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(FT4) Sony mirrorless camera update…and harakiri thoughts.


A funny fake Sony GH1 ;) source:

We now received confirmation from two sources that the Sony mirrorless camera (the Panasonic GH1 competitor) is real! The mistake we made was to think that the camera is going to be announced on November 18 (I confess, it is a big mistake). We checked our sources and now we know that Sony has a prototype of such a camera but they are going to announce it only on Photokina (September 2010).
I am really surprised to see how the big ones (Canon, Nikon, Sony) are taking so much time before starting to compete against MicroFourThirds.
I am also surprised about some Panasonic and Olympus harakiri strategical moves. Olympus has no decent MicroFourThirds prime lens and Panasonic is loosing their time advantage by not delivering enough GF1 to the US market.
Anyway it seems they have time enough to do it right!

  • Kirilius

    I don’t think these are “harakiri” moves. Right now m4/3 is not threatening the market share of the big guys. Therefore the big guys are not pressed very hard to innovate and invest in something new.
    What you pointed out is not a “harakiri” strategy for Opympus and Panasonic as well. Unfortunately both companies are trying to position their m4/3 cameras as luxury ones. They are targeting serious photograpehrs and amateurs with A LOT OF MONEY to spare. And the lack of choice and availability on the market only reinforces that notion that these are cameras for a small niche or rich consumers. And the worst thing is that they are succeeding.

    A few days ago solicited your readers’ input for a poll: what should Oly and Pana do next. I responded with several suggestions amongst which “start competing”. Interestingly that scored almost at the bottom of the poll. What I meant was that at the moment these two companies are not competing. The actual models on the market (GF1 and E-P2) are NOT competing models. Whichever you pick, you WILL have to sacrifice something important. If you pick GF1, you will have to sacrifice the good straight-from-the camera JPEG, the dynamic range and the in-body IS. If you pick E-P1/2, you will sacrifice the focus speed. Both cameras don’t have built-in EVFs and the add-ons are ridiculously expensive.

    m4/3 will become a thread to the big companies when they start flooding the market of the lower-level consumers. I for example want to upgrade from a ultra-zoom camera to something with similar size/weight and versatility but with the advantage of a big sensor. M4/3 seems to be the answer to my needs but if I want to upgrade now, I will have to spend as much as TWO Oly E-620 with double kit! If there was competition between these companies, we should have had more models on the market, more lenses and as a result lower prices (not like the ridiculous $1000 14-140mm that Panasonic has) ;-(

  • Duarte Bruno

    Very good points except for:

    “I don’t think these are “harakiri” moves. Right now m4/3 is not threatening the market share of the big guys. ”
    If you look at sales numbers in Japan I do believe they are threatening.

  • Tom

    I also feel that the m4/3 product does inherently target professionals who need a smaller camera and advanced enthusiasts who are willing to spend a bit more. If you are only going to shoot with the kit lens, you would be better off with one of the more advanced point and shoot systems that are out there. I understand it that the typical m4/3 user will spend multiples of the cost of the camera body on lenses over the years, and that the investment in glass is reassured by the long term success of the m4/3 concept, which seems to be well established at this point. Those manufacturers who are going to roll out non-m4/3 competition risk consumers not trusting that whatever lens system in use is not going to last for the long haul, thus will not be getting sales from the educated pro / high end enthusiasts… and will also not get sales from the rest of the market since the price will be higher than fixed kit point and shooters. Sony has a chance since there is a well established Alpha user base, assuming that is what they would use. Samsung will use Pentax lens mounts (???), which is certainly not a strong move, but also certainly much better than them trying to invent something in-house.

  • Chris Polis

    The thing I find odd is that the cameras are positioned as premium products, but the lenses offered are consumer aperture lenses.

    Still waiting for a 12-42 F2.0-F2.8…

  • Kirilius

    “If you are only going to shoot with the kit lens, you would be better off with one of the more advanced point and shoot systems that are out there.”

    I have an advanced point and shoot camera (Panasonic FZ18) already even though I don’t understand why they call it point and shoot as it has full manual controls. I am also not a point and shoot user as well. I set everything manually in 99% ot my pictures. Most of my pictures are made while travelling (mostly tourist shots) and I like the relatively small size and weight combined with a very versatile lens that I have currently. I am also aware of the limitations that my current camera has:
    1) Limited resolution, lots of detail smearing and interpolation (bad for landscapes)
    2) Poor dynamic range (crucial for landscapes)
    3) Poor high ISO performance (no good indoor pictures)
    4) Slow focus (impossible to take pictured of my fast-moving kid)
    5) Small sensor means less background defocus (bokeh), which means less expressive portraits.

    I don’t want to invest in a DSLR system as it will be too heavy for travelling. I know many people do it, but that’s just not my style.

    I have analysed my needs and I figured that the ideal camera setup for me would be (Olympus and Panasonic take notes, please):

    1) The size and looks of a black E-P2
    2) In-body IS
    3) Built-in EVF and flash
    4) The focus speed of GF1/GH1!!!
    5) Dynamic range of E-P1/2
    6) Out-of-camera JPEG quality of E-P1/2

    7) Panasonic’s 20mm/1.7 for low light and portraits
    8) An universal all-in-one travel lens with deceent quality and range 12-120mm (24-240mm equiv)

    – Micro 4/3 is about simplicity and is supposed to make the lenses smaller and cheaper to produce. So the price should not be much different than an equivalent entry-level DSLR system. I quickly checked on the B&H website and it looks that Nikon D3000 + 18-200 VR II + 50/1.8 in total is less than $1469! A similar M4/3 combination should cost less to produce. I would gladly pay ~$1000 for a kit like GH1 + 14-140mm

    I think the easiest will be to meet my camera body requirements. All it takes is that Olympus take advantage of the EXISTING fast focus technology of GF1 and put it in their next model. It is as simple as that.

    I know I am pushing it with my lens wish for a 12-120 but why not? What is the reason for such a lens not being made?

    The price will be brought down only after we have more players on the market.

  • Maintaining and developing two system at the same time depletes resources. Look at Olympus classic 4:3.

    Also, seems like Canon are quite confident on their Canon S90 IS and Canon G11 performance.

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