(FT5) UPDATED: There will be fast m43 lenses and new Four Thirds products too.

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Image on top: The Olympus E-30 that could be replaced by a new model in 2011.

The chinese website Tech.sina interviewed the ex Olympus chief Mr. Watanabe (Click here to read the google english translation). The translation is quite terrible so I would be glad if some Chinese reader could confirm the news I am going to post here. Mr Watanabe added following interesting info:
1) Mr. Watanabe mentioned that Oly understands that consumers are waiting for large aperture M4/3 lenses, please look forward to this as Oly will bring out a few products that responds to this request. 43rumors note: The new bright lenses should be announced in late June.
2) There will be new Four Thirds product too. Both the single digit and double digit series will continue. The triple digit series has been officially replaced by the PEN cameras. 43rumors note: We heard the Olympus E-30 has been discontinued (Check at: Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay). So this could be the first camera to be replaced by a new model.
3) Watanabe believes the Fuji X100 is a good product but Olympus will not develop a similar product. 43rumors note: Fuji is a Four Thirds group member but has not released any 43 product yet. The Fuji X100 is available for preorder at J&R (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Amazon UK (Click here) and Digitalrev (Click here) and if you are willing to pay a huge extra than you can buy them in Stock on eBay (Click here).
4) Like Pentax did also Olympus will offer more color option in future cameras. 43rumors note: The Pentax K-r series has been quite popular because of the huge color options.

UPDATE: Our chinese readers helped us to highlight a few other points:
5) This P&E show in China will be focused on M4/3 as Olympus think China is a still a virgin market for EVILs (less than 10% market share)
6) Mr. Watanabe mentioned that Olympus is a camera manufacturer, unlike Sony and Panasonic who makes lots of consumer electronis products, so Oly products will be more like a real camera instead.(when being asked what he thinks of Oly EVILs might be more competitive than SONY or Pana etc. EVIL products)
7) Mr. Watanabe mentioned that XZ-1 has been selling really well world wide. Oly is happy.

I have to admit that I didn’t expect Olympus to continue the E-XX series. Let’s hope Olympus will not let us wait to much before to see some of the mentioned new products!

P.S.: An update about the not yet available Samyang 35mm f/1.4 Four Thirds lens. Samyang delayed the shipment start from March to April. That’s why you can’t find it on eBay yet. It should be available soon under the different names (Click on it to see the search results on eBay):
Samyang Walimex Rokinon Opteka Falcon Vivitar Bower

Reminder -> Rumors classification explained (FT= FourThirds):
FT1=1-20% chance the rumor is correct
FT2=21-40% chance the rumor is correct
FT3=41-60% chance the rumor is correct
FT4=61-80% chance the rumor is correct
FT5=81-99% chance the rumor is correct

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  • Inge-M

    Safely, by new 16mpx sensor to Panasonic,
    on the new Olympus E-xx 😉

    • http://www.friendlyimitationofwork.com Tobias W.

      I don’t think so. Why would they sell the flagship E-5 with a lesser sensor and damage sales of that model? My guess is that the E-50 will be an E-5 without the sealing and other extras to cash in on FT users without investing a lot of effort into development and such.

      • http://www.43rumors.com/members/dummy00001/ Dummy00001

        I do not think the Olympus is in position to play such games: they have to refresh both E-n and E-nn – both using newer sensor tech.

        Sorry, but the E-5’s IQ isn’t for me. I’m neither pro nor PP expert: fixing potential aliasing artifacts isn’t something I would consider spending lots of time on. Weak/no AA filter on Bayer sensor? – Not for me. As if my imperfect techniques were not sufficient to ruin lots of shots….

        • Daemonius

          Weak to none AA filter on Bayer is good thing, just not on 12 mpix sensor, but on 18+ mpix. At 24 mpix 4/3 sensor, you wouldnt need any..

          They just thought that if it worked for E-PL1, it will for E-5. It kinda does, if you want to do a bit of PP.

          • http://www.43rumors.com/members/dummy00001/ Dummy00001

            I do not see how 18/more MP can avoid aliasing artifacts. MPs do not matter. You can’t solve the problem with the software: because it can’t tell the real part of picture from the artifacts.

            AA filter with sharpening (in PP or in camera) works pretty well.

            Weak/no AA filter is known to fail occasionally.

            And no general cure is known (except for AA filter). And e.g. if aliasing introduces fake texture on a textile, the shot is failed: you wouldn’t be able to recover it, PP or not.

            Ideal solution would be probably AA filter which can be removed/disabled. But I guess tech is not there yet. And considering all recently published patents, 3-layer sensors are coming soon and the AA filter discussions would become needless: Foveon/etc do not need it.

      • Inge-M

        Why not Olympus do the also by E-3 10mpx and E-30 12mpx,
        so why the not do the again 😉

        • Steve

          Yes, based on past history Oly is not afraid to introduce a new sensor and/or new features in lower end models. Taken one step further, the E-620 is another example.

        • juavel

          Mpx count matters a lot when talking of AA filters.

          Aliasing is produced when a lens that outresolves a sensor is giving higher frequency content which the sensor can not register.

          If the sensor is having a higher Mpx count (is able to register higher frequency content) the AA filter cutoff point is moved up in the frequency spectrum to match the new resolution, so the AA filter is weaker, it doesn’t filtrate content than previously was filtrated because now the sensor can resolve more.

          If the sensor outresolves the lens there is no need of AA filter at all.

          So yes, more Mpx mean more quality when talking of AA filters.

  • http://tech.sina.com.cn/digi/2011-04-22/17001727716.shtml reverse stream swimmer

    A very welcome information indeed. It seems this is the way Olympus are communication their roadmaps, from the top management through selected media channels.

    Hopefully the 16 Mp is a revolutionary step in performance, from the earlier 10-12 Megapixel plateau. Seems Panasonic is still the preferred sensor supplier. Hope to see the same leverage from a sensor, that the E-5 was capable to make from the legacy 12 Megapixel sensor.

