Future of Olympus


Pitachu

Active Member
Sep 18, 2019
304
25
28
54
Now that the sale of Olympus to JIP is a done deal,
1) Olympus / JIP continue to announce new products and firmware updates,
2) In Singapore and Malaysia, the showroom is gone
 

Pitachu

Active Member
Sep 18, 2019
304
25
28
54
Here are some views from a ex Olympus Engineer (not sure whether transferred to JIP or not)

Agreed on the Telephoto part.

For video, it is a tall order. The iPhone 12 Promax with its Dolby Vision HDR Video is so good. I have shot a few views with poor lighting and quite impressed with the results. Apple manage to achieve that with its very powerful processor. For Olympus to attract users to uses its cameras as video cameras, it need to invest in a super powerful processor to process HDR images on the fly for videos. It also need to improve on its autofocus speed during videos in order to catch up.
 

ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
3,701
60
48
sing
Not certain whether Mr. Hiroshi Suzuki is speaking on behalf of (the now defunct) Olympus Camera Division or JIP or the Olympus parent company or only in his own personal capacity.

Quote [ “The Micro Four Thirds system is the only mount system that realizes small size, light weight and high image quality at a high level” ] UnQuote

I thought in the film days, that statement (small size, light weight and high image quality) applied to Leica M6, Pentax MX, Olympus XA, Rollei 35SE, Minox GT, Olympus OM1, Nikon 35 Ti and Contax T2.

In digital era that statement is wrong. If his statement represents (the now defunct) Olympus Camera Division, then no wonder it failed.
His statement in Dec 2020 means that even after failing, Olympus staff have not yet woken up to the real world. It is not 2008 anymore.
It is 2020, soon to be 2021.


He forgot an important factor. Price.
 

Pitachu

Active Member
Sep 18, 2019
304
25
28
54
[ “The Micro Four Thirds system is the only mount system that realizes small size, light weight and high image quality at a high level” ]

The keyword in this quote system, which means body and lenses.

It's true that FF bodies are now close in size and weight to M43, but the size of FF lenses cannot be reduced (law of physics).
Just look at the Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 which lets you zoom up to 300mm.
Compare its size to any other brand of zoom lenses 300mm F2.8

And this lenses is super sharp with superb image quality if all you need is 20mp.
(you can google and check all the DXO reports on this lenses).

Hence, what Hiroshi Suzuki say is still true.
 

Blu-By-U

Senior Member
Aug 2, 2006
1,736
16
38
Selangor D.E.
I think it's possible to reduce the size of current lenses. They can use mirrors.
 

Pitachu

Active Member
Sep 18, 2019
304
25
28
54
True, but the trade off is image quality and speed.
Mirror lenses are generally F8 and above.

I think it's possible to reduce the size of current lenses. They can use mirrors.
 

ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
3,701
60
48
sing
There is no doubt that MFT has advantage in 2x crop factor for telephoto.
This is accentuated at long telephoto focal lengths from 400mm onwards to 2000mm.

The problem is that MFT sensor is very small.

Out of the customer base that buy MFT camera bodies, how many buy a long telephoto lens beyond 400mm.

Say for example, 3%.

Now the last known statistic in 2018 or 2019 was that Olympus MFT had 2% world wide market share.

So 3% out of 2% gives 0.0006.

This is the best case scenario.
This is the most optimistic outcome.
The reality may be much worse than that.

How can a camera manufacturing company survive if it plans to concentrate its future efforts on serving 0.0006 of the market.

If long telephoto made all the difference then Nikon P1000 with its 16MP 1/2.3 inch sensor should be the world's top best seller, capturing 80% of the world wide sales. Which did not happen.

JIP and Panasonic are better off aiming at a target market of the masses, with Small, Light, Cheap MFT cameras. Plus Cheap lenses with modest apertures and commonly used focal lengths.
 

Last edited:

swifty

Senior Member
Oct 12, 2004
660
36
28
davophoto.wordpress.com
[ “The Micro Four Thirds system is the only mount system that realizes small size, light weight and high image quality at a high level” ]

The keyword in this quote system, which means body and lenses.

It's true that FF bodies are now close in size and weight to M43, but the size of FF lenses cannot be reduced (law of physics).
Just look at the Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 which lets you zoom up to 300mm.
Compare its size to any other brand of zoom lenses 300mm F2.8

And this lenses is super sharp with superb image quality if all you need is 20mp.
(you can google and check all the DXO reports on this lenses).

