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Old 14th September 2010
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Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview

Well, I like what I see. The E3 is a great bit of kit and unbroken so why change it drastically?

What I like about the E3 is the robustness (screen apart), the SWD focus motor and fast AF, the flipping screen, the image quality at ISO 400 and below.

What I would have liked to see improved is the resolution, the C-AF/continuous shooting performance, the screen resolution, higher than 400 ISO image quality. That is what we have, assuming that the software/internal processor updates are evolutionary.

I like the fact that there are a few more my mode settings, too, probably with other menu and option improvements. I don't care for art filters or HD video. I would have liked the AF mode switch on the body somewhere and a multi-jog dial (like the pen) and a faster frame rate.

Yes, the camera is going to get panned by the "experts" in the photographic press who are wowed by specs. However, for a prosumer camera it does okay. Ford Mondeo, not Ferrari but I like it.

Strategically, where does this leave Olympus in my opinion? Well, they have a problem with Fourthirds now: The E5 is only slightly better specced than the E30 so there is now no room for manouvre in the E30 bar a new screen and HD video. There is little room for improvement in the E620 without making it an E30, either. Thus, I would expect to see little development for the foreseeable future in order to maintain the E5's status as the flagship model.

I am out of tune with the models from Nikon and Canon but I guess that the 60D exceeds the spec and Nikon will shortly produce a model (D400?) that also does just that, similar to the D300 coming out after the E3. As manufacturers with successful pro-spec models they have access to that extra layer of technology. One would expect Olympus to maintain their market position versus the other manufacturers.

On the plus side, I would expect the price point to change rapidly for the E5: It's evolutionary status means it has minimal development overhead to absorb and should prove profitable to Olympus at a much lower price.

My 10 minute, 2 worth.

Nick
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