Where Olympus and Panasonic have fumbled the ball (lenses)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Rich, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. Rich

    Rich Guest

    Where is the 2-tier lens system for the micro 4/3rds products?
    Olympus made such (actually, 3-tier) lens system for their DSLRs.
    Regular lenses, Pro and Top Pro. Each step higher quality, in build
    and performance. Canon has tiers. Nikon has tiers. Sony has tiers,
    Pentax has tiers.
    But not so for micro 4/3rds. Aside from the Panasonic 7-14mm which
    could be considered on the level of a Pro Olympus SLR glass (the
    optics part, anyway), all the rest are low-end. The problem is that
    the newest lenses coming out of the this low end are HIGH priced.
    Almost double what their DSLR counterparts cost. So you are (in
    Olympus terms) paying Pro prices for regular glass. These lenses are
    plastic. The housings are plastic, some of the lens elements are
    plastic and none of them are weatherproof. If Olympus or Panasonic
    give some of the people clambering for a semi-pro body, what lenses
    will they put on it?
     
    Rich, Dec 9, 2010
    #1
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  2. Rich

    Bruce Guest


    Pentax has tiers? Pentax hardly has a lens range, and most of them
    are Tokina-made consumer zooms. But I digress ...


    Business is about giving your customers what they want, and extracting
    the greatest possible amount of money for it. Micro Four Thirds has
    captured people's imagination in Japan and Europe, and to a lesser
    extent in the USA. So why not make lenses that are (just) good enough
    and sell them at whatever price people are prepared to pay?

    You and I know that they are expensive junk, but so what? If enough
    people are prepared to pay top dollar for junk, then Panasonic and
    Olympus would be stupid not to exploit them, because they don't know
    any better.


    I'm sure Zeiss and Voigtländer (Cosina) will be along very shortly ...

    I'm happy with my Nikon P7000, but the Panasonic GH2 with 16 MP is
    very tempting. It would be irresistible if I could get a set of Zeiss
    prime lenses for it. A 12mm f/2.8, an 18mm f/1.4 and a 45mm f/2.8
    would do nicely.

    But let's see what Nikon and Canon offer first. ;-)
     
    Bruce, Dec 9, 2010
    #2
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  3. Rich

    Rich Guest

    That is always the case, but I wonder why then they didn't do that
    with the DSLR lenses and why Canon and Nikon don't do that now? In
    other words, I can buy a fair number of reasonably-priced Canon or
    Nikon lenses for less than the price of the average micro-4/3rds lens.
    It only bothers those of us who want better quality. However, if you
    (like Olympus) release a plastic-bodied lens that costs $700, where
    are you going to place (print-point) better quality lenses? $1500 for
    a 14-54mm f2.8? Higher? Meanwhile, their 14-54mm II lens for the
    DSLRs (of which, the only one they are still making is the new E-5,
    one measely DSLR) is around $500.00 with a semi-metal weatherproof
    shell and better glass than the micro-4/3rds stuff.
    Unfortunately, these aftermarket lenses will always be niche market,
    not appealing to the average shooter at all.
    If they ever get off their asses and actually release them.
     
    Rich, Dec 9, 2010
    #3
  4. Rich

    Robert Coe Guest

    : > I'm happy with my Nikon P7000, but the Panasonic GH2 with 16 MP is
    : > very tempting.  It would be irresistible if I could get a set of Zeiss
    : > prime lenses for it.  A 12mm f/2.8, an 18mm f/1.4 and a 45mm f/2.8
    : > would do nicely.  
    : >
    : > But let's see what Nikon and Canon offer first.  ;-)
    :
    : If they ever get off their asses and actually release them.

    They probably don't want to deal with the inevitable glitches of a radically
    new product introduction during the Christmas season. If there's still nothing
    available on March 1, then maybe it's time to worry.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Dec 9, 2010
    #4
  5. Rich

    Rich Guest

    Time to wonder, anyhow. It appears to be a lucrative market, unlike
    the P&S one they are both in.
     
    Rich, Dec 9, 2010
    #5
  6. Rich

    Bruce Guest


    For Canon and Nikon, and to some extent the other manufacturers, the
    P&S market is probably an essential "loss leader".

    Essential, because P&S users trading up to a DSLR tend to look more
    closely at the brand they already use, and a loss leader because it is
    worth losing a little money (or making only a small amount) on
    something that will eventually pay dividends in the sales of the more
    profitable DSLRs.
     
