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Pekka Potka discussion with Mr. Terada (PDAf possible, no OM-D monochrome).


Pekka Potka (Click here) had an one hour chat with Mr. Terada from Olympus. Here are just some of the info you can read on his website:

– Once again Olympus confirmed that there will be new bodies that will bring full Af support on FT lenses. And once again notice that they do not say “FT body”…but just “body”
– There is the possibility of a new lower OMD and a higher OMD than E-M5 model. Which one of these will be coming first was not answered.
– Technologies like PDAF (phase detecting auto focus) on sensor and focus peaking are available for them, although “no decision yet” about usage.
– And an OM-D Monochrome sensor would cost too much. Note. the Leica Monochrome is the only camera currently having this and costs $8000 at Amazon(!).

Fulla rticle at

  • poka

    yeah first!

    • Duarte Bruno

      Yeah, first useless post…

    • Yeah! Congratulations you fucking retard!!!!!!!!!!!! Go slice your wrists

      • Macx

        Dude! Calm down.

      • sdsdg

        Boris , get those meds started asap lol

  • I think a monochrome body would not achieve scales of economy due to low demand and would be priced accordingly…

    Monochrome bodies are too inflexible for the various types of black and whites, sepias and duotones wanted by customers, the increased detail isn’t always that attractive either…. just my thoughts

    • Ulli

      but it would still be interesting as an option, especially for photographers who do b/w mainly/only

      • Sho-Bud

        Not a critic to anyone, but why would you want a b&w camera? One can easily shoot in color than convert to black an white?
        Can someone educate me about the advantage??

        • More detail and better B/W IQ.
          (Leica go up from ISO 2500 to ISO 10000 also)

          • zf

            Isn’t it just because M9 doesn’t really have a good sensor to begin with? I don’t know what you think of DxO, but their results clearly shows that.

            If you compare Leica Monochrome to B&W D800 or 5D3 or a99, there’s just simply no contest.

            • My point is Leica go from ISO 2500 on M-9, to ISO 10000 on M-9 Monocrom so we talk by two step only for Bayer filter is off sensor.

              • jake

                it does not matter what you think about these crappy toy cameras called Rangefinder or Leica Ms. But all Rangefinders are overpraiced crappy cameras that should have died in last century in a camera coffin at a museum of historical camera in Zurich.

                that said , the S2 and its successors are great cameras , but not the M.

        • ulli

          the main difference is that a b/w sensor doesnot have a bayer matrix, which uses 3 pixels for creating one colour pixel. By removing this matrix you keep the true native resolution of a sensor. Thats why a 6MP monochrome camera (like the Kodak 760M)has a higher resolving power then its color version, the 760.
          Also the Foveon sensors maintain the native resolution, but by using 3 pixellayers for each color, keeping the output full colour this way. Check the dpreview tests of the foveon cameras, to see that their lower mp sensors can be compared with higher mp colour sensors.

          this was posted at wednesday october 3rd 13:30 amsterdam time, still in moderation mode here admin :-(((

        • people want b/w sensors for similar reason for wanting multi-aspect sensors or for that matter just a square sensor, so that you can compose the way you want your finished work to look. Composing in square or any other format and in b/w is very different that cropping or later conversion to b/w. For those of use who were/are long time b/w film photographers removing the distractions and unnecessary work of conversion would be wonderful. Also toning was always a post treatment, i’m sure clever people will make that very easy to do in the digital tools of your choice

          • One of the advantages of electronic viewfinders is exactly that: they enable a simulation of the final result during composition. The ability to compose through a monochromatic, square viewfinder was an eye opener to me when I first used the E-P2.
            I believe that the desire to own a monochromatic camera stems from a sociological equivalent to the handicap principle: the constraints inherent to such a camera would enable the bold to prove their merit. It is a well known masculine behavioral trait common to many animal species, Homo sapiens apparently included.

          • Sho-Bud

            Hi, thank you all for your reply !

