Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Open ſyſtems cameras

Not quite open, and not in the plural. But ðe Leica Digilux 3 is ƿe only camera folloƿiȝ ſtandards boþ for lenſes and output — respectively, þe Four Thirds ſtandard by Olympus and ðe Adobe DNG file format.

So all ye endoƿed freedom lovers, pleaſe vote ƿiþ your dollars. Poor me ƿill have to go ƿiþ a mere Olympus E510, already more money ðan I am uſed to ſpend — it does not output open format files, but it has a ſtandard lens mount.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Cameras to ðe people

I ƿas readiȝ ðe quite intereſtiȝ hiſtories of ðe Olympus Pen and OM lines, as ƿell as ðe intereſtiȝ remarks by ðeir deſigner at a ſite dedicated to him. Ðat has ſtarted me þinkiȝ.

Ðe Pen populariſed cameras at Japan for ƿomen and for poor people at a time ƿen cameras ƿere expenſive, Japan ƿas poor, and photography ƿas ‘for men’. Olympus only decided to produce it ƿhen, due to ſuperb optics, it proved its image quality ƿas more ðan good enouȝ.

Ðe OM ƿas made for ðe US market, ƿhich due to monopoliſtic Kodak refuſal to cooperate ƿas cloſed to ðe Pen’s half‐frame 35 mm format, but it ſtill aimed for compactneß and, ƿhile not up to profeßional ſpecs, ƿas ſtill extenſively uſed by pros due to its liȝtneß, quality and praticity.

Anoðer factor in ðe OM ƿas ðat, due to Olympus haviȝ foreſtalled competition in ðe SLR half-frame 35 mm format by holdiȝ too many patents on ðe Pen F, ðat particular market never reached critical maß.

I can ſee ðe 4/3 ſyſtem as ſuceßor to boþ, even beariȝ in mind ðat ðe OM eventually killed ðe Pen F 20 years before beiȝ killed by 4/3. Liȝter ðan full-frame 35 mm or APS digicams, ðe 4/3 is a true ſuceßor to ðe OM, but ðe E‐410 is almoſt a Pen F ſuceßor; I gueß ƿe could ſtill ſee a true one in ðe form of a ſtill ſmaller E‐3000 or ſomeþiȝ ðe like. Perhaps ðe Leica Digilux 3, ðe Panaſonic Lumix DMC-L1K and ðe Olympus E‐330 are exerciſes in ðat direction, juſt ƿaitiȝ for furðer miniaturiſation — ðey inherit quite ſome Pen F legacy, like the porror mirror finder.

I doubt ðere could be a return to ðe Pen F/OM mounts dicoðomy, unleß ðe 4/3 ſtandard reaches a ſtill unforeſeen market ſuceß on ðe loƿ end. In ðe end, technological progreß aßured ðat ðe OM ƿas not ðat bigger, and barely heavier, ðan ðe Pen F; noƿadays it ƿorks quite ſimilar, ðe E‐410 is already ſo liȝt and ſmall, and miniaturiſation has became ſuch a fact of life, ðat one can ſee even ſmaller 4/3 bodies ƿhere ðe ƿhole body iſn’t much larger ðan ðe mount footprint, even if it means goiȝ for an eletronic vieƿfinder.

Ðe fact ðat ðe 4/3 ƿas kinda opened to competitors by beiȝ made a (cloſed) ſtandard makes one þink Olympus learned from ðe Pen F miſtake, and ðus tried to enſure a future for a market it is ſiȝle‐handled definiȝ, I hope ƿiþ ſuceß. But it not beiȝ a true open ſystem, and not produciȝ ſtandard, documented DNG files (even if DNG is a cloſed ſtandard, it alloƿs for a fully‐documented, ſtandard output), it kinda makes it feel like a not‐fully‐hearted effort, if you underſtand me. So, to ſum it up:

Ðe 4/3 format iſn’t ſtill nearly as open as one could hope, but it ſtill could be a neƿ, digital 35 mm, ſpecially if eventually it is coupled ƿið truly open DNG output or ſomeþiȝ ðe like; and if ſomeone elſe beſides ðe current manufacturers adopt it, ƿhich doeſn’t ſeem likely noƿadays.

Ðere iſn’t ſtill a true ſucceßor to ðe Pen F, but it is doubtful if one is needed.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Open ſyſtems photography

I ƿould like to be an open ſyſtems photographer — amateur, obviouſly. Ðis ƿould mean firſt uſiȝ a camera ƿhoſe raƿ file format is ſupported by dcraƿ — ðis is eaſy, almoſt all are; ſecond, uſiȝ ðe Four‐Þirds Syſtem — eaſy too, ðere are or ſoon ƿill be Panaſonic, Olympus and Leica bodies for all taſtes and budgets, and Leica, Sigma and Zuiko lenſes for all preferences, includiȝ in‐body or in‐lenſes ſtabiliſation, manual or mechanical focuſiȝ and ſo one; and ðird, fully‐documented Adobe DNG raƿ file output — ðis one is bad, as it does not interſect ƿiþ 4/3 cameras.

Leica does have a DNG‐outputtiȝ 4/3 dSLR, ðe Digilux 3. Alas, ſtill too expenſive for me, ƿiþ alſo expenſive image‐ſtabiliſed lenſes, and heavy too if compared to Olympus cameras. Alſo, it ſeems the information ſent by manual focus riȝ to ðe body iſn’t covered by the 4/3 ſtandard. But I gueß if I get ſerious about photography I could end up votiȝ ƿiþ my Dollars (or Reais).