CES 2012: Olympus

Olympus, whose name is still appearing more frequently in the financial pages than its fans would like, decided on a rather low-key presence at this year's CES, eschewing a traditional booth and opting instead to schedule private meetings with the press and industry representatives. We were, however, able to get a look at some of their new compacts.

The SP-620UZ 21x superzoom has a 16MP sensor... ...and a 3 inch LCD.
The SZ-12 has a 14MP sensor... ...and a 25-600mm equivalent zoom range.
The TG-320 is waterproof to 3 meters...  ...and has a 14MP CCD sensor.
The VG-160 has a 14MP sensor... ...and a 3 inch LCD.
The VR-340 has a 16MP sensor... ...a 10x zoom and image stabilization.
The Olympus M. ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ is available in a silver finish, though kit configurations will include the black version of the lens.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 34
MdC64
By MdC64 (Jan 14, 2012)

Perhaps a better analogy would be mounting a Nikon FX lens (designed for 35mm/135/36x24) on an APS-C camera. The APS-C camera is designed for a DX lens. So...APS-C with a DX is full-frame, 36x24 with FX is full-frame, but APS-C with FX is not.

0 upvotes
Kirppu
By Kirppu (Jan 13, 2012)

One thing that annoys me is that even VR-340 has nice small grip but my XZ-1 don't.

0 upvotes
dark goob
By dark goob (Jan 13, 2012)

All of Olympus' ILCs including SLRs are all full-frame. No they are not 135-format, nor are they medium-format or even 4x5 format... They are 4/3" format full-frame cameras. LEARN THE MEANINGS OF WORDS. "Full-frame" just describes when a sensor matches the lens's native format! This is the case with all FourThirds and MicroFourThirds cameras and lenses.

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
kelpdiver
By kelpdiver (Jan 13, 2012)

Call it whatever you like, but "full frame" translates to 36x24mm for the rest of us.

3 upvotes
CurtisLewis
By CurtisLewis (Jan 13, 2012)

So what you're saying is...the only time a camera is not a full frame camera is when the lens doesn't match the sensor? In other words, if I put a 4/3 lens on a m4/3 camera using an MMF-2 the m4/3 camera is no longer full frame?

And here I thought Full Frame was a quick way to identify a sensor of the benchmark size (equaling 35mm film) by which all DSLR's are measured.

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
1 upvote
pinnacle
By pinnacle (Jan 13, 2012)

He gave you a technical definition which is "technically" correct. You are referring to the colloquial use of the term. Most people have adopted the colloquial use which does indeed contrast other sensor sizes with the older 35mm size of 24mmx36mm.

As for your "in other words.." He stated that FF means that the sensor matches the lenses native format. He is correct because when you use the MMF-2 with a 4/3 lens on a m4/3 body, the 4/3 lens native lens format is already matched with the sensor size. The adapter merely allows for physical differences between m4/3 and 4/3 camera bodies.

He came on a bit strong in his comment. Maybe we can all pull back a bit and not take things quite so seriously? Dan

2 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (Jan 13, 2012)

I think some people are reading too much about a particular company announcing at CES or not. Some are ready to announce (Fuji), others may want to announce later (Olympus/Panny) and so on. Nikon still has announcements to make and won't be at CES (probably when they fix their manufacturing issue, etc.).

0 upvotes
J2Gphoto
By J2Gphoto (Jan 13, 2012)

How many full frame do you people really think Canon and Nikon sell compared to their crop sensor camera's? 50-1? 100-1? More? So why on earth would Olympus sink the $$$ into a FF camera? People have knocked Olympus for years saying the sensors are too small. They have too much noise, blah blah blah. 99.9% of my shooting is done at low ISO, or with a flash. My sensor has never limited me, EVER. Oly's are too small yet Nikon hits the micro scene with?????? Oh an even smaller sensor. I have not read too many people bitching that that sensor sucks and is too small like we've read about our Oly's forever. I just read a tweet by Zack Arias about how excited he is the Fuji Pro has multiple exposures. E-30/ E-620 3 years ago. There are those praising the lit buttons on the Nikon D4. E-620 3 year ago. What Olympus needs is better marketing, PERIOD. They make and have always made great camera's. People just don't realize it, slanted sites like this one don't really help either.

