Olympus to sell off camera division


tommyk

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Intense Market Competition + Handphone Camera improvement in Quality = MFT demise.
this is almost a reality and will be confirmed in due time.

the interesting question is the rate of demise.
what is the rate of demise a function of?

Olympus management
shareholders patience
users ditching MFT etc.
 

ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
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Presumably there are many factors for the failure of a format, some of which we have not thought of.

Cameras may no longer be manufactured if they cannot sell enough to break even over a long period of time.
That is a normal business decision.

Compared to the film era cameras, the continued usefulness of digital cameras (even if the format ends) is a big plus.

In the film days, for example if the APS film format dies, you cannot use the APS cameras even if you own them and they continue to function.
After a while, APS film cassettes cease to be sold. The photo labs that process and print photos from APS film have all closed.
You APS film camera becomes junk to be discarded.

This applies even to the 35mm film cameras we have today, if you want to shoot slide film - unless you want to pay exorbitant sums to have them processed.
Or even to the medium format 120 roll film cameras.

Very few or no labs survive to process the film and print the photos.
If you can solve the developing & processing stage, maybe you can scan the negatives digitally.
But so troublesome.

With digital cameras, there is NO reliance on the processing laboratory.
And there is NO reliance on film of a certain format or type being sold.

If a digital camera of whatever format continues to function, you can use it as long as you like. Even if the manufacturers close shop.
Just copy the photos from the memory card to the PC. And backup to whatever digital media you wish.

One more thing. Digital photography allows owners of legacy lenses to use them on digital cameras with appropriate adapters.
Especially using legacy lenses on Full Frame mirrorless ILC cameras that have IBIS.
Don't under estimate the importance of this.

With Leica M lenses, you do not even need an adapter if you use M9 or M10 digital bodies.
Your very expensive legacy wide angle lens remains a wide angle. No crop factor.

*This is the beauty of digital photography. Compared to film era.
 

Pitachu

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Saw an interesting article in DPreview (URL is below for those interested to read the whole article).

Extract-------------------------:
The megapixel wars have largely wound down and most brands aren't fixating on increasing the number of pixels in a camera with each subsequent generation, as they have in the past. This is a trend we're starting to see across the board from multiple brands. Case in point: my D750 has the same number of pixels as the D780, and the X100V offers only a modest 2MP gain over my X100F.

This is not to say neither brand has improved the image quality in these updated models. Indeed the D780 has far nicer JPEGs than the D750. That's an important improvement, but not one that necessarily matters to me as a Raw shooter.

With the Fujifilm, I tend to stick to JPEG shooting and there's no real difference between the two cameras there. The only real image quality difference comes down to the lenses:
-----------------------------------------

This is exactly what Olympus is doing. Instead of chasing the Megapixel race (which M43 has a huge disadvantage anyway & a lot of users are getting frustrated with handling super high megapixels files unless their job require), Olympus is correct in doing the following:

1) Using computing power on camera to improve image quality (eg. noise reduction, faster AF & FPS etc)
2) Improving on lenses

Hence, it is not fair and not true to say that Olympus had made little improvements to the EM5.3 and EM1.3 and will die soon.
This is the direction of Olympus, as well as other brands like Nikon and Fujifilm :)


 

ricohflex

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This kind of article could be written when:
• Digital cameras with 2MP were "state of the art" at a particular point in time.
• Digital cameras with 5MP were "state of the art" at a particular point in time.
• Digital cameras with 8MP were "state of the art" at a particular point in time.
• Digital cameras with 12MP were "state of the art" at a particular point in time.
• Digital cameras with 16MP were "state of the art" at a particular point in time.
• Digital cameras with 20MP were "state of the art" at a particular point in time.
etc...

Who does not know how to say (Like the camera you have got) & (don't worry about next generation of cameras)?
I only worry whether I can afford to buy the future (better) cameras.
Of course I would like the better improved cameras that the future can bring.

Film technology improved over more than 100 years.
Digital camera technology barely started on its long journey of technological breakthroughs.
There WILL be vast improvements.

In the future, 60MP digital cameras will be considered "low spec".
This is a certainty.

Very small sensors suffer from noise.
Maybe because of pixel density.
In future when sensor sizes increase and prices of sensors drop, MFT will be obsolete like the 1983 IBM PC XT in the year 2020.
 

