Olympus removes first non japanese CEO after 6 months (because of cultural differences)

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Back in April 2011 for the first time in Olympus history a non Japanese citizen became Olympus CEO. But after 6 months only the (british) Michael Woodford had been dismissed because of “boardroom and management conflicts“. (Source: Boston.com). The Olympus board appointed Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa as new CEO. It is an unexpected news and Olympus shares plunged more than 14 percent to 2,123 yen ($27.60) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The new CEO Kikukawa said that “He (M.Woodford) could not overcome the cultural barrier of Japan and Japanese companies“.

Analysis: What does it mean for Olympus? From what I read on newspapers and from what I know from my sources Michael Woodford is a very competent manager that has been able to improve the Olympus Europa Holding GmBH profits by cost cutting and restructuring. And my guess is that his restructuring plans were to much “advanced” or “revolutionary” for the traditionally very conservative Japanese company mindset. Is that good or bad news? I guess Michael Woodford would have gone rid of  the digital camera business if it keeps to loose money like it did in the last years. And that’s something that will probably go against Olympus history and tradition. What will happen now? That news increases the chance that Olympus will keep the digital camera business alive, but the risk is that the board will not take some serious decisions to increase the profitability of that business.

And here is the official Olympus statement about the recent event (Source Olympus Global):
Michael C. Woodford has largely diverted from the rest of the management team in regard to the management direction and method, and it is now causing problems for decision making by the management team.
Hence, judging that realisation of the 2010 Corporate Strategic Plan with its slogan of “Advancing to the Next Stage of Globalisation” would be difficult to achieve by the management team led by Woodford, all the board directors attending today, except for Woodford himself who could not participate in the voting due to special interest, unanimously resolved the dismissal from his office of the representative director, President and Chief Executive Officer (dismissal from the office of the representative director, President and Chief Executive Officer and stays as director without executing right.) Along with this, it was also resolved that the representative director, Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa double as the representative director, President and Chief Executive Officer.
Global management that Olympus aims is to implement management rules, information management and operation that are common throughout the world in order to establish a business infrastructure that is more efficient and quick to respond while making the most of a Japanese style management that sets a high value on people, technology and pride of monozukuri or manufacturing. To this end, all our employees will head for the same direction as we will urgently start establishing a new structure to go towards the same goal with the entire staff as one.

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Hacked Panasonic GH2 with AVCHD Intra at 176Mbit (+G3 and GF3 firmware update)

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Driftwood 176mbit GOP1 GH2VK from Perry Wilson on Vimeo.

The GH2 hacking improvements are now reaching new dimensions! Thanks to the latest contribute from “Driftwood” user (check here at personal-view) the Gh2 can now record AVCHD Intra at 176Mbit. As EosHD writes: “This is a codec that uses i-frames only unlike consumer AVCHD. Every frame from the sensor is stored. Standard AVCHD is a Long-GOP compression format and works by estimating and guessing at frames in-between ‘real’ images but Intra doesn’t.” That’s really the best video quality you can get from any DSLR or Mirrorless camera and the amazing thing is that the GH2 tri core has the power to manage all that data! It really shows how good the Panasonic GH2 hardware is! The video on top can be downloaded at http://vimeo.com/29763704 to see the full quality potential fo the new coding!

One more thing. The Gh2 price is dropping slowly in US and Europe. So you may take your chance! Check: Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.

P.S.: The new G3 and GF3 1.2 firmware is now available: http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/dsc/download/fts/index2.html (it fixes an issue with the X lens support).

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(FT3) Olympus will make a Fuji X100 clone?

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Almost one year ago a well known source told me that there is some Olympus technology behind the Fuji X100. Olympus and Fuji are long time friends and working close on some projects. But as of today neither Fuji made a Four Thirds camera nor joined the Micro Four Thirds system. But what I got in these days is a real surprise, and it’s coming from one of our very top source! According to them Olympus will launch a “sort of Fuji X100” competitor. The sources didn’t unveil us when Olympus will make the announcement but they are all sure it’s coming for real! There are two big questions I have to find an answer:
1) Does it have a fixed lens design or will it use m43 lenses?
2) If the lens is fixed, will the sensor be APS-C?
3) Will it have a hybrid viewfinder?

