Is Olympus going in the wrong direction?

Clint

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First they spent 1960's with the "crop frame" of the analog era which of course was the original half frame Pen F. That turned out to be a financial disaster even when product itself was very well received and cool looking.
I don't know how the half-frame could be defined as a financial disaster. Olympus sold various models for 20+ years (1950=1983) and led every other photo manufacture to develop and sell their own half-frames.
 

BDR-529

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I don't know how the half-frame could be defined as a financial disaster. Olympus sold various models for 20+ years (1950=1983) and led every other photo manufacture to develop and sell their own half-frames.

What olympus produced till 1983 was the inexpensive half-frame compact camera family. I wasn't talking about those.

Pen F was the half-frame SLR system. Also an analog era equivalent to mft. Very innovative and very complex and very expensive to produce

This was discontinued before Maitani even had finished the famous full 35mm OM system and Olympus was forced to introduce a stopgap 42mm mount camera which they produced only in 1971

There's even a Pen F to mft adapter which is nice because you can re-use old Pen F lenses on digital Pen F

So Olympus should have seen the writing on the wall when first Sony A7 was launched
 
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doady

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People criticize Micro Four Thirds, they criticize Olympus, especially their "PRO" lenses, but the demand for the 150-400mm F4.5 still continues to exceed the supply. We've heard all these criticisms many times before, and we will continue to hear it again and again and again, it's nothing new. The constant barrage of hate just shows Olympus/OM is doing something different, and that's exactly what they need to continue doing. They need to continue being leaders and carving their own path, instead of just following the herd. Just following the herd didn't work out for Panasonic and it won't work for Olympus.
 

speedy

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People criticize Micro Four Thirds, they criticize Olympus, especially their "PRO" lenses, but the demand for the 150-400mm F4.5 still continues to exceed the supply. We've heard all these criticisms many times before, and we will continue to hear it again and again and again, it's nothing new. The constant barrage of hate just shows Olympus/OM is doing something different, and that's exactly what they need to continue doing. They need to continue being leaders and carving their own path, instead of just following the herd. Just following the herd didn't work out for Panasonic and it won't work for Olympus.
Well, considering that Olympus are no longer in the camera business, and sold out, while Panasonic are still there manufacturing cameras and lenses, I'm not sure what you're statement means.
 

Leolab

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People criticize Micro Four Thirds, they criticize Olympus, especially their "PRO" lenses, but the demand for the 150-400mm F4.5 still continues to exceed the supply. We've heard all these criticisms many times before, and we will continue to hear it again and again and again, it's nothing new. The constant barrage of hate just shows Olympus/OM is doing something different, and that's exactly what they need to continue doing. They need to continue being leaders and carving their own path, instead of just following the herd. Just following the herd didn't work out for Panasonic and it won't work for Olympus.
I fail to see any hate at all in this thread, I do however see divergent opinions...why is it that anytime someone offers constructive criticism then they must be haters...a healthy business admits that there are things they need to do better, a business that believes that everything they have created and sold is perfect and can never be improved is dead in the water...as far as I can tell everyone here is here because they are committed to m43...labeling folks who dare criticize as 'haters' is puerile...many folks on this thread are laying out options and debating them, its very interesting...others like yourself are coming in and simply saying 'haters', others are saying 'must be trolls' with no other logic other than you see some criticism of the cameras and gear you use...do you really think that that is what is motivating folks on a m43 forum to debate the direction for Olympus

We are having this discussion BECAUSE Olympus' strategy to date has not worked...I think we can all agree that Olympus' strategy only works if they have a plan to actually make more money than they spend, maybe you don't, maybe you believe that "Olympus/OM is doing something different, and that's exactly what they need to continue doing", if so please tell us why they will become profitable, how this strategy will lead to them increasing their revenue? C'mon we are all ears, and those that have contributed to this thread with real ideas, with plausible explanations, with good debate, whether you agree with them or not are not haters for doing so

Its entirely possible that you and others like what they are doing wrt direction, that does not change the fact that Olympus are in it to make money (BTW in 2017 they barely broke even , they posted a loss in 2018 and as seen below losses in 2019 and 2020). Their revenue has declined YoY in those 4 years as well, from 62B Yen in 2017 to 44B yen in 2020...the ONLY reason their loss was not larger in 2020 was because of cost-cutting (SG&A in particular), so last year they cut the cord and divested. If your salary went down every year and you continued to spend more than you made every year does that sound like a good strategy? Would you invest in a business that looks like that?

