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What can we expect from the camera industry in 2023?

Bild von den Landungsbrücken.

A lot of people already celebrated, that in 2022 quantity of sold camera raised compared to 2021 (graph below). They already predicted a turnaround from a shrinking to a growing camera market. But we have to consider two factors when we are comparing year on year. First, 2021 was a pandemic year, second, therefore, the supply chain was interrupted. The industry was not able to manufacture or deliver more cameras. Whether 2023 will be for the camera industry a good year or not depends on several factors. Some can be influenced by the industry some not.

CIPA total DSC shipment in 2020, 2021 and 2022

Economic situation

After the covid pandemic in 2021 and 2022 struggled due to supply chain constraints, it seems that 2023 will be much better. For example, some of the semiconductor manufacturers are reporting growing stock and therefore prices are getting lower. This leads to better availability of cameras and lenses. If this leads to better sales numbers or even more important better profit, some additional factors must be considered. One negative factor is the world economic situation. Triggered by the Ukraine war we are facing an energy shortage and inflation is growing. This means also that the living cost is getting higher. Less money is available for additional investments. It is more important to pay rent and food than to buy a camera or lens. In addition, all experts expect that we are getting a worldwide recession, which means a lot of jobs are in danger. People rather save their money than spend it. The economic precondition is not good. Therefore it is important that the camera industry have to be creative to be successful.

Hamburg Standard View, to illustrate the article "What can we expect from the camera industry in 2023?"

Product introductions of the camera industry in 2023

It will be interesting to see what kind of products will be introduced by the camera industry in 2023. In the past, most of the product introductions have been an enhancement of the predecessor and lag real innovations. I’m curious whether the camera industry can launch real innovations in 2023. How about a new business model to earn money? Instead of launching new camera models every year, with only a few improvements, it would be possible to update cameras in the market and get money for it. By the way, this would be also more environmentally friendly than the current strategy. Or some of the features could be provided based on a monthly payment. Similar like the software industry is doing. But looking at the first announcement this year, the Panasonic S5 Mark II, I’m not very optimistic. The camera manufacturers seem to stay with the old strategy and will not take any risks.

Even for lenses, we could not expect much. The technology is already matured and innovation steps are pretty small. OM Digitalsolutions have already announced the development of a 90mm F3.5 Macro, which will be for sure qualitative very good. But will it have also some innovations? Will it show the strength of the Micro Four Thirds? It would be great if it could be compatible with the two teleconverters. Nikon and Canon will for sure concentrate on the most popular focal length. They entered the mirrorless market quite late and must catch up.

Marketing options

I would be surprised in case we see changes in marketing from the big players. They will still play the influencer game to get as much coverage on the web as possible. People trust someone they are following for a while more than the manufacturers even though the influencers are just telling the same with different words. I don’t see that the camera industry already can catch up with the newest trend in marketing and bring information in an analogue way to their customers. They are lacking human and financial resources. It is even worse, as most of the manufacturers are concentrating on digital platforms rather than on real events. This is in my opinion a big mistake. Cameras are highly emotional products and it is important to touch them. You have to discover them with all senses. This is not possible with digital events. Olympus once had a “Photography Playground” to address also people who are not so in photography. The feedback for those events was excellent and even at the last Photokina a part of the show. Unfortunately, the industry is not running such kind of events at the moment.

In Germany, we do have photo festivals (Umweltfestival Zingst / Oberstdorfer Fotogipfel) and the Photopia, which offer you the option to touch cameras without buying them. The advantage is that at those events all manufacturers are present. However, the camera industry has to save money as much as possible. The golden age in the camera industry is gone.

Hamburg Harbour
Harbour Hamburg

Prospects for the camera industry in 2023 and beyond.

Honestly, I’m very sceptical that the quantity of sold cameras will grow in future. On the one hand side, the market is shrinking. On the other hand, the mobile phone industry needs differentiation for the new generations of the phone. The processor performance is not relevant anymore. It is enough for all daily tasks. Mobile phone cameras are the feature which is selling. Sony already announced the end of digital SLR cameras and I think for the majority of the users this is already true. The more subtle among you might say that the DSLR died more than 10 years ago with the introduction of mirrorless systems. However, you forget that Sony’s head of the semiconductor business does not distinguish between DLSR and mirrorless cameras. He was referring to system cameras with interchangeable lenses in general.

What is your opinion?

What do you think about this topic? My thoughts are very personal and I’m happy if you share your thought in the comment. I’m curious and looking forward to having a friendly discussion.

