Thom Hogan on the future of Olympus.

Discussion in 'Micro Four Thirds Forum' started by bilzmale, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member Subscribing Member

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Real Name:
    Bill Shinnick
    The financial results for Oly show its camera division is losing money and Thom, in his usual fashion, has a point to make. Is he right?

    LINK:
     
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  2. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 8, 2010
    On many points, probably.
     
  3. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Real Name:
    olli
    Think he's spot on about Panny buying Olympus eventually. I'm also inclined to believe that Pentax will be picked up by one of the big electronics companies sometime. Once upon a time I would have said Samsung but I'm not so sure who now. If they do come out with a mirrorless camera maybe Canon will buy them over - get a mirrorless and a medium format at the same time:smile:
     
  4. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    I don't know enough to make a valuable comment but my invaluable one is that I have been surprised about their mu43 cameras. It seemed as though quite a few people have been waiting for the "professional" version of the Olympus mu43 camera.

    I do not mean this in anyway as a pejorative regarding the E-PL1 or E-PL2, but I do see Mr. Hogan's points.
     
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  5. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 8, 2010
    That's true. But I guess that Olympus has been focused on the mass market and making the Pens cheaper. But being a small player it's hard to compete against Canon and Nikon. I think this is one of the points where Thom is right, that Olympus does not market well. They aim their camera at a consumer audience yet don't market well to them.

    But being small they could (perhaps should) be niche and offer a higher-end Pen to a different audience, to distinguish themselves from Canon and Nikon.

    As far as Panasonic buying Olympus, one thing to keep in mind is that m4/3s is only Panasonic and Olympus. Without at least two participants the format itself loses value. It becomes even more sideline. They are co-dependent yet should probably remain separate entities.
     
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  6. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Real Name:
    Jason
    I'd be interested in a pro style rangefinder. I think Panasonic already has the traditional style SLR market, for the most part. Olympus cannot go down into the "cheap mass market" game. They don't have the buying power nor the selling power for this. Kodak even tried this and its not working well for them. Canon, Sony, and Nikon already have the cheaper consumer camera market, and to a lesser degree, Panasonic. If I were running Olympus:

    100-200 dollar P&S: Two or three models at most
    High end compact P&S: One model
    Entry level Super Zoom: One or two models
    High end level super zoom: One or two models
    mFT: Entry Level, Mid-Level, and High end level rangefinder styles with significant price and performance/feature differences

    When I think of Olympus cameras, I think of high quality SLR lenses and UZ superzooms.

    To be honest, I am a long time panasonic customer. I would have purhased the GF1 if it weren't for the fact that the PEN had been out longer and the PEN had a smaller form factor with kit lens.
     
  7. deirdre

    deirdre SC Top Veteran

    652
    Sep 26, 2010
    So here's the problem: the 4/3 format has largely been superceded by DSLRs with larger sensors at better prices (less rugged, though, as some dedicated 4/3 users have pointed out). And they haven't really marketed their ยต4/3 products to get the kind of consumer market penetration that Panasonic has.

    Meanwhile, we've got a larger sensor, better marketing (especially penetration into the consumer market), and better price (for what it is) from Sony.

    One of the problems in the camera market is the same problem Apple was having before Jobs turned back up: a dizzying array of models that are poorly differentiated by market segment.
     
  8. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 8, 2010
    It should be said that the current Olympus Pen lineup is indeed confusing. The EP2 is a "generation" behind the EPL1/2 in detail and resolution with their new rendering engine, although the EP2 is a nicer camera. The EPL1 and EPL2 are close enough as to wonder why the EPL1 is even still available. Which comes down to an outdated EP2 or more pedestrian EPL2, and having owned the EP2 and tried the EPL1 I'd favor the EPL2. What we might say that Olympus needs is a higher-end EP3. They may also need a Pen with built-in EVF. And IMO they also need higher quality optics. If those came true I'd reconsider the Olympus Pens. But as it stands now I'm too deep into my Ricoh GXR system, with its better ISO performance and excellent optics, and I'm looking forward to the anticipated APS-C zoom unit.

    All that being said I'm extremely satisfied with my Olympus E5 DSLR with the outstanding 14-35mm lens.
     
