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September 21, 2010

On the record: Olympus guy answers on future of Four Thirds DSLRs (video clip) [update: new interview with product manager at Fotopolis]

Shortly after the post below, we discovered a new interview with Olympus product manager Toshiyuki Terada at (computer-translated) [corrected link leak]. He talks about resolution and low-pass filters, and (according to the computer-translation) he says there are no concrete plans to replace the Olympus E620, and encourages the move to M43rds. He also thinks M43rds will be good for advanced amateurs and professionals.

So if we read between the lines between these interviews and previous interviews with AP-UK and other things that came out, it looks like Olympus is executing a strategic withdrawl from the DSLR market, while at the same time providing a path for current lens users to continue using their lenses with the new (M43rds) system. They are also dancing a delicate dance of nudging Four Thirds users to M43rds while at the same time trying to prevent a massive exodus.

Needless to say, Olympus appears to be between a rock and a hard place. Anytime you pull the plug on an SLR system that is barely ten years old, people are going to lose confidence in your future systems as a long term commitment/investment. At the same time though, some could argue that Olympus is seeing the writing on the wall before the other manufacturers and is trying to adapt and adjust as early as possible. After all, the e-riots would have been a lot bigger if they had an installed base of lenses the size of Canon, Nikon or Minolta-Alpha!

Original Post
Four Thirds User is at Photokina and they recorded this video clip, that starts with the Olympus Europe managing director answering the question whether the Olympus E-5 is the last Four Thirds DSLR from Olympus. Like a good politician, he gave a non-answer answer, although some may point out that the fact that he was not willing to commit to a future Four Thirds dSLR may be an answer in itself. Watch it and decide/speculate for yourselves! His answer is at the start of the video, the remainder is the unveiling of the Olympus RAWsumer camera prototype.

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