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Friday, 26 June 2020

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Well, Olympus isn't dying, they're just exiting the camera business, just as other companies such as Konica-Minolta have done before. From our perspective it's a loss. Olympus, Konica, and Minolta all made great and innovative cameras at one time or another. But for most people's purposes, smartphones are as much camera as they need, especially something like an iPhone 11 that offers three separate focal lengths.

There was a lot to like about the Micro-4/3 system, but the one thing I really didn't like was that Olympus seemed to decide that optical quality wasn't important if you could just fix it up in software. Most of their lenses have more geometrical distortion than anyone would have accepted back in the film era.

I was really interested in M4/3, loved the lenses and was very happy with the small Olympus I was using as an IR converted camera, but while they had cameras that looked like classic styles, it was just a look. I'm honestly not sure that there was big enough a market for TWO retro controls, digital systems - but an EM line with physical dials, the shutter speed around the lens mount, would have been a compelling option.

But I still mourn for the lack of a digital Contax G system, so what do I know?

I suspect we're never to know the story; Olympus has never been particularly communicative about business strategy and decisionmaking. We'll just sit in the bleachers and watch this sad ending unspool in front of us and ponder what might have been.

Because the combined hits of the accounting scandal and Great Recession did not bring them down, I had hopes COVID and whatever we'll call this recession would not bring permanent harm, but it appears to have been too much. Not surprising considering the discrete camera market continues to shrink, and I will be surprised if one or two more makers don't also fall.

Did they shop the line within the industry first, before this buyer of last resort? Look for a merger?

I have no expectation the new owners will do anything more than wring the last drop of blood from the existing stock, and that will be it for Olympus as we have known them. There could be sad badge-engineered gear imprinted "Olympus" although I would hope the corporation has retained complete control of branding. You know, the pleasure of seeing the familiar name when we visit the GI doc. But please, no $19.99 Olympus-brand MP3 players on the rack at Target. Don't wish to see it become another Polaroid or Kodak.

I see Olympus Tough cameras are still available. IQ-wise, they're merely good digicams, but their ruggedness and waterproofing leveraged the advantage of small, pocketable snapshooters, in the tradition of Oly's popular Epic film compacts.

I still own an XA, which are even smaller than Epics, though not waterproof nor as rugged. But it's a photographer's compact. Despite their innovations and successes with consumer cameras, Olympus always seemed to be run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, and their professional tools, too, were well-respected, if few and far between.

In hindsight, Olympus managed to successfully straddle the line between commercial and boutique camera maker for a remarkably long time--right up until phones stole everything to one side of that line, leaving the other side very crowded. I hope the new owners see a way forward that honors a brilliant "career".

It's sad to me not just as a user who's always shot with their cameras(OM-10, E-520, EM-5, EM-1 mk2), but because they were innovative and not afraid to take risks. They produced the first DSLR with live view (the E-330) which at the time the competition scoffed at. Can you imagine a camera without it now? Likewise they pioneered (I don't know if they were first) the dust filter in front of the sensor, IBIS, and of course the mirrorless concept in general.

Their real problem was in marketing themselves of late I feel. The sensor was smaller than the competition, and while they have tried to make a virtue out of the potential size of a system, they have always been too expensive in the mirrorless field (bar the entry level no-viewfinder models).

The 4/3 sensor would be more than adequate for the vast majority of users, but it's a question of desire when people are spending a lot of money.

I'm fond of an analogy, so here we go:
If full frame is a V8, APS-C a V6, then that leaves M4/3 as a humble 4cyl (we'll assume medium format to be V12). Nothing wrong with that - all my cars have been 4cyl, and I don't need more (I realise the culture is different between Europe and the US on that one).

But, given the option, people always want more. Especially if the price difference isn't that great. Just as people might not consider fuel and servicing bills when buying a car, they might not consider lens size and storage requirements when buying a camera. If the cameras were suitably priced in comparison, they may have sold more.

After moving to M43 in 2014, when I bought what was then the revolutionary EM5i, it seemed this system was well placed to convert a huge chunk of DSLR users to the more modern cutting edge mirrorless M43 format. There was a lot of talk about DLSR “dinosaurs” on the photography forums.

My D300 seemed an antique joke compared to the EM5 with its revolutionary IBIS, compact size and live view.

