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What should Olympus do?

Discussion in 'Micro 4/3 News and Rumors' started by flash, May 18, 2011.

  1. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Is pretty obvious that Olympus have lost their way at the moment. Sales and income are down. So who better to tell them how to get back on track than us.:smile:

    So a simple first question. Should Olympus drop big 4/3 to concentrate on micro 4/3? Is big 4/3 dead and just getting in the way, or a vital "pro" option that Olympus need to keep?

  2. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    I'd like to see an $800 USD true rangefinder based upon the µ4/3 format...
  3. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    It would be really bad to fully drop 4/3 completely...would make lots of angry customers and give people doubts about their commitment to m43. Somehow they need to do a better job merging the systems...I wonder if they could make a smallish body that could take either lenses well.
  4. MegaPixelTravel

    MegaPixelTravel Mu-43 Regular

    May 14, 2011
    Olympus needs to determine where it wants to be a dominate market leader and focus its efforts and camera features to that end. Make a "okay at everything" isn't going to cut it in today's market where okay was 6 months ago, good is now, and great is tomorrow.

    Now isn't that vague.

    Edit: Crap I just clicked on the wrong vote button. I meant to vote to kill 4/3rds and go MFT all the way.
  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Why does Olympus need to dominate the market? I think they should go the way of Audi, BMW, Apple and look toward re-establishing themselves as a marquis brand. Let Canon and Nikon dominate the market.
  6. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    And Leica.....:smile:
  7. hendrik78m

    hendrik78m Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 11, 2011
    They need 4 distinct units:
    1. Pro E-X series (faster than 5 fps, super accurate af)
    2. Semi Pro E-XX (like panny GH-X series, pro built, up to 5fps)
    3. Metal body E-PX (pro built with flash for wireless trigger)
    4. Plastic E-PLX for general mass (plain vanilla, no flash, to make it affordable for market)

    They also need:
    1. Faster than f/2 prime lenses (but cheap) and ultra wide aperture lens like f/1 primes (for pro look)
    2. A way to make 4/3 lenses works with m4/3 (without problem/sluggish AF) and the other way around (if possible)
  8. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru Mu-43 Veteran

    Keep it going, as much of the developments of micro 4/3 will carry straight over to the larger system bodies. There is no top quality glass micro 4/3 available to replace the 4/3 offerings yet.
    If they can get a micro 4/3 body to autofocus existing 4/3 glass quickly and accurately I would be really happy.
  9. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 26, 2010
    I know we all have opinions.... it's like everyone having an opinion on how to run their favourite sports team... the real answer is... if we were "correct" we would be the one running the teams / companies, not side line spectators.

    Having said that :rolleyes: 
    It would help if olympus produced cameras we liked, rather than "settled for". Obviously this may not apply to all their cameras but if you look at the entire camera line up... which camera do you think is clearly the answer to some segment or need?

    - al-cheao-point&shoots, well there's not much to distinguish between any of these so this category is a lost cause other than to just have "something". No particular reason to buy an olympus.

    - the Tough category, terrible image quality, it's beat out by panasonic and canon. None have manual controls of any type so the usability is very low. No particular reason to buy the olympus.

    - the super-zoom category, well a long time ago they use to be unique, now everyone has something ridiculous like 20-30x zoom on a point&shoot body. Admittedly their new feature of taking a photo while video-ing is interesting (if it's a full resolution, high quality photo and not just a frame from the video) but video on a compact camera probably isn't the focus of some one buying a compact camera. So, there's a reason to buy the olympus... I just don't think the reason holds much weight for most people buying a still image camera.

    - high-end-compacts. Okay admittedly the new xz-1 as appeal. But as always there's already canon and panasonic there. The lens is better, but the size is also the worst. It's not a clear winner so you've only got some reason to buy the olympus, not a clear winning reason.

    - SLR's, if I wanted an slr, and had no existing lenses... the olympus options are E5 and E30. There's no real reason to buy those over a sony/nikon/canon. Considering the uncertain future of 4/3, there's just no clear reason to buy an olympus slr right now. (Other than maybe because they're cheap on ebay or something.)

