How Olympus Tricked Me, and why I let it go.

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Jan Chelminski
OP Jan Chelminski Senior Member • Posts: 2,283
Re: How Olympus Tricked Me, and why I let it go.

bobn2 wrote:

Jan Chelminski wrote:

Similar to a comment I made below, Olympus did not need or want to build an E-1 sized camera and big SHG glass, and declare it a professional system. It was a decision that hampered Olympus, until the m4/3 correction. Actually, I am the most curious (not you, bob, lol) about this particular decision, I wonder who made that call, what options were weighed and how that went at the time, it would be interesting to know.

You get me anyhow.

You have to remember the shape of the market back in 2003. FF was not a thing back then. The digital market was defined at the professional end by the Nikon D2H and D2X, the Canon EOS-1D. At the enthusiast level level by the Nikon D70 and Canon 300D. In the middle was the 10D and D100. All these cameras used smaller sensors than 24x36mm. The Canon 1Ds was available at an astronomical price for those that wanted to use the large sensor, but that was mostly about making full use of the lenses. Nikon sales agents would tell you that the APS-C D2X was fully equal to the 1Ds, and that the 'DX' format was the future of digital.

Olympus was in a position of not having to defend a legacy system, having botched the transition of the OM system to AF and then having let it die. The legacy manufacturers were using the APS-C sensor as the largest economically manufacturable sensor that would make sense of their existing lens portfolio. Olympus didn't have an existing portfolio to make sense of. In that situation, the choice of the 110 size sensor made perfect sense. It was more than large enough to give performance parity with film, and as they pointed out, with the use of slightly lower f-number lenses, would have easy parity with the APS-C systems, which seemed to be the forseeable future. The bet would be that Canon and Nikon would evolve their complete systems to APS-C, so FT was never intended to compete with 'FF'.

Seen as a pro digital camera, the E-1 was competitive in terms of sensor performance, and was a lot more compact than the D2 and 1D. What let it down was that the camera features weren't up to what that market expected. The AF was very primitive and the frame rate was low. So it ended up competing with the 10D and D100, where it looked oversized and overpriced. Also, without the legacy lens portfolio, it just didn't have the lens support that the pro market wanted. So the concept was right, the execution was lacking in some critical areas. They really went wrong with the abominable E-300. It was very clear that whoever designed that camera was channeling the Pen-F, and had they stuck just to that, they might have made a nice camera, but this was the starting point of Olympus idea that being sen as innovative would secure them a market. It invented 'Live View' (Actually, I think Fujifilm did, but once again Olympus was second and sold it as first), but the implementation involved building another camera into the viewfinder system, which bloated the whole thing until it was actually larger than the APS-C competition.

They kind of got it back with the E-500, which again matched the APS-C cameras in terms of size and performance, than Canon changed the game with the 5D.

Why write this?

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"The camera introduces us to to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses"
"The art of the critic in a nutshell: to coin slogans without betraying ideas. The slogans of an inadequate criticism peddle ideas to fashion."
- Walter Benjamin
"Drawing is a constant correcting of errors, maybe a great deal of creation is exactly that."
- John Berger
" photograph is to frame, and to frame is to exclude."
-- Susan Sontag

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