Olympus Statement About Fourthirds and Micro Fourthirds

Started Jan 31, 2013 | Discussions thread
Raist3d
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Re: Are they doing better? Not yet....
In reply to PhotoHawk, Feb 4, 2013

PhotoHawk wrote:

Raist3d wrote:

alatchin wrote:

Raist3d wrote:


The system is alive and well if it continues development. Doing the later is a backward compatibility move, not 4/3rds being "alive and well." You could say the lenses are supported- which is a good thing certainly, but alive and well means a system that continues being actively developed. For example, if the telephoto macro lens that was canned is brought back to the table and put out, then to me that's more what qualifies "alive and well" because otherwise it could be just a transition to get the SHG and other lenses off stock + the support and image of the company with the remaining 4/3rd owners.

And I am not saying that's a bad thing. I think it's great Olympus is supporting 4/3rd lenses. But that doesn't necessarily equate to new R&D money spent on the system to keep it moving forward. Of course if they decided to do that now that's another thing. It could also be a marketing statement to keep the impression the train is moving, and keep the image. In either case, supporting the previous lenses is a great move indeed.

You are splitting straws here. Backwards compatibility is what Nikon does when they move away from in body motors, or using a DX lens on a FX body, or when Sony goes SLT... In fact being able to use anything new on anything old is backwards compatibility.

No, not really. In one end you have the other company continuing to develop and manufacture the lenses. The DX to FX example you give is moot since Nikon continues to actively come out with DX bodies. The Sony example is moot because it's literallyt he same lens mount- they just changed some body technologies. That Alpha SLT is *designed* to use those lenses, not as a 2nd body of lenses adapted.

A company that will not develop new lenses may very well be planning their stock-exit plan (i.e. sell the remaining stock, slow down manufacturing of lenses to a trickle until you can cut it off). That's why it's different.

A system being actively developed would be any body that uses the lenses, simple as that, if they choose to go mirrorless, how is that different from sony's approach? If they keep a DSLR then that is a system being supported.

If they go mirrorless and it's a body designed exclusively for 4/3rds, then that's part of a system that is actively developed. I still point out the missing telephoto macro lens that was canned because it may hint at some direction- maybe make bodies to sell remaining inventories and well, that's that.

Developing a product to sell lenses would hardly constitute a death bell, if they sell the remaining SHG and HG lenses they will redevelop them into mark11 versions like every other camera company.

Yes, if they re-develop an SHG and HG lenses with a "version 2" of them, that would definitively constitute active development of the system in my book also. But they have not done that. At least not yet. Like I said, a good start to show would be, bring out that telephoto macro lens that has been on the roadmap for years, then canned.

That is what happens, imagine it, they sell the lenses and stop everything? No, that makes no sense.

It makes perfect sense if their intent is to exit the system. Buy more years on a transition (look at the very topics on this thread- how many people have left already to mFT or other systems).

Here's the key thing to remember that seems to always miss on these discussions: Olympus was consistently losing money on 4/3rds. They were not making a profit. Thus, if Olympus can figure out a way to make a profit on 4/3rds, you bet the 4/3rds system will be brought back alive. Right now there's more points that would suggest this could be more a marketing/sell remaining stock move than an active development - which is very smart business move still as it protects the brand, gives people more time, etc. so I am not saying they are being stupid doing this.

But the bottom line is that profit. They were not making a profit on 4/3rds, they were losing money. Look at all other data points- the company had said before that if by 2015 the camera division was not profitable, maybe it was time to even cut it off! This was said publicly!

Now dont get me wrong, i understand how many dont want an EVF, but if olympus transitions to a technology that means they can no longer use an OVF then so be it, but I and I would be so bold as to say the majority of 43rds users want a new body to use our lenses. Olympus has promised that, and has in fact addressed all the vocal concerns of their users: AF, VF, SIZE and LENSES.

The issue is not what the current remaining 4/3rd users want. The issue is- can 4/3rds be a profitable system? That's the key question here. That's why Olympus moved their efforts to mFTs (and it's been paying off quite well for them). That really is the problem. Forget all the wishful thinking we may all have- that is the issue.

To your point about Olympus having the u4/3s in particular the OMD paying off for them. I think the answer to that is still being decided. Have a look at this url - Oly's financials http://www.olympus-global.com/en/ir/summary/segment/2year/ the last two quarters haven't been kind to the Imaging Division - in fact all of the recorded quarters on the web page tell a not so good business story. If that means Oly's imaging strategy is paying off then its amazing their stock isn't shorted more than it is. And here http://www.olympus-global.com/en/ir/summary/sector/5year/index.jsp total camera sales has plunged. ROE and ROA don't look all that great either.

Ok, you are right that m4/3rds is still not at the complete save level but it sure bought them market share and put them on the map again brand wise. Those are still big wins. But 4/3rds? Where was 4/3rds going? Loss after loss and marketshare shrink.

Oly has a great system in 4/3rds. The 4:3 format is very good from a number of perspectives. They've cut out the telecentricity for a smaller register difference in u4/3 but it seems to be a wise play. Except for those of use that really like the 4/3rds lens and camera type. I hope that Oly does come out with a dual type camera that can use 4/3rds and u4/3rds interchangeably. I'd hate to see a good technology crash and burn due to poor marketing not poor engineering. And aside from arguably relatively poor choices in sensors the 4/3rds cameras and lens (design and engineering) were, and are, pretty darn good.

But again, that's all irrelevant. What I mean is, 4/3rds still needs to turn out a profit. Many things have changed by now.

Alas however the E5 was introduced in 2010 - not really that long ago (however used a sensor that came out in 2008), but the last lens was what - 2008? Between the financial picture and the fact that Oly really hasn't done much in 4/3rds since 2008 - E5 aside - what that tell us?

Well I think I know what that tells us

So here is my bet - a u4/3 camera with a removeable but integral collar that will seamlessly accept 4/3 lens when attached and u4/3rds lens when detached. The collar could also be integral and screw down or extendable but not removeable. The rest of the camera would be similar to the u4/3rds offering but optimized for 4/3 lens as well as u4/3s. The price premium would be about $300 over the u4/3rds camera introduced at about the same time and be of similar performance.

I'd look at it and I'd bet many of us would seriously consider it.

I certainly think this is one very real possibility. It probably will be more than $300 over. But yeah. I agree with you this could happen.

Did we have to wait while olympus exploded into a new niche? Yes. Will we get nothing for our wait? We will get tonnes, from a new and competitive sensor, to a new IS, improved video etc.... One can only guess what they may be developing for their flagship if they can pull off the OMD for $1000... I mean, if the OVF is so expensive, and many have suggested it is, I would forgo it for the money to be spent on other functionality.

A company that wants to survive will not take the earnings from one division to pour them over one that they see will not make a profit. The only way to justify that is what the marketing message there buys the brand. I suggest the amount of current 4/3rds owner base is not that big at this point so I don't think there's a return of investment there.

Either way, we are in agreement that this is good news no matter the final appearance.

Yes, I still agree doing a backward compatibility support if it comes to that, is a good thing.

Abraham

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Raist3d/Ricardo (Photographer, software dev.)- I photograph black cats in coal mines at night...
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Raist3d/Ricardo (Photographer, software dev.)- I photograph black cats in coal mines at night...
“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.” - George Orwell

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