Last week Sony announced the second version of their popular “35mm full-frame” 24MP A7 camera – the A7 Mark II. Along with a number of feature updates and improvements to the Autofocus system the headline new feature is IBIS or In-Body Image stabilisation. When I read this I was surprised as they seemed to be headed down the road of Optical lens based Image Stabilisation a technology they call Optical Steady Shot (or OSS) for their zoom lenses.
What is not known at this stage if this a technology they will eventually roll out to their entire A7 range (i.e. the 36MP A7R and the 12MP low-light beast the A7S) or if this will be an exclusive feature to the A7 markII.
A lot of people are aware of the fact that Olympus and Sony are linked together in that Sony helped out when Olympus was suffering due to an “accounting problem”. The precise details of this are not publicly known and it could be expected that some joint ventures or technical licensing deals would come out of this deal.
The fact that the A7-II has IBIS and the Olympus cameras also have IBIS (and have done for some time now) hasn’t escaped the rumour sites and forums. The consensus is that Sony got this technology from Olympus. Sony claim that this isn’t the case and maybe this is true or the fact that the technology was adapted from a small MFT sensor makes it a new Sony technology is also not known.
For example some of the Nikon sensors are made by Sony (others by Toshiba and Aptina) even though Nikon claims this isn’t so; Nikon has no sensor fabrication capability so we don’t know why Nikon claim this. It may be that the coupling of the sensor into Nikon bodies along with their image processing allows Nikon to make these kind of claims?
So whether this is Olympus technology or not it doesn’t really matter. This is great for existing and would be Sony full-frame mirror-less users.
I was over at the DPReview site today and was perusing the Olympus DSLR forum and one of the topics was along the lines of: “If Sony got the IBIS from Olympus – what did Olympus get from Sony?”. Although the intent of the topic was quite innocent, it is quite naive to expect a sensible answer to this from a forum; I also suspect that the answer, if this is true is very complex and will never be known to those outside of the Olympus and Sony board members.
As usual after the first suppositions, the topic had morphed into something off topic and it is this that I have a problem with. There were many users that are saying that it is now game over for Olympus as their “crown jewel” – their 5-axis IBIS technology is no longer exclusive in the mirror-less camp.
WTF? I cannot fathom why a lot of users think that the only point to own an Olympus based MFT system is because of the IBIS! I’m sorry but the main reason a lot, in fact the majority of people pick any small-sensor camera is down to weight and size.
Yes the IBIS is fantastic and when you are using an EVF (or rear screen) the only advantage to optical based IS technology is gone. Not having optical IS in lenses keeps their weight and size down and also means that legacy lenses that were created before IS lenses existed also benefit from IBIS when needed too. I was amazed at how good the IBIS system on the OM-D is but the IBIS only made me choose Olympus over Panasonic – both are MFT systems. If I was primarily concerned with video then I think that I would have picked Panasonic, but the better stills camera is the OM-D and not just because it has the IBIS technology.
Granted, a few members of the forum tried to point this out but there were drowned out by the “game over” members – I wonder what camera they use – are they actually trolls from other systems?
One day I may learn to steer clear of forums and comments on some of the websites as most of the people who post on them cannot behave and then change the intent of the forum topic or web site comments into something that has nothing to do with anything but asserting FUD!
Updated: 25th November @ 19:00 to correct the inaccuracy that only Sony made Nikon’s sensors. Thanks Anders!