Dpreview interviewed Aki Murata from Olympus. Here are some highlights:
Full Frame vs MFT:
We have three strengths: Compactness and light weight, lens quality, and I.S. That combination is unique.
Full-frame is kind of like a buzzword in the market, but lens size cannot be changed. If you compare the systems there are visible differences in terms of size and weight. We do what we believe is right. We don’t make full-frame, because we don’t believe that everyone needs it. For most photographers it’s better to have mobility – if you don’t have a camera with you, you can’t take the shot. We believe that our solution is better for most people. It’s good to have full-frame, but there is a need for a smaller system. This is why Maitani’s R&D philosophy is so important to us.
We believe that the market will be separated into two. One is larger, full-frame, and the other is more portable cameras and lenses. We’re happy that everyone else is going to bigger sensors, and we’re staying where we are. I’m confident, and I’m proud to say that we’re staying here. It doesn’t make sense for us to go full-frame. There is a place for full-frame, and a place for medium format, but our customers can’t [be limited to] three frames per second. There is a customer base that needs the products we offer now, and they need a compact and lightweight system.
Ultimate reliability goes far beyond strong build, and resilience to the elements, it also speaks to the cameras performance and consistent operation.
Smartphone versus traditional cameras:
The risk for the photo industry is that people lose interest in traditional photography because their smartphone is so good. If the next step is big lenses and huge cameras, a lot of people might just give up and use their phones instead.
For certain[kind of photography], you cannot utilize a smartphone. You need optics, and capable AF systems. This is the area we want to focus on. We think that there is growth in these areas. This differentiates us a lot compared to smartphones.
Why have only one mount (MFT):
First of all we won’t use any other mount other than Four Thirds. If we had more than one mount, that’s not really user-friendly, and we’re creating the risk that we’d lose customers. If we ask you to buy a camera and lens and then step up to another mount, you might not want to do that. We want to create one, cohesive system with M43. We know our strengths. We have a small and lightweight system, which is good for shooting telezoom lenses, outside. So we’re focusing on this area, to provide suitable products for this field of photography.
Why no top-LCD on the E-M1X:
There are mixed feelings on that. We considered it, but the camera would become bigger and lose operability.
Smaller MFT cameras:
Now that [the E-M1X] has arrived, and it’s our 100th anniversary, you can expect more.
With this interview Olympus made it superclear they will never go Full or Medium Format. And it’s also clear we can expect many new cameras this year!!!