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Author Topic: Camera of the year  (Read 8727 times)
jeremyrh
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« on: December 31, 2013, 09:06:50 AM »
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As a new owner of the Oly OMD EM1, I have to say I love this camera, which seems to me to show the difference between a camera made by a camera company and one made by an electronics giant.

But .. the menus and customisation options are really a nightmare!! Some of the buttons are programmable, and some not (despite what the manual says, e.g. the 4-way dial) and some buttons have wide choice of optimisation possibility and others just a few options. I found this document useful: http://www.biofos.com/mft/omd_em1_settings.html and followed the suggestion to assign parameter "sets" to the mode dial, since I never use iAuto and similar features.
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2013, 12:11:50 PM »
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Not the most controversial/unexpected camera of the year award has to be said  Roll Eyes  Tongue
2012 has been quite an interesting year in some ways, being based in Europe though I see relatively few of these ILC models in actual use for some reason EU buyers are not that interested in them.
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trichardlin
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2013, 12:15:34 PM »
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My favorite quote from this article: "content is king and usability is its mistress."
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2013, 02:50:06 PM »
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Ironically enough, I just stumbled across a Yahoo Finance news item titled "5 Disappearing Brands in 2014" and guess what is on the list:

Quote
Olympus Cameras

Another brand that could go belly up is Olympus Cameras, as smartphones replace traditional cameras. The brand hasn’t generated a profit from their camera business in three years. And this fiscal year, the company expects worldwide camera sales to drop by nearly 50% to 2.7 million units.

Somehow, reminds me of phrases "nice guy finishes last," "barbarians at the gate," and the demise of Borders (always had comfier armchairs than Barnes and Noble). If it does happen, it will be, arguably, one of the saddest stories in camera history.
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Manoli
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« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2013, 03:09:02 PM »
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Ironically enough, I just stumbled across a Yahoo Finance news item titled "5 Disappearing Brands in 2014" and guess what is on the list:

Interesting article in the NYT  ..
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2013/12/29/business/29reuters-japan-cameras.html?_r=0
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John Camp
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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2013, 04:48:53 PM »
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I'm involved in a discussion of this article on another forum; suffice to say that it is an article notable for its flawed logic, its confusion of "mirrorless" with "compact" cameras, odd comments about brand awareness (the writer doesn't seem to know Panasonic is actually *larger* than Sony or Nikon or Canon), western perspective (mirrorless is in trouble because it doesn't sell as well as DSLRs in the US and Europe, although the writer concedes that a third of the interchangeable lens cameras sold in Japan were mirrorless, not bad for a young camera style.) The idea that mirrorless is in trouble seems to derive form the fact that Nikon's mirrorless is in trouble...but the author doesn't seem to distinguish between Nikon's systems and the others...and so on. One of the main sources for the article was an analyst for Credit Suisse, who slams Panasonic and likes Sony, which brings up the question, does this particular merchant bank have a business relationship with Sony?

I write this not in defense of any particular system, but because I spent 20 years as a fairly serious reporter and this article is a piece of junk, full of holes, specious reasoning and suspect motives, and it pisses me off to see it in the Times. Rule of thumb: You can no longer trust anything from Reuters or AP.
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BarbaraArmstrong
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« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2013, 05:24:17 PM »
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Our good fortune is that we have articles from Michael -- trusted, enjoyed, and appreciated.  His article on the OMD-EM1 was a welcome year-end commentary.  Happy New Year to all!  --Barbara
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Dale Villeponteaux
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« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2013, 05:56:41 PM »
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Michael Johnston of The Online Photographer also chose this as his camera-of-the-year.

Regards,
Dale
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peterottaway
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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2013, 06:34:31 PM »
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Well so far Olympus has attracted the plaudits of reviewers and commentators but the proof of the pudding is in the eating ie sales and increased lens sales. And this Grinchs opinion is that the "5" hits my price/performance sweet spot the "1" is overpriced by $200 to $250 for its place in the market.

No doubt a good camera but Olympus probably should have priced the camera somewhere about the Sony Nex 7 level. I suspect amongst the Olympus buying public the question being asked is what extra to me is the OM-D E-M 1 over the E-M 5 ?
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Telecaster
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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2013, 08:02:28 PM »
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My perhaps jaundiced definition of prognostication: an attempt to will a desired outcome into being by forcefully stating it to as broad an audience as possible. That the attempts are often factually and/or logically deficient stems from their basis in ideology & emotionalism rather than evidence & analysis.

Note that I'm not claiming the above applies to either article cited here. I haven't read them. I'd also say my definition does apply to the quarterly financial statements of pretty much every camera company in existence, including Olympus and Panasonic.   Wink

-Dave-
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2014, 03:38:05 AM »
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It is indeed a nice camera, and overall a very good proposition as part of a very complete system. Today, one should decide which camera to buy not because of minute differences in IQ, but based on ergonomics and the overall purposes of one's photography.

