As the digital camera war hots up, struggling Japanese camera company Olympus is set to launch a 30X zoom compact camera that looks more retro than modern in an effort to try and regain lost market share in the premium end of the digital camera market.
During the past 24 months Olympus has seen marketshare stripped away from them as brands like Sony, Panasonic and Samsung move into the traditional camera market alongside brands like Canon, Nikon and Pentax.
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At a breakfast in Sydney tomorrow, the Company who were one of the first camera Companies to convince mass retailers like Harvey Norman to stock digital camera’s will launch the SP-800UZ a digital camera that comes equipped with a high-magnification zoom lens that covers a range from 28mm wide-angle to 840mm.
The only problem is the camera looks like an early retro camera model, with silver casing and a side grip to hold the camera steady.
The new camera has a 14-megapixel CCD and 3-inch wide-screen(16:9) LCD display.
Olympus claim that new 30x optical zoom lens can capture details that cannot be seen with the naked eye, such as the facial expressions of children in athletics or theatrical events or athletes in professional sport competitions.
When combined with the digital zooming, the total zoom ratio can be increased 150x, enough to zoom right into the moon claim Olympus.
The Japanese Company have also introduced “background defocusing”. A technique usually available only with SLR cameras, background defocusing can defocus the background to make the main subject stand out.
According to senior retail executives the battle this year is more about which digital camera brands to stock.
A leading Harvey Norman franchisee said “The premium end of the digital camera market is where the growth will come from this year. We have more models to choose from than ever before including new SLR models and versions of an SLR camera from the likes of Samsung who have introduced a mirrorless model compete with interchangeable lenses”.
“One issue that is important to a retailer when choosing which brands to stock is the amount of marketing that a vendor is going to put into the market. Last year we benefitted considerably from the Panasonic waterproof Lumix camera campaign. At one stage the Lumix camera was our biggest selling model”.
“During the past three years the market has changed. Years ago we sold a lot of Olympus camera’s but today the brand has fallen behind due to the fact that a lot of other brands have invested significantly in marketing. Today a retailer has to be confident that not only is the brand strong but the models on offer are going to appeal to a market that are looking to step up into a new generation SLR or premium compact camera”.
Andrew Giles, the National PR Manager at Canon said “Last year we finished #1 in both compact and digital SLR cameras. This year we believe that consumers will be looking to step up into a new difital LR or a new compact camera that is rich in high end capability”.
At the bottom end of the market Olympus set to launch the Stylus 7010. This comes with a 12 megapixel 7x optical zoom camera. It also has an intelligent auto mode, dual image stabilisation and in-camera panorama stitching.
With no standout features the camera does have a new cartoon-icon menu system. According to Gadget Review the camera provides average performance. They say it is not considered to be the slowest but at the same time is not the fastest.