Wish list for the next Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera, and a few lenses

Written by Gary on April 20th, 2011

It’s been a tough couple of years for Olympus and the other camera and electronic manufacturers, particularly this year in Japan.

Olympus has obviously decided that with the global financial crisis it would use this time to devote to R&D rather than frantically produce lots of new camera models.

It seems clear that it has decided that Micro Four Thirds is the future of entry level dSLR world, and while it has not totally forgotten the Four Thirds dSLR format having introduced the E-5 semi-pro body last year, things have been very quiet.

Surely, a higher end Micro Four Thirds camera must be the next to be announced given the popularity of the Panasonic GH-1 and GH-2, and thus far an absence of Olympus models in this style.

What would I like to see in the next Micro Four Thirds camera from Olympus?

Simply a camera similar to the Panasonic GH-2 but with a few Olympus niceties and a few extras thrown in.

So let’s start adding a few wish list features to the GH-2:

  • in-camera image stabiliser as with nearly all Olympus cameras – this should work with legacy lenses, and be turned off to allow optical IS to be used if available, particularly for HD video modes.
  • a new square sensor – with sensor prices much cheaper than the past, why don’t we take the oversized GH-2 sensor a bit further and utilise the full image circle of Four Thirds and instead of a 18mm x 13.5mm, why not make it 18mm x 18mm and then allow the user to choose aspect ratios 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 AND allow option for landscape or portrait of either of these to avoid needing to rotate the camera? Users get more versatility and more pixels (compared to current Olympus cropping for 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1 modes for example current 12mp sensor gives a 9mp 1:1 whereas a square sensor would give 16mp 1:1) for little additional cost.
  • Olympus flash technology (my GH-1 does not expose correctly in TTL flash when using legacy lenses)
  • increase flash sync to 1/300th sec so I can better use fast aperture lenses in bright sunlight with fill in flash (Super FP flash is not adequate)
  • perhaps an intervalometer mode for HD video to allow time lapse videos
  • perhaps an auto-bracketing mode for HDR but I am not sure about in-camera HDR image creation unless user has significant control over it.
  • perhaps a weatherproof version.

Features Olympus would be likely to add:

  • in-body IS – that is standard on most Olympus cameras
  • TTL flash with legacy lenses – that is standard on most Olympus cameras
  • ART filters including the new ones in the Olympus SZ-30MR – watercolour, sparkle and punk.
  • other new features from the Olympus SZ-30MR which I discussed in a previous post
    • dual image processing engines to allow simultaneous recording of stills and HD movies, or two different HD movies such as one with ART filter.
    • 1080p HD video
    • 9fps electronic shutter – perhaps this will make it into the next Micro Four Thirds camera
    • 3D still image creation by panning
    • smart panorama mode with automatic stitching
    • beauty mode
    • Eye-Fi SD card compatibility

Now just for a real killer functionality, how about that AF adapter you patented?

  • We already have a wide range of lens adapters including tilt and shift adapters, and even a full AF/IS/aperture adapter for Canon EF lenses, but this potential AF OM adapter is also a very exciting one indeed.
  • Olympus placed a patent some time ago now for a Micro Four Thirds to Olympus OM adapter which not only gave a 0.5x wide view (thereby giving a 35mm camera field of view usig these legacy lenses), but added AF capability to these legacy MF lenses.
  • now if they couuld get this technology working with good image results, financially challenged consumers would be rushing to this system at an even faster rate as they could buy relatively cheap Olympus OM prime lenses and have lots more fun than just with manual focus, and of course they would all be image stabilised courtesy of the camera.
  • Mr Olympus should not be concerned that users would buy legacy lenses rather than brand new AF lenses because most will end up buying the AF lenses later anyway, and this would also create a new mode of marketing cheap lenses – Olympus could have a AF adapter then sell cheaper to build and longer lasting manual focus lenses to suit – imagine the Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 lens at $US265 being able to be used with an AF adapter – now that has to be a marketing winner!!

Of course we still need a few Micro Four Thirds lenses as soon as possible:

  • 12mm f/2.0
  • 35mm f/1.4
  • 50mm f/2.0 macro
  • 50mm f/1.2
  • Rokinon-like 85mm f/1.4 aspherical  (but this could be 60-70mm)
  • 100mm f/2.8 macro
  • 200mm f/2.8 (a 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 is just too big for Micro Four Thirds)
 

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