Sunday, December 13, 2015

Brilliance is always opposed

Yoshihisa Maitani was probably the most brilliant and visionary camera designer we had had. He invented the compact Olympus Pen camera and the SLR version the Pen-F (with a big system of lenses and accessories), and he invented the Olympus OM-1, which brought about a wave of other manufacturers finally seeing that an SLR camera needs not be able to double as a mace.

Here is a speech he made where he talks about what he had to go through to get his visions engineered and produced. It is funny, and fascinating both from an engineering and social perspective. After he had produced two cameras which shattered sales records like glass, his ideas were still actively resisted in the company!

[Alternative link, though the article is split up in many pages.]


emptyspaces said...

As a lover of the XA2 and Stylus Epic cameras, I salute this guy. Those are two perfect camera designs, and coming on the heels of the PEN and OM-1 designs that is one hell of a career. I also own a PEN EE, which gives me 75-80 frames per roll.

Bru said...

My first 35mm film camera was an XA2. I didn't really realize how good it was at the time, but when I tried to replace it with a 35mm zoom camera I found that they were much less pleasant to use and didn't give results that were all that good!

Reading that talk and some other things I've been reading lately leads me to this observation about the camera industry today: Olympus, Nikon, Canon, and the others should be making camera apps for iPhone and Android. There are two reasons for this. One is to introduce smartphone users to their brand.

The second is that a camera manufacturer with a smartphone app design team in-house would improve camera firmware design about 200 percent! Better, easier to use camera firmware that resembles camera smartphone apps would make a dedicated camera much more attractive to smartphone users. And if camera manufacturers can't make their products attractive to smartphone users, they are dead.