    When do we see a new E-40 & E-6 classic Four Thirds Camera with the anticpipated 16 Megapixels and a good HD video?

    • Given

      It can’t be a E-40!!! It’s gotta be an E-50. LOL
      P.S. Hope it’s the 16mp chip also. But remove the GH2’s AA filter, and replace it with the E-5’s. That would be nirvana.

      • Given

        Edit: It would not be the GH2’s, It would be the G3’S. Sorry

  • none

    The translation is right.

  • N. H.

    yes, for the translations you have posted in here, they are correct, I want to add a bit more info as I can read Chinese:

    1. This P&E show in China will be focused on M4/3 as Olympus think China is a still a virgin market for EVILs (less than 10% market share)

    2.Mr. Watanabe mentioned that Olympus is a camera manufacturer, unlike Sony and Panasonic who makes lots of consumer electronis products, so Oly products will be more like a real camera instead.(when being asked what he thinks of Oly EVILs might be more competitive than SONY or Pana etc. EVIL products)

    3. Mr. Watanabe mentioned that XZ-1 has been selling really well world wide. Oly is happy.

    4. Mr. Watanabe mentioned that Since it is impossible for some features (phase/contrast AF?)to be implanted to the current M4/3 system, the development of 4/3 will not cease, currently Oly is just trying to complete the M4/3 system for some of the most needed M4/3 lenses. it is true that Oly has redirected many of its resources to M4/3, but this is just temporally. 3-digit Evolt models will be replaced by PEN, and there will be single digit and double digit 4/3 Evolt bodies decendents FOR SURE, the development for 4/3 lenses WILL NOT stop as well.

    5. Mr. Watanabe mentioned that Pentax’s idea of having alternative choices for dfferent colors of cameras is an awesome idea, it’s well worth consider introduce similar concepts to Oly products.

    6. Mr. Watanabe mentioned that Oly understands that consumers are waiting for large aperture M4/3 lenses, please look forward to this as Oly will bring out a few products that responds to this request.

  • Wells

    The first point(1.There will be four new Micro Four Thrids product in the future ) is incorrect due to the wrong Google translation.

    The Google translation generates..
    「对于PEN系列,现在有4款产品,将来我们会进一步拓展产品线,PEN系列肯定会在奥林巴斯的产品线中占有相当重要的位置。 For the PEN series, there are 4 products in the future we will further expand the product line, PEN series will certainly Olympus product line occupies a very important position.」

    should be translated to…

    「There are 4 PEN products now; We will further expand the product line in the future. The PEN series will occupy a very important position in the Olympus product line.」

    P.S. I am Taiwanese so I can read the original Chinese Post.

  • http://www.43rumors.com/members/panasonic/ panasonic

    come, i help little bit for this translation (i score bad in my english academic during 2ndary school :( )

    Editor: This round P&E we visited Olympus booth, we seen Oly focusing PEN as the core in this exhibition. What will be the Oly future developement? Is it will be focusing in PEN series as core project?

    Mr. Watanabe: Observed from the overall market, Pana & Sony have similar series to our PEN series product, but pana & sony are eletrical product manufacturer but not camera manufacturer. we Oly is will not like them to becoe electrical product manufacturer. in contrast we will focusing camera developement and manufacture. at this point of view,our camera is not an IT product but is a real camera. speak about the performance wise, we are not only care about the performance score, we are also equally having the same care about the lenses optic quality too. In PEN series, now we have 4 products. in future, we will expand product line,PEN series definitely will be one of the Important product in all of Oly products. [and then Mr. Watanabe holding camera in a picture]

  • Kolen

    1) Google messed up the translation. It said that currently there is 4 PEN series models. They didn’t mention how many is coming in the future.

    2) And they mentioned that the 1 digit and 2 digit E series will definitely continues, but considering to discontinue the 3 digit E series and replace it by PEN. They thought that there are not enough micro four third lens so might be they will focus on this.

    You’ve got the others right.

  • http://www.43rumors.com/members/panasonic/ panasonic

    Editor: Now in China market, is yet to see the consumer having buying m43/43 camera behavior. How are oly going to train this type of consumer behavior? Is there such a plan? (i not sure it is refer to m43/43 – 微is tiny 单is single which is single reflect lens i think)

    Mr. Watanabe: In the globe, compared to Japan & HongKong markets, m43/43 camera is already approached 40% MSS in DSLR [mss=market segment share. The rest of places will have ~20%. But sadly in China market is yet to reach 10%. However, the grow is encouraging, we are looking good in China market. And now we are introduce to all of them about the m43/43 concept, this are important, we are confident.

  • http://www.43rumors.com/members/panasonic/ panasonic

    2nd Japanese大浦康达: About the market operation, at first our out look of the shop will use PEN as the core. secondly, our shops will merge with consumer activity (eg: forming group of foods lover using PEN to capture those nice food photos) to improve the consumer knowledge.

  • M.

    E-xx wil continue? That’s amazing! Or too good to be true?

    • Inge-M

      And, gape face everywhere in marketing department to Olympus 😉 HI HI

  • Daniel

    Hopefully more primes are on their way and not fast zooms as rumored by some – I just think bulky lenses defeat the purpose of the PEN. I want super fast primes !!!!!!!

    • http://tech.sina.com.cn/digi/2011-04-22/17001727716.shtml reverse stream swimmer

      Fast zooms were the unique selling points of classic Four Thirds, mainly in order to negate the smaller sensor perfromance.

      The market is more willing to accept primes today, as is a good match for the PEN as well. The combo seems to be consumer zooms, complemented with pancakes and yet to come: fast primes.

  • Apollo Lin

    Here’s brief summary according to Chinese text.
    I am not native English speaker, but I guess you can get the points, hopefully.