It made a fantastic travel and hiking camera system.

I seem to remember that the format had a lot of friends amongst the more influential Bloggers of the time. TOP, Hogan and VSL to name a few, all championed and used the format if I remember correctly.

But the M43 format never really took off for some reason. At the time it was well placed to become as dominant as Sony is now. They had the field almost to their selves.

Then after a few years it became too late. The FF “monsters” became more manageable, lighter and cheaper. They also gained IBIS.

For most general-purpose photography like travel and hiking, where long lenses are not vital, the M43 format has become almost pointless.

The cameras are no smaller than some of the Sony or Nikon Z cameras.

Some of the 2.8 and fast zooms are heavier than my Nikon Z glass.

I had a gut feeling after trying a Z7 in a shop some months ago, that the writing was on the wall for M43.

I was lucky that I offloaded my M43 to my poor unsuspecting dealer in part exchange at a good price, just last month. I think SH values are really going to tank for Olympus gear now. Already a fairly recent EM5ii can be had here for €350.

Reading the comments on DPR and other forums, I think there will be a lot of irrational gear ditching as people rush to get out of a "dead" system.

Quite irrational as the lenses will work fine on Panasonic bodies and perhaps seeing the trade in value of bodies these days, it might be just wiser to use them until they clap out.

Panasonic seem to be still committed in a reduced way to M43, so the system is not really dead at all. It has just lost a major partner.

I never got on with Panasonic bodies (I had a GX1), but their lens philosophy was much more intelligent than the one employed of late by Olympus. The Panasonic 12-35 2.8 and the 35-100 2.8 were the only reason I stuck with the system for so long.

Panasonic with the just released cheap and cheerful G100 Vlogging camera for the youth market, is a far more intelligent move than the "bloatware” path that Olympus took with the ludicrous, expensive, oversized and overweight EM1X for example.

I will not be getting rid of my LX100. It is a perfect "small camera" for street and that sort of stuff. I used this camera to take some pictures of my sons’ graduation, rather than the EM5 I had at the time.

I had a mix of Olympus bodies and mostly Panasonic lenses (12-35 35-100 100-300). The Panasonic lenses flew of the shelf of the dealer very quickly. Nobody seems to want the 7-14 2.8 or more understandably the two aged EM5 bodies which have an image quality very similar to the latest models.

I love my two Panasonic m4/3 stand-alone cameras and all of the interchangeable lenses that go with them. This seems like the stake through the heart of such things to me, although Sony, Canon, and Nikon users might not agree. I don't want to go on vacation with an iPhone. Then again, I might never again be able to go on an international vacation, so what does any of this really matter? And, yes I am depressed. Thank you for asking.

Yes, sad. I loved the size and feel of the Oly OM cameras, even in my large hands. In the 1980s, I carried an OM2-N and an OM4 up and down California and throughout the West shooting images to accompany my newspaper and travel writing. Eventually I was seduced to Canon, not by autofocus as I recall, but by their professional rep and the big L lenses.

I gave the Olympus cameras to my nieces, one to each with a couple of lenses each, because they were both interested in photography. One of these came back to me a few years ago and I will probably hold onto it for old-times sake. The other sits unused but "in reserve" for when my niece Kate "has the time to use it seriously." In the meantime, both girls shoot on their phones, of course, which is good enough for them.

One thing that's always puzzled me about business is the question of who would buy a company like Olympus Imaging, ,and why would you do it? I understand hedge-fund purchases of some businesses; some businesses just let the world get away from them, and they get fat and lazy and a fund comes in, gets rid of half the employees, dumps non-profitable product lines, etc., and makes the company viable simply by doing things the previous management couldn't or wouldn't. But what would you buy a failing division of a company that has been non-profitable for years, and apparently makes nothing the market wants? It's like buying the buggy-whip division of a car company. Would Olympus (the imaging division) own valuable patents or something? Could you sell off the lens-making machinery?

You wrote of a big mistake Olympus made when they didn't go with autofocus. I think they made another one when they made an m4/3 that was essentially as large and heavy and almost as expensive as a FF camera, except that the sensor never had the potential to be as good as a FF camera's. The M4/3 system had quite a bit of potential, IMHO, but that potential was best seen in cameras like the Panasonic GX8 -- small, handy, lightweight, yet sophisticated with excellent interchangeable lenses and good video. You still give up a little to FF, but not really in a way that matters for the things that m4/3 does well. Maybe whatever fragment of Olympus that continues to exist could whittle itself down to a lens-making company for Panasonic cameras?