      • MrGuyFawkes

        ah i see…so none of you guys ever shoot RAW then?

    • Anonymoose

      I always hated monochrome bodies. This remains my life-long wet dream:

  • sorry my inglish

    will be new bodies that will bring full Af support on FT lenses;
    that means E350, E530 and E5 markII ?

  • Es

    If they are now only exploring options on how to support 4/3 lenses, we will not see a solution in stores earlier than 2014. By then, who will care?

    • Per


      • Eric


        E-620 + 14-42 + 12-60 + FE 8 + 50 + 40-150. No plane to switch in 2013. But long term project to get lighter equipment.

    • @Es
      Olympus solutions are and have been tested out in the wild all this year…

      • efety

        Have you actually seen them or just passing on BS

        • Bart

          yes, 2 of them.

    • Fan

      I am still waiting to put my Zuiko 14-54 II to use. I bought it though I never had a FT body, but even though it supposedly supports CDAF, it is too slow!! But faster on the Lumix G3 than on the OM-D E-M5 …


  • Really don’t understand why people keep thinking that a sensor-based PDAF would be a great help for legacy PDAF lenses. The PDAF “pixels” do help just for guessing the initial direction, the hard work is still done by CDAF.

    I’d rather bet on either a translucent or an intelligent “LCD” mirror adapter…

    • Miroslav

      Nikon has done it right. Whether that is with the help of CDAF or not, it doesn’t matter. It’s the final result that matters.

      Adapters with mirrors take 30% of light ( correct me if I’m wrong ), so those fast Oly zooms wouldn’t be as fast as on 4/3 bodies and there’d be no point in putting them on m4/3 cameras.

      • rwwwr

        I think it is only about a third of a stop that the mirror loses

    • an englishman

      PDAF on sensor for guessing the direction is what is needed for four thirds lenses. HAving the direction, the focus will move in the right direction and thus be faster then they currently operate on CDAF only.

      A translucent mirror or mirror adapter is not an elegant solution, it requires more power, precision mechanical engineering to fit it into an adapter (if it is possible on micro four thirds, sony may have designed the NEW to allow this from day 1)
      Then you end up have the same PDAF you get on other bodies.

      PDAF to determine the direction and offset of focus, CDAF to determine the sharpness and there should be no reason for a reduction in focus speed. (limited by the speed of focus on the lens)
      CDAF is not slow, yet because it works in a different way it requires quick response and precise response from lens AF motors (sharpness emerges very quickly and the sensor has no idea when it will emerge) and this was not required with PDAF systems as they were more aware of the state of focus and controlled the motors differently.

      • If you have PDAF to “determine the direction and offset of focus”, where do you need CDAF when all the necessary parametres are already known? ;-) Already now CDAF is very fast and exact for static subjects, without preliminary knowledge of direction or offset. Actually already E-P3 with CDAF is markedly faster than Canon EOS-M with hybrid AF. So, the question is not really in PD vs CD level debate without finer technologies. What is missing with present CDAF is the final honing to achive DSLR-like speed for subject tracking.

    • Indeed. PDAF on sensor is introduce by other companies to help mirrorless with tracking, it hasn’t been developed for 4/3 lenses. They have no suitable linear motors either.

      So it could be that PDAF might help the very few which are CDAF compatible, but even less those which are not.

      In the interview Potka also mentions that a mirrored adapter incurs in a loss of a 1/3 of light. So there is no clean and cheap solution.

      Oly has a patent for a hybrid camera, but they said that it was expensive to make, possibly too much for a few users.

      So it’s a problem of costs otherwise they wouldn’t have delayed for so long.

      • An interesting solution can be an “intelligent” translucent mirror (maybe LCD-based) which quickly changes its mirroring properties, thus a loss of 1/3 EV wouldn’t occur.

      • perat

        I hope that they don’t do a Leica thing and make a special model for the FT owners that is a limited edition and super expensive.Those guys have been very patient and loyal to Olympus.

