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Monday, 14 November 2011

Comments

Hear hear!

I agree with you Mike. I have an Olympus Pen EPl2 and some lenses and think it is a wonderful camera. I prefer the newest Olympus lenses to Canon and Nikon and consider them second only to Leica.

It is such a shame to hear about the problems of the management company. I hope that the camera division somehow survives and thrives despite all this.

I'm with you Mike! Some of the most beautiful photos I've made were with Olympus products. Putting my money where my mouth is, I just ordered an E-P3 and the 12mm/f2 and 45mm/f1.8 lenses.
Long may they live!

Could not agree more. It is a team of people that design and make these products that have driven innovation in this market. I put my money down for a xz-1 on Friday.

I agree totally on this point.
Being a current OM-1 user and a former OM-F user, I must say these are design masterpeices and the lenses are incredible. An industry lacking such daring companies would be a sad place to watch, just like after Contax went belly-up. Hope that won't happen.

+1.
Sell the imaging division to the guy who bought Leica, have him sort it out, and sell it for a large profit, just like he did with Leica.
That, in my ever so humble opinion, is what capitalism is supposed to be all about.

I, too, hope Olympus survives its current calamity. I never owned an Oly camera before the E-P1 was introduced. But having since followed with an E-P2 and now an E-P3 I've come to appreciate the history and spirit of the company's photo division. I think that the photographic world is a much richer place with Olympus than without them.

I still predict that Oly will survive. This is a financial accounting issue, not a fundamental business crash issue. Their businesses remain fairly strong and an ounce of true commercial strength is worth tons of marketing bullshit (the bio-fuel for many of today's most highly valued names). Not to mention that Oly holds a remarkable pantry filled with patent value.

At this writing (11/14 11am) it looks like Oly has dodged the TSE delisting bullet and its stock has pulled out of its nosedive, at least for today.

Yes. I didn't get started with Olympus until the digital age, but had handled and appreciated the feel of the OM's. Having owned two E410's, two E510's, the wonderful 14-54 mid-grade lens, the 35mm macro (wonderful!), and yes, even the original 40-150 zoom (the best one in my opinion, in the consumer grade series...)I have never been happier with the quality, especially considering the price of these products! Thanks, Mike for putting things in perspective, as usual!

I also like the Olympus products, even though I currently don't use them. For a number of years I owned and used the Pen F, with three Zuiko lenses. They were great when traveling to Europe (and elsewhere)-small, 72 exposures per roll, and razor sharp lenses. I still have many slides I made with them. But, eventually, there were things they didn't do, that I did do, so I traded for more Nikon gear. Still, it would be a shame for them to go under due to financial misconduct, which apparently is a real risk. If they do own about 10% of the market, as has been claimed, hopefully someone will take them over, or they will be able to restructure, without loss of quality or market share.

They (the workers)can have my moral support but I won't buy their products anymore.
I have an OM-1, several E- models and the E-P2 plus a big number of lenses.

The E-3 was the last decent model they built. I also shoot with Lumix GF2 and GH2 and these are really built for photographers whereas the PENs are more gadgets for the ladies purse.

I switched from Nikon to the Olympus OM system in 1979. I loved, loved, loved my OMs. Carried them on documentary/PJ assignments to 27 countries on five continents, including several weeks in Eastern Europe just three months after the Berlin Wall was breached. I also carried the OMs around much of the US, plus using them for a ton of editorial and commercial work.

By 1992, aging eyes made it more difficult to focus quickly and accurately on the grid screens with very fine microprisms that I had installed in all my bodies. In retrospect, I should have just changed screens and kept on using the OMs. But I sold everything, and after trying Nikon autofocus (it hunted for focus like a hound dog with a cold in its nose), I tried the Canon EOS system, which locked on focus like a pit bull. So I switched to Canon, and eventually switched over to Canon digital, which I still use for my commercial and architectural work.

At the time I sold my OM system, I had several bodies and 13 lenses. The workhorse was an OM2n, but I also had an OM-1, an OMPC (nice camera), and an OM2S.

When I first began to use Olympus, I bought a 21mm f3.5, a 28f2.8, a 35-70f3.6, a 50f1.8, an 85f2, and a 135 f2.8. I later decided that the 24f2.8 could do the work of both the 21 and the 28, so they went on the shelf. I bought and sold other lenses over time, and on my last trip abroad I carried the 24, a 35f2, the 85f2, and the 180f2.8. This seemed to be about the perfect set of lenses for the kind of work I did. All were very sharp, and with the exception of the 180, were all quite small and light.

Over the 13 years that I used Olympus, I would estimate that about 70% of all exposures were made with the 85mmf2.

The only Oly equipment which gave me problems was the winders, which weren't very durable. I should have just bought motor drives up front. Also, I found the 35-70f3.6 to be not as sharp as I would have liked, although others have rated it as very sharp.

Now, after 18 years I am back to Olympus for my personal work and book projects. I bought an OM2S Program and have been shooting some test rolls in it. Also, I inherited from my father a Zuiko 50/f1.8 and an 28-85 f2.8-3.5 Kiron, both very clean. The prize, however, was a Zuiko 75-150 f4 in mint condition with the original case and instructions.

With the Oly film camera, I am slowing down, shooting less, and thinking more about what I'm doing. Sometimes digital can be just too easy. But I must also say that I'm very much enjoying my Pen E-PL1, which in many ways may be the best of both worlds.

I admit to being a bit of an old school Olympus film camera fan boy, still shooting an OM-1n I bought in 1979, regularly shooting a Trip 35 and pulling out my old XA from time to time. Your observation about Olympus's optics is spot on. I have been considering a M4/3 camera and would to buy another Olympus (Panny GX-1 looks good though). I hope they weather this or find a way to have the camera division continue.

