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Place your bet: Who made the Olympus OM-D sensor?


Image on top: The 16 Megapixel APS-C sensor from Aptina.

The only thing we now about the new Olympus OM-D sensor is that it has 16 megapixel, an increased dynamic range compared to the previous cameras and superb video quality. But the big question is …who made the sensor? I am having hard times to think that this is a Panasonic sensor. Panasonic wouldn’t give the newest sensor to Olympus before to use it on their own cameras. It could be Fuji but I don’t know if they want to cannibalize their newly launch X PRO 1. It could be a Sony, but again why ship sensors to a direct competitor? It could be Samsung that we know proposed their sensor tech to Oly. And it could be Aptina that is already selling their sensors for Nikon. Just for fun, I want you to place your bet:

The new 16 Megapixel sensor has been made by....

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My bet goes to Aptina. It’s just my “feeling”, not a rumor :(


  • modsnrockers

    cdaf pdaf aptina

    • OM-4T Black

      I agree with Admin. Aptina is ready for the big-time. They have proven they can make DR improvement on par with Sony, Pana sensor hasn’t yet.

  • The realistic option is that it’s a Panasonic sensor. Either a new one and they agreed to release cameras in the same timeframe with this sensor (Panasonic might release a camera also soon), or it’s just the same as the G3 with some tweak.

    If I’m allowed to dream, though, I’d like it to be from Fuji.

    Or an even more unrealistic dream, a sensor from InVisage using organic layer (QuantumFilm) and global shutter (QuantumShutter):

    • KlausB

      Also think it is just a tweaked Panasonic sensor. Otherwise we would have already heared some rumors about it.
      But I wish someone else made the sensor, but I don´t think its realistic :(

    • bilgy_no1

      The two EV stop ISO improvement can be achieved with the G3 sensor. It is already 1 stop better than the 12mp sensor. Add 0.5 EV for Olympus processing, and another 0.5 to account for the bragging Olympus source, and we’re there.

      Less noise also improves DR, because the shadows retain more useful detail.

      All this in JPEG of course, but based on improved RAW sensor output.

      So, the G3 sensor is plausible with all we know for now. And imo that’s already a solid improvement over previous Olympus products. If we do see a new sensor that beats the G3 one, that’s great.

    • Anna_T

      I agree, it surely comes from Panasonic and probably is the G3 16meg sensor tweaked by Olympus, like they tweaked the old 12meg. sensor. With respect to the actual E-P3 series, they will gains one stop in usable ISO speed. The other stop will be gained in jpegs because Olympus has a better jpeg engine than Panasonic.

      I really wish it were the Fuji sensor, but I don’t think it is realist. My G3 is one stop better than my E-P3 and that is all we will get.

      • I also is 100% surely the come from Panasonic, but maybe the GH2 sensor will come into “OM-D” camera, so is multi aspect and also made for video.

  • Thomas

    Sony. I think Sony logical, combining the rumors about buying shares from Olympus, and combining the fact, they want to defeat Panasonic as for the mirrorless systems. And with Olympus being no threat for Sony, but a threat for Panasonic, this is the logical step they will do.

    • TheEye

      How quickly could the OM-X been designed to accommodate a Sony sensor if the very recent (as far as we know) Sony interest in Oly shares was the decisive factor? ;-)

      There is a chance that Oly has been at liberty to choose a suitable sensor other than a Panasonic one for some time, maybe close to a year. I think it’s possible, but I don’t know if that’s the case.

    • bilgy_no1

      And Fuji are also interested in buying Olympus shares, but that’s NOTHING to do with m4/3. That’s all about the medical dvision (endoscopes).

      Aptina would be an interesting supplier, seeing what they can do with a 10MP sensor half the size of 4/3. So, a 16MP sensor 4/3 sensor would be potentially be great.

      Both Sony and Samsung could be potential sellers. Competition does not matter; in the case of Sony, we know they will sell sensors to anyone. The only thing for Sony is that they have fought hard to keep APS-C as the ‘standard’ sensor size to keep m4/3 in the cage.

      But very likely it would be Panasonic with the 16MP G3/GX1 sensor. That rumour about the extreme videoperformance may have been blown up in the blogpost. It said something about reduced jello effect, but that in itself does not suddenly make it the best video device around. We’ll see, the real clue upon release is wether it is still dubbed ‘LiveMOS’ sensor (Panasonic) or not (one of the others). But they will probably not just say who made it for them.

    • Anna_T

      Sonny is selling its compact sensor to Olympus since eons. That has nothing to do with mft sensors.

  • Balthier Bunansa

    my bet is…none of the above… because of the rumored great video performance of the new Oly camera and Astrodesign joining m4/3,i’m betting on Astrodesign making the sensor to Olympus design specs

    • reverse stream swimmer

      AstroDesign makes sense in some way.
      Also seeing the new M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ zoom with locked focus while zooming is a new great video feature. All electronic control as well. Olympus is making a serious entry with video for sure!

