WHATS NEXT FOR M43, after Olympus, what future is left?


tommyk

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Let's look at some possible scenarios and which is more likely :

1. After the divestment of Olympus to the investment fund, the new owners sells of piece by piece to other interested parties, who only take its technology but not much of its "Olympus branding". In a fast declining and shrinking market, Olympus branding is not worth much, and no one wants to pour money into R&D.

2. Panasonic follows Olympus and divest its m43 unit and concentrates all its resources for Full Frame. Even its video powerhouse GH series can't bring in sufficient revenue to continue the m43.

3. M43 sensors are put into handphones, a technological feat now but likely in a few years time. Our mobile phones are the new M43 cameras. Some will provide adapters for interchangeable lenses that Olympus and Panasonic has produced.

4. We all remember the good run of Olympus for 84 years until 2020, but not its lessons. Its mistakes and missteps (small sensors, lots of money into advertising and advertorial and losing touch with its customers) are repeated by other camera companies.

Which one of these will happen?
 

ricohflex

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Feb 24, 2005
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Sale of Viao by Sony to Japan Industrial Partners and Sale of Olympus Digital Camera Division to Japan Industrial Partners.
"Selling" to JIP is essentially a Face Saving exercise. So that the Japan and the parent companies do not lose face.

The experience with Viao under JIP is very bad and it has dreadful foreboding for Olympus digital camera products.
Consumer feedback is that the "new JIP" Viao is a much inferior computer note book product.
JIP capitalised on the goodwill of the Viao brand. Some consumers who bought the Viao mistakenly thought it was from Sony.

The Olympus digital camera patents are valuable. JIP will strip those assets first and sell to others, to make a profit.
Some Olympus digital camera products will continue to be made but at very low quality. Once again to capitalise on the branding.

The employees of the ex-Olympus Camera Imaging may be subject to bad treatment/retrenchment under the new company.
The idea is to treat them so badly that they resign of their own accord. This happens in real life.
Because if the employees feel miserable and quit on their own, the JIP company does not have to pay retrenchment benefits.
This tactic is common and has happened in Singapore too.
The parent company Olympus shrugs its shoulders and says "Not my human resource problem anymore".

Demise of Micro 4/3 is not unusual. The size of sensor in digital cameras is akin to the size of the frame in film cameras.
In the 100 years plus film camera history, many film formats have been tried and failed.
Some like 35mm and 120 roll film formats have established as standards - until the end of film era.

Likewise digital sensor formats will evolve over time.

I suspect that some time later, the APSC format will be affected.
Not because APSC is no good.
But because over time, it becomes cheaper and cheaper to produce full frame sensors. It has become commercially viable.
The size of APSC is quite close to full frame, then companies may consolidate manufacturing processes and just make full frame.
Sensor manufacturers can save costs. No need for 2 production lines making APSC and separately for full frame.

In distant future, sensor manufacturers will increase the size of medium format sensors.
The current crop of medium format sensors are not actually 6x6 or 6x4.5.
 

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ricohflex

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Here is a quote from David Helfer Wells:
Quote { I will be the first to admit that being an Olympus Visionary is a blast. I get paid to to play with the latest gear before most other people do. The company asks for my opinion (sometimes.) They spend time and effort promoting me and my work. } UnQuote

You can view search Google to find these videos by another 2 Olympus Visionaries.
Hindsight is 20 20.

Robin Wong
Olympus Is NOT Closing Down - Here Are The Reasons Why

PeterForsgard
Olympus - [4 reason why it is not SHUTTING down]
 

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Castor Troy

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Oct 28, 2009
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Who's next?
Canon - good lenses, crippled sensor.
Nikon - bad marketing decisions, half-baked cameras which remove features found in previous models... aka D780
Pentax - medical endoscopy division was the only profitable part, now excised by Hoya
 

ricohflex

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{ lessons. Its mistakes and missteps }
Don't pay people a lot of money to sing your praises + constantly tell you how wonderful you are. Paid flatterers never tell you the truth. One claimed that you innovated 5 or 6 things that "EVERYONE" copies. After a while you (Olympus) believe the preposterous nonsense and do not realise how backward and inferior Olympus digital camera products have become.


But mind you, the market knows. Only Olympus is ignorant how inferior they have become.


The market has known for a LONG time.
I recorded an incident in my diary because it was so unusual. The date it happened was 22 April 2019.
That day I visited a departmental store in Orchard Road to check out the Olympus cameras and lenses.
The salesman told me not to buy any Olympus at that time.
He said Olympus will collapse soon and Olympus cameras and lenses will - in his words "Lelong". Meaning fire-sale at rock bottom prices.
This was from a salesman who was supposed to convince me to buy the camera & lens.
His big departmental store has some insider knowledge to have this news.
His warning came true 429 days later on 24 Jun 2020.
As you can see, the rest of the world (except Olympus) knew for a long time that Olympus Camera Division was doomed.
 