I would like to include the fine folks at the Center Valley, PA location. The Pro support/loaner/info staff have been the best. I just got off the phone with support about a lens just a couple hours ago (I'm pleased with the response/action I received).
I don't believe you need to go but a couple levels below "The Board" to find very proud, dedicated, honorable people. My heart goes out to them.
It has always been about the glass for me.
When compared to optical options of other brands; there is no comparison (for the speed, size, and value). Yeah, I would like more pixels but my clients are happy.
I was hesitant to get a E5 (contemplated a brand change) until I got their first E5 loaner for a couple weeks from Olympus. It was just enough image improvement, usable higher ISO and better AF speed. I rarely use the E3 (might sell it). The EP3 has become my second body when I need to have a second lens handy; use the MMF-2 adapter.

E3, E5, E510 (works well doing infrared), 7070W (a tank), EP3, 8mm,7-14mm, 11-22mm, 12-60mm, 50-200mm, EC14, an assortment of kit lenses and a MMF-2 adapter (use 4/3rd lenses on EP3).

I came to photography as a hobby in the digital era. You may find this amusing but the entry camera for me was an Olympus C2000z. I loved that camera and it still sits on my shelf inside a neoprene lens sleeve.

I currently own the E-PL2, E-P2 and a couple of Canon DSLRs. Both M4/3 cameras are a joy to use. Especially when compared to any of the Canon DSLR bodies I've owned. The E-P2 with 20mm 1.7 lens is my walk around camera of choice. The E-PL2 with a legacy OM lens mounted is my Saturday afternoon at Luckenbach Texas roadhouse special. They are great cameras. Unfortunately both could really do with a sensor refresh.

The E-P3 is a sophisticated imaging device with fast focus and all the bells and whistles build around an obsolete sensor. That is not a good situation for Olympus or for users like me who would buy the next gen body if it had a next gen sensor.

I just spent the day honoring my e-p1 in that very spirit. What a fine camera it is. Still I'm afraid Olympus cameras don't shine as much on press relases as they do in use. I have owned a bunch of digicams, dslrs and none really had as many good little ideas as the olies. My concern with the e-p3 is that it has got this same old sensor, something that makes an update difficult for people who got used to the e-p1 af and screen, like me. The 45mm is on its way though, and the 12mm might follow !
OM-1 & E-P1 proud owner.

I'm surprised. In the era of "Occupy" that you would continue to support a company so clearly taking advantage of "stakeholders" like this. Financial shenanigans like this hurt everyone.

Olympus deserves to go under, just as they torpedoed Maitani. Oh, that last laugh.

I can't say I'm a "brand fanatic" either. But three OM-2ns and two E-3s--plus a plethora of lenses--show just what I think of the brand.

That's why I am so sorry to see that Olympus might be taken down....not because they made a poor product--quite the opposite--but because of financial jiggery-pokery unrelated to the main business, conducted by self-styled management/finance "geniuses" who thought the Wall Street way of making money was just what the company needed.....

...Ending up just the same way all the fancy dancing up Wall Street did, apparently....

Amen.

A good family friend - sadly departed from this vale of tears - was the patent attorney (and glass physicist) for Carl Zeiss. Before that, he worked for Leica in Solms, designing new glass types.

In both cases he said that the only Japanese company that Leica or Zeiss regarding as being serious competitors (in terms of coming close to being in the same class, quality-wise) was Olympus. Nikon and Canon, meh. Pentax, double meh. Olympus: hmmmm.

Sure, it's anecdotal, but Werner wasn't pulling my leg. He made fun of my P67 (and offered me a discount on anything Zeiss made for Hasselblad) and otherwise was scathingly straight-forward.

The only real danger is that the optical division is sold to someone who wants to destroy the company because it is a threat to other business...

Cheers Mike and well said! We photographers all need Olympus to remain viable, whether we're owners or not. Oly innovation and their commitment to lens design and color science challenge all the competition to become better.

We Oly owners need confidence we've committed to a viable company as we continue to plan and grow our systems. Lord knows, it's been tough to stick with 4/3 dlsrs even before the fiscal tsunami hit and now it's hard not to feel a bit doomed. Yes, the gear soldiers on but with no assurance of further advancement and worse, the possibility of no service and support, it's a nervous relationship at best.

Having gone through the death of Contax as an owner, I really, really don't want to repeat the experience.

Best,

Rick

The current financial situation won't change my behaviour as a customer one way or the other - that is one who would buy the E-5 right away if it were maybe slightly less outrageously overpriced. I have also bought the 45mm f1.8 and it is indeed totally gorgeous, and it would be very sad if it were no longer in production. But I'm not going to get sentimental about Olympus as a company. I feel very sorry for the rank & file employees who've got screwed over as ever by the Running Dogs Of Capitalism, but, as the man said, All Things Must Pass. Even camera companies. It is interesting, Mike, that you illustrate this article with the OM4Ti, as that is probably the last truly classic camera product Olympus made. The E-1, almost, painfully almost, but otherwise, ... not really.

Even though I've only ever owned Olympus DSLRs, I don't feel I owe Olympus anything. Sorry.

I want to show support. I really do.

But I just can't be doing with the damned brand wars.

And sticking my head above the crowd will likely attract that kind of flack. And I'd rather just take photos.

But what the heck...

I'm fairly heavily invested in 4/3rds gear. An E-3, a spare E-1, battery grips, plenty of lenses. I find them a great balance between performance (in all regards) and form factor (I like chunky cameras, but a 35mm weather-sealed camera is usually a much larger beast than an E-3).

