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You are hereHome > Articles > Interview with Sally Smith Clemens, Olympus Spokesperson

Interview with Sally Smith-Clemens, Olympus America Spokesperson

With about a dozen brands to choose from and more than a hundred different models, which digital camera should you buy? Or, to reframe the question, which manufacturer's brand should you buy?

We wanted to know why we should buy an Olympus digital camera instead of one of the other brands. So we asked this question, and nine other pertinent questions, to Sally Smith-Clemens, Chief Spokesperson for Olympus America, who recently visited Canada to present the latest Olympus digital cameras.

Our questions (P) and her answers (SSC) are reproduced below. We thank Ms. Smith-Clemens for taking the time to answer our questions.

P: 1-What are OLYMPUS' goals for Canada in 2005? (% of digital camera market, where can consumers buy OLYMPUS digital cameras, where can we see OLYMPUS ads in print and TV)

SSC: Over the past two years Olympus has had a strong print and broadcast ad campaign in place in Canada. Our hope is to continue with strong advertising going through 2005. Olympus cameras can be purchased at most all photo specialty stores and electronics or computer super stores through out Canada. Hard to find accessories can be purchased from the Olympus Emporium:

P: 2-In what market segment is OLYMPUS digital cameras positioned: point-and-shoot, beginner, serious, advanced?

SSC: All of the above. We offer point and shoot cameras at attractive price points for the first time digital camera buyers, cameras for the advanced or intermediate users and students on up to Professional and Consumer dSLR's.

P: 3-OLYMPUS has introduced many exciting new digital cameras, including the IR series. Just what differentiates the IR series from the D series?

SSC: The IR series cameras (IR 500 and IR 300) are part of our Total Imaging Solution family of products. These are systems that do not require a computer as part of the solution in order to print, store and share images. Rather the camera(s) are at the center of the solution and can connect directly to a 40 gig hard drive, DVD writer, or snapshot printer. All components can also be connected to the computer if desired.

P: 4-The digital camera market is crowded with many players and models, and consumers have a hard time comparing and distinguishing between the many models. What do you want the consumer to think of when they think "OLYMPUS"?

SSC: Superior optical quality from an optical company who has been around since the early 1900's. Products that are designed to do more by addressing the needs/applications of the end user such as: all weather digital cameras that can withstand moisture; built in dust reduction systems in dSLR's to help reduce the problems of dust on the image sensor when changing lenses; ease of use by way of direct connection of cameras to printers; and easy selection modes on the individual cameras that will allow end users to effortlessly take photos in a variety of situations like candle light or fireworks.

P: 5-Many entry-level models are now private-labeled, and OLYMPUS probably also sells models it does not necessarily design and manufacture. In this case, why should a consumer choose an OLYMPUS over another brand?

SSC: For all the reasons stated in the response to answer number 4 plus the reputation of the brand Olympus supporting the purchasing decision. We have one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry. This is based on a low number of product returns or repairs.

P: 6-Readers have written to complain about the deficiencies they find in today's digital cameras -- and wonder who is addressing these issues:

a. High megapixel resolution without apparent equivalent gain in image quality (file size is growing but image quality still a problem with loss of detail and noise in images)

SSC: The Olympus TruePict Turbo II digital processing engine uses a newer noise reduction technology that addresses both random and fixed pattern noise.

b. A long shutter lag is really frustrating, making it impossible to take candid shots of baby, toddler,... in motion

Olympus Stylus 500SSC: Each time a new product is released, the shutter lag is reduced. The dSLR's from Olympus fire as quickly as any 35mm film SLR with no apparent shutter lag. This technology continues to trickle down to the less expensive products in our line as seen in the speedy start-up of our point and shoot Stylus 500.

c. Auto focus indoors (i.e.low-light) remains very challenging, sometimes a hit-or-miss proposition

SSC: Where it used to be only high end cameras offered a type of focus assist in low light, now several of our midrange cameras have adopted a similar technology making it easier to take pictures in low light environments.

d. Again in low-light, LCD is pretty much useless if they do not "gain up"

SSC: Within the past year Olympus has begun using HyperCrystal LCD technology in many of our high end and point and shoot digital cameras. This is a higher contrast/resolution LCD that can also be seen more easily from an angle and is designed to offer better viewing in a wider variety of shooting environments.

e. Since most parents buy a digital camera to take pictures of their kids inside the house (birthdays, concerts, and other special events, most of them conducted indoors), there is a growing frustration that digital cameras have a flash that is too weak, AF that does not lock, images that are too noisy, and AF lag that is too long. Any good news for the consumers for the near future in regards to OLYMPUS digital cameras addressing these issues?

SSC: If anything, Olympus cameras are known for throwing out a bit more light than needed so that's the good news; when using flash there should be no noise issues. If taking long exposures without the flash, there is a noise reduction feature that can be activated in the menu of many of our cameras to assist with the noise issue.

The best advice on shutter lag is to get used to depressing the shutter halfway to lock focus, then all the way to take the picture. Since the shutter button is registering both focus and exposure this allows it time to complete both tasks and capture the image. If depressing the shutter down quickly all at once, the hesitation may be more noticeable as the camera tries to process both tasks. Just getting used to the trigger action on the shutter release button can help with lag issues.

P: 7-The 4/3 System promised smaller dSLRs and lenses? Will we be seeing an OM-1 Digital anytime soon?

Olympus EVOLT E-300 dSLR

SSC: There currently are two Olympus dSLR's based on the 4/3'rds sensor. They are the E-1 and the Evolt E-300.

P: 8-OLYMPUS digital cameras are distinctive with clam shell covers, LCD that flips up instead of horizontally, etc. Who are the main designers of the OLYMPUS digital cameras?

SSC: Not necessarily true any more, take a look at our current line of products

Different types/styles of lens covers and LCD's are used based on the camera and its application. The cameras are designed by our engineers in Japan with feedback from our headquarters all over the world.

P: 9-What are OLYMPUS's warranty concerning returns and exchanges?

SSC: One year on parts and labour.

It's up to our dealers on how to handle exchanges/returns

P: 10-Why should I buy an OLYMPUS?


  • Image Quality
  • Ease of Use
  • Durable
  • Stylish

Sally Smith-Clemens, Chief Spokesperson for Olympus America


View all Olympus Digital Cameras These are Olympus' newest 2005 digital cameras. Click on a camera to view its specifications. Click on the Olympus logo on the left to view ALL Olympus Digital Cameras.
Olympus EVOLT E-300 Olympus Camedia C7070 Wide Zoom Olympus Camedia C5500 Sports Zoom
Olympus EVOLT E-300 Olympus C-7070 Olympus C-5500
Olympus Camedia D-630 Olympus Camedia D-595 Olympus Camedia D-545
Olympus D-630 Olympus D-595 Olympus D-545
Olympus Camedia D-425 Olympus Stylus Verve S Olympus IR-300
Olympus D-425 Olympus Verve S Olympus IR-300

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