OMDS Announces Olympus E-P7

The first thing that immediately struck me about the E-P7 was this: it’s so Japanese. 

bythom olympus ep7

Dials, Panda Style (even an albino panda, above), small soap bar design and size, the old compact camera overloaded direction pad button cluster, Pen name up front, selfie screen…all very Japanese. Or should I say “things proven to appeal to the Japanese camera market”?

Turns out that OM Digital Solutions thinks (mostly) so, too: the E-P7 will only be available in Japan and Europe. 

One problem I have is that the E-P7 also reminds me too much of my very first mirrorless camera, the E-PL1. As in “we haven’t come very far in 12 years.” Heck, the E-P7 is really very much like the current E-PL10, only with the 20mp sensor, 5-axis (instead of 3) IS, and a couple of new dials and control changes. Here in the US—coupled with the fact that soap-bar compacts no longer sell well here—OM Digital Solutions probably wouldn't sell many E-P7s, so the restrictive market approach is probably a good idea.

Except for this: the prediction was that when JIP took over the Olympus camera group that they'd go to a region-only distribution system and this would lower volume. This has a way of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. OM Digital Solutions—the company formed by JIT from the Olympus spin out—no longer has a full product line in the US. The question then becomes "just how many models will survive in the US?" 

The market probably needs a few low-end cameras like this now that the consumer DSLR craze is officially over. There needs to be a transition point from smartphone-as-camera to something more sophisticated that takes interchangeable lenses. I'll tackle that subject next week. 

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