I could ramble on for ages about why I like Olympus. Build quality. Useful innovation, like dust-busting and in-body IS. Decent design. Especially the menus. I remember standing in a camera shop with an E-500 (my first digital camera with interchangable lenses!) and a competitor's camera in front of me. One of those cameras had a usable Information screen that allowed quick changes. One of them had a series of menus designed by minions of evil, whose pay was dependent on how many people were hospitalised with RSI of the thumb.

Oh - there's the rambling. Sorry.

Basically, Olympus may not always have been first, or best. But they were usually there early, built them well, and were easy to use.

So thanks to Olympus for making it easy - heck, pleasurable! - to scratch my photographic itches.

And thank you Mike, for giving me a safe (safer?) place to do it.

I really hope that Olympus will continue to give the industry reasons to compete.

Right, now to get back to my photography...

Used to work commercially in the 80s with Olympus 35mms, and still have a little pile of Olympus gear that, most importantly, STILL WORKS.
My wee XA is the most adept little rangefinder I've ever owned,and the 510UZ is maybe the most pocketable superzoom around.
If they do go belly-up, they will be missed.

Hi Mike - Nice commentary and I hope the company survives. I'm a Nikon person but may well go 4/3 some day. Even that is not the point. The more manufacturers of high end cameras the better. It means more innovation and competition andf uniqueness between brands. Long live Olympus!

My thoughts exactly it would be a shame to see a company managed to the ground that produces such fine products and that continues to think out of the box to the benefit of all photographers.

Greetings, Ed

Considering my current actionable wishlist has three items on it: an E-P3, a 12mm ƒ Zuiko and the 45mm ƒ 1.8 Zuiko count me in with you. I remember the first OM an amazing little camera. Here's to hoping some good will come of this scandal

+1 Mike.

The question is how to Keep Olympus Alive so the imaging systems side can survive?

The 'best' answer I can come up with is a serious scrubbing of the Board Rooms and the Executive Suites above the divisional level AND the symbolic act of bringing Michael Woodford back as CEO. It 'may' provide a way to ring fence Oly's Past and keep it from killing it's Future.

I claim no expertise or special knowledge, but a Bright Line appears to be needed to seperate the two eras in the company's life.

Sincerely
Richard in Michigan

Olympus has a fine history of creative and high-quality camera and lens designs. I still have (and use) an OM-2N and the brilliant little XA pocket rangefinder. The company's current financial difficulties are unfortunate, but I think they'll pull through.

Fully agree. It'd be a damn shame if Olympus went down the drain after this financial, but ultimately not photography-related, scandal.

I've just started using a 35 SP and I'm bowled over by it. For me, it's an ideal compact camera and I'm ashamed to say I have only recently heard of it.

The seven-element lens is on a par with anything I've used from the usual suspects and yet it's mounted on a (relatively) cheap and cheerful compact. Anyone, out there, thinking about buying a nice, manual, rangefinder would do well to look at the 35SP.

Am now contemplating splashing out on a 55mm f1.2, to use my 5D II.

I wish Olympus well. Come to think of it, I wish all camera makers well. I don't like using my phone to take photographs.

Well said, Mike. I, too, have been - and still am - an Olympus user (35SP, OM 1-2-4, E1&3, ep-1). It would be very sad to see them leave the photography community.

Bill Stickney

Mike, I'm completely with you for all the reasons. But what to do?

Some of my best photographs were also shot on Olympus cameras. I still have an Olympus 35 LC, the precursor to the SP with the same great lens, and I did the shoot that got me noticed as a restaurant photographer with an Olympus E-1. I now have an E-PL2 that's a fine little camera. I say it time and again, but Olympus has the best JPEG engine around (though the one inside the Epson R-D1 is might fine as well). It does have some fine traditions and a lot of promise. A lot of us are expecting that "pro" micro 4/3 body. It seems they are getting quite close now that EVF technology is advancing (the SLTs by Sony are illustrating that) and that mirrorless AF systems are getting faster (the company's own E-P3 attests to that). I hope that the lineage survives.

I love my E-PL2 Micro 4/3 and would hate to see this technology fall by the wayside because of a few greedy men. I have some expensive Canon equipment but the Pen is light and lovely - I don't want to see it pass.

I bought an EPL-1 a few weeks ago. I just purchased the VF-2 a couple of days ago. I'll continue adding to my kit, as I love the camera.

Beautifully said, and ditto to all - I'm also an m43 user and share the same feelings. Oly needs all our support. I too just recently bought the 45/1.8, so I hope my money helps them.

Clayton

I too am a customer and supporter of Olympus and what it represents in photography today and in the past. I have and use an OM-1 with two Oly lenses. I started in digital photography with the Oly C-2100 UZ, and the pleasure and results I had from it have yet to be duplicated. And I have owned the E-510, which created great image files, but taught me that I hate to change lenses.

I think that in producing ONLY excellent lenses, no inferior kit lenses, Olympus has set the right standard for a photography equipment maker.

I will be. Expect an E-5 & (wife permitting)14-35 to appear in your B&H report sometime in the next month or two.

Olympus didn´t think about their customers in the early ´90 when they raised the prices excessively.

Owning Olympus cameras and lens is a little like what being a Mac owner was like a few years ago. Everyone wonders why you use such "quirky" equipment. The beautiful optics and superb build quality are often overlooked by those who value numbers on a specification sheet.
What Olympus needs now is a Steve Jobs like figure to sweep the company clean and get back to innovating and producing high quality products as soon as possible.

I started my photographic journey in 1982 with an Olympus OM10 and a 50mm f/1.8. I later graduated to an OM4Ti before shifting to Canon digital SLRs. I liked the size, simplicity and build of the OM series. All lenses were made to essentially the same standards with max aperture generally delineating the premium series - a bit different from the plastic stuff dished up today from most nanufacturers. I recently took a holiday with my OM4 and nothing had changed. I then handled an EP-3 in a store and found the same feel and philosophy. It would be unjust for such a wonderful camera maker to fold over rotten management. And it would also spoil my dream of having a digital OM series.

