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Thread: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

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    Default Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    As I was out for a photo-drive tonight with my better half (the weather was too grey and cr*ppy to go hiking), and we were talking about how little we spend on 4/3 gear now, and on Olympus products in general.

    I turned around and looked at my usual hiking camera bag, packed with the following:
    -E-5
    -complete set of SHGs (well, the 90-250mm was at home)
    -50mm, 35mm and 8mm HGs
    -TC2.0 and TC1.4
    -the FL50, ring and twin flashes and extension tube were at home,

    My better half around and looked at her lightweight bag, packed with following:
    -E410
    -remainder of the complete HG series (except for the 12-60mm)

    I realized something. I haven't bought a lens in nearly four years. I have purchased only one (1) camera body over the span of nearly four years. I am still current with the top of 4/3 tech. The durability and quality of my gear is so good, it'll likely outlast me, and I'm only in my early 50s.

    I wouldn't actually mind spending some more money on top-end Oly gear, but what would I spend it on? Perhaps retire the E410 and by a three year old E620? Don't think so.

    And no, I don't think I'll invest much in m4/3 beyond the EPM-1 mini and the one kit lens it came with. That's just a specialized camera for backcountry ski touring for my wants and needs, in my opinion. I might add an XZ-2 later this year for the same purpose.

    In short, Olympus has a rather poor business plan going for those of us who want to stay with classic 4/3 Olympus, and it's simply a shame that it has to be that way. If the E7 does come out, well, that will be one additional camera purchase over the next three years.

    Notice I didn't get all gripey and complainey, or grouse that "I'm switching brands, because, well, I'm not switching brands. But, that's not very much available 4/3 purchasin' for a couple of folks whom I surmise should be viewed as Olympus' "core customers". OTOH, I suspect the vast majority of m34/3 shoppers fall into the "one body and one kit lens" camp, and who are not, and never will be, its "core customers".

    Oh well, it makes saving for retirement (some day) easier, I guess, even though I'm on the "Freedom 95 Plan."


    Leigh
    zippski
    Last edited by zippski; 06-04-2012 at 10:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    This is a good thing Leigh

    The way I look at it is if we are at it long enough and serious enough about it we will eventually acquire all the gear that serves our purposes.

    Cheers, Don
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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    One of the appeals of Olympus when I was getting back into photography...digital photography, after a long hiatus from film, was that Olympus was entirely designed from the ground up for digital. I think they have a very well thought out selection of lenses which is the real selling point of a system. Granted, there is not a huge selection, but whats there is outstanding, versatile and covers a wide range, from 8mm (fisheye) to 600mm (300 plus EC20). I do think they have fallen a bit short in not marketing the 'reach factor' of their 4/3 sensor, and by not putting out a 200-400 HG f/4-5.6 with that same 'reach factor' in mind. It would seem to be the sports and wildlife photogapher's ideal system. But, I also think their overall marketing encompasses more than 4/3, or even m4/3. Their new Tough TG-1 looks very appealing; in fact, I may buy one. And, I'm already saving for the E-7!
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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    The consumer-lines are where the money is made. The pro-lines (HG, SHG, and m.4/3 OM-D w/ fast primes) are where the investment is made.

    If the Regular-Joe sees someone using an Olympus high-end product and getting fantastic results, he wants an Olympus. He sees that he cannot afford an E-5 and SGH glass, but he can pick up a consumer-grade camera and still shoot Olympus.

    Also, you are so convinced with Olympus gear that in considering a compact, you're still looking at Olympus.
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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    Quote Originally Posted by silversx80 View Post
    The consumer-lines are where the money is made. The pro-lines (HG, SHG, and m.4/3 OM-D w/ fast primes) are where the investment is made.

    If the Regular-Joe sees someone using an Olympus high-end product and getting fantastic results, he wants an Olympus. He sees that he cannot afford an E-5 and SGH glass, but he can pick up a consumer-grade camera and still shoot Olympus.