3 upvotes
caver3d
By caver3d (Jan 13, 2012)

Amen to that. You are spot on with your comments. Oly has usually been there well before the others. And you are correct - where is all the gnashing of teeth with Nikon's smaller sensor? Whatever Canikon does is okay (e.g., smaller sensor), but heaven forbid if Oly does it. I'm sticking with superb IQ with my E-5, E-P2, E-620, etc., etc.

1 upvote
Stinde
By Stinde (Jan 12, 2012)

I wonder why there is no mention about Olympus SP-720 UZ on this site.

0 upvotes
Kirppu
By Kirppu (Jan 13, 2012)

Or SH-21

0 upvotes
2raj
By 2raj (Jan 12, 2012)

Is there a successor to the XZ-1 in the works?

0 upvotes
aerorail
By aerorail (Jan 12, 2012)

oly was never in the same league as the big boys and never made an attempt to compete

1 upvote
bdcolen
By bdcolen (Jan 12, 2012)

The sad reality is Olympus is DOA - and I say that with a bag full of Olympus equipment, including some of the best glass anyone other than Leica has produced in the past couple of decades. The slide began when the company bet on the 4/3 format, rather than APC or full-frame. Though its sensors produce terrific color fidelity, when it comes to resolving power and high iso performance they are no longer in the same league with Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, or Fuji. The "consumer products" division - photo equipment - has long been the tail that has incorrectly been perceived as wagging the Olympus dog, but now if Olympus survives at all as a camera company it will be as a producer of point and shoots.

0 upvotes
J2Gphoto
By J2Gphoto (Jan 13, 2012)

Olympus is hardly DOA. If they come out with the PEN Pro like they say they are, it's going to blow away just about everything in it's class. With 19 plus lenses for m4/3 already on the market. I think they are going to make a strong comeback and make some noise.

5 upvotes
LucasO
By LucasO (Jan 17, 2012)

Yes, DOA! Please everyone, dump your lenses on craigslist, ebay, wherever. There are some fools still out there that would love to get our hands on some more SHG glass.

Ok on a more serious note, my E5 with 12-60 and 50-200 kit takes some awesome shots and to get equivalent glass and results with a Canikon I would have to spend an extra $2-3k for the same kit and it weigh twice as much. Perhaps the reason I'll keep buying Olympus is because the others just don't keep up with the quality for price or quality for weight.

Not to mention, my PM1 + 20mm Panny goes everywhere with me. I'll be buying Pen upgrades from a long time.

BTW: anyone know the latest market share numbers for ILCs? From what I see on the street I expect Oly is top 1 or 2.

0 upvotes
sashko1
By sashko1 (Jan 12, 2012)

Olympus need to bring out a compact full frame dslr ( looking like an OM-4Ti?) with a backwards compatible AF adapted OM mount, so you can use all the old OM zuiko glass (in full auto also) and a new range of full frame AF glass- now that would SELL!- come on Olympus give the people what they want.

3 upvotes
453C
By 453C (Jan 12, 2012)

Why would they do that? Olympus got all of the profit they're ever going to get from those lenses a long time ago. OM is dead, and 4/3 seems to be on a similar path.

Better to build a halo MFT body with a hybrid PDAF/CDAF system (like Nikon 1) to allow better use of 4/3 lenses and useable tracking AF. 4/3 owners get a viable upgrade path, and MFT owners gain access to high end 4/3 glass, plus a better AF system. That makes a lot more sense to me.

I believe all of the "OM" talk is centered around speculation that the upcoming Olympus announcement will be about an OM style camera, not a camera with an actual OM mount.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
sashko1
By sashko1 (Jan 12, 2012)

well i'm pretty sure they won't, is the answer, but it would be great considering they've abandoned 4/3 dslrs now and it would be a good time to release a niche product like a full frame dslr with backwards om mount compatability- look at the fuji x-pro 1, a completely new system, but extremely desirable. Lets be honest canon, nikon, sony all produce great bodies, but where they are found wanting is the glass- yes you can use mf glass from zeiss and so on, but where is the high end AF stuff- only Fuji will be offering that- i'm sorry but even l-series canon and high end Nikkor (let alone non-zeiss sony lenses), are not up to that standard of leica, zeiss or fujinon glass- so an OM digital with legacy zuiko quality glass would be a seller IMHO of course.

PS- the last OM-4ti's were wonderfull, exclusive and desirable cameras, why wouldn't they want to replicate their aura?

