E-M5 mk III released at US$1199

zanydroid

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(Apologies if I am repeating some analysis)

How much of the expectations for “wow factor” on this release was due to the lackluster response to the EM1X release? And realistically, what could Olympus have done in 2019 to address that?
- Olympus could only have increased the specs with either new TruePic or new sensor with em5.3 (which means deciding at least 2 years ago, also I am sure the EM1X would been delayed a few months to release with new Truepic if it was really going to be available at this time). Unlike Canon, Olympus can’t casually debut a new processor in a midtier camera.
- Releasing the camera in 2018 would have been physically feasible, except for prioritization. Again, that would have required decisions to be made a long time ago.

At this point, I hope Olympus harvests $200 in donations per body from their early adopter loyalists, and does a price adjustment early next year.

Another interesting question is, how much steam does Olympus R&D really have left? Would love to buy a round for some Olympus engineers to get the gossip...
 

whumber

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I think people expected more because the E-M5ii introduced new technologies to the OMD line and superceded the E-M1 in many ways when released. Olympus' schtick has been introducing new technology to help compete against larger formats but they haven't done much innovation since the E-M1ii release.
 

Ross the fiddler

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I think people expected more because the E-M5ii introduced new technologies to the OMD line and superceded the E-M1 in many ways when released. Olympus' schtick has been introducing new technology to help compete against larger formats but they haven't done much innovation since the E-M1ii release.
I think the E-M5 II only introduced HR & better video. All else came in FW updates for the E-M1 at the time, now there is the E-M1X (only released this year) as well as the E-M1 II above the E-M5 series..
 
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whumber

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I think the E-M5 II only introduced HR & better video. All else came in FW updates for the E-M1 at the time, now there is the E-M1X (only released this year) as well as the E-M1 II above the E-M5 series..
It also included the first UHS-II slot in an Olympus camera, an improved IBIS system, and an electronic shutter readout speed that was twice as fast as the E-M1. At the very least Olympus could have integrated the E-M1X IBIS into the E-M5iii.
 

saladin

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The one glaring omission imo (leaving aside the plastic build ,which I'll have to handle to judge) is the joystick. I was surprised and disappointed that the Em1ii didn't get one ( and in part it lead me to the G9) . Years down the track and the Em5iii doesn't get one either? That doesn't sit well with me, because the Em5 range to my thinking is a dual flagship line with the Em1. I think they've got this aspect wrong.

But I wasn't expecting a new sensor so I'm not concerned that it's 'just' an EM1ii in IQ.
 

Pluttis

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I think people expected more because the E-M5ii introduced new technologies to the OMD line and superceded the E-M1 in many ways when released. Olympus' schtick has been introducing new technology to help compete against larger formats but they haven't done much innovation since the E-M1ii release.
At the same time you would think they would bring out something little special considering they are celebrating 100 years

Personally i didnt expect much more,hoped for HHHR, Live ND and higher res EVF...what i didnt expect was that they would skimp on the build and go for a fully polycarbonate body.
 
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saladin

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special considering they are celebrating 100 years
I do find this interesting, too. I'd half expected to see some sort of limited edition anniversary release, if not a full on premium new body. Perhaps that was meant to be the 1x but it didn't really feel like it.
 

Turbofrog

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It seems to me that the main problem is that Olympus got its release schedule all out of whack. I think they were heavily disrupted in their desire to shift and consolidate their manufacturing in Vietnam throughout 2018 and 2019. The tick-tock cadence between their product lines is completely off, and their release schedule has piled up in an awkward fashion.

This E-M5 III would have been a very pleasing release for many, even at this price point, in mid-late 2018. Which is when almost all their customers were realistically expecting it.

The "next big thing" E-M1 III might come as early as February 2020 (according to rumours), giving very little room for this E-M5 III to breath, unless the new release is accompanied by significant price slashing (which is probably merited anyway).

That said, that February 2020 release might be an E-M10 IV. I think that would be a bad idea, unless somehow Olympus feels that they can put the same 20MP PDAF sensor in a $700 body, removing only weather-sealing, feeds and speeds, and other component choices (like EVF) to trim costs. That release would also put the E-M5 III is a very awkward place.
 

