In the presentation we learned about their strategy for Africa in which South Africa is the biggest single market to lead the expansion in the distribution to neighbouring countries and also the rest of Africa. To this end, Olympus has established a repair centre in Cape Town which they claim will have a turnaround time of 3 – 5 days on most repairs. Something the South African owners of Olympus products will be quite happy about. Olympus also aims to become one of the top 3 camera brands within the next 24 months (in Southern Africa) and to this end, has established a new group of brand and sales managers to achieve this goal. Expect to see a lot more advertising and advertorials in local print media!

We look forward to see what Olympus will bring to our shores.

olympus_sky_breakfastWhat had us excited was some new technologies that we can expect to filter up to other brands and models. One of these is built in GPS and compass. Not anything new, per se, but definitely handy when you use your camera to scout, or while traveling point to point. It’s nice to be able to track where you have been and what was shot where on your trip.

olympus_tough-tg-810_thumbTraditionally this has been hampered by a weak interface after the fact. Difficulty in getting the GPS data in a usable format that is easy to see and understand. We are eagerly awaiting more information on these developments.

Added to this, some of the cameras has a a built in location and image recognition feature that will share location information about the place you are currently taking pictures of. Again, it’s unclear how this will work (built in data or wireless connections to a server) or how much data will be available, but it may be a handy feature to travelers. It feels like it’s a direct response to functionality in Android and iPhones (both of which can carry an obscene amount of data which can be easily updated and refreshed) Will it be a gimmick or a useful feature? time will tell.

Two features that we did not expect to see but did like and did grab our attention is based on the data throughput from the devices.

Many cameras in the line-up will have the ability to shoot full 16mp images at an amazing 15fps! even compressed, that is quite a bit of data from what is essentially a small point-&-shoot.

The second feature is a frame in frame dual video feed at 1080p. What this means is that you can shoot two separate video streams at once as long as they are both in the current field of view of the camera. So you can shoot a wide angle shot of a birthday party, for instance, but also select a close-up shot of your child receiving gifts or blowing out candles. This zoomed in feature can also be locked to a subject, so should your child move around in the frame, the second video stream will track, as long as the subject remains in the wider shot.

The end result is two separate videos from the same direction, but with different magnifications (one wide, one zoomed in) a very handy feature, and one that I think will sell quite a bit of cameras just for the technical ability to do that.

olympus_e5_thumbWe also had a quick look at the DSLR offering, the E-5. It’s definitely a rugged little camera (splashproof, dustproof and can take a knock) but were less than impressed with overall performance. Low light focussing was quite slow and unresponsive. Not quite what we are used to from the Nikon and Canon stables. Don’t get me wrong, this body looks and feels like it can take a serious beating, but the dynamic range just doesn’t seem to be there, and noise becomes a problem as low as ISO400. If you really want to get into the Four Thirds system, then rather get a PEN or PEN2

Although we really like a lot of things about the new Olympus product range, I think that a big stumbling block is the fact that very few of the new products can shoot RAW files. That won’t stop the general P-&-S buyer from buying them, but as a carry-around or second camera for a photography hobbyist or pro, it’s a problem.

If I could have my wish, it would be the Tough 810 with Manual functions, the PEN’s sensor, the ability to shoot 1080p video (as well as the video-in-video) and RAW images… the perfect companion! Ok… maybe a bit over the top, but for the top end Tough, at least RAW and Manual functions… maybe next time!

 


PRESS RELEASE…

OLYMPUS IS BORN AGAIN
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Olympus began life in 1919 and was named after Mount Olympus, which, in Greek mythology, is the home of the twelve supreme gods and goddesses.  Olympus was named after the mountain to reflect a high aspiration to create best quality, world famous products  Ninety-two years later, Olympus has revolutionised its product range to focus more specifically on its aesthetic appeal, optics, quality and size.  

This is represented by the launch of three exciting new ranges:   COMPACT, DLSR and PEN (micro four thirds system) – a total of 15 striking and beautiful new cameras.

Not just a renaissance for Olympus, this launch could also see Olympus becoming the trend setter for design expertise as well as for technological advancement.

Please find that a few more emails will follow, as I will send the release on all the cameras.
Note that demo models are available soon, so please let me know which you are interested in reviewing.

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The COMPACT range has 13 new cameras, each with their own unique features.

•    TOUGH, the world’s first 100kg crushproof camera
•    CREATOR, first compact camera to come with a lens from ZUIKO, the XZ-1
•    SMART, perfect compact cameras for good quality movies and photos with minimum fuss and expense
•    TRAVELLER, the SZ(super zoom) flagship range breaks all the rules in the compact category delivering both high-tech with a jaw-dropping 24x wide optical zoom (25-600mm*)

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The DLSR E-5 is designed for excellent performance in extreme conditions and unrivalled peace of mind. Its lightweight magnesium alloy body is dustproof, splashproof and incredibly robust.

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The PEN E-PL2 has a fresh contemporary design and is ideal for social networking, thanks to its compatibility with Olympus new PenPal Bluetooth.

 

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