Here in Portugal, Olympus is actually a very well known brand, and there are many cameras and lenses in major photo stores. Much more visible than, say, Fujifilm... for my landscape work, I have now settled on a Fuji with the wonderful 14mm lens. For portrait, I also use Fuji with a Voigtlander 75 f1.8 VM lens.

From what I see in my travels, Europe and the world, these "compact system" cameras still have a long way to go to carve a significant proportion of the market share.
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2014, 06:07:46 AM »
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2014 will probably suffer more decline in sales. Some makers are looking more vulnerable than others.
Not Canon, purely because they have their fingers in a lot of pies not just cameras, they can take a hit and they have widespread adoption.
Nikon are probably big enough to ride it out, but most of their business is purely cameras.

Olympus seem to make more profit from their medical division, and Pentax are a bit small to weather a prolonged downturn.
Something has to give, maybe not this year but a longer term view I would have to say we're likely to see a few more pack in cameras.

Take your pick, Sony are far from out of the woods, Panasonic in a similar situation. These 2 makers are getting hammered in consumer electronics too. Fuji's been pretty shaky too over the years.
I will say something, I don't think Olympus and their pricing in Europe does them any favours, they are by far the worst offender for overpricing.

I know about 2 micro 4/3 users, in a market dominated mostly by Canon. Hard to pin down but I think micro 4/3 isn't good value as far as Olympus are concerned. Read quite a few articles about Europe and buyers, and I would have to agree smaller is not considered a selling point for many EU buyers.
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thebatman
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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2014, 09:24:28 AM »
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Having just rented an EM1 and X-E2 over the holidays I agree with Michael's choice here.  From IQ to ergonomics to build quality the EM1 performed flawlessly, and I'll be ordering one soon.  My kit will be an EM1 plus an RX1 so I'll still have some FF ability when I want it.

On the industry itself, no denying those numbers are grim, and surely more shakeout is inevitable. It seems most logical that Sony will buy the rest of Olympus (at least the camera division) that it does not own.  Then to keep their M43 sensor operations in business if Panasonic looks to drop out, Sony would be the logical acquirer of Panasonic camera operations as well (perhaps dropping the Panasonic brand and branding all M43 as Olympus).  Sadly Ricoh/Pentax feels likely just to wind up at some point.  That would indeed leave Canon, Nikon and Sony as virtually the whole market.
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2014, 10:45:18 AM »
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Having just rented an EM1 and X-E2 over the holidays I agree with Michael's choice here.  From IQ to ergonomics to build quality the EM1 performed flawlessly, and I'll be ordering one soon.  My kit will be an EM1 plus an RX1 so I'll still have some FF ability when I want it.

On the industry itself, no denying those numbers are grim, and surely more shakeout is inevitable. It seems most logical that Sony will buy the rest of Olympus (at least the camera division) that it does not own.  Then to keep their M43 sensor operations in business if Panasonic looks to drop out, Sony would be the logical acquirer of Panasonic camera operations as well (perhaps dropping the Panasonic brand and branding all M43 as Olympus).  Sadly Ricoh/Pentax feels likely just to wind up at some point.  That would indeed leave Canon, Nikon and Sony as virtually the whole market.

Makes no sense to me why Sony would buy Olympus out (bar medical areas where they have a good presence) Sony have their own E mount models they are trying to push. Why buy a competitors system when you have 2 of your own? (A and E mount)

Ricoh's buy out of the Pentax camera division (not the medical which Hoya I think kept) seems a questionable choice. Pentax can certainly bash out a decent camera, but it seems any push for K mount should have happened 4-5 years ago. The party is indeed over so longer term I have doubts about Ricoh/Pentax.

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Martin86
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« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2014, 11:45:26 AM »
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Yes, I also put a short version of this post to the "full frame myth" section because I think it belongs to both. Well, the author of the article forgot to mention one but crutial thing: The depth of field possibility. Yes, I can see that it is not a hot topic for a landscape shooter but for the experienced eye of the experienced street / portrait / people shooter the full frame abilitites in this respect are not a "myth" at all. With m4/3 or even APS/C, one cannot reach the same field of view with the same level of the shallow DoF. There are no equivalents for 21/1.4, 24/1.4, 35/1.4 or 50/0.95 or 85/1.4 lenses. No need to say in this forum that IT IS the lenses what greatly contributes to the final perception, atmosphere, "pop" and concept of the final images. Of course I can see Mr.Reichmannīs style of shooting doesnīt work with the very thin DoF which I accept - that is his style and I have a respect for it. But honestly, the pictures of photographers who can (masterfully) benefit from the fast full frame lenses have much deeper impact on me. So while in the high-iso department I think we can live up with the offerings from APS-C or m4/3 sensors, the real benefit of the above mentioned facts shouldnīt be forgotten. The size still matters, Iīm afraid.

