Olympus quits camera business after 84 years

erek

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This is bad for consumers, but that's obvious. Wonder if they had technology and patents that could have been absorbed into other companies?

"The company also faced a major financial scandal involving senior executives in 2011.

Olympus is now seeking to strike a deal to carve off the camera part of its business so that its brands - such as Zuiko lenses - can be used in new products by another firm, Japan Industrial Partners.

In a statement, the Japanese company said that it was business as usual until then.

"We believe this is the right step to preserve the legacy of the brand," the statement said.

On social media, however, its UK team accepted that fans "may have many questions".

"We ask for your patience... Olympus sees this potential transfer as an opportunity to enable our imaging business to grow and delight both long-time and new photography enthusiasts," it said.

Olympus Corporation, however, will continue.

The company never stopped making microscopes, and has turned its optical technology to other scientific and medical equipment such as endoscopes."


https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53165293
 

Red Falcon

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I used to have an Olympus 1.3MP digital camera back in the early 2000s that worked great.
Their products, at least up until recently, always seemed to be fairly high quality, but with the paradigm shift to smartphones, its not too surprising something like this would happen to a consumer camera company.

At least they are staying in the scientific and medical technology fields.
 

Aurelius

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dont know anyone that has one, they all have canon or nikon. also, not tech news.
It's absolutely tech news! It affects your access to mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. The mirrorless PEN cameras were pretty slick early on. And I'd say the main threat to Olympus is Sony's still quite strong mirrorless lineup -- Canon and Nikon are secondary since they're still mostly focused on DSLRs.
 

BassTek

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I don't think it affects consumers much because everyone is buying Canon, Nikon, Sony and Fuji stuff as pendragon1 pointed out. If this was a two horse race then I would be concerned.
 

TheBuzzer

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everything has some kind of technology. it is funny some people say they don't care about technology yet they still use it every day of their lives.
 

pendragon1

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everything has some kind of technology. it is funny some people say they don't care about technology yet they still use it every day of their lives.
who said that? its funny that some people feel the need to put words into others mouths. guess we can start posting car news to the tech news as there is tech/computers in modern cars...
 
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1_rick

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guess we can start post car new to the tech news as there is tech/computers in modern cars...
Like the recent post about Mercedes-Benz and Nvidia partnering? (Autocorrect tried to turn "Nvidia" into "nudes".)
 

Zarathustra[H]

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They haven't been a real serious contended in the camera business since the film era.

It's a shame, but its the way the world works. Smartphones have gotten so good at taking pictures that there is little reason for most people to own standalone cameras anymore. With that shrink in the market, the volume just isn't there to support as many competitors as before.

These days if you are buying a camera, you are likely either a professional or prosumer/hobbyist photographer buying a DSLR.

I can't help but wonder how far behind them Sony's Alpha line of cameras are.

I almost never see anyone who uses anything but Nikon or Canon anymore.
 

defaultluser

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dont know anyone that has one, they all have canon or nikon. also, not tech news.

Basically this. Point-and-shoots ave been dead for a decade, and there's only so much room for DSLRs in this world where everyone has a DSP-enhanced cell phone camera.
 
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Mylex

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Shame their inbody image stabilization is a better implementation in the m43rd system than Panasonic's. They did a lot of good work helping mirrorless cameras being taken seriously. I have Nikon gear and have gifted or recommended Olympus cameras to people that weren't into manual settings for cameras but wanted more than what small sensor point n shoots/cellphone cameras could provide. To me this is a huge Tech Story. Now how this affects Panasonic and micro four thirds system could be huge since they shared development and licensing of it.
 

THRESHIN

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I'm sad to see Olympus go, as mentioned less competition. Well not to say they were competing much as of late.

The market for a 'real' camera has shrunk in a big way. Most just use their phones now. As a hobbyist I find it disappointing but not unexpected. The point and shoot market as well as even the low end DSLR are pretty well dead these days. Olympus didn't go much beyond this. Still, I fear that one day we'll be left with not a lot to choose from.


