Olympus DSLR line is...dead

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by RichA, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. RichA

    RichA Guest

    This is definitely a coffin nail. I've said it before, Olympus can
    keep the current 4/3rds sensor in the mirrorless portable cameras, but
    if they wish to continue making semi-pro bodied DSLRs (which they may
    not want to do) they have to update the 4/3rds sensor to be as large
    by surface area as the APS, at least. They need to equalize against
    the competition.

    RichA, Feb 4, 2011
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  2. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    Olympus filed a couple of patents last year in Japan that related to
    full frame (24 x 36mm) sensors.
    Bruce, Feb 4, 2011
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  3. Remind me to nominate you for the "Prophet of the Year" award.
    Pete Stavrakoglou, Feb 4, 2011
  4. RichA

    Rich Guest

    Likely an Olympus that size with an E-3/5 body would fall into the
    $2000-$2500 range. Higher than Sony, but lower than Nikon. This
    would be perfect. To HELL with existing 4/3rds shooters. End the
    line, at least for 4/3rds and not micro 4/3rds. Concentrate on
    introducing new FF lenses. The one major sticking point is the
    sensor. Can they even get a FF and would one be worth having from
    Panasonic? We can't tell, because in order to compare say an Olympus
    4/3rds camera to an APS, the Olympus would need no more than 8
    megapixels, as it is, you can't compare the 4/3rds to the APS because
    of differences in pixel size. Right now, from a comparison
    standpoint, a 4/3rds is best compared (based on pixel size) to Canon's
    18 megapixel APS. But, Canon sensors are different from the Panasonic.
    Rich, Feb 4, 2011
  5. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    I don't know whether Panasonic could even make a full frame sensor. If
    the sensor manufacturing facility is geared up only for Four Thirds
    and smaller, new investment would be needed to go to full frame.

    In terms of other full frame sensors that would be available to
    Olympus, Kodak makes the 18.5 MP full frame sensor for the Leica M9
    and is now offering a 29 MP full frame sensor. However, no-one has
    taken that up yet. Kodak's production is low volume, high quality but
    also high price. That's OK for Leica, but probably not for Olympus.

    Also, given the early history of Four Thirds, when the very good Kodak
    5 MP sensor for the E-1 was followed by some very disappointing 8 MP
    sensors, I really cannot see Olympus ever going back to Kodak. The
    Kodak 8 MP sensors were so bad that Olympus was forced into
    co-operating with Panasonic to get something better than Kodak could
    offer at that time. The result was the very long gap between the
    Olympus E-1 and E-3 DSLRs which, together with the low pixel count of
    the E-3, effectively destroyed Four Thirds.

    Despite being innovative in some ways, Olympus is very conservatively
    managed. The company's imaging division has been permanently weakened
    by the failure of Four Thirds to make any money, so I cannot imagine
    that Olympus will consider launch a full frame system. Instead,
    Olympus will probably concentrate on PEN (Micro Four Thirds) and
    differentiate their product from their competitor/sensor supplier
    (Panasonic) through distinctive styling, features and UI.

    That's not a happy situation for Olympus to be in. Depending on a
    direct competitor for sensors means that you may have to settle for
    second best - Panasonic would not consider selling Olympus 16 MP
    sensors for the E-5, for example. But there is no alternative.
    Bruce, Feb 4, 2011
  6. It's a shame , really, for Olympus used to be a very innovative company,
    both in cameras and medical instrumentation. The OM-4/4T was way ahead
    of its competitors. I tested batches of Olympus and Nikon F series
    lenses using a medical microscope, and found them to be equal. My Nikon
    shoulder bag with 2 bodies, lenses, flash, etc. weighed 23 pounds,
    while the same Olympus items weighed 11 pounds. That is a huge
    difference, especially when you are walking around and taking pix all
    day long. The Olympus meter readings from a textured first shutter
    curtain, and its multiple spot readings, were brilliant concepts. Its
    motor drives were small and light and yet rugged.

    Unfortunately, that brilliance did not transfer to the digital era.

    Morton Linder
    Morton Linder, Feb 5, 2011
  7. RichA

    Rich Guest

    The end started with an AF camera that wouldn't use OM Zuiko lenses...
    Rich, Feb 5, 2011
  8. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    Indeed, the OM-707 was a dead end, much like the Canon T80. And then
    there was the "Power Focus" OM-101. Olympus really lost their way
    when AF appeared. Of course Minolta led the field, but look what has
    happened to that company!

    I'm not sure I agree that the OM-4/4T was "way ahead" though. The
    real innovation was the OM-1. Small and light yet very robust and
    reliable, it was a fine SLR. The OM-2 was a logical development, with
    aperture priority AE and off-the-film flash metering, and the OM-2SP
    (Spot Program) brought the most advanced metering available until
    Nikon introduced the first generation of Matrix Metering in the FA.

    But the OM4/4T was little no more than a rugged version of the OM-2SP.
    Similarly, the OM-3/3T was no more than a rugged version of the OM-1.
    Both were designed for professional use, and were incredibly strong,
    but they weren't especially innovative. Nikon's F3 was the #1 pro
    camera of the time and it stayed in production for 20 years.

    If people wanted a smaller, lighter SLR they chose the Nikon FE2 or
    FM2, which sold many times faster than the OM bodies. The automated
    OM-10 sold well but it was junk.

    Olympus then made quite a good start in DSLRs with the E-10 and
    successor E-20, which were true SLRs with a pellicle mirror - it took
    some years for Sony to copy that idea with the Alpha A33 and A55.

    Then came Four Thirds. The E-1 was an excellent camera with a good 5
    MP sensor that was competitive at that time - the Canon EOS 1D only
    had 4 MP. But Canon moved swiftly ahead with 8 MP in the 1D Mark II
    released only months later, while Olympus stayed firmly stuck at 5 MP.
    That was the beginning of the end for Four Thirds.

    There is still a plentiful supply of new (old stock) E-1 bodies. :-(
    Bruce, Feb 5, 2011
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