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Front-release cameras: Miranda and Exacta, already mentioned. But is there no love for Topcon? My father acquired a Topcon Super D (aka Topcon RE Super) back in 1970...first camera with TTL metering at full aperature, rather than via stop-down. Lenses were quite nice, with extensive use of ball-bearings in all moving mechanisms (very smooth focusing, but you could hear the balls shifting when moving the lenses in a camera bag...
From what I remember back in the day, the perspective that a 50mm gives you comes close to the field of view of the central portion of the eye. You can see this by leaving your left eye (for right handed people) open and matching the view through the viewfinder on, say, an Olympus OM-1 for stereoscopic viewing: you see the viewfinder on your right eye. Focusing is harder. On the other hand, 18mm represents, largely, the standard view that you have with peripheral vision, i.e. what you can normally see. Of course, given the fact that your eye is not a flat plane, you don't see any distortion, but that's what I remember...
Here's my take: it will be a m4/3 camera that fills the role that the E30 used to fill (well still does fill, but you can't really buy one today new except for the rare NOS), a semi-pro camera close to the "real" thing but with some compromises. It's a m4/3 system camera with a new sensor, a tweaked 16MP, not because they think they need more MP (12 is enough...), but because it's what they can get without going through a complete development cycle for a new sensor. From what I've been able to gleam, I think Olympus has super-tweaked the 1.44MP viewfinder, very high refresh rates (120Hz) and nice optics to give you a seriously large image viewpoint (think a perspective like that of a 40cm screen at 50cm distance). Weather sealed, of course, with the ability to work really, really well with 4/3 lenses, especially the SHG lenses that are world class (and which are sadly lacking from the m4/3 line). Me, I think that while this doesn't destroy 4/3 as a permanent fixture of this system of systems, it does mean that there will never be anything but an Ex, no Exx and Exxx cameras. I can imagine an E7 towards the end of 2012 that will be quite a performer with the same sensor coming in the OM-D. Hence 2 parallel tracks for Olympus: world-class pro body and pro lenses for 4/3, along with consumer kit based on Pen and OM-D and the m4/3 set of lenses, which, while not world-class the way that the SHG lenses are, are still pretty darn nice performers... All in all, a good thing. :-)
Toggle Commented Jan 22, 2012 on A Guess at The Online Photographer
As with anything corporate, the story is always a tad more complicated than it appears. For those convinced that MBAs are the cause of the decline, consider this: the real problem are the lawyers. A company that fails to maximize financial performance to the benefit of the shareholders, demonstrably so, will be sued for failure to do exactly that. It's a very, very expensive process to defend a company against these lawsuits, and given the way the court system in the US (given the laws of the US) allows for easily filing of suits, companies tend to behave in ways that are not good for the long-term survival of any commercial enterprise. Add to that the already-mentioned complacency and the long, slow decline shouldn't be a surprise. We almost lost Leica this way. We did lose Agfa. But oh what we have gained. Schumpeter's creative destruction is, for us consumers, pretty sweet.
I have a battered 180 f3.4 Leica APO Telyt-R that takes great pictures. Got it on eBay for cheap (less than €200) because the front and rear lenses have slight scratches. Thanks for letting that secret out of the box: now I won't be able to get bargains any more! :-p
Toggle Commented Jun 10, 2011 on Vexed by fb+f at The Online Photographer
Ummm, I use a Leitz 100mm f4 lens on bellows with my E510 all the time. No problems whatsoever with light falloff. Same thing with a very battered and ugly Leitz 180mm f3.2 APO that I got on for just a few Euros. No problems whatsoever with light falloff, and it is a 360mm f3.2 APO lens on the 4/3 system. I use to on an E510, stopped down to 5.6, mounted on a gigapan head for panorama work. No vignetting whatsoever in sky areas, which would otherwise be heavily mottled... And I actually bought those lenses specifically for use on my 4/3 bodies. Leica may well have said what they said, but it may also have been said to explain why they missed the boat for so very, very long. After all, it sorta kinda sounds like a real reason. Eric, you may actually want to try this instead of simply dismissing it out of hand. Me, I am seriously torn between the MF1 and the EP1, leaning towards the latter but disappointed that the MF1's autofocus speed and handling isn't coupled with in-body IS...and yes, I am looking for nice vintage Leica glass for exactly this reason. The killer is the focal length doubling: this makes the classic lens for street photography into a moderate telephoto. But with bokeh to die for. :-) The salesman at the local camera shop where I bought my first digital camera (Nikon Coolpix 5000) considers the 4/3 and m4/3 to be the wave of the future: it's a camera you can use virtually any lens on, and after all, it's all about the lens, isn't it?
Toggle Commented Oct 16, 2009 on GF1 Madness at The Online Photographer
Adox KB14 with Rodinal 1:100...sigh. Those were the days. Also the respooled microfilm craze of the early 1970s...sigh. I now use a gigapan head to get extreme image detail. Given the fundamental disposability of digital bodies (and their rather rapid technological obsolescence), coupled with the fact that digital manipulation is so fast and easy, lenses are what matters...
Toggle Commented Oct 14, 2009 on Film for a Lifetime at The Online Photographer