    Q1. Will PEN series be the core of Olympus products?
    A1.
    Not only Olympus but Panasonic and Sony have similar products (EVIL). Olympus will focus on R&D and manufacture of cameras and make their products more like “cameras”. They think P and S cameras are IT products.

    Olympus pays attention to the digital capability as well as the optical quality of lenses.
    Currently, there are 4 PEN products and they will expand product lines. PEN series will certainly play important role in Olympus product line.

    Q2. It seems Chinese are not very aware of EVIL cameras, any strategy for marketing?
    A2.
    1. In Japan and Hong Kong, EVIL cameras reach approximatly 40% of DSLR market; Other areas, 20%; China, unfortunately, less than 10%. The market growth can be significant.
    2. Some promoting activities will be held to increase consumer awareness.
    3. PEN series links DSLRs and high-end DSCs. They’ll make the UI more easier.

    Q3. What about the marketing strategy for E-PL2?
    A3.
    1. It’s not proper timing for Olympus to cast large-scale commercials or advertisements.
    2. Some user-experience events are very user-friendly and familiarize consumer with PEN products. They’ll continue those events.

    Q4. What about XZ-1?
    A4.
    1. Previously, Olympus did not have similar products. It’s great to let the world know such kind of Olympus products.
    2. The sales is good all over the world.

    Q5. Both Olympus (should be SONY ?) and Panasonic introduce EVIL camcorders. What does Olympus think about this?
    A5.
    1. Olympus will not put too much resource on that. They’ll concentrate at still images.

    Q6. Any plan for E series?
    A6.
    1. Olympus will DEFINITELY continue E-x and E-xx series because some functions of E series are irreplaceable by PEN series.
    2. As for E-xxx series, we will consider to replace it with PEN series.
    3. They will continue the R&D to PEN lenses, and they will NOT stop the R&D of 4/3 lenses
    4. Then think PEN lenses are not enough.
    5. They’ll focus on PEN lenses in the near future.

    Q7. Any plan for fast prime lens for M4/3?
    A7.
    1. PEN series targets to the public so current M4/3 lenses intends to meet the requirement of the majority.
    2. Some people have special requirement and Olympus will make lenses for them as well.
    3. The plan is confidential, but they believe the products will make everybody feel satisfied.

    Q8. Why did Olympus cancel the popular u series?
    A8.
    1. It’s market segmentation issue. VG series replaces u series.
    2. PEN series dies and revives; Perhaps u series will revive someday.

    Q9. What does Olympus think about Fuji X100 and Sony A55?
    A9.
    1. X100: It’s a great product for those who don’t want to change lenses. PEN series, which is lens-interchangeable, can also meet the basic requirement of X100 users. Therefore Olympus will not present similar products.
    2. A55: Technically speaking, Olympus thinks it’s wonderful and applaudable. Considering marketing, they guess Sony will rearrange the product lines since Sony has DSLR, EVIL, and DSLR with EVF (A55/A33).

    Q10. Does Olympus consider more personalized design ? (more colors, accessories, or even customized design)
    A10.
    1. Pentax does that and receives good feedback.
    2. In Japan, 50% of people chose white E-PL2.
    3. Olympus will provide more accessories and more choice in color.

    • Alfons

      Great!

  • http://gekopaca-photography.weebly.com/ Gekopaca

    I’m happy because I just bought a bargain E-P2 Kit on the refurb market.
    Sure, the marketing trend of Oly and the earthquake will do that there will be no semi-professional camera available to me until 2 or 3 years.
    And if Pany surprises me and makes me change my mind, great!
    About lenses, I don’t need anything, thanks a lot : I’ve got my 50 years old M and C-mount lenses for ever!

  • Kolen

    Hi, this is my translation:

