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Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus and other companies interviews
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  • Panasonic interview

    Why did Panasonic make the decision to move into full-frame?

    Five years ago, full-frame mirrorless cameras entered the market, and the trend [since then] has been moving towards full-frame mirrorless cameras. But at that time, we were not ready. Both in terms of technology, and also service and support, and so on. But now the time has come when our technology is ready to go.

    As you know, since we joined the camera business, we have introduced several worlds first technologies. [Full-frame] is a new challenge for us as an innovator. We believe that we can provide value in the full-frame camera market.

    You've said that the ’S’ stands for specialized - what are these cameras specialized for?

    They’re specialized for professionals. That is a core target for us but we’re also targeting high-end amateurs and enthusiasts.

  • Canon interview

    So the next question is about video, and it's somewhat wordy, as many of them are. But the short question is just the end of it as you see it written there. How do you see video fitting in with the EOS R series, both the lenses and the cameras? How important will the video workflow be in that product line in general?

    Video will play a huge role in the EOS R System for sure. For example, an 8K video capable camera is already in our EOS R-series roadmap. And we are not just looking at video from a camera perspective, we are also working on how to make RF lenses better for video capture as well. For example, the RF 24-105mm F4L was the first L-series lens with Nano USM technology, which contributes to silent and smooth autofocus while shooting video. We are looking to further extend the Nano USM-equipped RF lens lineup. Paired with Dual Pixel CMOS AF, a wide range of Nano USM equipped RF lenses will promise video creators great image quality as well as impressive autofocus together in the R-series.

    https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2019/01/08/wheres-canon-going-with-the-eos-r-do-they-have-a-plan

  • Interview with Mr. Masaaki Oshima from Sony

    – Sony once more confirms APS-C line will be continually developed further – The A6400 is not the A6500 replacement – And while he cannot talk about the plans of an A6500 successor their goal is to “exceed customers” requests – There is little demand for low-end APS-C cameras but the demand for higher end models is still strong – In 2019 they plan to strengthen both APS-C and Full Frame portfolio

    https://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/interview/1170312.html

  • Olympus Interview

    DE: Changing topics entirely, we're fortunately a long ways now, past the time when Olympus had difficult financial challenges. I don't follow companies' financial reports myself, but I'm curious: How are Olympus' current financial numbers looking? And what can you tell readers about overall year-to-year performance, especially camera and photography. What does the future hold?

    SS: Our imaging business forecast in this financial year was tough, and resulted in operating loss due to the effects of production system reforms. We are changing our production factory from Shenzhen, China to Vietnam also.

    DE: Oh, to Vietnam?

    SS: Yeah. So next year our performance will benefit from these changes, because labor cost is cheaper there than China.

    DE: Yes, yes.

    SS: We aim to recover by introducing new value products built around Olympus' uniqueness. And there are two points for manufacturing restructuring: The labor cost should change from China to Vietnam, and we had to focus on moving lots of machinery from China to Vietnam. So many technicians had to focus on such distraction -- so as you know, we cannot show new products during this period. That's the reason.

    https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2019/03/04/olympus-qa-cpplus-2019-finally-why-e-m5-iii-running-late-why-not-to-worry

  • Canon interview

    AP: You have announced an ambitious RF lens road map, but what is happening with EF lenses?

    Naoya Kaneda (NK): The RF lens roadmap will be a priority for the immediate future. In terms of EF lenses, because we have a number of adaptors that will work with the EOS R, we believe we are optimizing the capabilities of EF. Furthermore, we don’t distinguish so much between RF and EF, we look at it as a total camera system, so again, we will follow what the market dictates.

    AP: A lot of the RF lenses are targeted towards more advanced users, e.g. the 28mm-70mm f/2. Do you plan to supply more mainstream lenses for the entry level, and for the new EOS RP?

    NK: So the short answer is yes…. The new 35mm you see here and also the 24-240mm we have just announced are all targeted at entry level users. Going forward, we will continue to develop lenses for the professionals, amateurs and entry-level users to satisfy all their requirements.

    https://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/latest/photo-news/cp-interview-canon-combine-body-lens-stabilisation-127019

  • Sony interview

    DE: We'll start off with a question that we’re asking everyone: Canon's chairman and CEO Fuji Mitarai went on record recently as saying that he expected the interchangeable-lens camera business to contract by half over the next two years. Do you agree with this assessment? What are your projections for how the ILC market will evolve over the next two to five years?