    • Farrukh


    • TheEye

      Who uses AstroDesign sensors?

      • Balthier Bunansa

        nobody yet(except AstroDesign themselves in their videocameras) :) but it wouldn’t be far fetched to think they have a capability to produce sensors they use in their cameras

    • bilgy_no1

      FYI: Astrodesign has a 1.25″ 8.9MP sensor in its new m4/3 compatible 4k video solution.

  • Luis

    Same as the GH2. That will explain the better DR, better video and 16 mpx.

    • +1000

    • grzybu

      In best case there will be GH2 sensor with faster CPU than GH2 has.
      Maybe with faster reading rates.
      This with fast CPU could give better EVF experience with downsized full sensor output which would give clean EVF image even with high ISO.
      And Olympus seems to be able to get bit better results from the same sensors than Panasonic.

    • bilgy_no1

      But the GH2 sensor is 18MP, and it seems unlikely that Olympus also gets the multi-aspect feature (unique to Panasonic).

      It could be a 16MP cut-out of the GH2 sensor (which is not the same as the G3 16MP sensor). Still, it would be something new, since such a cut-out has not been used before (including GH1 sensor)

      • Luis

        It’s true that the GH2 sensor is 18mpx but the maximum output is a 16mpx image. That shouldn’t be enough to discard it. Anyway I also have doubts about Panasonic letting Oly use a multiaspect ratio sensor. But, hey, it’s a high-end product for those willing to pay it. Maybe Oly also paid the fee. :)

        If the rumors are true -of course they might not be-, the G3 sensor as is does not increase significatively the DR over the 12mpx sensor, and is not as capable as the GH series regarding video. If DR and video are that nice, that would mean that at least part of the technology on the GH sensors is being used. Whether is a very tweaked G3 sensor or the GH2 stretching the video limits via firmware we don’t know yet.

        The Sony sensor makes no comercial sense and a new manufacturer probably won’t have the know-how to improve Panasonic’s currents on its first trial.

    • gl

      yeah, tweaked. May for slightly faster readout, hence slightly less jello. all they need to market as ‘best’.

    • Anna_T

      But the GH2 sensor is 18 megs and the new Olympus sensor will be 16megs.

      • Mr. Reeee

        But the Panasonic sensor in the GH2 is called a multi-aspect ration sensor.

        Basically, it’s “oversized” and uses 16MP for 4:3 aspect ratio and uses a maximum amount of the sensor, dictated by the widest dimension, for the four aspect ratios it supports… 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1.

        Normally when a camera “changes” aspect ratios, it merely crops the 4:3 image.

        In the GH2 it goes like this:

        4:3 4608 x 3456 pixels 16MP
        3:2 4752 x 3168 pixels 15MP
        16:9 4976 x 2800 pixels 14MP
        1:1 3456 x 3456 pixels 12MP

  • duno option?

  • SF

    my vote goes to Panasonic G3 sensor combined with Olympus pre-announcement hype ;)

  • Stageshadow

    By the way…
    Who made the Sensor for the Canon G1X?

    • hannes


    • ijack


      • MJr

        For sure ?

        • Narretz

          No, four thirds!

          • MJr

            Funny, for turds.

            • Stageshadow

              Ok, so nobody knows, i was just curios about the 4/3 ratio….

              • BornOptimist

                That’s just the ordinary Canon 18MP sensor, cut smaller and in 4:3 aspect ratio. They used 4:3 ratio so it was easier to make a decent lens covering the edges of the sensor.
                IQ from this camera is very similiar to all other Canon 18MP DSLR (lens quality aside).

  • I bet on Panasonic sensor. rumor claim better video spec than Gh2 (non hack version) mean now olympus will not really cover the whole sensor capability like what panasonic did – limited it video capability.

    rumor says it ‘tweaked’ sensor = 16mp panasensor
    16mp multi aspect ratio is alr long time there , gh2 = OMD
    olympus so closed with panasonic = probability is panasensor

  • hannes

    The most likely would be the Panasonic G3 sensor.
    Prior to the E-P3 announcement they also spread rumors about high dynamic range and so forth.

    • reverse stream swimmer

      Not G3/GX1 sensor, since it’s analogue. Rather it’s digitally output GH-style for faster readout of both AF and for video.

      It’s the upcoming GH3-sensor I presume!
      (And Panasonic will also introduce the GH3 this year at Photokina).

      • ange7

        You think Pany would give Oly that sensor?

        • reverse stream swimmer

          Absolutely, since I don’t believe a minute in the conspiracy theories I read about and consider just as rumours in the forums.

          All is about reaching business volumes, and if Panasonic semiconductor foundry capacity isn’t limited, they would be happy selling as many sensors they could.

          Of course, somebody needs to be a guinea pig and refine that sensor, preferably Panasonic over Olympus, therefore I admit I would expect the sensor first showing up in a Panasonic camera.