Hear hear! As a 30+ year Olympus fan and user--and also an unbiased reviewer--I'm hoping the company survives. Olympus innovations are manifold and the industry would not be the same without them.

yeah, the electronic Pen was and is what the world really needs, remember, thanks.

Hence why after much internal debate I chose not to sell of my E-5 and lenses. It may be a mistake but I am going to stick with it.

Hmm, I wonder if, after reading this article, my wife would feel less bad about my buying more Olumpus lenses? I shall have to give it a try.

Thank you for your calm, objective reporting of the Olympus story.

Neither am I a 'brand fanatic' but, having had a succession of Olympus cameras, I have a great deal of admiration for their innovative products and am very sad to read about the company's catastrophic mis-management. It makes me wonder how many other respected companies have a similar rot in the boardroom?

It all looks pretty bleak at the moment - the sooner they reinstate Woodford the better.

Although I moved on to medium and large format 20 years ago, I still cherish Mr. Maitani's designs and and keep my Olympus cameras (OM 1n, 2n, 2sp, 4T) and Zuiko lenses, many of which are indeed wonderful. My favorites were/are the 40mm f/2 you showed, the 50mm f/2 Macro, the 90mm f/2 Macro, and the 135mm f/4.5 Macro head with the 65-116 telescopic tube. Wonderful optics indeed and I am pondering if I should give them a new lease on life with an adapter and a mirrorless camera some day.

I am absolutely an Olympus supporter... I have 3 Olympus Cameras and many Olympus accessories. My personal favorite is the
E-3 and I'm seriously looking at upgrading to another.. A great product that easily equals and most often exceeds the others..

I'm hoping they pull through this. I have an E-510, E-30 and an E-PL1 and find them all a pleasure to shoot with, both at home and on my travels. I've tried cameras from some of the other manufacturers but often struggle to connect with them (if that makes sense).

No, wouldn't want to see Olympus go under, not because of the cameras---although I have used and still a few Olympus cameras---but because the employees don't need to have their lives and careers damaged because of the crimes of those running it.

As far as the Olympus apology goes, as long as the board and leadership includes people who should have known of the problem and taken action years ago and did not, it is not an apology.

So, I suppose I shall be flamed as an Oly hater - but I'm really not.

As far as Olympus goes, I don't see anything here to particularly admire, above and beyond any of their peers/competitors.

I've owned Oly gear (35mm film OM) and it was nicely made and they are responsible for a decent share of innovations. I don't even hold it against them (any longer!) that they killed their mount and (mostly) stranded their installed base of Zuiko lens customers. It was the right business decision, just as it was when Canon did it to bring out auto-focus.

As a consumer of photography equipment, I have a (small) vested interest in them surviving for the reasons given in the article. But on the whole, I have something edging towards negative view towards Oly survival.

Actually, I think it is a *healthy* thing for capitalism when incompetence or fraud wipes out a company. The collapse of Arthur Anderson, the sudden death of Lehman Brothers, the slow death throws of Kodak - these are painful for the employees, customers, vendors, etc., no doubt.

However, just as predators devour the sick and weak in a herd, improving the breed along the way, destruction of failing companies is a necessary part of fiscal ecology.

1) It reminds shareholders that the stakes are high. Risk is real. If there is no cost to failure, the reward for success has to be correspondingly small as well. The "rescue" of so many US banks in 2008-2009 was terribly counter to this principle, btw. I wish those in charge had had the courage to let a few more fail - or at least annihilate the shareholder equity as a price for survival, ala GM.

2) It serves to instruct management and boards of directors that they actually are responsible and liable for the actions they take. Better get smart before you lose your job, or worse, get a well washed orange jumpsuit (or the Japanese equivalent) to wear.

So, at this point, I think one of the most useful things Oly could do for the business community is for it to plunge into receivership and be dismantled. Thanks to four-thirds, it has many partners that would be delighted to buy at least the patents.

It will (hopefully) be a powerful warning to its peers and competitors within their industry and far outside of it that financial fraud is a risk too great to take, whatever the goals.

I think multi-national corporations need that reminder more than we need another competitor to Nikon/Canon/Sony/Panasonic/Etc

Severian

Count me on that boat too, Mike! I am an immensely proud owner of an E-P1 and no less than four Olympus lenses. Two of them are OMs, the 28mm/f3.5 and the 50mm/f1.4, which are absolutely superb. Instead of turning my back to Olympus, as many seem to be doing, I'll stay with it and hope it'll survive this storm caused by the incompetence and lack of ethics of the members of the board. Just today I ordered an Olympus flashgun; that was mandatory, as I'm taking a photography course, but still, even if it weren't, that'd be my way of supporting Olympus. The last thing it needs now is customers fleeing.
Curiously, it transpired that something similar to this scandal happened here in Portugal, where Olympus has its service and repair facilities for western Europe. It turned out that a former administrator was forced to step out for whistleblowing a corruption case involving some building works at the facilities. What a sad coincidence! But that still won't pull me away from Olympus' cameras, lens and accessories. As you say, all those engineers and workers at Oly are not to blame for the errors that plagued Olympus's history, nor for the current scandal that is threatening its continuity.

As I type, next to the keyboard lie the Olympus Stylus 790SW that I bought in '07 and the Stylus Tough that my son bought just recently. In '07 our extended family took an amazing snorkeling vacation, and when I was in our local camera shop looking for a waterproof camera case to take with us the owner suggested the unassuming looking Stylus 790SW instead. It is water tight down to 10ft. We had so much fun with that camera! We snapped pictures as we snorkeled (even at night!) and then plugged the camera into the TV afterward, got out the book, and identified what we had seen. It really made the trip even more amazing and also made for a fantastic photo book. After the trip my brothers and my parents bought the same camera! Then, a few years later, after taking the 790SW fishing, skiing, etc... we bought the newer version. Unfortunately for my son, it floated out of his pocket one day when he was fishing in a river. When he replaced it (a costly lesson for a 15 year old), it came with a floaty! I love Olympus for that little camera. I have some cool photos you have seen, Mike, taken with that camera!

