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Bye-bye, Olympus! :(

AnitaPeterson

Diamond Member
Apr 24, 2001
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A sad day for photographers around the world, even if you're not a fan of the company.
Expect some fire sales on remaining camera stocks.
 

piokos

Senior member
Nov 2, 2018
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Well, it is a sad information, historically. But not exactly surprising.
Frankly, Olympus should have collapsed 10 years ago - when camera business was still booming.

It doesn't really change how the market looks today - there are better cameras in every price segment.
But of course this is interesting from MFT survival perspective.
Panasonic was pushing the evolution of this system for some time. They're responsible for pushing focus to video. But I'm not sure if they still need it.

I wonder who will buy them and what will happen to current lineup.
Because there's really no value beyond the brand. Olympus has almost no tech, no sales, no profits. And by the end of the year they probably won't have any top engineers as well. :)
 
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piokos

Senior member
Nov 2, 2018
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Olympus did not make a major splash in the camera market for a while, this was bound to happen sooner or later. It was running on sentimental value.
Much like almost every other business: making photography equipment isn't really about "making a splash".
It's about consistently offering a product that is attractive to the customer and profitable for the manufacturer.
And for the last 20 years Olympus was failing it at least one of these.

For a very long time MFT was a cheap alternative to other brands - smaller and not losing much in quality (MFT vs APS-C).
When everyone else started shifting to FF sensors, Olympus decided to counter that with more expensive glass - repeating on every occasion that they think small sensors have a future.
They simply should have followed everyone else - NOT try to be original.

The worst part of this is that once Panasonic abandons MFT as well, we won't have any new cameras to use with the excellent optics that Olympus leaves behind.

And so, the open mirrorless mount standard that was meant to rule them all, will likely die first - even before the EOS M (which actually killed Olympus in some markets).
Well, I'm not counting Nikon 1 - that was an open beta of PDAF.
 

Crotulus

Member
Sep 2, 2008
171
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Been shooting with Olympus for the past 5 or so years so this is a bit of a bummer. I've had more fun with this gear than I ever had with my Canon stuff going back to film days with an Elan IIe. My two current bodies aren't going to just up and die anytime soon and neither are my lenses. May even add an Em1 III or Em5 III to the collection if a fire sale kicks in. We'll see what the future holds but considering the division is being sold to the company now running VAIO for Sony I have reservations.
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
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It is being transferred to the Japanese equivalent of a liquidation company. They'll only get enough funding to keep the brand active, much like VAIO, and there probably won't be any further development or any new products, either.
 
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ElFenix

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Mar 20, 2000
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And for the last 20 years Olympus was failing it at least one of these.
olympus imaging was profitable AF when compact digicams were a thing. then that market absolutely collapsed starting in 2012.

Em5 III to the collection if a fire sale kicks in
that was down to $899 already on amazon yesterday. close enough to used em1ii pricing that it'd be a tough choice.

i'm not sure a fire sale would happen unless JIP/olympus decides to pull out of the market (and there's still a possibility that the JIP deal falls though - all that exists right now is a MOU).
 

ElFenix

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Meanwhile, the specs for the e-m10iv got posted:

 

Saylick

Senior member
Sep 10, 2012
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Damn, I always admired what Oly tried to do in the camera market, especially since they were a small player who had to compete by offering innovative and useful features in their lower end bodies. If I'm not mistaken, Oly was the only manufacturer with IBIS across their entire line-up at one point in time, and it was a big selling point in my opinion. It's a shame to see Oly not being able to compete as effectively anymore because more competition is always a good thing. Unfortunately, with phone cameras becoming so good for candid photography and your full-frame sensor players largely adopting all of the features that originally made Oly cameras unique, there really isn't an advantage that Oly can leverage anymore. Their new lenses are catered towards extreme telephoto applications, which most consumers will never use, and their pro bodies don't have the same continuous auto-focus performance as their competition.

My first serious foray into photography was actually on an E-M10 w/ the 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens, and I've taken so many memorable photos on so many trips with that camera and lens combo that Oly will always have a place in my heart. My E-M10 broke and I've formally moved to Fuji at this point but man, I might pick up a heavily discounted E-M10 MK2 or MK3 just to re-live the good ol' days with the 12-40mm lens again.
 
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ElFenix

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MrSquished

Diamond Member
Jan 14, 2013
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Damn, I always admired what Oly tried to do in the camera market, especially since they were a small player who had to compete by offering innovative and useful features in their lower end bodies. If I'm not mistaken, Oly was the only manufacturer with IBIS across their entire line-up at one point in time, and it was a big selling point in my opinion. It's a shame to see Oly not being able to compete as effectively anymore because more competition is always a good thing. Unfortunately, with phone cameras becoming so good for candid photography and your full-frame sensor players largely adopting all of the features that originally made Oly cameras unique, there really isn't an advantage that Oly can leverage anymore. Their new lenses are catered towards extreme telephoto applications, which most consumers will never use, and their pro bodies don't have the same continuous auto-focus performance as their competition.

My first serious foray into photography was actually on an E-M10 w/ the 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens, and I've taken so many memorable photos on so many trips with that camera and lens combo that Oly will always have a place in my heart. My E-M10 broke and I've formally moved to Fuji at this point but man, I might pick up a heavily discounted E-M10 MK2 or MK3 just to re-live the good ol' days with the 12-40mm lens again.
The key advantage to M43 for me was not only the smaller camera bodies but the smaller lenses that came with that form factor as well. As a package I still think it's superior to a small full frame body with the same big heavy lenses. It's really too bad that things turned out the way they did.
 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
31,839
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My last film camera was an Olympus Stylus. I bought it when I was in the Navy. It was small, autoloaded and automatically adavanced the film. Ooooooh!
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
56,819
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www.uovalor.com
Too bad to see.