          Who knows, perhaps it’s a parallel new product intro from both companies of new cameras with the same type of sensor within this year?

          • ange7

            hope your right but would have thought panny would keep that GH3 sensor for themselves and not let oly’s ibis plus gh3 outshine it.

        • No, Oly will buy sensor. :-D

  • …don’t care, as long as it DOES have a sensor ;-)

    could of chosen Sony
    could of chosen Panny
    could of chosen Aptina
    could of chosen Samsung
    could of chosen Fuji

    • Boooo!

      Could have!

      • was only messing ;-)

        • bilgy_no1

          Of cause, but you could of sad that ;)

  • Raist

    “The only thing we now about the new Olympus OM-D sensor is that it has 16 megapixel, an increased dynamic range compared to the previous cameras and superb video quality. ”

    I am sorry admin, but no, we don’t. Not yet. These are still rumors and need testing out in the real world, even if somewhat likely.

    • Oliver


  • BLI

    Panasonic, but with so much input from Olympus that Panasonic cannot ship a new camera with the same sensor (GF7?) before OMG?

  • Yun

    My pick likely from Pana , no matter how competetive , they are buddies in M4/3 . Pana could have another new sensor in hand already , just waiting for the right time to unveil it . GH3 example !

  • Couldn’t care less.

  • JRK

    I think there is too much hype going on like the EP3 announcement tbh. Probably a tweaked Panasonic sensor. Or maybe Samsung or Sony since they have large CMOS operations that work independently from their camera business. I doubt Fuji or Aptina though. A nice surprise would be a repurposed Canon sensor from the G1X (nice IQ so far).

  • Admin: you forgot Toshiba.

  • Boooo!

    It’s definitely not Sony, because they have 3 full stops of advantage over the current Panoly sensors. That would be too good :D

    Panasonic… Unlikely. The GH2 sensor is decent, but it’s still only 1 stop extra.

    If Aptina was the supplier, we’d be hearing all about PDAF by now. We don’t, so they’re out.

    That leaves Fuji, Samsung or Astrodesign. My bet is on Samsung. They’ve been investing a lot into sensors, and we know they offered Olympus a 16 Mpx sensor.

    • Fan

      We did here about PDAF. Admin said the new AF system is a combination of technologies. So either PDAF or an external distance measurement sensor.

    • Where did you get that “3 full stops”? The advantage for Sony at pixel level between NEX-5N and latest Panasonic sensors is roughly 1 stop, a little over or under regarding which parameter you look at.

      • Boooo!

        From both DxOMark and my own playing around with raw files. The DR difference is about three stops. I don’t know about ISO and I don’t care.

        • Cuprinol

          “Don’t know, don’t care” – We really appreciate your input.

          • Boooo!

            ISO is irrelevant.

        • Bob B.

          DR doesn’t come in “stops”? LOL!

          • ange7

            If not stops what you measure dynamic range in idiot? “LOL” indeed you spammy fool

            • Bob B.

              The measurements for DR are not in f/stop increments like ISO. It is a different measurement. DUH.

              • SZRimaging

                Actually, it is in “stops”. DR is measured in stops (such as a 10 stop, 7 stop, or 12 stop) because that is basically how you measure what light it can grab at a given exposure. So if you have a 12 stop DR, anything that is 6 stops over and 6 stops under your middle grey will be exposed with detail. Anything outside of that will blow out to either pure black or pure white.

                • Bob B.

                  Stops refers to f/stops. DR is not measured in f/stops like ISO is. DR is measured in EV’s. A certain dynamic range can be referenced by f/stops (ie a certain DR measured in EV’s may fit within a certain f/stop spread but it is not the system of measurement used to quantify the DR).

                  • SZRimaging

                    Semantics. 1 stop = 1 EV.

                    “with 1 EV corresponding to a standard power-of-2 exposure step, commonly referred to as a stop.” – Wikipedia

                  • SZRimaging

                    It should also be noted that there are f-stops and t-stops.

                    But a change in exposure time, say from 1/2 to 1/1 is a 1 stop change (assuming that f-stop and ISO are constant).

                    • Rob

                      F-stops and T-stops are optical nomenclature, both correspond to a doubling or halving of light, T-stop just accounts for loss of light in the optics whereas F-stop is based on the aperture opening alone. 1 stop is 1 ev, it’s all the same, it’s all used interchangeably.


                  • ange7

                    Poor Bob B.”LOL”
                    Stick to post about bokeh mate.

                  • Adam Maas

                    No, stops does not refer only to f/stops. You also have stops of shutter speed and stops of ISO/DIN film/sensor speed. 1 stop is 1 EV, regardless of how you get that EV.

                    You are correct in that DR is not actually measued in stops. It’s actually measured in dB from the noise floor to saturation. However as this measurement is not easily translatable into a usable quantity for photography it is then translated into the equivalent EV range, ie the number of stops. Note 1 stop is pretty much equivalent to 3dB.