Monocultures are dangerous. m43 is the first lunge into mirrorless with any real oomph... a healthy microcosm with many players in this segment makes me happy, and, my 45mm 1.8 with new m43 bodies makes me much happier (dunno if that will ever happen now).

I bought big into Oly m43 this year, should have known. It's my fault guys.

I'm with you, Mike. This is a tragedy just as the fraud at Polaroid was a tragedy; it puts the lives of honest, hardworking, and innovative engineers (who are delivering fine products to an appreciative customer base) onto the altar of the greed and venality of a few rich executives.

You know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see the Olympus camera division sold to Cosina. Mr. Kobayashi would know what to do with a team like the one Olympus has got.

My first foray into serious photography was with a 35RC. This is probably the only camera I've ever sold and regretted selling later. Since then the only Olympus products I've used have been microscopes and very nice microscopes they are too.

At Carmarthen Cameras (Wales, UK) we have just stocked up on the Olympus Pen system. I prefer it to the new Nikon J/V system and the Pentax Q, and, not being that attracted to the Panasonic, if I had the money I would buy back into Olympus for a handy camera that can fulfil a role as a fun and serious system combined, which is what I want now.
I have always liked the 'Olympus way' and have done many of my best remembered pictures with it. (The OM4Ti was the first brand new camera I ever bought, a thrill as yet unsurpassed by any other new camera I have had - even the A900). At any moment I will lament no longer having the original fantastic 50mm f2.0 macro. Is the new 4/3rds one as good ?

Yours, supportively,
Mark Walker.

The wonder of rose colored glasses. My first Oly was a new OM4t. They had some good lenses and some that were not so good. It was a small, superbly laid out SLR without any support at that point. The system map was forgotten and never filled out. Year after year there was no development except for raising the prices. Eventually they announced the E-1 telling their customers their lenses would not work on the new camera, and took nearly 2 years to bring it to market. By that time I had lost patience and shifted to a Nikon D100. After using it for about a year I picked up my Olympus for some nostalgia with film and was shocked at how my favorite camera had become so crude and flimsy compared to the Nikon. I have never looked back since then. Lucky too, considering how they again abandoned their customers who bought E cameras. There is more to a camera company than an occasional body or exceptional lens. I concluded long ago that Olympus was not really a camera company, just a profit making subsidiary of a larger corporation.

Still use my OM1-N and OM2-S! Always wanted a OM4-T. Love the "look" of Zuiko glass with film. I was bummed out on the whole 4/3rds digital as there was no decent legacy pathway. Perhaps someday, under different ownership, the OM system will rise again.

I to used to use Oly and had a OM1n and OM4T, I really loved those cameras and lenses. But they did not move forward with the progression of the digital SLR's which I felt very bitter about. So eventually I dumped the whole lot and moved to another brand, so I do not have any sympathy I am afraid.

I like Olympus gear and just bought their new 45mm lens. So, enough about Olympus' camera gear.

I have to say, enough bad things cannot be said about the Olympus management, and other managements like it. I don't know if they're technically criminals, but their activities are as brutally immoral as, say Caligula's.

Take MF Global as an example. MF Global was an international brokerage that went broke a couple of weeks ago. It went broke because one man, Jon Corzine, the former US Senator and NJ governor, and former investment big shot, thought he saw an opportunity in European bonds, and made a huge bet on them. The outcome matrix was like this: if Corzine won, he'd get an enormous bonus and burnish his political credentials -- he was maybe looking for a cabinet post. If he lost the bet, well, he's still a billionaire. For the employees there, if Corzine won the bet, they get nothing. If Corzine lost the bet...

Corzine lost the bet. The company went bankrupt, and all 1,066 brokerage employees were fired en masse. Of course, Corzine's still a billionaire, and he did apologize...

Love my crazy-stupid E5 with its tank body and 4/3 sensor like a 4 banger working too hard. Also have a couple OM-1's, and a little Stylus Epic like a bar of black Ivory that served as the number one family camera for the first six years of my daughter's life. I look at that camera and it still seems modern when I slide it open and the 2.8 lens makes the little zip-zip sound. So yes, stick around. Variety and innovation is good. In fact, bring back the Epic with a 4/3 sensor, a fast 35mm, the zip-zip sound and the weatherproofing and I'll buy one of those too.

I've admired Olympus stuff since the OM10 days. (Not so much the 4/3 DSLRs). As with Pentax, it would be a great loss if the tradition should disappear, and there is some parallel with Pentax pre-RIcoh, in the sense that the camera division seems to be a poorer cousin of an endoscope manufacturer. Just as Pentax seems to have found a more appropriate home, lets hope Olympus faces a similarly brighter future. Things look very uncertain now, and the effect on their retail sales must be devastating.

Beautiful indeed. Although, I am a fanboy... ever since using my paper route money to make my first camera purchase in 1977, an OM-1. Still shooting with it in rotation with half a dozen other Olympus models: Pens and rangefinders. Small bodies, elegant lines, features and ergonomics that favour the way I shoot, Maitani's cameras have a functional minimalism that I enjoy and a control logic that dared to go its own way, e.g. the OM's placement of shutter speeds around the lens mount. For a time I shot with a Canon F1 at work. I used to look forward to weekends and my OM-1 in the same way that, years later, I'd look forward to using my Mac at home instead of the office PC.

