF. Sorry! :)

  • davidk


    You have proved my point. Yes, as technology improves cameras will get smaller, but the 43 sensor has no significant technological advantage. It is just a sensor. As its technology improves, the technology of all sensors will improve. Therefore, a larger sensor will always produce superior quality images over a smaller sensor, given that they are both made with the same technology.

    And of course manufacturers will squeeze a FF sensor into a smaller body. They did it for many years with film, they will do it again with sensors. Every new generation of DSLRs proves that this is already happening right now. This is not soothsaying. It is simple observation of what is already on the market.

  • Laz

    Any more information on the primes that will be released? Apertures or focal lengths? Date of availability of those primes or price?

    • admin

      Not yet sorry.

  • Laz

    Keep digging! :) I’m most interested in those primes to see if they come out with a fast 25mm and 35mm lens which aren’t macro to fill some gaps. I’m still too hesitant to go with a sigma lens…

  • Bluecold

    FF sensors aren’t getting any cheaper. The price difference between the 20D and 5D a couple of years ago is about the same as the price difference between the D300 and D700 now. A little more actually, but the 5D also had a better screen, better autofocus system and a faster processor over the 20D so it’s close.

    Chips are getting cheaper because mfg’s can cram more transistors on every square mm of silicon. Silicon real estate hasn’t decreased in price. 35mm FF is only going to get cheaper when FF sensors can be made without stitching, but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

  • Josh

    i really hope you don’t listen to some people here. you are actually doing quite well. i check this website regularly and would like to have something new here even it’s not important. it’s better than nothing. if someone find it’s irrelevant, they can just look at the title and skip. i can’t image how a rarely updated website can attract people come back in a regular base.

  • Russ

    With regard to 4/3 being endangered by 35mm sized sensors, I think that the reverse may be true.

    One strong advantage that 4/3 has over 35mm sized systems is that the telephoto lenses can be made smaller and less expensive. At the high end, look at the Olympus 90-250mm f2.8 lens, which is the equivalent of a 180-500mm in a 35mm format. This retails for US$5,495.95 at B&H. A comparable lens is Sigma’s 200-500mm f2.8 lens which retails for $28,999.00 at B&H. Granted, the Sigma comes with a 2x teleconverter and a case, but for the $23,503.05 savings one should be able to get a those extras and still have over $22,000 left. The weight difference is also striking at 3.3kg versus 15.7kg.

    Then there is the issue of DoF. 4/3 yields greater DoF. If you love bokeh, 35mm sized sensors are better, but here comes the problem. Medium format is even better than 35mm. One problem with 35mm sized sensors is that they are best at nothing. Depending on what is needed, they are either outdone by 4/3, or by medium format.

    Then there is the aspect ratio. 4/3 is at 1.33:1. Medium format is usually at either 1:1 or 1.33:1. Large format is often at 1.2:1. 35mm is at 1.5:1. I know this quite well because of all of the time that I’ve spent in darkrooms with 35mm negatives and 8×10 paper. 1.5:1 is too wide for traditional photography, but not wide enough for the 1.78:1 of HDTV, and definitely not wide enough for cinema aspect ratios (1.85:1, 2.0:1, 2.2:1, 2.35:1, etc.)

  • Russ

    I accidentally sent the message before concluding.

    Anyway, 4/3 offers better performance per dollar than 35mm sized systems, and is all that is needed for most photographers. If more is needed, is 35mm good enough when medium format is there with even larger sensors, more megapixels and better bokeh?

  • David Eastham

    Olympus is unlikely to aspire to 35mm full frame because they prefer to make smaller products than their competitors.

    If Panasonic want a large sensor SLR, their best bet would be to jump on the 30mm x 45mm bandwagon of the Leica S2. This seems entirely probable, given the co-operation of the two companies. Why settle for yet another ‘full frame’ 35mm based camera when you can have ‘fuller frame’. After all 35mm was a film size and cameras took this format mainly because film of that size was readily available. Now nobody buys 35mm film there is no need to cling onto this size. If anything, the market for full frame is disadvantaged by being split between four competing lens mount standards, whereas 3/4 is the only standard in tis own niche (we will ignore APS-C for that statement!)

  • Josh

    Hey Russ,
    the problem with medium format is there are not enough lenses out there. imagine how many 35mm lenses have been produced during the past few decades. even for now, the lack of lens choices is still a limiting factor keeping potential user away from Olympus four thirds system. on the other hand, the success of 35mm camera shows its ability to provide enough shallow DOF, people using medium format are not for a shallower DOF, instead they are looking for a better resolution and image quality. DoF is the single most important feature for DSLR especially among amateur users. maybe pros don’t agree with this, but look at those online forums, canon and nikon FF users are really proud of the shallow DoF, it’s really attractive to non-pro users.

  • Winder

    If the next E-3 is nothing more than E-30 sensor dropped into the E-3 body I do not think it will be much of a success. Does the E-30 and the EP-1 share the same sensor? Art filters are not exactly a selling point as they can all be added in post processing.