How to update firmware on E-M1 Mark III / OM-1

Once in a while cameras are getting new functions or error are resolved. In both cases a new firmware is provided. Cameras of OM Digitalsolutions is this done either with OM Workspace or mobile with OM.Share. I would like to demonstrate you how to make it with OM.Share. For the moment you can only update the E-M1 Mark III or OM-1 firmware. All other cameras has to be updated with OM Workspace.

Update OM-D E-M1 Mark III / OM-1 firmware with OM.Share

OI.share screenshot to show how to update OM-1 / E-M1 Mark III firmware

Precondition to update the firmware with OM.Share is that you already paired your camera with OM.Share and you must activate WiFi in your E-M1 Mark III or OM-1. Have you done this you can press the gear icon to reach the settings.

In the settings you find camera management.

OI.share screenshot to show how to update OM-1 / E-M1 Mark III firmware v
OI.share screenshot to show how to update OM-1 / E-M1 Mark III firmware

Clicking on it the camera management opens. Here you find information about your camera. You can save your camera settings and you can update the firmware.

When you click on it OM.Share shows you the firmware version installed on your camera and the mounted lens. Pressing “check update” the software verify the latest firmware on the server in Japan.

OI.share screenshot to show how to update OM-1 / E-M1 Mark III firmware
OI.share screenshot to show how to update OM-1 / E-M1 Mark III firmware

Is a new firmware available it will be shown. Underneath you find a button to update the firmware for the camera or lens.

Follow the instruction on the screen to update your camera.

Following is important.

  1. Be aware that your batterie is charged to at least 50%. A fully charged batterie however is much better.
  2. Take care that you never loose power while updating the firmware. This is very important. In case you are loosing power it could happen that the camera has no firmware at all. You will not be able to start the camera anymore then.
  3. Keep an eye on all hints of OM.Share. While updating the firmware OM.Share saves your settings. In case you are not following the instruction of OM.Share it will not be able to install those settings back to the camera.

In case you would like to update the firmware of lenses, make it in the same way.

Update firmware with OM Workspace

Updating the firmware with OM.Share is super. You can update your camera on the way without computer. Unfortunately this is only available for E-M1 Mark III and OM-1. At home you are also able to update your firmware with OM Workspace. First connect your camera with the delivered USB cable. As soon as you switch on the camera a dialog is displayed. You can select how the camera communicates with the computer. Select storage to update the firmware and confirm with “OK”.

OM Workspace screenshot

In OM Workspace you find in the “camera” menu “update” which you have to use to update the camera. Have you pressed it the camera updater starts. Now the process is similar to OM.Share.

OM Workspace screenshot

The camera updater shows whether a new firmware version is available or not. To Update camera / lens just press update. Please follow the instruction on the screen exactly. Press only “next” when you see the big “OK” on the camera screen and if you have switch off / on the camera.

OM Workspace screenshot

In case you are using an E-M1 Mark III or an OM-1 OM Workspace saves your camera settings and reload them after the update process. Older cameras don’t have this option.

Tips for Apple user

In case you are using an Apple computer to update the firmware it could be that your are getting several error messages. The reason for those messages are following.

  1. You are using a USB cable which is transferier the data not correctly. Please use the cable which is delivered with the camera, if possible.
  2. You camera is connected with a USB hup. Please connect the camera directly on the computer.
  3. The security settings of the operating system give OM Workspace not enough right. In case you thing OM Workspace has all rights needed and it is not working, please double check the system settings. Sometime also the firewall could be the reason why OM Workspace is not able to communicate with the firmware server.

OM System OM-5 an upgrade without innovations?

This week OM Digital Solutions introduced the second camera under the brand OM System. One year after the introduction of the new brand, it become apparent how OM Digital Solutions sees its own future and which target group the brand is addressing. But is the OM System OM-5 an upgrade without innovations or are there news which we haven’t seen from Olympus / OM Digitalsolutions yet? I would like to share here my thoughts and not the technical details, which I had after the introduction of the OM-5

OM System OM-5 schwarz
Image from OM Digital Solution

My assessment about the OM System OM-5 technology

The outside of the OM-5 is identical with the E-M5 Mark III. Only the silver variant has a black instead of a silver on / off switch. The advantage is that a E-M5 Mark III user who upgrades doesn’t have to learn how to use the camera again. A critique, the change in usage of successors, which you can read in a lot of forums, is therefore invalid. But also a lot of the inside has not changed. Instead of utilising the new menu system, the OM-5 comes with the one from its predecessor E-M5 Mark III. Both is one of the critique points in the media. In my opinion there is a good and a bad side. On on hand the well known handling stays the same, on the other side innovation and process is not possible. To decide whether this is good or bad is on your side.

