Honestly, trying to overtake Nikon to be second place is really a tall order for the guys in Olympus, and in order to do that, Olympus has to spend a lot of money on marketing, as well as education to the market to talk about the quality of their products. This will only mean that they have to rework and restructure the company. (Where is the money for marketing and education coming from, I wonder).
By cutting down production costs (see ther FL-50 thread), and probably cutting down on quality materials too (kit lens get cheaper and cheaper), and selling pro series at a higher price (oh no!)... these are some of the things that has happened in the past with other companies. Unless Oly is going to end up using the budget/profit from their other divisions to pump up the image of the photographic/camera division... that is quite unthinkable.
The market in the future, I think, will be either compact and powerful point and shoot cameras or DSLR feat Prosumer camera features as evident in the design direction of the E-330. Breakthrough in design and technology by Oly will also bring more attention to the company and let the masses know that this is not a "underdog" company.
The difference I personally feel about Olympus, as compared to C n N, is that Oly did not focus enough of their energy on marketing and presenting themselves well enough. Most people buy cameras (DLSRs, entry level) because of the advertising and "exposure" of a certain product because these are all over magazines and posters and banners, etc.
The first timer does not know better, so they simply "han tam" and buy whatever is most commonly available to them in the market that fits their budget. Most people would not do intensive research, since they really do not know what they are getting into. (From the newbie Q&A, it shows).
But then, they do get use to the functionalities and image quality of that certain brand and grow with it, and starts buildig up on that system and starts their upgrade path, which brings in more money to the company. Oly was the last company to go into consumer level DSLR... and now they are desperately trying to keep up (they focused too much on prosumer cameras, and the Oly prosumers were really of high quality up to the 8080).
Well... I can go on forever...
But for Oly to want to be a number two, there is a lot of work to be done and a high mountain to climb. I kind of like where Oly is at the moment, but if they choose to turn very aggressive, I hope they will not do it at the expense of their old faithful customers.
I hope they can at least maintain the standards and quality of the ZD High and Super High Grades. That they understand their glass is what made them famous. I would drop Oly if they ever drop the quality of the ZD lenses... that was what drew me to them in the first place.
I am a Nikon user and recently is amazed by some of the shots i saw in Asian Photo magazine taken by the Zuiko 90-250mm f/2.8. This leads me to do some research on Olympus. I can see that for my shooting style, Olympus suits me better. I am eager to see the E1 replacement with new Kodak sensor and see how it fares against its competitors.
My view on digital cameras is that when it reaches a steady state, all camera bodies + sensors will be equivalent in terms of perfomance. The Lens will then be the main factor that determines the quality of a picture.
Hence, IMHO, lens is the most important thing to me when it comes to photography.
Olympus is way, way, way behind second place Nikon. C&N has about 90% of the market. That said, Oly is the fastest growing. However, one swallow does not make a summer. C&N are fighting back with technologies that Oly has still to embrace.
Yep. Was shock to see so fast another player in the market release SLR with Anti-Dust. Now is who anti-dust is better? Maybe both anti-dust is the same. But Sony is after the digital cam is power down the AD (Anti Dust) would start. Best is Alpha comes with Anti Shake
I think most people missed the point that Olympus never cared enough about the camera market in the past... their corporate direction was never a serious empahsis on the camera market...
The optics market that Oly is known for forced N&C out totally... medical applications... until today Olympus optics for critical use is very well known and is the market leader... the camera busines was more of a "for fun" thing... so looking at things in the right perspective, this is the first time Oly is seriously considering kicking butts in the camera business...one can only see... but believe this... N&C are worried, that is for sure... Olympus is a serious company.
Don't put down Olympus altogether, they have been involved in breakthrough technologies for DLSR, from External White Balance sensors on the E-1, to Anti Dust, to Live View, they have always been doing serious R&D, therefore they are never to be taken lightly...
From my point of view, Olympus lost out to N&C in the DSLR business was because they never bothered with promotions and seriously investing in a good advertising campaign...
Ask the pros out there, how many serious shooters have used Olympus, and you will be surprised... I only hope that when Oly does invest into serious advertising, they will not compromise on the quality of the optics just because a big chunk of their budget has to go that way... like Nikon and Canon... especially Nikon... from their transition from film to digital, they have been nothing but a letdown... I am seriously disappointed with them... that is why I switched...