I hope you sources can send me the answer soon :)
Thanks!

Links to the Fuji X100: Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.

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New 45mm, E-PL3, AF100 reviews and Noktor 12mm hands-on.

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EosHD (Click here) tested the Noktor 12mm f/1.6 lens: “So far I love the lens but one area for improvement that I can see at this early point is to reduce the amount of distortion which can be quite noticeable on very straight horizontal lines right across the frame. But given how wide the lens is that is pretty much to be expected.

Cnet (Click here / via noisycamera) reviewed the Olympus E-PL3: “The E-PL3 isn’t the best at anything in its class. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 is faster, smaller, and cheaper; the Sony Alpha NEX-5N has better photo and video quality. But I like the E-PL3 for its balance of features, performance, photo quality, and design that makes many of the tradeoffs worth it for the enthusiast.

Monumentphoto (Click here) tested the new Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens: “From my quick and dirty review, this lens is a must have for any M43 user.  In my opinion if you have M43 and you don’t have this lens, you are not maximizing the system’s potential.  I would have to agree with many who have reviewed this lens that indeed it is one of the best lenses in the M43 lineup at this time.

Travis (dpreview forum) tested both new Leica 25mm f/1.4 and Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lenses: “I think they did just fine for both video and stills. However, I did have issues with getting the 45mm to focus for both stills and video at one point. Restarting the GH2 resolved those issues.

Philip Bloom (Click here) shot a documentary with the Panasonic AG-AF100: “We also used the AF100 for all the handheld work? Why? Well because the handheld work was actuality following people around so a good zoom lens was needed with nice range. I didn’t have one for the F3 or the Epic so we used the AF100 as Kessler have the rather lovely Olympus 14-35 F2 lens. Perfect for handheld work. Using a Zacuto rig at first then a new Shape rig which I was just sent to try out Preston shot the actuality stuff beautifully with this camera.

Shoplinks to mentioned cameras and lenses:
Olympus E-PL3 Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
Olympus 45mm f/1.8 Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
Olympus Zuiko 14-35mm Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
Panasonic AG-AF100 Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
Panasonic-Leica 25mm f/1.4 Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.

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US and Europe deals: Micro Four Thirds cameras for $300/Euro or less.

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With so many new cameras announced by Olympus and Panasonic the first generation cameras liek the E-PL1/2 and GF2 are now aailable for $300 (Euro) or less! I made a list of all new(not used!) cameras you can find for that price:

Olympus E-P2

The Olympus E-P2 body is in Stock for $299 at Amazon (Click here) and Cametauctions (eBay).
Black E-P2 body for 285 Euro at SrsMicrosystems (Ships in Europe only from eBay).
Black E-P2 body for 239 Euro at SrsMicrosystems (Ships in Europe only from eBay).

Olympus E-PL2

White E-PL2 body for 284 Euro at SrsMicrosystems (Ships in Europe only from eBay).
Red E-PL2 body for 284 Euro at SrsMicrosystems (Ships in Europe only from eBay).

Olympus E-PL1

Champagne E-PL1 with 14-42mm lens for 249 Euro at Fotoexperte (Ships in Europe only from eBay).
Black E-PL1 body for 211 Euro at Gwcameras (Ships in Europe only from eBay).
Black E-PL1 body for 205 Euro at SrsMicrosystems (Ships in Europe only from eBay).
Black E-PL1 body for 179 Euro at Fotoexperte (Ships in Europe only from eBay).
Red E-PL1 body for 190 Euro at Softwings (Ships in Europe only from eBay).

Panasonic G2

The camera body is in Stock for $299 at BHphoto (Click here).

Panasonic GF2

Silver GF2 with 14-42mm lens for 309 Euro at FotoMundus (Ships worldwide from eBay).
Black GF2 body for 249 Euro at FotoMattioli (Ships worldwide from eBay).
Black GF2 body for 217 Euro at Softwings (Ships in Europe only from eBay).
Silver GF2 body for 193 Euro at SrsMicrosystems (Ships in Europe only from eBay).

 

P.S.: The french website Openpn announced via Twitter (Click here) that there will be a a 50 Euro cashback action for the GF3 (coming soon!).

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