Process without process

Beside the design and user interface a lot of hardware components are the same as of the E-M5 Mark III. Sensor. Wifi, autofocus system, battery and interfaces has not renewed at all. Only image processor and built-in image stabilisation has been updated. Both are the base of the new functionality of the OM-5. This are computational functions as Live ND and handheld HighRes shot. Both functions need the higher performance of the TruePic IX and are therefore not possible by a simple firmware update of the E-M5 Mark III.

The improved image stabilisation enables longer exposure times without tripod, but is not as good as the stabilisation of the OM-1. This is for sure to differentiate the to models. All of this is in the class of the OM-5 innovative. Looking on the available technology is this state of the art or even old technology. The sensor for example is already available since available and for sure not the newest techology in the market. The sensor has been introduced 2016 and is therefore 6 years old, which is for sensors a very long time.

OM System OM-5 silber
Bild von OM Digital Solutions

My rating of the OM System OM-5

The OM-5 is no flagship model, where the price is not that important, but should be the profit contributor camera for OM Digitalsolutions. The sold quantities must be higher to have a healthy user bace for OM System cameras. Therefore the development cost and manufacturer cost has to be balanced. As in other industries OM Digitalsolutions is using already available components. The R&D cost are already paid.

Principally nothing wrong with this, but the question is who is the traget group of this camera. Users who already have a E-M5 Mark III do have only few reasons upgrade to the new camera. The news are, in my opinion, not big enough. Users of other camera brands are not highly motivated to change. There are some features which are not available at the competition, but this is not enough. Users of other brands has to change the lenses as well. This generates additional costs and the price of the camera is not cheap.

The Panasonic users are the only remaining ones. At least those who own a Micro Four Thirds system. In addition there are the E-M10 Mark IV and PEN E-P7 users. Those users are the ones in danger to leave the camera industry. Cameras of smartphones are getting better and the majority of the E-M10 Mark IV and PEN E-P7 users do not understand the advantage to change lenses and use different focal length. I doubt, that those users will pay the price for the OM-5

Conclusions


In my opinion it will be hard to sell the OM System OM-5. It is a camera between the flagship model OM-1, which has the news features, and the much cheaper E-M10 Mark IV. Users, who want to have the latest features will by the OM-1. Is price priority the E-M10 Mark IV is the choice. This phenomenon is not unique for OM Digital Solutions, but shows the big issue of the camera industry. After years of massive innovations and the development of new sensors is now the development of camera technologies limited. Nowadays it is not possible anymore to introduce every 1-2 years big innovations steps, which makes technic fans happy.

Detailed technical reviews of the OM System OM-5

  1. Mirrorless Comparison has a nice comparision between E-M5 Mark III and the OM-5 as well as a comparison of the OM-1 with the OM-5
  2. A classic website for reviews is Dpreview who writes about their first impressions of OM-5.

Your opinions counts.

I’m happy about your opinion. Please leave it in the comments. I will read them and looking forward to discuss them with you. How is the future of the camera industry in general and how do you see the future of OM Digitalsolutions.

A family safari with Wilderness Safaris

Nature close to Camp Pell

My private passion is to photograph animals in they natural environment. In 2017 and 2019 I had the opportunity to visit several camps from Wilderness Safaris in Zimbabwe and Botswana. I learned that there is no better place to have a safari and photograph any kind of African wild animals. The experience to see those animals close and observe their behavior in their natural environment was so intense that I always wished to bring also my wife and son to Africa to give them the opportunity to experience this by themself. Finally this year I became 50 years and decided to invest my money for a trip to Botswana, instead of having a party with friends and family. Therefore we booked a lovely trip to the Okavango Delta and the Linyanti region.

Nature close to Camp Pell

What is different when on a safari with your family?

Traveling with family is different to the experience I had on my first two trips. I was a bit nervous how my 13 year old son response that the day starts quite early. In addition in camps you have only limited access to the internet, which is nowadays essential for teenagers. Anyhow we had an unbelievable nice week in camps. My son was not complaining at all. Getting up early and having no access to the world wide web was not a problem at all. Real life experience you are getting in Africa on a Safari has incomparable more value. Also for a teenager. Let me share briefly our experience.

