Why Olympus Matters as a Camera Company...

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by gmkells, May 24, 2014.

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  1. gmkells

    gmkells New Member

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    Some days I try to imagine myself as an Olympus die hard, but I look around the room and notice the Canon cameras I have also enjoyed. I was briefly tempted to try the Nikon D5100 but shied away because I didn't much like the DX lens offering. No way.

    The truth is, Olympus has managed to create a variety of answers to relevant questions that I have begun to find compelling. It is a bit of a shame that Olympus lost its place in the DSLR market because of the contractual obligation to buy sub-par sensors from Panasonic. The E-620, for example, would have been a smash hit if blessed with the Sony-sourced E-M5 sensor. The whole DSLR thing is a now a credibility game, almost like Nikon and Canon are waving a wand in front of the captive choir to make sure all eyes are averted from innovation elsewhere. Just keep singing D-S-L-R forever. Sony is doing lots of interesting things. The latest rev of the RX-100 is amazing.

    Back to our main point, however, the best way to discern the contrast in board room motives is to look at the list of recently designed and produced lenses. When you eliminate all the lenses that can only function in the phase-detect AF mode and which lack any image stabilization pretense, it looks like Canon and Nikon have beds next to Sleeping Beauty. Yes. The castle is beautiful, but nobody is home. Truth is, you get he impression that APS-C is an afterthought for both companies because the lens catalogs are full of spectacular old lenses. Go read the lens specs. All the angles of view are rated for full frame, and no focal-length equivalences are provided to make it easy to think in APS-C terms, as if the ad copyists forgot. The funny thing is, most of the great old lenses, less full featured, cost twice as much as mZuiko or Lumix counterparts. I do think it is very interesting that Panasonic sees the light, now, on sensor-plane image stabilization. It is mechanically efficient, and cost effective over the long run to solve the problem once and for all. A program from Nikon or Canon to follow suit would instantly increase the relevance of the lens catalog by 50 percent, So much of what the duopoly chooses not to do, and what to do instead, seems stop-gap.

    Olympus has bent over backward to woo a modern camera buyer who needs a high-performance photographic instrument.

    I do think we need to keep full frame for a while. If you have large print sizr requirements for 24-megapixels and up, avoid APS-C. You are one of those lucky ones who can afford sharp lenses to match. None of the APS-C targeted lenses can resolve to 24-megapixels. It is almost as if the lack of lens sharpness makes it possible to eliminate anti-alias filters.

    At the end of the day, APS-C holds no advantage over FourThirds, sensor-wise, or as we have noted in particular reference to lens catalogs. In some ways, electronic view ports are better, even though not related to picture output quality.

    Yes, the OM-D line is compelling. The sad thing, as the games play out, is that Olympus may be too late to save. They need to sell more cameras! But they are disadvantaged by the monotony coming from Nikon and Canon. There is no argument that the duopoly's best stuff in full frame is anything less than awesome for the professional. For everyone else, a modern story is growing late.
     
  2. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I agree with you. Part of the problem is that all camera companies have been hit hard by the competition from smartphones. Some camera companies have been able to stay ahead of the smartphone competition and some have not. I own an older Olympus point and shoot with a 5x zoom and it isn't any better than the camera in my LG smartphone. So as a result I've stopped using it. On the other hand my wife has a Canon point and shoot with a 5x zoom that takes much better pictures than her smartphone, so it still gets used.
     
  3. gmkells

    gmkells New Member

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    Believe it or not, we still have a Fuji 6-MP Super-CCD pocket camera kicking around somewhere that still takes decent pictures, better than the phones we have anyway, with very low noise even at 400 ISO. For 4 x 6 snapshots it's still great for a kid who can put up with XD memory cards. I have had a hard time, however, getting past a film era, SLR heritage. When I pick up my OM-4, I just want to go home and shoot in the brain-engaged deliberate way I learned. In the digital era, we have traded fast lenses for deep ISO sensors, and it does seem that in the half frame sector at least, we have an embarrassment of riches to choose from. If you are gonna buy a bunch of lenses, however, it makes no sense to cough up for Nikon and Canon lenses that are not image stabilized. You can have twice as many for the same price on a camera whose built-in image stabilized photographic performance is just amazing.
     