Hence, what Hiroshi Suzuki say is still true.
Size of lenses are mostly proportional to the amount of light it lets in (until you go to extreme focal lengths or extreme f-numbers which for most system is somewhere around f/1.2 or below due correction of extreme ray angles in which case they become disproportionately larger).

The f-number is not the aperture. It is written as f/number and the f stands for focal length and the / means divide.
So focal length divided by the f-number gives you the aperture (or exit pupil) diameter.
That's why a 300mm f/2.8 cannot reasonably be compared to a 150mm f/2.8 even if they produce the same angle of view on their respective formats as the aperture (exit pupil) has a diameter of 107mm vs 53.6mm.
By area, that aperture hole opening is 4X the size and letting in 4X the light. And that's the reason why it is so much bigger.
FF lenses can absolutely be reduced if that's the goal of the designers. Start comparing apples to apples and you'll see that apples do compare well with other apples.


There is no doubt that MFT has advantage in 2x crop factor for telephoto.
This is accentuated at long telephoto focal lengths from 400mm onwards to 2000mm.

The problem is that MFT sensor is very small.

Out of the customer base that buy MFT camera bodies, how many buy a long telephoto lens beyond 400mm.

Say for example, 3%.

Now the last known statistic in 2018 or 2019 was that Olympus MFT had 2% world wide market share.

So 3% out of 2% gives 0.0006.

This is the best case scenario.
This is the most optimistic outcome.
The reality may be much worse than that.

How can a camera manufacturing company survive if it plans to concentrate its future efforts on serving 0.0006 of the market.

If long telephoto made all the difference then Nikon P1000 with its 16MP 1/2.3 inch sensor should be the world's top best seller, capturing 80% of the world wide sales. Which did not happen.

JIP and Panasonic are better off aiming at a target market of the masses, with Small, Light, Cheap MFT cameras. Plus Cheap lenses with modest apertures and commonly used focal lengths.
Stop plucking numbers out of the sky.
Smaller but competent tele photos are but one niche that m43 do well in. They don't survive purely on telephotos.
There are a multitude of genres that are popular in m43 and that they do well in compared to any format.
It's not an all or nothing equation. For some the P1000 may indeed be good enough for their uses. Then you move up through the spectrum until you get to the superteles in the FF world. People can pick and choose what capabilities they are comfortable with and m43 occupies a surprisingly large shooting envelope.
 

Pitachu

Active Member
Sep 18, 2019
304
25
28
54
The 2x Crop factor does not only benefit lenses above 400mm.

Let's look at a common zoom lens 28-70 F2.8

The highly regarded Olympus 12-40 F2.8 Pro is 382g, 84mm long and cost about US$849.(24-80 F2.8 equivalent)
The highly regarded Sony 24-70 F2.8 is 886g, 136mm long and cost US$1998.

The Olympus is at less than half the weight, 2/3 the length and less than half the price!

I have seen many Pros using the Olympus 12-40 F2.8 to earn a living, providing high quality photos enough to meet the requirements for their client.

So, Hiroshi statement is still true.
Quote [ “The Micro Four Thirds system is the only mount system that realizes small size, light weight and high image quality at a high level” ] UnQuote
 

  • Sad
Reactions: CKSeah

JW73

Senior Member
Dec 6, 2003
1,357
9
38
47
Singapore
www.pbase.com
M43 is good on it’s own. The problem start when people and olympus/panny start to compare it with the 35mm format with the equivalent focal length & depth of field. This mistake cannot be undone.

There many photographers who managed to sell their print or create creamy BG with the tiny sensor. Know your equipment limitation and work around it. The fact now is m43 loses the competition to the FF or APS-C segment. M43 could be a niche market in the future and I think there are still be people who appreciate this format.

Whatever it is do remember photography community is a family. FF can never be a Medium format. M43 can never be a FF. Just master your equipment in whatever format you prefer.
 

Last edited:

swifty

Senior Member
Oct 12, 2004
660
36
28
davophoto.wordpress.com
1. M43 is good on it's own.
2. Comparisons with FF are valid, if that's what you're deciding between.
3. If you're not interested in FF then there are no reasons to compare with FF because see no.1, m43 is good on it's own.
 

  • Like
Reactions: JW73

ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
3,701
60
48
sing
By saying "Olympus" in this thread, I mean the Olympus Camera Division divested to JIP.
Apparently it has a new name OM Digital Solutions.
Not the Olympus parent company which concentrates on medical products particularly endoscopy products.
The future of Olympus parent company is out of the scope of discussion here.

