What could save Olympus from losing money?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by mesmerized, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. mesmerized

    mesmerized Mu-43 Veteran

    344
    Jun 18, 2012
    Howdy,

    Every once in a while I check how Olympus is doing and having read one of their latest financial statements I have to say it leaves a lot to be desired. Looks like the company's financial condition is far from good and... that begs a question... What's going to happen to Olympus? Naturally, I'm mainly talking here about their camera department. Do you think anyone could really crush the Canon-Nikon duopoly? Some rumors say that one day Olympus will be forced to abandon their m4/3 system cameras and their users.

    By the way, do they still make DSLRs? I think E-5 hasn't been discountinued, has it?

    Cheers,
     
  2. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    The Olympus DSLRs were from a different time. The whole point of the E-M1 was to bridge the end of their DSLR system into the m43 system with a seemingly pro camera body. Apparently the E-M1 is selling quite well! I highly doubt Olympus could crush anyone. You can't crush an incumbant like Canon or Nikon in a down market unless you have something really revolutionary or a new product category everyone has to jump on. Since camera sales are down overall, there's nowhere to go.

    Cameras, for the most part, are evolutionary, and Olympus seems to be fine NOT being number one. Besides, if you're number 1. If Olympus makes any significant gains it'll be because Canon and Nikon seriously slip up somehow.

    It's kind-of like the Canadian dollar. When the Canadian dollar is at par with the US dollar, it's not because the Canadian dollar is riding high, it's because the US dollar is being kept artificially low... ;-)

    The big guys would have to hit a fairly low bar to have Olympus come out on top.
     
  3. mesmerized

    mesmerized Mu-43 Veteran

    344
    Jun 18, 2012
    Don't you think that sooner or later Olympus will have to leave the battlefield? And I'm not talking here about the "those who fight and run today, might come and fight another day" kind of strategy.
     
  4. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    843
    May 13, 2011
    NYC
    Partnership with BestBuy or Target to get more exposure to the masses!
     
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  5. Dewi

    Dewi Mu-43 Regular

    138
    Jan 11, 2014
    Lancashire, England
    Dewi
    Both Oly AND Pan need to speculate and spend some money on serious advertising, Since buying my little E-PL5 it's become obvious that not many non photo enthusiasts have a clue about what M4/3rd is, yet a lot show genuine interest when I explain it. Everyone so far who has seen my little Oly has commented on how good and solid it feels, and they love the photos I show them from it.

    M4/3 has been a round a good few years now but the "man in the street" generally doesn't know it even exists let alone what the hell it is. Further to that, I bought the Oly from a real shop - not online and the girl who served me was trying her damdest to get me to buy a NEX6, to the point of dismissing the Olympus as rubbish in comparison as it "has a smaller sensor". To be honest the NEX6 really didn't float my boat but if it had I still wouldn't have bought it on principle!

    The M43 makers need to get it "out there" and make Joe Public aware of it's strengths to make it more appealing.

    D
     
  6. mesmerized

    mesmerized Mu-43 Veteran

    344
    Jun 18, 2012
    I think the biggest problem Olympus might be facing at the moment (and I'm not sure if there's any solution to it) is that most consumers consider the m4/3 sensor to be inferior to, say, APS-C in every possible respect. Look, if Fuji could make a small camera like X-T1 with a larger sensor than Oly offers in E-M1 then it's clear that sooner or later m4/3 will simply run out of advantages. Yes, it was great a few years ago, but will it still be great in a few years time if the competition has been so active recently? APS-C performs better in low-light conditions, delivers shallower DOF and the lenses aren't big at all.
     
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  7. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    662
    Jul 1, 2013
    Here is the thing, Nikon and Canon have already designed the perfect cameras for the average consumer. The M and the One. They pulled back features to slow sales. With the M it was speed, with the One it was absolute IQ. If either decides its really time to play, it will be very hard for anyone else to compete with the end to end machine.

    The only way for Olympus and Fuji to exist is to cater to the enthusiast.
     
