Olympus future premium compact will face new competition…

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A couple of months ago Olympus officially said that they are working on the release of a new premium compact camera. They may hurry because one company after another is announcing such a compact camera and Olympus may be late to the party. After the new Fuji X100s (in stock soon) and  the Pentax MX-1 today Nikon announced the very compact Nikon Coolpix A (specs here). These are three different cameras, the Fuji X100s has a superb sensor and hybrid viewfinder (and is priced at $1299). The Pentax MX-1 is the cheapest camera ($499) and the Nikon is the smallest of the three.

So the question now, how should the Olympus premium compact be to gain some considerable interest over the three? My guess is that it will be very compact with a MFT sensor and fixed fast Zuiko lens. But I admit that the Fuji hybrid viewfinder looks very nice and as we know, Olympus officially denied they would sue that kind of tech 🙁

Premium compact camera price and specs check:
Fuji X100s at Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
Pentax MX-1 at Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
Nikon A at Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.

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  • Redstart

    What does the Pentax MX-1 have to do with this? X100 is still the benchmark.

    • metalaryeh

      Olympus has to compete with both price and quality. The Pentax costs way less than the Fuji…

      • Redstart

        What? Of course it does…look at the specs. They are not comparable.

    • St.

      I double that – Why you put this Pentax there? It only has 1/1.7″ sensor and it should pair with the P330, not Coolpix A and X100s, which have APS-C size sensor.

  • Don Pope

    They don’t need a hybrid VF, but they better include a decent EVF if they want to compete.

    • michael

      This. I’m leaning towards the X20 for that reason.

    • Es

      I always use the OVF on my X100

  • This won’t be unexpected for Olympus so I think they’ll have a few tricks up their sleeves….

    • Creative accounting tricks?

      • ….yawn.

        • I had the same reaction to your post. 😛

          • Jeremiah H

            Actually… No, you didn’t.

            • I saw no reason to post, “yawn.” Instead I made a complete sentence.

  • peppone

    pentax mx-1 is the same range of olympus xz-2 (same optics and sensor)

  • Olympus: full frame, 50mm with 5-axis IBIS.

    • true homer

      How many timws do you have to hear its not gonna happen before you stop asking for it?

      • true homer

        Nice try Jeff, but I didn’t write that.

  • BLT

    I think Olympus have done a fine job with the XZ-2. If they really want to step up the game then they just need to get a larger sensor into it (If the camera gets a touch bigger then OK)

    I don’t see the Fuji X100s in the same category!!?? You should be talking about the Fuji X10 or X20.

    Also I don’t see anything labeled as “Premium Compact” Having a fixed lens. That, like the Fuji X100 is a different, more niche and more expensive category.

    • Given that the Nikon is $1100 without a viewfinder and also features an APS-C sensor like the X100s, they are definitely in the same category. Though, I find the price of the Nikon absurd without a viewfinder.

      • St.

        RX1 doesn’t have VF either, but costs $2799, isn’t it???

        • Es

          RX1 is smaller than the X100 and has a full frame sensor. How many compacts are there with a full frame sensor? One.

      • ISO 1638400

        Hey the Jman. How is the X-E1 review going?

        The Coolpix A at $1100 doesn’t have an integrated VF, but neither does the Sigma DP-1 Merril at $999 and the Leica X2 at $1995.

        All three charitable companies are more than happy to sell you an external VF, however. The Nikon DF-CP1 for $450, Sigma VF-11 for $150 and Leica X2 EVF2 for $465.

        Sigma are definitely selling themselves short there. They need to charge at least $400 for the viewfinder in order to join the elite fixed lens large sensor compact crowd.

        While the Fuji X100S at $1300 gets you X-Trans II APS-C sensor, retro styled body and controls, 23mm (35mm) f/2 lens, hybrid optical and electronic viewfinder in the top left corner! Sounds too easy, doesn’t it?

