Tag Archives: Olympus

Olympus planning flagship E-M camera for 2019

2 Oct

Several sources, including some from Photokina, are reporting that Olympus is planning to release a flagship camera possibly in early 2019. They will also be celebrating their 100th anniversary later in the year with something special.

A different rumour suggests that Olympus were invited to join the L mount alliance, but declined. Figures quoted in this context point out that Olympus, Panasonic, Ricoh and Fujifilm summed together have about 15% market share, which could lead one to wonder whether Ricoh or Fujifilm might have been approached.

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The myth of the “cheaper mirrorless camera”

21 Jul

Having heard this more than once now, I think it’s time to speak out.

DSLRs and mirrorless both have their entry level price point at around $300 – that gets you a Pentax K-X0 or an Olympus E-PMY, for some value of X and Y corresponding to the current generation of camera systems. Then you have a typical enthusiast/semi-pro camera around $1000 body-only, and finally you might have a full-frame pro camera that’s $2k-$2.5k.

Now, that just gets you a camera, not a system. You also need some lenses. Let’s assume you want autofocus. Then you can forget about adapting DSLR lenses on a mirrorless system. You have to buy native. Well, native lenses haven’t been around for long, so there won’t be a real bargain on eBay yet for your mirrorless system. Likely you’ll have to buy new and pay in the region of $400-800 per lens, maybe more, depending on your needs. Well, for a DSLR camera, you may be able to buy a good used copy, and pay three quarters or even half, if you’re lucky, of the current new price. However, when you factor in that some DSLR lenses have been on the market for a while, allowing for new prices to also slide, you have quite a compelling value proposition on the DSLR side.

If you want a budget system, don’t buy mirrorless, or be very sure that you know exactly what you’re doing!

Most frequently returned new cameras 2014

1 Mar

Once again, the time has come for me to present the list of most frequently returned cameras, just as I did for 2013. Once again, the reasons why cameras are being returned are not known, and there are some obvious cases and some mysterious ones. Most interestingly, this year has a black horse, a camera that has apparently fallen off everyone’s radar but is being exceptionally well received by customers.

And that shall be the cliffhanger by which I hold your attention through the rest of the list. Overall, return rates have markedly increased over last year, showing that customers are even more reluctant to hang on to cameras amid ongoing economic crisis and market saturation. Online retailers are apparently still accepting cameras back in large and increasing numbers, but are also cracking down on serial returners. According the data I have (which probably overestimates returns), typical return rates in 2014 were in the range 10-30%.

The most returned camera for which a sufficient sample size was available was the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II – a large sensor compact camera, you may recall, that had a worse sensor than its smaller brother, the G7 X. Similar return rates were experienced by the Fujifilm X30 and Panasonic GM5. Not good time to be a small camera, apparently. However, the Nikon D3300 did not fare much better, nor did the Canon PowerShot G7 X itself. Somewhat surprisingly, the Sony a5100 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 were also frequently returned. The Sigma DP2 quattro is less of a surprise given the angry noise from Sigma users over the new sensor and the abandonment of Sigma’s unique selling point.

Among the less often returned cameras, we find the Samsung NX30, Olympus PEN E-PL7, Sony RX100 III and Nikon D750 at between 12 and 15% returned. The top five of least returned cameras are made up, in ascending order, of the Fujifilm X-T1, Nikon D810, Olympus OM-D E-M10, Sony a6000 (8% returns – perhaps this the model that buyers of the oft-returned a5100 eventually turned to). Finallly, the grand winner and black horse of the contest, as promised, is the Sony A77 Mark II. It seems to have been liked by almost everybody that bought it, being returned by only 3.8% of customers (or fewer, since this should be an overestimate). Just as Sony are slowly backing out of the DSLT niche, they apparently managed to deliver a nigh-perfect camera. Shame, but congratulations nonetheless!

Rumour: Pentax to level with Olympus on super-resolution

8 Feb

A rumour was published on digicame saying that Ricoh/Pentax would shortly announce that all cameras coming out later in 2015 and beyond will have a sensor-stabilisation based super-resolution mode. This led others to repeat the previously rumoured 144MP figure that could theoretically be obtained from a 36MP Bayer sensor (as may be used in an upcoming Pentax full frame camera) using such technology. The rumour also states that Pentax/Ricoh’s approach is different from Olympus’.

It currently seems the main drawback of Olympus’ technology is that the required series of images takes considerable time to be recorded.

What’s the deal with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II?

7 Feb

E-M5_II

Olympus this week took the covers off the E-M5 Mark II, which features a new mode where, over the course of one second, eight 16 megapixel images are taken and composited together into a 40 megapixel image. Between exposures, the sensor is moved a small amount, which allows more pixels to be simulated than are actually present on the sensor. This technology has been previously used on Hasselblad digital medium format cameras.

The new mode will mostly be useful to landscape, architecture, still life and product photographers due to its long recording duration. Imaging Resource has published a comparison of the new mode against the capability of the Nikon D810. The main conclusion seems to be that the Olympus mode lags the D810 in terms of dynamic range and spatial resolution (sharpness) although it has been pointed out that setting the Olympus lens at f/8 may have favoured the Nikon. Another less formal comparison against the Pentax 645Z shows similar differences.

The OM-D E-M5 Mark II’s native resolution is 16 megapixels.

If anyone was holding their breaths for 4k video – no, the E-M5 II won’t deliver it either, but note that the sensor in the E-M1 is 4k capable, and access to that mode may in future be given via the LightSnow firmware hack.

It’s already happened: mFT image quality equals APS-C

2 Jan

The smaller Micro Four Thirds sensors have apparently caught up to APS-C in terms of image quality.

Without much further ado:

pm2_vs_70d_edit

Source: DxOMark: Sensor comparison of the Olympus PEN E-PM2 and Canon EOS 70D

Yes, it’s “only” Canon who’ve been beat, but they’re also “only” the market leader, so this is still quite a significant advance for Olympus, especially since the 70D is the interim APS-C flagship camera from Canon (unless/until the 7D gets a successor).

Release sleek, then functional: motto of the 4/3 crowd?

13 Nov

It occurred to me that the more pragmatic design of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 after the more stylish OM-D E-M5 mirrored the same strategy in Panasonic’s succession of the L10 after the L1:

    Image sources: Olympus promotional/Wikimedia Commons

Image sources: Olympus promotional/Wikimedia Commons