    Bruce, Dec 9, 2010
    #6
  7. Rich

    Bruce Guest


    Micro Four Thirds can get away with this because the format is new and
    cool, and sells mainly to P&S users trading up. Second generation
    DSLR buyers are less easily fooled.


    There are plenty of junk lenses sold with DSLRs.


    I agree, the high quality Four Thirds lenses are now selling at
    ridiculously cheap prices. Even the superlative 12-60mm f/2.8 SWD is
    selling at under $800.

    What does this tell you? It tells you that the market for Four Thirds
    DSLRs and lenses is effectively dead. Olympus is selling off unsold
    stocks of these lenses to get rid of them.


    But the "average shooter" isn't in the market for a semi-pro body.
    Someone who *is* in that market is likely to be attracted by the
    availability of top quality glass, even if he/she ends up buying junk
    plastic Micro Four Thirds optics.


    Nikon and Canon have clearly waited to see if there is a market for
    mirrorless cameras before jumping in and investing a lot of money.

    That's probably wise - the micro camera market might by now be in a
    state of collapse. It isn't - at least in Japan and Europe - so mid
    2011 would be a good time for Nikon and Canon to show us what they
    have.

    I suspect that the Canon offering will be the advanced EIS System that
    has been widely leaked. This will offer something new and different
    from the other mirrorless offerings.

    What Nikon will offer is anyone's guess.
     
    Bruce, Dec 9, 2010
    #7
  8. Rich

    Rich Guest

    Not so much now, except for Sony and some of the aftermarket stuff.
    Could be. I hope not. Though I would have redesigned the E-3/5 to be
    much smaller.
    No, but if the market can support Zeiss add-on lenses at $1100-$1700 a
    pop, why can't Olympus and Panasonic produce something better?
    Well, if the patent that turned up six months ago is right, it could
    be very interesting.
     
    Rich, Dec 9, 2010
    #8
  9. Rich

    Rich Guest

    For Nikon, for sure. If they cared about it, they wouldn't keep
    releasing "also ran" P&S's.
    That's an interesting assumption, that a significant amount of DSLR
    sales are still being generated by former P&S users. I've have
    suspected that was happening when the first Rebel came out, but now I
    would assume that some people's first cameras are going to be DSLRs.
    I've seen a lot of very young people with them.
     
    Rich, Dec 9, 2010
    #9
  10. Rich

    Bruce Guest


    You are very fortunate to live in such a 'Rich' country. ;-)
     
    Bruce, Dec 10, 2010
    #10
  11. Rich

    peter Guest


    So now you are a marketing expert.
    Lets review your CV.
    Business expert.
    Economist
    Marketing expert
    Geo political expert.

    Wow!
     
    peter, Dec 10, 2010
    #11
  12. Rich

    peter Guest

    Nope!

    Most P&S users only want to take quick nice memory snapshots.
    Of course my conclusion is open to change if you have some authoritative
    and verifiable information to the contrary.
     
    peter, Dec 10, 2010
    #12
  13. Rich

    SMS Guest

    No one is clambering for a pro micro 4/3 body. It is strictly a low-end
    consumer product.
     
    SMS, Dec 10, 2010
    #13
  14. Rich

    SMS Guest

    It's startling to see the number of young people, even pre-teens,
    carrying around D-SLRs in places like national parks. You'd think they'd
    scoff at carrying around a large camera versus a small P&S, a Flip, or
    even their phone camera, but at least some of them understand the
    advantages of a D-SLR. Maybe there's hope for the U.S. after all, if
    more and more people are realizing the limitations of the P&S camera.
     
    SMS, Dec 10, 2010
    #14
  15. Rich

    SMS Guest

    The fact is that with the fall in D-SLR prices, it's not unusual to see
    families where there are several D-SLRs. Similar to computers, used to
    be one computer for the whole family because they were so costly, now
    it's unusual where every member of the family doesn't have their own.

    This past summer we were in several national and state parks and I was
    seeing a lot of younger people carrying D-SLRs, along with their
    parent's also carrying them. Presumably the kids got the old ones while
    the parents got the latest model.
     
    SMS, Dec 10, 2010
    #15
  16. Rich

    Whisky-dave Guest

    What makes you think that it's for the same reason they wear
    Rolex watches or ray ban sunglasses, or mount blanc pens.
    Nah, I haven't taken those type of drugs for years.....
    What makes you so sure they have ever used or even understand P&S
    cameras ?

    I'm pretty sure they'll also choose 40"+ TVs does that mean the
    programmes are better
    in the US than they were 5 years ago ?

