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5 reasons the Olympus E-M1 will NOT get 4K video!


Andrew Reid

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Sure. I'm using it consistently here in Jakarta; about 20% of the time. I'm on the road for awhile with only my iPhone, so I can't post examples of the video I'm shooting, but I can say that it's li

Yup.  It's freaking ridiculous too.  This is the main reason I put up with the other video limitations of the OLY cameras.  The 5 axis feature trumps pixel peeping...if you're actually using the camer

Anyone who spends their hard-earned based on a rumour is truly a twit.

well to be fair, you can't really pan fast or walk with it as it ends up looking like you used warp stabiliser in post. At least from my experience with the EP5 last year.

Yes, this is my experience too.

 

It is interesting that you do occasionally see artefacts that look like post stabilisation. Does this mean that the OM-D stabilisation in video mode is partly electronic?

 

The shooting while walking thing is interesting too. It's the rotation of your shoulders from side to side as you walk that it doesn't seem to be able to correct. So it isn't a steadicam substitute in that sense. But as long as both feet are planted on the ground (or you're in a wheelchair?), it's pretty impressive. 

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Why would a camera manufacturer spend time (money) adding more "power" to an older camera that does nothing to pay their bills?  Why do people believe manufacturers limit or turn off features?  Why would Olympus, which has no video line, throttle back a camera to stop it from competing with their non-existent video cameras?  To me, EOSHD has improved immensely from last year by staying away from this type of (naive to me) conspiracy thinking.  Wake up camera people :)  In a very difficult camera market ALL manufacturers are looking to put in as many features as they can to compete against smart-phones.  A win for any of them is a win for all.  Panasonic didn't come out with 4K out of the blue.  They have been working on this technology for years.  As for Magic Lantern, when the 50D came out there weren't CF cards fast enough to write RAW video.  Anyway, RAW is STILL not for consumers, for a long list of reasons.  I want built-in Canon RAW as much as the next guy, but I don't believe it's as easy a decision as it looks (overheating issues for one).

 

Sadly, people may leave EOSHD because Andrew isn't feeding into this fantasy of picking up a used E-M1 for $300 and turning on 4K video.  They will follow people who feed into the dream, rather than the reality.  This is true in all areas of expertise (why there are so many charlatans).  DON'T FALL FOR IT ;)  

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While I think 4K is unlikely, I think it does make perfect business sense for olympus to produce a major update for the E-M1.  The E-M1 hasn't been out for very long, and is only recently been seeing some street price reductions.  As its olympus's pro camera, I can't imagine they want to be releasing a new model after 12 months -look at how long canon keeps it flagship models going for.  If they do release a big update, it keeps the E-M1 competitive with new cameras, while allowing olympus to maximise profit from all the hardware R&D and manufacturing line set-up.  Is 4K possible?, I don't see why its not possible just very unlikely.  Would olympus have released it when they announced the E-M1 -well ideally yes, but they have limited time and resources so it would make sense for them to focus on the core photo features first and get the camera out as they needed to update their flagship asap  and then start working on other features while they had the income stream.  I think some people are getting mixed up with the E-M5 which sells for $300 used, which would make little sense for olympus to update and IMHO has worse video than the E-M1 as the E-M1 codec seems much more efficient and robust.  

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Why would a camera manufacturer spend time (money) adding more "power" to an older camera that does nothing to pay their bills?  

You should ask Fuji why they spent all that time and money to come out with the 2.0 firmware for the x100 last year- a full year and a half after that camera was discontinued. Or why all the new features and improvements that came with that firmware weren't around when the camera first came out?

Because sometimes it takes programmers time to get things right. And also because doing thing like that build a loyal fan base.

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Reason number 0 (because it's more important than 1) :

Olympus has NEVER had good video, and WILL never have good video.

Neither will fuji, samsung, leica or pentax.

Always automatically discount them as even being interesting to look at for video purposes.

If a miracle happens you will find out about it anyway. But it wont.

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You should ask Fuji why they spent all that time and money to come out with the 2.0 firmware for the x100 last year- a full year and a half after that camera was discontinued. Or why all the new features and improvements that came with that firmware weren't around when the camera first came out?

Because sometimes it takes programmers time to get things right. And also because doing thing like that build a loyal fan base.