    • Trand

      I think you are three stops short of a correct exposure!

    • Sunny

      “… because they have 3 full stops of advantage over the current Panoly sensors.”

      I don´t beleive that.

  • karay

    I think Panasonic is still the most likely scenario. They are gonna introduce at least one new body in the near future, so the OM could share the same sensor.
    @ admin:
    Any news of new lenses being introduced with the OM-D? I’d love to see an Olympus made 25/1.7 :)

    • admin

      No lens coming on february 8th. But I have a rumor soon for you… :)

      • TheEye

        I heard a rumor that there was another rumor to be unleashed! :-P

        • Camaman

          Its just that, a rumor… :-)

      • Balthier Bunansa

        45mm/1.8 lens came out of nowhere,so much so that oly product manager that i know didn’t know about it until oly released it and he usually is well informed of coming oly products. so no rumors about possible lenses coming on 8th doesn’t mean that there won’t be new lens presented on that day.

        • TheEye

          Sure, your source will risk his job by telling you everything he knows. ;-)

          • Balthier Bunansa

            about not knowing of 45mm lens coming, he told me months later after it was released, at one oly presentation.

            • TheEye

              Well, if he tells you afterwards, what good is it? :-P

      • No new lenses + weathersealed adapter = PDAF support for 4/3 lenses

      • safaridon

        Look at Admins reply to karay – no new lenses being introduced, so the new rumor must apply to the possibiity of a new m4/3 Pany camera being introduced on Feb 8th with the same new sensor?

        If that is the case maybe the previously rumored Pany GF7 rangefinder with EVF? Now that would be a surprise.

  • Pixnat

    I hope it’s a Sony…
    I think it’s a Panny…

  • BLI

    Amateur Photographer today:
    “The four thirds promise is contained in a statement from Olympus Japan which reads: ‘As the originator of the four thirds system and micro four thirds system standards, Olympus Imaging Corp will continue to develop and enhance the product line-up for both standards to meet the diverse needs of our customers.’ “

    • BLI

      They also say that OMG will not replace the PEN line, but that these two lines will run in parallell.

      • ijack
        • I get the impression that Chris Cheesman at amateurphotographer doesn’t like Olympus (no wonder AP magazine isn’t on my shopping list).

          • Conduit

            Amateur Photographer have been dismissing Olympus at every opportunity for years. Their contempt is barely disguised.

          • Raist

            AP goes with whoever pays them it seems. They have spoken well of Olympus in the past at times. But it’s a magazine in general influenced by who buys the ads.

            I have been saying this even when they speak good of Olympus. Curiously enough, almost nobody objets about AP when they speak well of Olympus.

            • Ab

              It isnt curious at all. When somebody says or does something mean or biased towards you you react.

              You dont generally pay as much attention to what is said about or to others.

              You suggesting it is curious is suggesting it is unique to m43rds users. It isnt.

  • Esa Tuunanen

    Nikon and Pentax are direct competitors of Sony’s system cameras but Sony’s semiconductor division sells sensors to them.
    And they have sold/are selling compact camera sensors to most camera makers.

    • The Real Stig

      Spot on!

      I was about to point out that Samsung and Apple are at each other throats in courts and in the marketplace, yet Samsung still makes a large proportion of the key components Apple requires for it’s devices.

      Samsung are even building a fab in Texas which is mainly tasked with making the A5 and then the A6 processors for the iPhone and iPad.

      So for companies that derive a fair proportion of their income from component sales, it would appear they are perfectly willing to supply competitors.

      I will bet it is Not a Panny sensor. Even the dumb management at Olympus can see that Panasonic sensors have been holding them back and costing them sales and harming their reputation.

      I will place my bet on Samsung or Sony.

      • reverse stream swimmer

        Olympus will NEVER reveal who produces their sensors!
        Olympus will ONLY claim it’s their own design, period.

        However Chipworks will reverse engineer the camera once it’s out and reveal which factory (Toshiba, Panasonic, Aptina, Sony) who actually made it. But still, it certainly is an Olympus design in cooperation with the dedicated foundry specific process.

  • Setu

    Or they put a NEW sensor or it will be the LAST nonsense in a long poor-sense or non-sens line of Olympu’s products and statements.
    If it is an Aptina’s sensor, better, a kick in the ass to Panasonic, maybe the way Panasonic wakes up and makes a real breaker camera at a human price (they always charge some hundreds Euro more than they products are worth).
    I have 5 Lumix cameras: FZ1 – FZ30 – LX1 – G1 – GF1. They sell at pro-price good products but no pro-products.
    I had an Oly E3, the worst camera I’ve ever had, kicked in the ass by a Nikon D90.

    Before buying another Oly’ camera they must prove that it is REALLY good, not a half step better.

    • Boooo!

      Oh please. The E-3 runs circles around the D90 when it comes to actual shooting, durability and build quality.

