Is Olympus going in the wrong direction?

DeeJayK

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 8, 2011
Messages
4,025
Location
Pacific Northwest, USA
Real Name
Keith
This recent article from Digital Camera World makes some decent points about the direction OMDS (neė Olympus) is heading with its emphasis on PRO lenses.

Like it or not, the smaller MFT sensor in Olympus cameras will always be seen by many as second best compared to full frame systems from Nikon, Sony and Canon.
To counter this, Olympus’s traditional advantage has always been size and weight, but by trying to compete with pro full frame camera systems, Olympus is making hefty PRO lenses which throw away much of that advantage.

You can probably demonstrate the advantages in weight and cost (certainly cost) of an equivalent Olympus system versus full frame with a spreadsheet, but side by side physical comparisons are growing less and less convincing.

I've had many of the same thoughts this writer expresses, particularly when the E-M1X was introduced. It almost seems like Olympus has a bit of a complex over its smaller sensor and is overcompensating in trying to compete with the "big boys" on their turf.

Don't get me wrong, the PRO lenses are undeniably great optically and in every other aspect except size. But size is the primary advantage Olympus had over their competitors, and they should be leaning into that.

Of course the answer may be as simple as the fact that they've already MADE the small and light lenses (basically the f/1.8 primes) and thus are simply expanding the lens lineup in other directions.

What do you all think?

- K
 

BDR-529

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 27, 2020
Messages
982
OMDS is going the only way they can now that daddy Olympus is no longer paying their bills and they are forced to make it on their own.

It's pretty much given that low-end ILC is dead in economical sense and the only way to make profit is to sell high-end bodies and lenses.

It's not just OMDS but every ILC manufacturer is introducing more and more expensive models. Even entry level has somehow crept to $1800€ or above.

CIPA statistics confirmed that the post-COVID recovery in sales was not caused by number of units sold which increased only moderately but by average price which shot up because camera owners finally upgraded to latest mirrorless models.

Back in 2016 when M1.2 was introduced mft was able to compete head on against high-end FF models which were bulky, expensive, slow, didn't have IBIS or high-res and supported only basic video specs.

Especially M1.2 was superior product in many ways and in 2016 even IMX270 was not that far away from FF sensor IQ in that price range.

Unfortunately none of these advantages are valid today so I definitely want to see how this "wow" product is supposed to make mft competitive again.
 
Last edited:

John King

Member of SOFA
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
3,467
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Real Name
John ...
I think the writers make the same mistake as the first responder.

They compare the smallest possible 135 format combo with the biggest possible mFTs. Reviewers have been doing this ever since FTs was introduced.

These are not the only cameras and lenses made for mFTs.

Show me ANY 135 format camera and lens the size, weight and image quality of e.g. the E-PM2 + 14-42 EZ. Or E-M1 MkI + 12-50 macro. The example quoted must meet all three criteria in one camera/lens combination.
 

BDR-529

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 27, 2020
Messages
982
Show me ANY 135 format camera and lens the size, weight and image quality of e.g. the E-PM2 + 14-42 EZ. Or E-M1 MkI + 12-50 macro. The example quoted must meet all three criteria in one camera/lens combination.

The real question here is: "How many camera buyers will find your criteria (and only them) so essential that only models which fill all of three are accepted in their short list?"

At a quick glance it looks like anyone who rates less than 3 out of 3 as "absolutely must have or I will not buy" or has other must have-requirements on top of these is likely to consider other options too.

Whatever OMDS is doing next, it MUST be both profitable and sell in high quantities so they cant limit potential customer base to laser-sharp niche.
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 15, 2016
Messages
5,010
Location
Sydney, Australia
After reading the article to me if taken broadly it has some good points. I think this may be why we are seeing the f4 range of lenses.
Panasonic has done well with their smaller in size lenses and variable apertures.

If taken to the extremes if the Oly cameras and lenses end up the same as the FF versions at the short end of the focal lengths it could cost them some sales for the landscape people. Every so often I look at my little Rollie 35mm film camera with it's little lens as a reminder of what small meant back in the film days.

