Saturday, October 12, 2013

Steve Huff Gives New E-M1 GLOWING Review

And I mean glowing. It is actually illuminated.

I'm rather excited to try the E-M1, but I don't think I'm going to be as impressed with it as Steve. He loved the E-M5 and I was mostly whelmed by it. Granted, I weigh video capabilities more heavily than Steve does, but even with that taken into account, I was just whelmed.

And make no mistake, this was actually a HUGE upgrade from previous 4/3 cameras, which were from the GF1/E-P1 forward, crushing disappointments. The worst one for me being the GX1, which I thought was going to be an actual replacement for the GF1. No such luck.

But as I said in my earlier posts, the lenses are still disappointments. And unlike Steve, I will not overlook that Sigma has released a lens that outperforms almost everything that Olympus has ever made for a fraction of the price.

Moreover, in his list of lenses he would choose are both of Voigtlander's f/0.95 lenses. I see this as a problem. If you are willing to go manual focus, you can get amazing lenses in any system. What makes a system are the available lenses that support all of the aspects of that system, such as electronic controls and autofocus.

He lists the Panasonic 35-100mm X lens. I find it a bit odd since you'd be better off with the 75mm and just crop to match a 100mm shot. But that's neither here nor there... it's over there!

Micro 4/3 still only has one gem — the 75mm. The 45mm is a contender, but 90mm equivalent isn't very impressive when you look at what other companies have at that length. Canon has a FF 85mm f/1.8 for the same price. Nikon's 85mm is an even better performer for only about $100 more. Even the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 isn't all that impressive. It's just a 50mm equivalent. These aren't amazing lenses, they are basic lenses. Every system that wants to compete needs these lenses in it. Saying that they are special is like demanding respect because your race team remembered to show up with tires on their car.

That said, he does make a good point, and it is something that I have been ranting about for years, other companies either have abandoned, in the case of Canon and Nikon, their crop sensors, or appear to be in the process of abandoning their crop sensors like Sony. At least Olympus and Panasonic are trying.

In fact, I would almost say that Micro 4/3 is the system to bet on, what with Panasonic's new prime lenses coming out soon. As long as Panny doesn't try to price them as they did their X zooms, they may be worthwhile. Olympus has more lenses planned... I hope. And Panasonic appears to be getting its act together as regards camera design. These are all positive developments.

But I cannot get over the fact that both Panasonic and Olympus have murmured about full frame. Barring further developments, it is obvious that Sony is abandoning its APS-C NEX cameras to the same dust bin that holds MiniDisc, and all of these damned companies are chasing Apple.

I've coined that phrase, Chasing Apple, because every company that ever tries to copy Apple tries to copy Apple's profits. They want to sell their computers for the same price as Apple. They want to sell their phones for the same price as Apple. They want to lock people into their closed systems like Apple.

The camera world has the same thing, but here, they're chasing Canon and Nikon. Canon and Nikon could release total, non-functional shit for the next five years and barely see a dent in their profit margins. People are locked in. They can't easily leave. Every other fucking camera company is dreaming about that. They want to be able to rip off their customers in the same way!

As such, the companies never dedicate themselves to a product, and when they do, they always overprice it. I keep looking at Sigma and its SD-1 because it was the most salient example of this behavior.

Olympus and Panasonic want to be selling $3,000 cameras. That's why Olympus refuses to compete with its own Zuiko lenses, because it is still, right now, fantasizing about doing that. That's why Panasonic released the incomprehensible AF100.

Sony has found a way to do that. They're stuffing massive sensors into small bodies. They've made the decision to abandon their old products. It pisses me off, but I also can't be entirely surprised after the monster success of the RX100 and the RX1. They found a way to charge the massive prices that they want to charge.

So, of course, like the lemmings they are, Panasonic and Olympus are feeling the pull. They're looking at Sony's RX100/RX1, wanting those profits.

No company has ever become great by chasing profits. They become great by chasing products. They look at a market and design the best product that they can for the best price that they can. Everyone forgets that this is exactly what Apple did years ago. But the idiot executives who run companies don't see that. They don't see the twenty years of trials and tribulations that the company went through, all the while producing beautiful failures. They only see Apple after the release of the iPod and iPhone.

And that's why they all continue to fail. That's why Olympus' sales, even with the E-M5's giant success, have done nothing but go down. That's why Panasonic and Sony are both on the brink of collapse. That's why Microsoft is stumbling down the road like a drunk and HTC has shit the bed.

With that tangent complete, it's obvious that the E-M1 is a great camera. Combined with the 25mm, 45mm, or 75mm, it will be a true workhorse camera. But until something changes, it's not all that special.

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