Olympus made its first camera in 1936. But it was Maitani who cemented their reputation.
Olympus built its Outstanding Brand Image over the next few decades from the 1960's.

And what did Olympus later do? It threw that priceless Brand Image away.
By moving the MFT factory to Vietnam. That was stupid.
Since Olympus MFT/JIP made their choice, then live with that choice.

The usual argument of [ don't worry we have good QC in the foreign factory ] is heard.

For low grade + low cost products, that may escape consumer criticism.
But not for expensive top models. And not for luxury products.

Brand image management is probably why Patek Philippe did not set up a factory in Dharavi to make its watches.

Olympus MFT/JIP had already damaged its priceless Brand Image beyond repair.
Then go all out into the low grade + low cost product concept. They can make money that way too.
If the bulk of the masses buy, it can mean profits for MFT manufacturers.
 

Last edited:

Pitachu

Active Member
Sep 18, 2019
304
25
28
54
Besides Olympus, other camera manufacturers have also start to focus on higher end models.
eg. Sony A7Siii, A7R4, Canon R5 etc.

The camera market has shrunk considerably due to the convenience and increasing quality of images from mobile phones.
Soon, there will only be a market for camera with Image Quality much better than those from Mobile Phones.

There is no point for Olympus or any other manufacturers to try for mass market with lower end cameras.
The market does not exist any more.

Personally, I myself never checked which country the lenses are being manufactured. I have mentioned it before. If it is so important to majority of the photographers, it will be in DPreview and B&H database. The fact that Country of Manufacture is not in their database is probably nobody bother.

If you have used lenses long enough, you probably know that lenses seldom fail, unless your dropped it or exposed it to sand, snow or immerse it in water. Sometime they are a little out of focus and you bring it back to the agent to rectify it. I never had any quality issues with all my lenses, regardless of which country they are from.

Lenses are simple stuff. The specifications to ground the lenses and coat them with which chemical are specs for factory and outsource factory to comply with. If they don't meet the requirements, they will be rejected and have to manufacture again. Does not matter whether it is made in Japan or Vietnam.
 

ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
3,701
60
48
sing
Olympus Camera Division forgot that it was in the business of making CAMERAS and LENSES.
Olympus Camera Division thought of itself strictly as a MFT company.

Olympus failed to adopt new & better sensor formats as Technological Progress (and sensor price reduction) evolves with passage of time.

In the analog film era, progress was slow.

It took many years (decades?) for the less popular film formats like 620, 110, 126, 127, half-frame and APS to be slo...w....ly weeded out.

But in the digital era, Moore's Law applies.
Change/improvement is rapid and startling.

Olympus expected the World to stand still at 2008 and still be in love with MFT 12 years later.

Competitors quickly surged past MFT; particularly after Sony introduced its full frame mirrorless AF ILC in October 2013.

Once Canon and Nikon decided to go mainstream into full frame mirrorless AF ILC circa October 2018, it was Game Over for Olympus MFT - in the sense of losing market share.

In the mean time, Olympus still had the immovable mind set that it was somehow Married to MFT.

Olympus Camera Division forgot that it was a CAMERA company.

Olympus Camera Division insisted that it was MFT company.
Which is very STRANGE.
As a sensor format, MFT is merely a component/concept of the overall camera product.

It was as though major computer manufacturers like HP or Dell, thought of themselves as [ must make PCs installed with Floppy Disk] companies.
In the year 2020.
And refused to improve or change with the passage of time.

Olympus Camera Division's inablity to change is truly amazing.

Olympus Camera Division may have top management that was still fixated in Film-era mode of thinking.

They did not have a Steve Jobs type of leader.
 

Last edited:

Pitachu

Active Member
Sep 18, 2019
304
25
28
54
If Olympus still had the immovable mind that it was somehow married to MFT, then it wouldn't have divorced its Camera Division to JIP.

IMO, circumstances changes with time and technology. MFT was a very attractive proposal to me when it was introduced to me 2 years ago.
It still is. I walked in the zoo for almost 5 hours today with my EM5 and 40-150 and was already dead tired. I really cannot imagine myself doing
that with a full frame and a 80-300mm F2.8 lens! I would have given up halfway.

For me, I am enjoying this combination very well. I used my iPhone 12 Pro Max for its 13mm, 26mm and 65mm Prime.
I used my EM5 + 40-150 (80-300) to cover the telephoto range rather than using my iphone to zoom in digitally.

Yes, it is not really for professional kind of work (although it can) and enough to satisfy me as hobbyist.

