Olympus E-7 follow up, time to market and other choices

Started Mar 1, 2013 | Discussions thread
Raist3d
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Reply to Charles
In reply to Raist3d, Mar 1, 2013

My view is that Olympus lost direction shortly after the E1. They built their reputation on the OM series as a compact, yet strong performing alternative to the big and heavy system cameras of the day. It seems that with the Ex series, they tried to compete head to head with the flagship cameras (or at least the "prosumer" cameras) of CaNikon and failed in the areas that most people considered the de facto standard: sensor performance/noise and AF speed/accuracy).

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I wouldn't say they lost direction that fast but maybe they should have focused on small earlier. I think for example the E-330 was pretty innovative back then and had a good form factor. It could still do the dual-flash and introduced live view which they didn't even know how to quite use it at first themselves. To me that line gets drawn at the E-3.

The E-3 should have been like E-30 size tops.  I do think that yes, this was the #1 strategic mistake- compete with CaniKon on Canikon's terms. I really think if we have had pro cameras in the form of an e-620 (fast AF, weather sealed, magensium alloy bodies), 4/3rds would still be here today.

Completely agree with you there.

With the PENs and OMD, they have regained their footing as to the sort of cameras they do best. However, they have a number of people with vested interest in an E series gear. For a company strapped for cash and struggling to gain increases in revenue, this is perhaps an salvageable situation for many E series owners. It would take a lot of cash to maintain momentum and development of m4/3 and still come up with an E7 that would be comparable to the latest, similarly priced offerings from Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony in regards to sensor performance along with other features that people are now expecting.

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At this point I dont' think 4/3rds if they continue it, will catch up. But that may not necessarily mean that giving it up completely is the smart move or not doable. And OMD sensor in an E-7 may not be competitive vs market's latest but it would bring the whole platform to a whole new level of performance that current users would feel pretty good with the lenses and hey, wouldn't be bad.

It would keep Olympus brand stronger, and not have to spend much cash- I would think. The camera will still be pricey for sure though.

For many, the idea of putting the EM5 sensor (or an improved version) into an E7 body with a few other tweaks would be enough to keep them satisfied with progress in the E series and 4/3 lineup. But for others, this would still be "too little, too late".

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Well that can certainly be the case. But I would say those who like the 4/3rd lenses would be a big jump to pretty reasonable performance. At that point the equation of jumping becomes more expensive.  Just what I think of course.

I don't think Olympus is going to pull out any more stops for the E7 other than a sensor upgrade and a few other tweaks, as they did with the E5. It's become obvious they have no intention of trying to win customers from other makers in the dslr arena (and I can't blame them). They are conceding that battle to concentrate on another front where they are ahead of the game.

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I expect the same if they come out with a full E-7 body.  The tweaks could be nice though. A slightly better AF wouldn't hurt, etc.

My theory is that Olympus has realized they never should have made the E3 and E5 in the way they did to begin with. They should have concentrated on making an E520 or E620 form factor camera that has the "pro spec" features of the EM5 (weathersealing, magnesium body, etc). So they are in the unenviable position of having to do what they can to support those who have essentially become the "red headed stepchildren" of Olympus: people invested in the 4/3 system who can't, or prefer not to, abandon 4/3 in favor of another brand of dslr, or m4/3.

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Agreed. The E-3 and E-5 as made shouldn't have happened. The E-3 (and by transitivity the E-5) to me has some serious ergonomic issues that you jus don't see on the E-1 model.  I wish they did an E-1 sized like an E-30 but that requires more R&D.

E3 and E5 owners make up a minority of Olympus owners. The percentage of those who will upgrade to an E7 is an even smaller percentage. Olympus has ended up in the corner of diminishing returns. Not only that, most others have left the room as well.

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Agreed.  Another reason why I don't see 4/3rds coming back per se.

I would not rule out the hybrid solution yet. It would give them the ability to keep focus on micro four thirds while throwing in "a bone" to the 4/3rds user.

In short, IMO Olympus has no intention of "hurrying up" to try to match the dslrs coming out from other companies. But I think this is actually astute business strategy on their part. Over the next 5 years the trend away from aps-c dslrs will continue. The "IQ is King' folks will gravitate toward FF as prices continue to come down. Most will opt for mirrorless as the cameras continue to establish themselves as alternatives to dslrs for more and more situations and people (as opposed to the laughable habit of some of dismissing mirrorless as "toy cameras").

So why try to regain strength in a shrinking market?

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Agreed though I am not sure APS-C will go away that fast if it does.  When prices to make sensors become virtually identical then at that point, the shift can start.  BUt I think that's still some ways away.

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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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