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  8. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    715
    Jul 23, 2010
    Im not sure that CaNikon haven't messed up on this one, the point where more people start buying more mirror less cameras they will look to the plethora of lenses already out there for µ43 and to a lesser extent Fuji and will be swayed. For Canon to make the M a serious contender they will have to release 10 or more lenses at least in very short order, but there is a small groundswell of pros moving over to Fuji, µ43 and Sony already, it has to be remembered once Nikon were nowhere then the F took over the place of the Leica M it was not until EOS that canon overtook Nikon, they got close with FD but where still miles behind in the pro market. The future is Mirror-less and some players have put themselves behind on the curve, this I though was interesting; http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/nobody_knows_anything.shtml
     
  9. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    The only weakness to the m4/3 is the Hi-ISO performance, but that's just about 2 stops from the very best full frame cameras. Higher megapixels aren't going to be helpful to you unless you have very very good steady shooting techniques and good glass; those things most consumers do not have. Most of the surprises I get from my clients who own these high end FF cameras is when they realized they couldn't get sharp photos compared to their 12MP APS-C or FF cams of the past.
    Part of the issue is that, not everyone can handhold steady and then shutter and mirror shake gets in a way that shooting higher megapixels are a detriment to most people who have sloppy techniques. You'll hear like, I've got a 5D MK3 and I couldn't get sharp photos and I sent it to Canon like 5 million times and they couldn't fix it. Then the person sold it and got a used D700 FF which is a 12MP and lo and behold, the person starts getting sharp photos. Most of that is attributed to hand shake and sloppy techniques. And people don't want to improve their techniques. They rather pay a camera, a new one, hoping that will help improve their skills. So the 24MP and 36MP are enchroaching towards medium format territory and most people really don't need that. What they need is more dynamic range in low ISO as well as high ISO and the latest OMD, especially E-M1 and the new E-M10 seemed to be doing just that.

    The m43 advantage is size and weight and that will never go away. Full frame, no matter how small Sony makes it, is going to have a bigger lens attached to it. DOF is really over-rated. It's a FAD these days to have everyone shooting bokeh, so much so that they emphasize bokeh over the content of the photos and people are actually championing it. It's like the good old days with the Zeiss Softars and everyone going crazy over soft images, as though you must have soft portrait photos to get someone to appreciate it. Now, we have bokelicious portraiture overdone. With overdone fad, eventually it will fade so that's why FF is being sought after now.

    The problem I see with Olympus is with their financial outlook. They lied in the past and thus incurred so much debt that they are having a hard time innovating. Will they survive? It's hard to say, but the way they are going with the OMD is a positive sign. They should have done that earlier, but it's better late than never. I'm more concerned with Panasonic making it since their sales had SIGNIFICANTLY dropped lower than Olympus in 2013. That's not good.
     
  10. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    614
    Jun 7, 2013
    Ukraine
    Yevgen
    When I started watching after Olympus mirrorless their argument was very logical - smaller sensor allows you to produce realatively small mirrorless cameras and light lenses. At the moment things have changed. Now there are plenty of relatively small APSC (or even FF) mirrorless cameras and while their lenses are usually bigger, mu43 world also got pretty large lenses (as well as the bodies). Prices are also becoming even . So I think Olympus cannot use the "compact" system argument as the main one anymore (though I really happy that Olympus have produced a number of fast, light, and small primes). They (and myself) should really think what is the main advantage of the system and advertise it. So what is the advantage of Oly against Fuji, Canon M, Nikon 1 or Sony? One of them is an ecosystem. But Fuji is really catching up, and if Canon/Nikon really enter the game there are plenty of their lenses that can be adapted. Moreover a prime lineup of Panasonic/Oly lenses is on pair with sony prices (and often is more expensive then those from Fuji). So, where is the gem?
     
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  11. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    The GEM is in the lens line-up. m43 has the most extensive lens line up and any compact system camera needs a lens to take good pictures. The weakness in the other format is that, first with Sony it's all over the place. Nikon 1 is coming around, but it's weak in its lens line up. AW1 is a niche camera btw. Fuji is still weak. The only weak point of the m43 is its lack of pro telephoto lenses which will be addressed this year and the next.

    Every CSC maker needs to differentiate themselves through sensor size, because they know consumers only know the size of the sensor makes a difference, which is not always the case. m43 is geared towards more of a performance light weight setup. A Sony A7 with a prime lens is big and its AF performance is not even on par with the E-M1 with a 12-40 f/2.8 which is a superb lens. A Sony 28-70 f/4 is more expensive than the 12-40 giving equivalent DOF, but the 12-40 being a stop faster which sort of equal things out.
    What you'll see is that other makers with bigger sensors will design smaller lenses because they don't want to make them so big which defeats the purpose of having mirrorless. Lens is the determining factor and no matter how good you design your lens, you can not shrink the image circle needed for full frame or APS-C.
     
  12. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I usually don't respond to troll posts, and yes, this is a troll post, but....

    Instead of debating the "theory", just go shoot an EM-1 for awhile. After that I think you will understand why almost every camera blog/website/reviewer called it the camera of the year. If you can't get a hold of one, then try the EM-5. It was everyone's camera of the year last year.

