Latest sample galleries
Latest in-depth reviews
The Everyday Sling might just be the perfect pack for not carrying too much gear, combining comfort with Peak Design's signature modern style.
|Mr. Hirofumi Imano, Division manager of Product Strategy at Olympus, photographed at the company's Hachioji facility.
[photo: Barnaby Britton]
After the CP+ show in Yokohama closed last week, editor Barnaby Britton journeyed out to Olympus's design facility in Hachioji to speak to executives and engineers. Among the people he spoke to was Hirofumi Imano, Division Manager of Product Strategy. In a broad-ranging interview, Mr. Imano explained the company's strategies for competing in a tough market, the genesis of the OM-D line, opportunities in video, and why he thinks Canon and Nikon might not be making high-end mirrorless cameras.
Note: This interview was conducted through a translator, and edits have been made for clarity and structure.
Well, obviously shipments from manufacturers are down, compact cameras especially but also interchangeable lens cameras are declining. This is a fact. At the same time though, there is still growth in the mirrorless market and more and more people are taking and sharing photos. So in terms of the imaging business overall, we have a great opportunity.
Our key interest lies in mirrorless cameras, represented by the OM line and the PEN line, but although we know that the market for compact cameras is shrinking,there's still demand for niche products like our TOUGH lineup.
|The Olympus Stylus SP-100 is a 50X super-zoom camera with a built-in dot sight for accurately tracking moving subjects at the long end of the camera's zoom.|
There are many things that a camera can offer which a smartphone can't. For example bright, large aperture lenses such as that employed in our Stylus 1 and our SP-100 that offers a 40X optical zoom and dot sight, which is more user-friendly than competitive cameras at long focal lengths. So there are some segments of the market which are not being eroded by smartphones. This is why our focus is on mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and high-end and special purpose compacts.
People’s basic desire to record their lives and express their personalities through creative expression won’t change. It’s a human instinct. More photos are taken on a daily basis now than ever before, as we’ve discussed.
The camera is and will remain the most credible device for self-expression through photography and we will keep on striving to include the latest optical and digital technology to realize this. We need to make our cameras reliable and responsive.
It’s definitely important for us, and in fact for the entire industry to expand the number of people out there who are interested in taking photos with cameras. Whether that’s young people, women, men - expanding that community is very important. At the same time it’s very important for Olympus to attract enthusiasts. These two areas are equally important and we have been successful at attracting entry-level customers with the PEN lineup, and we’ll provide more enhancements to this lineup, both in terms of technology and features.
OM-D has been very well-received by photo enthusiasts, and has been praised for image quality as well as customization and build-quality. With the lineup that we have now, of PEN and OM-D products we’re capable of cultivating both low and high-end customers.
We had a sense that as SLRs became DSLRs and sensors replaced film that the cameras were getting chunkier and chunkier. What we really wanted to achieve with the OM-D series was to use the optical heritage that we have, and combine that with the digital technology that we’ve been working on such as 5-axis image stabilization to achieve the maximum possible image quality while maintaining portability.
|Hirofumi Imano pictured with (l-r) the OM-D E-M10, E-M5, special edition E-M5 with crinkle finish and the flagship OM-D E-M1
[photo: Barnaby Britton]
We now have a 3-camera OM-D lineup, and we’ve been getting a lot of praise for the reliability of the cameras, and also for the image quality which people are saying is equal and in some cases better than DSLRs. We’re seeing this kind of feedback from our customers and we want more and more people to join the system and enjoy shooting with these cameras.
The OM-D series definitely inherits things from the OM-line, most importantly maintaining portability without compromising image quality. One of the slogans of the original OM was 'from photomicrography to astrophotography’ - meaning that you could use the cameras to shoot subjects varying from bacteria to the cosmos. We’re still working on developing the OM-D system but definitely yes - a lot is inherited.
I started out as an R&D engineer working on our voice-recorders, back in the days of tape. After my experience with recorders for the past ten-fifteen years I’ve been involved in product planning for our cameras, also industrial design and user interface, before moving into product strategy. The first cameras I worked on were one of our first weatherproof compacts, the Stylus 710, and the Stylus Verve, which was a stylish, unique compact shaped like a raindrop.
It’s hard to predict the future but more and more, especially in the US and Europe we’re hearing requests for more improvements in our cameras’ video capabilities, both at the enthusiast and consumer level. The design of our lenses, and systems like image stabilization are impacted by the need for our cameras to shoot video as well as stills. We wouldn’t say that we’re 100% there yet, but we’re actively working to optimize video performance in our lineup of both cameras and lenses.
We stepped into the Micro Four Thirds format with this in our minds - it’s a format optimized for still as well as video. Some things are still on the horizon, but we’re already considering video in the design of our lenses, for example the MSC focusing system.
