Is Olympus Ever Going to Make a Full-Frame Camera?

We recently attended The Photography Show in Birmingham and had the pleasure of speaking to various companies. One of the companies we had a chance to catch up with was Olympus

Based on the fact that Panasonic has made quite a bold move and developed not one, but two full-frame cameras, a lot of photographers wanted to know if Olympus had any larger sensor plans for the future. Although micro four-thirds cameras are actually very popular, there are some very prominent upper limits. One of the major concerns a lot of photographers tend to have with smaller sensor cameras is the fact that low-light performance tends not to be as great as some larger sensor cameras. Personally, I think this tends to depend on a number of factors, such as lens choice, sensor technology, and several others. One of the ways that Olympus does really well to overcome the smaller sensor issue is with their incredible seven stops of in-body image stabilization in their latest camera, the OM-D E-M1X. There are a few reasons Olympus could benefit from producing a larger sensor camera, however. I believe that the micro four-thirds industry has really opened up for them. The fact that Panasonic is now moving their focus more towards full-frame means that Olympus is in a prime position to take over the micro four-thirds industry. If Olympus can push their video features a little more, I think they could become an extremely popular option for a large number of creatives. 

DCI 4k at 120p would be very appreciated. 

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Usman Dawood's picture

The point of communication is two of more people understanding one another.

Language is a subjective means.

You’re deliberately being obtuse about this.

Jacques Cornell's picture

You're deliberately being ahistorical about this. The simple fact is that "full-frame" as a descriptor of cameras with 35mm sensors is entirely a product of marketing departments misusing a term which previously had an entirely different meaning in order to privilege their products.

Usman Dawood's picture

Of course, I'm being deliberately ahistorical about this. I also don't speak in early modern English or feel the need to be precise about every term I use relative to that form of language.

Jacques Cornell's picture

You kids crack me up. We're talking 15 years ago, not a thousand years ago. It's the English I grew up with working in a darkroom, and I'm not that old. And, I particularly resent the fact that #1 this Double-Speak comes from marketing departments, #2 it strips the term of its original meaning, and #3 it has no logical basis. Regarding #3, if 35mm is "full-frame", what, then, is medium format or large format? "Super-frame"? "Ultra-frame?" "Outside-the-box-frame"? There's nothing "fuller" about 35mm than any other format, and compared to 645, 66, 67, 4x5, 5x7, 8x10 and 20x24, 35mm is "small format", which is how it was historically described. Face it, you've been brainwashed by CaNikon. Next, you'll be calling every product "The Best (xxx) On Earth" because that's what their marketers call them.

Usman Dawood's picture

You need to move on. Language changes.

Jacques Cornell's picture

No, I will not "move on". I don't intend to let marketing departments murder the language without at least pointing it out. If you want to know about how language can be made to change, read "1984".
So far, you have made no argument of any substance whatsoever, so your position is simply "I don't care." Obviously, I can't make you care. I've made my point by now, so you can continue to not care. I'll be sure to not read your next review of The Best (xxx) On Earth, knowing that you're only too happy to repeat the language handed to you by marketing departments.

Usman Dawood's picture

Personal claims when you have nothing left lol.

Jacques Cornell's picture

I'll take your refusal to engage on the substance as a victory.

First of all, unless you are shooting at ISO 12800 and above all the time, or 80-90% of your time, then there is no benefits going 35mm.

Secondly, Olympus already has taken over m4/3 system. Olympus owns about 70% of the m4/3 market, rest is panasonic and others.

The 35mm is most over dreamed format, there is nothing full in it. It is not a standard, it is not better, it is nothing more really than a dream for people to be a better photographers by using a 35mm.

Jacques Cornell's picture

I'm a big fan of MFT, but 35mm format does offer practical advantages for specific use cases, which is why I shoot both MFT and 35mm now. At ISO 6400, even a 24MP 35mm camera offers significantly more detail. Whether you NEED that level of detail is another matter. And, a 36MP+ 35mm camera does open up possibilities for really huge prints and cropping.
That said, I'm an event pro working under difficult lighting conditions. MFT is the practical equivalent of a very nice 35mm film system, and 35mm-format digital is the practical equivalent of a medium-format film system. For most non-pro users and uses, MFT is overkill.