    Cheers!
     
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  13. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    690
    Nov 18, 2013
    I too think that Nikon and Canon, at least in the US, will be very hard to "kill". But Olympus has a very nice segment. There are a lot of folks who still shoot DSLR but have ms43 stuff. For me it was I needed a PS replacement with good quality. The EPL1 was a great camera for that. Now with 3 DSLRs and 2 m43 cameras (EPL1/EP5) I know what will drive me. I like the Pen series and will keep using them. The EP5 is really a great camera and with the right marketing Perhaps a large percentage of the boomer DSLR user would have one in their bag. Problem is Great Camera at a price that is expensive for most people. Olympus needs to keep building it niche market and support it will general marketing and new price points. I think they would have sold a ton of EP5's if it had been reasonably priced with the VF2 and a kit zoom. If it would have been $750 it would have been a competitor for camera of year IMHO. In this market price/value will win, and that's what DSLR's in the US have such a strong hold on the market. I think price sensitivity is now driving the photographic market and for luxury items like cameras unless your selling a FF $6000 camera and $3 to 10K lenses (which is a very small but important market for branding), you won't gain market share with items that are of extremely high quality but also have what is perceived to be a very high price. Now its all about the price/value ratio IMHO.
     
  14. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Hmmm... Not sure I agree with all of that. The low light performance difference is either very small or zero for all practical purposes and the lenses are significantly bigger, esp if you consider that the crop-specific lens range is very incomplete forcing users to buy the FF versions. And so far as DoF difference is concerned, this can be seen as an advantage. I can shoot a low light portrait on my E-M5 and 45/1.8 at near full aperture and keep the person's face completely in focus and the shutter speed up. If I tried to do that on an 85mm lens, I'd need to stop down resulting in a lower shutter speed and/or higher ISO - and I wouldn't even have IBIS to rescue me.
     
  15. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    662
    Jul 1, 2013
    I agree, I think size is a huge selling point, Panasonic seems to get it, I'm not sure Oly does. Value is another big selling point, and in the US that generally means acceptable performance and great prices.
     
  16. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    Well, given that Olympus has its own body and lens factories in China and Japan, how much is it actually costing to make these cameras? I mean, there was a nearly 10 year gap between the OM-2n and the OM-3/4 cameras and that didn't seem to hurt Olympus too terribly.
     
  17. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Well, two out of three ain't bad. I can only speak from personal experience about Nikon DX lenses, but they don't offer much size or weight advantage over Nikon FX lenses. The thing about DX in my opinion is that it's the worst of both worlds. It doesn't offer FX IQ or optical advantages, but it is most of the physical size and weight of FX.
     
  18. mesmerized

    mesmerized Mu-43 Veteran

    344
    Jun 18, 2012
    GFF, I really see no reason for calling this thread a "troll" one. Is there any particular reason why you think what you think about its "troll-ness" ? I do think it's a reasonable and vital question to ask about the company's financial condition and prospects for the future. Olympus IS NOT doing well and like I said before the main advantage Olympus claimed their cameras to have a few years ago (i.e. size) is gone because other producers came up with APS-C and FF sensors in compact bodies. Look, I've always had a soft spot for Olympus and I do like them a lot... but to an average consumer the fact that m4/3 sensor is smaller, is the deal-breaker.

    PS Besides, E-M1 is quite expensive. You can get a X-T1 for that kind of money, hell, you can get a FF for that. A big collection of lenses? Sure, yeah, but it's only a matter of time when we get more for other systems.
     
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  19. mesmerized

    mesmerized Mu-43 Veteran

    344
    Jun 18, 2012
    Unfortunately I'm not as knowledgeable as you are when it comes to DOF so I have to ask how come a camera with a smaller sensor could possibly deliver a better DOF especially in low-light conditions?

    Cheers
     
  20. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    Because what you say above is BS... It's that simple. Just because a camera company doesn't make what you want, and their financials aren't absolutely top of the class, doesn't mean the company isn't doing well. Olympus has a number of businesses and the camera line has always been almost like a hobby for them. Hobby lines beget innovation and there's pretty good innovation in Olympus cameras.

    Remember, it took ten years to get from the OM-2n to the OM-3 and 4 cameras. Then, it took a long time for the E-1 to come out. In the meantime, do you think Olympus was doing nothing? It's not vital to ask about prospects. It's not even a valid question. Companies don't generally tell the public what their "prospects" are. That's internal information. You have no idea what Olympus has up their sleeves. ...and the "average consumer" is using a camera phone now... not a DSLR.