Digital era designs? Meh. I appreciate the continued optical excellence of Oly lenses. Gives me a certain status by association for shooting Zuiko although I'm not really hung up on optical quality. Perhaps that's because I've always shot Zuiko and have been spoiled by their predictable excellence. The 12mm f/2.0 excites me and could finally get me to buy a digital body. Although truth be told I resent M4/3 because it's driven up the prices of classic glass :P

Despite the contradiction of being a constant user of their antique products but not their current ones, I dearly hope Olympus' Imaging System Business makes it through this crisis.

I'm a proud owner of an Olympus Stylus Epic, D-340R and E-PL1. I previously owned a C2100UZ and wish I'd never sold it to a co-worker. Each is/was a real gem.

I sincerely hope the photographic-minded geniuses at Olympus do not succumb to the malfeasance of a few superiors.

As and accountant and Olympus camera owner since the E-1 I have to ask if the company was losing money and had to cover it up with cooking the books which divisions were losing the money? If the medical instrument division is their cash cow then what other divisions were costing them money? Is it the imaging business?

Don't be surprised if the non performing divisions get spun off to save the company. The board of directors are first responsible to the shareholders and not necessarily the customers.

If the imaging business does get spun off I would expect a drop in quality and customer service.

The focus(no pun intended) of the new company will strictly watching the cash flow and the bottom line so they can recoup their investment.

I have a lot of OMs, a nice stable of Zuiko OM lenses (including the fabulous 21/2), some 35SPs, XAs, an RC and assorted others that I can't recall. One of the advantages of being in love with Zuiko glass is that She Who Must Be Obeyed loses count cuz they're all "an Olympus".

I hope the major stockholders force the actions Richard and Koji Miyata prescribe. The company can survive as an entity with drastic action. Perhaps the camera division can be purchased and let loose the creative and engineering minds who, I suspect, have not begun to reach their potential.

The only Olympus I have owned is an EP2. I liked it, but preferred the GF1.

But I would like Olympus to survive, or at least the photographic portion. A fine heritage.

As for this:
"I'm surprised. In the era of "Occupy" that you would continue to support a company so clearly taking advantage of "stakeholders" like this. Financial shenanigans like this hurt everyone."

Well, I think it was some key executives who decided on this course of action: companies don't make decisions.

My first real camera was a Nikon FM. I saved up and bought it for my high school photo class. When I went to college, I gave the camera to my younger brother. A few years later, when I looked into a camera system again, I chose the OM-4T because it is so small and elegant. Spot metering, so simple, yet so powerful... I still have the camera, although I have not used it for awhile. Still fits like a glove.

My E-PL1 is my first Olympus. I got it as a second micro 4/3 body to compliment my Panasonic G2. The controls and menus are quirky and there is no focus assist light. But the results are great. The photos I get are spectacular. It is a blast to fool around with colors on this camera. I also like the collapsing design of the two Olympus lenses I own. I have the 14-42 kit lens and the 9-18 wide. Although it is not too much smaller than my G2, it seems so much smaller with that tiny 14-42. Wish I had waited for the E-PM1 PEN mini!

Mike,
I agree that photographers should continue to have such fine tools available. I've been using an E-PL1 for months now, and it has taken the place of my Nikon system for fine art work. I just love using it I've been looking forward to their response to Panasonic's latest upgrades.

If we only did business with companies that were model citizens, we wouldn't buy much.

It's funny how you get attached to brands and cameras: My first camera was an Olympus and I still have a real soft spot for the brand...

Pak

I've long admired, but never yet owned, Olympus cameras. The OM-3 and 4Ti are the stuff of legends in the way that the Pentax LX was and the Nikon F3 and Canon New F1 were not. Sure they outsold the little guys but they missed something unquantifiable that the OMs and the LX had. Maybe they were just too professional.

I'm currently looking at a Micro 4/3 system to sit alongside my Pentax setup and there's so much about the PEN that appeals (in-body shake reduction for one). Yes, the GX1 will be cheaper, so why am I drawn to the PEN?

The guys in the shop snorted when I said I liked the Olympus (which they don't sell). Maybe it's because they were wearing their promotional Nikon 1 shirts.

I don't get this brand association thingy. What's with otherwise sensible people providing free advertising for large corporations? Especially Oly who leave loyal system users (OM and FT) stranded at the drop of a hat.

I have used every major camera type over the last 35 years and they are all great and annoying in equal measure. I loved and hated every one of them. I don't care what camera anyone owns, frankly, as long as they are happy with it.

I would also argue that Pentax and Minolta users benefitted in the long run by having their camera divisions bought by someone else with serious financial muscle and a willingness to invest in their long term future both were being managed by idiots. Same with Olympus.

Moreover, Olympus like Pentax simply don't have the financial clout to stay in the market.

If the stupidity and underhand deviousness of their senior execs hastens their buyout I say good luck to the engineers (they deserve good management) and good news for Oly buyers (they deserve an upgrade and a reasonably secure future).

But less of this weepy rose tinted nostalgia, please!

Maybe the fact that you have placed a OM-4T picture here means that they did not make any meaningful camera since 90s ...
Remember that a market is a bit like natural selection. Natural selection is generally very sad thing, but there is nothing better in the long run.
So, let Oly rest in peace.

Plus One for Steve Jacob. Tried and used a lot of camera equipment over the years, they all have their pluses and minuses. I've been burned on a lot of changing technology as well, lens mounts etc. Unfortunately, the days of buying that Deardorff or Hasselblad and using it for the rest of your career are long gone.