    In the P&E 2011 (translator note: P&E 2011 stand for The 14th China International Photograph & Electrical Imaging Machinery and Technology Fair), Olympus still focused on the PEN series, but at the same time the flagship product E-5 and other digital cameras are also shown. Having this opportunity, we have interviewed Mr. WATANABE AKIRA and Mr. YASUITARU OURA from Olympus. We would ask them to discuss the P&E 2011 that Olympus attended and the future road map of Olympus’ cameras.
    PS: Mr. WATANABE AKIRA was responsible for the research and developments of Olympus’ cameras from the very beginning, e.g. the E-1 and the introduction of PEN series.
    Editor: In the P&E 2011, we see that Olympus focused on the promotion of PEN series. What is the future plan of Olympus? Will it continue to focus on PEN series?
    WATANABE AKIRA: From what we see in the market, Panasonic and Sony have similar products as our PEN series, but they are electronic companies rather than Camera manufacturer. We Olympus do not plan to be the next Panasonic or Sony as an electronic company, but rather, we focus on the research and development of cameras. From this point of view, our camera is not an IT product, but a real camera.
    In terms of performance, we are not focusing on boosting the spec of the cameras (translator’s note: e.g. Megapixels), but most importantly we focus on the optical quality of lenses. Regarding to the PEN series, we currently have 4 models, and in the future we will further expand the product line, PEN will definitely play an important role in the product line of Olympus.
    Editor: Micro Four Third is still not very common in the Mainland Chinese market, will there be any marketing strategy about it?
    WATANABE AKIRA: In the global market, e.g. the market in Japan and Hong Kong, Micro Four Third has a 40% of market share among interchangeable lens camera, and 20% for other places. It is a pity that in the Mainland Chinese market, the market share doesn’t even add up to 10%. But the growth is tremendous, so we have hope on the Mainland Chinese market. In terms of promotions, we think that the most important thing is to let the public know the concept of Micro Four Third. To popularize the PEN series is very important and we are confident about that.
    YASUITARU OURA: Concerning about the marketing strategy, first in our own shops (translator note: I don’t know the right term in English. It means that it is the shop dedicated for Olympus’ product only) we will mainly promote the PEN series. And then through retailers and other promotional functions (e.g. an exhibition for food lovers to use PEN to take photos of food), we further raise the awareness of PEN among consumers.
    WATANABE AKIRA: In the past, most people use compact camera to take photos. The barriers between it to DSLR is quite high. PEN series is to bridge them together. For example, when we announced the E-PL2, we at the same time announced 3 lens converters (translator’s note: FCON-P01, WCON-P01 and MCON-P01) so that the amateurs can take the opportunity to know more about the behaviors of different type of lens. Then they will be easier to upgrade to DSLR. Among our products, we have an advanced guide (translator’s note: e.g. the guide in the scene mode in the camera), to further shorten the learning curve.
    Editor: In the beginning of this year, Olympus announced the E-PL2. Is Olympus going to take the same marketing strategy as before? Will there be more activities on sharing the fun of taking photos with the consumers?
    YASUITARU OURA: We will definitely continue to develop, and expand this kind of activities. Although there are other alternatives, e.g. advertisement, it is not the right time for Olympus to have a large scale advertisement. That kind of activities would help us to get closer to the consumers and let them to truly experience our PEN series.
    Editor: Regarding to XZ-1, what strategy is Olympus exactly taking?
    WATANABE AKIRA: XZ-1 is the highest end compact camera among Olympus’. In many sense it has raised the brand image of Olympus among compact cameras. In the past, Olympus didn’t have a similar product. So now we promote the XZ-1 to let the public to renew their cognition on our compact camera. The market reflects a good comment on the product and it sells good worldwide.
    Editor: Olympus and Panasonic has introduced Micro Four Third cameras with video capability, what will Olympus consider when the consumers have the shift in the way they use the camera (as a camcorder)?
    WATANABE AKIRA: Since PEN series removed the mirror, not only it introduced miniaturization but also video capability. But we would not consider this as a main function of the camera and further develop on it. We will still focus on still capability.
    Editor: Are there any plan on new E system camera? In P&E 2011, what Olympus will focus on in the promotion?
    WATANABE AKIRA: We are not ready to reveal the details of new products. We will definitely further develop the 1 and 2 digit E system series (e.g. E-5 and E-30) since there are some functionalities cannot be realized in PEN series. But concerning the 3 digit E system series, we are considering replacing it by the PEN series. We be continue to develop lenses for PEN series and at the same time we will continue to develop Four Third lenses. We think that PEN series lenses are still very limited so we might focus more on this in the near future.
    YASUITARU OURA: Our intention to attend the P&E 2011 is to let the public know more our PEN series. This is our main focus in the P&E 2011. It also reflects that we truly value the Mainland Chinese market.
    Editor: concerning Micro Four Third lenses line up, is there any plan to release fast prime?
    WATANABE AKIRA: We were to lower the barrier between compact camera and DSLR by designing the PEN series which is very compact and portable. The current lenses we have developed are to fulfill the demand of most consumers. But there is still a minority of users who have special needs, we are definitely willing to develop lenses for them too. But we can’t reveal now what products we would announce. Please be patient and I assure that you all will be satisfied.
    Editor: Why Olympus canceled the μ series? This is very popular. What leads to Olympus’ decision?
    WATANABE AKIRA: We have reevaluated the demand of the public and according to our detailed market analysis, we have finalized our product lines. μ series is replaced by the VG series. By the way, we have PEN series long time again and disappeared, and then now it appears again, with a strong market share. So who knows if μ series will show up again in the future?
    Editor: How would Olympus comments on products like Fuji X100 or Sony A55?
    WATANABE AKIRA: Fuji X100 is a decent product. To those who have no need to change lens, this product is good enough. At the same time our PEN series is small but yet lens interchangeable and we think that PEN can fulfill the same need as an X100 user. So we won’t consider introducing anything similar. Sony A55 is a pretty good product too. It has a realization of decent technology. From the technological point of view, we cannot help but praising them. But from analysis on Sony’s product line, there are DSLR, mirrorless, and then SLT, we think that Sony would definitely merge some of the product lines up to 1 to 2 types. Now they sell only one camera per type in Japan. So they have to consider their future plan seriously.
    Editor: Among PEN series users, many of them value personal styles a lot. Have Olympus considered to introduce more accessories and/or more color options? Are there any possibilities to tailor to each of them individually?
    WATANABE AKIRA: In Japan, Pentax has tailored the camera for different colors according to the individual orders. This is something we can learn from. We would definitely introduce more accessories and gives more color choices to let the consumers to choose from. In Japan, half of the people buying E-PL2 choose White as the body color. So to those upgrading from compact camera, we need to consider giving them more varieties to choose from. In fact, we introduced PEN series for this purpose. Concerning accessories, currently in some selected retailers in the Mainland China, there are some choices like straps and leather cases of different colors for consumers to choose from.

    • http://youdidntdidyou.com/ YouDidntDidYou

      Really good market analysis (present and future) by Olympus, can’t fault Mr Watanabe on anything he said 😀

    • Inge-M

      Thank you, Kolen :-)

  • Robert Hanssen

    This is the best news I’ve heard from Olympus in ages.

    One might say that m43 is currently the primary EVIL camera, but the strength in m43 CAN be that it is a totally transferrable technology also to an upmarket DSLR market.

    Say for example, I own both the 9-18, 11-22, 14-54, 40-150 and 50-200 lenses from Olympus, which all are excellent. I use them occasionally on PEN body, but I also shoot with E-5.

    I think it is underestimated, how important it is to continue to develop the high-end of Olympus products. Lenses like the 35-100, 14-35 and 12-60 are the very best there is in the market among zoom optics. As sensors develop and mature, the difference between (m)4/3 and APS-C/FX will be smaller, and the true advantages of 4/3 approach will be clear; well performing optics, small size, and flexibility.

    NEX lenses are currently junk if you ask me. I do not belive Nikon will follow Sony and mount APS-C/DX on an EVIL camera, they will rather challenge Olympus with a smaller sensor, but I do belive they will not be capable of making a system that caters all users with adaptors etc.