  • MarcoSartoriPhoto

    Since the release of x100 I have dreamed of an Olympus m43 camera with a fixed Zuiko lens, maybe an f1.8 but most of all with a good EVF and a blazing fast AF. It’s something that would sell, in my opinion, but I’m not mr. olympus so the dream remains a dream (and I’m saving for x100s).

    • curiouspeter

      Yeah, with the OM-D sensor and IBIS it will be a winner. Easily. I want a 35mm (equivalent) f/1.8 fixed lens.

  • Steve

    I think the XZ-10 was the new premium compact. Just not what some were hoping for.

    • michael

      It’s inferior to the previous models, spec-wise. Not at all “premium.”

  • Bob B.

    hmm…so Olympus could make the camera we all want, with built in viewfinder and it will have a fixed lens????? LOL!
    …scratching my head here….

  • d

    Make a x100 with mft sensor, evf, ibis and touchscreen.

  • anon

    Pentax has got an oem lens from Olympus. But I must say its retro design’s really cool.

  • tom

    I see two directions.

    * Compete with Nikon A and x100, MFT sensor, fixed focal length ~22mm, f/1.8 or better, corner viewfinder, $800 max price.

    * Compete with the RX100. MFT sensor, moderate, reasonably fast zoom, (e.g., 14-42 f/2-4), again with corner evf, <$800.

  • digifan

    I think the Nikon coolpix A has a too wide lens for common use.

    As I also wrote on dpr I think panasonic an olympus don’t need a premium compact. All it takes is a GFx with acesory shoe for EVF and simultaneous use with integrated flash. A grip ala hld-6 a ring around the lens mount to facilitate direct controle of aperture and other settings and a dual mode dial/controle wheel on the top plate. Voila apocketable solution with pancake lenses (14,17,20mm) and versatility with added grip and vf for bigger lenses etc.

  • “I admit that the Fuji hybrid viewfinder looks very nice and as we know, Olympus officially denied they would sue that kind of tech ”

    Admin, do you mean “pursue”?

    Of course they won’t pursue this VF solution – they don’t even want to put any integrated VF in their E-Px series!

  • Tulio

    Just the passive viewfinder for the Nikon is $450. WTF.

    • narutogrey

      That is way overpriced. You can get a cheapo Voigtlander 28mm glass viewfinder for half the price and it’ll function exactly the same.

  • Twaddler Belafonte

    Judging by the Coolpix A (drop the lame Coolpix name already, eh?) it looks like Olympus won’t be having competition Nikon in the compact arena, at least not for another iteration or two.

  • adaptor-or-die

    The evidence is out that people want VFs “back” in their small cameras.

    The FUji X100 looked great, ticks all boxes for a step above regular camera retail buyers. Now the X100s seems to have addressed all the issues that came with the original. So Olympus has a long way to go entering this particular arena. Of course they could squash it with the simple approach of providing lens “choices” in a similar body design? But for whatever reason, aren’t interested.

    Two models, both mFT, a fixed lens and lens mount. Would be industry hits. But I wonder if they have that in them at this point?

    With all the financial horrors of last year, the OMD may just be the peak? I suspect that the OMD preceded the scandal timeline-wise. And so these new offers from Olympus may all be extremely disappointing? I don’t want to think this as a customer, but the newest e-P5 rumor is kind of trending that direction.

    The only hope right now is that it’s silly marketing misdirection, even that is pretty stupid, if it’s true.

  • Anonymous

    No VF no deal. WTFU Olympus, you’re run by a bunch of tards.

  • zhixian

    Nikon coolpix A “The very compact and expensive”… way too expensive… what is nikon doing with the pricing?!

    • Looks like Nikon wants to recoup development costs off a new range straight off from the first model and doesn’t understand current customer pricing expectations…

  • ganzito

    I love my Pentax MX-1 … but I agree that it shouldn’t be here.
    MX-1 has no ring zoom but it’s AF is really good

  • curiouspeter

    Between smaller size and a built-in VF I would rather have smaller size. But please make EVF an option.