As far as the demand for the new 150-400 exceeding supply...first off you should be asking yourself what supply truly is...perhaps they can only supply 500 lenses WW this year due to Covid constraints, and they have 600 orders...then it is true that supply exceeds demand...but I would be willing to wager that when they started the project several years ago to design and produce this lens the business case was way rosier than what it is for this lens today...many a time a business launches an unprofitable product because the RD costs and many of the infrastructure/tooling costs are already spent, so they look to recoup whatever costs they can.

Lets pick at your leadership argument, please elaborate on what they are leaders in, what do they 'lead'? I honestly cannot answer that question today but please lay out your assertion with some credible insight that makes you believe this to be true. I could answer that question 5+ years ago, when they truly embodied what mirrorless was all about (smaller bodies/lenses, lighter weight, revolutionary IBIS, intelligent image software in camera), they were leaders in these things, but others have lapped them in many of these categories.

Speaking of leadership...its about making smart and tough choices when faced with the need to make them...its about driving change not about being static and doing the same thing over and over, its about seeing the threats and charting new courses to lead the business through those. In that respect Panasonic deserves a ton of credit, they obviously saw that they needed to expand their portfolio to remain competitive and they doubled down on what was truly a distinct competitive advantage they had in video.

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You really should try to stop contradicting your own arguments.
Those weren't contradictions.

Geologists mostly need georeference data from GPS and traditional map and compass work. Imaging is for landmark reference and documentary purpose. They don't require absolute IQ. They need portable, robust convenience with excellent networking. The smartphone replaced their dedicated camera. We all still rely on our Garmins. My EM1X is a decent GPS but accessing the data is laborious compared to the $0.99 apps that do it effortlessly in comparison. The EM1X geo is like using 10 years old Garmin tech.

The archaeologists and historiographers and wildlife biologists want data. They've been using SLR and DSLRs since forever and the idea of giving up IQ and DR and bit-depth and compatibility going with an inferior IQ format is not going to happen. Neither their institutions nor their peers would be accepting. They won't sacrifice image data, and with recent FF MILC at m43 body size they never will. If you're chartering $1k an hour helicopters to remote work sites the quality of data is absolute. m43 isn't a pro working tool for these types and never has been. (Never seen a Sony or Fuji in the field) BTW)

That said, I've been on site with them and it's normal to pull out the smartphone for a quick reference shot and geolocation. We all do it. Last week I mapped out a fuel spill with my smartphone camera. 15 years ago I'd have needed a DSLR and a Garmin. We still have an old Nikon DSLR and ancient (original) GPS devices in our offices, but about 8 years ago their use was phased out. Our Fire Marshals and Building Code officials all have FF DSLRs issued for forensic and reportage purposes, but they also have smartphones for landmarking and basic reference imaging. Most wildlife officials have DSLRs but I've seen a mirrorless Nikon in the field already this year.

These people aren't photographers who are paid to make images. They require qualitative data in their work of which imaging is a core component. The traditional paid "pro" photographer has pretty much disappeared except for weddings and portraits. and both those are endangered. I received a stipend to buy the EM1X with GPS. I take dozens of photos a week in non-ice months as imaging is part of my line of work. I would not consider myself a "pro" photographer but imaging is a necessity in my line of work.

We had an Arctic archaeologist come through a week ago after the ice left. He was looking for evidence of Thule and Dorset occupation by identifying stone tool use. He set up a screen and tripod system (land of the midnight sun shadows everything) and was taking contextual and close images of rock circles and stone tool work sites and the tools and remnants themselves. He likely gets one chance to document a site and that effort may never be replicated. I tagged along for a bit to make sure he's on the right location with our combined maps. His data is looking for certain types of stone chips to differentiate cultures and eras of use and stone tool methodology. He'd had a D850 and a big Nanuk case full of gear. His data is detailed and there is no way he's going to use a lesser quality sensor when so much is at stake, especially given his information both feeds land use legislation and that he is also allowed to use the same information in scientific papers. m43 doesn't cut it for data like this. It's good enough for prosumers like myself but for professional work where hard data is a necessity and can be captured in images, they won't compromise to the lesser IQ standard of m43. That's always been the known limitation of the smaller sensor.