    I ALSO HOPE THAT THE E-XX SERIES WILL LEAVE OUT THE FLASH, AND INSTEAD GO FOR A BIG BRIGHT VIEWFINDER LIKE ON THE E-1. THE E-XX SERIES IS IN A MARKET WHERE PEOPLE WILL PAY A PREMIUM FOR A FLASHGUN !!!!

    • Ross

      “I ALSO HOPE THAT THE E-XX SERIES WILL LEAVE OUT THE FLASH, AND INSTEAD GO FOR A BIG BRIGHT VIEWFINDER LIKE ON THE E-1. THE E-XX SERIES IS IN A MARKET WHERE PEOPLE WILL PAY A PREMIUM FOR A FLASHGUN !!!!”

      Except you’re forgetting one thing. At present, RC flash control is done by using the built in flash as a commander & it would be a retrograde step to leave it out. Also, the E30 replacement has to be a lesser camera than the E5 to be cheaper & that is one area that helps cut down on cost (while still keeping the built in commander flash).

  • Michael Devitt

    Thanks for the translations guys. I hope Olympus makes some fast primes for classic FT, there are many fine zooms in Zuiko Digital line, but fixed focal lenses are very rare in the Olympus offering (for example: where is a fast at least F2 standard ZD lens, if every other DSLR manufacturer has it?). I think HQ compact primes can help FT series as well as PEN ones.

    Olympus ZD telecentricy was a good benefit at the beginning of the E-System, but now, seems like it holding them down to develop fast primes in reasonable size/price. MFT lenses like Voigtländer 25mm or Panasonic 20mm don’t promote telecentricity feature at all, and both have good sharpness even wide open.

  • Miroslav

    4/3 E-30 successor??? Instead of making 4/3 lenses work on mirrorless bodies by enabling PDAF and making more advanced mirrorless cameras with faster CDAF, they’ve gone the easiest route: make new 4/3 model… Why not make a new OM film SLR as well?

    3 digit E system series is replaced by the PEN? So where is a PEN with E-620 functions?

    • Robbie

      I think they must be trying very hard at the moment. After all, the ultimate goal is to merge the two systems. But they still need an E-5 or E-30 successor to make supporters happy and as a 43 and m43 user, I am more or less lighten up a bit after reading this interview. There IS a direction and it seems to me Olympus knows what they are doing.

      Looking forward to the E-P3.

    • Boooo!

      They are _considering_ replacing E-xxx with the PEN models. It’s not set in stone.

      And they most definitely need new E-series cameras if they wish to stay even mildly competitive in the photography market – PDAF on mirrorless is probably too many years away, and they need to keep a steady stream of sold bodies *and* lenses (don’t forget the lenses!!!!!).

    • Ross

      I for one would be more comforted to know there is an E30 replacement & E5 to replace my E30 when needed. Only having the top E5 was chasing some people away with lack of confidence in Oly, with them being unwilling to spend more in the 4/3’s line. This will help to change that trend by offering a camera nearly as good (or if it has a new sensor, could be slightly better in IQ) than the E5 at a more affordable price.

  • Daemonius

    I would advice Olympus to change attitude towards Panasonic, cause they are using their sensors. And frankly, GH2 compared to E-5 isnt exactly “pure win” for E-5 (yes its weathersealed.. and thats pretty much everything it is).

    Im happy that Oly will continue in 4/3s. My advice would be adopting SLT technology (maybe with flip up mirror?). Then working really hard on SNR, which sux on pretty much every 4/3 sensor (especially compared to 16 mpix Sony sensor in K-5 for example).

    And maybe do “odd” thing and go back to CCD as was in E-1.

    • Do

      I would advice Olympus to set up a deal with Sony and use their sensors in the future, because the biggest shortcoming of FT/MF is Panasonics weak sensor technology.

  • http://www.43rumors.com/members/eugene/ Eugene

    I’m really happy about the news! But I’m sticking to my E-620, I’m not planning to upgrade to a new body right now but maybe i’ll get the 12-60 lens first. I don’t see a reason not to use an old camera, I just got myself an OM PC and I’m happy with it.

    I wonder if Olympus would have any choices about their sensor suppliers. They could just buy Kodak’s sensor facility or ask Sigma to manufacture sensors for them.
    BTW, what is Sanyo doing in the FourThirds group? Perhaps they could manufacture sensors and batteries to their parters.

    • http://www.43rumors.com/members/agrivar/ Winston Loo

      Maybe you didnt notice some of the tech news end of last year.. Panasonic bought Sanyo… so probably they are the ones that supply the battery tech to Panasonic..

  • George

    I call BS. How long did they promise the 14-35 f/2 and it still has focus issues. While the words are encouraging I think everyone should take the interview with a grain of salt. Olympus has shown no ability to execute and nothing indicates that sharp large aperture mFT lenses are coming or that they will have more competitive E-# / E-## products.

    Until Olympus starts releasing products that are actually competitive I’ll look at the glass as half full. Until then it’s looking pretty empty.

    • Boss

      Actually, numerous sources are pointing at a 12mm with f2.0 aperture or better coming soon, with 1-2 other prime lenses coming as well.

      • George

        My point simply was there are no indications that Olympus have been able to execute.

        I like Mr. Watanabe, but if he wants to talk crap about Panasonic, he needs to look at Panasonic mFT lenses that are consistently beating Oly mFT lenses to date.

        There are many rumors that point to stuff. Great. My point was that there were tons of rumors around the 14-35/2 back when it was waiting to be released and how long did that take. Oly shows no commitment to its high-end users and I stand by my stance that all these rumors are BS until Oly actually shows that they can execute. Just venting my frustration being an Olympus fan.

        • Inge-M

          The so Mr.Watanabe mean is;
          TV, 3DTV, Projektor, FullHD Video, hight speed Video, 3D Video and HDK4 Video, is not important, or not produce by Olympus.

