onfoto.ru interview with Toshiyuki Terada - translation [1]

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BorisK1
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onfoto.ru interview with Toshiyuki Terada - translation [1]
Feb 21, 2012

Original link:
http://www.onfoto.ru/review/Olympus-OM-D-E-M5/1518.html

My translation:

Our conversation with one of the leading Olympus developers - Toshiyuki Terada, Product Planning, Olympus Imaging Corporation, Japan).

Amsterdam, February 16 2012.

Dmitriy Krupskiy: - Why is the new model Olympus E-M5 released as a part of the new line OM-D, rather than within the PEN line? Exterior design motives reminiscent of the Olympus OM film cameras are understandable, but in its essence E-M5 is the same mirrorless camera with interchangeable lens, of the same Micro-4/3 system, as the PENs. Also, the PEN name is already well known. Is just the exterior design enough to start a new line [of cameras]?

Toshiyuki Terada: - A brand name is very important for marketing. Not the series, but the brand name. Olympus PEN is a very good brand name, the cameras are very simple to use, they can be taken anywhere. The name itself sounds like a "writing implement" that can be always with you. This is the concept of the PEN brand name.

On the other hand, OM are small-sized film cameras. Small-sized SLRs - this is the key. For serious photographers, maybe not professionals, EVF is important, they need a different type of camera. Not quite similar to Olympus PEN. Of course, PEN cameras are good for professionals too - for street photography. But we still see a lot of users that want an optical viewfinder.

Does the PEN line suit this type of users?.. Our answer is no. And we decided that we needed a different brand name.

D.K. - Does it mean that the [built-in eye-level] viewfinder is the main difference [between PEN and OM-D]?

T.T. - No, no! In the future, PENs can also get a [built-in eye-level] viewfinder. But the cameras of the PEN lines have to keep the same form factor. The brand name is very important.

D.K. - Does it mean that the exterior design of the future OM-D cameras won't necessarily resemble the film OM cameras?

T.T. - Since we started to use the OM brand name, or OM-D, the exterior design has to preserve its legacy. Radically different design cannot be called OM-D.

The concepts of brand name and exterior design are very important for Olympus.

D.K. - At this moment, is OM-D the highest-standing of all Olympus cameras, both DSLR and mirrorless, isn't it?

T.T. - Not quite. We don't arrange all our models into some pyramid with a single top.

D.K. - But even if we compare it to the mirrored E-5...

T.T. - Looking at the specifications - yes, OM-D's continuous shooting rate of 9 FPS, compared to E-5's 5 FPS. But these are just performance specs.

D.K. - Aside from that, OM-D has a higher resolution sensor, wider dynamic range, and it's also weather sealed, same as E-5. Doesn't it make OM-D a professional camera?

T.T. - E-5 reliability is much higher than that of OM-D.

D.K. - But the presentation that we saw today, talked about Superior reliability of OM-D.

T.T. - OM-D has the same grade weather-proofing as E-3 or E-5. This is correct. But it's only one aspect. But, for example, shutter durability... I can't tell you how many shots will last OM-D's shutter, while we guarantee that E-5 will last at least 150000. Because it is a real professional camera, and it has a corresponding reliability level. This is the difference. We don't consider OM-D to be above E-5 or E-3. Even though it has some higher specs. A professional photographer doesn't always chase the numbers and specs. Reliability is important to him.

D.K. - Won't the professionals prefer a camera with higher specs, and perhaps replace it, even if it broke down after, say, 80000 shots?

T.T. - Of course they can replace the camera, they need to keep working. But I don't think they'll like it. For professionals, reliability is a number one criteria.

Of course, high image quality is also very important.

D.K. - You said that Olympus OM-D uses a new sensor, but you can't name the manufacturer. Does it mean that the sensor is not made by Panasonic? Or "It can be Panasonic" just as well as "Not Panasonic"?

T.T. - That's it, exactly. We don't release any information about sensor manufacturer. It can be either. We don't say either yes or no.

D.K. - Does OM-D use the same concept "Fine Detail Technology" that Olympus E-5, with a weak low-pass filter OLPF (see our interview iwth T.Terada in Photokina 2010).

T.T. - Yes, same as E-5. It gives very high image sharpness.

D.K. - Why does OM-D screen rotate only around one axis? Olympus has experience of using articulated screens that rotate around two axis. Or is this less reliable?

T.T. - From the practical point of view, perhaps two axis are better. But we wanted to preserve the compact exterior design of OM. The reliability has nothing to do with it, the extra hinge increases the size of the camera.

D.K. - Are you planning fast kit zooms for micro-4/3, like the 14-54/2.8-3.5 in 4/3 system? Today we tested OM-D with the 12-50/3.5-6.3 lens - it's a bit dark and loses the comparison [to the 14-54/2.8-3.5]. When PEN cameras first appeared, we expected small, cheap, and fast lenses. And the micro 4/3 system has some wonderful primes! And more are announced. But what about fast zooms?

T.T. - I already said: OM-D brand name is nothing like the PEN brand name. PEN user needs to preserve the smallest size, right? OM-D users has completely different expectations, that you just described - they want fast zooms. We easily predict such a demand, but we don't reveal any future plans.

At this moment, I can only say this... We started the OM-D brand name - completely different from PEN. To satisfy the demand of the corresponding consumer group, we are looking into manufacturing the lenses of the type you just mentioned.

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