      • ijack

        and E-3 announced 1 year before D90, 1 years is a long time for digital SLRs

      • Setu

        build quality, yesssssssss, but nothing more: handling, menus, DR, noise, … better or much better on D90. I bought the D90 after the E3 and I had the two cameras for some days (I sold the E3, really dissatisfied)

        • Boooo!

          Oh please (again). The E-3 runs circles around the D90 when it comes to handling and menus. DR and noise are a different thing, and they’re a property of the sensor alone. When it comes to actually handling the camera and shooting, there’s simply no comparison between those two, the E-3 wipes the floor with the D90.

    • Digifan

      Well, I have a E-5 and also that one runs circles around the D90. The D90 is much cheaper though!!
      The E-5 still is a very nice camera but it is a bit expensive, in the light of the current developement of the markets.
      Classic 43 is vitrtually a dead end. I started with the E-1 so I had the lenses.
      The quality of the pictures of the E-1 and E-5 are still superb. My business started to boom when I changed systems. Today I have very little PP work, due to very good jpeg engine. This saves a lot of time, more gigs, less work in my “free time”.

  • Nic Walmsley

    No new lenses on Feb 8, hey. Bummer dude. There’s a lot of us looking for a a new pancake prime from oly.

    • We already have Lumix 20mm f/1.7. That´s the ideal focal length for pancake prime. It´s a very good compromise of size and IQ. We also have small lenses like Lumix 14mm pancake and M.Zuiko 45mm, which is not pancake but small, light and excellent. Pancakes can never be optically among the best.

      What “a lot of us” look for is (S)HG M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 or preferably f/1.4. What about series: 12mm, 17mm, 25-30mm, 45mm, 80mm… After 17mm the next missing (S)HG primes are 30mm and 80mm at F1.8 or better.


      • TomR

        +1 what we need in m43 is a good 17mm. we have the pancake but need a bigger but optically better version.

  • MisterB

    “It could be a Sony, but again why ship sensors to a direct competitor?” … Well, a) Sony have supplied sensors to Pentax (competitor), b) Sony supply plenty of LCD panels to competitors in the TV market, c) Samsung isn’t a competitor? d) Japanese companies are very complex structures and it’s entirely possible Sony’s sensor division (a small part of a vast CE and content empire) isn’t seen as a competitor to Olympus’s camera division (a small part of a medical imaging business).

  • Mumbly

    Honestly, who cares about where the sensor comes from!?! There are far more important facts to know in photography than the origin of an image sensor. Will this kind of knowledge help make better pictures? NO! Does it help understanding photography? NO! Is it important for common knowledge? NO! Does it play any role at all? NO! It’s such an irrelevant matter that I just can’t understand why people spend/waste their time speculating about these things…!

    • BLI

      People used to have strong opinions on Kodachrome vs Fujichrome, whether to use Ilford B&W, etc. The sensor choice is more important since you cannot change it. But in a way, you are right — as long as the camera producer makes a good choice :-).

  • Ben

    Panasonic of course
    G3 and GX1 is already using the new sensor

    GH3 will get a new sensor

  • Gabi

    I don’t care about who made the sensor, but just for fun: My vote goes to Samsung (whcih I voted for) or Aptina.

  • Anonymous

    I comented in previous post many times; about the OM-D sensor -IT IS NOT PANASONIC SENSOR,.. That what I quoted from my friend who worked at OLYMPUS ,. I don”t know either the excact company who provided the sensor as my friend refused to tell me,.. Could be Fuji, Sony , or Aptina but ,. I believed what he said to me ; IT IS NOT PANASONIC,..,..
    Also He mentioned about two new lens is coming; which is NOT to be announce it soon
    60 mm F 2 macro and 75mm F 1.8

    • Rchard

      Did your friend say anything about an E-5 successor and any new 4/3 lenses?

    • Anonymous

      Those two lenses also will be Quiet Small ,.. He didn” t tell about the dimension,.. I hope i can meet him soon and also he do not read this comment now ,.. Lol ,.. So awkward he do not know about 43 rumors,.. He he he

    • BLI

      Sounds like very nice lenses :-). Hopefully weather sealed (for those macro people crawling around on their belly :-).)

    • Narretz

      I want to believe

  • Hope it is not from Panasonic anymore…

  • My guess would be the sensor as same as GH2.
    If Olympus learnt few tricks from the hack community, the video quality would be better than original GH2.

  • We care about the sensor because we care that the increase in Dynamic Range be real. Since Panny is limited in this respect, when the sensor agreement expired, Oly might have looked around for a better one.

    I am beginning to think that Oly is using an OLED transparent VF, from Samsung. And since Sammy offered a sensor as well, would the two be better integrated? Again it all depends on the DR performance, which has been the Achilles’ heel of m4/3.

    Personally I would love a Fuji or a Sony one, they seem to be the best around photographically speaking – but there might be consideration of industrial policy I am not aware of.

