photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Olympus and market share

in Olympus E-System , Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The anoraks over at DPReview's Olympus forum have gone into righteous outrage mode over a recent article by veteran commentator Thom Hogan, who, one would assume from said outrage, had compared Olympus' new E-3 with the spawn of Satan. So what was this provocative article all about ? Well, in fact, it was a well reasoned outsider analysis of Olympus' declared ambition to grab 20% of the DSLR market. Hogan (correctly, in my opinion) describes this as "dreaming", pointing out that the only realistic way Olympus would make up the 12 to 14% shortfall they need to meet their target would be to steal it from Canon. Are the likely to do this ? Well, one would hope that even the most blinkered zealot would be forced to answer "probably not". However good the current Olympus range is - and it is good enough for me - it would have be near miraculous to overturn Canon's inertia in the market, even if Canon's offering was poor, which it clearly is not. Does it actually matter, to an Olympus customer who just wants to take photos ? I would say only if Olympus' market share were to drop so far that their position would be untenable, and that seems equally unlikely. Sure, people with an investment in the E-System want it to stick around, and the anoraks in particular want new toys to buy every few months, to make measurements with. But whatever, the E-System won't be around forever. Probably neither will Canon's EOS. Nothing lasts forever, but I doubt that Olympus is going to exit the market tomorrow, and even if they did, the cameras and lenses are not going to stop working. However, if you really want future proofing, it is undeniable that Nikon has by far the best record in the SLR market, with Pentax and Leica not too far behind. But did Hogan, a Nikon fan, point that out ? Nope. He said that the E-510 and E-3 are nice cameras, but they're not going to provoke a cataclysmic shift in the market. A view worthy of derogation, scorn, and insults ? Apparently so. Thank God for the Internet...


in Photography , Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sardinia has been one of my favourite places since I first visited some 7 years ago. A three week visit in September this year was as pleasant as ever, and, like always, yielded a few surprises. Sardinia is perhaps the ideal place to combine a beach holiday with a bit of surreptitious photography. The thousands of beaches are often set in very photogenic landscape, and as long as you can escape the crowds - not so difficult except in August - there is inspiration everywhere. photo of sardinia This trip was really supposed to be about relaxation, after a very grueling 9 months or so of work, but nevertheless I packed a lightweight camera kit - Olympus E400 and a couple of lenses. So lightweight that I forgot the battery charger. This was possibly a blessing in disguise, as it made me very selective, but even so, I managed to get nearly 300 frames out of a partially discharged battery. Actually I came close to running out of CF cards! However, this did mean I had to forgo long exposures and infra red shots. photo of sardinia There are two sides to Sardinia, the coast and the inland regions. Both in turn are vary varied, within the limits obviously of a Mediterranean climate. The east coast north of Tortoli is perhaps one of the best areas for landscape photography, as most of it is given over as a national park. There are high mountains, densely forested, and some truly stupendous coastline, with dramatic sheer cliffs sheltering isolated beaches with crystal clear waters. Many of these can only be reached by sea, but the most famous, Cala Goloritze, can these days only be reached by foot, about a 1 hour trek from the nearest road. photo of sardinia Wildlife is also plentiful, especially birds. There are various salt marshes scattered around, in particular in the south, and these provided a seasonal home to masses of flamingoes. There are also rare eagles and buzzards, in particular in the wilder areas. The east coast features the spectacular - and isolated - sand dunes of Piscinas, and further up dramatic coastlines near Bosa. Throughout Sardinia you can find weird and wonderful naturally sculptures, where the wind and water has eroded the granite into shapes Gaudi would be proud of. photo of sardinia To cap it all, all over the island are remarkably preserved remains of the mysterious neolithic culture which predated the various Mediterranean cultures. The village of Tiscali, built inside a partly collapsed hollow in the summit of a mountain, is particularly though provoking - and a nightmare trek to reach. photo of sardinia Of course in high summer, most of the coastal areas are over-run, and best avoided unless you're an Italian speaking lemming. But otherwise... if you get a chance, don't miss it.