 

Fuji is developing code for a chip platform that has probably changed little; that is, the time and money they're spending is for new Fuji cameras, the code of which, they're back-loading if they can.  Your somewhat arguing another of my points, that the manufacturers want their customers to have as much power as they can.  So I think we're in agreement ;)  My only real point is that 4K is more than a tweak!  Again, Panasonic has solved problems (like heat dissipation)  which must be designed-in at the hardware level.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

If there's one camera in the business that gets 4k with software update it will be the one with a 4K capable sensor that's already producing 4K video in other cameras. I say the most important hardware component for making a camera shoot 4K, is having a 4K video capable sensor. Other than the sensor, we have no information on the processor capability, or the heat generated by 4K from that specific sensor, or anything else for that matter.

We know the sensor is capable of 4K @30p, 1080p @120p and 240p at unkown resolution (and 481p). That's why we have a bit of trust in the rumor here.

we don't know if the other components are, if yes, it will happen, if not, well, not.

I certainly hope they are.

Either way I am buying an Em1 for the IBIS, that's as soon as I know for a fact it will shoot 25p.

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Reason number 0 (because it's more important than 1) :

Olympus has NEVER had good video, and WILL never have good video.

Neither will fuji, samsung, leica or pentax.

Always automatically discount them as even being interesting to look at for video purposes.

If a miracle happens you will find out about it anyway. But it wont.

 

Bullshit, the E-M1 ist fantastic for video: http://www.eoshd.com/content/12010/olympus-om-d-e-m1-review

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

5-Axis with a fast prime lens has been a revelation to me as a shooter. Such a great tool for so many assignments. I do find myself being impatient with the tech and wishing the video was more robust... and, yeah, @4k.

5-axis and 4K will get here soon enough though (maybe not this firmware upgrade) just wish it was here in time for my current shoot!


Fuzzynormal: if you could find the time, could you review the 5 axis stabilizatiom system?

I've veen searching and there're hardly any examples of how it works, and when I do find a review, it's about stills of course. A look at the 5-axis stabilization system for video shooting from someone who actually used it enough is highly needed for Olympus, especially since they'll be pushing towards video soon it seems.

Just a few examples of On vs. Off. Paning, tilting, does it induce warp stabilizer artefacts, robotic motion, etc...

I am cleaning 10 years worth of Canon/Nikon/Panasonic/Sony cameras and lenses and buying and EM1 just for the stabilization system, so it's quite a substantial investment to be made based off a couple of poorly shot youtube videos,

but if it does indeed work as well as I imagine and really with any manual fast lens, I mean how freeing could that be!
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Sure. I'm using it consistently here in Jakarta; about 20% of the time.

I'm on the road for awhile with only my iPhone, so I can't post examples of the video I'm shooting, but I can say that it's liberating to be able to pull static shots that look like they're done with a tripod.

Emulating slider shots is viable by drifting the body tai-chi style.

The OMD is quirky in that it's video functions, control, and IQ are not top class, and controlling the camera isn't as easy as canon or Panasonic, but the image quality results ARE decent, and the 5-axis for shooting run and gun style is really a blessing.

I've also found that I can do great steady cam style shots by carrying the camera attached to the tripod and my arm outstretched. With the extra mass of the tripod smoothing out the up and down steps as I move forward, it creates a very elegant motion.

I'm limiting what I do to linear shots of motion. Straight line type of stuff. More elaborate or faster pans with tilts do create drift as the lens "lands" at the end of a move. Then again, if you plan on editing without the shot hitting a solid static on the end move, then you're free to drift and twist as much as you please.

The 5-axis isn't a panacea for shoddy camera control, but it's a heck if a tool if you properly utilize it.

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Here's another great example of the what the Olympus can do

 

 

I don't know about you, but if I were to shoot something like that, especially for minutes at a time, the end result would be really quite shaky! I also quite like the colour rendition (when the camera stops changing WB). The dynamic range is not bad either; he could have underexposed it a bit to keep some highlight detail. But I still have a problem with the way it handles fine details (cotton jackets, hair, leaves, etc)... Maybe the supposed (but still somewhat doubtful) new firmware will fix this?

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi
 

Sure. I'm using it consistently here in Jakarta; about 20% of the time.

I'm on the road for awhile with only my iPhone, so I can't post examples of the video I'm shooting, but I can say that it's liberating to be able to pull static shots that look like they're done with a tripod.

Emulating slider shots is viable by drifting the body tai-chi style.

The OMD is quirky in that it's video functions, control, and IQ are not top class, and controlling the camera isn't as easy as canon or Panasonic, but the image quality results ARE decent, and the 5-axis for shooting run and gun style is really a blessing.