No, I am not selling my kit. In fact, the 40-150 F2.8 lenses is my latest addition and I am quite happy with it.

[QUOTE="ricohflex, post: 9710452, member: 17944"
In the mean time, Olympus still had the immovable mind set that it was somehow Married to MFT.
[/QUOTE]
 

ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
3,701
60
48
sing
The thread is about future of this particular camera division/company.

In order for the now defunct Olympus Camera Division/JIP/OM Digital Solutions to have a future, what does it want to be from 2021 onwards?

In order to have a future, it must make things people want to buy, can afford to buy and in sufficiently large numbers to make a difference.

A camera manufacturer can avail itself to various technology advances, as time passes.

Leica makes digital cameras for compact, APS-C, Full Frame and Medium Format.

Ricoh/Pentax makes digital cameras for APS-C, Full Frame and Medium Format.

Sony makes digital cameras for compact, APS-C and Full Frame.

Canon makes digital cameras for compact, APS-C and Full Frame.

Nikon makes digital cameras for compact, APS-C and Full Frame.

Panasonic makes digital cameras for compact, MFT and Full Frame.

Fuji makes digital cameras for compact, APS-C and Medium Format.

Can a computer manufacturer still survive if it insists on making PCs that have 80386DX CPU installed and run on Windows 95?
Sure - it if was the year 1995.

But it is soon to be 2021.

A computer manufacturer insisting on (mostly) making PCs that have obsolete and outdated platforms will NOT survive in 2021 and beyond.

Likewise for camera manufacturers.

If a camera manufacturer insists on (mostly) making MFT cameras (and keeping them EXPENSIVE), while concentrating on vanity projects like F1.2 lenses and super long telephoto zoom lenses, then it has no future from 2021 and onwards.

There will always be die hard fans.
But there are not enough of them to carry the broken company across the finish line.

The slim chance for MFT manufacturers to survive is to observe the principles of Small, Light, CHEAP.
 

Last edited:

Pitachu

Active Member
Sep 18, 2019
304
25
28
54
Just take 1 example....
"Nikon makes digital cameras for compact, APS-C and Full Frame."
If your point is a manufacturer making a few formats rather than sticking with only 1, then why is Nikon in trouble as well?
See article below and you can google for more info on Nikon's situation.

But the point is having multiple or higher resolution formats does not guarantee success or market domination.

Future of Olympus Camera Division has already been laid out for the next 2 to 3 years.
No point trying to nail what is Olympus fault or try to call it an obsolete format.
Olympus users who find the format is useful will continue to use it until it is gone.
For those who think that having the latest sensors in their cameras will improve their photography
can move on to other formats.

Move on, Ricohflex........enjoy your quest for the latest sensors.......
 

JW73

Senior Member
Dec 6, 2003
1,357
9
38
47
Singapore
www.pbase.com
N’s manufacturing is also moving out of Japan. But i believe the photos the equipment make will be as good as before.

So base on some clubsnapper analysis, it’s a doom move by N too? Will we be expecting lower price from N?

 

ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
3,701
60
48
sing
In an era of climate change, do beware recurrence of previous disasters.

Credit: Popular Photography


That is the factory in Rojana Industrial Park in Ayutthaya Province, Thailand.
The same factory that Nikon now says they want to place all their camera making bets on.

The company has 24,632 employees.
According to a DP Review article, a visit to Sendai factory observed 352 employees.
352 out of 24,632 is 0.014.
Thus not sure what extent of labour cost savings they are talking about.

Camera making accounts for 38.2% of revenue in Nikon.
Nikon has numerous other factories in Japan making other types of products. Those remain in Japan AFAIK.
Beside Imaging Products Business, Nikon is into Precision Equipment Business, Healthcare Business, Industrial Metrology and others.

By this move you can see Nikon is giving the other business segments higher profile. Especially the Healthcare Business.
Imaging Products Business seems in a sense, "demoted" within the company.

It is a good news for Thailand.
But it is bad domestic labour news for Japan. When local jobs in Japan are sacrificed.
US made a big complaint about when their Rust Belt factories got hollowed out and manufacturing went overseas.

[Made in Japan] is still an illustrious marketing accolade. Do not under estimate the importance of this.
Whether consumers worldwide will tolerate Nikon's move remains to be seen.

Credit: petapixel.com



It is also good news for competitors that continue to make their top camera models in Japan.
No doubt they will highlight [Made in Japan] prominently in their product advertisements and brochures.
Just to rub it in. And denigrate Nikon ( and Olympus?) indirectly.
 

Last edited: