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Rumor: The Olympus E-M5II Will Use Sensor Shift to Capture 40MP Photos with a 16MP Sensor

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Some hugely innovative news is coming out of the Olympus rumor mill today. According to highly trusted sources, the followup to the Olympus OM-D E-M5 will take a page out of Hasselblad’s multi-shot book and, using its sensor shift capabilities, spit out 40MP images from its 16MP sensor!

The news comes from the folks at 4/3 Rumors, who got it from a new source and confirmed it with, “one of my best trusted sources.” According to the tip, the next E-M5 — which will be called the E-M5II or E-M5 Mark II — will integrate something called ‘sensor shift’ shooting.

This mysterious technology will supposedly make it possible to capture 40MP images using the 16MP sensor packed inside the E-M5II by shifting the sensor and combining up to 8 shots into one.

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If this sounds familiar, that’s because this is how Hasselblad’s multi-shot cameras like the 200MP behemoth H5D-200c Multi-Shot work: by shifting the sensor in 1/2 or 1-pixel increments and combining up to six shots together.

As you can see from the image above from the 200c Multi-Shot press release (click here for full res), this really does make a massive difference in the final shots. From the above-mentioned Hasselblad press release:

The Bayer Mosaic filter pattern covers the pixels of the sensor. Moving the sensor in one pixel increments between shots, allows for the exact R, G, B values to be captured in every pixel. The multiple captures are then assembled to deliver the correct colors and ultimate definition of detail. Adding captures, each offset by a ½ pixel sensor movement, creates space for extending the sensor resolution from 50Mpix to 200Mpix. The outstanding definition of color and detail is maintained.

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The obvious downside here is that multiple shots are… well… multiple shots, so fast moving subjects are out. Still, with burst modes being what they are, it’s not impossible that this tech will be usable handheld — we’ll just have to wait and see.

The details of how Olympus’ system will work are still shrouded in mystery, but it makes sense that they would use their own sensor shift stabilization capabilities to build this in. For now, just keep an eye on the site and we’ll pass along more technical info as it becomes available.

And if rumors aren’t your thing, 4/3 Rumors is confident the E-M5II will arrive at the beginning of February, so you don’t have a long time to wait.

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