Terada: New 4/3's body (bodies?) in the pipline for 2013

Started Feb 2, 2013 | Discussions thread
sderdiarian
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Re: Here's the niche for DSLRs
In reply to Craig from Nevada, Feb 25, 2013

Craig from Nevada wrote:

A Riley wrote:

The niche for DSLRs still is: Print-quality photos for glossy magazines and newsletters, not snapshots for the internet or for facebook.

I'm sure before long smartphones will be able to do it all and then my worries will be over. In the meantime, I wish I could put a DSLR or MILC in the hands of every single volunteer. Then maybe I'd get plenty usable photos for the newsletter, and I could put out one, just one, issue with all high-quality images. Sigh. . .

There is a niche for DSLR, but that niche, as you note it will get smaller as smartphones and other devices are produced that are capable of better image quality.

The idea of taking photos is changing so rapidly, just as computer and communications have changed.

The DSLR will be a specialized tool for specific purposes.

In this world how many makes and models of DSLRs can be supported? I think the high water mark was 2009.

I think we're in a period of convergence where product mix is in a real state of flux. On the one hand we have smartphones like the Nokia 808 Pureview that are knocking on the door of higher end compacts, their limitation being their built-in lenses. DPR's review compares its sensor size to 4/3's and explains how they get around lens limitations to allow at least a quality 2X zoom at 8MP:

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/8083837371/review-nokia-808-pureview

This appears a "good enough" solution for usable newsletter photos, and its technology will likely spread to other brands, putting it in the hands of most people. Combine it with the already much easier to see larger screens that come with smartphones like the popular Galaxy SIII (a 4.8" touch screen of which camera users can only dream) and easy to afford cellphone plans, and they're knocking the doors down on the camera market in general.

But I still see a real demand for greater flexibility and higher IQ than smartphones. In compacts, the RX100 is the strongest contender to fill this need while also drawing a bead on entry level DSLR IQ. It comes at a relatively high cost of $600, the same as 22MP D3200 kits and a lot higher than 14MP D3100 kits at $450, but this will assuredly drop.

It's in mFT's where the value of small/light size and flexibility of small interchangeable lenses at reasonable cost has best come together. Being able to buy a 16MP E-PM2 with kit lens for $550, or a 12MP E-PM1 kit for $300 has truly brought DSLR quality images and flexibility to those on a budget, and without the size/weight penalties.

But it remains (for now) the E-M5 that's the most compelling mFT for my needs. Olympus wisely kept size and weight down but build quality high, and with the add-on grip preserved ability to handle mid-sized FT lenses comfortably. Its only true shortcoming is inability to track action, something Olympus DSLR AF systems were never class leaders in but could at least do.

For many, convenience is now where it's at. Big black DSLR's that draw attention and are difficult to carry around will inevitably see a decreasing market share, especially once the mFT tracking challenge is solved. There will still be a significant place for pro/high end enthusiast models along with quality lenses, especially for sports and birding, but it seems logical that many will gravitate to mirrorless given its size/convenience advantages.

I think Olympus is actually well positioned for this, given their and Panasonic's increasingly comprehensive lens offerings. And the Sony alliance makes me wonder what's next in the pipeline. A svelte rangefinder styled body with built-in EVF would be enticing, as would a model similar to Sony's SLT A-57 to improve tracking ability from their current DSLR's while keeping size in check (i.e., an E-620 replacement), and an E-7 packed with advances made by both Olympus and Sony to finally take full advantage of their HG and SHG 4/3's lenses.

Doesn't all have to be gloom and doom (yes, I'm guilty too), and happy with what I have while I wait for things to sort themselves out .

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Sailin' Steve

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