  9. deirdre

    deirdre SC Top Veteran

    652
    Sep 26, 2010
    What I posted on mu-43.com's thread:

    The G10 is explainable by wanting a basic price point model, but I think it was dumb.

    I never understood why both an EP1 and an EPL1 were necessary (aside from product color differences).

    Olympus:
    EP1 -> EP2
    EPL1 -> EPL1s -> EPL2

    Panasonic:
    G1 -> G2
    GH1 -> GH2
    GF1 -> GF2
    G10

    The ones I don't understand are the plain G models (1, 2, and 10), except that they're between the GFx and GHx in features.
     
  10. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Andrew, I'm with you. I am holding back for now on the GXR but it's looking very compelling. I will wait until I see what the real Fuji X100 offers me. I realize this doesn't offer interchangeable lenses, etc. Just stating my personal wants.

    Everyone here is making good observations, and we certainly are not be alone. I hope Olympus has a good plan up their proverbial sleeve. I initially went for Olympus due to my film background with the OM-1...and the nostalgia factor. They were certainly known for good lenses then.
     
  11. Wally Billingham

    Wally Billingham SC Regular

    106
    Nov 27, 2010
    Laurel, MD
    I actually do not see either Panasonic or Samsung buying Olympus. For Panasonic buying Olympus offers nothing of any real value. What they would want would be the talent in the design and engineering divisions and they would be easy hires once Olympus bites the dust. In Japan buying a bankrupt company also means you assume all of the debt that company would leave behind. No one will touch that.

    Samsung is based in Korea not Japan and it is not in them to buy a rival Japanese company from the ashes that would offer them nothing in value.
     
  12. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Real Name:
    Jason
    To some degree, price and features not matching up to entry level SLRs kill mFT. I mentioned this on dpreview. I mean, an XSI kit is pretty cheap. IQ is better and focusing is much faster.

    If Panasonic or Oly could address IQ and focus issues and make it as cheap as entry level SLRs, they'd make a killing. I was willing to compromise on IQ for portability, but I'm not sure the average consumer is.
     
  13. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Real Name:
    olli
    Wally, just for clarification, I wasn't suggesting that Samsung would take over Olympus but that at one time they might have been a potential buyer for Pentax when Samsung was supplying sensors to Pentax and rebadging Pentax DSLR. Since neither is no longer the case I agree it is not going to happen.

    Regarding Panasonic - Olympus, regardless of the process involved it's hard not to see Panasonic taking over in the long term. They may not have to either buy or wait for Olympus to go bust. If both companies see it as being in their long term interests they could follow the Sony-KM model.

    But enough of this pointless speculation:confused: I'm off to walk the dog.
     
  14. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member Subscribing Member

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Real Name:
    Bill Shinnick
    I joined MFT as a long time Oly dslr user - sold my E-3 and 5 high-grade lenses for an E-P2. Size and lack of use were drivers for me. Never took to the retro shape and the VF2 so moved though a G1 and an E-PL1 to settle on a GH1. With the 4/3 E system the model changes were more sedate and substantial particularly E-1 > E-3 > E-5 taking most of the last decade. Four Pens in 18 months is ridiculous to me and the Oly reputation for glass now lies with Panasonic in this sector. That's not to say Oly isn't catching up in the lens dept and Panny has also made some puzzling model releases. I wonder how many G10s were sold?

    Like many I hope a pro-spec E-P3 will salvage Oly's fortunes. The company is propped up by its medical imaging division so can't see the digital camera division being up for grabs.
     
  15. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Real Name:
    Jason

    What, you don't want to armchair quaterback(in this case, CEO) like the rest of us? Thats no fun:tongue:
     
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  16. madmaxmedia

    madmaxmedia SC Veteran

    242
    Nov 10, 2010
    Los Angeles
    The E-P1 created quite a splash when it was launched. Since then, they've done a bunch of minor iterations, all rangefinder style bodies with the exact same sensor. Unfortunately it reminds me of the Motorola RAZR. That was a huge hit, but they never followed it up and lost their momentum.

    That being said, the E-PL2 is a nice camera with improved screen and better lens, and with the styling it seems like the 'new' E-P1. If they could do a new E-P model with new sensor and upgraded specs, then there would be clear differentiation.