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tommyk

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Within 2 years, will there still be any manufacturer producing m43 camera bodies? Or will there still be a Panasonic GH6?
 

Castor Troy

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A Chinese manufacturer may take over....
 

ricohflex

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If you are Cathay Photo, Alan Photo, TK Photo, SLR Revolution, MS Color Service, Click! (owned by Max Photo), other photo stores and big departmental stores.
What do you do with the expensive unsold stock of Olympus M4/3 cameras, lenses, flashes and other accessories?
The total sum is Very Big. It is a big financial hole in each company's net worth. It is a sea of red ink. They are hurting badly.
Now the whole world knows Olympus Camera Division has collapsed and will be sold. Who will buy the brand's camera products?
The longer camera retailers hold on to the unsold Olympus stock, the more unwanted it becomes, as time passes.
You know, like last month's expired stale bread.
Can they return all the unsold stocks to Olympus Singapore and get a refund? Can they quote Misrepresentation (because for a long time Olympus officially insisted that Olympus Camera Digital Imaging Division was not going to close down or be sold) as justification?
Multiply this problem by ten thousand times when you think of all the camera stores world wide.

What will happen to this facility in Vietnam? (Credit: www.imaging resource.com)


Do you feel good about paying >$200 for a pair of sneakers (many brands nowadays) made in Vietnam? I don't like it at all. That is why I never buy.
The profit margin is so high. Considering the low wages the shoe manufacturer pays the Viet workers.
Well, I feel the same for Olympus camera products made in Vietnam. Olympus cameras and lenses are not cheap.
They never passed the cost savings to the consumer. They wanted to rip off the consumer.
But in the end they killed their own business. Because it turned off the potential customers.
Basically I cannot tolerate an expensive camera "Made in Vietnam". No to that.
Made in Japan, Yes can accept. Made in Germany, Yes² can accept.
 

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Pitachu

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Sep 18, 2019
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If you are Cathay Photo, Alan Photo, TK Photo, SLR Revolution, MS Color Service, Click! (owned by Max Photo), other photo stores and big departmental stores.
What do you do with the expensive unsold stock of Olympus M4/3 cameras, lenses, flashes and other accessories?
The total sum is Very Big. It is a big financial hole in each company's net worth. It is a sea of red ink. They are hurting badly.
>> That is why each of them usually keep 1 to 3 pcs only. Almost of them has a computerized system to let them know which are the more salable models.
>> They will sell obsolete staff cheap to their staff and regulars. Usually 15% to 20% discount will do the trick and people will grab!

Now the whole world knows Olympus Camera Division has collapsed and will be sold. Who will buy the brand's camera products?
The longer camera retailers hold on to the unsold Olympus stock, the more unwanted it becomes, as time passes.
You know, like last month's expired stale bread.
>> Users like me will still buy. As mentioned in my previous post, my expected lifespan of thngs I buy is only 3 years.
As long as Olympus has some unique benefits, I will still buy eg. their coming 150-400mm if it is released.

Can they return all the unsold stocks to Olympus Singapore and get a refund? Can they quote Misrepresentation (because for a long time Olympus officially insisted that Olympus Camera Digital Imaging Division was not going to close down or be sold) as justification?
>> Depends on whether it is on consignment (can be returned but much lesser profit margin) or Out Front Purchase.

Multiply this problem by ten thousand times when you think of all the camera stores world wide.
>> Think you are frightening yourself. I have been in retail before and had obsolete products before.
But usually it is manageable. As any retailer. It is normal to have 20% to 30% of every item unsold.
That is when we start offering discounts to lower the stock. Usually the last few pcs are sold
close to cost or slightly below lost but we made enough on the first 70% already :)
 

Pitachu

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Do you feel good about paying >$200 for a pair of sneakers (many brands nowadays) made in Vietnam? I don't like it at all. That is why I never buy.
The profit margin is so high. Considering the low wages the shoe manufacturer pays the Viet workers.
Well, I feel the same for Olympus camera products made in Vietnam. Olympus cameras and lenses are not cheap.

>>> I think you over analyze. I think there are also many shoppers like me.
When I buy a pair of sneakers, I don't even look at the brand. If I like the design
and it feelts good when I hop around the shop, I will just buy it provided
it is within my budget.

