Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It looks like the New "Kodak" m43s cameras aren't going to be vaporware after all!

Digital Photography Review (DPR) has just published a "First Impressions" review of the Kodak PixPro S-1 by JK Imaging.  This is, what I hope, is the first of a line of 'step up' m43s cameras aimed at people who want to "step up" from their inadequate smartphones, and buy a camera of some substance.

I suspect it is difficult for outsiders to understand the appeal of the name "Kodak" in North America among people who aren't professionals or even 'enthusiasts', but who still want a "nice" camera. (Nice defined by THEIR standards, not yours).  

I also suspect this camera will find its way to the North American market as quickly as possible and it is to the benefit of Olympus and Panasonic for it to do so. 

With the Kodak m43s brand established globally, that takes the pressure off Olympus and Panasonic to go to the expense of developing, producing, and marketing the low end introductory cameras that they find difficult to make a profit with. This will allow them to concentrate their resources on the more profitable enthusiast and professional cameras that they seem to be doing so well with.

Olympus and Panasonic, if they are smart, will see this burgeoning camera line as a product that will eventually steer users in their direction.  When it is time to get an even BETTER camera, it's difficult to argue with the logic that the lenses you already have will work with the new camera.

If Olympus and Panasonic are smart, they will bend over backwards to help JK Imaging to establish this M43 brand in as many places as possible.  JK Imaging is already producing compact and superzoom cameras for the North American Market, so I doubt it will have much trouble with distribution in North America, but I don't know that much about camera marketing. I could be full of . . . well, opinion based on little fact.

I think this development has benefits for the enthusiast users as well.  Another source of inexpensive lenses is always welcome.  And in time, perhaps they will see the benefit of producing some M43s lenses that Olympus and Panasonic have been reluctant to produce.

UPDATE:  6/24/2014 2:15 PM CST - Just some additional thoughts.  You know that 400 mm manual focus lens is interesting.  While it seems an odd lens to produce for the PixPro S1, if it has half way decent image quality, is could be aimed squarely at the enthusiast market.

Manual focus in the Olympus OMD line, at least, is pretty darned good.  An inexpensive 400 mm manually focused lens wouldn't be a major hardship when used with the higher grade Olympus and Panasonic cameras (and if it has a reasonable image quality).  If priced right, it might be attractive to the person who only occasionally needs an extra long lens.

If this lens is aimed at the enthusiast market, this bodes well for JK Imaging's intentions regarding the serious amateur.

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