I think digital camera development is interesting.
When I bought my first two 1ds Canons, which I think were the first film quality digital cameras made, in the fact that shot quickly, had little if no artifacts and went to around 600 to 800 iso cleanly. Probably higher today with modern processing.
Anyway, at the time I could see all the companies large and small selling new cameras like those vendors on Canal street selling watches.
I told my studio manager at the time, if I was smart (obviously I'm not), I would buy 2 more 1ds, put them in a safe and only pull them out when I wore out the originals. I thought at the time I would save a lot of money, concentrate more on photography and business and not be caught up in the mad rush for more pixels, detail, iso, etc. etc. etc.
Well now it's been 10 Canons later, approx. $30,000, A leaf Valeo, Leaf Aptus ($30,000), Two phase one backs ($36,000) A nikon d2x (when the 1ds Canons had issues ), $5,000, Nikon D3, D7000 oh I don't know 7 grand, and now onto video cameras (won't even count the Canons, REDs, etc.), but up to the 43 systems I owned, in still cameras along, there is over $100,000 in camera capture devices alone, not including lenses a trillion upgrades on software and enough apple computers to make me a Apple reseller.
Funny thing is with the 43 cameras I've come kind of full circle. The OMD and the GH3 for stills shoot about the same quality file as the 1ds2. In comparing them to my latest Canon 1dx they are about a stop slower in noise, about 15% less detail (if that). so I assume they equal a 1ds1 or 1ds2 and yes they work professionally because I've shot a lot of images with them lately, nobody has said a word, I've been paid, life goes on.
So where are we today, where we weren't 10 years ago? Well, first thing is these cameras are smaller. I've never been a fan of small cameras, because we carry over 300 lbs of equipment, even on planes, so what's a bag or two? (well actually a lot with overage fees, one bag 4 countries can equal 900). But these cameras really aren't that small, about the size of 35mm film cameras, so it's not iike their tiny, its just professional 35mm cameras are huge.
Next the Canon 1ds didn't shoot professional video. You have to look long and hard to find any motion camera at any price that does what the gh3 will do and with the black magic 43 camera that's just a plus for this format.
They all have some form of articulating viewfinder which doubles as a waist level finder. The 43 ratio is perfect for vertical and in the gh3's case you really don't miss an ovf, in fact your hard pressed to know it's not an ovf in most instances. Maybe the omd1 will do the same.
Then price. For two canon 1ds new at the time I paid close to $13,000. The complete 43 kit with three bodies, 7 lenses, sound, chargers, extra batteries, is around 6 grand.
But bottom line in still image quality, (f you call quality pixel size, detail and noise qualitiy . . . I don't) I'm pretty close to where I was 10 years ago.
Now to put this in perspective to the omd1. It seems like it will be a good camera and well worth the money. The only disappointment is the video quality, the slow roll out of lenses and the fact the zooms are 2.8 instead of f2. They also took away some of the jewel like quality of the grip and battery holder. The omd 5 really is a pretty camera.
So in reality the omd1 fixes some things the 5 needed like a little better higher iso, some fixed f zoom lenses, better viewfinders and track focusing, (what the omd 5 wouldn't do), but also in reality what olympus made was a Panasonic gh3 without the video.