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

    Is there a technical reason why the G9 and GH5-series continue to rely on contrast-detect autofocus with depth-from defocus technology in preference to a hybrid/PDAF system?

    When we were developing the GH4, we were discussing whether to go with phase detection AF, or hybrid AF system of contrast AF with our own DFD (depth-from- defocus) technology. We thought that by having contrast AF with DFD, we could maximize picture quality.

    This is because with phase detection AF, picture quality can be damaged [by the phase detect pixels]. With contrast-detection AF and DFD technology, we don’t need any dedicated pixels [for autofocus] and we believe it is more precise.

    As we head into 2018 and 2019, how will Panasonic send the message that it wants to be taken seriously by stills, as well as video professionals?

    When we developed the GH5, a lot of video users were attracted to it, but we were aiming for stills users as well. In developing the G9, we wanted to communicate to customers that we are also capable of creating a more stills-focused camera; in terms of marketing, we are trying to communicate that we have cameras that are focused on stills, video, or a hybrid of both.

    Our business philosophy is based on ‘changing photography.’ And any change we make must be a benefit for the customer, and for the last two or three years, we’ve really focused on our video capabilities. But we still want to satisfy stills-focused users with our philosophy. It’s been ten years since we introduced the first mirrorless camera, and many things have changed in the mirrorless industry in terms of innovation, but we are trying to continue to change the market to satisfy our customers.

    We are going to continue to develop video features, but we also want to improve stills performance in terms of speed and autofocus. We don’t want to just pick one feature and improve it; we want to improve more generally, and we are trying to re-brand somewhat in the stills category. And we want to do this not only for professional cameras, but entry-level and midrange cameras as well.

  • Canon interview

    First question is about mirrorless and the market split. Last year, you mentioned seeing growing demand for mirrorless; even though the market is going down, mirrorless is increasing. And in particular you said that for the Japanese market, there was a fifty-fifty split between customers for mirrorless and DSLR. In the last year, have you seen a shift one way or the other in that? And how about in other market regions? In the US, is there still more demand for EOS DSLRs than for mirrorless?

    Generally, there's not that significant a difference, but having said that, although we said fifty-fifty, it has grown slightly beyond 50-some percent. In terms of other markets, if you look at the US for example, for 2017 it was 20-some percent. For Europe, it's in the mid-30%, [and] China [is] also mid 30%. But overall, when we compare against 2016, there are slight increase for all [markets]. We can say that for Japan and other regions, the mirrorless market is increasing on a slight level.

  • Pentax interview

    Will we see an updated APS-C flagship camera in the future?

    For the flagship APS-C model, we have just started to develop that. It’ll be the successor of the K-3 II and will be an evolution of the K-3 series.

  • Another Pentax interview

    Dave Etchells/Imaging Resource: The Pentax K-1 Mark II is very close in design to its predecessor, but it adds an accelerator unit and we're curious about that. The press materials just said it's an accelerator unit, but didn’t explain further. What sort of functions were you able to move into that chip? And is it a pre-processor that takes data from the sensor, or does the sensor data come into the main processor and then the accelerator works on the side?

    Takashi Arai/Ricoh: The accelerator unit initially processes the output signal from the sensor, meaning that the accelerator comes right after the image sensor. And then it conveys it to the PRIME IV -- PRIME IV is the name of our image processing engine -- and then an accessory unit does a kind of signal processing which cannot be obtained by just software processing mechanism without degrading the resolving performance of the sensor.

    And then the PRIME IV was also redesigned. The algorithm within the PRIME IV from the K-1 and K-1 II is different. Because the signal for the PRIME IV is already [lower-noise than that in the original K-1]. Better signals into the PRIME IV in the K-1 II means it can be more specifically optimized just to reduce the noise, which already has a higher level of signal to noise ratio. And as a result, so, the highest ISO level [819,200] and also improved S/N ratio on normal ISO range has been achieved

  • Olympus Interview

    DE: Yeah, yes. It was interesting to us - in the US, the E-PL9 was just recently announced and we noticed that all of the PR materials we saw featured women as the users. I'm wondering, do you have any kind of breakdown of buyers by gender for your different model lines? And does that male/female ratio vary between regions? Is it different in this part of world vs. the U.S.?

    SS: Initially, the women's market was one of the choices that we considered. They have not yet become a buyer of our cameras, so we have considered to go in to that market on the way to achieve our strategy to expand the camera's market. We had invested in the market in Japan first and tried to get our customers, adding a feminine taste in the products to appeal to women. But we were not purposefully targeting only the women. We just tried to put the preferable style of women. On the strategy of the PENs, in the same way, embracing a good function with social networks for the PL9, we are trying to approach to those social networking users who are intending to make photos for their work, not simply for the memories, and not only for women.