It's absolutely tech news! It affects your access to mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. The mirrorless PEN cameras were pretty slick early on. And I'd say the main threat to Olympus is Sony's still quite strong mirrorless lineup -- Canon and Nikon are secondary since they're still mostly focused on DSLRs.
Sony has done very well and makes excellent mirrorless bodies, but they still have issues with lens availability in many areas. Very little on the used market which is important to the hobbyist looking to save a few bucks.

I'm not sure what Nikon has been up to, but Canon's development has been full steam ahead on mirrorless. The R5 and R6 models are due out in less than a month as well as a ton of new lenses for the mirrorless RF mount. The EF to RF adapter works flawlessly for those of us who don't want to buy new glass. I picked up an RP right before Christmas and I love the thing. It's not the best mirrorless body out there, but you really can't beat it for the price. I know I can do far more with that than my cell phone could ever dream of :p
 

aokman

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And that is why consumers shouldn’t buy into obscure platforms, as much as it pains me to say it. While I love the innovation of companies like Olympus, Fuji etc, don’t trust them to have your back longterm. Samsung did the exact same thing.
 

IdiotInCharge

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And that is why consumers shouldn’t buy into obscure platforms, as much as it pains me to say it. While I love the innovation of companies like Olympus, Fuji etc, don’t trust them to have your back longterm. Samsung did the exact same thing.
Samsung pulled a stupid; they literally had the best mirrorless camera on the market and decided to quit.

The main issue I saw with Micro43 is the price of the better lenses. You can get solid lenses and solid cameras for it, but you'll pay just as much or more for the equivalent with a larger sensor and significantly less noise. And Panasonic really spanked them overall with their near-pro video offerings.

They haven't been a real serious contended in the camera business since the film era.
They left full-frame and even APS-C to Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony... and then really didn't offer enough to sell people on the platform.
It's a shame, but its the way the world works. Smartphones have gotten so good at taking pictures that there is little reason for most people to own standalone cameras anymore. With that shrink in the market, the volume just isn't there to support as many competitors as before.
As a dedicated hobbyist, this is absolutely true. But for complicated reasons:
  • Print is dead -- not in the consumer sense, but in the magazine / newspaper sense
  • Instant sharing is a requirement, and anything that's not the phone takes longer
  • The main 'viewing platforms' are small phone screens and low-resolution / small desktop and laptop screens
  • And yeah... phones take pretty damn good pictures within their limitations, which are constantly being chipped away at
Main thing I get with a physical separate camera -- we have two DSLRs and two mirrorless between my wife and myself -- is flexibility. When that's not needed, we really do just use our phones.
 
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aokman

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Samsung pulled a stupid; they literally had the best mirrorless camera on the market and decided to quit.

The main issue I saw with Micro43 is the price of the better lenses. You can get solid lenses and solid cameras for it, but you'll pay just as much or more for the equivalent with a larger sensor and significantly less noise. And Panasonic really spanked them overall with their near-pro video offerings.


They left full-frame and even APS-C to Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony... and then really didn't offer enough to sell people on the platform.

As a dedicated hobbyist, this is absolutely true. But for complicated reasons:
  • Print is dead -- not in the consumer sense, but in the magazine / newspaper sense
  • Instant sharing is a requirement, and anything that's not the phone takes longer
  • The main 'viewing platforms' are small phone screens and low-resolution / small desktop and laptop screens
  • And yeah... phones take pretty damn good pictures within their limitations, which are constantly being chipped away at
Main thing I get with a physical separate camera -- we have two DSLRs and two mirrorless between my wife and myself -- is flexibility. When that's not needed, we really do just use our phones.
Lenses shouldn’t have been an issue really as they were even interchangeable between brands with Panasonic etc
 

Mylex

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I think you hit the nail on the head with instant sharing helping to kill standalone camera sales in general. I've purchase Sony and Fuji smaller mirrorless cameras with the notion I will take them out more vs my phone. I do for a couple months then I get back to if its not important I use my phone, if it was I would use my D750 anyway line of thinking. I fit the category of if you can sell me a cellphone with even true apc level performance in the 100-3200 iso range and 18-125mm focal length I would write you a blank check.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Samsung pulled a stupid; they literally had the best mirrorless camera on the market and decided to quit.

The main issue I saw with Micro43 is the price of the better lenses. You can get solid lenses and solid cameras for it, but you'll pay just as much or more for the equivalent with a larger sensor and significantly less noise. And Panasonic really spanked them overall with their near-pro video offerings.