    Those who point to a Panny sensor have no imagination, nor consideration for the fact that the E-P3 was crippled by an obsolescent sensor.

    Perhaps in their carrion feeder mentality they even enjoy it, the misers.

    • Leu

      You’re a sciolist almaric. Why don’t you keep thoughts like, “Perhaps in their carrion feeder mentality they even enjoy it, the misers.” to yourself, because they don’t make any sense at all. The reason why people think that it is panasonic is because the GH2 sensor lines up with being capable of almost everything said about this. If the GH2 hacks have proven anything, its that sensor performance in correlation to the end result is determined by the image processor and software/firmware tricks.

      • Raist

        Thanks Leui, I learned a new word :-) And yes, it applies perfectly :-)

    • Your idea for a hybrid VF with small mirrors and transparent OLED would unfortunately result in a very dim optical image in the VF.

    • reverse stream swimmer

      Re: “Again it all depends on the DR performance, which has been the Achilles’ heel of m4/3.”

      If that’s the highest priority, the new camera might be using the Aptina™ DR-Pix™ technology, which if I remember correctly would give two aperture stops DR improvement.

    • That theory sounds interesting…we’ll see…now, i don’t think we’ve heard of any ground breaking sensor lately from Samsung…So how could they create an m43 sized sensor that outperforms Panasonic, which is a reputable company in the imaging world (unlike sammy)? Possible, but evidence says unlikely.

      And, to people who mentions GH2 sensor. It probably is the best m43 sensor to date, but the DR is still lacking compared to APS-C offerings of say, 2 years ago…

    • Bob B.

      Hey…amalric…would it be ok if we draw cartoons on your forehead with permanent laundry marker?????

      • ange7

        comdey gold
        …. your a spammy riot.

        • Bob B.

          just sayin…now….I made you apologize for your comment up above…you were incorrect about DR, lucky 7.

          • ange7

            The comment above where you mocked someones use of the word “stops” and then got your spammy self @ss raped by 4 different people? Yes that did make me laugh…

  • Satyrshoes

    I just hope I can shoot at mid day (at car shows, parades) without having to choose between completely blown highlights or utterly impossible shadows. Fairly smooth RAW files at 6k ISO for astrophotography shouldn’t be too much, either, right?

    I hope the rumoured rumours regarding lenses include more pancakes!

    • Thats exactly what I think of when I speak of DR. The impossible choice of losing shadow detail or highlight detail in scenes with extended dynamic range. This is the problem with current m43 sensors…

  • Me

    Hmmm Toshiba is not in the list…

  • T-L

    Kodak… ;)

    Leaving their sensors was the worst thing Oly did..

    • flash

      That would be nice. Then Olympus would have the best colors in RAW and JPEG.

  • Designed by Olympus, produced by an other company ;-) In 1 1/2 weeks we know more :-)

  • Miroslav

    My vote goes to Fuji (Toshiba?) – their new sensor seems to have made a breakthrough in high ISO and DR and they have PDAF on sensor developed for their compacts.

    • Yes, Toshiba should definitely be on the list.

  • adminnnn….please stop crucifying us, give us answer :D

  • Buel

    1. Sony sells sensors to its competitors, so why not to Olympus. (I guess up to today its a question of prizes why we didn’t see a Sony sensor in olympus 43 cameras. The sony sensors are used in Oly compacts.)

    2. There are so many other companies who can produce sensors you never heard of. E.g. Renesas. Much more interseting is the question who designed it or at least who supported Olympus designing it. (The Nikon 1 sensor is made by Aptina, but probably designed by Nikon. I’m not sure if olympus has the knowledge to do this, but they might have …)

  • I thought it would be Olympus designed, Panasonic made but then i just looked up Aptina on Wikipedia and saw this:

    “2011 – Aptina APS-C format 16MP MT9H004 image sensor named “Innovation of the Year” finalist in the 2010 EDN Innovation awards”

    I did a bit of reading and now I think it is more likely an Aptina sensor.

    The PDAF + CDAF capability would have been part of the initial design objective so the sensor would have been in development way back then. Apparently the Nikon 1 series took 4+ years to develop. The new OM would have taken roughly the same.

  • Vivek

    Before I buy an OMD (OMG!), I would like to see a clear statement from Olympus (no rumors but an official statement!) as to what type sensor they have used and through whom they got it fabricated. That simple! :)

    Any GH-3 news? :)

    • DR

      My Bet:

      Upcoming Panasonic GH3 Sensor made by Panasonic with Olympus tweaks.

      Better than GX1 but inferior to the Fuji.

      Panasonic will hype up the GH3 with the same sensor, but it will fall short of leading the sensor wars.

      Good enough, but not great.

    • reverse stream swimmer

      The industry considers it a trade secret from where they are sourcing components, especially with custom ICs as sensors are!

      Simply, you’ll only will be given answers like:
      – We (Olympus) designed and made our own new sensor. They might tell briefly what features the camera has, but it’s a greyzone what’s part of the sensor and their TruePic Image processor.