    Kenji Tanaka/Sony: The worldwide ILC market overall was down about 8% on the unit shipment basis last year according to CIPA, but Sony's Alpha is not following that trend. Based on simple calculation, two years from now, the market will be less than 80% compared to now. But not half.

    DE: Not by half. So it might be...

    KT: But then, recently there has been a momentum of new cameras. One area is full-frame mirrorless, as you know well. And the full-frame mirrorless' growth is of course more than 100%. Almost more than 150%.

    DE: You mean another 150% on top of the previous year, or do you mean 50% growth?

    KT: 50% growth, yes.

    https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2019/03/22/sony-qa-cpplus-2019-future-of-autofocus-plus-expect-more-aps-c-bodies

  • Fujifilm interview

    DE: You've been hearing that too? Yeah, and so he says that the interchangeable-lens business is going to contract by half, over the next two years. Do you agree with that assessment? What are your own projections?

    Toshihisa Iida/Fujifilm: Totally, totally disagree.

    DE: You totally disagree.

    TI: We really just cannot believe that projection of Canon's.

    DE: Yeah. What are your projections, what do you think the market will do overall?

    TI: I think it all depends on what innovation and what influence comes from the manufacturers. It's our mission to make the market viable. So I think our projection is there's a lot of room even to grow further in the camera market.

    https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2019/03/15/fujifilm-qa-cpplus-2019-af-tidbits-lenses-100-mp

  • Nikon interview

    Do you think the Z mount will eventually be an APS-C platform, as well as full-frame?

    I cannot disclose our plans but for today I can say that since we launched the Z series, our DX format DSLR users have been asking us to apply mirrorless technology to the DX format as well. If we employ APS-C sensors [in mirrorless] maybe the system can be made even smaller. So as we go along, we’ll listen to the voices of our customers.

    https://www.dpreview.com/interviews/3795452675/cp-2019-nikon-interview-the-view-through-the-viewfinder-should-be-as-natural-as-possible

  • Fujifilm interview

    Fujifilm has invested a lot in video, in quite a short period of time. How have your customers reacted?

    Four or five years ago, movie functionality was almost ignored [within Fujifilm], but with the X-T2 we added 4K, and more than just resolution we’ve added new profiles, worked on the autofocus and everything else. It takes time, but definitely more and more customers are looking at Fujifilm as a serious video [manufacturer].

    After launching the X-T2 with 4K video, a lot of customers who owned the X-Pro 2 started requesting 4K as well. We never thought that users of the X-Pro lineup would care about 4K video. We really hope that the GFX 100’s 4K movie will show people something new, as well.

    Do you think there’s room in the X Series or GFX-series lineups for a dedicated video camera?

    It’s possible. We don’t have any concrete plans but at some point in the future it might be a consideration.

    https://www.dpreview.com/interviews/8410636142/cp-2019-fujifilm-interview-we-want-to-show-photographers-the-future

  • Canon Interview

    What's the biggest challenge for Canon over the coming years?

    One of the challenges from the lens side is that, obviously we switched mount: we added the RF mount. We've kept the same mount for over 30 years, that was really big, and we kept lens compatibility for a long time. But when we started the new mount had to start from scratch and prepare a lot of new lenses, so that's been a big challenge for us. Of course, it’s very exciting that the new mount opens up whole new possibilities in lens design and expand the boundary of image capture.

    How do you prioritize which lenses to develop?

    So the idea for the initial four lenses was we wanted to deliver the surprise factor, so we decided to deliver the 28-70mm, as well as the 50mm F1.2, with stunning resolution. That was the concept behind these two lenses.

    With 24-105mm we thought it would be the best match as a standard zoom lens to the EOS R camera, and the 35mm F1.8 was supposed to be an affordable and compact travel companion. Those were the concepts behind the four initial lenses.

