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Old 15th August 2013
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Re: What will be the substance of the announcement

Originally Posted by pdk42 View Post
I have come to the Oly party only very recently, having swapped a Canon FF kit for an E-M5 one. Like many others who have made similar journeys, I would never have done it if FT was the destination. The Oly FT bodies are not competitive compared to Canon or Nikon DSLRs (crop or FF) and although the Oly FT lenses are fantastic, what's the point if the bodies don't deliver? Today in 2013, the real action in DSLRs is FF, so FT is even less relevant than it ever was. Panasonic got out 5 years ago and Oly never got much market penetration.

In contrast, m43 has seemingly given Oly some life. The E-M5 has had great reception by reviewers and buyers alike and has dislodged a fair number of people from big and heavy Canon/Nikon systems. With competition from the other mirrorless formats (Nex, Fuji, Samsung), I would think it makes sense for Oly to go hell for leather to make u43 a stonking success. Given their financial situation and the collapse of the P&S market, why are they investing any effort at all in FT?

I realise that this will not be what FT users want to hear, but Oly isn't a charity and if it wants to avoid total collapse of its camera business it needs to sell lots of cameras - and that means u43. There are plenty of industry analysts arguing that u43 won't make it in the long run and I fear that if Oly's upgrade/replacement fior the e-M5 is compromised due to FT compatibility requirements, it'll only encourage these doom-mongers.

Anyhow, that's my view - as a recent convert to Oly and u43 it's probably an entirely predictable one, but I think there are many more like me and we should be one of Oly's key target markets.
Thanks for that, Paul, it puts the issue nicely in perspective. You are absolutely right that the new camera must not be compromised by FT requirements and I don't expect it will be. Enhanced, yes, by the ability to use FT lenses with full focus functions (including CAF tracking) equal to or better than the E-5. However, current MFT users who have no wish to use FT lenses will not notice the difference - except, perhaps, the contrast based AF may also be improved. Also the body may be a little bigger, perhaps similar to the Panasonic GH3, but for many users that will be no bad thing. And remember, technology from the "solution" camera will no doubt trickle down to new Pen and smaller E-M models.

The compromise will, I anticipate, fall upon traditional FT users. They will have a camera with an EVF (no optical finder) and smaller than the E-5 (but not necessarily as small as the E-M5). To compensate they can expect a vastly improved sensor and full fuctionality with their existing FT lenses at least as good as they currently enjoy with the E-5. With an adapter, probably - I can't forsee any other way, but may be proven wrong. In addition, they will also of course have the ability to use MFT lenses.

The reason why there is unlikely to be a new FT only body (i.e. has a mirror and won't support MFT lenses) is that although it would satisfy some existing users it would not sell in anything like the numbers required to make it a commercial success. It would also delay ongoing R&D (limited resources) on the MFT system which would further damage the company's financial recovery.

Even if Olympus did decide to make such a camera, what form would it take? An E-5xx or E-6xx model would disappoint E-5 users and an E-5 replacement would disappoint, or be unaffordable for, many current users of the three digit DSLR bodies.

If my assumptions, expectations and guesses prove to be true, the group whose concerns will not be addressed will be users of the E-4xx, E-5xx and E-6xx ranges, mainly because many will be unable to afford the new camera. It is those photographers that I really feel for.

All this conjecture is just my take on the situation.

"A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there even if you put them end to end, they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds, snatched from eternity." ~ Robert Doisneau
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catkins (15th August 2013), Falk (15th August 2013), Greytop (15th August 2013), Phill D (15th August 2013), StephenL (15th August 2013)