Olympus' Toshi Terada discusses the future of Four Thirds and compacts

Started Feb 7, 2013 | Discussions thread
illy
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Re: Four Thirds upgrade cycles
In reply to boggis the cat, Feb 8, 2013

boggis the cat wrote:

illy wrote:

boggis the cat wrote:

illy wrote:

it's not that the E-5 will be replaced by something, i can't see it being a Dslr or more than 1 line up of Dslrs(which means i am totally wrong for saying it)I honestly thought that a mirrorless camera would be released after an E-7 that would AF all lenses equally, but maybe they will skip the E-7 and introduce a new type of camera for 4/3rds users

If you read the interview (I assume you can't have done so) you would have noted:

Building on the promise Olympus has made about continuing to support Four Thirds users, Terada suggests the wait may nearly be over: 'Direction-wise, we'd like to produce products for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds within this year. Because we have to provide a product for users with SHG and HG lenses. And there are people using E400, 500 and 600-series DSLRs, we have to provide products for them to keep enjoying their photography.'

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/7898773566/cp-2013-interview-with-olympus-toshi-terada

Now, that does seem to indicate that Olympus have decided that there is a significant market still out there of E-xxx / E-xx owners wishing to upgrade. Apparently, this group have not been lured to Micro FT -- or left for Canon / Nikon / Pentax / Sony.

...

it seems to me that the all the research these days is going towards m4/3rds to expand and fill out the line up,

Lens development, sure. Most research into body components can be easily utilised in standard FT.

but leaving the market for nearly 3 years devoid of new products or any real clear intent is not the best base for a line of new cameras.

No, it isn't. But if they have done market research and believe that they can take a profitable bite out of the APS-C / 135 pie then why not do so?

Arguably standard FT will be a dead end because new lens development may never happen, but the existing HG and SHG lines in particular still have plenty of usefulness left in them. Canon only fairly recently produced a 70-200 mm f/2.8 that was comparable to the SHG 35-100 f/2 (and it is still a stop down). Olympus has no need to update the lens line yet, and can concentrate development in Micro FT.

I think they would be better just going into mirrorless 100% as Panasonic have done, at least they'll be ahead of the game when other companies face the same decision.

How so? You do know that ILCs are only slowly gaining share outside of Japan and Asian markets? This means that Olympus is effectively ceding a bit more than half of the global market to competitors. Ultimately this is all about running a profitable business, and you gain twice with every sale in that you make a sale and you deny the competition a sale. Provided you are not losing money then why not keep pushing both systems?

Now, if what Terada said is accurate then it appears that Olympus are at least thinking about that aspect of the DSLR / ILC business. It was a mistake to halt the low-end standard FT bodies, IMO, and I think that they may now realise that. One reason was obviously to avoid competing with Micro FT (with poorer performing but more expensive lenses), but now that Micro FT is well established and decent lenses are fairly abundant (aside from the long FL) and redesigns show signs of grasping reality -- the mZD 75-300 f/slow at US$900 when the superior ZD 70-300 f/faster was less than half that price -- it would appear that that fear has passed.

They can effectively 'bracket' competitors products with a smaller, cheaper, high-performance DSLR line (with native SHG lenses for "professional" use, or those with deep pockets) and the best selling ILC system. Their competitors at the moment are really Sony and Panasonic, with DSLRs essentially uncontested. That makes no sense to ignore, unless they can push Sony out of the ILC market -- oh, wait, who just invested in Olympus?

Change of plan.

but i do wonder how much longer traditional APS-C Dslr's will be about, Canon will replace the 7D and i doubt a D300s replacement will ever appear, i guess there is still a market but it's dwindling in favour of FF. Mirrorless will grow and grow and i think it will replace many Dslr's for a lot of people, i think it's wiser to spend the money on that path than try to fight in a market that potentially has 5 to 10 years maximum left in it. If Olympus can pull the 2 systems together i think they will do really well, they have the lenses they just need something to put them on.

We should have a sweepstake for what the next 4/3rds body will be

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