Update on that rumor of the next version of the Canon Rebel XSi coming out sometime this year: Latest rumor is “The new Rebel will be launched June 23”.
It may be trumped by a new Nikon: “the Nikon D5000 is real – it has a swivel display that rotates in all directions…90% chance it will be released at PMA next week.” If the Nikon is the same price, then the addition of the swiveling screen would make the Nikon a better choice unless Canon’s next Rebel has a swiveling screen (since self portraits as hit or miss when you can’t see what your aiming at). UPDATE: Nikon introduced NO new DSLRs at PMA. Nada. Nothing.
But Olympus debuted the Olympus E-620 a couple weeks ago, and although it has a slightly smaller sensor, it is worth looking at. Flip-out, swiveling screen, live view, etc. It even has nice blue decorative highlights (that I can relate to).
But wait! As practical as the Olympus E-620 is, buying now would be a mistake! In a YouTube video taken at the trade show, the Olympus representative was asked if the E-620 was as small a form as they could make it. He said “yes…until we go to micro-four-thirds later this year.”
What is “micro” four-thirds? It uses the same sensor size (18 x 13.5 mm) but allows slimmer cameras by removing the mirror box and optical viewfinder.
Which will be perfect, since no one uses the optical viewfinder anymore anyway! Indeed it has become somewhat rude to cover your face with a camera.
So, wait until the end of 2009, when Olympus will dump the extraneous optical viewfinder. The resulting camera will be even less bulky.
How small? Here’s a concept picture of how small they could go. Hopefully they won’t be this ugly:
Again, that’s just a concept, it is not what will actually be released. Notice on this mock-up they didn’t include any sort of pop-up flash, nor any swiveling lcd screen, or anything really. It was just made to show off the absolute minimum configuration neccessary for a micro-four-thirds camera.
What we will have is a slim and light camera that has a nearly-professional-size image sensor. Which is what I’ve wanted from the start. All I want is a large image sensor in a reasonably small camera body.
Why? For ability to capture detail. Here’s a sensor size comparison: The Nikon and Canon sensors are large. The four-thirds sensor is really nearly the same size. The tiny ones are the image sensors in pocket cameras (so small, they are unable to resolve fine detail no matter how many megapixels they claim).
Panasonic already has a micro-four-thirds camera on the market — the Panasonic G1 — but the image quality is really poor for some reason. Some suspect the image processing is at fault, and that new firmware might be able to fix it, but, the short form is that we’ll need to compare Panasonic’s G1 to whatever Olympus will be releasing later this year to see if micro-four-thirds cameras are inherently flawed or if they can be a suitable replacement for bulky DSLRs.
Here’s some more info about the Olympus (can you tell I’m just storing this info in this blog entry for myself?) “…a Russian leak hints the M-1 would have a relatively compact body but would carry a 3.2-inch LCD …it will also reportedly come with a relatively short-ranged but removable 12-45mm lens. A second, lower-end model known as the M-100 is said to have a less protective shell [and] a 14-70mm lens.”