  • solar

    I read about the new release of the Nikon yesterday. Interesting, but not in the same league as the X100S. Optical VF an additional $400+. Fuji has leaf shutter with sync speed on 1/4000 + built in 3 stop ND filter. Similar sensors, but the Nikon is nowhere near as defined or specced.

    Nikon 28mm equivalent, Fuji 35mm equivalent with 28mm adaptor with minimal loss of quality.

    This Nikon is not there yet, but the competition is coming. Current mirrorless manufacturers should be looking over their shoulders. The big boys are coming. Eventually there will be a flood in the market; possibly sooner than later.

  • Throw a 17mm f1.8 on an EPM2 and you have it, plus you can use your viewfinder if you want to…

    Personally I would love to see Olympus take a crack at this, we all know they could knock it out of the park, plus if they put the accessory port on it we could all use our existing viewfinders when needed.

  • c.d.embrey

    The Fuji X100s costs more than the Olympus flagship OM-D E-M5 … that’s an interesting comparison 8-0

    • Ming Dang

      Interesting comparison yes. And for me the OMD is better. For me. But those who pay premium for X100s over OMD also get something the OMD cannot give. X100s being APS-C better high ISO and for some that is their reason to pay more. For me the OMD is choice!

  • my opinion

    oly, make a compact, with micro43 sensor, 17mm f/2, in build flash, waterproof like TG-1, small like Nikon

    • SteveO

      The only camera that makes sense to me to sell in any volume would be an Olympus version of the RX100 with a slightly higher price justified by a 1″ 20MMP sensor and a better lens, say 24-100mm f1.4-2.8, and with a better UI. Add-on EVF would be fine, helps keep the price within reach of most consumers.

      Honestly. how much market is there for multiple FF compact cameras with built-in EVF’s? Get real.

    • digifan

      IMO Olympus and Panasonic should make evolutions of GF3 and E-PM2.
      Add optional grip and add integrated flash on one and an acessory port on the other.
      Then on the top plate put a dual function dial (modedial on top and main dial below (only real estate is for the round dial) than another dial around the mount and you’re set.
      No need for fixed lens compacts. The nex GFx E-PMx will be better than that, much more versatile, pocketable AND fit for bigger lenses etc.
      There really is no future for fixed lens compacts unless they are really cheap compared to the system camera’s.
      Today this is far from the truth, the fixed lens compacts are even pricier than the m43 system camera’s.

      • MarcoSartoriPhoto

        I don’t know. IMO there’s more than someone interested in high quality products like Fuji x100(s) and Sony rx1. For many a fixed lens could seem a limitation, but it’s a good way to learn composition. I find funny to go around with a single lens forcing me to use only that focal lenght.

        • digifan

          Yeah, but you can do that with m43 today as well AND you have the possibility to use other lenses if you really need.
          With the Coolpix A / Fuji 100 you don’t have that possibility.
          Those large sensor compacts appeal only because of some direct functionallity through dials and buttons like in anolog days.
          I must say that mfr can make a very high quality product because all components can be alligned to the optimum. That’s more difficult with system camera’s.
          The Coolpix A is of limited use due to it’s “extreme” wide angle.

    • jose_e

      you know what isn’t getting a whole lot of love these days? the 50mm equiv. focal length. classic street length, beautiful look (i’m spoiled by my pana-leica 25mm, i admit). oly’s already got 2 17mm lens for m4/3 – making another one in fixed lens format doesn’t really make me wanna buy it. a 50mm equiv. fixie would stand out in the market. (and they haven’t made one since the 4/3 pancake). make it fast – f1.8 or better – with trusted em5 m4/3 sensor – built-in vf3-quality corner viewfinder – smaller, non-articulated screen to make room (like fuji xe-1’s 2.8″ lcd) – no built-in flash (this is a fast, natural light kind of cam) – develop a wide-attachment to give it the option to shoot at 35mm equiv. – smaller and flatter than OMD – basically head-to-head with fuji x100s – except it’s a nifty fifty. $1300.