Pitachu

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If you read the article carefully again, the article is written in the context of comparing the previous version of cameras with the just released version.

1983 IBM PC XT in the year 2020 = 37 years.

I do not agree the possibility that 60MP could be the low spec base model but that could take at least 5 years. Currently, the price is quite a lot higher
than current 20MP cameras and the present computer hardware is stretching itself to process a folder of 2000pcs of 60MP photos (unless again money is not a concern. But all these are out of context.

The whole point of the article is tell readers it is not necessary to keep chasing for the latest technology.

For me, I usually skip 1 to 2 generations on cameras and mobile phones.
I was using iPhone 7 before I changed to iPhone X (almost 3 years old)
and did not upgrade to iPHone 11. My Photo For Events company is still
using our good old Canon 5D Mk2 and Canon 80Ds.

And even though we charge customer thousands of dollars to cover events,
not a single customer has complained the photos are only 20-24mp, and not
60Mp. In fact, about half the customer request the photos to be downsized
to 12Mp or lower for the final copy for storage.

I know that event photos may not need super high resolution, but the point is that
not every photographer and user desire or need 60 Mp. That is the reason why
not every manufacturer is releasing 60Mp cameras at the moment. They would
rather focus on other areas of improvement. And that is the point of this article
as well!



Who does not know how to say (Like the camera you have got) & (don't worry about next generation of cameras)?
I only worry whether I can afford to buy the future (better) cameras.
Of course I would like the better improved cameras that the future can bring.

Film technology improved over more than 100 years.
Digital camera technology barely started on its long journey of technological breakthroughs.
There WILL be vast improvements.

In the future, 60MP digital cameras will be considered "low spec".
This is a certainty.

Very small sensors suffer from noise.
Maybe because of pixel density.
In future when sensor sizes increase and prices of sensors drop, MFT will be obsolete like the 1983 IBM PC XT in the year 2020.
 

ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
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No need for article to say the obvious. Most consumers don't keep chasing for the latest technology.
Not because we don't want to.
The reason is economic. We cannot afford. Some may skip 1 generation or 2 generations.
That is for consumers.

On the other hand, the Manufacturers MUST keep improving their technology. And some do.
After 2013, Sony had introduced new models at very short product cycle times.
Because they can.
Sony has the financial and engineering muscle.
Sony choice of full frame sensor for A7 series gives them the ceiling room to grow higher specifications.

Whereas Olympus has reached the technical limits of a MFT sensor.

Did you see the 14 March 2020 Canon news on R5?
Ouch! This will hurt competing brands.
 

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TonyN

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Mar 1, 2020
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Wow, I stumbled upon this and wow, why would someone go such lengths to prove the point that MFT is dying? For fans and those actual users I understand their point to protect what they love but for those moved on, what would they look to achieve with this? Is it the need to win? And to me they are the ones who are reading between the lines and at times even more emotional! You see what you want to see!

I'm writing this because it took me less than 5mins and that might be half the time I want to spend on this topic!

I have been with Nikon, Fuji, film and now Sony FF. Each have their pros and cons and the joys that keep me using.

I read all the news and developments in the market (a bit sad sometimes that my needs are unheard :p ), went and tried a whole bunch of compacts and APSC (Fuji X100, X70, Canon M50, M60, Sony RX100s and 6xxx series, and so on) to reassure myself that MFT is really what I need for a backup.

What I look for:
- Lightweight
- Affordable
- Good, classic design that could be used as a accessory in the photo (for the wife)
- Easy access to functions with enough buttons and dials
- Good ergonomic
- Viewfinder

The Olympus OMD EM10 III + kit could be bought new at less than SGD650 in Bangkok on my next biz trip with manufacturer's warranty (though the covid19 situation is making me look at Singapore market). If I want to try out new lens it offer really affordable options! For image quality and pixel peeping I will use my FF, to tinker and explore and lug around I want the MFT. Tell me if you have a better combination maybe, the doom sayer?

TLDR, MFT camera has the niche of its own. I hope they stay in business because of the great joy they bring. Their demise or success is quite out of our hands. You see what you want to see. Maybe focus on the joy of creating instead?
 

