Saturday, May 21, 2011

Olympus EP-3 and EPL-3 On The Horizon

Rumors of new Olympus cameras have been circulating for some time. These rumors apply to a fundamental error that the 4/3's consortium has made. Namely, they think that their cameras are upgrades for people from point-and-shoots who want higher quality, but like the smaller size compared to traditional SLR's.

This is wrong. The majority of buyers of m4/3's are enthusiasts. I think that this is revealed in the leaked info that the new Panasonic GF2 is not selling well. Apparently, it was being outsold by the old GF1 up until, well, NOW (which explains the INSANE used prices for the GF1). The GF2 is very small, but they ditched the pro-oriented things to get that size. Moreover, the quality difference between the GF1, who's sensor was notoriously noisy, and its direct competition from Sony and Samsung is large. The GF2 is offering nothing unique anymore.

I do not find it at all surprising that the two shining stars of the m4/3's world were the two cameras aimed at enthusiasts, while being unique: the GF1 and GH1. The belief that their bread and butter lay with the point-and-click crowd was a critical error. Olympus is paying the price most harshly since they put ALL of their eggs in that basket. Their recent financial results were dreary.

Now, about those new Olympus cameras. They will likely have 12MP sensors very similar to current models, and the naming scheme still doesn't fully explain which cameras are supposed to be better, and how they're better. Olympus M4/3's lenses are still middling. Olympus advertising is terrible. And the sensor that they're using is two generations old.

At least Panasonic has decent sensors and lenses, but they still DO NOT FUCKING UNDERSTAND THEIR MARKET. They produce cameras that are not cheap, and aim everything at the casual user. No. Morons. Aim it at the MEN (more on this later) who count pixels and care about manual controls. Could you imagine a M4/3's camera with no flash a full manual controls and every pro-level goodie that they could wedge onto the tiny body? Men would be selling their children for it.

You want evidence? Out of all of this, which camera is getting the world in a tizzy? The Fuji X100, which is aimed squarely at enthusiasts. It's a TWELVE-HUNDRED-DOLLAR POINT-AND-SHOOT! I don't understand how these two companies don't get it. While women buy more cameras, more money is spent by men. Much more. Photo websites are visited almost exclusively by men. Magazines are read by men. Men know things about cameras that most people couldn't care less about. Cameras, like most things that require batteries, are the male domain.

Why the hell is that? Because cameras are what men buy instead of jewelry and nice clothing. We buy watches, and cameras, and televisions. Do you think most men need a $12,000 Denon home theater system? Of course not! No one does! Do you think any women are buying these things? If you do, you're the opposite of correct.

Women buy their own stupid shit, but men by stupid gadgets and machines. They want Ferraris and Rolexes. Status is important, very important to humans, and devices and gadgets that show how much disposable money we have are important to men. And because of that, men ALWAYS want the high-end. If they can't afford the high-end, they want a poseur version of the high-end. Whatever is closest to the high-end is the ideal product. It's as though "halo product" is a concept that these two companies can't seem to figure the fuck out.

Their FIRST products for M4/3's should have been all enthusiast and pro-sumer cameras. It would have been a battle cry, letting the competition know that they had plans for world domination with their products. Instead, their cameras whimper onto the market.


  1. I want Olympus to come out with an EPL that has the old half-frame Pen format with an eye level viewfinder on the side. For those of us at bifocal age, an eye level viewfinder is much better than staring at an LCD screen over the top of our glasses and held at arms length. Stability is also greatly improved when a camera is held against the head.

    I prefer Olympus' sensor shift image stabilization over Panasonic's lens based form. It would allow me to use my old Zuiko lenses and they would be image stabilized. I would like to see lenses more like the old 35 mm. Zuikos. My favorite was the 24 f 2.8, which was half the size of a Nikon equivalent.

    The big problem for digital cameras is dynamic range. I want fewer pixels but more dynamic range, especially at the high end of the curve.

  2. Hey Fred,

    I couldn't agree more with everything that you've said.

    An optical viewfinder would be a remarkable goodie that neither Olympus or Panasonic seems to want to embrace. I don't get it! Fuji whipped up an absolute craze with theirs, and Leicas continue to sell (for some reason). This is obviously a feature for which people will pay.

    Since I've only bought new M4/3's lenses I love the in-lens IS. In Panasonic's 45-200, the IS is like it's out of a lens that cost five times as much. Still, having it in camera is nice, since sometimes you might want to use IS for even something like a wide-angle prime. Having the choice in my hands is attractive. It also opens up old lenses from EVERY manufacturer for use.

    The DR issue is something that really chaps my hide. The new Sony sensors have AMAZING range, and 4/3's users are forced to wallow in technology that's four years old. It's difficult, especially when one loves landscape photography like me.


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