  • http://marty4650.blogspot.com/ Marty4650

    If this happens, then it is very good news indeed.

    I think Olympus was too quick to abandon their consumer 4/3 product line. There is a real need for something between a small EVIL camera and a $1700 pro grade camera. The E50 might be exactly what they need for all those E4xx, E5xx, and E6xx users who want to upgrade, but don’t want to go to the top.

    Mounting 4/3 lenses on M4/3 bodies is a hit or miss situation. Some work very well, and others are ergonomic nightmares and slow to focus. Those 32 wonderful 4/3 lenses deserve a proper modern camera body, and one that ordinary users can afford.

    • http://www.woodwind.dk Shanti

      Yes very good news,as I have been frustrated that the E5 is so $$ for semi pro users,was thinking of moving to Nikon D7000/5100 or Canon 60D as I need the flip out screen,but hate to give up my Oly lenses–so this is very exciting if they can come out in the near future-as a previous B&W Fine art Photographer I really like the feel of the Oly images,but need better low ISO for the work I do now at least to 1600 with no noise. So Oly get the E50 out and I will buy it today!!!

    • M.

      Exactly. +1

    • Sam

      +1. I’d definitely buy it. Hope its not too big though.

  • Inge-M

    I hope Olympus upgrade back side on E-50 camera, same look E-5 also.

  • tom

    Oh yes, I will buy a E-50 or a E-650!

  • Little boy

    Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
    Four-Thirds system is NOT dead! :)

  • Tropical Yeti

    OK, good 4/3 news made me happy enough, to say something constructive, instead of my usual nerding.

    If Olympus itself hints at new E-xx body, product design is most probably beyond point of return now – it will come to the market.

    It’s a pity Mr. Watanabe was not asked about how many pixels is enough. I guess he would not be willing to repeat 12MP again. Panasonic sensor most definitely, probably 16MP, optimised for still photo. So performance should be even slightly better than GH2 sensor (DR,S/N ratio). And if Olympus really can squeeze more from these sensors than Panasonic itself…

    The rest is my wishlist:

    Smaller body than E-30 (Say approx Pentax K5 size) would sell better I think.

    Usefull lenses for me would be:

    12/2.8 HG (or brighter)

    35-100/2.8 HG zoom (Could be even smaller than Pentax 50-150/2.8, and much smaller/cheaper than Canon/Nikon alternatives, not to mention smaller/cheaper than Olympus F2.0 version) – it would be perfect for carrying around.

    Hell I wil say even this. New battery grip, without stalk (Pentax like) with one additional battery and some wireless gadgetry added.

    Not that I am short on 4/3 bodies, lenses, but things like this would make me really happy and put me into spending mode….

  • mahler

    Well, Mr. Watanabe says that opposite to the electronics giants Sony and Panasonic, Olympus is a camera manufacturer and concentrates on making “real cameras”.

    Strange, how does it come that I feel that a Panasonic GH2 is more of a real camera than any PEN so far (because of the PEN’s dreadfull ergonomics, most notably the EPL-x series).

    • http://www.43rumors.com/members/dummy00001/ Dummy00001

      > Well, Mr. Watanabe says that opposite to the electronics giants Sony and Panasonic, Olympus is a camera manufacturer and concentrates on making “real cameras”.

      That actually raised my eyebrow too. As we see it happening in other markets, at some point of time convergence would kick in and actually companies which are working only in one market are going to struggle. While diversified companies (like Canon, Sony, Pannay, Sammy) would reap the slew of new customers riding the wave of integration with whatever the buzzword of the day. (Now likely the mobile market.)

      • Inge-M

        The so Mr,Watanabe, mean is; FullHD, Hight speed HD, 3D and HD k4, is not important for Olympus. 😉

  • Mal

    Watanabe might be referring to an E-XX crossover camera that can use M43 and 43 lenses with PDAF. If this were a small bodied camera with an attachable battery grip, then it would be very interesting indeed.

    As noted above by other commenters, I believe Olympus were too quick to bail out on Four Thirds. If the next sensor can match the GH2 (or even better…) then there will be little benefit in having a larger sensor format, and size and quality of lenses will play to Olympuses strengths.

    • Inge-M

      The only FT series camera so Olympus have stop to produce is E-xxx series.
      The is marketing people in Olympus so say, the wild stop produce FT soon.

    • Ross

      It might be just possible they have had a rethink after the good sales on the E5 & the outcry for more lower DSLR models & hence bringing out another Exx to fill that gap. Whatever the reasons, I hope they do take notice of requests from many for consideration in their designs.

  • Thyl

    Ever since Yoshihisa Maitani (developer of Pen, OM and XA) retired, Olympus has not been the same :-(

    • Mar

      Pen models were never really good, OM was great, but got blindsided by lack of AF in the AF era.
      XA was cool, but Mju II was better :)

      • http://www.43rumors.com/members/dummy00001/ Dummy00001

        The cameras do not have to be “really good.”

        Maitani, for better or worse, was a guy with vision. The problem at hand is that Oly lacks top manager with a vision.

      • Bruce

        Crazy sharp glass, compact profile and flash sync to 500th without the compromise of a leaf shutter in 1963…I’d say that the pen f was really good! Sure there was no ttl but nobody else had it either…

  • XA4

    “WATANABE AKIRA: Since PEN series removed the mirror, not only it introduced miniaturization but also video capability. But we would not consider this as a main function of the camera and further develop on it. We will still focus on still capability.”
    “We Olympus do not plan to be the next Panasonic or Sony as an electronic company, but rather, we focus on the research and development of cameras. From this point of view, our camera is not an IT product, but a real camera.”

    Does this mean “No FullHD for PEN”?

  • http://www.43rumors.com/members/dummy00001/ Dummy00001

    OK. By how I hope everybody enjoyed their share of optimism.