I tend to agree with your assessment , it rally doesn't look good.

The one ray of hope would be IF the new owners are allowed to use the Olympus name, And IF, they can hold on to key employees with the promise of freedom to innovate, and IF they can communicate that mission to the world and reinforce it with new and interesting products.........They have a chance.
That is a lot of big IF's , but it is basically what Hasselblad had to face and they are still going, and are releasing interesting products.

Olympus has the additional burden of the viability of the m4/3 format.
For all it's benefits, it would seem most vulnerable to smart phone advances. Something Olympus acknowledged with the doomed strategy of making their cameras Bigger, Heavier, and More expensive.

If I were the acquirer, I would have made use of the name a condition of proceeding. The last thing the world needs is another no name camera startup company with already old products.

Olympus appears to represent my two biggest mistakes in camera choosing. Going to the OM-4 in 1987 wasn't good for me (having multi-spot metering didn't help as much as I had thought), and I switched back to Nikon for the autofocus in 1994.

And going to just Micro Four Thirds the other fall is turning out also to be a bad choice. I'm dithering between trying to get out fast (no idea where I'd go) and buying another body and hoping I can make it last out my active photographic days.

My very first choice, a Miranda Sensorex, wasn't wonderful, but it involved fewer bodies and lenses and hence less money. Plus it was my first SLR purchase ever, gotta start somewhere.

Some times companies just run out of "innovative steam"...and then money. I always cry at the grave of my beloved Miranda Sensorex. So many innovations like thin bodies that could adapt almost any lens, easy to set open lens metering...then they never produced a "pro" level camera with motor drive, and the one they tried was rife with problems, mostly because of bad business decisions made by the people that bought them from the Japan owners and drove them into the ground by bleeding them and not spending innovative money! Sad...

Now I have 4 Olympus prime lenses, that can, thankfully, be used on Panasonic cameras, and a 1000 dollar body I've never warmed up to and never used professionally because of it!

Well said, as usual.

If this is the end, I'm sad. Back in the day I mostly used a Pentax ME-Super, but it was no secret that it was heavily 'inspired' by the Olympus OM-2.

And I have a lot of time and money and love invested in the M4/3 system.

I'm frustrated that it was not seen as pretty much the perfect sensor size for professional cameras, as I see it. And that the sensors have not advanced like Sony sensors have.
Oh, and that the system has not lived up to the early promise of the companct "digital street camera" or what it was you called it before the Panasonic GF1 appeared.

- Eolake Stobblehouse

Photography owes a lot to Oly. I'd argue that they have been Everyman's Leica. The thing about Oly is that they have always had the same gestalt as Leica-small and nimble with quality iq. Oly consistently has been the leader in going smaller. Before the OM they had the extraordinary Ft range. 35mm film cameras that shot half frame and were reflex interchangeable lens cameras without prism on the top adding bulk. They were an amazingly clever camera and now highly collectable. Then we had the OM range I'd suggest this built on the miniaturisation genes and expertise of the Ft. The OMs were again ground breaking for their size and weight.
Next we had the superb XA clamshell series. Another miniaturisation breakthrough. The original in particular was extraordinary for a film ff35mm of the smallest possible size and weight, a focussing lens and high iq and a plastic body. When I met my wife to be, we found we both carried one of these in our pockets at most times. That was true of a lot of our photographer friends.
Then we have digital. Oly, with Panasonic, began the mirrorless movement. Miniaturisation expertise again.
I'm a Sony FF user but I'd suggest that the photography world owes quite a debt to Olympus.

Olympus cameras RIP, perhaps, disappearing along one of the paths you posit. But Olympus seems to be doing well otherwise, at least in the field of endoscopy.

Both the colonoscopy and cystoscopy I've undergone in the last three years were performed using Olympus equipment. That seems like one market where smartphones won't be a threat.

"Olympus R.I.P."

Yes indeed, this is the end for Olympus Camera and Optical Division or whatever it is called. The blow reaches deep in my soul.

