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March 2011: Interview with Olympus

Written by Iddo Gennuth at 6/3/2011 22:07   |   Topics:   |   Print

Recently Olympus introduced three new compact cameras. During a press conference held in Tel Aviv a day before the launch the MegaPixel team was able to conduct an interview with Mr. Dominic Papenheim from Olympus Europe about the company's 2011 lineup as well as future plans.

As some of you might remember we interviewed Mr. Dominic Papenheim and Claudia Baehr on video during Photokina 2010. Before we start the current interview here are some interesting slides from the press conference:

Mr.  Papenheim at the press conference


Olympus Confidential


A bit of Olympus super-zoom history


The new SZ-30MR ability to capture HD video and full res still simultaneously

The entire Olympus 2011 line

Mirrorless camera sales increase in 2010


Mirrorless camera sales across the world


Olympus "PEN Pro" – the future of Olympus


Olympus lens line for 2011


Olympus MSC lenses for video


Olympus Converters (Macro, Fish-eye and wide-angle)

The new Olympus macro flash

Interview with Mr. Dominic Papenheim

Q: What's new on Olympus 2011 line?

A: We consider optics to be our core technology and you see this thought all of our range. We have a 100 history in optics (microscopes/endoscopes) and optics together with ease of use are important to us as well as compactness which you can see from the sub 100$ cameras to our PEN line. We feel that we need to be different than the mobile phone industry so we added 3D, GPS, high-zoom and art filters – these help us to differentiate ourselves from the competition. We also decided to go for a whole new naming for our new lines of compact cameras as well as new packaging.

Q: How does the Olympus 3D technology work?

A: Its very similar to taking a panorama image. You take a picture, move slightly and take another one. The camera combines the two images and create a 3D image. That means that taking images of moving objects is not possible in 3D.

Q: Panasonic has a 3D lens (the LUMIX G 12.5mm / F12) can you use it on Olympus cameras and do you have plans to develop a similar lens?

A: Its a good point – I believe that there is also software issues to using this special lens. But maybe this is something that we shall check. This is not something that we are currently looking at. We still see the 3D photography market as a niche market – we wanted 3D to be easy,  the Panasonic solution is also fairly expensive – we are going to incorporate the 3D solution we offer in our compact line in the PEN line as well [most probably using Firmware updates. I.G.].

Q: Why did we have to wait until 2011 for 3D feature in cameras?

A: There were not enough devices which could show 3D until now.

Q: So 3D is more or less where HD video in reflex cameras was 2 years ago?

A: Exactly.

Q: Any special reason why the XZ-1 doesn't support 1080p video?

A: It's a good question. No specific reason that I can tell you.

Q: The XZ-1 cost around 500$ – just below entry level DSLRs and some mirrorless cameras – isn't that just a bit too high for such a camera?

A: It's a world first camera. Olympus is trying not to sell cheap cameras, PEN is a good example. We try to be very competitive when it comes to features and specifications and this cost money. You can always argue that the camera can go 50 or even 100 dollars down – this will happen eventually – again the same as what happened with the PEN.

Q: Is the XZ-1 the first in a new line of similar cameras or is it a standalone product?

A: I would see it as a single product not as a line.

Q: What can you tell us about the future "PEN Pro" you mentioned in your presentation?

A: We see the mirrorless system as the future of digital photography. In 5-10 years reflex cameras will be a niche or will not be there at all. So we believe that PEN in the long run will also be in the professional market – but that will take maybe 2-3 years. In 2011 you will see more PEN products and more lenses (beyond what was discussed in the presentation).

This is an English version of an article originally published on the Israeli Photography website MegaPixel.co.il

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