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ricohflex

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2020 is a special year. Covid-19 more widespread to many countries affecting their economies.
Who wants to buy any new camera when economy is down?
The very rich can. The rest will have other priorities to spend their money on.
It affects the entire camera + lenses market of all brands.
Those brands that had very small market share in 2019, will be crushed in 2020.

2020 is also year of Tokyo Olympics.
Not any country can host Olympics. Only the advanced & prosperous countries can vie for the honour.
The last time Japan hosted was in 1964.
That was 56 years ago.
Every middle aged adult Japanese know they may never get to see Japan host another Olympics in their life time.
The new Japan Emperor Naruhito will open the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
This is a big deal to all Japanese.
Every Japanese camera manufacturer would wish their brand can dominate in the photographic coverage of the Olympics.
No Japanese camera manufacturer is likely to wind up its camera imaging division in 2020.
To prevent a tremendous loss of corporate face.

2020 shows the steady progress of mobile phones and their emphasis on the camera aspect.
Apple iPhone (claims giant enlargements from the phone)
You can Google for:
giant apple advertising for iphone on Sathorn unique tower

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (claims 8K video and 108MP camera)
This hurts the small sensor camera market.

Small is still good - provided performance is not compromised.
Fuji and Sony have demonstrated beyond doubt they can put in a larger sensor in a small body.
They also have small physical size lenses, if you do not need the F1.2 and long telephotos.
So if one wants to argue small and light, better look at the Fuji XE3 and Sony A6000 to A6600 series, which are APS-C.
A second hand A6000 (a 2014 model) can be bought very cheap in 2020.

Most consumers do not buy a camera body and then 20 lenses.
Some buy just 1 lens.
Others buy a few, maybe 3 lenses.
If more interested, then maybe 5 lenses.

2020 is also 2 years after Nikon announced Z6 in 2018 & Canon announced R system in 2018.
Before these 2 giants entered the full frame mirrorless arena, MFT had less competition.
From 2013 to 2018, MFT only needed to worry about Sony mirrorless and Fuji X series.
But now with Z50 (APS-C), Z6, Z7 and RP, R and R5 it is different.
Not forgetting Leica CL introduced in 2017.

Who will buy new MFT? MFT is being squeezed at both ends. The market will decide.
Of course Olympus parent corporation can choose to ignore financial losses.
 

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tommyk

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Olympus is already ignoring the losses.
There are still a few buying MFT; just look at the comments of the loyal supporters on this thread :) Their lenses are good, but their sensors and camera are losing its edge vis a vis the competition.

It will be over eventually.

Maybe they can find an entity to buy over the camera division of Olympus.
 

Pitachu

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Wow. That's a lot of effort to nail the coffin for M43!

Anyway, what you say is quite through true though a little skewed.

When I was shopping for a camera last year after having used several brands,
I did narrow down to Sony & Fujifilm & Olympus/Panasonic

In short, I did not choose Sony because
1) Very few sealed E-mount lenses (APS)
2) No exposure compensation dial

I did not choose Fujifilm because the weight of the lenses are similar to my Canon APS lenses and
I just want a lighter system since I am going to leave my Canon gear in the office for the staff to use.
The Fujifilm XT3 does not have iBIS . XT4 and X-H1 with IBIS was not out yet.

There may be other important features like 425 focus points etc which other users want and not on Olympus and they
can go for other brands. But MFT and all the ticks on my check list.
In short, MFT is a good alternative to have in the market, and it does have its niche.

By the way, don't keep stabbing MFT for not having improve its sensor.
The latest Sony 6600 is still using the same 24 mp sensor as the Sony a6000 introduced in 2014.
I have also mentioned the latest Canon 1Dx Mk3 using a 20mp sensor.

All these manufacturers have already done their market survey that a lot of their customers
are not desiring sensors above 20mp to 24mp! It's really more than enough for me.
I rather manufacturers improve their features and accessories to make it more convenient
for us to shoot different types of photos. eg. Olympus Pro Capture (feature available on other brands
under another term I think) makes it so easy to capture shots like a Ballerina leaping into the air.

Small is still good - provided performance is not compromised.
Fuji and Sony have demonstrated beyond doubt they can put in a larger sensor in a small body.
They also have small physical size lenses, if you do not need the F1.2 and long telephotos.
So if one wants to argue small and light, better look at the Fuji XE3 and Sony A6000 to A6600 series, which are APS-C.
A second hand A6000 (a 2014 model) can be bought very cheap in 2020.