When I was about to finish my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity to travel to Easter Island with my brother and a couple of friends. Just before the trip I met a guy that worked in a local camera store. Under his guidance, with money I earned as a teaching assistant and other jobs, I bought and Olympus OM-1 with a 75-150mm f4 zoom, a 50mm f3.5 macro and a 28mm f3.5 OM Zuikos. That was in 1976. After two days in the Island, we met three guys that were photographing for the National Geographic. When they saw my OM-1, they told us that they were testing the Olympus OM camera and lenses, so we spent together several hours during the trip talking about photography. Since that time I have been shooting with Olympus cameras and lenses. When I graduated, my father gave me his Leica M4 with the 50mm f2.0 Summicron that he bought in Germany in 1964. Since then, It always accompanied my Olympus film camera set. In 1986, while in Tucson, my camera bag with the OM-1, an OM-2n and 7 lenses was stolen from an apartment I was renting. Fortunately the Leica M4 was left at home. After recovering from the event, while still in Tucson, I thought I can switch system and went to a local camera store with my mind set on a Nikon F3. After I told the owner about the loss and my plans to switch to Nikon, he showed me a, just released, OM-4 Ti. That was it, I stayed with Olympus cameras and lenses until today. All my family memories, the birth and growth of my children and now of my grandchildren, my aging and that of my wife, the landscapes that I have loved, the attempts to make art, all have been recorded mainly with Olympus cameras and lenses, film and digital. Today I have an Olympus OMD-EM5 (bought in 2012) which I use very often, an EM1 MK I, a recently bought EM1 MK II, and three Olympus PEN-F (digital), my absolutely favorites together with my Leica M4, which I still have. I plan to keep using them until they or I die.

All things considered, I actually don't upgrade to newer cameras all that frequently, my last 35mm was the M9 and previously to that, the E-3. Still have both. Always have a soft spot for the OM system. I still have my OM-4Ti. After I buy all the cameras I "need", I would love to get a 3Ti for "want". Their prices are up in Leica territory now though. Nuts.

I'm an Olympus owner, starting with the OM2SP in the eighties. What attracted me most was the incredible macro accessory list. I had 21mm, 28mm, 50mm, 135mm and a couple of Tamrons adapted for OM.

I also bought the T20 and T32 flashes, TTL Auto Connector T20, the tilting power grip, various cords and the TTL Multi Connector. Plus the T Power Control 1 and the T8 Ring Flash. I even found, after years of searching all the little shops in Singapore and Malaysia, the Macro Flash Shoe Ring and one, just one side, of the T28 Macro Twin Flash. I've still got it, all boxed up out in the garage, and I'm remembering all these names by looking at my copy of The OM System Lens Handbook. Aaaah, the great days.

I used it too, except that I had a 200mm Micro Nikkor with its velvety smooth fingertip focusing ring. I loved that lens so I used two T adapter rings back to back to mount the Nikon lens to the OM body, with all its flash gear. The Micro Nikkor didn't focus to infinity but this was macro work so it didn't matter. It worked fine. I remember walking around in the Malaysian rainforest with this heavy, unwieldy apparatus on a tripod, looking for closeups, of which I have many. And leech bites too.

In 1986 I complained to the Australian agents about the intermittent film speed knob on the top panel. They told me to send it to Sydney for repair which I did. Soon afterwards I got a letter saying Olympus Japan would replace the entire body, under warranty. But I had sent it in with an expensive Beattie Intenscreen fitted. How to get it back? So I actually wrote to the Olympus factory in Japan (paper letter, handwritten, remember those?) and a month or so later, I received a small package from them with my Beattie screen and a very nice letter in English full of apologies, etc. How about that? And I got a brand new OM2SP body as well. I was very pleased.

But I was very frustrated at the lack of autofocus from Olympus and never bought into their digital system until the OM-D E-M1 which I still have, along with 14-42mm, 14-150mm and 70-300mm. It's quite nice, but I've always felt they made a big mistake with the 4/3 system as it meant they can't go with larger sensors. I well remember a quote from Olympus that 12Mp is all you'll ever need. That was just making a virtue out of a necessity, as they've shown by going higher in resolution, but 4/3 will never be able to match larger sensors. Panasonic have shown that they disagree with Olympus and although they haven't abandoned 4/3, they've gone full frame too with the L-mount. That's the future. Olympus was too stubborn for me. I'm grieving, but they wouldn't move with the times.