Attached is an example of Pelagie's cultural and historiographical work crafting a "bird basket" out of a loon, a traditional Inuit practice for carrying items. Every step in preparing the bird, preserving the leather and feathers, and precise stitching methods is documented step-by-step and presented in detail to archives, the Arctic College, and other repositories. One of these was presented as a gift to QE2 in 1998 when Nunavut was created and Her majesty visited. This documentary work is performed all over the Arctic. I shot this on an iPhone. Her daughter and Pelagie use a small studio with 2x D850s for the work, which is shared with professional archivists, educators, curators, and so forth. Will they compromise on imaging IQ by downsizing to smaller sensors? Not going to happen. The exactitude of what they are capturing is not subject to much compromise and m43 simply isn't up to standards set by peers and institutions for this kind of work. It bears repeating that lesser IQ is part of the m43 compromise and that alone shuts the format out of huge swathes of professions where imaging is a necessity even if someone is not a "pro" photographer.

If you cannot accept that objective, incontrovertible fact that the m43 sensor delivers inferior IQ to FF, and that differentiates the market for the vast majority of "pros", you're probably in the wrong forum! The tradeoff is the m43 system offers advantages of which we know, but many "pros" cannot accept because IQ is not negotiable. That's reflected in the precarious position of OMDS in the overall market. Do the f/4 lenses enhance the brand and format overall? An unqualified yes. I think the OP referenced article misses the boat.

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And if you want a job on the Arctic Circle...it comes with a DSLR!
 

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Leolab

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I don't know how the half-frame could be defined as a financial disaster. Olympus sold various models for 20+ years (1950=1983) and led every other photo manufacture to develop and sell their own half-frames.
I also don't know whether financially the film Pen-F was a money loser for them...but the original premise for the concept of the Pen-F was to have a high-quality small portable camera system that was economical (film was expensive and processing was expensive at the time and most 35mm SLR cameras were big and heavy and expensive), when film became more affordable to folks (increased economic prosperity throughout the world and decreased price of film) the economic advantage to shoot half-frame was diminished (the meager economic gains of using less film did not outweigh the desire for better image quality with 35mm) and Olympus eventually abandoned it for the Olympus OM SLR system notably keeping the same design philosophy as the Pen-F, a portable small high-quality camera system...

And fast-forward to today...I think many of us see distinct parallels here, hence why this even came up...I'm sure many at Olympus and many of their loyal Pen-F users were upset with Olympus moving to 35mm, but it was a necessary economic move for them...
 

John King

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John, I believe this is directed at me, who has been active in this thread as you say.
If anyone who dares express their opinions, good and bad i might add, wrt Olympus’ future direction, the state of its competitiveness in the market, and how it competes vs FF, is automatically a troll, then what is the point of these fora?
You disagree, therefore the poster is a troll?

I note that you admit to not even reading the posts, and you have added nothing of substance to the discussion.

Let me recap for you, we were having a good discussion on the future direction that Olympus should take, each expressing our opinions in a civil manner. We think it is critical to understand what the competition is doing/can do in future to best formulate a direction for Olympus’ future, a big part of that is being honest about advantages the competition has so that our strategy is sound.

I just retired from my job of 25 years at a Fortune 500 tech company, a big part of my job was strategic planning. We outlined our strategy for the business including where to invest our limited RD funds to maximize revenue and be competitive in the marketplace. We speculated which areas of the market would experience the most growth, and how best to tap into that. A fundamental part of our planning exercise was to anticipate what the competition would do, ‘war gaming’ we called it. We spent as much time understanding and anticipating what Company A , Company B does better than us, and would do in reaction to our strategic moves. THIS was the key to ensuring we were not going to be blind-sided and that we had a sound strategy and understood the risks involved.

You probably wont even take the time to read this.
You probably still think I am a troll
I would never make that assumption of anyone, and I go into any discussion assuming folks truly say what they mean.

John, you are welcome to the discussion, please add something of substance rather than name-calling
Sorry to disappoint (;)), but I wasn't referring to you. I do not think you are trolling.

I never have any problem with those with differing viewpoints.

I have read exactly the same meaningless "arguments" from the trolls I am referring to for many years at DPR. It is them, and their ilk, which finally led to my not participating at DPR over a year ago. Same old incorrect BS, same strawman arguments, same technical and logical fallacies.

We all have different reasons for our choice/s of gear. It only becomes trolling when a person takes it upon themselves to bash, flame and bait others because of their choice of gear that suits them.

Sorry, but you don't qualify as one of them ;). You are rational, for starters.

I've edited a lot of APSC and 135 format images, and am yet to see any evidence of the magical, secret sauce superiority that is so heavily pushed by some. Strange how the same people deny the technical superiority of 100 MPx MF cameras using lenses to die for ...

I am fortunate that I can afford to buy whatever I like. I would draw the line at about $100K. There are many reasons why I chose FTs/mFTs. Superior optics that I don't need a Sherpa to carry being just one. e.g. there is simply no other similar lens that comes close to the resolution and rendering of the 12-100. It was a 'statement product' by Olympus. Read this page at Lenstip:

https://www.lenstip.com/497.4-Lens_...ED_12-100_mm_f_4_IS_PRO_Image_resolution.html

But their whole article backs up my statement.

It appears that the 8-25 will be similar.

IMHO once you can see detail in ordinary images that are invisible to the naked eye, IQ is 'good enough'. Even the kit lenses that came with my E-510 are 'good enough'.

I come here mainly to enjoy the photography of others, but I periodically see fit to take issue with blatant trolling by known trolls - ones with whom I am familiar from my very long presence at DPR.

As a retired CPA who has worked for several of Australia's largest companies, as well as my own private practice for 25 years, I find it amusing when people who patently could not manage a suburban fish and chip shop spruik on about how they know better to run a highly specialised photographic company.

And no, I'm not referring to your good self.
 

Leolab

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Sorry to disappoint (;)), but I wasn't referring to you. I do not think you are trolling.

I never have any problem with those with differing viewpoints.

I have read exactly the same meaningless "arguments" from the trolls I am referring to for many years at DPR. It is them, and their ilk, which finally led to my not participating at DPR over a year ago. Same old incorrect BS, same strawman arguments, same technical and logical fallacies.

We all have different reasons for our choice/s of gear. It only becomes trolling when a person takes it upon themselves to bash, flame and bait others because of their choice of gear that suits them.

Sorry, but you don't qualify as one of them ;). You are rational, for starters.

I've edited a lot of APSC and 135 format images, and am yet to see any evidence of the magical, secret sauce superiority that is so heavily pushed by some. Strange how the same people deny the technical superiority of 100 MPx MF cameras using lenses to die for ...

I am fortunate that I can afford to buy whatever I like. I would draw the line at about $100K. There are many reasons why I chose FTs/mFTs. Superior optics that I don't need a Sherpa to carry being just one. e.g. there is simply no other similar lens that comes close to the resolution and rendering of the 12-100. It was a 'statement product' by Olympus. Read this page at Lenstip:

https://www.lenstip.com/497.4-Lens_...ED_12-100_mm_f_4_IS_PRO_Image_resolution.html

But their whole article backs up my statement.

It appears that the 8-25 will be similar.

IMHO once you can see detail in ordinary images that are invisible to the naked eye, IQ is 'good enough'. Even the kit lenses that came with my E-510 are 'good enough'.

I come here mainly to enjoy the photography of others, but I periodically see fit to take issue with blatant trolling by known trolls - ones with whom I am familiar from my very long presence at DPR.

As a retired CPA who has worked for several of Australia's largest companies, as well as my own private practice for 25 years, I find it amusing when people who patently could not manage a suburban fish and chip shop spruik on about how they know better to run a highly specialised photographic company.

And no, I'm not referring to your good self.
Then I stand duly corrected and my assumption was plain wrong.
Thank you John
 

barry13

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Hey, Folks. Don't let a couple of DPR FF trolls stir you up ...
Hi John,
Please note that public implications that members here are trolls are generally not welcome. If you are confident someone is repeatedly trolling, please report the posts instead. (I did not read all 8 pages of this thread)

@everyone
We recommend that you use the 'ignore' function, rather than arguing repeatedly with the same users.