There is definitely very big business opportunity. There’s increasing demand, and the technology is improving. There’s equipment out there for professionals, and also for a consumer audience such as the various sports-cam style cameras which is really gaining traction in a lot of markets. But whether you’re shooting stills or video, the image comes through a lens, and as an optics manufacturer we’re setting very high standards. Perhaps this is an area that we can cultivate in our business - lenses for professional video gear.
In terms of ergonomics, we tend to find that at the enthusiast level, our customers have a more or less uniform idea of what they’re comfortable with, regardless of where they are in the world.
When it comes to the functionality that people want there are slight differences in the feedback depending on territory, but honestly it largely remains the same. Especially when it comes to our interchangeable lens products. That said, more of our customers in the US and Europe are vocal about wanting more advanced video functionality than in Japan and Asia, and our Asian customers are more vocal about ergonomics - things like how the dials feel. They’re very picky.
One reason is maybe the perception, on behalf of customers and maybe even sales associates in stores that cameras from the bigger brands are better. The other thing is sensor size - DSLRs have APS-C and full-frame sensors inside them, but the mirrorless market is mainly APS-C and smaller, and for a long time it was mainly just Micro Four Thirds. Maybe there’s a perception that bigger sensors equals bigger image quality, which has hindered growth in the mirrorless market in the USA and Europe.
I think our reason to exist in this industry is to push the envelope with a system that maintains a good balance between image quality and portability. By pushing the envelope we firmly believe we can expand our customer base and also capture enthusiast photographers who might not be having fun with their bigger, bulkier DSLRs.
|The OM-D E-M1 is Olympus's flagship mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, and was voted best of its type of 2013, and best product of 2013 overall by dpreview readers.|
As an optics manufacturer, we know that it isn’t as simple as saying 'a bigger sensor always delivers better image quality than a smaller sensor'. It's more complicated than that. It’s a combination of multiple factors including lens resolution, sensor and image processing. We have to keep on communicating to our customers, and to retailers, that things aren’t as simple as they might have heard.
In Japan, currently 50% of the market is mirrorless, but a few years ago it was the same situation here as we’re currently seeing in the USA and Europe. But we just stuck firmly to our position, and kept on communicating to customers that there’s another option, which is small and light and takes beautiful images.
Well that’s his view! We’ll keep on communicating the benefits of mirrorless but Canon and Nikon dominate the interchangeable lens camera market and if they did come out with serious, reliable mirrorless cameras, I agree that yes - it might stimulate the market and boost sales of our cameras. Maybe it’s intentional that they haven’t launched enthusiast-focused mirrorless cameras, because they’re dominant. They’ve been maturing their systems for years. Maybe it’s strategic that they’re staying away.
The future is very challenging, but it’s exciting too. We’ll have to work hard.
Aug 23, 2015
Feb 24, 2017
Feb 1, 2017
Jan 24, 2017
Olympus has released a major firmware update for two of its OM-D cameras as well as the PEN-F. It adds support for Profoto's TTL flash system and also brings numerous new features and bug fixes. Read more
Olympus OM-D E-M1 owners are reporting issues using their cameras after updating to firmware version 4.2. Olympus has suspended FW 4.2 and has issued a statement with more information. Read more
The new Olympus OM-D E-M1 II is quite a camera. Capable of shooting at up to 60fps at full-resolution, and packing high-bitrate 4K video and in-body stabilization, the E-M1 II is a powerhouse. But if you already have an E-M1, is it worth the upgrade? Find out
Olympus unveiled the details of two fairly significant firmware updates, both of which will be available for download, for free, come November. The flagship Olympus OM-D E-M1 will receive firmware version 4.0. while the not even one-year-old OM-D E-M5 II will receive firmware version 2.0. Read more
Olympus has announced that it is is producing a new limited edition 'Titanium' OM-D E-M5 II camera. The Titanium E-M5 II will offer all of the same features and specs of the regular version, with its top and bottom plates swapped out for dark metallic versions that match those of the OM-3/Ti from 1994. Worldwide, 7,000 copies of the Titanium model will be made, though how many will be available in the US is yet to be announced. The company is also readying firmware updates for both the E-M1 and E-M5 II, related mostly to underwater shooting. Read more
The Canon EOS R is the first full frame mirrorless camera to use the new RF mount. We're well underway putting it through our range of standard tests – take a look at how it compares to the competition and our thoughts on using it so far.
When the Fujifilm X-T2 arrived, it was more than just a modest upgrade to the already impressive X-T1. While the new X-T3 hasn't changed the overall design of the camera, this model is way more than a minor refresh: it's a major leap forwards.
What's the best camera for a parent? The best cameras for shooting kids and family must have fast autofocus, good low-light image quality and great video. In this buying guide we've rounded-up several great cameras for parents, and recommended the best.
