On the apparent upcoming high end OMD that will "dub" as the 4/3rds hybrid

Started Aug 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
noirdesir Forum Pro • Posts: 13,561
Re: Why was it successful?

TrapperJohn wrote:

It is an interesting point to ponder - why the OMD was such a success? On back order for several months after it was introduced, still on the DPR top ten clicked list, over a year and a half after it was first announced. Most FF DSLR's can't boast that. It's the one that serious enthusiasts tend to choose, when adding to their current setup. What set it apart from previous M43 bodies?

I can strictly only speak for myself (having bought a OM-D E-M5) but what was the main reason for me has also been mentioned by a lot of other people:

  1. Compact m43 with EVF, I cannot underline this enough, an EVF lets you do a lot of things a back display doesn't, and then it was one of the better EVFs (Sony's had more pixels but Olympus' was had a faster/same refresh rate). People had clamoured for years to get an EVF an a compact camera but the OM-D was just about small enough. And every wish list for a new Panasonic GX model included an EVF.
  2. Apparently one of the best if not the best IBIS and a clear jump in IQ with the new sensor, bringing m43 up to best sensors (in terms of performance per area). 
  3. It just look so cute. 

Sure, it had to have enough manual controls but that was available from a number of cameras. As an extension of the EVF, it was the first Olympus m43 (and thus the first IBIS m43) which allowed a DSLR like operation (eg, handgrips).

Some commonly cited reasons tend to ring a bit hollow: retro look (so were the Pens), 5 axis IBIS (nice, but not a game changer), the more conventional 'dslr look' (so were the G and GH)... none of those can really account for the level of interest that no previous M43 body, or no previous mirrorless body got. Not NEX7, not XE1, though both of those are excellent platforms. Something got the enthusiast's attention with the OMD.

My best guess is - the OMD was the first serious mirrorless body: weathersealing, a battery grip, plus high end sensor and new IBIS. No mirrorless body before had the combination of features that are normally found on enthusiast grade DSLR's. It was the first one where the manufacturer appeared to be taking the concept of mirrorless seriously - this isn't just a glorified P&S any more. I believe a lot of enthusiasts like the idea of small but excellent, but were put off by the lack of essential features of previous mirrorless bodies.

It was the combination of great functionality (compact, EVF), clear jumps in technology improvement (sensor, IBIS, refresh rate/AF speed), and a very appealing exterior.

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