    - mirror less, right now the field is sony/panasonic/olympus (sorry I don't count samsung). The Sony wins in size, followed by panasonic. Allegedly the panasonics have the best image quality, some say sony has better iso/dr, realistically they're all pretty much the same. Feature wise panasonic and olympus are about the same. With Panasonic wins for those wanting an slr-like-body. So why would some one buy an olympus again? It's not price, it's not image quality, it's not the body shape nor size, nor lens selection.

    They way I see it, olympus is living off existing customers (like me). Some one in olympus must have tried to obtain numbers for "new customers" v.s. "existing customers". I wonder what they are. I don't think they have any compelling reason for new customers right now.
  10. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Well actually for many customers it is image quality from the e-pL1 & e-pL2 sharpness and max detail available in immediate pleasing colours straight out of camera.
    It is most definitely body shape with their new-retro styling and ability to fit excellent EVF onto slimline body. Nobody else has this option.
    For a few customers it is absolutely lens selection with thousands of lenses very useable with the EVF. Granted Lumix can do the same but without the previous two factors.
  11. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 17, 2010
    The most important point in using a smaller sensor is to be able to produce small cameras. But the DSLRs which Olympus produced are not smaller or at least not much smaller than the DSLRs of the competition with larger sensors. An other big mistake is to make your customers believe that they have invested in a dead system. And it is rather obvious that there is no reason for any potential customers not to believe that they would invest in a dead system if they did.
  12. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Theres also IBIS which makes legacy lens use a breeze - particularly in low light.

    And lovely OOC JPEG's.

    And there is the 'retro' factor - I got an Oly E-P1 because I own and love their Trip 35, SP, Pen F, Pen E and OM. They just have history on their side and the E-Px series has technical-chops to match.

    Reminds me of Top Gear extolling the completely irrational appeal of Alfa Romeos . . . Particularly the crack about the car depreciating 50ukp a day . . . reminds me of E-P1 resale value :rofl:

    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgG1wF7OZn4]YouTube - Top Gear - Alfa Romeo 166 - BBC[/ame]
    • Like Like x 1
  13. kai.e.g.

    kai.e.g. Mu-43 Regular

    Big 4/3 is a dead-end; I don't understand why it exists, especially after m4/3. It seems like the worst of all worlds to me; compromised in one direction by SLR form factor, and compromised in the other direction by sensor size. micro-4/3rds makes the latter compromise worth having because the former compromise is done away with.
  14. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 26, 2010
    If you look at the comparisons of image quality from the Sony and Panasonics... I believe you will have a hard time pointing out specifically which part of "image quality" olympus rules at. It's not DR, it's not low noise. If you look at some one of the online image comparisons for sharpness and detail, the epl2 and gf2 and gh2 and nex5 look remarkably similar even at 100% pixel peeping mode.

    As for the out of camera pleasing colours, maybe. The problem with this is the sheer number of people who shoot raw and use raw converters and that's been shown to produce virtually identical results between panny's and oly's. The second problem is that half the people don't particularly prefer or notice the olympus colours/jpegs. So you're left with a very very small subset of people who'd buy a camera specifically for the OOC jpegs AND sees/notices and prefers the oly jpegs. If that's your whole sell for a camera.... that's a very tiny target market.

    The olympus bodies are not actually that retro, it only looks retro when people buy the after market third party leatherette kit for the silver e-p1. The epl's are't very retro, they're about as retro as the GF's and the GF's are slimline body - slimmer than the ep's and they have the ability to fit an evf. The e-p1 in shiny brushed metal looks more modern industrial than retro.

    You can argue that it has a better evf than the GF's. That may get you some sales, but you're going to need more than just one feature that you're only slightly better than the competition on. Think about it this way, do you care about faster and better auto focus or a better evf? it's not like panasonic was "only equal" on all other aspects.

    sure you can also argue that oly has IBIS where as panasonic argues that lens IS is more effective. Oly can argue their evf for the ep's is better but then panny could argue their slr-like bodies have very good evf's too. I did mention "clearly the answer to a segment" not "maybe the answer depending on some atrocities you're willing to put up with".