I wish the EM1 line was the same size as the original one. The new one [EM1.3] is not much bigger but I have to put my EM1.3 in a Think tank holster 20, but the original one fitted in the 10 like my G85 does. So the camera may not be that much bigger but the line of bags I have been using needed a much larger one. When on a bush walk I like to take a pack big enough to fit the camera bag into if the weather goes bad. The bigger holster makes that a lot harder.

So that means I am looking at bags again as the holster size 20 has some spare room. Does this bag quest ever end :doh:
 

doady

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
637
Location
Canada
I like the implication that the smallest full frame lenses are automatically "pro" but the equivalent size Olympus PRO lenses are automatically not "pro" because they aren't full frame.

And, no, Olympus isn't the second best. Olympus is actually third best behind not only the full frame systems from Nikon, Sony, and Canon, but also the medium format system from Fujifilm.
 

frankmulder

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 8, 2019
Messages
513
Show me ANY 135 format camera and lens the size, weight and image quality of [...] E-M1 MkI + 12-50 macro. The example quoted must meet all three criteria in one camera/lens combination.
Sony a7C with the 28-60mm f/4-5.6 lens. That was easy. Smaller, lighter and better image quality than your E-M1 I + 12-50mm.

Not saying that the Sony combination is better. Just that it matches your three criteria, showing that there isn't much sense in comparisons like these, unless you consider the entire system and the needs of a specific user.

If someone is only looking for a small and light camera with decent image quality, then they'd probably rather pick up something in the Sony RX100 or Canon G7X series.
 

BDR-529

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 27, 2020
Messages
982
Sony a7C with the 28-60mm f/4-5.6 lens. That was easy. Smaller, lighter and better image quality than your E-M1 I + 12-50mm.
Sigma fp is smaller than almost anything in mft lineup but that comes at a cost because they had to leave out the mechanical shutter.

Once global shutter FF sensor becomes available in this price range, this form factor will become very interesting option because it's already so small that you can't even get a proper grip of that thing.

Smallest size of camera body will be dictated by the size of human hand, not by sensor type in the future.

There's also a lower limit to ILC body weight because high-end lenses will always be heavy and camera body must act as a counterweight or the kit will become very unbalanced
 
Last edited:

John King

Member of SOFA
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
3,467
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Real Name
John ...
Sony a7C with the 28-60mm f/4-5.6 lens. That was easy. Smaller, lighter and better image quality than your E-M1 I + 12-50mm.
It's bigger, heavier with a FL of 28-60mm vs an effective FL of 24-100, with a fixed FL macro of 43mm (EFL = 86mm).

I haven't researched the optical qualities of the 28-60, but the price is far more than double the release price of the E-M1 MkI + 12-50 macro (both with effective weatherproofing ... )
Not saying that the Sony combination is better. Just that it matches your three criteria,
It doesn't really - see above.
showing that there isn't much sense in comparisons like these, unless you consider the entire system and the needs of a specific user.
Agreed, but I didn't start the comparison ...
If someone is only looking for a small and light camera with decent image quality, then they'd probably rather pick up something in the Sony RX100 or Canon G7X series.
If it weren't for the lack of IQ ....

I'm not arguing with you, Frank.
It is the original premise that gets up my wick.
 

JonSnih

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Mar 26, 2017
Messages
334
Location
CZE
I wish the EM1 line was the same size as the original one. The new one [EM1.3] is not much bigger but I have to put my EM1.3 in a Think tank holster 20, but the original one fitted in the 10 like my G85 does. So the camera may not be that much bigger but the line of bags I have been using needed a much larger one. When on a bush walk I like to take a pack big enough to fit the camera bag into if the weather goes bad. The bigger holster makes that a lot harder
Take a look at new Tenba DNA messenger 13 (v2), which was released few weeks ago. Watch a promo video.
 