Otherwise I consider the OMD E-M1 an unbelievably thought-out and made camera. Unfortunately, one important unpleasant thing here too: When playing with it shortly in low-light I couldnīt have noticed that the tracking AF system and the overall AF reliability does seem to me (significantly - albeit the meaning of this adverb is relative, I admit) worse than my 5D mark III. Please note that Iīm not talking about super-fast tracking of a flying pigeon in a dim hall...  And that was with the high-grade pro 2.0 lens which can hide a lot in the greater depth of field. I would really like to see the amount of keepers if the equvalents of the fast full frame lenses existed.... ;-)

No, I donīt want to neither bash Olympus for producing a really great camera nor M.Reichmann for the really very interesting article. I just cannot share the enthusiasm mainly because 1) The m4/3 sensor cannot give you the same low-light / high megapixel quality and shallow DoF control  2) The AF system in low light leaves something to be desired 3) The m4/3 format is dead.... Sorry guys, Iīm totally persuaded about that for the future.
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Telecaster
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« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2014, 01:02:37 PM »
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I don't think anyone is arguing against the continued existence of larger formats. How many times does it need to be stated: This Is Not A Zero-Sum Game! Such games are the stuff of absolutist fantasy and fanboy drivel. Also, the DOF thing has been driven into the ground and out the other end already. Enough...buy the gear you want/need. Enjoy using it. Photography is fun...have fun!

Personally I'd love nothing more than for a brand new player to swoop down upon the photo industry with super-cool whiz-bang technology and disrupt the shit out of everything. IMO a right good housecleaning is well overdue.

-Dave-
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2014, 02:09:25 PM »
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... the pictures of photographers who can (masterfully) benefit from the fast full frame lenses have much deeper impact on me....

For instance?

And I mean, not just shot with such lenses, but shot at their max aperture? How many great images of our times have been shot with apertures below, say, f/2.0? And if they did, how many of us would be able to tell the difference if they were shot at a half or even a full stop smaller? And among those who could, how many would swear that it made all the difference in the world regarding the content?
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Slobodan

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John Camp
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« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2014, 02:14:17 PM »
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No, I donīt want to neither bash Olympus for producing a really great camera nor M.Reichmann for the really very interesting article. I just cannot share the enthusiasm mainly because 1) The m4/3 sensor cannot give you the same low-light / high megapixel quality and shallow DoF control  2) The AF system in low light leaves something to be desired 3) The m4/3 format is dead.... Sorry guys, Iīm totally persuaded about that for the future.

So this means you're not interested in the Voightlander 17.5mm, 25mm and 42.5mm f/0.95 lenses in native m4/3 mount? You must be a very specialized shooter.
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Telecaster
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« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2014, 02:16:49 PM »
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Apropos this thread, this week's article by Ctein at The Online Photographer:

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2014/01/complexity-and-convergence.html

A quote: "So, is it terribly surprising that we end up picking over minutia trying to decide what camera to buy? To paraphrase an old homily, the purchasing debates are so heated precisely because it is so hard to find any kind of clear distinction between the products."

-Dave-
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Pete Berry
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« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2014, 02:32:34 PM »
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Well so far Olympus has attracted the plaudits of reviewers and commentators but the proof of the pudding is in the eating ie sales and increased lens sales. And this Grinchs opinion is that the "5" hits my price/performance sweet spot the "1" is overpriced by $200 to $250 for its place in the market.

No doubt a good camera but Olympus probably should have priced the camera somewhere about the Sony Nex 7 level. I suspect amongst the Olympus buying public the question being asked is what extra to me is the OM-D E-M 1 over the E-M 5 ?

For me, it would be, as Michael noted, the ability to efficiently AF the Oly SLR 4/3 excellent High Grade lenses (24-120/2.8-4.0 and 100-400/2.8-3.5 EFL), and the simply exquisite, unmatched for speed and wide-open IQ Super High Grade 28-70 and 70-200 EFL fixed f/2.0 and 150-500/fixed 2.8 zooms, not to mention the sublime 300/2.0 and 600/2.8 EFL primes. Unlike the E-M5, the M1 can AF these lenses with its hybrid contrast/PD AF system as opposed to the E-M1's purely contrast AF common to all other m4/3 bodies. The Oly SLR bodies these lenses were designed for were hampered by their noisier, lower resolution 10-12MP sensors.

I use the contrast AF-enabled 4/3 Pana-Leica 14-150/3.5-5.6 OIS as my Panny GH3 workhorse, but it's slow to focus - about 1/3 sec. - though very accurate. This and the above lenses need the 4/3>m4/3 adapter adding several ounces and near 7/8" to the rig. After 3 1/2 years it still impresses me with it's corner-to-corner IQ throughout it's range, and better than my previous 4/3 Oly 12-60 Hi-grade over their common range - also slightly shorter and an ounce lighter than the Oly! So yep, the E-M1 with it's iron claw IBIS and expanded AF system is definitely in my future, with the GH3 for backup and video.

Pete
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