Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Chaos? Bah! Conspiracy!

Both of us are interested in the upcoming micro FT format, but I myself am quite happy with my E-3 (no, you nasty, this is not buyers' remorse - I love this piece of solid chunk), and this is one of the reasons I am sitting calmly at the sidelines these days.


Taken with an Olympus E-3 and a Summilux 25mm f1.4

But hey, this list of contrast-AF compatible lenses got me thinking! Almost all Panasonic/Leica lenses are contrast-AF compatible, including the Summilux f1.4? Only a few Olympus lenses are compatible, excluding the super-fast 12-60mm SWD, for example?

As Jules would say: "Whoa...whoa...whoa...stop right there!" I own both the 14-54 and the Summilux. The latter is not slow, but is it faster than the 14-54? Not at all! So what is it? An extra contact? Let me see... One, two, threee, ... Nine. On both! So? Ok, it was the firmware update! And the 14-54 is old, it's firmware can not be updated! (Hey, but these are all-digital lenses aren't they? With their own CPU, that can be updated at any ti.... STOP! You are interrupting my line of thinking!) But... but why are the new lenses not updated, such as the 12-60, or the 14-35? Wait! These are all SWD lenses and the new technology probably does not lend itself to the continuous movement required by contrast AF! But then why can the 14-54 not receive a new firmware? It surely has an old-fashioned motor, all right. Stop, stop, gotcha! It is the new lenses only with the old type of motor! That is! But then what about the 70-300? New, old motor? It is big! Hard to move lenses do not work well with contrast AF! Ok, so it is the new, small lenses, with old-type of motor that will work. I see. Perfect segmentation of the market: Olympus takes the upper league (SLR, SWD, etc [CIA?]), Panasonic takes the consumers. Hmmm.

OK, this is a feasible theory, but to be honest, we simply don't know. We might be just in the grip of some kind of marketing strategy, but it might be the case that the master of FT will be Panasonic in the end. Are the "macro" and micro Four Thirds formats compatible? They seem to be. Is their combination a sensible way of building a camera system that is solid and up to various professional assignments on the one hand and portable and has great image quality under many circumstances on the other? Well, we just simply do not know that yet. :O

1 comment:

Leo said...

I read somewhere (forgot where, one of the G1 preview) it supposedly has to do with how fast the lens can do step by step movement, contrast AF required the lens to move, report its done moving and let the sensor check for contrast. A lot of the older lens supposedly cannot do this fast enough.

Interesting thing is, there are (unconfirmed) report of people able to do full contrast AF with the E420 and E520 with lens like the 12-60SWD even though its not officially supported.