        • Ash

          If they own multiple 4/3 lenses at thousands of dollars a pop then I doubt they will balk at the price of an expensive camera body.

          I’m pretty sure the Olympus also knows this and that the resulting body will be relatively expensive, probably retailing for as much as the E-5 did.

      • AtlDave

        “In the interview Potka also mentions that a mirrored adapter incurs in a loss of a 1/3 of light. So there is no clean and cheap solution.”

        That means shooting at ISO 2000 instead of 1600. Given the performance of the OMD sensor current E-5 users would still come out ahead of where they are now. Depth of field would be exactly the same. I am not a big fan of adding extra layers of glass before or after a lens but if I owned any expensive 43 lenses I would buy such an adapter.

        They could also make a larger m43 body with more controls to go with a SLT adapter. It could have the same internals as the current or next generation OMD but have the better ergonomics and strength a larger and heavier body makes possible. I would not buy it but it might be what a lot of E-5 owners are looking for in a m43 camera.

  • Miroslav

    It’s clear now that 4/3 lenses will be supported by PDAF on sensor. As for “dead pixels” that had to use data from the ones next to them, if Nikon has no problem with several tens out of 10000000 pixels, I guess Olympus won’t have them either with 1.6 times more pixels.

    The thoughts of usefulness of focus peaking differ from user to user, so it would be nice of Olympus to put it in their cameras and let us users decide whether it’s useful for us or not. Now that they share technology with Sony, it’s a question of when and not if, I suppose.

    If they’re sensible and want to earn some more money, they’ll fill the gap between E-PL5 and E-M5 sooner rather than later… But then again, if they were sensible, they’d offer all of their lenses in black and one shade of silver. Imagine Canon making white lenses in different whites.

    I don’t know. It’s really confusing how people who’ve got so many things right do ( or don’t do ) these few stupid little things that bother their customers to hell. We’ll have to be patient a little more, I guess…

    • No it’s not clear at all. SHG lenses were NOT designed for CDAF+PDAF, they don’t have proper motors. PDAF on sensor works only as a complement do CDAF, so the problem stays the same.

      Whatever the solution it will be a kludge. Oly clearly does not want to be buried under protests, so STOP obfuscating the issue.

      So far the ONLY dSLR maker who has somehow solved the issue for mirrorless is Sony, and its mirrored adapter is a kludge. It works but almost nobody buys it, I bet.

      • Miroslav

        “No it’s not clear at all. SHG lenses were NOT designed for CDAF+PDAF, they don’t have proper motors. PDAF on sensor works only as a complement do CDAF.”

        I did not mention CDAF+PDAF. Nikon’s solution is PDAF-only – when there is enough light:

        “Hybrid AF incorporates both contrast-detection and phase-detection focus technology – the latter being used when the cameras detect favorable lighting conditions.” from
        It works well both with native 1 lenses and F-mount lenses.

        If Olympus (Sony) could implement such system into a future sensor, it would be a solution for 4/3 lens AF on m4/3 bodies.

    • Nikon has just one line of PD elements. You would not like to have a DSLR with just a line of focusing spots from the center to one edge. Would you?

      • Agree, PDAF on sensor not good combination for a Pro camera anyway, and SHG FT lens is built for size of E-x camera too.

      • Miroslav

        That Nikon 1 AF system is the most elegant solution so far, but it surely can be improved. Maybe the number focusing spots and their arrangement could be the differentiator between various camera models, with high end having more?

        Anyway, thanks for the highly informative article on your website and for taking time to reply to our posts here!

    • Tropical Yeti

      Using some pixels for PDAF (so they are not used in image generation) is not really a problem for image quality.

      Some sensors directly from production line already have dead pixels and are accepted as OK.

