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Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by RT_Panther, Sep 12, 2013.
"I'm a little worried about the price push on the E-M1. Coupled with the yen depreciation, the bump over the E-M5 is considerable, perhaps as much as 45% depending upon how you account for the currency differences over the time period between the two cameras. This is pushing the E-M5 upwards to a price above cameras like the Nikon D7100 (remember, that's a 24mp camera with proven autofocus performance, longer battery life, and a bigger sensor), so that first bullet up there is something you don't want to ignore."
Plus- Fuji, Nikon, and Sony have camera's that will perform as good/better than the EM-1 for hundreds less.
I think Oly better start looking at the competition when pricing their products!
(XE-1, 100s, D-7100, NEX-5T, A3000)
I can certainly understand why he is bitching about the high price of the E-M1. I wish it were priced closer to the E-M5, but where would that leave the E-M5 replacement?
Also, if compared to the E-5, it is actually cheaper at launch...
The main issue I have with his commentary is this:
"Hmm. Olympus is seeing themselves as a high-end, enthusiast-only maker maybe? That really doesn't square with all those E-PLs and E-PMs they sold and the seven Plain Jane lenses they've introduced. "
Where did he get that? Did Olympus ever say it is going to stop producing replacements for E-PLs and E-PMs? All I see is that Olympus is trying to expand its share of the high-end enthusiast market. I don't see them giving up the lower-end market at all. If anything, the price differentiation would ensure that the E-M1 doesn't sabotage the sale of the E-PLs and E-PMs!
I have read Thom for years, and almost always appreciate his perspective. He is not afraid to say what he does not like, and I appreciate that candid tone in his writings. I do not disagree with Thom's concerns, but I also found it interesting to read Ming's second part of his initial review of the new E-M1. It was an interesting comparison, and offered a different perspective on the camera. I have been very interested in upgrading to a newer body, and the E-M1 was on my short list, but I decided that the strategy that I am following for building out my m4/3rd's is not necessarily going to take me to the larger bodies right now. It is great that we have such diverse body choices, but I am not ready to let go of my Nikkor glass, so the value of a bigger m4/3rd's body and lenses is not yet on my road map. I would be curious to hear opinions from those who read both posts.
Actually his comment about Olympus becoming a 'high end' 'enthusiast' camera maker was based on 2 facts...
1) That the pricing of the E-M1 (and E-P5) which are priced at a premium to their competitors
2) The lens roadmap consists entirely of 'pro' lenses - the 12-40, followed by 40-150 and probably a 300 f4 and a 7-14 f2.8. (No sign of a 25mm) All the new lenses are clearly aimed at the 'high end enthusiast' and are well out of reach in price and size for the E-PMs and E-PLs. (who have no lens roadmap whatsoever.)
So it seems a pretty reasonable conclusion. (Also if you consider the recent moves such as an E-P5 wooden grip special edition or Harrod's Vespa offer this is distinctly high end (although probably 'more money than sense' rather than 'enthusiast'.)
It seems that Thom's playing a bit of devil's advocate (he says as much in the text), but he makes some good points.
The difficulty is that Olympus clearly wants to move upmarket from the E-M5, and to do so, they've tried to differentiate by using a different larger 'pro-grade' body. On the one hand, this does accentuate the difference from the E-M5, but on the other, it sort of diminishes the overall m4/3 argument of 'smaller/lighter'.
All in all, I think they would have been better off upgrading the E-M5 with similarly-bodied E-M1 and raising the price slightly (perhaps $1100). This would have retained accessory compatibility and avoided the need for a new E-M6 before next spring. But given that this is supposed to also replace the E-5, and that the owners of that camera are mostly vocal in their dislike of small cameras, I suppose that approach would have had disadvantages too.
Olympus can't seem to win here, price too high, body too big (but the EM-5 was too small) needs more pro lenses (but then those are too big too) etc ..
Some of this, I believe, is Olympus struggling to find it's niche. The EM-1 is priced too high critics say. Maybe it is, but it does seem to be a lot of camera for the price and performance. Maybe Olympus needs to study how Pentax does it with the K5 series. Fully weather sealed, rugged cameras priced much lower.
That said, Olympus is trying to go upmarket with this camera and Pro lenses - not luxury-wise per se, but definitely performance-wise. We already have a good mix of inexpensive consumer grade lenses, and have a good selection of primes and now we are beginning to have some very nice high end lenses planned.
This is a maturation of the system. Lower priced, lower performance cameras and lenses and higher priced, higher performance lenses with a mix in-between.
I would love an $899 EM-1 (that is what I paid for my K5II). But only Olympus knows what it can do financially and I hope they sell a bajillion EM-1's and 12-40s so m43 can thrive and grow.