Camp Pelo

Pelo means heart. The name is related to the shape of the island which is located in the Jao concession. After a long 20 hour trip from Germany we finally arrived around 3 p.m. On the air strip and a guide picked us up bring us to the camp. The way to the camp was already mind blowing. We met some giraffes and buffalos. Shortly before we arrived the boat station we also saw painted dogs, one endangered animal. This happened only 15 minutes after we landed in the bush. What could you wish more, when you are on a safari? On our short boat drive to Pelo we already saw a lot of different birds.

Mokoro drive is one of the best way to discover nature on a safari

Arrival in Camp Pelo

Finally we arrived in the camp, where we were welcomed by Abo the camp manager. After a delicious welcome drink and a short camp rule introduction we went to our rooms. There we had a short time to refresh and relax before  a delicious dinner has been served. My son and my wide have been more than impressed about the location. Accommodation and the kindness o the camp stuff was mind blowing. 

Even though this is already my third time that I have been in Botswana the sunsets are still unbelievable beautiful. The colors you see when the sun is settings are so different to what you see in Europe. This alone is already worth the trip. But it doesn’t end here. Even the nights are so different. No light pollution, means that you also can see much more stars than in a country like Germany. In addition the sound at night is also an experience by itself. Frogs and hippos are quite active at night. My wife liked the frog sound so much, that we have recorded it. We use it now as ring tone on our phones. Anytime someone is calling us, we remember the lovely time we had here in Pelo.

Sunset in Camp Pelo

The second day in Pelo

The next day was a mixture between a game drives and a boat cruises. Unbelievable how many different species you see in this environment. As Pelo is a camp surrounded by water, it is a paradise for bird, hippos and crocodiles. In Germany you are lucky when you see a sea eagle once in your lifetime, but here in the Okavango delta we saw 5 African fish eagles within an hour. Not to forget my favorite bird the kingfisher. This species is of course also present in the Okavango delta. Beside the pied, striped and great kingfisher I have been lucky to photograph the malachite kingfisher as he was taking off from a reed branch. 

Kingfisher taken on Safari taking of reed

As we were already leaving Pelo the morning after, the camp prepared a surprise for us at dinner. Instead of having it at the common dinner space, we had it on a fire place with a traditional African barbecue and a lovely goodbye song presented by the camp employees. A very special time came to an end, but we had two more camps to experience.

Camp Tube Tree

 Our second camp was Tuba Tree, which is in the Wilderness Safaris classification a classic camp and therefore the camp and also the rooms are bigger. Flight time from Pelo to Tubu Tree is only 5 minutes.

However as water hasn’t reached the camp yet the vegetation was dryer. Tubu Tree is famous for its Leopards and we were looking forward to meet them. However on the first day we haven’t been lucky. Anyhow we had great sightings like elephants, bataleur eagles, zebras and a group of young male lions, who were relaxing in the shadow. The view from our rooms has been also fantastic as the balcony was directed in western direction and the wildlife was just passing the camp directly in front of you. Means we in the lunch breaks we were also able to watch the wildlife directly from our rooms. In case a refreshment is needed also from our outdoor shower.

Finally a leopard

At the second day in Tubu Tree we have been a bit luckier. As our guide Delta found some fresh leopard tracks and in addition other animals made a lot of warning signal to their companions, that we were sure a leopard must be somewhere. Even though it is not easy to find them. At this time of the year the gras is high and the animals camouflage is hiding them perfectly. After a while we have been successful and finally saw our first leopard on this trip. 

Leopard in high gras

Then it was time for the sundowner, which is the ending of each afternoon game drive. Means you are getting your favorite drink in the middle of nowhere to enjoy the African sunset. After a busy day with a lot of interesting sights we were heading back to the camp already in the dark and got a surprise as we were approaching our camp. We just passed the electric fence which should keep the elephants away from camp, as we met the mother of the leopard we met in the afternoon. She obviously was leaving the camp. We learned that she actually gave birth to the leopard we met in the afternoon in the public bathroom of Tubu Tree. My son, my wife and myself were very exited as she just past our vehicle so close that it would have been possible to touch her. 

Camp Duma Tau

Last stop of our week in Botswana was Duma Tau. This camp is classified as premium camp. Compared to the other two camps this is a complete different level. Not only in terms of rooms and available space, but also in terms of service. Anything is top level and unexpected in a location like this. However we missed the lu with a view, which was for us the highlight in the other camps. This is the toilet in the public area which gives you a direct view into the wild while being on the toilet. Never had such a relaxing time on a toilet before.