What's the best camera for shooting landscapes? High resolution, weather-sealed bodies and wide dynamic range are all important. In this buying guide we've rounded-up several great cameras for shooting landscapes, and recommended the best.
What’s the best camera costing over $2000? The best high-end camera costing more than $2000 should have plenty of resolution, exceptional build quality, good 4K video capture and top-notch autofocus for advanced and professional users. In this buying guide we’ve rounded up all the current interchangeable lens cameras costing over $2000 and recommended the best.
|Dubai by Nilesh Trivedi|
|Hummingbird Tight by Dennis Bayer|
from -Vivid Purple- (in Full Colours Only)
After shaking up the Lightroom ecosystem with Lightroom CC last year, Adobe has released version 2.0 of the cloud-centric photo organizer and editor. We look at new features like People View, how far Lightroom CC has come in its first year, and where Lightroom is headed.
Today, at Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe previewed Photoshop CC on iPad, a full-featured, desktop-class version of Photoshop for iOS.
The weather and has most definitely taken a turn toward fall here, and our shooting opportunities have followed suit. We brought the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 along to a harvest festival of sorts and a few of our usual haunts.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed House Bill 1346 into effect, which imposes a fine upwards of $300 to drone operators who invade the privacy or harm the physical wellbeing of citizens.
Sigma is a company in flux, but CEO Kazuto Yamaki is undaunted by the upcoming prospect of developing lenses for eight lens mounts. The challenge will be keeping the company's identity along the way.
If you've been meaning to convert all of your old photos, video, and audio to digital formats, but simply lack the time or willpower to get through it all, a new service from Kodak will help you get the job done.
Almost all new cameras include impressive video features, but for the best results you'll often need an off-camera recorder. Chris and Jordan take a look at the brand new Ninja V from Atomos, and explain why it might just be one of the most useful tools you can add to your camera.
Collect allows you to transform 360-degree into a more easily digestible format by transforming it into directed traditional videos.
Sick of using your plain ol' keyboard to edit your photos in Lightroom and Photoshop? TourBox is hoping to expedite your post-production workflow using a clever combination of dials, buttons, and knobs.
Bag and accessory manufacturer Hex has launched two bags as part of its latest collection: the Clamshell Backpack and DSLR Sling.
Crank out instant photos with Holga Digital's new analog printer, currently being funded on Kickstarter.
We got some hands-on time with Leica's new S3 medium format camera, which boasts a new higher-res sensor as well as other improvements.
Luna Display started its life as a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter. Now, it's available to purchase directly online.
We sat down with the Google Pixel camera team to learn about key new camera features on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, and an explanation of the sophisticated software advancements that power them.
A lawsuit filed on Tuesday claims the cameras in Apple's iPhone 7 Plus and newer dual-camera models infringe on a patent that was granted in 2003.
Nikon's Coolpix P1000 has moved the zoom needle from 'absurd' to 'ludicrous,' with an equivalent focal length of 24-3000mm. So far, it's a fun camera to shoot with – if a bit over the top.
Like the LG V40 ThinQ the A9 combines a super-wide-angle, regular wide-angle and tele camera, but adds a depth-sensor to the mix as well.
The FAA has issued a warning to drone pilots in anticipation of disaster response following Hurricane Michael, noting that fines for interfering with emergency operations can exceed $20,000.
According to a report from Fortune, Apple acquired Danish masking technology startup Spektral in December 2017 for "more than $30 million."
Insta360's latest model comes with a range of features that allow for the creation of unique action cam footage.
The Photogrip can be used as a camera grip, mini tripod or phone stand and comes with a detachable remote.
At a time when manufacturers are adding triple and even quad-cameras to their flagship smartphones, Google is sticking with one main camera. But given the sophistication of the company's computational efforts, we think it's the right approach for now.
DPReview is hiring! We're seeking three Software Development Engineers at a range of experience levels to join our Seattle-based team.
The University of Dayton Research Institute created a video detailing what damage is caused when a drone strikes the wing of an airplane.
Lenovo's upcoming high-end smartphone will be the first model to feature four cameras on the back.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL offer a second front-facing camera and a host of improved computational features such as digital zoom based on super-resolution capture, better depth mapping and a fill-light effect for low light portraits.
Canon has ported a large chunk of its Digital Photo Professional (DPP) Raw processing software's feature set to iOS and launched the DPP Express app.
The Panasonic LX100 II offers a higher-resolution sensor over its predecessor, but it's the addition of a touchscreen that makes the Mark II so gosh-darn enjoyable to shoot with. We've got some fresh samples from Panasonic's new premium compact camera.
Sony has announced a new "Alpha Female" program, a creator-in-residence opportunity that will award six-month grants to five female filmmakers and photographers.
The new 490, 492 and 492LCD are targeted at amateur photographers and come with a 4kg/8.82lbs payload.