I certain understand how he came up with the conclusion that Olympus is becoming a "high end enthusiast" camera maker. I just don't agree with his comments. There are already plenty of options available at the lower end of the m4/3 market in terms of camera bodies and lenses, so Olympus is now trying to expand its share of the higher-end market. Whether this strategy turns out successful or not is another question, but Thom's comment seems to suggest they are abandoning the lower-end market, which is not true at all.
I tends to agree with Dara's comment though, that Olympus should have made the E-M1 a replacement for the E-M5, rather than a higher end model. IMHO, if the E-M5 replacement doesn't have the E-M1 sensor, nobody would buy it. On the other hand, if the E-M5 has the PDAF on-chip sensor, then there will be virtually no difference from the E-M1, except for that large grip. So, how will they price that camera? I think this is where Olympus' strategy is kind of messed up.
I don't think that was Pentax's plan - it's just that they can't maintain sales at the original price. MSRP of the K5-II s is $1200 - not really lower than Olympus. And look at the lenses! $1300 for the 16-50/2.8 and whatnot.
It is still much smaller and lighter as a system (and the camera is not big). Compare it to the Nikon 7100 which it is often compared too. I'd much rather carry one or two OM-D's compared to one or two 7100 or 7d's and equivalent lenses. (Screenshot from camerasize.com)
The real danger for Olympus is Sony Nex. Sony with their APSC Nex cameras are moving in the opposite direction to Olympus and reducing prices.
The Sony Nex 5T was US$50 lower at launch than the previous Sony Nex 5. It is priced at US$550 body only at launch which was the same as the EPM2 and US$100 below its actual Oly competitor the EPL-5. The Sony Nex 3N is priced even lower despite having an APSC sensor with performance advantages - low light Nex3 (1067), EPM2 (932).
They have also moved into the budget DSLR market with the mount with the a3000 (which is at least a decent gateway drug) - 398 inc lens. Yes, I know it has a crappy EVF but Oly's lower end doesnt have an EVF at all.
Now with this strategy you dont hear that much about Nex in this forum any more because we are inherently 'high-end enthusiasts' (who Sony will tempt with their FF offering.) But I think the overall market is inherently price sensitive (look at G5 sales) and I suspect Sony will overtake Olympus in the mirrorless market within 2 years.
I think this is the elephant in the room:
The EM-1 takes 4/3 lenses, previously falling somewhere between quite handicapped to unusable for the average m4/3 user, depending on his reliance on AF, and transforms all of them into a plethora of high performance lenses added to the system. In a way, you could say the m4/3 lens choices just tripled in size if you allow for used lenses.
Is that worth US $400? Maybe, maybe not, but it is certainly a larger part of the price calculus than Hogan is letting on. In fact he barely seems to acknowledge it.
I agree on MSRP and Pentax' lack of a plan. Probably not a good example. But unlike the Oly which has maintained a relatively high real world sale price with the EM-5, Pentax prices dropped ridiculously in less than six months. Pentax also did this goofy thing with their lens pricing, which jacked the prices up on them (some of them doubled overnight) making new lens prices ridiculous (used lenses like the 16-50 can be had for $600 to $700, a good price for a good lens).
All in all, while I think Oly's prices are probably a little high, I don't have much of a problem with it.
Fuji too is selling bodies fairly cheaply, and pricing things competitively. Sony will be a real threat once they have a better lens selection.
It is certainly a dynamic marketplace and again, it seems Olympus is trying to find its niche and maybe has aspirations beyond the realities of the marketplace (the "pro" market is small, but influential)
It's a bit of a conundrum whether to pay the money for the E-M1 or wait to see if an EM-6 is in the pipeline. The question being: what could Olympus conceivably withhold from the E-M6 to differentiate the E-M1 above it? Built-in grip, obviously (with a grip of course being just some extra metal, plastic and rubber ). Also a couple of extra function buttons on the front of the camera. Apart from that there doesn't seem a lot else to strip from the E-M1 while at the same time making a worthwhile E-M5 update.
One thing to remember is that the 'lower' end of the mirrorless market is far, far, larger than the 'high end enthusiast' market. Last year the most expensive mirrorless model in the top ten selling models (which accounted for 70% market share) was the Panny GX1. Olympus sold 5x as many units of the 'EPL series' alone as it did the E-M5 in Japan.
So Fuji might be a threat to Olympus in the 'high end enthusiast' market but it simply doesnt register in the overall mirrorless market. And I dont really think that Sony is at a huge disadvantage with the poor lens lineup at the lower end because most dont buy additional lenses.
Sony is already a threat.
Every Sony sale is not a Micro Four Thirds sale. Gone are the days when Olympus & Panasonic were the only mirrorless players.
NEX will never have F2.8 zoom lens, since their F4 lens is already in the same dimension as the M43 F2.8, the F2.8 would be quite much larger and total defeat the purpose of small NEX body
Maybe we won't see an E-M5 update until there is an improved sensor.
Never say "never".
Mirrorless isn't all about size either (note the Sony α3000 and other "GH3" sized mirrorless bodies in their queue).