Should Ricoh buy Olympus?

Started Nov 10, 2011 | Discussions thread
Tom Caldwell
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Re: Should Ricoh buy Olympus?
In reply to anthony mazzeri, Nov 13, 2011

anthony mazzeri wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Where as you and I and the next man might like Olympus gear, as far as any competitor is concerned they actually already make the best cameras (their own) and have no need for Olympus assets other than to acquire market share or to kill off competing products. I doubt is any other company is gasping to get their hands on Olympus' patent gadget bag. It is not always good news to acquire a scad of new model lines that simply diversify and duplicate what you are already selling.

Taking P&S out of the equation, a quick look over Olympus' lineup shows they seem to be mostly focussed on 4/3. So you could argue that just like Ricoh and Pentax had minimal crossover there is actually very little overlap again now between those two and Olympus because they mainly do exactly what Pentax Ricoh currently don't do, ie a large(ish) ILC system.

Owning Pentax or no Ricoh might choose to stay a smaller volume niche player. It was easy to see Ricoh sidestep the issue when Panasonic made it quite clear that they would ace whatever GX Ricoh might produce with an even fancier LX model. This robust market segment competition imho was the reason for the demise of the GX series. Nothing to do with whether or not Ricoh could make a GX300.

The same thing holds true with M4/3. Firstly the good in theory common mount system is going to be for the weaker party no more than setting up a friendly bear hug from an amorous grizzy bear. Stultifying, make some great products and help sell your oppositions product by the way. The only real suitor for Olympus has to be Panasonic. All other manufacturers must be wondering in M4/3 long term is a dead end system and it is quite remarkable that the others excepting Nikon have made aps-c their future. Nikon? They will have an aps-c EVIL type just as soon as the dslr industry starts to look poorly.

No doubt Olympus make some great m4/3 lenses but it is Panasonic who are steering the m4/3 ship and whilst you can crack out the nicest m4/3 bodies for your lenses surely Panasonic will always have three or four or a hundred bodies of their own doing much the same job.

A bear hug from Panasonic would hardly charm a smile out of Ricoh.

Plus theres also the cross-pollination again, eg a full AF m4/3 mount unit on the GXR, but more interesting for me personally would be the new whopping 24-864mm Olympus SP-810 ultrazoom which would be ideal as a 'P14' camera unit on the GXR instead of having to buy a separate camera as it stands now if you want convenient super zoom. Pentax seemed to have abandoned their own (a little shorter at 624mm) X70 ultrazoom from the beginning of 2009, but I suppose they could still use that anyway as a basis for a GXR module if they don't buy Olympus.

My experience with a side step into a small sensor ultra zoom is that they were yuck. It is a camera type that appeals on paper but fails to deliver in practice. Big zoom video cameras maybe.

I dunno, but I seem to have become GXR-ed now. Every camera I look at now I think how it would work as a unit on my GXR instead of having to buy it as a separate camera like the Nikon P500. Like the Fuji X10 woud be great as a GXR module... ie Ricoh just needs to update the S10 to an S12 (with full HD video too of course).

Since the M mount module Ricoh has a proper system in place. This is good. The upcoming interest in the market place is the prospective battle royal for the aps-c EVIL type market between Samsung and Sony.

Panasonic with the m4/3 market to itself is going to look increasingly boring.

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Tom Caldwell

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