    Bigger is best in the US ;-)
     
    Whisky-dave, Dec 10, 2010
    #16
  17. Rich

    Robert Coe Guest

    : On 12/9/2010 12:44 PM, Bruce wrote:
    : > For Canon and Nikon, and to some extent the other manufacturers,
    : > the P&S market is probably an essential "loss leader".
    : >
    : > Essential, because P&S users trading up to a DSLR tend to look more
    : > closely at the brand they already use, and a loss leader because it
    : > is worth losing a little money (or making only a small amount) on
    : > something that will eventually pay dividends in the sales of the
    : > more profitable DSLRs.
    :
    : Nope!
    :
    : Most P&S users only want to take quick nice memory snapshots.
    : Of course my conclusion is open to change if you have some
    : authoritative and verifiable information to the contrary.

    Does my experience count? My wife and I had fallen out of the habit of using
    our film Nikons (an F-2 and a Nikkormat) because of the hassle and expense of
    getting decent prints made. We had neither a color enlarger nor the time to
    learn to use one.

    By late 2003, digital cameras had become reasonably affordable, and we had
    three (of an eventual five) grandchildren. So we decided to buy a couple of
    the former to take pictures of the latter. Our daughter Betsy already had a
    digital camera (a Canon S-40 IIRC), with which she got striking pictures of
    her daughter. We figured that what was good enough for Betsy was good enough
    for us, so we bought two Canons P&Sses: an S-50 for Martha and a G-5 for me.
    (What I failed to recognize was that Betsy is a natural child photographer who
    would probably have gotten great pictures with a pinhole.)

    Martha and I used those cameras for three years and liked them well enough,
    but gradually became terminally frustrated by the shutter lag. By then the
    older kids were constantly running around, and the pictures we took of them
    bore less and less resemblance to what we saw in the viewfinder. We knew we
    needed DSLRs, so we bought two more Canons. We chose Canon bacause they had
    just released the XTi to good reviews and because (and here's what supports
    Bruce's point) we were already familiar with Canon's controls, software, and
    general approach, all of which are fairly consistent across their product
    lines. As we started to accumulate Canon-compatible lenses, there was less and
    less incentive to ever switch, and we've bought three more Canon DSLRs over
    the past four years.

    I think it's fair to say that buying those Canon P&Sses is what changed us
    from Nikon users to Canon users.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Dec 11, 2010
    #17
  18. Rich

    SMS Guest

    What's ironic is that in the early days of digital cameras Nikon had a
    huge lead over Canon (and others) with their wildly popular CoolPix 900
    family. Canon was late to the digital game, but they were able to
    overcome that and become the top digital camera manufacturer. Nikon
    really never had an answer to the Canon G series, the Canon S series,
    the Digital Ixus, or the Canon A series. Nikon now seems content to
    concentrate on the D-SLR market and not spend much effort in the
    dwindling P&S market. The P&S market is losing out to devices like the
    Flip and to better and better phones in cameras. They're like a Palm Pilot.
     
    SMS, Dec 11, 2010
    #18
  19. Rich

    Bruce Guest


    I would never suggest that everyone with a P&S will upgrade to a DSLR.
    Some upgrade to mirrorless, some upgrade to a Superzoom, and some stay
    with P&S and don't upgrade at all.

    I would never suggest that people with a P&S of a certain brand would
    always upgrade to a DSLR of the same brand. However, many people do,
    and Robert certainly isn't in a small minority here.

    And that is why it is useful for manufacturers of DSLRs (and
    mirrorless cameras) to offer P&S digicams, even is their P&S range
    makes them very little money, or even loses them a little.

    Pentax is a good example. It is quite a long time since Pentax UK
    made money on its P&S range. But Pentax UK believes it is worth
    losing a little money on that range because it helps sales of the
    profitable Pentax DSLRs and lenses.
     
    Bruce, Dec 11, 2010
    #19
  20. Rich

    Rich Guest

    Sometimes, people can be surprising. For every lazy adult who buys a
    camera based on looks or name or portability, you get a young person
    who buys for quality, things might be looking-up. I once saw a teen
    using a P&S on a cloudy day at a conservation area, but on a tripod.
    I asked out of curiosity why the tripod (one of the major things lazy
    adults refuse to use), and was told that the shutter speed was too low
    at low ISO to get a sharp shot otherwise. That showed some knowledge
    of the craft.
     
    Rich, Dec 11, 2010
    #20
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