I got an OM-1 when it came out, then an OM-2n and later an OM-4 ti. I have had more Zuiko OM lenses than any other brand. I still sometimes use one on my Sony A7. And yes, I had an XA too. I remember all of them fondly.

But, and why has this not been mentioned in the current discussion, then there was the fraud. Olympus had been rotting from the inside. GOOGLE

The Olympus scandal erupted on October 14 2011, when the Japanese camera-maker dismissed its then chief executive Michael Woodford over ...

The scandal was one of the biggest financial frauds in Japan's history, but Kikukawa and two other executives who pleaded guilty never went to ...

So when I went digital 2013 I never even looked at Olympus. Perhaps because I was a corporate compliance auditor and used to work for a corporate management that took such matters seriously.

I loved the early Olympus point-and-shoots. I went from a C2000Z to a C7070WZ (7 megapixels!). Some of the pictures I took with that camera are still among my favourites. Then Panasonic came along with its 10x-20x-30x zoom compacts and I was seduced away.

I've never wanted to buy a Canon or a Sony. I just don't take to them or to their ergonomics - inaccurate and unfair I am sure, but just my temperament. Now it looks as if the implosion of the camera industry may well push me into buying a Canon or Sony camera even if I don't really want to because they are likely to be about the only outfits left standing.

Which raises the question of what photographers are really doing with all this kit and whether enough of us are really making the kind of images we love with what we love. I think I would prefer to return to film than consistently use digital equipment I just did not enjoy using.

It is very sad news from Olympus, however. My understanding is that the losses at Olympus cameras are about the same as the entire value of the equity fund 'buying' the camera division. So, and very much alas, it looks quite likely that the fund is going to be paid to remove the camera division and liquidate it, thus saving face at Olympus HQ.

M43 has helped my photography enormously, enabling me to take first-class kit anywhere without inconvenience or worry. I've long very much liked both Olympus kit and their heritage. Hey ho. Sad to see you go.

I feel sad to see them go. Think I better load a roll in my Sanko Shoji Pen
(Look it up). And engage in some ‘simple’ photography.
Bought my first Olympus camera in 1970 so 50 years is a good long run.

I will miss newer models from Olympus, but like many of aging mostly male users still using traditional photography equipment, I will enjoy my EM-1.2 and 12-100 zoom for my event and indoors photography for several years going forward. I'd be interested in the version III of this camera once it drops south of $900. These will be regarded as classic cameras in the future.

I am thinking my current setup will last many years, and meet my photographic needs, despite the more limited/ending future for the imaging division at Olympus.

The Olympus XA clamshell camera was my first enthusiast level camera. What an interesting camera company & thanks for some great cameras over the past 100 years!

Oly has had several big problems.

There was the scandal, a huge one, which shook many customers. My first good digital camera was the c5050, followed by the c8080, and then the E-330 and then finally the E-3. That scandal sure got me thinking.

They also left a lot of customers for 4/3 hanging high and dry---I had an E-3 which I loved. But it became obvious that they were not going to support 4/3 anymore. More thinking.

But the biggest was the bet they made with 4/3, which at the time seemed like a chancy bet but now looks disastrous/catastrophic. The head of the company famously stated that most photographers didn't need more than 12mp and 4/3 size. He was "correct", and still is, but not in the context of the industry and how it developed along with the maturing of the AdAm/enthusiast market.

I think the big nail in the coffin, which follows from that fateful decision, was when Sony rolled out the A900 and then the A850. These cameras were revolutionary as they were the first "affordable" FF cameras, with the A850 being the first one to break the sub $2Kusd barrier. They paved the way for so many, and also established a new threshold of "affordability" for AdAms. That's when I left Oly and my beloved E-3 and went to Sony.

The differences between 4/3-m4/3 and apsc are mainly quibbles. But the difference between 4/3-m4/3 and FF is a lot. Oly found themselves up that creek you mentioned.

BTW, I wonder if ALL of Olympus' optical products are "dead". I watch PBS all the time and I'm amazed at how many times they show scientists and medical people at hot new microscopes and other imaging equipment, and the lenses always say Olympus around the barrel....

@John Camp:
"One thing that's always puzzled me about business is the question of who would buy a company like Olympus Imaging..."

