Rumours about new camera launches and their related specifications seem to be never ending. Recently I’ve had a number of readers ask me about a newly registered Olympus camera… rumoured to be a new OM-D E-M1 Mark III. Like many photographers who own a particular brand of camera, they are keen to find out what may be in store. I have no inside information to share. But I am sure of one thing… get prepared for some new camera clickbait articles to appear on the internet.
Remember when the internet was full of OM-D E-M5 Mark III ‘leaked specs”? Much of what was written on various blogs was simply crazy and made no logical sense. For example, the new E-M5 Mark III was supposedly going to have almost all of the high tech features of the E-M1 X but at 1/3 of the cost. And, in a much smaller and lighter body. Features like Handheld Hi Res mode. Live ND. The same level of IBIS performance… just to mention a few.
The sad thing is that many folks don’t really think about new camera models from a logical and strategic standpoint. Somehow they think that all of their wish list items will magically get crammed into a new, less expensive body. A couple of simple questions about a future E-M5 Mark III would have quickly identified a lot of the rumours on the internet as nothing more than new camera clickbait articles.
Does it make logical sense that a smaller, lighter body without dual processors could duplicate some of the high end technology in the E-M1X without possessing the raw computing power needed to do so?
Does it make strategic sense for Olympus to create a camera of the size, weight and price of the E-M5 Mark III and somehow make it as technically competent a camera as the E-M1X… then sell it for 1/3 of the price? The obvious answer to both of those questions is “No”.
So, get your salt shaker out and have it at the ready when you start to see new camera clickbait articles popping up all over the internet.
As mentioned at the start of this article, I have no inside information whatsoever about any new Olympus products. To answer some of the questions posed by readers I’ll give you my two cents worth. By the way… Canada doesn’t even mint or circulate pennies any longer!
For what it’s worth… here are some of my musings about a potential OM-D E-M1 Mark III.
Right now in Canada, the suggested list price of an Olympus OM-D E-M1X is $3,899 (currently on sale at $3,499). The E-M1 Mark II lists at $1,999 (currently on sale at $1,599). And, the E-M5 Mark III is at $1,499 (both suggested list and selling price).
Since the E-M1 Mark II has been ‘on sale’ for many months now, it would seem logical to assume that Olympus is trying its best to deplete current inventories. This would make room for an E-M1 Mark III. For a difference of $100 how many people wouldn’t purchase an E-M1 Mark II rather than an E-M5 Mark III? Blow out pricing appears to be in effect.
Going forward, let’s assume that the E-M1X list price stays at $3,899 CDN and the E-M5 Mark III remains at $1,499 CDN. This gives Olympus a good deal of pricing latitude between those two models for a new E-M1 Mark III. Especially if the company can significantly differentiate this model from both the E-M1X and the E-M5 Mark III.
Assuming a good degree of product differentiation, it appears logical to me that Olympus could price an E-M1 Mark III in the $2,499 to $2,699 CDN range.
Will the performance and functionality of a new E-M1 Mark III be at or near an E-M1X? I don’t think so. It may have some improvements over the E-M1 Mark II, but I doubt that they will be earth shattering. For example, it makes no sense to me that an E-M1 Mark III would have Live ND, Handheld Hi Res, or the intelligent subject tracking found on the E-M1X. It is even possible that an E-M1 Mark III could lose some functionality vis-a-vis a Mark II… for example with frame rates.
From a strategic standpoint it makes more sense to me that Olympus would put a new, high resolution micro four thirds sensor in an E-M1 Mark III. Something in the 36MP to 47MP range. The camera would then be significantly differentiated from both the E-M1X and E-M5 Mark III, and could be targeted at different segments of the camera market. Landscape and fashion photographers come to mind… as well as studio work. A high resolution E-M1 Mark III could also have unique video capabilities as part of its differentiation with other OM-D cameras.
Remember that when Olympus launched the E-M1X, the company went to great pains to position the E-M1X as one of a pair of ‘flagship cameras’. It was not ‘above’ the E-M1 Mark II… but in a parallel position. At the time this appeared quite strange. It occurred to me that this positioning had little to do with the E-M1 Mark II, and was primarily done to set the stage for a future E-M1 Mark III.
In my mind, it would be very difficult for Olympus to position an E-M1 Mark III with a 20 MP sensor as another ‘flagship camera”. On the other hand, using a high resolution micro four thirds sensor in the 36MP to 47MP range would enable that type of market positioning for an E-M1 Mark III.
So, that’s where my old, porous brain leads me when I think about an E-M1 Mark III. A high resolution M4/3 camera in the 36MP to 47MP range. Targeted at landscape, fashion and studio photographers. And, priced in the $2,499 to $2,699 CDN range. Feel free to shake some salt on these musings if you don’t agree.
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