    Also, you are so convinced with Olympus gear that in considering a compact, you're still looking at Olympus.
    Joe has gotten this spot-on. You've probably read me saying this before, but if past performance is the best predictor of future behavior, then you can expect Olympus to continue their SHG line indefinitely, and produce a single "new" (read slightly improved here) high end body about every four or five years. The OM line had a forty-year run with a new updated body released about every five years. While their sales may not be spectacular in any given year, the profits over a forty year run had to be amazing, especially after the then initial R&D costs were recouped, sales income was essentially gravy.

    Digital has matured. There won't be the revolutionary breakthroughs we've seen annually for ten years any longer. We're back to where film was in the '80s. The '70s brought huge advances in 35mm lens technology and in bodies to a lesser extent. The '90s were pretty stagnant except in the pro body lines. Really, nothing new was released in film bodies after digital technology got serious and film really stagnated. We're seeing the same thing in digital now. There are incremental improvements, but nothing revolutionary.

    What's next? Basically improved sensor technology. Perhaps some improvements in "motor drive" frame rates... somebody will figure out some gimmicks here and there and tout them as necessary, but we're at the point now that PC technology has arrived at. How fast is 'fast?' How much resolution is enough? How much noise reduction can be done?

    We'll continue to see improvements, but not at the pace we've seen... and I'm ok with that!
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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    I used a Nikonos RS (underwater camera) with two lenses, wide angle and macro for 90% of my work for about fifteen years until moving to an Olympus E-1 the day it was released. I had most of the better 43 lenses in the under 200mm range for my work including the 8 fisheye, 7-14 and the steller 50 macro. I also housed about every E-body up to the E-3 for underwater use. I did not see a big upside to moving up to the E-5 and having to buy another expensive (over $2000+) housing for the little difference between the cameras for underwater work.

    I now own the Olympus E-M5 which is every bit as much of a "pro" level camera as the E-5 and much better in many ways. I am finding the M43 lens set to also be every bit as good as the 43 lens line but with less offerings at this time. The 12-50 would be the only disapointment compared to the 12-60 which I owned for years. From Olympus the 12mm and 45mm F/1.8 are as good as any of the 43 lenses I have used. From Panasonic the 8mm fisheye, 7-14 zoom and 45mm macro are also as good as the SGH glass, with a what appears to be steller 12-35mm zoom coming soon. It appears the Olympus 60mm macro and 75mm will also
    live up to the high Olympus standard for quality lenses.

    To lumb all M43 cameras and lenses into the classification of "consumer-line" would be wrong since many of the features you are wishing for in an E-7 already exist in the E-M5.

    Phil Rudin

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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    Phil, I think you inadvertently proved my point.

    You said the "pro grade" 12-50mm is a disappointment compared to the 12-60mm. Silly me; here I am thinking that the 12-60mm cannot hold a candle against the 14-35mm and 35-100mm. I've shot both.

    So.....where does that leave me, a SHG owner? Waiting for some slower-apertured "faux-SHG" m4/3 lenses?


    .....................I didn't think so either.


    "4/3. It's all about the lenses"
    Leigh
    zippski

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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    I did not say that the 12-50mm zoom was a "pro grade" lens. It is a Kit lens like the 12-60 for the E-3 and E-5 cameras. The Panasonic 12-35mm X F/2.8 zoom would be my pick as a carry around zoom at this time and the coming 35-100mm X F/2.8 as well.

    The bottom line is that Olympus and others are making high-end lenses for M43 that are as good as many of the highend lenses for 43 and more are coming. Olympus has already learned from the constent bitching of 43's users, myself included and released several very high-quality primes like the 12, 45, 75 and the coming 60 macro with more to come. M43 lenses from other makers vested in the 43/M43 systems are also gaining traction.