      – How come nobody asks the content of the TruePic as well?
      – Is it using Texas OMAP or ARM processor cores?

      • Vivek

        What “Industry”? Which industry do they try to sell their cameras to???

      • BornOptimist

        Texas OMAP is an ARM core.
        And with almost 100% certainly, the TruePic is an ARM processor of some kind.

  • My Bet: designed by Olympus, manufacturared by Toshiba.
    Strange I don’t see that optionin the poll…

    • My bet too.

    • jake

      I think your right but it might be an aptina, anyway, it’s got be from either Toshiba or Aptina.

  • “I am having hard times to think that this is a Panasonic sensor. Panasonic wouldn’t give the newest sensor to Olympus before to use it on their own cameras.”

    How about : Its Olympus that would not buy the higher resolution sensors?

  • dani

    If this sensor, will be panasonic… I don´t now why but it´s a feeling…
    I hope it from sony…
    Aptina will be interesting…

  • Thomas

    Well could be the GH2 sensor. Sounds like it could be this. 16MPix, higher DR, best video, new ImageStabilization system (for a bigger sensor).

    • If that was the case, i’d be (kind of) dissapointed. The GH2 sensor is considered good, but DR is still lacking. We need something 1 stop better than that (at least) to be competitive with APS-C.

  • “I am having hard times to think that this is a Panasonic sensor. Panasonic wouldn’t give the newest sensor to Olympus before to use it on their own cameras.”

    I would like to think that Olympus will use the best M43 sensor to date, the same one as in Panasonic G3 and GX1, but with some Olympus software touch to it!

    If there is a new, even better sensor coming from Pana, they will save that for their own cameras for sure…

  • flash

    I suspect it really is an Olympus Design (with help form a design studio maybe), using their PDAF patent. The reason I feel this is because of the new 5 axis in camera stabilization, it requires a unique sensor fabrication. The reason I feel it is also PDAF is because of the improved 3D tracking. Until the computer power increases dramatically (which it will) contrast-detect AF can not deliver on that.

    I expect it is manufactured in China by the cheapest foundry available to Olympus that meets its standards. It is all about keeping costs down.

  • Keith

    Going on past performance, the hardware element isn’t going to be anything better than Panasonic already have. It’ll be the GH2 sensor with Oly processing tweaks.

    But I hope I am wrong and this is a new sensor from Sony or Fuji which blows the GH2 out of the water.

  • I voted Samsung, not because I would prefer that but because they have a brand new 20 mpix APS-C sensor and has offered Oly sensors.
    Improved DR can be both sensor or processor and a combination of both. I hope that the DR rumor is correct and it is due to a new sensor technology rather than processing technique.

  • Bort
    • That could be the one. No doubt about it.
      But the interesting part is that Olympus tendered for such a sensor at that time. And then it’s reasonable to think that not only Samsung submitted offers.

      • olympus going to doom if samsung is real :D

    • Bob B.

      Well…Samsung probably has plenty of time and facilities to make sensors for Oly…because they are certainly not selling too many of them in their own cameras.

  • > It could be a Sony, but again why ship sensors to a direct competitor?

    They already sell them to Nikon and many others. If Oly asked (and gave money to cover the deal), it would have being unfair (== illegal) for them to refuse it.

    I personally think it is a revised Panny sensor. The GX1 apparently has literally the same sensor as the G3. There were no internal revisions before and it is about time they improved something at the manufacturing level. Also think that for fast AF 120Hz readout is needed – and apparently only Panny has the sensor tech. But I’d love to be surprised and proved wrong.

    • Thomas

      good point. For the fast AF, i didnt think about this. One possibility:
      The claim “oly tweaked” could mean the AF part. not the high DR part. So basically a already very good sensor (Sony) and tweaked for the fast AF system.
      Rather than poor fast sensor (pana) tweaked for High DR.

  • I think we have reached some kind of nuke-the-fridge moment in online photography culture when we have sensor-manufacturer fanboys! “Go, Aptina, Rah, rah, rah!”

    Seriously… whereas Admin says “The only thing we now about the new Olympus OM-D sensor is that it has 16 megapixel, an increased dynamic range compared to the previous cameras and superb video quality…” in truth, the only thing we KNOW is that Olympus in-house leakers SAY it has all these things.

    Let’s see, how often do you hear a corporate leak source say, “Psst, our new product is gonna be… well, it’ll be okay. It’s really not too bad. It’s probably about as good as what everybody else has got.”

    • TheEye

      “Psst, our new product is gonna be… well, it’ll be okay. It’s really not too bad. It’s probably about as good as what everybody else has got.”

      That’s all I’m hoping for. If there’s more, great!

    • ange7

      No one is saying “yay aptina”. All we want is a couple more stops of Dyn range so we can get some detail in our darkest darks and up in our highlights. Everyone else has 12 or 13…my ep2 has 10, just want some more wriggle room when processing. Hence the interest in the sensor. Please don’t reply with “oh well if your a great photographer like me than you don’t need it” or tell us what “pros” do.