    With the six additional lenses that we introduced as development announcements this time, we believe we will be able to deliver more surprise factors, for some models compactness. These two concepts with the addition of these models.

    https://www.dpreview.com/interviews/6453485674/rf-ds-and-do-talking-to-canon-about-its-latest-lenses

  • Another Canon Interview

    What's the logic behind making a system that isn't compatible with your existing EF-M mirrorless system?

    When we started to design the RF lenses we didn't want to compromise on what we can do. We wanted to develop RF to its full potential, so we wanted the latest specifications, state-of-the art technology and design. In the process of developing a no-compromise system, it became apparent that this wouldn't be compatible with EF-M.

    The cameras that use the EF-M lenses tend to be the smaller sizes which may be [oriented towards] a different customer, so we're looking at what those customers want and we'll develop according to that response.

    https://www.dpreview.com/interviews/3096590100/canon-interview-we-want-to-capture-as-many-customers-as-we-can

  • Sony Interview

    Sony is no longer alone in the full-frame mirrorless market - are there any particular companies that you regard as more serious competitors than others?

    Every one of our competitors is strong, and we respect each of them. For the [sake of] growth in the industry, we’re thinking about computational photography, and how to incorporate these technologies.

    I first encountered this kind of technology more than 20 years ago, and it’s created a new future for imaging. So [while] of course we’re very respectful of our current competitors, the next step is we have to learn more things from computational photography.

    So perhaps your most important competitors right now don’t make cameras?

    That could be.

    https://www.dpreview.com/interviews/9676983794/cp-2019-sony-interview-first-full-frame-then-aps-c

  • Interview with Sony new 48Mp mobile sensor designers

    With smartphone cameras getting more and more sophisticated in recent years, every company has been striving to make pixels smaller to meet the demand for more advanced cameras that are still small enough to fit in a phone. So, in order to stay ahead of the competition, we needed to develop even smaller pixels. With the IMX586, we were able to achieve a pixel size of 0.8 μm, which in turn made it possible to deliver a high resolution of 48 effective megapixels even on a compact sensor of 1/2 inch (8.0 mm diagonal).

    Downsizing even 0.1 μm is, in fact, incredibly difficult... the trend of miniaturization is about to enter a turning point. That is, we will eventually reach the limit for simply making pixels smaller and face tradeoffs due to miniaturization.

    We can differentiate our product by curtailing noise so as to realize high sensitivity performance and pioneering new pixel structures and miniaturization.

    In addition, at Sony, we have people nearby thinking about signal processing algorithms, and we have the manufacturing company within our Group. This proximity gives us an advantage in that it makes it easier for us to find ways to achieve overall optimization.

    For the IMX586, our algorithms played a big role in functions such as the high dynamic range (HDR) image composition, the array conversion processing for the Quad Bayer color filter array that achieves both high sensitivity and high resolution, and the phase difference detection entailed in high-speed autofocusing.

    Since the pixel size of the IMX586 was a world-first at 0.8 μm, the basic development started at Nagasaki, the core manufacturing site for smartphone image sensor development. However, due to circumstances related to other product development, resources and production, we decided to develop and produce in Oita.

    It had only been a little while since the Oita Technology Center joined Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing, so there were many differences in development procedure and culture. For that reason, it was my mission to find a way to smoothly integrate the culture of the Oita plant with the culture of Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing. In the development of IMX586, the schedule was very tight, so there were challenges with unifying all the team members while working at the same time to meet the timeline.

    The smaller the pixel, the more it becomes necessary to build the photodiodes in the depth direction of the silicon substrate. To do that, you need to use greater energy to inject impurities into the silicon.

    https://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/technology/stories/IMX586/index.html

  • Sigma interview

    It's been six months since the L-mount alliance was announced. How's it going?

    At CP+ our main theme is to show our commitment to the L-mount system. We didn't bring [out] any totally, brand-new products at CP+ but we showed our commitment to L-mount system by showing our new mount adapter and prime lenses for the system.

    The response is better than I thought, initially. Not only from retailers and distributors, but also users who have showed very strong interest in L-mount system. Potential customers are very positive, which is more than I expected: it's a nice surprise.