Most consumers do not buy a camera body and then 20 lenses.
Some buy just 1 lens.
Others buy a few, maybe 3 lenses.
If more interested, then maybe 5 lenses.

2020 is also 2 years after Nikon announced Z6 in 2018 & Canon announced R system in 2018.
Before these 2 giants entered the full frame mirrorless arena, MFT had less competition.
From 2013 to 2018, MFT only needed to worry about Sony mirrorless and Fuji X series.
But now with Z50 (APS-C), Z6, Z7 and RP, R and R5 it is different.
Not forgetting Leica CL introduced in 2017.

Who will buy new MFT? MFT is being squeezed at both ends. The market will decide.
Of course Olympus parent corporation can choose to ignore financial losses.
 

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Blu-By-U

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The consortium should work more closely together. For starters, that Aperture ring featured on most Lumix lenses are not workable on the Oly bodies. The focal extenders,why must Oly and lumix have their own? Why can't we have 1 for all? Then that IS, why restrict it? Can't this two partners share for the good of the users?
 

Pitachu

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1) The consortium should work more closely together.
>>> Agree

2) For starters, that Aperture ring featured on most Lumix lenses are not workable on the Oly bodies.
>>> Agree, but it could be easily set on a Olympus Camera because there is a front and back dial

3) The focal extenders,why must Oly and lumix have their own? Why can't we have 1 for all?
>>> In fact, even for Oly, the TC only work on 2 of their lenses (3 if you include the coming 150-400)
>>> The answer I got from Oly is that they have a special flange design where the TC is extended into these 2 lenses
which not fit other lenses including Olympus.

4) Then that IS, why restrict it? Can't this two partners share for the good of the users?
>>> Because Olym believe their IBIS is the best in the market, and is one of their selling points
(look at their website and brochures). Hence, I dont think they want to license it out.

So far, only the M43 Mount is being shared.

I do have a number of PL lenses since I started with the G9 first before getting the EM5.3
and so far, all the lenses worked perfectly except having to turn off the lens stabilizer :)
 

ricohflex

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"X number of MP is enough for me" ......is a state of mind at a particular point in time.

It will change.

As time passes, the memory cards capacity as well as the MP of digital camera sensors will improve while simultaneously the price drops.

The human mind soon adapts to new paradigm. And that becomes the base reference standard.

The expectations of new users in future will be different.

In future, cameras far exceeding 24 MP will be the norm.

Just as today 3.2MP digital cameras (from the past) are considered comical curiosities.

That is good as otherwise there is no progress.
 

TonyN

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Mar 1, 2020
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2020 is a special year. Covid-19 more widespread to many countries affecting their economies.
Who wants to buy any new camera when economy is down?
The very rich can. The rest will have other priorities to spend their money on.
It affects the entire camera + lenses market of all brands.
Those brands that had very small market share in 2019, will be crushed in 2020.

2020 is also year of Tokyo Olympics.
Not any country can host Olympics. Only the advanced & prosperous countries can vie for the honour.
The last time Japan hosted was in 1964.
That was 56 years ago.
Every middle aged adult Japanese know they may never get to see Japan host another Olympics in their life time.
The new Japan Emperor Naruhito will open the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
This is a big deal to all Japanese.
Every Japanese camera manufacturer would wish their brand can dominate in the photographic coverage of the Olympics.
No Japanese camera manufacturer is likely to wind up its camera imaging division in 2020.
To prevent a tremendous loss of corporate face.

2020 shows the steady progress of mobile phones and their emphasis on the camera aspect.
Apple iPhone (claims giant enlargements from the phone)
You can Google for:
giant apple advertising for iphone on Sathorn unique tower

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (claims 8K video and 108MP camera)
This hurts the small sensor camera market.

Small is still good - provided performance is not compromised.
Fuji and Sony have demonstrated beyond doubt they can put in a larger sensor in a small body.
They also have small physical size lenses, if you do not need the F1.2 and long telephotos.
So if one wants to argue small and light, better look at the Fuji XE3 and Sony A6000 to A6600 series, which are APS-C.
A second hand A6000 (a 2014 model) can be bought very cheap in 2020.

Most consumers do not buy a camera body and then 20 lenses.
Some buy just 1 lens.
Others buy a few, maybe 3 lenses.
If more interested, then maybe 5 lenses.