They left full-frame and even APS-C to Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony... and then really didn't offer enough to sell people on the platform.

As a dedicated hobbyist, this is absolutely true. But for complicated reasons:
  • Print is dead -- not in the consumer sense, but in the magazine / newspaper sense
  • Instant sharing is a requirement, and anything that's not the phone takes longer
  • The main 'viewing platforms' are small phone screens and low-resolution / small desktop and laptop screens
  • And yeah... phones take pretty damn good pictures within their limitations, which are constantly being chipped away at
Main thing I get with a physical separate camera -- we have two DSLRs and two mirrorless between my wife and myself -- is flexibility. When that's not needed, we really do just use our phones.
I used to be a huge photography nerd. It was one of my many hobbies that fell by the wayside as I got older and had less time on my hands.

My last body was a Nikon D90 which I bought at launch. I very rarely use it anymore. I have some pretty nice lenses too, but they are mostly collecting dust. I just don't have the time for the hobby anymore, and for all picture taking that isn't hobby related, my phone is mostly fine.

Only thing I wish were different about the phones are the distortions caused by the very wide angle lenses, necessitated by the fact that they use such small sensors. They result in closer things being exaggerated in size compared to things that are further away.
 
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IdiotInCharge

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Lenses shouldn’t have been an issue really as they were even interchangeable between brands with Panasonic etc
Sure; but remember that you're competing with Canon and Nikon here. Canon will still sell you a Rebel and a 50/1.8 that will outperform MFT, along with an entire ecosystem. That's really what Olympus (etc.) are having trouble competing with.
I think you hit the nail on the head with instant sharing helping to kill standalone camera sales in general. I've purchase Sony and Fuji smaller mirrorless cameras with the notion I will take them out more vs my phone. I do for a couple months then I get back to if its not important I use my phone, if it was I would use my D750 anyway line of thinking.
The D750 is smaller, but my EOS M5 is really small. It's small enough that MFT is really not on the table given the smaller sensor. As derided as Canon is for their sensor technology, they nailed enough with their APS-C mirrorless cameras to capture the market. Of course one advantage they have over Sony is that they actually know how to make cameras.
I used to be a huge photography need. It was one of my many hobbies that fell by the wayside as I got older and had less time on my hands.

My last body was a Nikon D90 which I bought on launch. I very rarely use it anymore. I have some pretty nice lenses too, but they are mostly collecting dust. I just don't have the time for the hobby anymore, and for all picture taking that isn't hobby related, my phone is mostly fine.
The part of the hobby that keeps me going is the 'get off your ass / out of the house' aspect. I use my phone a lot too, but I'll grab the EOS M5 and 22/2 and throw it over the shoulder to go out. That's a really small kit.

Only thing I wish were different about the phones are the distortions caused by the very wide angle lenses, necessitated by the fact that they use such small sensors. They result in closer things being exaggerated in size compared to things that are further away.
They're working on that; one checkbox item I have for my next phone is a UWA lens in addition to a 'portrait' lens. Some companies have already done this. The 'portrait' lens, approx. 50mm focal length in 135 format / 35mm full-frame equivalent field of view, should feel pretty 'normal'.

Bigger advantage is being able to capture more detail, and to have very precise control over the whole process. Phones just aren't there yet, given constraints like thickness preventing things like bigger sensors and apertures that can stop down and so on.
 

Spun Ducky

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Well at least they are still in the microscope business. My olympus stereo microscope is leagues ahead of any amscope or cheaper chinese brands I have tried.
 

DejaWiz

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I always liked Olympus cameras. My last PaS was an Olympus digital with10x optical zoom I bought off their eBay store along with a factory extended warranty for about $165. Still my favorite camera I've ever had. Sad to see them exit the segment.
 

IdiotInCharge

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I always liked Olympus cameras. My last PaS was an Olympus digital with10x optical zoom I bought off their eBay store along with a factory extended warranty for about $165. Still my favorite camera I've ever had. Sad to see them exit the segment.
Point-and-shoot cameras are really an area where Olympus excelled. Especially the tough versions and waterproof versions!
 

Marees

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As others said sharing & portability make smartphones good enough for most purposes.