The larger Mpix count benefit is cropping on any size really.

16Mpix allows to make very sharp and detailed 120x90 cm prints at ISO 1200-2500. But then it breaks faster.
If you need to crop, you have good results down to 60x40, when you really need to increase resolution back up direction of to 16Mpix.
And going larger than that, no problems as definition requirements are lower, much lower and few Mpix is enough very soon.

M4/3 is practical compared to 4x5" film camera, but 35mm starts to get closer to 8x10".

M4/3 does go way past the medium format film without challenge.

Even for most professional work the m4/3 is delivering more than required. But if the attitude is that final image quality doesn't matter and only the highest possible capture detail does, then only 35mm can do it combined with phase one.

I don't know any professional shooter who does not process their files by some means because not even 35mm does get it so.

"Full Frame" was a term used only when talking in context of the "Half Frame" that Olympus invented for PEN.

- same 135 kinofilm rolls
- vertical vs horizontal frame
- 48 vs 24 and 72 vs 36 frames per roll

That was the difference. Half the quality, meant limitation to half the final image size.

Great for family albums, to 8x10" prints (magazine sizes) and even to little larger if used slow film.

But never 35mm was "Full Frame" in any other context. Only when using that same film roll as you captured with PEN a half frame size than original designed for 135 format.

110 format was not "crop format" but full frame.
120 format was as well full frame.

Full frame meant that you have not cropped the image in dark room while doing enlargement or you have not cropped the film (you know, like physically with scissors etc) but the frame you see in negative or in print is that what framing the photographer saw while framing the photo.

The 35mm format was known as "small format" among photographers. Then there was smaller formats like 110 but they were those as well.
Then there was 120 rolls that were medium format.
Regardless was the camera capturing a 6x6, 6x7, 6x9 or even 6x12 frames. As the film was the format, not the frame size.
Aaand then anything larger than 120 format was large format and after that super large format.
There was as well microphotography, using very tine films.

The Canon marketing department revived term "Full Frame" when they released their first 1D with 35mm digital sensor instead using APS-H sensor.
As you had same mount with digital SLR like you had with SLR. And people were confused with digital why does their 28mm give them FOV like 35mm, and why 35mm is like 50mm and why 50mm was closer to 85mm and their 85mm to 135mm.

And early DSLR users were confused that how they get their wide FOV back? They had maybe only 35mm or 28mm. Not 18mm or 16mm. So what they saw in viewfinder was 35-50mm kind view.

So when Canon for their 35mm sensor, they started to market it to these people who were confused about FOV change because APS size sensor. And that is when the effects was, "You get your full frame as you have always got from your lens". As it was not anymore a smaller crop from the image circle but same size framing as with any Canon 135 format SLR.

And so did the ignorant people get started with marketing term "full frame".
Term that Olympus invented while they did invent half frame PEN cameras and used it to promote that full frame was 36x24mm frame instead 18x24mm.

Today all cameras are full frame if they use the format designed frame size fully. So... All digital cameras really.

But some people can call specific small format sensor size as only "full frame" because they don't know better.

Full Frame today means that image you see is not cropped, but presents the full frame of the exposure.

Jacques Cornell's picture

"'Full Frame' was a term used only when talking in context of the 'Half Frame' that Olympus invented for PEN."
While it is true that "full-frame" was used in that very narrow context, it was also much more widely used to describe a print that included the entire image captured on film. Many darkroom printers would include the film's unexposed edges to prove that the image had not been cropped. A "full-frame" image was the purists' badge of honor, showing that the image had been perfectly framed at the moment of capture and not "improved" by cropping later.
Everything else you wrote above accords with my 38 years of experience in film and digital photography.

"Full frame meant that you have not cropped the image in dark room while doing enlargement or you have not cropped the film (you know, like physically with scissors etc) but the frame you see in negative or in print is that what framing the photographer saw while framing the photo."


But who cares anymore today about decades old things when we have Instagram, we have "Full Frame" sensor snobbiness and fans going around arguing who has 0.1 stops better DR.