      I have been told that even sensors with whole lines of dead pixels can be accepted as OK, and there is no real image detorioration visible in camera…

  • Peter

    I for one would buy a monochrome om-d – even at ~2k for a body only…

    After seeing what leica have done with the monochrom i would love to be able to leverage my existing mft lenses for high resolution bw shooting

    • Bronica

      I think monchrome has more disadvantages than advantages.

      Before I convert the pixs into BW I filter them – green for the skin, or red or yellow. This is with ai camera imposible. The camera needs such a filter while shooting.

      And: Sometimes there are only on one colour-channel details left, which are BW after converting. With am monochrome-camera there might be nothing.

      • Agree, but the best is at use B/W filter on lens front. ;-)

  • > And once again notice that they do not say “FT body”…but just “body”

    As soon as the PDAF is supported in m43, the difference between 43 and m43 resolves to OVF vs EVF. But I’ll rant about that when/if we would get there. :)

    • I think not Olympus give priority to new mFT body for use on Pro FT lens, and not new mFT Pro lens too. :-D

  • Christian

    The mirror-adapter currently provided by Sony might not be the most sophisticated solution imaginable, but still it is a solution and therefore better than nothing.

    Nevertheless, I hope that Oly comes up with something smarter that does not involve 1/3 loss of light.

  • Even accepting that Nikon F lenses are quick enough with Nikon 1 bodies, that doesn’t mean that 4/3 lenses will be quick enough with m4/3 bodies with a PDAF on sensor.

    Those lenses were already prone to backfocus with regular PDAF sensors. Can you imagine if they will precise enough with just some spare pixels to go by?

    F lenses are also said to AF quickly, but only in *good light*. Can you imagine the protests by 4/3 owners, if the camera stops to work in poor light?

    What works well, at least conceptually is a system where PDAF and CDAF are complementary.

    PDAF shows the direction and CDAF does the minute adjustments. AF tracking also becomes easier.

    That is why I said that CDAF compatible 4/3 lenses would probably benefit, but they are only a few, among 4/3 lenses.

    • ulli

      I notice you repeatedly mention about 43 lenses suffering from backfocus,. Sounds you experienced some kind of trauma with it? Just curious.

      • Esa Tuunanen

        Amalric appears to be on a mission to make sure mirrorless 4/3 won’t rise to challenge Canikon’s market control.

      • I didn’t but that doesn’t signify. Many complained about the focus of v. expensive lenses. My E-620 had a complex multi-point calibration, to avoid likely problems.

        People refused for so long to see that CDAF was far more precise, because it wasn’t fast in the beginning, but it just needed different lenses’ motors with little inertia. Now it is both fast and precise.

        Does anybody complain? Changing AF system can be v. expensive for a small company but is nevertheless necessary…

        • Esa Tuunanen

          You’re no authority to say PDAF can’t be as precise as CDAF.

          > Now it is both fast and precise.
          Tell that to those who’ve tried to get mirrorless to focus to faster moving targets.

          • We are discussing Olympus, and yes 4/3 had AF problems, so calibration was introduced.

            It’s not a matter of authority but of reporting things as they were.

            As said below Oly didn’t have control on how the sensor was made. Now perhaps it will be different, but I don’t see them forfeiting CDAF, after having claimed the fastest AF of the industry (!)

            The interview doesn’t really explicit what would be a cost effective solution for Oly, keeping in mind that its 4/3 users left must be very few.

            So one discusses for the sake of the debate, but ramblings with no idea of the cost have very little use.

    • Derickpo

      “Even accepting that Nikon F lenses are quick enough with Nikon 1 bodies, that doesn’t mean that 4/3 lenses will be quick enough with m4/3 bodies with a PDAF on sensor.”

      They are I have tried out several of my Nikon lenses including the 70-200 and 300mm { I know bit silly } and the results are far better than using my FT lenses even on the E-M5. I find it amusing how much the FT guys bitch about the performance of their lenses on mFT especially when FT AF was frankly miles behind Canon or Nikon.

    • Christian

      I have several FT-lenses and none of them suffers from backfocus.