 Taking care about my son

Our guide See immediately caught our son, by asking him to be his assistant and sit beside him in the first row. Not that the other guide doesn’t cared about our son, but I immediately recognized that See has a special connection to children and especially our son. Maybe this come due to life experience he had so far. Grown up in a community in the bush, he was in a so called „Eco camp“ as he was 7 years old and decided to be a guide due to the experience he made in that camp. During our stay we always felt this passion and as said the special connection to children. He always involved my son in the thinks happening and even though my son had only three years English lessons in school he was motivated to communicate with See. 

Hippo relaxing in the sunset

Wildlife in Duma Tau

In terms of nature Duma Tau, which is in the Linyanti regions, is quite different to what you see in the Okavango Delta. The landscape is totally different and therefore wildlife behaviour is also different. Even though the types of wildlife you can see is very similar to what we have seen in Tubu Tree. Lions, leopards and elephants are the big one, but also bird life is tremendously impressive. 

Highlight in Duma Tau is that this camp is located directly on an elephant trail, which is used to cross the river. Therefore it is very likely that you can observe from your room elephants crossing the river and if you are lucky you can experience how those elegant animals are going through the camp. 

Conclusion

We had an unforgettable week, which we can remember our whole life. Everything went, thanks to the perfect organization from Wilderness Safaris, without any problem. Experiencing wildlife in their natural environment is only interesting for me as photographer, but also for my wife and my son. We learn so much about the wildlife and nature in Africa and will miss the friendly stuff and guide in camps. We recommend everybody to have this experience once in a lifetime.

My experience on my first trip

As said this was already my third trip to Botswana. In case you would like to know how it felt the first time you can read this in my Blogpost “Shot trip to the big five”.

Live Composite in OM Workspace

Live Composite Bild

Live Composite in Olympus / OM System cameras is a quite popular function as it enables the photographer to shoot long time exposure images without over exposing the final result. However this function do have some short comings. As this function adds lighter parts of each image to the current composite. Therefore it could happen that your image gets destroyed by an unpredictable bright occasion. In this short tutorial I would like to show you how you can make a Live Composite image in OM Workspace out of single images back home at your computer. In OM Workspace you do have even more options as when you make it directly in camera.

What you should consider while taking images for Live Composite

In case you would like to make a Live Composite with OM Workspace your workflow is different. Instead of using the Live Composite Mode in the camera you should use the time-lapse functionality in camera. All other settings are identical. Please select exposure time and aperture fitting to your needed total image brightness. The time-laps interval should fit to the exposure time. Means in case you have selected a exposure time of i.e. 5s the time-lapse interval should be long enough that the next image is taken afterwards. Beside this I recommend to take RAW images, this makes the post processing easier.

How to make a Live Composite with OM Workspace

Once you have taken the images and you are back home open Workspace. Select the location where the images you would like to use are stored. Once you have open the folder with the images do following.

Selected images to be used for Live Composite in OM Workspace

1. Select all images you would like to use for the Composite.

2. Select in “Tools” “Composite Images” “Lighten Composite”. A new window will open

Menu to find the composite mode in OM Workspace
Interface in OM Workspace

3. Here you can check the images and decide which image should be in the composite. In addition in case you haven’t made a separate black reference, you can select this here to improve your image quality.

4. Select “Lighten 1” in case you would like to have an even result. Fitting for star trails for example. “Lighten 2” is more suitable for fireworks.

Options in OM Workspace
Generate  preview in OM Workspace

5. By pressing “Composite” you can generate a preview, which will be shown in the list underneath your images.

6. Once you are satisfied, press “Export” to save the result in your image gallery.

Export final Composite result in OM Workspace
Live Composite result with Option "Lighten 1"
Result “Lighten 1”
Live Composite result with option "Lighten 2"
Result “Lighten 2”

Additional options in OM Workspace

As you took single image generating composite image in OM Workspace do have some additional option, which are not available in camera.

  1. You can not only add brighter parts to your images, but also darker. This is helpful when you for example would like to remove bright clouds from your image and generate a deep blue sky.
  2. When you tick the box “Export image at each step” you get also the images which are generates in each step. This enables you to make an animation showing how the image develops. Especially use full in case you do make movies.
  3. In case a in the series of images one image is to bright or not fitting you simply can skip it. You are more flexible in the result.

Your feedback is appreciated

I make those kind of short description for you. Therefore I would be interested in whether you like it or not. Please leave a comment what you are interested in and what kind of content you would like to see next.