    Now to the cruel reality. What Watanabe said isn’t much different from the announcements/clarifications made by Oly after the “43 is dead” remark at Photokina: “yeah, there will be some 43 cameras – until m43 can’t replace them – but right now all the resources are dedicated to m43.”

    • Inge-M

      The is not “cruel reality” for Olympus, them only use 3-4 year on MFT.
      (4 camera and lens from 9mm-300mm +++!) 😉

  • Alfons

    I have been eyeing for a new camera. I’m still using the E-3.

    I quess the only weak spot is that Olympus doesn’t have a fast 17-35mm eq. lens. That is about the perfect range for my use, with fast fixed normal and telephoto zoom. 9-18mm F2.8, 25mm F1.4 and 35-100mm F2.8, all three with weather sealing and SWD focus would be magic!

    Another thing Olympus should consider is a new flash. FL-50 isn’t weather proof like the pro bodies. Another thing: Canon and Nikon have lever attachments that work so well on their flashes!

    • Mar

      I don’t get this about wide & fast primes…
      What would be the point exactly? It would be horribly expensive due to short FL and very hard retrofocal design (let’s say 8-16mm f2.8) – it would easily cost $2k and be larger than 7-14mm f4.

      As for fast primes – why do you need fast primes when zooms are so much better and more flexible? Besides, most if not all primes are pretty bad @f1.4, so better maybe at f2 and above.

      Take PanaLeica 25mm 1.4 – good lens but very expensive. I have ZD 14-35mm f2 which murders PanaLeica at all apertures except f1.4 obviously.

      So you pay ~1000 vs ~1800 to have 1 stop faster aperture (which is really questionable since I don’t think 43rds sensors get the full use of f/1.4 aperture) and you lose 14-24 and 26-35mm range which is much more useful than 25mm fixed.

      Who needs primes when you’ve got quality fast zooms? And forget about sub 20mm fast prime on 43rds – it’s not happening in the same way it’s not happening for larger APS and 35mm formats.

      Those lenses are much easier to design for m43rds than for regular SLRs.

      • Jules

        There is a big crowd of (sometimes self proclaimed) street shooters that loves the unobtrusiveness of wide to mid-tele fixed focal length lenses.
        Lets not disdain, it is a fun part of photography and gems in street shots are like gems in any other kind of photography, gems.

        The holy grail of such lens is to have it all : sharpness, overall IQ, speed, fast silent AF motor and even OIS at f1.2, all packed into a pancake format. There is also a strong desire for unrealistic price, but thats an other form of delusions. Just resume the talk backs over the last couple of years, you got it all there.

        And then the fun begins exactly where starts endless debate on which compromise is the lesser evil.

      • Alfons

        That 9-18mm would just fit to my personal style of event and news photography. Why would it be larger than 7-14mm? 7-14mm F4 is 780g while Canon FF 16-35mm F2.8 makes it in 634g (Nikkor is 745g). I’m no optics expert, so this is my best knowledge – and it happens to be what matters to me.

        For the prime vs. zoom:

        If certain focal lenght is what I need, why buy a zoom? I want a special lens for situations when it’s really dark or when I need the short DOF. I would take F/1 if it wouldn’t make the lens so big.

        And now we have come to the size and weight. Call me old fashioned, but I think 14-35mm as four focal lenghts: 28mm(eq), 35mm(eq), 50mm(eq) and 70mm(eq). I have tried many focal lenghts and currently I’m using 24-50-100 set on my film camera. Tested and proved set for me. Surprisingly, 12-60mm does cover all three I enjoy using, while 14-35mm does only one of them. While I find 14-35mm’s wider end suiting me well, it just happens to be mediocre. Not wide, nor long.

        With a zoom lens, I usually find my self hanging on the focal lenghts of 24-35mm and occasionally jumping to 50 or 100+ (eq). If I had the lens, I bet I would go as wide as 18mm, but that’s occasional, just like over 100mm.

        What I need is that one large aperture lens on my bag. I know there are lenses that do well at F1.4, pricey ones though. It would be nice to have a razor blade sharp F1.4, but it isn’t really what I’m searching for. Many a lens from the previous decades haven’t become legendary just because of the sharpness, but the quality and the character of that particular lens.

        We all do have our own ways through testing the equipment and adjusting and evolving our mindset. Please don’t everybody should use the 14-35mm F2 because it’s a sharp zoom lens. It’s a great lens, but it’s not for everyone.

        • Mar

          43rds is great for tele and medium use due to 2x multiplier and Olympus did an amazing job with sub 50mm lenses too such a s 7-14mm, 14-35, 14-54 and 12-60 which are great feat of engineering, easily besting FF lenses such as 16-35, 24-70 , 24-105, 24-120 etc.

          Problem is that due to register distance which is not particularly short on 43rds, not much shorter than on EF or F mount, it’s hard to make very wide lenses, not to mention wide and fast ones.

          If you really want a low light machine with fast primes, you’re best off buying Nikon D3s with 24, 35, 50 and 85mm primes :)

          Remember that capabilites of the modern cameras were only dreamed of during the film days – heck, even XZ-1 compact has better low light performance than most film SLR combos.

          For such purposes (fast, wide, light and unobtrusive), I think m43 is the best bet with the upcoming 12mm f2, 20mm panasonic and 50mm.

          • http://www.43rumors.com/members/paulusmayero/ Paulus

            +1

  • napalm

    E-30 is a very good 4/3 camera. only thing it is lacking now is better ISO performance (like E-5) and HD video. a few tweaks here and there, and they would still have a very attractive to current 4/3 owners. it will still hold it’s ground against mid-level DSLRs like the D7000 and 60D.

  • Sam

    6) Mr. Watanabe mentioned that Olympus is a camera manufacturer, unlike Sony and Panasonic who makes lots of consumer electronis products, so Oly products will be more like a real camera instead.(when being asked what he thinks of Oly EVILs might be more competitive than SONY or Pana etc. EVIL products)

    Apple used to just make computers. Then they took ownership of the music retail buisness with the iPod and iTunes, then the mobile phone business with the iPhone and app store, I expect they will take ownership of the compact camera business with the next generation iPhone. (Ixus, coolpix etc).

