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Old Feb 13, 2013, 6:34 PM   #11
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I don't know about the Fuji. It's an excellent camera and great lenses but how many people will buy it considering the lenses are all 600 bucks or more. I sure wouldn't, couldn't afford it or don't want to afford it.
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My bet is for Pentax to leave. Olympus is buoyed by the om-d sales and medical imaging, Sony Nex is still performance leader with people who will not carry a bunch of primes, but the real surprise I think is the Fuji line that is shaping up to have decent lenses and excellent sensor with Leica like appeal on looks.
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Old Feb 13, 2013, 6:39 PM   #12
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I'm also looking at the major camera companies to really cut back on point and shoot production. They don't need a zillion different models. Back when camera sales was very profitable, my camera store just had about a dozen quality cameras on display but that was back in the film days when Canon and Nikon didn't have a dozen different SLRs and new models were not coming out every three months.
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Old Feb 13, 2013, 8:35 PM   #13
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I don't know about the Fuji. It's an excellent camera and great lenses but how many people will buy it considering the lenses are all 600 bucks or more. I sure wouldn't, couldn't afford it or don't want to afford it.
$600 is right in the same area as the better zuiko lenses now; 12mm is on sale $699, 17mm f1.8 is $499, 60mm f2.8 is $499, redesigned 75-300mm is $550.

Yeah mft has some more bargains because it is more mature but $500-600 for top of the line optics seems what the market is willing to accept.

Don't get me wrong I think Fuji body is still a bit overpriced, but I think their commitment to mirror less is stronger than Nikon and Canon and it could pay off. They have a hybrid viewfinder that no one else has and it makes it an ideal street shooter for those not able to afford a leica.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 7:06 AM   #14
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My bet is for Pentax to leave. Olympus is buoyed by the om-d sales and medical imaging, Sony Nex is still performance leader with people who will not carry a bunch of primes, but the real surprise I think is the Fuji line that is shaping up to have decent lenses and excellent sensor with Leica like appeal on looks.
The issue is all about PROFITABILITY not performance. The notion that Oly would stay in the game because OM-D allows them to bleed LESS red doesn't work. The question becomes - could they ditch all other avenues and be profitable with just m4/3? Sony being "performance leader" doesn't matter if they can't eventually make their business profitable. Making a good product is one thing - successfully marketing and selling that product is another. Sony's marketing has been terrible. They basically have relied on the name to sell the product. And, they brought the ever confusing shotgun product mix to the ILC market. They're starting to clean that up a bit but not their marketing.

Remember - this isn't about the best products. It's about profit. Unfortunately, we don't have enough detailed information from these companies - we don't know which lines are doing well and which are bleeding heavily. I just think the whole ILC market is peaking and the curve will drop heavily. As Zig said - so many people just care about digital images on phones and facebook. We can only hope that there are mergers so quality technology/innovations stick around rather than just drop off because a given company couldn't make/sell them profitably.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 8:24 AM   #15
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The issue is all about PROFITABILITY not performance. The notion that Oly would stay in the game because OM-D allows them to bleed LESS red doesn't work. The question becomes - could they ditch all other avenues and be profitable with just m4/3? Sony being "performance leader" doesn't matter if they can't eventually make their business profitable. Making a good product is one thing - successfully marketing and selling that product is another. Sony's marketing has been terrible. They basically have relied on the name to sell the product. And, they brought the ever confusing shotgun product mix to the ILC market. They're starting to clean that up a bit but not their marketing.

The Sony cameras continue to make top of tech blog lists and sell well in the tech market for people coming up from a P&S who are not constrained by the need for a DSLR like experience from a history with film, people in their mid 30s don't remember film and don't see the need for a camera to have a mirror. If you look between the lines at what Sony said I think you will see that they're probably loosing the most on their full frame and P&S cameras. While Sony may have a better sensor than the Nikon and Canon offerings for Full Frame they don't compete on price and they don't have the name recognition or stock of lenses (MFT is close to overtaking the Sony Alpha mount in number of lenses). My sense is they purposefully mixed the Nex in with all their other cameras for the lift the Nex has given them.

On the marketing side don't be so sure they failed, they just might not be targeting you. I have seen a number of product placements of the Sony Nex in TV and film, TV and film targeted at that mid 30s age. Sony may not be advertising the Nex in the areas you expect because they don't expect to win over DSLR users with an add, they instead are working that younger group.


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Remember - this isn't about the best products. It's about profit. Unfortunately, we don't have enough detailed information from these companies - we don't know which lines are doing well and which are bleeding heavily. I just think the whole ILC market is peaking and the curve will drop heavily. As Zig said - so many people just care about digital images on phones and facebook. We can only hope that there are mergers so quality technology/innovations stick around rather than just drop off because a given company couldn't make/sell them profitably.
Actually I think the thing is that both Oly and Sony have profitable other business, like Panasonic, that allows them to keep bleeding in one area.

Back to the original article and the doom and gloom $170 million loss reported by Olympus;

I think the $170 million loss they are projecting may in fact be tied to a massive write off; write off the stock of DSLR lenses, write off the stock of DSLRs, write off the intellectual property, write off the molds and other production related machinery, write off the sensor fabrication facilities, and write off the stock of P&S/e-pl3/e-p3/e-pm1/E-5 cameras which won't sell.