But honestly, I prefer a $150 sneaker than a $50 one, as it is really
more comfortable. I still have 2 pairs of $50 on my shoe rack
which I hardly wear because my feet ache after 1 to 2 hours
of walking.
 

ricohflex

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Feb 24, 2005
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There are many reasons for the demise of Olympus Camera Division. Certainly Olympus parent company will do a postmortem and some Japan top universities will explore it as a Management Case Study.

One of the probable reasons is that Olympus failed to manage the Brand Image. Unfortunately Olympus threw a very valuable brand image for its cameras built up over a few decades, into the gutter.

And the Camera Division management may have covered it up by paying some website owners to sing its praises. They show it to the parent company top management - "See, these websites say we are wonderful".

Olympus should learn from Rolex and LV (Louis Vuitton) how to manage Brand Image. Don't say it does not matter. It does.

(Start of Fictitious hypothetical example of what other company would not do. In order to protect their brand image):
If Rolex opens a factory in Dhaka (Bangladesh) to capitalise on the cheap labour and cheap production constructed facilities, then sell the Rolex watch at the same price as though it was made in Switzerland. That is, the company did not pass the cost savings to the consumer but instead creamed off the profit margin all for itself. As a consumer, will you pay SGD$50,000 for a Rolex made in Bangladesh? Sure, Rolex can insist the QC is good - they post 1 Swiss engineer to supervise 1,000 Bangla workers in the factory. It may be just as good. But as a consumer who pays so much for the watch, will you feel good about it?
What would be the resale value of such a Rolex made in Bangladesh?
(End of Fictitious hypothetical example):

Olympus shifting camera + lens manufacturing to Vietnam was a Fatal Error, in terms of Brand Image.

A high priced camera is not in the same product genre as instant noodles or sneakers (shoes).

Beyond a certain high price point, a camera is not just a photo taking tool. It becomes a luxury good. It becomes a status symbol.
(Ask Leica owners)

Before Nikon and Canon got into full frame mirrorless ILC, Sony (full frame) and Olympus (M4/3) had less competition.
Sony could get away with selling very high priced cameras made in Thailand.
Olympus could get away with selling high priced cameras made in Vietnam.
But now in 2020 the story is different.
Canon R5 is made in Japan.
Nikon Z7 is made in Japan.

Olympus Camera Division has failed to take into account the buyers' psychology.
 

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aquilaa

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Oct 19, 2008
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3. M43 sensors are put into handphones, a technological feat now but likely in a few years time. Our mobile phones are the new M43 cameras. Some will provide adapters for interchangeable lenses that Olympus and Panasonic has produced.
Physically not feasibly, smart phone with M43 sensor would be too bulky for mass market.
 

ricohflex

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Quote { WHATS NEXT FOR M43, after Olympus, what future is left? } UnQuote

If the (low) build quality of the recent model Olympus EM5 Mk3 (Designed by Olympus & Made in Vietnam), is representative of the general quality of all M4/3 cameras, then there is no future for M4/3 after July 2020.


Credit: LeeHicks - DPReview member + live.staticflickr.com



Credit: Joe Lynch DPReview member




Credit: DPRreview




Credit: DPRreview


It may be result of drastic cost cutting measures or a desire for more profit margin. Thus they compromised on design and materials used.

No sensible camera engineer would design a high end product like that.
The EM5 Mk3 costs more than a thousand dollars.
This is not a very low end basic $150 compact camera.
The tripod bush needs to be anchored to the metal frame of the camera, which it was NOT in this case.
Instead, 2 or 3 small screws attached the tripod bush to a very thin plastic bottom plate of the EM5 Mk3.
It seems to be a con job.
The 2 or 3 screws give the impression to the buyer that the tripod bush is very firmly fixed to the structural frame of the camera body.
In reality the tripod bush was only affixed to the thin plastic base plate. This ridiculous design is outrageous.

It shows disrespect for the customer. Worse - it shows that the Olympus camera designer does not respect his own profession.
The late-Yoshihisa Maitani will turn in his grave.
He would never have allowed such a poor quality design on a higher end camera body and to use the "Olympus" name on it.

It breaks very easily.
...........................................................................................
This other case shows the plastic bottom plate of Olympus EM 1 Mk2 broken after a drop with monopod attached .
In this case, the whole plastic bottom plate ripped and snapped into 2 pieces with ¼ of the bottom plate still attached to the camera.
You can clearly see that the tripod bush is held by 2 or 3 small screws to the thin plastic bottom plate.
The tripod bush is not anchored to the metal frame.
Once upon a time before the introduction of Olympus EM 1 Mk3 and Olympus OM-D E-M1X, the Olympus EM 1 Mk2 was the company''s Top Model.
Which is shocking. I can understand if a very basic and low end $150 compact camera was made this way.
But this Olympus EM 1 Mk2 was the company's Top Model in Dec 2016. It was The Flagship Camera.
When it was introduced, it was the most expensive camera body in the line up of the company's products.
How can a Flagship Model be made this way?