    Where I think it leaves us is with the first M43 camera offering that is every bit as good as any sub 35mm frame DSLR with a growing set of high quality lenses. I sure didn't buy all of my 43 lenses the day I got my E-1, they came over a long period of time and all things being equal the higher priced lenses rendered better image quality than the lower priced ones. The release of the first PEN cameras were clearly directed at entry level consumers and those moving up from compacts and the lenses were made accordingly.

    I think those who buy into the OM-D system have a lot to look forward to just as I did when I bought into the E-system with the E-1 and the bodies and lenses that followed.

    Phil Rudin

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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    Quote Originally Posted by zippski View Post
    I realized something. I haven't bought a lens in nearly four years. I have purchased only one (1) camera body over the span of nearly four years. I am still current with the top of 4/3 tech. The durability and quality of my gear is so good, it'll likely outlast me, and I'm only in my early 50s.
    All that proves Leigh, is that high quality optics and durable body build far outlasts and out-performs the pile of fad camera bodies that every other camera manufacturer pushes on us every year, sporting the latest sensor tweaks and useless features while ignoring the timeless build and design which makes a real camera.

    I don't see the problem.
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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    Ned, I actually don't have a problem with my gear, or Olympus. At all. I LOVE using my gear and I am thankful that I don't need to upgrade much, or often.

    The purpose of my OP was that OLYMPUS may have a problem. If they are no longer catering (at all) to my wife and I, are they not making a rather poor business decision to ignore their customers who are willing to, and will, buy most every new high-end lens and body as it arrives on the market?

    If you argue that the answer is "no", why the heck are they even still in the 4/3 business? I always thought the huge mark ups were in the high end lenses and high end bodies, not the low(ish) end stuff. I gotta think that selling one 14-35mm has the same total net profit as a ten 12-60mm's or ten OM-Ds.

    Leigh
    zippski

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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    Quote Originally Posted by zippski View Post
    If you argue that the answer is "no", why the heck are they even still in the 4/3 business? I always thought the huge mark ups were in the high end lenses and high end bodies, not the low(ish) end stuff. I gotta think that selling one 14-35mm has the same total net profit as a ten 12-60mm's or ten OM-Ds.
    The low-end stuff can survive a lower mark-up because it sells in such a higher quantity. I'm willing to bet that Olympus has made a far greater profit from the 12-60, than from any other SHG lens. Even though the profit on the 14-35 may be equal to ten 12-60 lenses, there are likely forty to fifty 12-60 lenses sold per 14-35. I'd also be willing to bet that Olympus has made a greater profit from their consumer-grade dSLRs, prior to m.4/3, than their SHG lens collection combined.

    Chances are, however, that the mark-up on SHG lenses is lower than you'd expect. Lower production rates means higher overheads per item. Why do you think the 300/2.8 is made-to-order? The goal is to get the pros using their equipment. Profit is a wash, but consumers want to use what the pros use, lust after the higher end and can't afford it, so they settle for HG or SG. Olympus makes more money from consumers, and the SHG line is pure investment.

    Just my hypothesis.
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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    Olympus produces new product at just the right rate for me. In fact if they come out with the E-7 within the next year, they will be right on track with my purchasing abilities.
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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    OTOH, I suspect the vast majority of m34/3 shoppers fall into the "one body and one kit lens" camp, and who are not, and never will be, its "core customers".
    I suspect you're wrong. m4/3rds is far more successful than 4/3rds ever was. And now with the OMD getting all the attention its only going to get worse(or better depending on your outlook). It's getting a lot of attention from higher end photographers. It seems now i've seen multitudes of these "higher ups" of photography all spouting the stuff kirk tuck was saying 2 years ago about m4/3rds. They will buy, or already buying the OMD and multiple lenses.

    Like it or not olympus is haphazardly supporting 4/3rds. What does it say when m4/3rds cameras had a better sensor than the E5 just months after the E5's release?

    Someone complained above of "other manufacturers shoving new cameras down on us every year" well there's another way to look at that. 1) there's always something for everyone in those "other systems" and 2) if you aren't happy with something there's almost always something better around the corner.