I've also found that I can do great steady cam style shots by carrying the camera attached to the tripod and my arm outstretched. With the extra mass of the tripod smoothing out the up and down steps as I move forward, it creates a very elegant motion.

I'm limiting what I do to linear shots of motion. Straight line type of stuff. More elaborate or faster pans with tilts do create drift as the lens "lands" at the end of a move. Then again, if you plan on editing without the shot hitting a solid static on the end move, then you're free to drift and twist as much as you please.

The 5-axis isn't a panacea for shoddy camera control, but it's a heck if a tool if you properly utilize it.

Thank you for your reply Fuzzynormal. Very helpful to hear from someone actually using the system. 

I have one question though, are there any conditions where the stabilization system will produce any kind of artefacts? I mean things like unexpected wobbling, shifts, warp-stabilizer-kind of artefacts, jelloy/distortion artefacts,

i.e., anything artificial looking that wouldn't be existent in physical stabilization systems? 

 

I agree, really freeing! I know the movements are small but love this video as a demo:

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I wouldn't believe this is shot handheld at all, it's physically impossible.

 

Well, it's not really impossible.  Honest.  You MUST control the lens, however.  It doesn't erase bad camera work.

 

I can testify that it is possible to shoot the "Roma" sort of video handheld with the OLY 5-axis feature.  The main reason the Rome video works:  You'll notice that the editing never shows a shot come to rest after a floating move.  

 

Those are the moments when the stabilizer will create the visual artifacts of it's use that you've asked about.  If those instances were left in the edit, it wouldn't look as impressive.

 

For instance, if you handheld pan to the left and then stop on a subject, the stabilizer system doesn't resolve this motion in a natural way.  It looks mechanical as the movement ends and the frame image comes to rest.

 

But, in the Rome video, the editor just cuts away during continuous moves, so no worries.  If you plan to shoot and edit in a similar way, you can create such a video quite easily and completely hand held.

 

I mean, I've been doing cool mini slider shots myself by leaning around corners/foreground elements and shifting my body around.  I swear camera operation with the OM-D is practically like doing Tai Chi while pointing a camera at something.  That's really the best way to explain it and it does work.

 

Also note that in the Rome video the footage was conformed from 30fps to 24fps, creating a gentle slow-mo effect that also smooths things out a bit.

 

Anyway, I spent about 20 minutes on a small boat floating around Sunda Kelapa harbor yesterday with my OM-D and the stuff looks like it could have been shot on the world's longest dolly track.  For the right kind of shots, it really is that good.

 

You have to be smooth though to begin with!  Accomplished camera work is still needed.  You can't just fling the lens around and expect good results.  The Dixieland video above is not that impressive to me because of this undisciplined shooting.  Smart considered control is a must.

 

Caveat:  Pushing the focal length above 60-ish-mm (Full Frame Equivalent) and emulating dolly moves gets a lot tricker than stuff shot with shorter focal lengths.

 

I will say that I can see myself using this camera WITH a glide-cam type of rig to accomplish incredibly controlled, elegant, and longer moving shots.  It would closely rival the best Steady-Cam shots from the most skilled practitioners.  The combo would be very complimentary.  While I can do glide-cam stuff decent enough, I'm not a pro at it.  The 5-axis would hide those slight flaws I'd otherwise create.

 

Now, if OLY is able to up it's specs with firmware or a new model with new/better tech, then it's really going to tempt traditional users away from their usual brands, I think.  Not sure how long they'll have the 5-axis advantage, and if other manufacturers can eventually match it, but for me right now, today, it's serving a very pragmatic purpose.  It fits the way I need to shoot for my stuff.

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Now, if OLY is able to up it's specs with firmware or a new model with new/better tech, then it's really going to tempt traditional users away from their usual brands, I think.  Not sure how long they'll have the 5-axis advantage, and if other manufacturers can eventually match it, but for me right now, today, it's serving a very pragmatic purpose.  It fits the way I need to shoot for my stuff.

 

I think they made a deal with Sony, trading the 5axis technology for Sony sensor knowhow.

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  Why do people believe manufacturers limit or turn off features?  

 

Agree with most of what you wrote but not this bit.

 

Camera makers have been doing it for decades.

 

Even back as far as the Pentax Spotmatic cameras.

I Have an SP500 with a maximum shutter speed on the dial of 1/500 (hence the name) but Pentax just used the shutter from the more expensive version that had a 1/1000 shutter speed but just left off the 1/1000 notch/marking though the camera still has 1/1000.

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