  • Sony Interview

    DE: Yeah. So I wonder if, as is the case in the human brain and eye/retina, there is a lot of processing that happens right at the sensor? What gets fed to higher levels of our own visual systems is already abstracted some, and I wonder can that happen -- or is that happening -- at the level where you have the processing right on the chip, for things like eye-detect AF? Can it detect eye-like objects (as in "we've got some white parts that are lighter than the surrounding area, with a darker iris and pupil at the center"), can it do image processing at that level?

    Sony Staff: We can do many things. Talking about AI, as you know well, AI computing can be either in the cloud or on the edge. Both types of AI exist, but we're talking about the edge type of AI, edge meaning for our case the camera.

  • Sigma's CEO Kazuto Yamaki Interview

    DE: Yeah, and Panasonic has had a relationship with Leica for a long time. They carry Leica branding. I imagine that the lenses are actually designed still by Panasonic, but it's one of those things where if it's a high enough quality then they'll let you put their brand on it. That's very interesting, but you haven't announced anything officially about a full-frame camera?

    KY: Actually, last night I announced our plan for the L-mount system. We didn't show any new specific product, but I announced six things. First, we will develop the full-frame mirrorless camera which features a Foveon full-frame sensor, and this camera will be available next year. The second one is that we've stopped developing new SA-mount cameras, so no new SA-mount cameras will be available. Number three is that we will continue the development and manufacturing of our series of SA-mount lenses, because there are still SA-mount camera users.

  • Interview with Sony guys

    Question: You have favored high-quality and expensive optics with the 50mm f/1.2 and the 28-70mm f/2, but are they really suitable for use on a midrange EOS R between 6D Mark II and the 5D Mark IV?

    Answer by Mr. Seita: You know, the EOS R is just the first case in a new range and we wanted to show the range of possibilities of our new mount with light optics, fast optics equipped with our new Nano technique USM with the 24-105mm f/4 and more affordable optics like the […] 35mm f/1.8 stabilized macro.

  • Another interview with Sony

    With Sony manager Mr. Tanaka.

    • The goal now was to focus on Full Frame cameras to satisfy the demand of the customers
    • He said this goal has been achieved and it’s about time to focus on making APS-C cameras

  • Canon interview

    DE: So as kind of an extension of that, you have the full-line philosophy or the goal strategy. How do you see mirrorless playing out within that for the next few years? And especially, given that the competition is so active. Sony has been there for a while; now Nikon has come in. What can you say about your strategy with the R-series, specifically competing with those companies?

    KO: Thanks to [our] competitors, the word "mirrorless" currently makes a bigger noise than ever. That is good news, because everybody, the consumers generally, are paying more attention to the camera industry, right? So that is a good thing. So Nikon, Sony, Canon, Fuji, Olympus, all the major players, they have all launched mirrorless cameras. Most general consumers may not understand about mirrorless vs SLR or vs compact, just that a camera is a camera. But [all the talk about mirrorless] makes noise, it means consumers are paying more attention to the camera industry than ever.

    Also, as a basic fact, thanks to the smartphone, the number and also the frequency of shots is tremendously higher, compared to more than ten years ago. Maybe 100 times or 1,000 times more. Because everybody, you know, they are all trying to shoot various lifestyle, food, travel photos, so on and so forth. So the variety of applications, and also the requirement [is expanding]. So that is why we're taking the full lineup strategy. So it's now the generation Y and Z [who are getting involved], also the bloggers and the webcasters and so on and so forth. So what kind of products, what kind of technology should we provide? That's why we're trying to bridge the gap between our technologies and the requirements.

    So in that sense, mirrorless is one of the new topics among users; you know, that is the good news, to stimulate demand of shooting stills or video, on both sides, that is the good news for us. So again and again, we're going to continuously invest and commit to developing the full range of the cameras from Canon. Also, as I mentioned yesterday, this is not the last model, as you are aware. [Ed. Note: Ogawa-san is referring here to comments he made the day before, that there will eventually be a complete line of full-frame mirrorless cameras.] So we are continuously innovating in this area, with new lenses and cameras - but please don't get me wrong, the DSLR area is also where we're going to commit.

  • Interview with Sigma

    Do you have any predictions for the proportion of your lenses that you expect to sell in mirrorless mounts versus DSLR mounts, in the future?

    Within three or four years I expect our mirrorless mount lens sales to be much bigger than for DSLR. Maybe 70% to 30%.

    What is your opinion of Canon and Nikon’s new lenses for the RF and Z mounts?

    I’ve been very impressed by Canon’s new lenses for RF. The 50mm F1.2 and 28-70mm F2. Very impressed - and a little jealous! They’re possible due to the wide diameter and short flange back. Otherwise such lenses would be very difficult or impossible. Having the larger elements at the rear of the optical system makes it easier to achieve good performance at large apertures.

  • Interview with Sony

    What is your long-term strategy for APS-C and will we ever see another NEX-7 equivalent camera with dual dials?

    We have to get customer feedback. The dual dial on the NEX-7, some customers appreciated it, but some customers didn’t. The APS-C market is very important for us, so we will create new models in the APS-C market, but we need to ask customers what kind of models they want.

