Japanese PEN/E-5 successor PDF translated

Started Dec 18, 2011 | Discussions thread
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windsprite
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Japanese PEN/E-5 successor PDF translated
Dec 18, 2011

This is not a word-for-word translation, so please don't take it as gospel, but for anyone who is interested, I did a loose translation of the Olympus-related stuff (the original Japanese PDF is here
https://www.impressjapan.jp/pr/monitor/1112_dcm/271201_free.pdf ):

The interviewee is Haruo Ogawa, Olympus marketing division director.

The headline says they are working on a mirrorless camera with emphasis on the viewfinder.

They are also working on a successor to the E-5.

Key points for the interview:

  • They are working on a new mirrorless camera that is different from the PENs, and they will announce it "soon." It will be compatible with the PENs. It will be a camera that you want to hold in your hands all the time.

  • The key is in the viewfinder. Reviewing customer questionnaires, they learned that many users are interested in having a viewfinder that is easy and pleasant to look through. The new mirrorless will have an "epoch-making" viewfinder.

  • The E-5 successor is already being developed.

Ogawa begins by apologizing to the customers for causing them a great deal of worry during the recent series of events. He promises Olympus will continue to strive to develop and produce fine products.

Ogawa says that the feeling at Olympus is that the mirrorless market in general is going too far in the direction of marketing to "camera joshi," [literally, "camera girls"]. Mirrorless cameras hold many possibilities, but currently they all seem to be heading in this one direction. This market does of course exist, but Ogawa fears that concentrating exclusively on this one group will shorten the life of the mirrorless camera market. Olympus has been re-examining the camera user base as a whole: how four thirds users feel about the PEN cameras, etc. They reviewed user questionnaires and found that a lot of people want a good viewfinder.

The interviewer asks what specifically the PEN users are concerned with. Ogawa replies that from his point of view, it's easier to frame photos, easier to magnify the image, and easier to focus a camera with an electronic viewfinder. You can also see the effects of the art filter you have set, the WB, and so on. Even so, he still uses a DSLR, and that is because there is a special "something" about a DSLR.

The interviewer interjects that it's the optical VF. It's certainly different from looking through an electronic VF.

Ogawa replies that they examined their technology at Olympus closely, and they realized that they could create something that wasn't perfect, but a prototype that contained a lot of possibilities, and they want to develop that. Just as they created a new breed of camera with the PEN series, they want to do the same with this new and different mirrorless.

The interviewer keeps pushing for more specifics. "This will be an epoch-making camera, right?" "This is big news, right?"

Ogawa says, "All I can say is, when you look through the viewfinder, you'll understand...." He asks the interviewer not to ask him to reveal any more than that ... but he keeps pressing.

Ogawa says it's not all about the VF. Fuji came out with a superb hybrid viewfinder. In their own way, Olympus wants to create a camera that, as a total package, is a pleasure to hold and shoot with. The E-P1 didn't have any particular eye-popping features, but it made you say, "Wow, this is a nice camera." That's the kind of camera they want to make.

The next series will represent a new stage in the mirrorless camera, but it will be fully compatible with the PEN series. They want to expand the mirrorless concept, rather than limit it to the more feminine cameras they have been making up until now. It will be a camera for women and men, for beginners and high-end users alike. Ogawa reiterates that it's unfortunate that the phrase "camera joshi" forced cameras in a feminine direction.

Here, the interviewer points out with a laugh that it was Olympus that started that trend!

Ogawa replies that the Japanese phenomenon of "camera joshi" ("camera girls") are not "girls" as we usually see them. They are women who like retro-looking cameras and other similar objects.

The interviewer talks about how many women now prefer analog film cameras, with lots of buttons and dials.

Ogawa replies that the PEN series and XZ-1 are in line with that trend. They don't so much revive the past, but they use a delicate or subtle design, where digital cameras have tended to have a more rough or crude image. He thinks it's a good thing when different companies put out different types of cameras, but unfortunately, they have recently tended to kill that individuality by all going in the same direction. Olympus wants to change that.

The interviewer asks, "So you are going for something that is different not just from current Olympus mirrorless cameras, but from mirrorless cameras in general?"

"Yes, as a personal possession/personal item," Ogawa replies. [He is being purposely vague, so it's difficult to translate.]

"So you are after a camera that better fits the act of taking a photograph?"

"That's right."

Ogawa goes on to reiterate that the new mirrorless will be fully compatible with the PENs. He thinks it's fun to hold the PENs and even just to look at them, and that's Olympus' "identity." From that perspective, they are working on something truly new.

(continued in next post)

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