People on this site all have their favorites, but I have to say, one rarely sees things like the Canon decision to change their lens mount when going to auto-focus, to something they were so good about thinking through, that years later, it's still totally functional. What you usually see is the type of thing that happens with Nikon's "Holy Lens Mount", which they "claim" hasn't changed since inception, but which, of course, you really can't use all period lenses on all bodies, and need a big chart to figure it out. While Olympus made and makes some slick stuff, my early digital C2500L still had better color than some 'pro' stuff I shoot with today (and shot .tiff!), they certainly have always been a niche player and hanging on.

This wouldn't be the first time, even in recent history, that supposed superior technology, or a favored item lost their place in the market due to bad business decisions. Does anyone know if the board absconded with the money, or were they just not making enough profit on their cameras and disguising the loss? If the second is the truth, the market place will decide if they belong or not...

I've stated on here before, I got talked out of 4/3rd's by a supposed digital expert, when I really wanted that 8X10 format for the type of portraits I shoot, finding the long, thin 35mm frame to be 'jarring' to me. I may still buy Olympus 4/3 rd's stuff, I'm reassessing my equipment usage right now.

Lest everyone things that Olympus has been sent from the gods and can do no wrong, it's good to remember we all make mistakes. I remember many of my peers buying into the first OM-1, only to have problems with jamming shutters, and yes, a lot of the lenses weren't so hot either. I also remember to being privey to the Olympus OM-1 system being tried out by a major international magazine hoping to reduce the size of the kits their photographers took around the world (magazine shall remain nameless, but this is a true story), and the stuff failing miserably, I think I recall lenses being brought back from the jungle completely filled with fog, while the magazines usual usual brand was just fine under the same circumstances.

I agree totally with you Mike.
Olympus must survive, their lenses are so good. I own these gems from the OM Zuiko line: 21 f2, 28 f2, 50 f2 macro, 100 f2, the very rare 35-80 f2 zoom, which is superb, and the old 75-150 f4. I have used them with the E5 giving excellent images, specially the 35-80 f2.8, which is very close in image quality to the SHQ 14-35 f2. It´ll be very sad if they finally disappear.

Regards

if we would all disregard activities such as theft, fraud and pocket filling activities by companies we happen to approve of and like there wouldn't be any future left for our sons and daughters which, in my case anyway, am trying to teach respect and honesty. A thief is a thief and a a fraud is a fraud, whichever case you make for them, and should be punished accordingly!

I completely agree with Steve Jacob. The best thing for photography is for the company to sell off its Imaging Systems division to a company with competent management. Think Sony buying Minolta. We were fortunate when Kodak sold its sensor division. Incompetent and dishonest management will sell off valuable parts of a company and bleed off the money with million dollar salaries and bonuses to top managers. Whatever is left will be strangled and destroyed while management takes its golden parachutes when the company files bankruptcy. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about it but watch and hope.

+1
I'll pile on in this support thread. I've only been shooting Oly in the digital age (used other cameras in other formats previously and still), starting with the c5050, c8080, E-330, then the E-3 as my final Oly camera. All have been wonderful, and the E-3 truly capped it---among my favorite cameras ever. The 11-22 lens is just incredible for its price, one of my favorite lenses of all. Although I have moved on to Sony FF---which I know Mike has also endorsed---I didn't do that because my Oly gear was bad in any way. Just needed to print huge (Epson 9890 size...)---that's it. otherwise, I would have happily stayed with Oly. And on nasty days, I still miss my E-3! Don't blame the camera division for these awful shenanigans.

I'm sorry, but I cannot share in the outpourings of grief for a commercial company that has made so many grave errors.

I supported Olympus for many years from my first OM-1 in 1974, via two OM-2 bodies and eight or nine Zuiko lenses, an IS-1, an IS-3 and into digital with the E-10 and finally the E-1.

My patience ran out when there was no successor to the E-1 with its sensor limited to 5 MP and atrocious noise at anything more than ISO 200. I watched with horror as Olympus tried to foist the world's worst 8 MP sensor on its fans.

Panasonic saved Olympus, first with 7.5 MP, then 10 MP and finally 12 MP sensors, and of course the whole Micro Four Thirds idea, which Panasonic developed alone. Without Panasonic's investment and innovation, Olympus would have been dead long ago.

It need not have been this way, but Olympus seemed determined to choose blind alleys and then wonder why the profits didn't flow.

I won't allow any sentiment about long dead 35mm OM SLRs to sway me - Olympus has been on death row for years.

"Amen.

A good family friend - sadly departed from this vale of tears - was the patent attorney (and glass physicist) for Carl Zeiss. Before that, he worked for Leica in Solms, designing new glass types.

John F. Opie"

I've always thought it was strange that Olympus got into 4/3rds without even looking at utilising a larger chip. For me it stunk of being way too cheap in fabrication. From what John says, there might still be a heart in Olympus worth selling. I hope so...

IMO, the Olympus camera engineers are currently only responsible for the EP series (micro 4/3 cameras and lenses), and the XZ-1. The other scores of Olympus P&S digital cameras are Chinese design and manufacture with the Olympus name slapped on.

Olympus should take a chance and abandon all their "me-too" point & shoots, and just stick with the unique, Olympus Japan designed cameras.
Market upscale like the cameras about which we are all reminiscing.

Panasonic saved Olympus, first with 7.5 MP

Where do you people find such things?

What saved Olympus was E-500, with the "crappy" 8MP Kodak CCD. E-330 (and its Panasonic&Leica counterparts, L1 and Digilux 3) were not such hot sellers. And then Olympus dropped Kodak after E-400 because Kodak apparently couldn't produce a live-view sensor.

I've always thought it was strange that Olympus got into 4/3rds without even looking at utilising a larger chip.

Ditto for the question. They said many times they chose the format. Therefore they must have looked around.

@Dave: I have an answer: end capitalism.

Because, what you describe is the often faced problem that the workers (or the civil society as a whole) are economically held hostage by the owners. This flaw is inherent to the system and can only be solved by a system change.

