Message from Olympus on Pen Philosophy

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by marcsitkin, May 15, 2013.

  1. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    Harwich, MA USA
    Marc Sitkin
  2. pcake

    pcake Mu-43 Regular

    May 3, 2010
    hmmm... so what he seems to be saying is aimed at snap shooters. he doesn't mention magazine or wedding shooters, people who do portfolios or enthusiasts in his view of the role of photography today. he says dslrs are too big to carry, but i was at disneyland 2 weeks ago, and the beach a few days ago and there were almost as many dslrs as digicams.

    his other message is that people should buy cameras instead of camera phones, and then they go to do some interviews that demonstrate this. the truth is that many people i know are completely satisfied with their smart phones and crappy low end cameras. they love shooting pics, sharing pics, and never seem to worry about the image quality the way enthusiasts do.

    as is often the case, it seemed to me that this video shows once again that yet another camera company would rather focus on phone and p&s upgraders than on enthusiasts. this has always seemed like an iffy philosophy to me, since they can address both kind of shooters. i know p&s owners who upgrade their cameras less than once every 5 years - most of the enthusiasts i know own more than one camera, buy several lenses, and upgrade their cameras every year to 3 years, so i've never understood why camera companies often pretend we don't exist. there are less of us, sure, but we are bigtime buyers and spread the word in person, in reviews on amazon, bhphotovideo, etc, and on boards like this.
  3. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Mass marketing and mass production I suppose, and us enthusiasts are left alone. It seems that our money is not good enough...
  4. Darthpnoy88

    Darthpnoy88 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 27, 2012
    They go where the markets go, though I think Olympus should've targeted towards travelers or folks that don't want to lug around heavy equipment anymore.
  5. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Maybe they're going that way
  6. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    Never underestimate the (purchasing)power of GAS with our types!
  7. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 26, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    with all due respect, may i ask, who are the "we" you mention in your comment?. Please, im not asking ironically, i simply just didnt get the we, you say youre not a P&S, or a pro, etc. but i didnt quite get the "we" part, and i might be as well part of that "we" i just didnt get it in your comment.

    I ask you that, since the guy in the video referred to "us" m43-ers as people that doesnt want their phone cameras nor DSLRs. ?
  8. pcake

    pcake Mu-43 Regular

    May 3, 2010
    the "we" i refer to in my post are enthusiasts - we're not pros, who make their full-time living with photography, but we're involved with photography and gear, it interests us and involves us. we like discussing it, we check prices, we consider upgrades not because our cameras stop working but because there are features or quality improvements that we want to add to our bag of tricks.

  9. Zobeid Zuma

    Zobeid Zuma Mu-43 Regular

    May 13, 2013
    You may notice in the video, he began by talking about how we used cameras back in the Good Old Days pre-internet: taking family snapshots and pasting them into albums. But you know, most people didn't use a SLR for that. In my experience, most people taking family snapshots thought a 35mm SLR was like something from Mars.

    In the same way, I don't think sharing daily photos on the internet is something most people need -- or want -- a system camera for. Even if they find their phones inadequate, a pocketable camera that they can truly, easily, take with them everywhere seems like the natural step up. A Canon ELPH, something in that category, is more like it.

    If you are selling interchangeable-lens cameras, the name of the game is versatility. You aren't selling a camera optimized for a particular purpose, but rather one that the users can adapt to a wide range of purposes. That's why system cameras have always done well with amateur "enthusiasts" who like to play around with many different subjects and effects, and with reporters (or "photojournalists") who need a combination of speed, portability, image quality and a set of lenses for different situations.

    Marketing strategies are often based on identifying a niche or a target market and going for that well-defined group of potential customers, but it's hard to pin down a niche for versatility. It's hard to target "miscellaneous", but that's what system cameras really need to do IMHO.

    I suspect this was an effective avert in its day: [ame=]Cheryl Tiegs for Olympus 1980 TV commercial - YouTube[/ame]

    It may seem simple-minded, but you might be surprised how many snapshooters today still don't grasp the concept.
  10. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    You want to focus on a market? It seems to me the marketing should go toward new parents. I bought my first SLR when my daughter got into dance competitions and I wanted to take photos of her. I realized my film point and shoot wouldn't do it. Then I went from film slr to dslr when they became somewhat affordable.

    I know quite a few couples with young kids and just about everyone of them has a dslr now. Not a single one that I know has a M4/3 camera. And it's both moms and dads buying the cameras. That is a market worth tapping into. Do an ad showing a new mom taking pictures of her kids and posting them. Show a dad taking pictures of his kids playing soccer or t-ball. Show them carrying the camera around Disney World. Then show someone carrying a dslr with a 2.8 zoom around Disney World.
  11. pcake

    pcake Mu-43 Regular

    May 3, 2010
    you have a point there. i see posts on dpreview and steve's all the time from new parents or a future parents about to have their first child. and i see parents at kids' school events all the time.