    E-30 has Truepic III image processor and the EP-1 has TruepicV. I would hope they would at least use the current image processor and sensor. I would hope the LCD is also much improved over the E-30 and even the EP-1.

    I bought 2 SHG lenses with my E-3, and I have hopes that one day Olympus will produce a body worthy of the quality of glass.

  • Archer Sully

    Josh: Yeah, there are lots more 35mm lenses than MF, but really, the MF lenses are uniformly better. And, face it, lots of 35mm lenses aren’t very good.

    Lack of lenses for 4/3’s is a shibboleth, propagated by folks who haven’t paid attention for the past 3 years. And, come to think of it, lack of lenses hasn’t cut down interest in the E-P1.

  • Steve Noel

    My first visit here and will be back. One comment:

    Lack of lenses for a given sensor size is not the problem, many folks make it out to be. Most folks make do with only a few (or only one) for most use. I tried to cover all possible bases in the early years, but as I got better, I began to us less and less equipment. Let the development continue!

    Thanks for the site.


  • I have a hard time believing the new e3 will have the e30 sensor. I have seen test and the e3 is better than the e30 shooting in low light. The e30 has much more noise

  • Kathy

    Just last weekend I stopped by my local camera store looking for a fast, single focal length lens (10mm or 12mm) for my E-3. They didn’t know of anything but pointed me towards this website. I was very happy to see this FT5 article about expected new lenses –though, it seems unlikely now (on Aug. 14) that they’ll be available by the time I need them (leaving on a trip on Labor Day). Anyhow, this site is a real find and I will check back often.
    Since you asked, the ads don’t bother me.

  • Rocko Wallaby

    I don’t think FF in digital photography is as inevitable as some believe. I’m certainly not saying that it will go away – I think it will become the “new medium format” for wedding photographers and other pros that have been using MF film. They’ll love the compactness and light weight of the FF stuff compared to their old MF equipment. And let’s face it, if you’re going to pay somebody $6000 to photograph your daughter’s wedding, you’ll want him or her showing up with top-notch tools. However, those same attributes of compactness and light weight that the FF pros and serious enthusiasts will love have also become much appreciated by the new generation of dSLR users – soccer moms, trekkers, travelers, and casual photographers that have grown used to small dSLRs and P&Ss in the 10 – 12 MP range that deliver stunning prints of Johnny’s soccer team or their vacation to the Grand Canyon, along with the occasional 8×10 print of Jane’s prom dress for grandma.

    Yes, of course camera makers can put FF into tiny bodies – my Oly Stylus comes to mind. But the thing that must be considered here is not in the size if the body but rather the size of the lens. There’s no getting around it – 35mm lenses are bigger, heavier, and, if you want faster glass – more expensive than their APS or 4/3 counterparts. My Stylus has a 35mm lens. Try hanging a 14-42mm lens on it such as the one found on the EP-1 and you’ve got a completely different animal. And because of the much higher resolution of the FF sensor, the glass needed to deliver that fine detail will be very expensive indeed. Of course the cost of FF sensors will come down, but you also need to factor in the size, weight, speed and quality of the lenses needed to take advantage of a large sensor, and that’s the rub. While we “enthusiasts” (and by the very fact that we visit and read forums such as this one probably means that we are in that group) probably don’t mind toting around pounds of equipment in pusuing that nth degree of perfection, it’s the other 95% of camera buyers that drive the market, and they want small, light, and cheap. They pretty much have that now, but the success of the M4/3 format shows that they want smaller still. The big two, N & C, are still busily developing and introducing APS lenses, and there are rumors abounding that they are working on mirrorless cameras a la M4/3. I think that’s a pretty good sign that they realize that small sensor cameras, including dSLRs, are here to stay.

    One final thought. There’s a lot of excitement over the development of backside illuminated sensors. Sony just released a new P&S with this technology, and I’ve read that others, including Panny, are developing their own versions. It’s a promising technology – low light ability with low noise – but as of this moment I’ve read that it probably won’t work its way into the 4/3 sensors for quite some time because of the “heat and gain issues on larger sensors” that at this time cannot be easily solved. However, I’m pretty sure it will probably eventually reach the 4/3 format ,and if it’s easier to implement on smaller sensors, it’s a tantalizing thought to think the technology will reach 4/3 sensors way before it can be applied to FF!

    Well, no one knows the future, so this is just my 2 cents. Its value to you depends on your current exchange rate. :)

  • Chow

    Why would anyone consider buying an upgraded E-3 (E-3 Mark II) this fall when 6 months later a totally new cam will be launched at Photokina (E4??). I can’t imagine Olympus will go this road. Furthermore why would Olympus wait till Photokina. It’s pretty obvious Canon and Nikon will launch new products than also which gives Olympus less interest. The way they launched the E-P1 was one of the smartest marketing tricks I’ve seen. It makes more sense if Olympus picks its own time for launching the E4 so the whole world will watch.

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