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It seems to me that the main problem is that Olympus got its release schedule all out of whack. I think they were heavily disrupted in their desire to shift and consolidate their manufacturing in Vietnam throughout 2018 and 2019. The tick-tock cadence between their product lines is completely off, and their release schedule has piled up in an awkward fashion.

This E-M5 III would have been a very pleasing release for many, even at this price point, in mid-late 2018. Which is when almost all their customers were realistically expecting it.

The "next big thing" E-M1 III might come as early as February 2020 (according to rumours), giving very little room for this E-M5 III to breath, unless the new release is accompanied by significant price slashing (which is probably merited anyway).

That said, that February 2020 release might be an E-M10 IV. I think that would be a bad idea, unless somehow Olympus feels that they can put the same 20MP PDAF sensor in a $700 body, removing only weather-sealing, feeds and speeds, and other component choices (like EVF) to trim costs. That release would also put the E-M5 III is a very awkward place.
Given market contraction I suspect Olympus will have to choose between the EM10 and the EP lines, likely favouring the latter over the former given the body design downgrades one the EM5 setting that table, so to speak.

An EM1.2 is really only feasible with a new sensor, even if only a 24mp and a single stop better. That would be enough. Cool if they could add ProRes RAW to,video and a few other tweaks like the EM1X AF presets, but they are at a point where even a minor body redesign is pointless.

The other issue is whether the EP line can do without an EVF. The surest way to differentiate ILCs from smartphones isn’t in-camera JPEG editing, it is with up-front composition hardware that can never be replicated by the smartphone crowd (as Sony’s 1” offerings do to keep viable). Some of the PEN-F in the EP series would even allow a price bump.

Another option would be non-ILC LX100 equivalent model at the lower end.
 

mawz

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Oly won't choose between the E-M10 and E-PL lines, as they sell into different markets. the E-PL sells in Japan & China, the E-M10 sells everywhere else. The Japanese and Chinese market loves their altoids-tin cameras.

Oly moves so many units in Japan & China on the E-PL that it keeps them at a share level that they cannot afford to lose, the E-M10 is the entrylevel unit they need elsewhere in the market.
 

ijm5012

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It seems to me that the main problem is that Olympus got its release schedule all out of whack. I think they were heavily disrupted in their desire to shift and consolidate their manufacturing in Vietnam throughout 2018 and 2019. The tick-tock cadence between their product lines is completely off, and their release schedule has piled up in an awkward fashion.

This E-M5 III would have been a very pleasing release for many, even at this price point, in mid-late 2018. Which is when almost all their customers were realistically expecting it.

The "next big thing" E-M1 III might come as early as February 2020 (according to rumours), giving very little room for this E-M5 III to breath, unless the new release is accompanied by significant price slashing (which is probably merited anyway).

That said, that February 2020 release might be an E-M10 IV. I think that would be a bad idea, unless somehow Olympus feels that they can put the same 20MP PDAF sensor in a $700 body, removing only weather-sealing, feeds and speeds, and other component choices (like EVF) to trim costs. That release would also put the E-M5 III is a very awkward place.
Yep, you pretty much nailed it IMO.

The M5.3 is not a bad camera (quite the contrary IMO), but Olympus' release schedule and decisions on when to debut new technology seems to be out of whack. The E-M5 II had been on the market for ~4.5 years when the E-M5 III was released, but the E-M5 III is pretty much the 3 year old E-M1 II. Olympus has released the E-M1 X at a substantial price premium over the E-M1 II, but brought with it very little in the way of new features. This leads to the E-M1 III, with the main questions of "when will it be released" and "what new features will it have"? If it's a substantial upgrade over the E-M1 X, Olympus has essentially told all the E-M1 X owners "thanks for buying our most expensive camera ever, but here's an even better one ~1 year later". If they don't offer any substantial changes, then people will go "WTF has Olympus been doing over the past 3+ years?".

Olympus seems to be in a really tough spot IMO, which is not a good place to be in an industry as heavily competitive and under threat as the camera industry is.
 

Aristophanes

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Oly won't choose between the E-M10 and E-PL lines, as they sell into different markets. the E-PL sells in Japan & China, the E-M10 sells everywhere else. The Japanese and Chinese market loves their altoids-tin cameras.