    So you're target audience is now some one who wants a slimline body only and not an slr body, wants to use manual lenses, and wants and EVF for that slimline body with manual lenses.

    I may not be in marketing, but I think your target audience is so small... that oly would cease to exist even if they won over all those customers.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    I never got really interested in Mega-4/3. It just couldn't compare with a D300, let alone the great Fuji S-5. So I stick to Nikon--full 35 format--when I need the SLR. However, I use it the way I used my 6x6 film cameras before: big Pelican case, heavy tripod, etc.

    :43: is something else, combining many things I liked with Leicas with many I loved on the OM-2.

    If Olympus wants to "support" its 4/3 customers, they may try and improve the coupling of E-P's and "old" lenses.
    At some point, you have to choose, and doubly so if you're a relatively small manufacturer.

    • Olympus did when they started the OM series, discontinuing the Pen-F.
    • Pentax did when switching to K mount.
    • Minolta did to launch the Dynax, discontinuing MD mount as well as CLE.
    • Canon did when starting the EOS line.
    • Kyocera ditched Contax by trying to sustain simultaneously 3 (!) different lens mounts!
    • Nikon didn't... but this held them back technically for so long that they lost many pros to the EOS line, and it took their latest generation of DSLR to recover.
    • Like Like x 2
  16. Kosta

    Kosta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 29, 2010
    i think the main driver for 'mega-4/3' is the amazing SHG lenses. they are beyond brilliant. I would've given my left nut for a 14-35 f2 with such build quality.

    That said, I wouldn't buy a 4/3 camera. I'm happy enough with micro, and an olympus body at that, that I don't want the extra bulk.

    about the 'retro' styling, the e-P series are indeed. i've never been asked so many times "what year is that camera?" "do you shoot film?" etc. so to the average person, it is a retro-styled camera.

    if i was back at square one, no digital camera, and looking for something I could take with me on travels quite comfortably, i'd buy the e-pl1 all over again. Olympus has a great history and have clever engineers and designers. I don't think they are being stimulated to push the boundaries in body design as such, and are playing a somewhat conservative game which is not rewarding in this market.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. MichaelShea

    MichaelShea Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 27, 2011
    Algarve, Portugal
    It would be a huge mistake to ditch Four Thirds before Olympus has succeeded in providing at least one camera that does full justice to its excellent range of professional level Zuiko Digital lenses. You don't slap loyal customers in the face if you want to pursuade them to purchase more of your products.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. betamax

    betamax Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 7, 2011
    Illawarra, NSW, Australia
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Olympus do just that after the OM-40 where it exited that segment of the market for a few years? I remember updating to a Canon EOS 500N because Olympus didn't have an option.

    Personally, I'd like to see something similar to the G3, in terms of feature-set, looks and price, with specs keeping up with the likes of the D3100s and K-r's.

    EVF would be important, and I'd prefer a chunkier handgrip. Nothing like the feel of a nice handgrip on a camera.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. sLorenzi

    sLorenzi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 15, 2010
    For me, it's not about the bodies in m4/3, it's just about lenses. Oly needs to make many, many lenses for this system. For the big 4/3, I believe there is nothing to be done, m4/3 offers almost all the qualities of it (except for sports and fast action shots, but I believe it's hard to see any action photographer using anything but canikon). What I mean is that the virtues of the 4/3 sized sensor need to be used, to give m4/3 it's own place in the market.

    • Like Like x 1
  20. Muntjack

    Muntjack Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 26, 2010
    I agree with that entirely.
    I love my E-P2 body...... it's tiny, beautiful and does all I want for my personal photography.... but the lenses fall slightly short. I just have their 9-18mm that I feel 'proud' of. If something doesn't turn up soon I will be forced to buy the 45mm from Panny. I really want a 50mm f2 or better.
    I want the best quality, fastest lenses they can give me in a small package.

    If they are £500+ so be it.
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