Dump all that, take a big loss, move on to three lines of mirror-less cameras; OM-D, E-PL and E-PM plus a limited offering of niche P&S cameras like the tough line. Cut costs on lens production to allow lenses to be $600 and under, the redesigned 75-300mm and 17mm being two examples. The original 75-300mm was $899 when it debuted, too much compared to the Lumix 100-300mm. Likewise the 17mm is very similar to the 12mm in construction, but the 12mm is still $699 on sale whereas the 17mm came out at $499.

Seems smart to me and a valid survival strategy for Olympus. As for the merger idea, it has already happened, Sony is making the sensor now for all three current Olympus offerings.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 9:02 AM   #16
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... As Zig said - so many people just care about digital images on phones and facebook....

I wanted to address this but got off on a financial based analysis. I agree whole heartily that the smartphone has killed the P&S. The internet began while I was in college and I now have a fifteen year old daughter so I feel that I am on the front line of the facebook and smartphone wave. I had a windows smartphone back in 2001.

Both my daughter and my wife exclusively use their smartphones/ipod touch as cameras. My daughter has a Nikon P&S and she uses it when she wants to make a video. She recognizes that it is much better than a smartphone or ipod touch for this. My wife relies on me when she wants a "good" picture to use the e-pl2, but for the most part uses the smartphone.

My friend's pictures on facebook fall into two categories; those taken with a smartphone and those taken with either an mirror-less or DSLR. There is zero usage of P&S cameras, with the exception of one guy who uses a weatherproof camera for fishing shots as he runs tours.

People recognize that their smartphone is as good IQ wise as the last P&S they bought 5+ years ago, and ten times more convenient. Those who want more will go for a mirror-less or DSLR. When I see my contemporaries at school events I see 50/50 mix between mirror-less and DSLR among those that have a dedicated camera.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 9:05 AM   #17
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My view on this whole market shifting and changing direction is based on my friends and family members asking me what camera I would recommend to them based on their requirements. And frankly, they're not interested in a camera with interchangeable lenses.

Those that would like something better than using a smartphone, typically fall into the category of wanting a compact camera having better performance than a cheapie P&S.

The ones I usually recommend are the Sony RX100 or the Olympus ZX-1.
In the case of the RX100, it doesn't matter that it costs about as much as an Olympus E-PL5. As soon as I start talking inter changeable lenses, I lose them.
Too complicated, I'm not going to lug lenses, regardless how small, and I don't want to know that much about a camera are some of the typical responses I get.

My personal belief is that Olympus is the most vulnerable. They still are playing games with their Four thirds user base by sending out cryptic press releases indicating there is hope, after all.
I agree with what Greg said earlier, they just should come clean and drop four thirds. Evaluate the market direction, and dump those p&s compacts that
just don't meet a need in the marketplace.

If they have excess inventory of E-PL1 2 and 3 bodies move them at whatever price point is needed to purge inventory and put some money back into the companies coffers.

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Old Feb 14, 2013, 10:10 AM   #18
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I think camera sales in general is declining because of the better quality of cell phone cameras. An 8 MP phone can take some decent images. I'm sure not good enough for most of us but overall they are very acceptable and people just don't feel the need to spend $$ on actual cameras since they already carry their cells with them 100% of the time. As for Olympus, they have ups and downs. Some camera models are very good, some are OK and many are on the mediocre side. They should do what many car manufacturers did during the economy melt down. Chevy discontinued many lines/models (i.e. Saturn) , keeping only the most popular, best selling ones. I don't believe Oly needs to offer the EP, EPL, EPM and OMD models (and various versions of it as well). They should keep say the EPL and OMD and stop making the other two. I'm not sure they should get out of the P&S market altogether. The problem is, they have nothing else if they do. They would become a company selling two camera models and that would not last. So, I guess they should trim the P&S line as well. The market no longer supports a huge variety of offerings. Those days when Sony used to reale 4-5 different Alpha models in one shot, are gone. However, Sony is much better positioned than Olympus as they have the FF, the SLT, the NEX and I believe they still have regular DSLR models as well as their line of P&S. They can easily trim the fat and still offer a good number of different models for different needs.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 10:39 AM   #19
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I have seen some people carry around their ipads and taking pictures. Why for the life of me they'd use an ipad for that is beyond me. Seems just a little bit too unwieldy for my taste. Guess it makes it easy for them to upload at once to Facebook.....which would be one sick reason . I guess the next frontier will be figuring out a way to load images to their "page" before they take them...
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 10:48 AM   #20
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I have seen some people carry around their ipads and taking pictures. Why for the life of me they'd use an ipad for that is beyond me. Seems just a little bit too unwieldy for my taste. ...
It goes back to the cell phone thing. Some people carry and IPAD constantly because they want the "upgraded" experience over iphone. They still have that need to be digitally connected every waking hour and prefer the added capability and larger size of the pad. For the record this is not me - I just have a regular cell phone - no smart phone, no tablet. For example my girlfriend's brother was just in town on business he was carrying his ipad for work and then showing family photos on it - he took a few with it. And, I have to say the quality was quite acceptable. last year when I had my son at swimming practice some parent was shooting video and streaming it live to his wife that was out of town. All using a device he liked to carry anyway.
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