frankmulder

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 8, 2019
Messages
513
It's bigger, heavier with a FL of 28-60mm vs an effective FL of 24-100, with a fixed FL macro of 43mm (EFL = 86mm).
It is not bigger and heavier. It is smaller and lighter, just like I said: https://camerasize.com/compact/#858.929,482.332,ha,t

Yes, the focal length ranges are different (although they're not that much different when you consider that the a7C has more resolution and can be cropped more). Yes the Olympus has better macro capabilities. Yes the Olympus is weather-sealed (but the Sony is, too; just maybe not as well). Yes, the Olympus is cheaper (not too surprising for an 8 year old camera). But you mentioned three criteria: size, weight and image quality. The Sony wins on all of these.

If it weren't for the lack of IQ ....
The IQ of the Canon G7X II isn't that bad honestly, especially when compared to cheaper MFT zooms like the ones you mentioned. I used it for two years before switching to MFT.

I'm not arguing with you, Frank.
I'm not arguing either. ;) Just getting the facts out there. Every system is a compromise. It depends on your specific needs which compromise is best for you.
 

Brownie

Thread Killer Extraordinaire
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
4,323
Location
SE Michigan
Real Name
Tim
As for size, mirrorless, the very thing that made Panasonic and Oly (in their current state), is coming back to bite them in the ass. While M-4/3 continue to get larger, FF continue to get smaller. An S5, Z5, Sony A7 (all variations) are about the same size if not smaller than the larger M-4/3 bodies. Yes, FF lenses are bigger, but they're shrinking with each new generation. The newly leaked Sigma 150-600 is expected to be about 4-1/2 lbs with the tripod collar and hood, 4-1/4" wide and 10" or so long. Not a whole lot bigger than the Oly 100-400. The Sony FE 200-600 is virtually identical in size to the Oly 150-400, but costs thousands $ less.

They're also catching up cost-wise. Right now the Sony A7III (their current top of the line 24MP pro-sumer) is on sale with a 28-70 cheap kit lens for $1900. Think about that and compare it to a GH5II or a OM-D EM5 III. Now, think about the APS-C bodies out there, which seem to attract the vast majority of newbies or people moving to update a body. Prices on those are lower yet.

Cost is critical. If M-43 wants to remain relevant, they're going to need to find ways to reduce their prices, not increase them. The assumed release price of $2500 for the GH6 is insane for all but a handful of people who find the features worth the cost, but it's a niche market. Remember, we're not talking about us, we're talking about the unwashed masses.
 

John King

Member of SOFA
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
3,467
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Real Name
John ...
It is not bigger and heavier. It is smaller and lighter, just like I said: https://camerasize.com/compact/#858.929,482.332,ha,t

Yes, the focal length ranges are different (although they're not that much different when you consider that the a7C has more resolution and can be cropped more). Yes the Olympus has better macro capabilities. Yes the Olympus is weather-sealed (but the Sony is, too; just maybe not as well). Yes, the Olympus is cheaper (not too surprising for an 8 year old camera). But you mentioned three criteria: size, weight and image quality. The Sony wins on all of these.


The IQ of the Canon G7X II isn't that bad honestly, especially when compared to cheaper MFT zooms like the ones you mentioned. I used it for two years before switching to MFT.


I'm not arguing either. ;) Just getting the facts out there. Every system is a compromise. It depends on your specific needs which compromise is best for you.
Frank, please re-read my original response to you. The Sony lens is a lot narrower at the WA end, and just over half the FL at the long end. How is this comparable? 28-60 vs EFL of 24-100 (+macro).

Secondly, the price I quoted was at release for the E-M1 MkI + 12-50 macro as a kit.

Thirdly, the 28-60 already has a questionable reputation. See the Imaging Resource review of the 12-50 macro here:

https://www.imaging-resource.com/lenses/olympus/12-50mm-f3.5-6.3-ez-m.zuiko-digital-ed/review/

Not too bad at all, and weatherproof ...

Etc, etc. Apples and horses, I fully agree.
However, still doesn't meet the three criteria I set.
 

WT21

Mu-43 Legend
Joined
Feb 19, 2010
Messages
7,411
Location
Boston
Olympus is trying to find a profitable niche in a shrinking global market so they can stay in business and generate cash. Small cameras are no longer profitable. It's no more complicated than that.
 
Last edited:

Brownie

Thread Killer Extraordinaire
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
4,323
Location
SE Michigan
Real Name
Tim
Frank, please re-read my original response to you. The Sony lens is a lot narrower at the WA end, and just over half the FL at the long end. How is this comparable? 28-60 vs EFL of 24-100 (+macro).

Secondly, the price I quoted was at release for the E-M1 MkI + 12-50 macro as a kit.

Thirdly, the 28-60 already has a questionable reputation. See the Imaging Resource review of the 12-50 macro here:

https://www.imaging-resource.com/lenses/olympus/12-50mm-f3.5-6.3-ez-m.zuiko-digital-ed/review/

Not too bad at all, and weatherproof ...

Etc, etc. Apples and horses, I fully agree.
However, still doesn't meet the three criteria I set.
The problem in this argument, John, is that you're thinking about what works for you, while the discussion is centered more on the market. How does the general public think? The "Oooo" factor must be taken into account. The mantra is "FF is what the pros shoot, so it's better." It's heard everywhere. Now, we on this forum know better, but that hasn't seemed to affect the market over the last years. When a discussion like this arises I try and step back out of my shoes and think like a newbie.

On another non-photography forum I visit one of the users decided it was time to get a good camera to document his new family. After MANY recommendations, he went with a Nikon APS-C. Of course he did. It's mainstream, it's normal, and it's safe, but moreover, it was cheap. $1400 gets you a body and two kit lenses.. That is the mindset M-4/3 has to overcome to stay alive. It's a huge part of the market, and all of the manufacturers need a good sized piece of it.
 

demiro

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Nov 7, 2010
Messages
3,376
Location
northeast US
I've been saying the same thing here for quite a while - that all but abandoning what made this format great to chase PRO level gear was a mistake - and was always pretty much shouted down. This article certainly doesn't prove me right, of course, but when Brownie and I are kind of in agreement I think that says something. :)
 

doady

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
637
Location
Canada
I have to correct my previous post: m4/3 and Olympus is actually fourth place, behind medium format, full frame, and APS-C.

I always find it funny that people obsess about bigger and more expensive sensors for higher image quality, but at the same time they criticize the idea of lenses being bigger and more expensive for higher image quality.
 

demiro

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Nov 7, 2010
Messages
3,376
Location
northeast US
I have to correct my previous post: m4/3 and Olympus is actually fourth place, behind medium format, full frame, and APS-C.

I always find it funny that people obsess about bigger and more expensive sensors for higher image quality, but at the same time they criticize the idea of lenses being bigger and more expensive for higher image quality.
I think it makes a lot of sense. To me, size has never been an absolute. But rather about a threshold. If a camera is small enough to fit in my day pack that's all I care about, for example. Going smaller doesn't matter to me, in fact, it may make shooting experience worse [E-PM vs E-PL]

On the large size, once my kit crosses that threshold of being 'big' I don't necessarily care how big [within reason]. But if I'm accepting something big I want the fewest compromises attached to it. That's why FF is my choice for indoor sports, as an example.
 

Brownie

Thread Killer Extraordinaire
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
4,323
Location
SE Michigan
Real Name
Tim
I have to correct my previous post: m4/3 and Olympus is actually fourth place, behind medium format, full frame, and APS-C.

I always find it funny that people obsess about bigger and more expensive sensors for higher image quality, but at the same time they criticize the idea of lenses being bigger and more expensive for higher image quality.
I don't think medium format plays into this much from a market standpoint. It is, and always has been, a specific market. It is unlikely to appeal to the vast majority of people. That fate was sealed when Kodak introduced 135 film and Argus made cameras available to everyone.
 

Latest threads

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom