Japanese PEN/E-5 successor PDF translated

Started Dec 18, 2011 | Discussions
windsprite
windsprite Senior Member • Posts: 2,679
Japanese PEN/E-5 successor PDF translated

This is not a word-for-word translation, so please don't take it as gospel, but for anyone who is interested, I did a loose translation of the Olympus-related stuff (the original Japanese PDF is here
https://www.impressjapan.jp/pr/monitor/1112_dcm/271201_free.pdf ):

The interviewee is Haruo Ogawa, Olympus marketing division director.

The headline says they are working on a mirrorless camera with emphasis on the viewfinder.

They are also working on a successor to the E-5.

Key points for the interview:

  • They are working on a new mirrorless camera that is different from the PENs, and they will announce it "soon." It will be compatible with the PENs. It will be a camera that you want to hold in your hands all the time.

  • The key is in the viewfinder. Reviewing customer questionnaires, they learned that many users are interested in having a viewfinder that is easy and pleasant to look through. The new mirrorless will have an "epoch-making" viewfinder.

  • The E-5 successor is already being developed.

Ogawa begins by apologizing to the customers for causing them a great deal of worry during the recent series of events. He promises Olympus will continue to strive to develop and produce fine products.

Ogawa says that the feeling at Olympus is that the mirrorless market in general is going too far in the direction of marketing to "camera joshi," [literally, "camera girls"]. Mirrorless cameras hold many possibilities, but currently they all seem to be heading in this one direction. This market does of course exist, but Ogawa fears that concentrating exclusively on this one group will shorten the life of the mirrorless camera market. Olympus has been re-examining the camera user base as a whole: how four thirds users feel about the PEN cameras, etc. They reviewed user questionnaires and found that a lot of people want a good viewfinder.

The interviewer asks what specifically the PEN users are concerned with. Ogawa replies that from his point of view, it's easier to frame photos, easier to magnify the image, and easier to focus a camera with an electronic viewfinder. You can also see the effects of the art filter you have set, the WB, and so on. Even so, he still uses a DSLR, and that is because there is a special "something" about a DSLR.

The interviewer interjects that it's the optical VF. It's certainly different from looking through an electronic VF.

Ogawa replies that they examined their technology at Olympus closely, and they realized that they could create something that wasn't perfect, but a prototype that contained a lot of possibilities, and they want to develop that. Just as they created a new breed of camera with the PEN series, they want to do the same with this new and different mirrorless.

The interviewer keeps pushing for more specifics. "This will be an epoch-making camera, right?" "This is big news, right?"

Ogawa says, "All I can say is, when you look through the viewfinder, you'll understand...." He asks the interviewer not to ask him to reveal any more than that ... but he keeps pressing.

Ogawa says it's not all about the VF. Fuji came out with a superb hybrid viewfinder. In their own way, Olympus wants to create a camera that, as a total package, is a pleasure to hold and shoot with. The E-P1 didn't have any particular eye-popping features, but it made you say, "Wow, this is a nice camera." That's the kind of camera they want to make.

The next series will represent a new stage in the mirrorless camera, but it will be fully compatible with the PEN series. They want to expand the mirrorless concept, rather than limit it to the more feminine cameras they have been making up until now. It will be a camera for women and men, for beginners and high-end users alike. Ogawa reiterates that it's unfortunate that the phrase "camera joshi" forced cameras in a feminine direction.

Here, the interviewer points out with a laugh that it was Olympus that started that trend!

Ogawa replies that the Japanese phenomenon of "camera joshi" ("camera girls") are not "girls" as we usually see them. They are women who like retro-looking cameras and other similar objects.

The interviewer talks about how many women now prefer analog film cameras, with lots of buttons and dials.

Ogawa replies that the PEN series and XZ-1 are in line with that trend. They don't so much revive the past, but they use a delicate or subtle design, where digital cameras have tended to have a more rough or crude image. He thinks it's a good thing when different companies put out different types of cameras, but unfortunately, they have recently tended to kill that individuality by all going in the same direction. Olympus wants to change that.

The interviewer asks, "So you are going for something that is different not just from current Olympus mirrorless cameras, but from mirrorless cameras in general?"