Thanks
 

John King

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Hi John,
Please note that public implications that members here are trolls are generally not welcome. If you are confident someone is repeatedly trolling, please report the posts instead. (I did not read all 8 pages of this thread)

@everyone
We recommend that you use the 'ignore' function, rather than arguing repeatedly with the same users.

Thanks
Thanks, Barry. They are already on my ignore list. The only two of all the active members here - says something ...

However, it is sometimes necessary to look at ignored material to make sense of others' comments.

Both nicks are active at DPR (last time I checked), preaching the same BS. I don't argue with them here. That's a pointless, fruitless pursuit. I don't post at DPR because far too much of this behaviour goes unchecked there.

Pointing out that they have serious form for this behaviour is not the same as engaging with them. They are only here for the strange fulfillment of their equally strange idea that everyone should agree with them.

I'm interested in photography and photographs. Not in arguing the toss about minuscule differences in gear.

BTW, since I have your attention, how about another icon for photos between "Like" and "Winner"? Something along the lines of "a really nice photo that falls just short of being a winner, but superior to merely being a like"?

I often feel that the dichotomy between 'like' and 'winner' is too harsh, and that a 'very good' would fit nicely for maybe 20-30% of images.

Your thoughts?
 

John King

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Then I stand duly corrected and my assumption was plain wrong.
Thank you John
You are more than welcome, Leo.

Being 74 y.o. with really significant health problems, I get a great deal of pleasure from all the photos posted here. Not all are of the same standard, of course, but I enjoy them all.

I've seen outstanding photos taken with everything from 20 y.o. p&s and cell phones to super expensive, top shelf kit, and I've seen some very ordinary photos taken with the same, sometimes by the same person ...

I find trolling to be obnoxious in the extreme.

Generally, I read everything posted here, and give at least some thought to it.

Keep well.
 

demiro

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People criticize Micro Four Thirds, they criticize Olympus, especially their "PRO" lenses, but the demand for the 150-400mm F4.5 still continues to exceed the supply. We've heard all these criticisms many times before, and we will continue to hear it again and again and again, it's nothing new. The constant barrage of hate just shows Olympus/OM is doing something different, and that's exactly what they need to continue doing. They need to continue being leaders and carving their own path, instead of just following the herd. Just following the herd didn't work out for Panasonic and it won't work for Olympus.
Wow. Couldn't disagree more.
 

John King

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Wow. Couldn't disagree more.
I agree with @doady 's position far more than I agree with yours.

At least his position has some positive aspects and flexibility to it.

Constant negativism kills things as effectively as actual faults or failures; and it's easy to be negative about almost anything.

A bit like COVID-19 vaccinations. 1 in a million deaths is all but irrelevant when compared with the 1 in 50 deaths for unvaccinated people.

If you inject foreign substances into people, there will always be some tiny percentage of bad or fatal reactions. One of my medications states "no grapefruit", another states "no potassium". I'm on a specialist vaccination clinic list purely because of my known atypical reactions to these things.
Would I like to be vaccinated right now? Certainly.
Would it be foolhardy to do this right now (for me)? Certainly.

The world and everything to do with it and being a living creature involves compromises. That's reality.
One size fits all is a fool's paradise ...
 
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PeeBee

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Back to the original question, I don't think Olympus has chosen it's current direction. Small is now covered for the masses by their smartphones. The dedicated camera market has shifted to the high end, for folks willing to sacrifice convenience in favour of higher quality. This lends to larger and heavier. M43 may lose out to FF in sensor quality, but gains in portability for telephoto reach, and that's where I'd like to see OMDS focus their efforts (selfishly, since it's what I favour). Fast sensor readout, better AF performance, maybe some fast primes between the 75mm and 300mm.

Personally, I feel the size argument, at least in the wide to normal range is over done. If it doesn't fit in my pocket, I have to carry a bag. If I have to carry a bag, a few extra centimetres, a few extra grams is neither here nor there. I like the feel and quality of the Pro range. I know size matters to many though, so perhaps a range of smaller, high quality lenses would help maintain the format's user base.

Does OMDS have the resources to keep the business relevant? I don't know, but they do seem to be trying, which is more than I expected this time last year, so I'm remaining quietly optimistic.

As for the recent 8-25 release, it looks like a nice addition to the format with a useful range. I'm not sure if it's for me since I rarely use my 9-18mm. GAS may still get the better of me though......
 
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