My strong suspicion is that JIP is not buying Olympus Imaging. Olympus will likely pay JIP to take it off their hands. This fact will not be explicit in the details of the transaction, but will be clear to anyone with experience disposing of distressed assets. Some money may go to Olympus from JIP but Olympus will include assets in the transaction that are worth far more than whatever money they receive.

The Memorandum of Understanding is very careful not to use the word "buy" or "sell". It says that the Imaging Business will be "transferred" to JIP.

I am repeating myself but for me the main advantage of m4/3s was sports and action. Their E-M1 could perhaps not compete with the Canon and Nikon sports cameras for professionals, but for cheapskate amateurs like me there is nothing else out there that performs as well and has as much lens choice. I doubt many amateur action (or bird) shooters make really large prints, so the m4/3s system is an ideal compromise.
Only now are we seeing mirrorless models from Nikon and Canon that are as good as the E-M1 but there are still no smaller and lighter weather-sealed lenses for them and there won't be for some time.
Maybe what I do is a small niche. A company can cater to a small niche if everything else is going well, but everything else wasn't going well.
I wondered if Canon would try to grab amateur action/bird shooters with their "M" APS/C mirrorless, but I see no move to weather-sealed bodies/lenses in that product line. I wonder how many people even know that the Canon "M" series exists.
The full-frame fetish for amateurs has never made any sense to me. Why carry the size and weight and spend the money on technology that will rarely be seen in a print. But we live in a world where people watch 4K video on iPhones so there are plenty of mysteries around.
I am glad that my E-M1 and E-M5 m2 seem to be well-built and hope they last a while. There seems to be a healthy used market too. But if I were starting from scratch and wanted to shoot amateur action, I would not be happy with the choice out there with Olympus gone.

Once again....

" Kyoto, Japan - April 12 2005

Kyocera Corporation (President: Yasuo Nishiguchi, hereafter called "Kyocera") has decided to terminate CONTAX - branded camera business.

Although Carl Zeiss and Kyocera have entered into a long term co-operation regarding the development, production and sale of CONTAX-branded cameras, Kyocera has decided to terminate such business dueto difficulties in catching up with the recent rapid market changes.

Consequently, Kyocera will terminate the shipment of CONTAX-branded cameras, and the exclusive lenses and accessories in September 2005, except for the CONTAX 645 camera system, the shipment of which to some markets will come to an end in December, 2005.

Kyocera will continue to provide after-sales services to its customers for their CONTAX-branded cameras, and the exclusive lenses and accessories over the maximum period of ten years within the specified time of each model."

[History repeats. :-( --Mike]

I never used the Olympus SLRs when I shot film. In the 1990s, our lab at IBM looked into what consumer digital would mean to computing, which gave me an opportunity to play with some now obscure stuff -- Ricoh and Casio point'n'shoots, a bizarre Hitachi still and video machine built around a small hard disk, and finally the Olympus C2000 series, which gave me several years of fine digital memories, saved as jpegs. Nikon Coolpix took that market position away from Olympus with 5 MPx cameras in the early 2000s (at least for me), but the E-1 and M 4/3 claimed it back. I lost mine and its lens kit, but when the OM-D E-M1 came out, my first purchase was to return to the lens, 11-23 in the old 4/3 mount, that had been so useful with the E-1. I never found an exact replacement for the 50/2.0 macro that came with the E-1, but the Sigma/Olympus 75/1.8 filled its place nicely for nature shots (think puffins in Iceland). Those lenses didn't get surpassed until the 7-14 and 12-100 came along a bit later, and they stand up against anything since. I hope there is a business for Olympus' lenses, which have always been ahead of their competition. I'll use the bodies that I have for promotional trade-ins ("send us any working DSLR and save $$") and keep the E-M1.2 for use, mostly in HD video.

As the owner of an XA2, two Stylus Epics, an E-M10, and an Infinity Twin I am saddened.

Hey is that a Kieth Richards shutter release?

Where does a contrarian go from here? Sigma Foveon perhaps.

Something I see frequently, "the body size is as big as...", IMHO is not the key to the m43 advantage- it is the size/weight/price of the lenses. Compare the Olympus 300mm f4 vs a Canon or Nikon 600mm f4 (and, please, let's not get inthe the equivalent wars, f4 is f4 for light). Perhaps that message wasn't made very clear by Olympus.
"Miniature" bodies, like my Sony RX100, can produce excellent results but are not a pleasure to use in the hand.

