Olympus, “Our reason to exist is to push the envelope”. I love that attitude!

Posted Feb. 26th, 2014 by Daniel J. Cox

DPReview recently interviewed Mr. Hirofumi Imano, Division Manager of Product Strategy at Olympus, at the recent C+ 2014 show in Japan. I’m a huge fan of what Olympus is doing, though I’m not as excited about their camera’s ergonomics and ease of use. However, you can’t argue with their quality optics and stunning image excellence being reproduced by their latest cameras, most notably the Olympus OM-1D. It’s a beautiful camera and if it had better video quality and less confusing menus and buttons I may be shooting the Olympus rather than my current favorite Micro Four Thirds, the Panasonic GH3.

Dan goes for little camera big picture, shooting the Lumix GH3 surrounded by much larger cameras.

Dan goes for little camera big picture, shooting the Lumix GH3 surrounded by much larger cameras. The group was photographing a local Ainu elder on the island of Hokkaido, Japan.

Either way, it’s amazing that the camera industry is going through changes that will make our lives easier and more comfortable. As I like to say, “photography is supposed to be fun”. Heavy, bulky cameras can take the fun factor out of the equation, so I ‘m liking what Olympus and others are doing to lighten our loads. More fun equals more pictures and more people wanting to take photos. That will equate to better business for those who provide more fun. That’s good for the camera industry, especially for those who understand the fun factor. Read this interview to see how Olympus is moving forward and changing the common attitude that bigger is better. I’ve been saying, “that’s not necessarily so” for nearly five years now.

Local Hokkaido Ainu native Senke Morio poses for our cameras at the Lake Akan Hotel on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. Photo shot with Lumix GH3 and 35-100mm F/2.8 lens. ISO 400

Local Hokkaido Ainu native Senke Morio poses for our cameras at the Lake Akan Hotel on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. Photo shot with Lumix GH3 and 35-100mm F/2.8 lens. ISO 400

A quote from the interview by Mr. Hirofumi Imano. “In Japan, currently 50% of the market is mirrorless, but a few years ago it was the same situation here as we’re currently seeing in the USA and Europe. But we just stuck firmly to our position, and kept on communicating to customers that there’s another option, which is small and light and takes beautiful images”. Japan is the home of photography. What they are doing is what the rest of the world will be doing eventually. The sooner the better if you ask me. Take a look at the smaller cameras – you won’t regret it.

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There are 2 comments on this post…
  1. Doug BrayOn Mar. 9th, 2014

    Hi Dan,

    Debra and I have acquired an Olympus OM-D E-M1. As you may recall Debra has been using the E Series camera bodies and has several Olympus 4/3 lenses including the 90-250 2.8 lens.

    As you have noted the Olympus micro 4/3 cameras have not had the most user friendly menus and buttons. However, that has changed with the E-M1. We both find the buttons are more abundant and easier to use than the Lumix GX1. Also the shutter lag problem of most micro 4/3 cameras has been substantially eliminated. It is capable of 10fps using AF(C-AF + TR) and 6.5 fps in C-AF. The 29 mega second image delay lag time in the view finder has essentially eliminated the problem of following flying birds and running dogs we had with the GX1.

    The phase detection it automatically uses for focusing the Olympus 4/3 lenses is superior to the contrast detection it uses for micro 4/3 lenses.

    So far it has the highest DxOMark sensor rating of the micro 4/3 cameras. I recently saw an article that said that the sensor is a Panasonic.

    We will continue to learn about its capabilities, however, it certainly is closer to the capabilities of the DSLRs like my Nikon system. We will bring it on the 2014 Brown Bear trip.

    Doug

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Mar. 15th, 2014

      Doug, Great to hear from you. Does Deborah still have the 80-250mm F/2.8 Zuiko? Now if Olympus just builds that lens for the new Micro 4/3’s cameras I think that would be the deciding factor for me. Regarding your comment on the controls on the GX1, I have to say I feel it’s a bit of an unfair comparison to talk about controls on a GX1 relative to the much more professional EM-1. The GH3 would be a much accurate comparison. Either way I like hearing about your experiences and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all goes with my test of the EM-1 in Cuba. Will let you know. Say hello to Deborah and hope to see you on the road again at some point.

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