Some thoughts on the Olympus E-P3 / Ricoh buys Pentax.

Having had a look at the various previews, reviews etc. of the E-P3, it seems that Olympus at least seem to still be interested in providing m4/3 cameras that retain the looks and feel of a useable tool, rather than joining the gadget size war which seems to be obsessing Panasonic and Sony. True they have a couple of smaller versions but the retention of the Pen shape and construction and the release of the 12mm f/2 and 45mm f/1.8 lenses is very encouraging.

The E-P3 is pretty much what I expected it to be and that's a good thing. It would have been nice to have the viewfinder built-in but I've never had an issue with the VF-2. From the jpg and raw samples I've looked at, the sensor does seem to be improved both in terms of image quality and high ISO performance. 

As ever the Olympus designers have come up with an attractive package and the new lenses are certainly very pretty indeed. 

Whether Olympus's reluctance to increase the MP count will hold this camera back remains to be seen. Having been using the Fuji X100 and Leica M8 recently, I am very aware that 12MP is certainly capable of delivering very high quality files and from a brief look at some samples it seems Olympus have weakened the anti-aliasing filter still further to the advantage of the sharpness. The images reminded me very much of the E-5.

Because of my problems with EVF's it may be a camera I don't buy, but it does look very good and the lenses are very seductive. Add the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 to the 12mm and 45mm and you have a very Leica-esque trio.

Overall, it all looks very "photographic" and shows I think, that the reference points for photographic companies are somewhat different to electronics manufacturers. 
Ricoh buying Pentax is an interesting development. Shows a commitment to develop I think. Many people I respect have good things to say about the GXR and again regard it very much as a well-constructed and laid out camera. Hopefully Pentax will benefit from this takeover and build on the success of the K-5. The Q system is hopefully their one and only foray into the micro gadget camera market and I for one would imagine a partnership with Ricoh could produce some interesting results. A k-mount module for the GXR must be a certainty now, which might take the place of the rumoured APS-C CSC Pentax. That would surely help both the Ricoh GXR and Pentax K limited pancake lenses and would produce a nice quality system. 

Anyway its good to see Pentax back in the game with a new partner. I'm always pleased to see them moving forwards after my long association with them. They mostly make excellent cameras and lenses and Ricoh may be just what they need after their dalliances with Samsung and Hoya.