And if you want a real camera, Sony is good enough for all amateurs.

On the professional side, I think the lenses & cameras last a long time, so the sales are very infrequent on which to run a business.

If you wanted a light & good quality camera the Olympus OM-D E-M 10 with the 17mm f1.8 would make a nice choice. I believe Sony & Fuji's options would have been heavier than this
 

IcePickFreak

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who said that? its funny that some people feel the need to put words into others mouths. guess we can start posting car news to the tech news as there is tech/computers in modern cars...
Yeah, it's really clogging up the forum and making it hard to find all the news posts on all the exciting things going on in PCs right now. :rolleyes:
 

70 Polara

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Shame to see Olympus quit the camera business, as at one time they made damn good cameras. I bought this unit around 1999 ($400 :ROFLMAO:), and I have absolutely no idea how many thousands of pictures I have taken with it, and still use it quite often as it takes better pictures then my Android phone does, quite frankly. All features including the optical zoom still work as new! Seeing as I'm a tech dinosaur at this point (see signature), I will use this until it dies, or the SmartMedia cards I have die.....whichever comes first lol.

20200624_185111.jpg
 
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Dang, I bought a used E-PM2 for $200.
First "real camera" with a bigger sensor than a point and shoot.
The thing takes amazing pictures.
I remember my dad had a Olympus camera that took 4AA batteries, and it would eat them, energizer lithiums were required for extended use lol.
I also had one of the point shoot cameras with 24x zoom and 5 axis stabilization, the SH-50 is think. That thing could take such smooth videos, I took over 5k pictures and videos before giving it away to someone that needed a better camera
 

Mav451

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I've been through a lot of Olympus gear (E-PL5, E-M1 mk1, E-M10 mk1, E-M10 mk2) along with their lens:
17mm f1.8, 25mm f1.8, 45mm f1.8, 14-150mm v1 (oof), 75mm f1.8 (very nice lens).

Many of the brand ambassadors - e.g. Robin Wong, Red35 photography are trying to spin that things are alright, but...I'm very skeptical.

I think there was some writing on the wall when Amazon suddenly stopped accepting ANY m43 for trade-ins. Now to be clear, Amazon offered terrible values on lens in general compared to used market pricing, but it raised my eyebrows years ago. Maybe they knew something then that we didn't.

Zarathustra[H] - I wouldn't call myself an Olympus fan, but any realistic m43 user already had some feeling this was coming. Olympus stupidly kept the much faster PDAF/hybrid AF ONLY in the very top-line models. E-M5 Mk3, E-M1 mk2 or mk3, or E-M1X (oof). It'd be one helluva thing if that PDAF had made it to the E-PL line or E-M10 line, but instead Olympus was happy to continue annual refreshes without any real improvement. The scary part is Panasonic is making a similar if not worse mistake. Panasonic still relying on CDAF tech for DFD shows little forward-thinking they have as well. You can see the complaints on video AF anytime it's discussed. The GH4/GH5 can only stay unchallenged so long - and in 2020, they don't have the same luxury of less competition that they had when the GH4 first launched in 2014.

DPReview had a new Panasonic release yesterday for 'vloggers' that still has a MicroUSB charge port. I mean, are you kidding me. If these companies refuse to incorporate even the most basic things, they have no one else to blame.
 
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IdiotInCharge

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Panasonic still relying on CDAF tech for DFD shows little forward-thinking they have as well. You can see the complaints on video AF anytime it's discussed. The GH4/GH5 can only stay unchallenged so long - and in 2020, they don't have the same luxury of less competition that they had when the GH4 first launched in 2014.
I still find this decision outright batty on their part, remembering that Canon is coming for that business slowly but surely with the best on-sensor AF on the market and an entire portfolio of lenses that work well with it for pulling focus.
 

UnknownSouljer

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who said that? its funny that some people feel the need to put words into others mouths. guess we can start posting car news to the tech news as there is tech/computers in modern cars...
We've talked about Elon Musk and Tesla plenty of times in here. I don't see what the problem is. This is one article you can easily scroll past. Not every piece of tech news is for you.

I can't help but wonder how far behind them Sony's Alpha line of cameras are.

