Saturday, 14 March 2009

Our lovely system

Most FourThirds camera owners say: "this is simply the next invention which is being copied from an Olympus product" when Samsung announced its NX system. We are getting used to this, but we have to separate our feelings from facts even though it is trivial what happened.

The most sobering thing in connection with micro FourThirds (mFT) cameras is the lack of autofocus with most of the FourThirds (FT) lenses. Canon or Nikon who have not released any new contrast-AF specific lenses and where lens firmware update is not possible at your home could solve this problem even if they are very slow sometimes. Only FT, the most modern system could not do it.

The first question about Samsung's new cameras was: "will they use the K bayonet"? This question was perfectly pointless because the first announced feature of the NX system was the very small flange distance (similar to mFT). This automatically makes all of K lenses unusable directly on NX bodies because any type of focusing is impossible, so the bayonet type is indifferent. The primary consideration on the systems like this is the size, so they will reduce the bayonet diameter if it is possible.

But what about adaptor? Except SDM type ones, all Pentax AF lenses have mechanically coupled AF driving. If the adaptor contains a micromotor (or an axis which pass the torque to the lens if the motor will be built into the body again), Samsung will be able to eliminate any contrast-AF incompatibility stemming from the mechanical drive. Pentax released some quality DA lenses in the last years, like the pancakes for example, so their adaptability is a very relevant problem.

We have to accept that there are serious reasons behind the lack of AF when FT lenses are mounted on mFT cameras, but very sad to see that more and more parts of the FourThirds's main concept fall to the sand. I think Olympus does not put enough energy into compatibility and consistency. I hope that the announcement of the first Olympus mFT camera will be a pleasant surprise from this point of view.

1 comment:

Parci said...

Seems like we will find out in a few hours! :-O

(but I agree with you 100%... it is a shame that a newly designed system cannot handle this "simple" issue)