@Andreas:

The problem with your solution is that without capitalism it is the state that ends up holding society hostage. This was not an altogether popular option in the USSR or some European countries with which I am very familiar.

Take you pick.

Your faviourite brand of chocolate has been bought by another company and is now called something else.

OR

No chocolate.

Capitalism is a terrible system, but it works better than all the alternatives so far.

I have a question concerning the topic of lens quality and the fabled reputation of Olympus.

I had decided this year to replace my entry-level Pentax DSLR by a mirrorless system. I was eying a Panasonic camera kit plus some primes. And the rumors about the up-and-coming superduper Olympus 12/2 played some role in that decision - finally, it seemed, there were serious lenses made for one of the new mirrorless systems.

Once the new lenses were out, I checked the test reports in particular for the 12/2 and was shocked about the quality of the lens, in particular the amount of distortion when uncorrected. I can understand that the system relies on in-camera correction of PP for kit lenses or relatively cheap primes, but I expected MUCH more from a lens that was marketed (and priced) as a superduper premium lens.

In the end, the fact that even highest class premium glass for mirrorless systems, and from such a highly reputed glassmaker, seems to have such enormous problems, prompted me to stick with Pentax.

Now comes my question. How do the experts judge this situation? Should we really give up the hope for good glass on mirrorless systems and make do with lenses that necessarily require autocorrection? Is it really a good idea to spend 800 Dollars for a lens that only provides proper results, when it is paired with a camera that precisely knows its deficiencies and corrects them? Is such a situation as futureproof as one would want it for such an investment in glass?

Olympus Forever!

proud user since the E3, and will always support them no matter what people says.. nor what the world deems the future of this company.

Olympus gave us this much, but we have made the very much best out of it to truly define this awesome name!

Sven

...you said it! I can't tell what's being 'auto-corrected' inside my Nikon D90 either, and I have no reference for the quality level of the lenses: couldn't tell you if my stuff is chromatically a disaster, or...?

I feel that a person is sort of 'stuck' with the lens/camera combo they buy into...was lamenting this the other day and someone not in the 'biz' piped up: "...who cares, as long as the file looks OK...". And I guess that's the thing now, it is what it is...

I've always been a Zeiss snob, but I can't for the life of me buy any of the Zeiss stuff for my Nikon. I can't see 'right' through the camera to manual focus, and when you check the 'specs', the Zeiss isn't all that different than the name brand stuff, only 4 to 5 times more money. The qualities that were easy to see on film, are missing in digital, so why bother...

My more intelligent peers tell me that there is no equipment 'love' anymore. Buy it, use it, the minute you don't like it, sell it, buy new...

It would truly be a shame to lose Olympus as a camera maker.

I am not necessarily "brand loyal" as I have owned several medium format and large format cameras since my pro career began in 1979. I do have favorites though - and when it comes to 35mm style cameras no-one could tear my OM2sPrograms and OM-4T's away from me.

I was forced to move to Nikon in the early 2000's when my Oly gear had worn out and my eyes were wearing out and I needed Auto Focus. But I love working with gear that is different than what the "mainstream" pros are expected to use.

I have always loved the forward thinking of Olympus as well - and even though like any "pioneer" they were constantly stabbed in the back with reviews of inadequacy in features, number of lenses and being overpriced (none of which I ever saw as founded) - and then later with digital the extended time between new models etc - - - I still am always drawn to their thought process and products when they do come out.

Being I depend on my gear to make a living - I'd have no problem finding something else to replace my Olympus stuff if they disappeared. But what a shame if that were to happen. Not because of my current investment in bodies and lenses - but because there are few to no other viable options than Canon and Nikon - - - with their wonderful products that lack many Olympus features that I treasure. Build in Stabilization, unparalleled Sensor Cleaning, great lenses that are 1/2 the price of the best of other brands, my preferred image Color Pallet. I could go on.

I for another, certainly hope that #1 Olympus is able to correct this issue to the satisfaction of investors - but more importantly #2 that based on the dismal dollar number losses that we have witnessed lately - related to the camera division - that they will maintain a loyalty to that end of their business. All the best to Olympus, going forward.

Amen.

my personal, small gesture of support was to go and buy an E-PL3 and a M.Zuiko 40-150 yesterday. They are now keeping company to my E-PL1, E-P1, E-P2, E-420, E-620 and a plethora of lenses, mostly Oly :).

EPL-2 user and a fan of the m4/3 systems with its many lenses

Support how exactly? Sure, I am all for writing a letter of
Support to company employees but doesn't this mean spending cash for them? Are we doing a charity for sending them cash ecause try indulged in money fraud and now they need a bailout?

How exactly you propose to show support? Oh and there's news now there is 4.9 billion USD unaccounted for by a japanese police probe which they suspect has ties to organize crime.

What exactly is the support proposal? How exactly do we show support? By buying more Olympus stuff? Sounds really odd to me if that's the intention...

Quite a few years ago (and I mean quite a few years ago) I had the delightful opportunity to shoot a day at the beach on an OM1. On the day, we were shooting Kodachrome and when the slides came back from the lab we looked at the result on a Leitz Pradovit (which I still regard as the best slide projector ever made - even to this day.) We loaded up a dozen or so magazines and spent the rest of the evening looking at everyone's slides and really marveling at the absolutely incredible performance of the Zuiko lenses. Alas these days the management at Olympus have been hoisted by their own apparent venality - if the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) decides to delist shares in that company, it could well spell the demise of a Photographic legend. We can only hope that the egregious Olympus management will do away with their cultural tradition of desperately trying to save face in the way of an indefensible position and finally come clean with the facts. Hopefully, for the entire photographic community, sanity and good-will, will prevail. We've already effectively lost Minolta - losing Olympus would be an unmitigated tragedy.

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