    You expected it to be harder to convince people?

    Yes, because it's a relatively new system. It's not a brand-new system, because Leica already had their own system, but as an alliance, this is only the beginning. Panasonic just announced a few products, so compared to the existing systems, particularly compared to Sony system, it's not [comprehensive]. I was pretty surprised customers showed interest in our system.

    https://www.dpreview.com/interviews/7487852065/cp-2019-sigma-interview-optical-design-is-always-a-battle-with-the-design-constraints

  • Olympus Interview

    What's the response to E-M1X been like?

    We've been holding touch-and-try events in many places and have received a lot of very positive feedback from customers. Pre-sales orders are at expected levels and we have had a good start worldwide.

    The E-M1X is a model that requires a lot of consideration before users make a purchase, so we believe the users will read many reviews and learn about benefits of E-M1X before buying.

    I've attended some touch and try events and I was very pleased to see so many customers at these events. We're also been getting positive feedback from professional photographers.

    Some people may feel that the E-M1X is big for a Micro Four Thirds system. However, the feedback we're getting from customers that have actually tried the product is that it has changed their view. So we hope people will pick up our product and try it.

    Who is the E-M1X it aimed at?

    It's a part of our professional line, along with E-M1 Mark II. One of the user groups we're targeting is professional photographers, but also the high-level amateur, the enthusiast: they make up much of our target audience, along with the professionals.

    https://www.dpreview.com/interviews/4121892976/cp-2019-olympus-interview

  • Tamron interview

    Why did you decide to make a premium F1.4 35mm?

    ‘SP’ stands for superior performance, and this year we’re celebrating 40 years since we first introduced ‘SP’. We had the F1.8 35mm and 45mm, and for those lenses the concept was compact prime lenses and 'good balance'. F1.8 turned out to provide an optimal balance, having weighed various design criteria to deliver the highest possible performance and practical functionality including the VC feature. For the 35mm F1.4, we thought particularly about optical performance.

    Since other manufacturers already have high-performance 35mm F1.4 lenses we wanted to achieve a very high-level prime lens. The MTF shows [better performance] than other lenses in this category.

    Because this year is the 40th anniversary of SP, our engineers really tried to get the best optical performance with this F1.4 model. We really wanted to achieve high-quality, high-resolution images. Superior performance.

    So the SP 35mm F1.4 is a 40th anniversary lens, in effect?

    Yes, and we believe it’s performance is better than other brands. We have a lot of confidence in it.

    https://www.dpreview.com/interviews/0358644487/cp-plus-2019-tamron-interview

  • Sigma interview

    Dave Etchells: On lenses again, also about the L-mount Alliance, have you published a lens roadmap for what Sigma will do for L-mount?

    Kazuto Yamaki: Yes. At this CP+, we announced 11 lenses for L-mount that will be available by the end of this year. These are the same prime lenses that we deliver for Canon EF, Nikon F and Sony E-mount. We will use the same optics for L-mount lenses. This is a new announcement. And also we will release APS-C sized lenses for L-mount in 2020.

    Kazuto Yamaki: Also, we will probably not discontinue our existing products for DSLRs. We'll maintain lenses for DSLRs, and also lenses for mirrorless. So again, we have to make more and more types of lens models. Then we lose efficiency and productivity in manufacturing. This is very challenging for manufacturing.

    Dave Etchells: Yeah, I can imagine. Once upon a time, you just had Canon and Nikon mainly; that was only two mounts. Easy to do. But now, even though you can use the same optical design, it's still different manufacturing for each one. That's challenging. Yeah, it's a very, very exciting time in the industry. All of a sudden, there are so many new products, and I'm feeling a lot of excitement from the end-users. I think it's a good time to be a photographer.

    https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2019/04/29/sigma-interview-l-mount-lenses-aplenty-mirrorless-to-take-over-from-dslr

  • Ricoh Interview

    We've seen a lot of movement away from DSLR to Mirrorless (by manufacturers), do you feel there are still types of photography better-suited to DSLR?

