Are Long-time Olympus users like Leica Zealots?

Started Jan 3, 2013 | Discussions thread
rrr_hhh Veteran Member • Posts: 6,022
Re: Are Long-time Olympus users like Leica Zealots?

Thomas Kachadurian wrote:

Years ago I used Leica cameras for making photos and while I did I learned that about half of the people buying Leicas were more like followers of a religion than photographers. I don't personally understand it, but in many ways I can see where the craftsmanship of Leica cameras, particularly the older ones, does make them objects beyond their function.

But I'm starting to get the impression that there might be just the same level of zealotry for Olympus cameras with a certain segment. I've owned various Olympus cameras over the years (RC, Stylus Epic, E-10, and now EM5) but they've never struck me as things to love for their form or that inspire allegiance. But there are few few threads here now, and I've noticed them in the past where the posters are clearly not asking about M43 cameras or lenses, but about Olympus only.

Things like "which Zuiko lens to buy" As if there are no Panasonic lenses that are native to Olympus M43. Where which option to get is limited not by what is needed, but by what specifically Olympus offers. Or other comments to questions about the EM5 menu where the writer responds that Olympus menus have always worked this way as if the only people who might buy Olympus cameras were part of a club.

Is this just that some people don't realize the universal compatibility of M43 stuff? Is it a new thing fostered by the lovely retro look of the early Pens and now EM-5? Or, has there been this subculture of Olympuphiles for a long time and I've just swerved into their world by virtue of using M43?

I think that there is two categories of Olympus lovers :

Those who have used OM film cameras : they admires Maitani (their designer) and indeed, they had many qualities; they were really thought for photographers, were allowing you a unique way to meter light second the zone system; they were the smallest lightest SLR available and introduced many innovations. So there are nostalgics of the film time showing up in this forum quite often, because the Olympus OM "were designed by photographers for photographers". Olympus was also the designer of a mythic compact film camera : the XA which wasn't bigger than a pack of cigarettes. So there was clearly a lot of know how in matters of designing nice cameras, during film times, which gained Olympus a good reputation, not only for the Pens. And we older photographers remember it.

There is a second category : the admirers of the super high quality FT lenses. Having a smaller sensor, the FT system needed supersharp and fast lenses and it seems they got them and they can cost a lot. That second category, while they love their lenses feel they have been let down by Olympus when it comes to sensor IQ and some have developed rather sour grapes toward Olympus. So they are rather ambivalent toward Olympus : they have a kind of love hate relationship.

I forgot a third category : those who are enjoying the famous Olympus colors and the Olympus know how when it comes to jpeg engines and out of camera jpegs. Nice reds and warm tones and great blues skies : colors that pop, with some more saturation than in reality by default and good skin tones. Not sure whether this is a myth or not. Seems to be inherited since the beginning of digital (even present in compacts).

To sum up : yes, Olympus as a brand has got some brand recognition, some of it well deserved, with Maitani playing the part of Oskar Barnack at Leica. Compared to Panasonic, a TV and Microwave seller, I can't help to have more admiration for Olympus who design cameras since the thirties of last century, like Leica. This, even if I own a good half of Panasonic lenses. But for bodies : I prefer the Olympus (I have owned three of their mft) over the Panasonic (I have owned two of them).

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