Credit: MikeOxon member of e-group.uk.net


This problem seems not limited to one or two models but may be pervasive throughout the entire range of Olympus mirrorless M4/3 camera bodies.
Well, hopefully not to be discovered in the Olympus OM-D E-M1X body.
 

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Pitachu

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Sep 18, 2019
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Interestingly, I had the same problem with my Sony RX10 Mk 4.
Sent to Sony Service center and it cost less than $10 to replace the plate.

I believe the damage is probably from a fall from the monopod or tripod
when the camera is attached. Could also be some sideway knocks when
the camera is attached to a clip like the Peak Design Capture (that's what happened to
my Sony :) as I was trekking and climbing with it.

I do leave my EM5 MK3 on my tripod and walk around
holding only the tripod, but so far I do not have any issue.
It's not a rugged camera so I will still handle with some care
and not toss it around :)

Yeah,,,,,, it will be a bad design if the tripod hole is not
mounted to the frame.



Quote { WHATS NEXT FOR M43, after Olympus, what future is left? } UnQuote

If the (low) build quality of the recent model Olympus EM5 Mk3 (Designed by Olympus & Made in Vietnam), is representative of the general quality of all M4/3 cameras, then there is no future for M4/3 after July 2020.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49398201066_198f1bb12e_o.jpg
 

ricohflex

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I think EM1 Mk3 got the same problem. Notice the same 3 screw configuration close to and around the tripod bush.
That suggests the tripod bush is fixed onto to the thin bottom plate, which may or may not be plastic. Chances are that it is plastic.
None of the Olympus "ambassadors" mentioned this. But of course. They were not expected to criticise it.
So far, could not find a video of dis-assembly strip down of the EM1 Mk3, to prove this beyond doubt.

Credit: imaging=resource.com Olympus EM1 Mk3 bottom




Now take out any of your old school film SLRs (e.g. Nikon) and see the bottom plate. Or even the better made digital DSLR or Mirrorless ILC.
Typically the bottom plate has a hole to expose the tripod bush which has been machined into the metal frame of the camera body.
Or the tripod bush is part of a metal mounting plate which is then screwed onto the metal frame of the camera body.
You see that in Sony A7R3 and Nikon Z7 digital cameras.
That is how it is supposed to be done.
That is what we mean by superior build quality.


Credit: lensrentals.com (Good build quality example)
Sony A7 R3


Credit: lensrentals.com (Good build quality example)
Sony A7 R3


Credit: Ilija Melentijevic author of article in diyphotography.net
Nikon Z7 (photo is resized to make it smaller)

(Good build quality example)
77599



Credit: Yorgi Cameras for disassembly of Nikon FM2 (Good build quality example)

77496
 

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Pitachu

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The surprising thing is that Olympus continue to announce a series of new products.
1) Olympus EM10 Mk 4
2) 150-400mm
3) 100 or 120mm Macro Lenses
4) 8-25mm F4 Pro

Looks like Olympus and JIP is at least committed to keep it going at least in the short term
maybe 3 years..... :)
 

ricohflex

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Feb 24, 2005
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Good if they do what they say they will do. Which is not always the case. Some time ago, Olympus gave an official denial that Camera Division will be divested, sold or closed. Well, on 24 June 2020 the truth was revealed. Does this give you confidence in their announcement of the 4 new products?

JIP is not Mr Nice Guy. JIP is a hedge fund A.K.A. business predator.
But don't be too harsh on the Private Equity fund managers (PE) JIP.

As member LarsPolarBear of DP Review website said:
Quote {
Yes, I could not agree more, it is not the fault of the PE, but of Olympus’ management that this business is going under. JIP is only the undertaker, they are doing the “dirty work”, that the Olympus management is too cowardly to do. You cannot blame the undertaker for the death, and yes, you also have to pay the undertaker....
} UnQuote

The following was commented by a member Doug Janis of DP Review website, 3 weeks before 16 July 2020, i.e.roughly about 25 June 2020.
I think he is spot on. Which means Olympus camera & lens products are DEAD.


According to Doug Janis, Olympus has to PAY money to JIP to take the failed Camera Division. Imagine how bad the situation is.
赔了夫人又折兵
 

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