Come to think of it, how good are Nikon and Canon doing these days? I don't imagine lot of people are buying dedicated cameras anymore, is the enthusiast market enough to keep these companies going?
 
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AnitaPeterson

Diamond Member
Apr 24, 2001
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Well, point-and-shoot camera sales are definitely being cannibalized by smarphones.
This being said, superzooms and DSLRs/mirrorless still have a quality advantage that's hard to beat.
 

piokos

Senior member
Nov 2, 2018
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Come to think of it, how good are Nikon and Canon doing these days? I don't imagine lot of people are buying dedicated cameras anymore, is the enthusiast market enough to keep these companies going?
Canon pretty well (still the largest). Nikon is looking for their way, but they should be fine (3rd after Canon and Sony).

Cheap compact camera market is almost extinct by now.
Interchangeable cameras are nowhere near their best years, but it's not that dramatic.

This market isn't as huge as it used to be 10 years ago, but it still exists and can still support profitable business.
I mean: it's not like DIY gaming PC market is huge and with fantastic growth potential. And hardly anyone worries if companies almost totally dependent on this market will start to go bankrupt soon.

Camera companies simply have to decide whether they want to stay and adjust (lose most of the workforce and physical locations, settle for much lower scale) or leave and try something else.

To be honest, Olympus was the obvious candidate to go first. They struggle with structural problems that have little to do with market situation. Olympus wasn't a profitable, stable business even when digital camera market was booming and everyone else was making a fortune.
 

ElFenix

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Too bad to see.

Come to think of it, how good are Nikon and Canon doing these days? I don't imagine lot of people are buying dedicated cameras anymore, is the enthusiast market enough to keep these companies going?
nikon:

canon is about 5x the size of nikon so can ride out coronatime's effect on the camera business pretty readily. sony is about 2x canon's size so can do pretty similarly, i'd think. for both of those the camera market is not and hasn't been the majority of their revenue for quite a while, or ever. for nikon, the camera market was a supermajority of its revenue. i saw mention that they acquired a lot of capital a bit ago in a fairly prescient move, but R&D is likely to get squeezed.

ricoh imaging makes a profit, but then does almost no r&d comparatively. panasonic is about the same size as sony, but they also don't have nearly the camera revenues sony does. no idea how much money they're willing to lose pushing L mount or 4/3 or both. fuji is a step behind canon - probably nikon + fuji combined would be about canon's size. fuji is a big medical and business machine company, so photography is a fraction of its business (and instax is easily the most profitable part of that).
 

piokos

Senior member
Nov 2, 2018
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nikon:

canon is about 5x the size of nikon so can ride out coronatime's effect on the camera business pretty readily. sony is about 2x canon's size so can do pretty similarly, i'd think. for both of those the camera market is not and hasn't been the majority of their revenue for quite a while, or ever. for nikon, the camera market was a supermajority of its revenue. i saw mention that they acquired a lot of capital a bit ago in a fairly prescient move, but R&D is likely to get squeezed.

ricoh imaging makes a profit, but then does almost no r&d comparatively. panasonic is about the same size as sony, but they also don't have nearly the camera revenues sony does. no idea how much money they're willing to lose pushing L mount or 4/3 or both. fuji is a step behind canon - probably nikon + fuji combined would be about canon's size. fuji is a big medical and business machine company, so photography is a fraction of its business (and instax is easily the most profitable part of that).
Essentially, mainstream camera making is not something that can "feed" a large company anymore - that's obvious.

I don't see Nikon jumping into a new market at this point - they don't have the money nor leadership quality.
So IMO they can either accept the role of small, high-end camera maker (somewhere between Fuji and Leica) or they can try to diversify by merger or selling into a larger company (but keeping the brand).

Aside from cameras and optics, the only thing they have expertise in is semiconductor lithography. They're years behind ASML, but good enough for less cutting edge solutions. Maybe they could focus on that... who knows...

Anyway, as of 2020 Nikon is still a major manufacturer, with skilled workforce and a very good brand. And they were very successful and profitable even few years back - unlike Olympus, who was a business failure for nearly 2 decades (albeit making very good products).
 

shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
76,577
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Well, point-and-shoot camera sales are definitely being cannibalized by smarphones.
This being said, superzooms and DSLRs/mirrorless still have a quality advantage that's hard to beat.
yeah but we've had this conversation already a bunch of times.
The vast majority of consumer prefer convenience over all else. They're buying smartphones by the shipload, not SLR's.
 

VashHT

Platinum Member
Feb 1, 2007
2,447
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91
I picked up an EM1 Mk2 and the 12-40 F2.8 lens in this big sale they had towards the end of last year, $1500 for both which I thought was a good deal. It's a shame the camera division got sold, I finally put a lot of use into the camera this summer and I like it quite a bit. I've tried out the 7-14 and 40-150 pro lenses too, kind of hoping to find those cheap but haven't really seen them marked down much. The 100-400 looks quite interesting too I'd to try it out for bird photos.
 

MrSquished

Diamond Member
Jan 14, 2013
6,757
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I picked up an EM1 Mk2 and the 12-40 F2.8 lens in this big sale they had towards the end of last year, $1500 for both which I thought was a good deal. It's a shame the camera division got sold, I finally put a lot of use into the camera this summer and I like it quite a bit. I've tried out the 7-14 and 40-150 pro lenses too, kind of hoping to find those cheap but haven't really seen them marked down much. The 100-400 looks quite interesting too I'd to try it out for bird photos.
It really is a fantastic system. Is panny going to keep making m43 bodies? I may have to pick up the latest EM1 MkIII to go with my lenses if not, to keep my system updated. I do have that 7-14mm btw and it's excellent glass.
 

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