      • MarcoSartoriPhoto

        +1 and Oly would have my money for it.

  • E-1

    I can’t follow most of the comments here.

    I’m in 43/m43 for the lenses (quality, size). If I need a fixed lens setup, I’d buy a X100S. Why should I buy from Olympus? Why would I need a Olympus me-too product?

  • wrong idea

    There are many bodies of mirrorless micro43. What is advantage of such compact? Size? There are small bodies micro43 – GF5, EPM2… Oly should make only new version of 17/2.8 lens pancake – with better IQ, maybe little faster (f/2.5) and little cheaper. And price of 17/1.8 is too high (for its IQ – good, but not as good as 12/2, 45/1.8 and 75/1.8).

    Maybe there is place on the market for compact like TG-2 (waterproof, rugged) with micro43 sensor size and prime lens.

    And next XZ-2 should get 1” sensor and zoom f/2-2.8.

  • alfons

    It doen’t have to be hybrid viewfinder. Optical finder with parallax correction and settings layout would be great! Dreaming, I know… 🙂

  • It will be outreageously overpriced no matter what, just look at the OM-D. So dont get your hopes up.

  • new mju II

    New version of Olympus mju II (in analog times Olympus sold 3,8 million of mju II):

    – small (packetable)
    – micro43 sensor
    – sharp 17mm f/2.8 prime
    – OVF
    – splashproof body
    – integrated flash
    – very cheap (no IBIS, LCD with small resolution, maybe old sensors from Panasonic)

    http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Olympus_mju_II

  • harish_hd

    I think Olympus will not make a compact camera with fixed lens and a four thirds sized sensor. The size advantage over a PEN mini with a pancake is very very small. The most they can do is add retracting the lens when not in use. There will be no price advantage as well.

    While I do hope they go for a much larger sensor, their recent tie up with Sony will put it in a different situation. They cant quite re-do an RX1. It just doesn’t make enough business sense. What they can do is maybe put a faster lens on an RX100 sensor and price it at around $800. That would keep it unique, both in pricing and performance.

    • MarcoSartoriPhoto

      It wouldn’t be a matter of size (x100 is not that small, for example), it would be a perfect all-around camera (35mm equivalent field of view), but most of all, a high quality lens fixed to a good sensor performs better than the same lens coupled to the same sensor.

  • Stefan

    Olympus is already competing, and doing a bloody good job at it as well. So you all want a small camera with larger sensor than a compact and an EVF?
    Go buy the OM-D! To buy a Fuji X100 with its fixed lens is not really the most compact solution but I admit it´s a lovely retrolooking camera.
    If you are one of those claiming that a single fixed lens makes for a better photographer then just buy the new Olympus 17,5 mm lens and slap it on your new silver OM-D and go out shooting. You will have a stellar piece of retrolooking kit that really will give you lot´s of opportunities to craft som great pictures!
    I have been trying for weeks to find a compact to complement my OM-D but I always leave the shop emptyhanded because when I compare the compacts (Z-X2, LX7 etc) to my OM-D there really is not much difference in size…

  • Anonymous

    “So the question now, how should the Olympus premium compact be to gain some considerable interest over the three?”

    All considered, I think E-M5 is pretty well positioned against all of them.

    m43 has pancakes. And while the cameras are not as small as the Nikon Coolpix A, I think there is very little to be gained by pursuing the route on permanent basis.

    Both Fuji and Pentax try to appeal to the retro nostalgia. It is a fad by definition. If Oly wants to jump on the bandwagon and release some special model, I think they should go with the PEN F or similar. And if it would be fixed lens camera, they can go with a larger sensor – it is another modern fad too.

  • Jens

    Make it like the Contax T3 but with a 38mm/2,8 like the Contax T2.

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