  12. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Thats it. But it seems way too difficult for those marketing guys. I think that companies like Olympus - Pentax/Ricoh that have superb products but poor sales, compared to the big two, should rethink their marketing strategy...if they ever have one:rolleyes:
  13. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Huh? I read the exact opposite of that when I watched the video. He mentioned camera phones and how they were not good enough, and he squarely aimed his speech towards DSLR users who actually care about image quality, speed, and performance. Those people are the "enthusiasts" you speak of. He said this is the segment of the market who need a good quality camera but are being hindered by the lack of portability and cumbersome workflow with their DSLRs. These are the people whom the Pen provides for by allowing us to keep the fantastic image quality and performance we're used to (with some added performance on top of that!), whlie providing us with much better portability as well as more accessible workflow.

    This speech is entirely for enthusiasts. It is the P&S "upgraders" who are being left behind. Olympus is handing over the advantages that phone shooters enjoyed in their world, and allowing us enthusiasts and picky shooters enjoy them too. Yes, there is a bit of "us and them" going on here, but the "us" whom Olympus is addressing are the enthusiasts and the former or current DSLR users. That would also include us professional users who were shooting DSLRs as well, if you want to look at it that way. Anybody who won't compromise on using and carrying a real camera, and cannot be satisfied with anything less. He never offered any solutions for those who are happy just taking snapshots. The solutions the Pen provides are all there to address the limitations of a DSLR.
  14. AceAceBaby

    AceAceBaby Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 21, 2013
    I would guess there are a lot of DSLRs at Disney World and school recitals etc, because anyone who bought a consumer DSLR kit within the last 5-6 years has something that works pefectly well for the few times they use it in a year (such as trips to theme parks and school events) and until it breaks, no need to replace it. Add into that a "dad" who likes to feel he looks a little bit like a pro with a serious camera, and a "mum" who doesn't care how heavy it is because 99% of all family photography is done by the bloke, and there's no reason in that stereotypical family to go through the expense/hassle of trading in for something smaller even if it's better.

    I see the same thing with basic laptop sales, that are apparently being demolished by smart phone/tablet use. Not considering again that any laptop bought within the last five years (or even older) will still run Word/Excel and browse Facebook and eBay, Gmail just fine, until it breaks.
  15. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    I think the whole idea of "PEN Philosophy" is hooey. Just give us great affordable cameras. That's a bunch of marketing mumbo jumbo, lol.
  16. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Statement in the Wall Street Journal today

    "And with high-tech smartphones and numerous photos apps making it harder to convince people that they need point-and-shoot cameras, it’s no surprise that Japanese camera maker Olympus shifting focus away from that market".

    This lines up with something I had read elsewhere and will hopefully lead to a greater concentrated effort on all things 4/3rd.
  17. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Well said, John.

    My favorite part of the presentation is where he tries to imply that Olympus' "Art Filters" somehow led to Instagram.
  18. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    There is another thing I would like to point out... Any photographers out there who shoot events or any other public gathering now needs to compete with the cellphone shooters, as silly as that sounds. These days everyone's uploading photos immediately to the web at any event, including "over-the-shoulder" copies of posed shots for the official photographer. Hell, the patrons themselves these days are more likely to give attention to the cellphone in their face than the professional waiting for a shot. Companies, event hosts, and marketers will post these crappy cellphone pics up on their websites and social media outlets, even knowing that they have an official professional photographer there taking good photos for them. There has been a huge paradigm shift in the photographic world which has made these photos perfectly acceptable (as was pointed out in the video). If you're using an old-fashioned workflow, then by the time your photos get out there thousands of people have already seen them, or rather crappy versions of your photos. Experienced journalistic and sports photographers are pretty accustomed to this quick minimal workflow, but a studio photographer is used to taking his time to get the photos prepared right. Plus this is our job, we're not doing this on our spare time and we have to work around our regular business schedule.

    So then think about a new feature like Wifi on your camera that allows you to immediately upload photos from a REAL camera using REAL lighting taking high-quality professional photographs, directly to the web just as fast as those shooting on their cellphone. Who do you think such a feature is aimed at? It's not aimed at the cellphone shooters who are ALREADY doing this. It's aimed at the professional photographers who WISH they could do this, but are being left behind due to the limitations of using a real camera.
  19. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    This is the absolute truth, and the advertisers miss it completely ;
    It's no coincidence that my 4/3rds and m4/3rds collection is little younger than my child.
  20. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    +1 My niece and her husband had been using a decade-old 3mp Fuji superzoom for their family snapshots and couldn't understand why they weren't getting great shots of their new daughter. Finally, last Christmas I gave them my Oly E-PM1 with the kit 14-42mm lens. They were stunned by the difference. They'll probably still use the camera on Intelligent Auto, but they've made the first step. I've been coaching them on a few basic techniques. It's probably all they'll ever need.
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