    Even if Panasonic and Sony make a lot of consumer products they are in a pretty strong position in cameras as well, both also make sensors which is important if you make cameras.

    Olympus is in quite a strange position as a camera maker. The high end product (E-5) is competing with the mid range from canikon (7D, D7000) and the current high end in m4/3 – GH2.

    They obviously have great engineers, the quality of the E-5 and high end glass is a clear testament to that fact. The same cannot be said of their marketeers.

    I’d like to see what would happen if senior management let engineering bring the products they can clearly make to market…

    • cL

      It’s really interesting to read the perception of Olympus (as a brand) now and when it was decades ago. Olympus was considered innovator, the one who was not afraid to change the landscape of photographic world. Yoshihisa Maitani, the head engineer was a much respected camera designer who designed legendary cameras such the original Olympus Pen, Olympus OM-1 and Olympus XA. Maitani sensei passed away in 2009, you can read a lot of eulogy over the Internet, but I like the one written by Adorama the best (short concise, and to the point).

      It’s also equally interesting after those legendary cameras were designed, Olympus made follow up cameras in cheaper fashion and pretty much ruined the iconic status of the original design. For example, Olympus XA was the first camera ever to feature that miniscule clamshell design we now take for granted, but XA1, XA2, XA3 and XA4 are all cheap “imitation” copies that compromises on quality for the sake of mass marketing. You can sort of see that pattern repeats itself even to this day….

      Olympus spirit when Maitani was the head of engineering was this quote (from his special lecture, which you can read from Olympus website):

      “If the development staff can give 120% of their power, the technology barrier can be overcome. But make sure your original and interesting ideas are not buried under the barrier of accepted wisdom.”

      I also remember something I read on one website, where Maitani sensei was quoted saying something like, Olympus cameras are a little weird, but please enjoying using them. As an Olympus user, the quote really touches base. They’re a little unconventional, but they certainly are very capable cameras in their own rights.

      Keep in mind Olympus was once a very respected name, even among Leica engineers, and now it’s buried behind Nikon and Canon because of marketing. Engineers at Olympus have always been very good at what they’re doing, but you really need to know your cameras VERY well to appreciate the sensible features in them. Trust me, the first few days I got my E-620, I hated it, but now I see why it is a very capable camera, and how it made me into a better photographer. So I do look forward to E-50 (or whatever it is going to be called).

      • Given

        I agree 100% with you look at Olympus. I’m currently looking forward to any new 4/3’s products. Until then I will be happily using my E-3 for years to come. Hell!!! Even my E-300 still works and it has almost 95,000 Pictures on it, and it has been dropped and the card door shattered. The results from my E-300 are more then enough for most of my uses. Hopefully the Marketing department will allow the engineers to add some new features to the next generation of cameras.

      • Bruce

        Great post but I have one niggle-the XA4 was a highly specified camera with a macro focusing wide angle lens…

  • DonParrot

    I’d rather see the fast focusing mirrorless pro Olympus than the continuation of the line of cameras with the anachronistic mirror. But if that isan’t possible, the okay Oly, give us some new OLY DSLRs.
    But please not with that crappy 16-MP Panny sensor that produces more noise at low ISOs than the good ole 12-MP sensor. I’m shooting low-ISO pictures every single day but high-ISO maybe twice a year. So where’s the sense in paying with more noise at low ISOs for less at high ISOs. That’s plain stupid. It’s no progress, it’s the opposite – and justz for marketing purposes.

    Please please please make a deal with or Sony Sigma/Foveon for a new FT sensor and say farewll to Panny – no matter if for DSLRs or EVILs.

  • http://iwas.wordpress.com saklas

    here’s a quick summary of the article again:

    1) Article about development of Olympus

    2) When asked about Olympus’ development; Watanabe commented that Oly is a camera company; unless Pana and Sony who are Consumer Electronics companies; aside from bodies, Oly also focus strongly on Lenses; Oly will definitely further develop the m43 range and it represents an important factor for Oly’s positioning

    3) China is still not into the Micro/Mirrorless cameras, how does Oly seek to change this? Facts showed here;
    Japan/Hong Kong; 40% of market share (DSLR + Compact Sys)
    Other regions; est 20%
    China; est > 10%
    Oly muddled over this; stating that they have to let consumers experience exchangeable lens system; make user experience a breeze.

    4) More publicity and BTL advertising will be done in China

    5) When asked about XZ1; Oly commented that they were lacking such a product previously. They are using it to gain exposure to compact market and let consumers be familiar with Oly.

    ******************************************************
    6) Is Oly going to further develop 4/3 System!?
    We cannot comment on this at the moment.
    For Single and Double digit range (E5 and E30); we will continue to release products
    For Triple digit range; we might be replacing the range with m43.
    We will not stop development on 4/3 lenses.
    But the short term focus on lenses will be for m43 for us to build up the full range.
    ********************************************************

    not translating the rest as they are about miu and all~ boring.

  • mm

    there is another interview with the General Manager of Olympus Shanghai in the same shown.

    He confirmed that it is the faith for OM to keep on developing 4/3 product line.

    He also advised that there will be no higher resolution sensor in near future. Which is due to OM feel that the current system output quality (as a combine effect between picture engine, sensor and lens) is acceptable. If only develop higher resolution sensors without the support from the picture engine and lens, the output quality is possible better.

  • JeremyT

    I’m just now reading this news, but it’s wonderful indeed! I own both Four Thirds and u4/3 gear, and I’m really glad to hear that Four Thirds will live on with new bodies. There are some situations that my PEN still just can’t quite compete and I still need a DSLR, and this will fill that huge gap in Oly’s product line.

    • Inge-M

      We is many :-)

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