2020 is also 2 years after Nikon announced Z6 in 2018 & Canon announced R system in 2018.
Before these 2 giants entered the full frame mirrorless arena, MFT had less competition.
From 2013 to 2018, MFT only needed to worry about Sony mirrorless and Fuji X series.
But now with Z50 (APS-C), Z6, Z7 and RP, R and R5 it is different.
Not forgetting Leica CL introduced in 2017.

Who will buy new MFT? MFT is being squeezed at both ends. The market will decide.
Of course Olympus parent corporation can choose to ignore financial losses.

I'm here 2 days and found that these posts are quite useless. What is the point? Would these posters want to be the saviors to MFT users? Like I care! Or strategic advisors for Olympus? Wrong place then.

Laughable though :) quite entertaining. Maybe they are diehard fans who want to keep this forum alive with flame war? Cheers, but wrong method.

Have a nice day and stay safe guys.
 

Pitachu

Member
Sep 18, 2019
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What a surprise! Looks like Olympus may not want to sell its imaging division after all...

 

tommyk

Senior Member
Jun 10, 2013
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BRO, BCN ranking is only partial market tracking. Its like Top Camera Sales from Courts!

How many of us go to Courts to buy our cameras, (even before Covid-19 is here)?

I empathise with Olympus Users, it seems that any good news (fleeting, true or partially true) will be celebrated in its entirety :)
I used to be like that too.

Have a good and healthy day, and wash our hands often especially if you are outside the house.
 

Pitachu

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My sympathy to you for being so ignorant.

BCN collects data not only from 1 retail chain like Courts, but POS data at consumer electronics retailers and e-commerce shops nationwide
including amazon.co.jp. It may not cover every single specialty camera shop in Japan but it does gather sufficient data from
a wide variety of retail platforms. Yes, I am aware all review platforms can be bias, with a tendency to side larger advertisers,
but they cannot be way off the truth or they will receive tons of criticisms on Social Media nowadays. eg. BCN would not dare
to name the Olympus EM-1mx as the best selling camera in Japan when everyone knows that it is NOT.

News is news, whether good or bad, nothing to exaggerate by saying that we are celebrating the good news.
We are all sharing good news and bad news, for readers here to make their own judgements
when it is time for them to look for new camera equipment.


BRO, BCN ranking is only partial market tracking. Its like Top Camera Sales from Courts!

How many of us go to Courts to buy our cameras, (even before Covid-19 is here)?

I empathise with Olympus Users, it seems that any good news (fleeting, true or partially true) will be celebrated in its entirety :)
I used to be like that too.

Have a good and healthy day, and wash our hands often especially if you are outside the house.
 

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ricohflex

Senior Member
Feb 24, 2005
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An article by some one who was not paid to say good things (some of them quite nonsensical by other bloggers) about Olympus MFT.


Look at the position of the tripod mount screw hole on the Pen F and it is bad design.

The market has already decided for the Pen F.
Olympus has officially discontinued Pen F in Feb 2019 due to disappointing poor sales.

The market will decide life or death for the MFT format overall.
In fact, the market has decided as far as Olympus MFT is concerned. (2.8% world wide market share in 2019). Much worse expected in 2020.
But the parent company had preferred to lose heaps of money every year to keep Olympus Camera Imaging Division artificially alive on life support.
 

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Pitachu

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Sep 18, 2019
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I have no experience of the Pen F, but from the review, it does seemed that it is a bad idea.
(I don't praise Olympus for everything!)
But why use a bad review on one model and condemn the whole format?

Panasonic chose MFT and Full frame as it said APS will be overlapping the 2.
Fujifilm chose APS and Medium Format, leaving out Full Frame format.

I believe every brand and format has a market position and
do does MFT, though pretty small. I agree that 2.8% market share
is pretty miserable, but in the Nikkei report, several brands are
not even mentioned, eg. Panasonic, Ricoh, Sigma, Pentax, Leica......

If the Nikkei report represents the world wide market share accurately
and Olympus Imaging division cannot survive, what is going
to happen to all the rest of the brands?
 

Pitachu

Member
Sep 18, 2019
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Looks like for the time being, Olympus is going to support its imaging division and not sell it in the short term.
Also good news that Olympus is allocating resources to introduce more lenses :)