Posts Tagged ‘pen’


12 July 2011

Dear J-

If we read between the lines that Olympus keeps putting out I think I see the micro-4/3rds (u4/3) professional line taking shape. According to my magic crystal ball I see these likely features:

1. Built-in Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)
2. Weathersealing, rugged build
3. Vertical grip
4. Phase-Detection AF (PDAF) with regular 4/3rds lenses
5. Lineup of u4/3 High-Grade (HG) primes

The first three are just to keep parity with the current 4/3rds flagship E-5 (and the VF-2 accessory already provides a view roughly as large as the optical system on the E-5). If you’re going to move pros out of their current dSLR bodies you’re going to need at least those features. And yes, Olympus will be pilloried by the enthusiast press for the size and bulk (“small is the whole point of u4/3rds”) but there’s a minimum amount of that needed to support weathersealing and you’re not going to get rugged with an add-on EVF; a built-in eye-level finder is critical).

The last one will come in time (supplemented by the enhanced compatibility with 4/3rds lenses) but it’s the fourth point I want to spend the bulk of time covering. Watanabe has stated that they’re not going to wring much more performance out of the dSLR PDAF-based lens lineup with a contrast-detect (CDAF) scheme already in place with the existing u4/3rds bodies. The newer lenses that have been released lately all have been designed to take advantage of the CDAF sensors. I take that and extrapolate that they must be working on an adapter that provides PDAF for regular 4/3rds.

It’s a big leap and a wild stab but it makes sense of those rumors stating that Olympus have been working on a modular design. In this case think Visoflex, which adapted long lenses to the Leica rangefinder line and included a mirror box to convert the camera into a SLR. In the recent past Sony have started selling the SLT line which includes a pellicle mirror and EVF. The logical conclusion is that the u4/3rds camera to induce pros to switch will be bundled with a Visoflex-like adapter including pellicle mirror and PDAF sensor. The mirror will be set at a shallower angle than 45 degrees to throw the image to the PDAF sensor buried just behind the regular 4/3rds lensmount. At that point I’m not sure if the u4/3rds lensmount supports the communication protocol to the body of focus lock, confirmation, focus point, etc and additional contacts may be necessary which would preclude complete compatibility of the new adapter with older u4/3rds bodies.

Anyhow, it’s fun to speculate.




19 June 2009

Dear J-

There’s a lot of different things I could talk about; the Olympus E-P1 they announced on Monday, although a surprise to no one (given the officially leaked pictures and rumors), still managed to drive a ton of people nuts for what it was not: blessed with a wide selection of fast primes, “stuck” with a 4/3rds sensor, fitted with optical view finder — for me, as long as it is sufficiently responsive, it’s likely to find its way into my bag at some point, as the prime (f=17mm f/2.8) is smaller, lighter, and faster than the 11~22 I just wrote a paean to; how ignoring the “check engine” light meant that I failed smog this afternoon; the remarkable calm that’s blessed us since watching Departures yesterday. Instead I’ll talk about finding out that Detroit Metal City (Kiminori Wakasugi) has been licensed.

Although the actual mechanics of how the lead singer of the world’s most hardcore death metal band came to be, given his proclivities for easy-listening pop (think of it this way — what if Gene Simmons took off the makeup and you found Andy Williams underneath?), Negishi’s double-identity lends itself to madcap situations. If you make your way through the first book without chuckling at least once or twice, you’re a stronger person than I am — check out Nishida’s stream-of-filthy-consciousness in “Track 5” or the destruction wreaked on poor Negishi’s apartment throughout “Track 6” for instance. Funny thing is that both identities become important to him over time; without the outlet that the Krauser II persona provides, all the frustrations of Negishi’s failures would boil over and overwhelm him — he’s really angry underneath it all.

This is actually the first manga I’ve started reading as an unofficial scanlation prior to getting an official green light; without the efforts of the scum-scans team, I probably would have passed the title over when it showed up in the store. I appreciate the investment and effort that publishing houses put into getting a title on the shelf — and manga’s mainstream enough to command a fair number of shelf-feet in all but the smallest bookstores — but it makes me think that digital distribution can’t come soon enough. If a loosely connected set of internet friends can, in their spare time, scan, translate, edit, and distribute a product with comparable or better polish (lacking only the physical reality, really) to the professionals, and both faster and with better title selection (everything I’ve read from mangascreener is at least as thought-provoking than most of the physical titles I’ve picked up from the traditional publishers — Viz and Tokyopop), then all that’s really needed is to increase the acceptability of digital reading devices — I’m thinking Kindle DX, here.