I almost never see anyone who uses anything but Nikon or Canon anymore.
Not to denigrate, but I'd say you're not looking much in the space then. Sony basically has had the top spot in mirrorless systems for about a decade. Now it's basically Canon and Sony at the top fighting for mirror-less which is basically the only segment that matters. DSLRs are dead. The Nikon D6 was DOA. And as powerful as the Canon 1DX III is, it's clearly the last of its kind (which is why the Canon R series is Canon's real future).
Nikon is still "there", but despite how powerful their Z6 and Z7 are, it's not selling nearly as well as Sony and Canon's competition.

For people just shooting straight photos, the major contenders are Canon, Sony, Fuji, and Nikon. (Which some niche cameras from manufacturers like Leica, Phase One, and Hasselblad).
If you're looking for hybrid systems though, then it's Canon, Sony, Panasonic, and Nikon. (With Fuji lagging and trying to enter the space).

I follow camera tech and industry news pretty closely. I would say despite Olympus closing, there is better and more competition than ever before. More options than ever before. And it's increasingly hard to "buy a bad camera".
Despite this, u4/3 has limited life in the future. The whole point of it was to have really small, really inexpensive cameras that were convenient and shot nice pictures for amateurs. This was more relevant when u4/3 started, because so much of the cost of digital cameras was originally in the size of the chip. That market as you noted is dying because of cell phones and increasing u4/3 features to keep up with people with s35 or FF frame sizes makes no sense as less of the cost of a camera is tied in sensor size. No soccer mom is spending $2000 on a GH5 and even if she could why wouldn't she rather use a full frame Sony A7III instead (for the same cost)? In other words Olympus just didn't have the resources to transition out to stay in the game. The only other major u4/3 player as I just noted is Panasonic, but even they know that their future is way more tied to their cameras like the S1 series (which are full frame) rather than anything else u4/3 that came before it.

So what am I saying in short? Olympus' writing was on the wall. They didn't have the resources or the foresight to get out of the markets they were in in order to compete with other players that consistently have stayed more relevant. When even the Japanese aren't buying your PEN system, you know it's bad. They had a good legacy. Hopefully there is another company like a Sony (which bought Minolta, and that is how they started their camera division) can buy Olympus and give them the cash infusion to make those changes. And then Olympus can live on. If another visionary company, like a Sony, doesn't or can't buy them, then frankly they need to die because they aren't relevant.

Sony buying Minolta was successful because Sony had the divisions and the resources to make that acquisition successful. They essentially took Minolta's mount and lenses and their engineers who do optical design and married them to their sensor department to engineer new systems that made sense in an increasingly digital age. Minolta themselves didn't have the resources to really create a successful digital camera. And Sony of course didn't have optical engineers or people who had experience designing camera bodies. So it made a lot of sense. Whoever buys Olympus (if they do) will have to solve Olympus' sensor size and tech issues as well as build out their tech (like much better auto-focus and the ability to shoot nice video) in addition to a myriad of other problems. They won't be able to just keep going with a cash infusion, they'll need real change like Minolta did.
 
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IdiotInCharge

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It'd be nice if Sony bought Olympus just so that future Sony Alpha cameras actually behaved like cameras instead of consumer electronics...
 

UnknownSouljer

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It'd be nice if Sony bought Olympus just so that future Sony Alpha cameras actually behaved like cameras instead of consumer electronics...
As a guy that is on Sony for the past 3 years and Canon 7 years before that, I get the sentiment. After figuring out Sony menus and initial setup, Sony cameras are just as fast as I ever was on Canon.
I don’t disagree in the sense that they could do a lot better though. Sony has an unnecessarily high learning curve. Fuji and Leica are basically undefeated in this area. And it would open up a lot of the market to people wanting an easier camera to use.

Sony just needs a better interface design division, not an entirely other camera company. They’ve proven they can make good interfaces. The Sony Venice is one of the most intuitive cameras to operate. Too bad it’s literally only on their flagship camera.
 
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IdiotInCharge

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Yeah, it's not that they can't do it -- it's more like they're doing the 'throw shit against the wall and see what sticks' dance with respect to new technology and doing the human interface part too late in the design cycle, while it's pretty clear that most other manufacturers damn near start with the human interface design.
 
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