  • slomo

    Tweaked GH2 sensor. Panasonic lets Olympus have GH2 sensor because by this time Panasonic GH3 sensor and processor are already developed.

    That’s why it is rumored to be ‘better’ in video than GH2 because the sensor is ‘tweaked’. But whether the camera as a whole is really better in video than a hacked GH2 remains to be seen. Can Olympus tweak the sensor to work better with Truepic than Panasonic’s Venus Engine in GH2? My feeling is: it is not going to be better, Panasonic has a lot of experience in video and motion picture and Olympus has little experience compared to Panasonic. A sensor alone does not make a video camera.

  • strozzino

    canon will do. sony is good only for bravia and playstation

    • kile


  • jake

    I am 99 percent sure it is not a Fuji sensor. I guess it may be an aptina sensor or might be a Toshiba designed sensor?
    And it is not a Samsung either.

  • Zetton

    Is Sony direct competitor? I don’t think so.
    Correctly speaking, Panasonic thinks Sony as the competitor、but Sony doesn’t.
    Because, Sony has alpha, actually bought alpha. So what important is alpha = DSLR for Sony, so the competitors are Canon, NIKON, and Olympus, for Sony.
    On the other hand, Sony is a semiconductor company. Sony sells sensors to Canon, for example.
    Canon is the direct competitor for Sony Alpha!
    At the same time, Sony’s competitor is Olympus 4/3 DSLR, because of Alpha, not PEN series totally.
    PEN is just for the competitor of Sony’s NEX branch (or Camera branch).

    If Pana thinks Sony as true competitor, why Pana haven’t provided latest sensors to Olympus?
    To beat Sony (or alpha), two Pana & Oly team is stronger than one Pana. but in fact, Pana haven’t done that.

    I bet on Sony’s sensor.
    Olympus seems serious for new OM-D, then Oly tried to break the situation about sensor relationship with Pana.
    second is Fuji. because X PRO-1 has just announced, that means its sensor is just ready now. it meets OM-D sales timing , too.

    Only sensor LSI characterize its product value? if so, all the other engineers will be gone from the company.
    at the same time, if selling good sensor LSI outside the company, the company gain more profit.
    selling camera is achieved by “total design power”. just same sensor, different design competition.
    but if it uses the sensor only for domestic, then LSI is just sold as number of its company is camera sold.
    if sensor LSI can be controlled for other company’s camera by its own, that should be the strategy.

  • avds

    Well of course it’s Astrodesign! Astrodesign is the only company that produces (and uses) a sensor for the mFT mount beside Panasonic, and additionally, the new Olympus camera is said to be heavily video-oriented, which is Astrodesign’s specialization.

    However, since their only new sensor is only 5/4″ (slightly smaller than 4/3″) and just 8.9MP, and we know nothing about any other developments, I still think that a superficially improved GH2 or a substantially crippled bug-ridden beta version of the future GH3 (or G4?) sensor from Panasonic would look like a more probable candidate still, and that’s where my vote went :)

    • avds

      Nah, just read Offline’s earlier comment that Astrodesign’s 1.25″ sensor is actually from Aptina…

  • SteB

    I’ve no idea who produced the sensor, but if I was to guess, then Aptina seems to be the most likely candidate, if it is not the Panasonic sensor. I don’t get the logic for the other choices. The sensor would have had to have been chosen by Olympus way before their problems and the interest of those like Sony in them. Whilst it could be one of the other suspects, it would mean a big departure from their previous business model. Whereas you get the impression that it would be in Aptina’s interest to get another foothold in the mirrorless camera sector. However, the other suspects don’t have much apparent motivation for wanting to help m4/3s, especially when they spend so much time dissing 4/3 as a smaller sensor.

    As an aside, mirrorless cameras have a lot of potential to disrupt the whole camera market paradigm. With off the peg electronics it should be possible for other manufacturers to start producing cameras. SLRs and DSLRs always made it difficult for other manufacturers to get a foothold in the system camera market because the whole package was difficult to create for manufacturers without the cumulative experience. Once Sigma, Tamron and Tokina get up to speed on mirrorless lenses it won’t even be necessary for a new manufacturer to have lens development experience. It would in theory be in the reach of a lot of electronics companies to put together a competitive ILC system mirrorless camera. That would seriously put the cat amongst the pigeons.

    I wonder if we could even see a reappearance of the old Tamron adaptall mount approach, but in electronic form. You’d have to also suspect that an ambitious lens manufacturer like Samyang could make inroads here.

    • Well, the be FF lens then.

  • Bob

    The only things we “KNOW”?

    All those things are still rumors, not fact. We “know” very little.

  • AG

    The suspense is killing me !

  • pelex

    Looking forward to Feb. 9th.

    500+ “I told you so” posts, for sure.

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