"Yes, as a personal possession/personal item," Ogawa replies. [He is being purposely vague, so it's difficult to translate.]

"So you are after a camera that better fits the act of taking a photograph?"

"That's right."

Ogawa goes on to reiterate that the new mirrorless will be fully compatible with the PENs. He thinks it's fun to hold the PENs and even just to look at them, and that's Olympus' "identity." From that perspective, they are working on something truly new.

(continued in next post)

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windsprite
OP windsprite Senior Member • Posts: 2,679
Continued here (E-5 related)

They move on to the topic of the E-5. The interviewer says that people are worried that Olympus might abandon the four thirds format.

Ogawa says that in the E-5, they built a camera that made the best of the four thirds concept, and they want to continue to evolve that concept of a DSLR. A lot of people seem to be amazed that Olympus can go in these different directions (SLR and mirrorless) in their current state.

The interviewer wants a positive statement from Ogawa that they will definitely continue the E-series.

Ogawa says, "At this point in time, there is no reason not to continue it. We feel that DSLRs are still necessary." He says they are already working on the E-5 successor.

The interviewer says there is a feeling of betrayal among some Olympus users, since they abandoned the OM series in the past, and it's difficult to shake that sense of doubt even to this day. They worry they might be abandoned again. If Ogawa could state clearly that they definitely won't abandon their E-system users, it would assuage those fears.

Ogawa replies, "I've never once said that we have abandoned the E-series."

"A lot of people think the E-5 may be the end of the E-series," says the interviewer.

"In this line of work, if you rob the customers of their dreams, you are finished."

Finally, the interviewer asks, "Several years ago, we saw a mockup of a wooden compact camera. It was an interesting, inspiring camera. What ever happened to it?"

"The higher-ups keep saying they want to make that camera," says Ogawa. "It's very difficult, though. The manufacturing cost is extremely high, so it's hard from a business standpoint. We are keeping it on the back burner, though. Until we have sufficient time and resources, we won't get the 'go' sign, but personally, I would really like to do it."

-Julie

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Raist3d Forum Pro • Posts: 38,938
Thank you for the translations

Interesting stuff and makes sense with some recent developments.
--

Raist3d/Ricardo (Photographer, software dev.)- "You are taking life too seriously if it bugs you in some way that a guy quotes himself in the .sig quote" - Ricardo

Digirame Forum Pro • Posts: 36,791
Japanese PEN/E-5 successor - Thank you for the translation

Thank you for the translation. This is good news. The lack of a built-in viewfinder has been big concern...glad they are changing their mind. Other key reasons a viewfinder is important, is with a diopter, it's valuable for us with poor eyesight and it also helps us keep the camera steady. If the camera is held out with both arms, or the camera is pressed hard on the face looking through a viewfinder, which of these will create less camera shake? I took many pictures today under a dark forest at less than 1/10th of a second with my E-500 and Zuiko 14-42mm lens (without IBIS and no tripod). Using a built-in viewfinder pressed to the face just makes it that much easier to snap crisp sharp photos at very low shutter speeds. To get them at less than 1/5th of a second (in addition) I normally have to find something to brace the camera and lens.

benross Senior Member • Posts: 1,018
Re: Continued here (E-5 related)

Thanks Julie for the translation. Very useful stuff.
This is pretty much all we need to know for now.

Rriley
Rriley Forum Pro • Posts: 21,846
Re: Continued here (E-5 related)

thanks Julie, very kind of you
better to operate from this information than all the wild rumours out there

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Riley

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Nate21 Regular Member • Posts: 148
Re: Continued here (E-5 related)

very good information thanks for sharing

erichK Veteran Member • Posts: 6,533
Thank you Julie "Windsprite! Much needed!

Julie,

You did a wonderful think by posting this: you demonstrated that despite all the cr*p going on at the summit of (Mt.) Olympus, about 35,000 people are still working hard to produce vital medical equipment needed throughout the world, and also the new cameras wanted by people like us, all over the planet.