    Olympus did really miss the boat on their reach factor, they should have a 300f4, a 200-400 and a 500f4 in their lens arsenal.

    I love my m43rds its great for walking around and a lightweight package. I use it for everything but my landscape work.

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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    Quote Originally Posted by WRYphoto View Post
    ...Olympus did really miss the boat on their reach factor, they should have a 300f4, a 200-400 and a 500f4 in their lens arsenal.

    ...
    I agree with this. I was at my daughter's soccer tournament the other day and there was a birder there shooting his daughter. You could tell by the camoflague on his lens. It looked like he had a D4 with a 400mm f2.8 lens. We weren't at the same game, but he walked by so I got a decent glimpse. My wife joked if I had lens envy. But thinking about it, I was there with an E3, grip and 50-200 with ec14 shooting hand held while he was shooting on a monopod. My setup looked big, but his looked really big. And if my estimates are correct his weighed 13 lbs to my 5 lbs.

    So even the heavy 4/3 gives a distinct weight advantage for similiar shutter speeds and AOV. The only difference being he could narrower DOF. But shutterspeed and composition usually makes or breaks the action photo over DOF. Since it was really sunny out, I put on the ec14, set the aperture to a constant f5, shutter to 1/1,000, let the ISO float (usually between 100 and 200), and was able to zoom when they ran up close to me. The logical progression of the HG lens lineup would be a 200-450 f3.5-4. That would give you a 630 f5.6 with the ec14 and cover the 300f4.
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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    Quote Originally Posted by zippski View Post
    … that's not very much available 4/3 purchasin' for a couple of folks whom I surmise should be viewed as Olympus' "core customers". OTOH, I suspect the vast majority of m34/3 shoppers fall into the "one body and one kit lens" camp, and who are not, and never will be, its "core customers".
    I suspect that this might be a bit backwards. The majority of people who buy an interchangeable-lens camera, mirrored or otherwise, never buy another lens after their initial purchase. And the majority of the SLR market – which remains a very small amount of the total market – is the low-end and entry-level 'consumer' gear. That's who the ads are targeting when they show Justin Beiberlake and Avril Kutcher bouncing around with cameras, when they show the backs of cameras hanging on gallery walls, or when the billboard says "Bought a Cänon? Sorry to hear that." That's where the core market is.

    The number of people who think that it's sensible to have a lens that costs more than the camera, or who think that having many lenses or multiple cameras is a sensible thing to do, is vanishingly small.

    If there's one lesson that I take from the recent camera introductions from Pänasonic, Canųn, Olympüs, and Son˙ it's that none of them are particularly concerned with the high-end of the market – they've either abandoned it or assume they own it forever. But ultimately, this does go right back to the question of being a mature shopper (being satisfied with the equipment already owned) versus having a mature product line with only the once-a-decade revamps of existing lenses. Photography isn't a growth market, and there's just not much ground being broken.

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    Default Re: Mature Shopper versus Mature Product Line

    Quote Originally Posted by silversx80 View Post
    The low-end stuff can survive a lower mark-up because it sells in such a higher quantity. I'm willing to bet that Olympus has made a far greater profit from the 12-60, than from any other SHG lens. Even though the profit on the 14-35 may be equal to ten 12-60 lenses, there are likely forty to fifty 12-60 lenses sold per 14-35. I'd also be willing to bet that Olympus has made a greater profit from their consumer-grade dSLRs, prior to m.4/3, than their SHG lens collection combined.

    Chances are, however, that the mark-up on SHG lenses is lower than you'd expect. Lower production rates means higher overheads per item. Why do you think the 300/2.8 is made-to-order? The goal is to get the pros using their equipment. Profit is a wash, but consumers want to use what the pros use, lust after the higher end and can't afford it, so they settle for HG or SG. Olympus makes more money from consumers, and the SHG line is pure investment.

    Just my hypothesis.
    Yup, this is right on the money, Joe.
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