Oly moves so many units in Japan & China on the E-PL that it keeps them at a share level that they cannot afford to lose, the E-M10 is the entrylevel unit they need elsewhere in the market.
I suspect even the Asian E-PL markets are vulnerable to the smartphone disease, and the EM10 will have a sensor problem given the EM5. That 16MP sensor is done. With the plastic EM5 and the only EM10 sensor path being the 20mp, those product lines are converging. So between E-PL, EM10, and E-M5....pick 2 of 3.
 

ac12

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If you merge the EM10 and EM5.
You either dumb down the EM5 (and hear all of you screaming, even more than you are now),
or you smart up the EM10 (but Olympus dumbed it down from the mk2 to the mk3, presumably for the cell phone crowd).

IMHO, just like APS-C is to FF for Nikon and Canon, Olympus needs the EM10 as a lower cost entry point, than the $1,200 EM5-mk3.
 

drd1135

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Oly won't choose between the E-M10 and E-PL lines, as they sell into different markets. the E-PL sells in Japan & China, the E-M10 sells everywhere else. The Japanese and Chinese market loves their altoids-tin cameras.

Oly moves so many units in Japan & China on the E-PL that it keeps them at a share level that they cannot afford to lose, the E-M10 is the entrylevel unit they need elsewhere in the market.
I think if they had to choose, the Em10 line would lose. I would bet they make a large portions of their money from the EPL bodies sold in Asia.
 

Turbofrog

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If you merge the EM10 and EM5.
You either dumb down the EM5 (and hear all of you screaming, even more than you are now),
or you smart up the EM10 (but Olympus dumbed it down from the mk2 to the mk3, presumably for the cell phone crowd).

IMHO, just like APS-C is to FF for Nikon and Canon, Olympus needs the EM10 as a lower cost entry point, than the $1,200 EM5-mk3.
I tend to agree.

I doubt if the marginal cost of R&D and distribution required for minor, iterative, entry-level models exceeds the value that they provide in achieving a steady flow of medium-margin volume in the $400-800 portion of the market that has overwhelmingly the most sales.

Enthusiasts would revolt at the price-cuts required to get an E-M5 down to $800-900

The dwindling, but still abundant, price-conscious hobbyists and entry-level consumers won't see the value in paying $800-900 instead of $500 for an E-M10.

As it stands, Olympus can cater to both audiences, and at $1200, the E-M5 III likely has exceptionally good margins, which is good for their bottom line. The E-M10 scoops up the more price-conscious buyers.
 

Aristophanes

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If you merge the EM10 and EM5.
You either dumb down the EM5 (and hear all of you screaming, even more than you are now),
or you smart up the EM10 (but Olympus dumbed it down from the mk2 to the mk3, presumably for the cell phone crowd).

IMHO, just like APS-C is to FF for Nikon and Canon, Olympus needs the EM10 as a lower cost entry point, than the $1,200 EM5-mk3.
That’s the rub, isn’t it?
The EM5.3 is not a US$1200 camera body.
Olympus is trying to stretch the “over engineered” EM1.2 tech further than that halo really glows.
It’s already at the point where there are not 3 unique sensors or their implementation (i.e. PDAF) to differentiate the product lines.
Pro model = EM1 w/over 20mp sensor
Pro model with grip = EM1X+
Prosumer = EM5 w/20mp sensor
Everyone else = ??? w/20mp sensor

Right now, in the midst of substantial market contraction, Olympus has 4 SLR style bodies, but the supply is converging on a single sensor, no crippling possible. If they move to 2 sensors, model line convergence is inevitable.
 

Turbofrog

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The Pen-F has a non-PDAF 20MP sensor.
But it's not really one that anyone wants in 2019, let alone 2020.

That older IMX269 sensor is the only reason that Panasonic's G95 got such a cold reception. It doesn't have the readout speeds to support uncropped 4K, and has nearly a full stop less dynamic range than the later IMX272 from the G9 (or comparable IMX270 variant used in the E-M1 II).
 

RS86

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But it's not really one that anyone wants in 2019, let alone 2020.

That older IMX269 sensor is the only reason that Panasonic's G95 got such a cold reception. It doesn't have the readout speeds to support uncropped 4K, and has nearly a full stop less dynamic range than the later IMX272 from the G9 (or comparable IMX270 variant used in the E-M1 II).
I think the point was that they can put that older 20MP sensor to E-M10 IV for example. To differentiate and keep price down.

It would not be the 16MP sensor that is looked down upon. People seem to love their PEN-F's as still cameras.
 

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