I wanted to make sure to comment that I loved the idea of the Micro 4/3rd's cameras because of a few things:

One being that as a life long large format advertising photographer, I hated the tyranny of the 35mm aspect ration. Anything but that, please!

And no "academia" talk of "golden ratios" and all that clap trap from people that didn't actually make their living in photography! If I have to read one more thing about the sanctity of the 3:2 (from people that use the term vad mecum instead of handbook, or curriculum vitae instead of resume), I'm going to go ape-s**t wild!

One of the great strengths of M 4/3rd's, is the ability to set 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, or 16:9 and go and shoot. Many is the time I set it for 1:1 and walked around like I was shooting with a Rollei! I cannot understand why many larger electronic mirrorless cameras do NOT offer all these formats!

And the second was the ability to focus on a face, anywhere in the frame! Many mirrorless do it now, but this was a revolution before the rest of the manufacturers started making electronic viewfinder cameras. I hated the tyranny, again, of being a slave to a manufacturer's focus points, all while having a viewfinder so lightly ground (if at all), that I really couldn't manually focus!

If you were a 35mm film user, the size of the M 4/3rd's equipment, and the quality output of the image, was easily as good as film from a 35mm any day!


Mark Twain said: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."

Having studied hedge funds for my book "Delusional Management," I was curious to follow up on this one.

The investor for this deal is Japan Industrial Partners https://privatefunddata.com/fund-companies/japan-industrial-partners-inc/

Finding info on hedge funds is a problem - they are all very secretive and laws do not require much disclosure, but they seem to be a small Japanese fund set up to take care of product lines that are being orphaned by bigger companies. For example, they took on Hitachi's video security camera business and something perhaps more familiar to most of you, SONY's VAIO PCs.

The SONY deal goes back to 2014 and while not a leader in the market, VAIO PCs are still popular, sold through Amazon and Walmart. That's very good, since surviving in the PC biz for all this time is an accomplishment.

Here is the PR on Purchase
https://www.olympus-global.com/ir/data/announcement/2020/contents/ir00013.pdf

The important part is this:

4.
Structuring Reform
Prior to the closing of the Transaction, Olympus plans to implement structuring reforms to the Imaging
business aiming to change the business structure of Imaging business to be more profitable and sustainable. We are currently investigating costs and other impacts of the structuring reform. If any future event which requires disclosure arises, Olympus will announce it promptly.

They are acting like a hedge fund, or as I refer to them in my book, a vulture capitalist or vampire capitalist, but I'm not quite sure which here. They will cut the workforce, slim down the product line (Thom Hogan is good at predicting this), get rid of the corporate overhead, and try to create a company that can survive long term.

Japan has different laws and culture on corporate downsizing, but I suspect the cuts will be brutal, justified by the transfer to the new owners. If prior deals are any indication, I would not be surprised if Olympus retains a minority position.

My assessment is that JIP was brought in to save the products and Japan's reputation.

It is always sad when an innovative enterprise closes its doors. I always liked Olympus cameras, since I first saw them - it was many years ago, in the analog era.
However, I never bought one. Somehow, something important for me was always missing, lacking. During the analog era it was the system as a whole and I went with Nikon. In the digital era sensors were not quite there and I waited for full format from Nikon and lately I even bought a MF camera to complement my full format gear. Still, those Olympuses were / are very nice, even cute.

The future of profitable camera manufacturing is in larger sensor formats. What photographers “need “ has nothing to do with what can sell a a great margin. Ask anyone who buys a SUV.

With even 35mm full frame under pressure from the new wave of even larger sensor product from Fuji and others, there will be a time when “FF” is again called “miniature”.

The way Olympus implements the camera controls has always appealed to me. Their cameras, no matter how off-the-cuff they seem—O-Product, anyone?—feel like instruments rather than mere consumer products. I’m sure it’s a personal bias, but all the ‘CaNikons’ I’ve used over the years never exhibited such tactile preciseness in their adjustable parts as Olympus has.

Still got an E-M5. Still works. Lenses still focus. And will continue to do so long after the Oly Corp is gone. No problems. It’s backup to my Fuji system because it’s weatherproof and the Fuji isn’t.

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