    Do you think APS-C could be a professional format for Sony in the future?

    Professionals have many cameras. Of course, full-frame is usually their main camera, but for a long time, they’ve also used APS-C as their second camera, so of course, APS-C cameras for professional use must exist.

  • Interview with Canon engineers

    "In relation to the optical system, we gave consideration to focus breathing*, and also aperture control: you can change the aperture in 1/8th stops," says Kato. "also the Nano USM, it's very quiet and quick: the first time in an L lens."

  • Interview with Fujifilm

    Do you see many of your users upgrading from X to GFX?

    Not quite yet. Because they’re totally different systems. We started creating our legacy based on the X100. Usability, colors [etc.] and I hope that in near future more X Series customers will step up to GFX.

    Can you describe the thinking behind the creation of the 50R?

    Shortly after we introduced the 50S we started receiving requests from customers, who remembered the old medium format film cameras. Immediately after we released the 50S they were asking ‘when is a rangefinder style 50S coming?.

    Is this a camera you expect to be used more like a field camera? Like the old rangefinders?

    Yes. All controls must be reachable with one hand, that was our concept for usability. We wanted the camera to be more suited to street, reportage and portrait photography.

    The forthcoming 100MP camera is more SLR style, with a detachable viewfinder, more similar to the 50S, but with an integrated battery grip for greater battery capacity. The sensor and the image stabilization system need more power.

  • Interview with Canon

    Why is there no in-body image stabilization (IBIS) in the EOS R?

    Shoji Kaihara: We had to look at the balance of the entire camera, like the size and other aspects. Based on that, it’s not something we are able to include in the EOS R at this time. We are quite aware that there are pros and cons to that […]

    Why does the EOS R shoot 4k video with a 1.7x crop?

    Shoji Kaihara: When developing the EOS R, we looked at all the hardware we had in the pipeline. When we look at the image processor and CMOS sensors that we have — we have restrictions, unfortunately, and that’s why we ended up with the 1.7x crop […]

    What are the biggest challenges your team faced when developing the EOS R?

    Tetsushi Hibi: It comes down to the mount size. When you go mirrorless, some restrictions get lifted. What that means is that we can go for optimum optical performance.

    We wanted to make the back-focus (flange-back distance) as short as possible, and the lenses as big as possible. But then the mount would have to be larger. If the mount becomes larger, the grip gets moved out, which means a bigger camera. However, when we look at the market, the camera sizes are getting smaller […]

  • Interview with Sony

    Dave Etchells/Imaging Resource: To start out with the most obvious topic, Nikon and Canon are both out with their full-frame mirrorless systems, with varying reactions by different portions of the market. They both have strengths and weaknesses, but it seems to me that in some ways they don't need to be bases-loaded home runs, but simply good enough to keep people from migrating away. How do you adjust for that shift in your business, that there there will be I think significantly fewer people coming from Canon and Nikon now?

    Kenji Tanaka/Sony: Looking at the competitors, I don't care about the competitors. You know, I don't want... Our vision is not to shift the customers from other competitors to our models. Our vision is just to expand the industry.

  • Leica interview

  • Nikon interview

    What were the biggest challenges you faced when developing the Z mount?

    For the mount, the biggest challenge was to finalize the specifications. This is a new system and we’re looking ahead into the future for our users. We want them to use the Z mount for a long time, so we wanted to make sure that the specifications would [support] use for the long-haul.

    For lenses, taking the Z 35mm F1.8 for example, we were determined to exceed the [previous] performance level, which was very challenging. Manufacturing was challenging too because we wanted to exceed [previous] lens specifications and performance.

    In the camera bodies, we had to maintain robustness, while making them smaller and lighter. This was a challenge for us.

  • Another interview with Sony

    P What are your initial thoughts about the Canon, Nikon and Panasonic systems? For example Nikon says that its larger lens mount means it can produce faster, wider-aperture lenses. What’s your response to that?

    Mr Tanaka: The diameter of lens doesn’t matter. Honestly speaking it is very difficult to create a small size mount. But the quality of our new 400mm f/2.8 is better than the competitors. That means the diameter of the mount is not critical for our foremost lenses.

    AP Could you produce an f/1.0 lens?

    Mr Tanaka: Yes we could, but there is no market demand. Maybe some demand exists for an f/1.2, but an f/1.0? Technically we could produce an f/1.0, but it would not make business sense.

  • Interview with Laowa founder

    Please tell me the origin of the name LAOWA

    The name of the lens brand "LAOWA" comes from the handle name (user ID) that I use on the Internet. In China, it means "old frog" (older frog), and my knowledge is few (only optics), but dreams and ambitions want to be high. Such meaning is put in it.

    Also, when I made a lens a few years ago, it was a lens made by me (LAOWA), so the user told me this is a LAOWA lens. In fact I was thinking of the name of the star called "Venus (Long Gen)" as a lens brand, but because it is common, it can not be used because it suffers with other companies. So I brand it as LAOWA.