    Currently mirrorless, especially full-frame mirrorless, is a movement. So many users are interested in this new category of camera: full-frame mirrorless. Mirrorless itself has its own benefits [and] appealing point to the users: they can check their images before hitting the shutter button, through the EVF. But on the other hand, DSLRs have their own benefits: users can enjoy the beautiful image through the optical viewfinder and then imagine different ways of taking photos using different settings, they can imagine the consequence of taking the picture.

    I imagine, in two or three years, some users who bought mirrorless cameras will return to DSLRs We have been studying various possibilities when it comes to development, but we believe both mirrorless and DSLR have their own appeal. I imagine, in two or three years, some users who bought mirrorless cameras will return to DSLRs or choose to use both systems, because each has its own benefits.

    https://www.dpreview.com/interviews/4961078980/cp-2019-ricoh

  • Technical Olympus interview

    Dave Etchells: Back in 2011, Olympus launched its ZERO coatings with the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm f2.0 lens. What’s the underlying technology there, and how does it differ from what came before? Are they standard dichroic coatings, and how much better are they than what you had before? And what led to the development of that improvement?

    Shigeru Kato: As you imagined, this is a general dichroic coating, or multiple coatings.

    Shigeru Kato: What is our original technology is how thin we can make the layers, how well this can be controlled. That's our technology, which came from the microscope division.

    Shigeru Kato: And the benefit of the thin coating is the very low reflection rate. It reflects half the normal amount reflected by the usual coatings...

    Dave Etchells: Half the normal? That's a big improvement! That's interesting. I need to study dichroic coatings more, but I know they use optical interference to get the light to cancel out?

    Shigeru Kato: You know the brand name ZERO is the initials Zuiko Extra-low Reflection Optical coating: ZERO coating.

    https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2019/06/09/how-to-keep-water-out-of-lenses-make-stepper-motor-af-crazy-fast-olympus

  • Interview with Sony about top lenses

    These products use technologies developed for the 400mm F2.8 - how has that product performed in the market?

    The sales have been much higher than we expected - more than double. We thought at the first stages of development for the lens that there were only a few people who would shoot sports with our products - for example only Alpha 9 users, or photographers who shoot smaller small sporting events. But after we launched the 400mm, we have seen demand from many of the top sports photographers working at large events.

    Do you have a sense of how many professional photographers are using that lens, versus enthusiasts?

    Almost 70% of the customer base for that lens are professionals. Availability is still capped - there is a long waiting list.

    Who do you see as the target market for the new lenses?

    Compared to the 400mm, the 600mm is more targeted at high-end amateurs. Photographers that shoot birds, wildlife, aircraft. Maybe 70-80% will be wildlife photographers. That’s why the market is bigger for the 600mm than the 400mm.

    The 200-600 will appeal to the same audience to some extent but some people who use those kinds of lenses will use them with APS-C cameras. To get more reach.

    https://www.dpreview.com/interviews/1348083745/sony-interview-600mm-f4-200-600mm-launch

  • Panasonic S1H interview

    Dave Etchells: We were curious in terms of just the timing and strategy, why did you wait until now to introduce the S1H? Was there a technology that you needed to wait for, maybe it was the improved autofocus? Or was it more just a matter of releasing the two products and then at this time later, the market responds?

    Yosuke Yamane: It's been eight years since I decided to develop full-frame cameras. And officially, we decided to develop the full-frame camera two years ago. At that time, we intended to develop both cameras, still picture-oriented and video-oriented cameras. But the most important thing for developing the camera is [to decide] which mount should we introduce? That's the point. And in order to decide the mount, we have to firstly develop the still-oriented camera.

    https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2019/09/03/why-did-panasonic-wait-before-demolishing-video-competition-with-s1h

  • Interview with Yoshiyuki Takashima who is Former Canon Director, Former General Manager of Camera Business Division, Former Software Manager-General Manager of Development Division

    About old stuff.

    https://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/column/165/1221882.html

  • Sigma

    • Sigma is considering making anamorphic lenses
    • We can be certain there will be a new 70-200mm f/2.8 FE lens
    • No lenses for X-mount because Fuji doens’t share the mount protocols
    • Sigma has still not decided if they are going to make lenses for Nikon Z and Canon EOS-R