By the way, how are the dogs? Fondly remember your posts in the weekday dog thread we tried to keep going, against the tide of John King et alia's deluge of photos of pusillanimous pussycats and other feckless felines (of whom we also have a pair!)
--
erichK
saskatoon, canada

Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.

  • W. Eugene Smith, Dec 30, 1918 to Oct 15, 1978.

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underwater photos:
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agogo Contributing Member • Posts: 599
Other important things to address......

Reviewing customer questionnaires, they learned that many users are interested in having a viewfinder that is easy and pleasant to look through. The new mirrorless will have an "epoch-making" viewfinder.

The viewfinder is important, but...........

I'm sure that in these 'customer questionnaires', there is also mention of dissatisfaction with old under-performing sensors too. This is a major thing they need to look at to keep competitive, wouldn't you agree?

I hope they are working on getting better sensors for these new cams - like about 16mp with usable 3200 ISO and better dynamic range (but then I'm greedy and want everything ).

It will be interesting to see how many fps the E5 successor will have too.

After much thought about staying or moving fully to Canon, I've decided to stick it out, get an E5 and then hopefully there will be a lighter, killer pro mirrorless (or slr) to attach to my 300/2.8 in future.

TheEye
TheEye Veteran Member • Posts: 4,755
My manly 12-60 won't work perfectly on that new m4/3 compatible design.

It's nice that the new system, whatever it is, will be compatible with m4/3. However, it would be even nicer for those of us who don't like software-corrected and optically compromised lenses that 4/3 lenses can be utilized at their peak performance on the newly planned camera(s).

Art_P
Art_P Veteran Member • Posts: 9,927
That really depends

agogo wrote:

I'm sure that in these 'customer questionnaires', there is also mention of dissatisfaction with old under-performing sensors too. This is a major thing they need to look at to keep competitive, wouldn't you agree?

That depends on which customers they asked... there's probably a bunch who are perfectly satisfied w the current sensor.
Of course, if they asked folks on this forum, they'd get an ear full!
--
Art P
"I am a creature of contrast,
of light and shadow.
I live where the two play together,
I thrive on the conflict"

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CharlesB58 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,227
Re: That really depends

Art_P wrote:

agogo wrote:

I'm sure that in these 'customer questionnaires', there is also mention of dissatisfaction with old under-performing sensors too. This is a major thing they need to look at to keep competitive, wouldn't you agree?

That depends on which customers they asked... there's probably a bunch who are perfectly satisfied w the current sensor.
Of course, if they asked folks on this forum, they'd get an ear full!
--
Art P
"I am a creature of contrast,
of light and shadow.
I live where the two play together,
I thrive on the conflict"

"So you are after a camera that better fits the act of taking a photograph?"

"That's right."

This is an area where many on this site fall down, fixated as they are on specs, test results and pixel peeping. The "act of taking a photograph" is kept in mind by those folks who enjoy the entire photographic experience with a different set of expectations than gear-o-centric people. This is probably one aspect of Olympus design philosophy which has led them to not be as fixated on MP count as many would like.

This also reinforces my long held contention that Olympus isn't trying to compete directly against CaNikon or even Sony, but is wending their way through a unique design philosophy that has admittedly mixed levels of success.

I would say that the idea of the "act of taking a photograph" contributed to Olympus coming out with practical Live View and an articulating LCD, IBIS, top notch sensor cleaning and great glass, with some of these features being copied by other makers after the fact.

Of course, we must then scratch our heads over such things as strobe assisted AF, and obvious holes in the lens line up. But then, wending one's own way can be rife with misteps scattered among the successes.
--

Some people operate cameras. Others use them to create images. There is a difference.

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TheEye
TheEye Veteran Member • Posts: 4,755
What a friggen surprise!

windsprite wrote:

  • The key is in the viewfinder. Reviewing customer questionnaires, they learned that many users are interested in having a viewfinder that is easy and pleasant to look through.

They didn't know this all along? Then they are hopeless!

He promises Olympus will continue to strive to develop and produce fine products.

I thought the camera department "had to show a profit" by 2014 (?) or it would get axed.

Ogawa says that the feeling at Olympus is that the mirrorless market in general is going too far in the direction of marketing to "camera joshi," [literally, "camera girls"].

