December 18th, 2012, 12:42 PM
Will Olympus crush Panasonic now Sony are backing them?
Rumour is the OMD is using a Sony sensor. Why would Sony provide a sensor of that size unless it had plans afoot to enter that arena with its own cameras? Okay it has a big stake in Olympus now but surely this sensor was being developed before they acquired the large stake in Olympus. Olympus and Panasonic co-existed quite well with neither manufacturer totally dominating in either performance or sales. Now Sony is behind Olympus are we set to see a price war that is the beginning of the end for Panasonic (with regard to mft, not the company as a whole).
I think in the past Olympus cameras have been priced a little high compared to Panasonic and that price differential was crucial to Panasonic sales. Now Sony is behind Olympus maybe that price differential will gradually narrow leaving Panasonic in a tricky position. Can their sensors compete? Can ois best ibis? Can Panasonic acquire focus peaking or match it with their own tech?
I'm glad Sony is behind Olympus and hope that means Olympus will continue on for many years to come. Yet Panasonic started the mft race with the G1 and have produced some wonderful cameras and lenses so I fear for them. Can Panasonic and Sony happily co-exist? Is there any need or desire for a Sony branded mft camera or will they be happy to hide behind the Olympus name?
On a different note. I've seen high iso shots from the OMD and they are remarkably clean at high iso. They appear to be as good or possibly better than those from my APS-C Sony 5N. To me this is remarkable and also illogical. How can the margin of difference be so narrow? It's like a Mini out-dragging a Ferrari. My 5N files marginally outperform those of my full frame Canon 5D files but I can understand that because the time gap between the Canon 5D sensor and the Sony 5N
sensor is long and new tech progression advances pretty fast. Yet APS-C and Full Frame sensor tech is moving on too now so you would expect the differences to more or less remain constant. Unless the investment and therefore research in sensor tech is no longer equal?
I realise this post is full of speculation and no-one can predict the future but we all try and do it to a degree. No-one wants to end up with a camera dodo!
December 18th, 2012, 12:51 PM
The deal for Sony to have the largest stake in Olympus didn't happen overnight. It took about a year to finalize. I don't think it would take Sony that much time at all to spin up sensor. Especially when that sensor is so derivative of their existing designs. It's also not a rumor. The President of Olympus himself has confirmed it.
Originally Posted by norman shearer
I do agree that Panasonic is currently the odd man out.
December 18th, 2012, 12:52 PM
Sensor tech fundamentally improves over time, so it doesn't surprise me that the OMD can be close or equal to the 5N- the OMD sensor is newer and the difference in size between M43 and APSC is not that big. I have a 5N and completely agree that its sensor is absolutely fantastic.
Sony has been supplying sensors large and small for various cameras for a long time.
As far as Panasonic vs. Olympus, I think with only 2 M43 body makers there is room for each. Pricing is important, but more important is smart design. I don't think Sony investing in Olympus necessarily means Olympus can cut prices a lot, the fundamental economics of making cameras does not change with Sony's involvement.
I doubt Sony will ever make a M43 body because they have invested heavily in the NEX line, both bodies and lenses. It doesn't seem practical at all for them to introduce M43 gear- what's the differentiation except slightly smaller sensor? The larger sensor is one of their big differentiating points in creating the NEX line, so no need to muddy it. They have expanded beyond NEX with cameras such as the RX100 and the new full frame camera.
December 18th, 2012, 01:02 PM
I also don't think Sony will sell Sony branded M43 cameras. IMO, they will sell Olympus branded M43 gear and take the NEX line upmarket.
Originally Posted by madmaxmedia
December 18th, 2012, 02:15 PM
Well if they knocked up the sensor so quick then I look forward to their next edition! Do Panasonic make their own sensors? I can't keep up. I know Ricoh and Nikon use Sony sensors but the Fuji cams used to be rehashed Nikon bodies so are they Sony sensors too?
Originally Posted by lenshoarder
December 18th, 2012, 02:22 PM
Sony has been selling 1/1.7" type sensors for years without making a camera with that size sensor themselves, so I don't expect them to enter m43.
There've been rumours of a full frame NEX for ages, and IIRC a full frame sensor would just-about fit the Sony E mount. If Sony is taking their CSC line to a different sensor size, I'd expect a larger sensor rather than a smaller one, particularly now that they have the RX100 and presumably other compacts with the same sensor size.
As for Panasonic, weren't there rumours of the GH3 also using a Sony sensor? I certainly hope that Panasonic and Olympus will both stay in the m43 game, I think the fact that their customers can switch to the other's product line without rendering their previous investments in bodies or lenses useless, is a great motivator to keep pushing!
December 18th, 2012, 02:25 PM
Panasonic used to make it's own sensors. Which gave it a big hammer over Olympus since Olympus was beholding to it for sensors. Now... I think it's kind of unclear. When asked a few months ago whether the GH3 sensor is a Panasonic sensor, the Panasonic execs said "no comment". People that have ripped apart the GH3 sensor say it bears a lot of resemblence to Sony sensors.
Originally Posted by norman shearer
Nikon used to use Sony sensors but of late they have started making some of their own.
December 18th, 2012, 04:42 PM
I think the sensor in the E-M5 is very good but it's still not quite up to the level of the APS-C sensor used in the NEX (which is a few years old now). I suspect we'll see Sony update the NEX sensors at se point and improve them s well. It makes sense, Sony is going to reserve the best tech for their cameras. Based on the images I have seen from the GH3 so far I wouldn't be at all surprised if Panasonic is also buying Sony sensors. As to whether Olympus will CRUSH Panasonic...I don't think you can boil it down to just sensors. It's nice to see Panasonic and Olympus have more modern sensors (the old ones were feeling a bit long in the tooth) but, I think there is a lot more to a camera than the sensor. Personally, I have never found Olympus cameras to be all that interesting (including the E-M5) as I don't care for their UI and their controls. They have always struck me as counterintuitive in the way they operate where Panasonic cameras have typically felt very comfortable and familiar (I have had a number of each). As good as the E-M5's sensor is it unlikely I would ever consider buying one. That said, I know folks that LOVE their Olympus cameras so I think there is space for both as each caters to different sorts of wants and needs.
December 18th, 2012, 05:01 PM
Good first point and I suppose that indicates development costs for new size sensors are not that big.
Originally Posted by bartjeej
A FF NEX would be the dogs gonads but aren't E-mount lenses designed for APS-C sensors? They could be used on smaller sensors without loss of quality but go the other way and you introduce heavy vignetting and distortion etc?
You could be right about the Panasonic GH3 sensor. It makes sense for Sony to supply it knowing they will always maintain a lead time in this regard and therefore keep Panasonic in their place..
Last edited by norman shearer; December 18th, 2012 at 05:05 PM.
December 18th, 2012, 05:34 PM
Yes quite right, there is a lot more to a camera than its sensor but I do think the sensor above all else defines a camera. It's like the engine of a car. I've yet to use an Olympus digital so don't really know what I'd make of the UI. I've never been overly impressed with Panasonic's ooc colours though and this often lead me down the b&w path as a result. Olympus seem to be up there with Fuji and Nikon regarding colour accuracy. With my J1 I find it so nice not having to do hardly any post work on the colours.
Originally Posted by dixeyk
The Panasonic sensor was certainly showing its age. I had the GH2 and when I moved to the Sony 5N I was blown away. This is from the perspective of a manual focus lens user though - the 5N just seemed to make all my legacy glass look good.
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