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PMA storm in a teacup?

Olympus clarifies product manager comments in Amateur Photographer magazine PMA show interview

An interview during this week's PMA 2010 photo trade show with Olympus USA product manager Richard Pelkowski published in Amateur Photographer magazine has caused some consternation, both within Olympus, and among Olympus fans.

In the interview Pelkowski is quoted as saying that Olympus E-System cameras will be mirror-less within a couple of years. This upset Olympus because it was interpreted by Olympus fans as a statement of fact relating to Olympus' plans for future models in the category of DSLRs. Olympus fans were both excited by the prospect of new technologies boosting the E-System and it also dismayed those that interpreted the comments as the beginning of the end of traditional mirror-based DSLRs from Olympus, maybe in favour of Micro Four Thirds cameras.

Amateur Photographer has a record of taking what Olympus people or marketing 'say' in literal terms. AP reacted to Olympus marketing of the E-3 DSLR, when it was launched, which stated that the E-3 was " the only camera a professional would need" or words to that effect, by comparing the E-3 with DSLRs from other manufacturers costing over three times as much when the E-3 was reviewed.

In the PMA interview, Pelkowski's comments appear to have been taken as hard fact and portrayed as such. The result is a headline and a story that certainly generated much more interest than, it can be argued, it deserved. I understand that AP's website received more hits about this story than the news of Canon's latest DSLR, the EOS-550D.

Olympus felt it necessary to issue a clarification of Pelkowski's comments, to the effect that Pelkowski was not revealing factual strategy, but talking about technology in general terms. When I first read the interview that's exactly what I thought Pelkowski must have been doing. If I had been the interviewer, my instinct would have been to drill down into that comment to find underlying substantive evidence. Maybe that would have lost me the attention grabbing headline, but I feel it would have avoided the storm in a teacup that resulted here.

The thing that I personally find saddening about the interview is that it serves to sustain a belief among some (but not me, and I know the editorial staff personally), including some FTU readers, that AP is anti-Olympus.

In any case, Pelkowski's comment is really a non-sequitur; Olympus E-System cameras, like the E-P1, E-P2,and E-PL1, are already mirror-less.

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