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
453C
By 453C (Jan 12, 2012)

I think you're missing the point. Olympus stands to make no money from the sale of used OM lenses, and they aren't likely to restart production of lenses last made a decade ago. A large consideration for buying into a system is the lenses, and regardless of their quality, OM lenses are the past, not the future. I seriously doubt that they would integrate well with modern AF systems, and their original designs would probably need to be reworked to take advantage of moderm materials and manufacturing techniques.

However, Olympus does produce excellent 4/3 lenses and some respectable MFT lenses. Given their financial situation, they need to work with what they have, not go tilting at FF Canikon windmills. Olympus can replicate the aura of the OM-4ti with a camera that bridges the gap betweem 4/3 and MFT, as I described. I own an OM 100/2.8 and use in on my PEN E-PL1, but I think going back to OM Days wouldn't please enough people to justify the costs.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
sashko1
By sashko1 (Jan 12, 2012)

you may well be right about the fiscal viability of such an endevour, however, I believe i'm right when it comes to the lack of quality glass available in mainstream dslr systems namely canon, nikon and sony, it is for this reason the Fuji x-series will be a success.

0 upvotes
fulgacian
By fulgacian (Jan 15, 2012)

But shasko1, how's Olympus supposed to manage full auto operation with OM lenses? They were made for fully manual focus and fully manual aperture setting. Cannot get your point.

0 upvotes
tinternaut
By tinternaut (Jan 12, 2012)

Indeed. For any self respecting Dpreview forum rat, the cameras announced at CES are pretty boring. Bring on Feb 8 and (hopefully) the long anticipated OM-D.

0 upvotes
SirSeth
By SirSeth (Jan 12, 2012)

Feb. 8 is rumoured to be Oly's big release announcement. So they are not spilling their guts at CES, but I'm expecting the wow stuff then. Hopefully OM-D (sealed pro digital OM).

0 upvotes
RoelHendrickx
By RoelHendrickx (Jan 12, 2012)

Ditto here.

0 upvotes
olddigiman1
By olddigiman1 (Jan 12, 2012)

Zoom range is ideal for me, and aperture is a non-issue for my shooting style. But I only use m4/3 as a compact carry-with camera, so too big to be attractive to me. Unless the new m4/3 Oly is so sexy I dump my 4/3 gear, which I seriously doubt. Horses for courses, of course.

1 upvote
Rob13
By Rob13 (Jan 11, 2012)

OMG Olympus has been purchased by McDonalds. New management's first move it to "super-size" the lens line-up. That's a new strategy, I guess.

0 upvotes
nboyer
By nboyer (Jan 11, 2012)

A very weak showing. I has hoping for a pro m43 from Olympus. Sad indeed.

0 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Jan 11, 2012)

The ideal kit lens .. love it!
well done Oly!

I wouldn't buy it separately, though!

now I also wish if Pany also kit its new upcoming 12-35 fast zoom as a luxury kit lens to some of its upcoming GH3.. just dreaming!

1 upvote
AV Janus
By AV Janus (Jan 11, 2012)

That new fancy "kit" lens is such a miss... not fast, not good macro, huge... what was the point!? Weather sealed. Really?
And I can just see it being "kitted" with the upcoming new m43 body in February... nooooooooooooooooooooo... :-/

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Solarcoaster
By Solarcoaster (Jan 11, 2012)

That's why it's a KIT lens. You should be comparing it to the previous kit lens, against which it compares very favorably. Yeah, they could have made it fixed aperture, but then you'd get less zoom and probably higher price. I think the focal range is great, and what other kit lens has any macro at all?

And if you really don't like the lens I'm sure they'll sell the body by itself.

3 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Jan 11, 2012)

Seems similar to popular lenses from the SLR brands. Like the Canon 15-85, Nikon 16-85 VR, Sony 16-85 CZ. Those are also slow and non-macro, yet a huge hit thanks to the zoom range and sharpness.

0 upvotes
andix
By andix (Jan 12, 2012)

Every single 'kit' lens that bears the Zuiko moniker outperforms by miles (read: beats the living daylights out of) any other brands' equivalent 'kit' lenses. And this is true for both m4/3 and 4/3 altogether.

5 upvotes
TheEye
By TheEye (Jan 12, 2012)

So that 12-50 is in the same price class as other kit lenses then?

Anyway, if I want a lens that's superior to a kit lens, I don't buy a kit lens to begin with. Not in interested in a lens with f/6.3 at the long end at all.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 34