    • Esa Tuunanen

      Like Penn & Teller would say. Bullshit!

      Whole back/front focus issue of PDAF has lots do with focus detection being not done on real focal plane.
      Misalignment in main SLR mirror, secondary mirror or any of the parts on focus sensor assembly will screw its accuracy.
      Doing phase detection directly on focal plane removes that source of inaccuracy.
      Analog film medium as sensor was just incompatible with phase detection so PDAF was developed to work in separate sensor for three decades.

      And by its nature besides direction phase detection also always gives information about amount of misfocus. So it would definitely help to focus 4/3 lenses faster.

      That EOS-M/650D sensor can’t do a shit for focus speed only tells how Canon has been and is stuck in film era legacy systems. (+sensor’s noise preformance is same as in old 550D when looking in Dpreviews RAW comparison)

  • cancanl

    Now that they have signed up with Sony what’s the problem saying who made the sensor. You know the more this BS goes on the less convinced I am about who made the E-M5 sensor . Surely instead of picture showing P&S an E-M5 would be a positive example of the two companies working together, I smell a rat

  • Nick

    Your summary is not so good. They mention a higher end PEN instead of lower end OM-D is possible. But the original article is confusing too.

  • Kev2

    The Leica mono isn’t the only mono. Red makes one (only 100 actually):

  • Riley

    One of the few ways out of this dilemma should have been apparent all along, and its something that phased systems have access to. Examine a straight cdAF system, basically pixels that are disposed to AF, wired to the AF system.

    First problem is they under the bayer layer, hence lose around 1/3rd of the available light, still a long way in front of pdAF which will only receive 24% or so of the light available at best. cdAF pixels modified for pdAF however are such that they operate under a 50% blank under the microlens. Further reducing light sensitivity

    Olympus patent on same had clear filters over the AF pixels, while this picks up the 1/3rd lost under the normal bayer layer, they still suffer 50% blanking in order to be pdAF. But there was always another way.

    The system is able to determine the strength of contrast across a series of pixels, at its heart this is the notion of cdAF systems, they are ‘contrast detect’. If one could correct the ‘vision’ of these pixels just like corrective glasses for eyeglass wearers, you could change the position of focus, which is all the information one needs to generate pdAF.

    So in a series of pixels on a sensor some would have different ‘corrective’ microlenses from the rest. The system would be able to detect near or far focus by the ratios of contrast, and therefore drive the lens toward focus, which is all that is required.

    This goes somewhat against the utility of cdAF in the recent past, which on E5 has something like 720 active focus points. If it were reduced to a manageable number the impact of mapping out pixels would be reduced.

    The issue as I see it for Olympus is, they havent been making their own sensors, so they do not have at hand the tools to accomplish this. And it would in any even be a particularly difficult task.

    • Esa Tuunanen

      There wouldn’t be need for phase detection in everywhere on sensor.
      Its main use would be really for moving targets which you usually keep in center.
      That’s how bird photography is done on DSLRs. Focus points outside center area are basically used only when shooting static sceneries and CDAF can do that job.

      And phase detecting pixel receiving less light/giving weaker signal doesn’t mean its output couldn’t be utilized for forming picture.
      With advance in sensor designs it might be possible to have pixel output signal amplified to exposure level of other pixels during actual exposure to give data which wouldn’t need changes to RAW processing.

  • Jason 0110

    Remember the old Polaroids that had sonar for focus? Wouldn’t a modern version help CDAF focus a PDAF lens?

    • Riley

      sound sensors ie sonar are not especially accurate. The problem is not so much distance accuracy but the size/diameter of the sound cone when it hits the target. Several feet in diameter at 10 ft.

      Plus it would require calibration to all the lenses. The only effective options must include using the lenses intended to be focused.

    • Totally unusable beyond maybe 25 feet and human-sized subjects.

  • Milt

    To Admin,
    This is interesting, but on a different topic, please tell us the news about the GX2 reportedly coming down the pipe soon.

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