What gave it away? That I have to hold a Pen in an effeminate manner with my fingertips and cup-of-tea-pinkie?

Mirrorless cameras hold many possibilities, but currently they all seem to be heading in this one direction.

The camera joshi will grow up?

Olympus has been re-examining the camera user base as a whole: how four thirds users feel about the PEN cameras, etc. They reviewed user questionnaires and found that a lot of people want a good viewfinder.

And that's NEWS to them? We (many of us) have been screaming for an inbuilt EVF for YEARS! Olympus marketing manager must be daft, deaf, and morose.

The interviewer asks what specifically the PEN users are concerned with. Ogawa replies that from his point of view, it's easier to frame photos, easier to magnify the image, and easier to focus a camera with an electronic viewfinder.

Alright, they want to build a camera for middle-aged eyes. Fine by me, waiting for Oly I get a little rusty myself.

The interviewer interjects that it's the optical VF. It's certainly different from looking through an electronic VF.

No fxxxxxx sxxx! I sense pure genius.

they realized that they could create something that wasn't perfect, but a prototype that contained a lot of possibilities, and they want to develop that.

They'll give us a prototype? Another half-axxxx product line.

The interviewer keeps pushing for more specifics. "This will be an epoch-making camera, right?" "This is big news, right?"

Ogawa says, "All I can say is, when you look through the viewfinder, you'll understand...." He asks the interviewer not to ask him to reveal any more than that ... but he keeps pressing.

Squirting out another nugget...

Olympus wants to create a camera that, as a total package, is a pleasure to hold and shoot with.

What camera makers has ever set out to create an unpleasant to hold and shoot-with camera? This is getting ridiculous.

The next series will represent a new stage in the mirrorless camera, but it will be fully compatible with the PEN series.

If anything, the "new stage" should be fully compatible with the manly 4/3 lenses!

Ogawa reiterates that it's unfortunate that the phrase "camera joshi" forced cameras in a feminine direction.

That doesn't make any sense.

Here, the interviewer points out with a laugh that it was Olympus that started that trend!

Exactly. Leave those dxxxx camera joshi be.

Ogawa replies that the Japanese phenomenon of "camera joshi" ("camera girls") are not "girls" as we usually see them. They are women who like retro-looking cameras and other similar objects.

And according to him, Oly was forced to cater to those girlish Japanese punks? Was Ogawa drunk during this interview?

"Yes, as a personal possession/personal item," Ogawa replies. [He is being purposely vague, so it's difficult to translate.]

Their "new stage" is an endoscope camera for personal use!

"So you are after a camera that better fits the act of taking a photograph?"

"That's right."

Ogawa goes on to reiterate that the new mirrorless will be fully compatible with the PENs. He thinks it's fun to hold the PENs and even just to look at them, and that's Olympus' "identity." From that perspective, they are working on something truly new.

All this talk about Ogawa holding and admiring his Pen is making me laugh hysterically.

(continued in next post)

I'm not sure I have the necessary stamina...

Stan dela Cruz Forum Member • Posts: 91
Re: Thank you windsprite

best christmas news i've had

Precious little help to someone keeping the faith.

amalric
amalric Forum Pro • Posts: 10,839
Re: Japanese PEN/E-5 successor PDF translated

Interesting stuff, but what to make of it?

The latest developments, next to the E-P3, where the E-PL3 and the E-PM1, which I can witess to be 'girly cameras': they are very small, beautifully crafted, v. reactive and fast, with all the beauties of Truepic V.
But to me much more difficult to operate than a 620 or my new E-P2.

Built in EVF has been expected for a long time, one a' la X100 even more, but it will probably result in a bigger camera, and thus the need to create a new class that can take bigger, weathersealed lenses - the new 12-50 acting perhaps as the kit lens. Funny that Ogawa insists twice on compatibility with the Pens. Did they have in mind a different sensor/mount at some point?

As for the successor of the E-5 well we are told that the dSLR experience will go on. I suppose they are not cracking yet the know problems of AF CF tracking, so that it will stay for sports, BIF and other specialised tasks which can be faced with fine 4/3 lenses. There is a hint at a new model - the wooden dummy. Do anybody remember it? I don't.