  4. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I don't know the statistics but I doubt if the lens market is as robust as it was in the days of film cameras. In those days to get a good photo under many different types of shooting conditions you needed multiple lenses. Now there are many non-DSLR's that take decent to very-good photos and most have zoom lenses with huge focal lengths that cover every conceivable shooting situation. There are still some perfectionists out there but I rarely see photographers with nice looking DSLR's lugging around a bag full of lenses.
     
  5. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    Oh boy, we get to ramble :D

    I was briefly tempted to try the Nikon D5100 but shied away because I didn't much like the DX lens offering. Me too, but it is the Nikon kit 18-55 that sticks in my craw. As for primes for a crop body, I would rather go with Nikon than Canon (which is why I have not bought any primes for my 50D yet).

    The E-620, for example, would have been a smash hit if blessed with the Sony-sourced E-M5 sensor. The whole DSLR thing is a now a credibility game, almost like Nikon and Canon are waving a wand in front of the captive choir to make sure all eyes are averted from innovation elsewhere. Nope, I disagree strongly. The E-620 was packed with cool features, but it was also a plastic fantastic, with the same very convoluted menu system that found it's way into my Oly PL2. Plus, blindly shrinking a DSLR body design does not work, the scrunched buttons end up too fiddly. Oly has fixed this with their more recent OM-D designs. Canon and Nikon are waving a wand all right, only that wand is called "ergnomics". Plus widespread low price 3rd party accessory options. At the end of the day, Canon and Nikon are simply more PRACTICAL choices, especially for anybody on a low budget.

    The funny thing is, most of the great old lenses, less full featured, cost twice as much as mZuiko or Lumix counterparts. Only true if you restrict the "great" lenses conversation to "L" lenses. Canon and Nikon consumer grade lenses still whip Oly's fanny. Which is why I am in no hurry to buy more lenses for my PL2.

    Believe it or not, we still have a Fuji 6-MP Super-CCD pocket camera kicking around somewhere that still takes decent pictures, better than the phones we have anyway, with very low noise even at 400 ISO. For 4 x 6 snapshots it's still great for a kid I do too, a Fuji F45fd (aka F40fd). Still works, though I now reach for my PL2 instead. I'm not sure what this has to do with the original assertion that Oly is vastly superior to Canikon?

    it makes no sense to cough up for Nikon and Canon lenses that are not image stabilized. You can have twice as many for the same price on a camera whose built-in image stabilized photographic performance is just amazing As an antique whose distant past includes shooting with 4x5 view cameras, I have absolutely no problem shooting without stabilization. In fact my lastest lens is a Tamron without "VR" for my 50D. And I luv the dumb thing. Maybe Oly's new 5-axis IBS is amazing, the old IBS in my PL2 certainly is NOT! In my view the whole IS feature is vastly overrated. Gimme a fast aperture and high ISO any time.

    the lens market is as robust as it was in the days of film cameras Nah. The lens market is MORE robust simply because there are so many more rich people buying lenses they never use. Sigma and Tamron cannot bang out lenses fast enough, bless their little hearts (I own both for my 50D).

    Kelly Cook
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2014
  6. gmkells

    gmkells New Member

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    Oh for yays! 43rumors is giving an FT5 on a large-sensor LX-8 to stay current with Sony RX100 cameras. Larger than 2/3 and smaller than 4/3 pretty much means 3/3, hopefully same sensor as RX-100. It is awesome. Olympus will follow suit with an XZ-2 replacement in retro-style Trip35 homage. Does this advance bury the 2/3 cameras? Won't hurt my feelings. Does it put pressure on the 16 megapixel μ4/3 offerings? Sure it does. Does it put pressure on mZuiko and Lumix planners to get us a pancake f2.0 zoom like the Canon G1X-MkII? I hope so. Even if it is late, the mantra of the day is compete or die.
     
  7. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I doubt it because I think the LX8 and the new Olympus will be priced similarly to the RX-100 II, which is much more than the 2/3 sensor cameras like the Panasonic LF1 and the Olympus XZ-2. Lots of people wouldn't mind spending $300 for a large sensor compact but would balk at spending $500-600, even for technologically superior cameras like the RX-100 II and the new cameras from Panasonic and Olympus.
     
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