Olympus Disappoints in µ4/3rds Announcements
|New All Black E-P2 Kit|
The E-P2 was originally released in December 2009. It came in two kits; one with the 17mm silver M.Zuiko all-silver lens, and the other with the collapsing M.Zuiko 14-42 zoom in black with silver trim. Both versions came with the VF-2 electronic viewfinder, and they both retailed for $1,100. Today's EP-2 kit releases are a minor variation on the original in that the lens is now an all-black 17mm across both kits, with the variation being a kit with an all-black FL-14 external flash (what is what is shown to the right) or a kit with the VF-2.
The cost of these new kits is $1,371 with the VF-2 and $1,332 with the external flash, a bit more than what they cost in December 2009.
Oh. I forgot to mention. You also get a snazzy new lens cover with the Pen F symbol stamped on the front.
I purchased the December 2009 E-P2 kit with the zoom because I felt the zoom would be the more useful lens to start with (and it was). And I was very satisfied with it (and still am). But now Olympus has bucked the downward pricing trend of the original kit by "refreshing" it, and selling it for even more money. With no more than cosmetic changes, the new kits are no better than the originals, and frankly, not worth purchasing.
The zoom story isn't much better. Olympus has introduced a pair of zooms, an M.Zuiko MSC 40-150mm f/4-5.6 zoom and an M.Zuiko MSC 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 zoom. The MSC accronym stands for Movie Stills Compatible, which Olympus claims indicates the zooms are fast and silent, suitable for both video and stills photography. This feature is also a part of two of Olympus' earlier zoom lenses, the M.Zuiko 9-18mm f/4-5.6 and the M.Zuiko 14-140mm f/4-5.6.
|M.Zuiko MSC 40-150mm f/4-5.6 zoom|
|M.Zuiko MSC 75-300mm f/4.8-6.3 zoom|
I have lost a fair amount of enthusiasm for Olympus over the last six months, especially with this announcement. I am very disappointed with the high prices, especially for the warmed over E-P2 kits. All of these newly announced products range from overpriced to very overpriced. Equivalent 4/3rds lenses (the 40-150Mk II and the 70-300mm) are 1/3rd the cost of these newly announced zooms. Unless you absolutely have to have these new items, I would not spend the money, looking instead at the older kits for far less money, or even looking at alternative brands and even small DSLRs. I don't know where Olympus is going with all of this, but they've pretty much left me behind.
|Panasonic Lumix GF-1 with Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 prime|