On the whole it seems a 3 pronged clear stategy. Pity that the interviewer didn't push it towards the (new) sensor, which is really the gaping hole one would want to know more about.

Thank you very much for the translation. One wishes sometimes that designers would be interviewed, instead of marketing directors: they could be more specific.

Am.

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BigBen08 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,272
Re: Japanese PEN/E-5 successor PDF translated

Where can I pre-order the E-7 ?

rovingtim Veteran Member • Posts: 8,646
Re: That really depends

CharlesB58 wrote:

"So you are after a camera that better fits the act of taking a photograph?"

"That's right."

This is an area where many on this site fall down, fixated as they are on specs, test results and pixel peeping. The "act of taking a photograph" is kept in mind by those folks who enjoy the entire photographic experience with a different set of expectations than gear-o-centric people. This is probably one aspect of Olympus design philosophy which has led them to not be as fixated on MP count as many would like.

I agree in philosophy, but they need to stay in the ballpark of performance or they will become irrelevant. Just a few years ago, they were #3 in the world. Their point and shoots were the IQ king against which all were measured. Now they are IQ king of nothing.

If they become a niche player, their products will become obscenely expensive for what they do.

This also reinforces my long held contention that Olympus isn't trying to compete directly against CaNikon or even Sony, but is wending their way through a unique design philosophy that has admittedly mixed levels of success.

If they weren't copying CaNikon, then why did the E3/E5 go to a copy of the 1 series of Canon instead of continuing with the ergonomically acclaimed E1? The E3 design can be easily criticised as an inferior CaNikon rather than an Oly.

I would say that the idea of the "act of taking a photograph" contributed to Olympus coming out with practical Live View

Fuji did this first in a DSLR ... but it is mainly point and shot technology.

and an articulating LCD

Point and shoot technology (and video)

IBIS

Point and shoot technology.

top notch sensor cleaning

A good Oly development

and great glass

True, but their SHG is too big for Olympus's stated USP. Their initial 'pro glass' (later to become HG glass) was very good indeed, though recent tests are suggesting the 14-54 is not a very reliable focusing lens. Other than that, the 7-14, 14-54, 50-200 gave a photographer enormous weatherproof range with very little glass.

Olympus should have dealt with equivalence from the very beginning because their emphasis on AOV (while ignoring DOF) distorted customer feedback which then distorted their development of the line. IMO.

rovingtim Veteran Member • Posts: 8,646
thank you for taking the time

This concerns me a bit. He seems a bit out of touch with what is going on in photography. I've never heard the Pen being described as a 'girls' camera here, though perhaps it is elsewhere.

Where is he getting his picture of the photographic world?

I've stated elsewhere that Oly has already lost a great deal of good will, and to regain a solid presence in the camera market they are going to have to make something that is better than 'good enough'. The viewfinder is important, but if they remain behind in focusing, sensor tech, and body performance, I don't think it will be enough to keep them in the game.

In my opinion, of course.

That they are building an E5 replacement is a surprise, though without a great deal of money, I can't see it being competitive with what is already out there. The E5 is so far behind they need a strong sprint just to catch up.

rovingtim Veteran Member • Posts: 8,646
I have to agree with the eye

TheEye wrote:

Olympus has been re-examining the camera user base as a whole: how four thirds users feel about the PEN cameras, etc. They reviewed user questionnaires and found that a lot of people want a good viewfinder.

And that's NEWS to them? We (many of us) have been screaming for an inbuilt EVF for YEARS! Olympus marketing manager must be daft, deaf, and morose.

If this is 'news' to Oly, then there is no hope.

RoelHendrickx
RoelHendrickx Forum Pro • Posts: 26,569
I can only echo Ricardo: thanks a lot for the effort!

Raist3d wrote:

Interesting stuff and makes sense with some recent developments.

Not only with some recent developments, but also with expectations that are still being nursed by those that have not yet given up on Olympus.
We'll see.

If it gets there, it could be good.

If it doesn't get there, I would be sorry to at one point have to move away from the "camera joshi", but it is not like that would be amputating a leg. It's just gear.

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