A couple of days ago, a few people reached out to me about Olympus. They knew I am an Olympus fan, and that I own and use many of their cameras. If you haven’t heard, a press release indicated that Olympus has signed an agreement with a company called Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) to sell off their camera business. I wanted this to sink in for a couple of days before I commented.

My initial reaction? Like many things happening in the world these days, I was disappointed but not surprised, so many changes happening right now, and probably much more to come. Unfortunately, many of these changes are not going to be positive. However, the situation with Olympus is not unexpected. The camera industry is in a protracted, and most likely, terminal decline. The pandemic and its impact on sales have only hastened the inevitable.

What’s going to happen to Olympus? I don’t know. Nobody does. All we have is a press release and a lot of speculation. As expected, the Olympus YouTube Visionaries and fans are optimistic, putting a brave face on an uncertain situation. Some have written the obituary. The negotiators between Olympus and JIP may share a vision, but who knows if the vision will turn out the way they expect.

In reality, for the short term, nothing really changes. The emails promoting deals from Olympus continue to hit my inbox. My Olympus cameras and lenses continue to work. In fact, for someone like me who buys old used gear — some of which are over a decade old — these cameras will continue to work. Luckily, unlike software-based subscription services that simply die when the company goes kaput, the cameras will keep on working, even if the Olympus camera division disappears.

The value of the Olympus gear may even go up over time since collectors will continue collecting. As long as the supply decreases quicker than the demand, prices will be stable.

The bigger impact may be on the entire camera industry. Olympus has been one of the most innovative camera companies. Consider they pioneered mirrorless cameras, in-body image stabilization, sensor dust reduction systems, live view, and more. Their innovations pushed the entire industry. If you survey the current players, especially the big ones, they aren’t doing many new things. They just make incremental improvements along the expected dimensions.

Read the rest of the story at:  A Murky Future for Olympus – atmtx photo blog

Categories: Cameras, Photography, reblog, Technology

Tags: , , , ,

2 replies

  1. Hi I’m Marilyn’s friend, the one that moved up to an M1 MKIII and worked it out so that we both would have a top Olympus Camera. Maybe this was a panic move, thinking they might be going out of business and there would be no future Olympus offerings. More likely though, is that we both love these cameras so much and knowing the quality, and innovation, put into them we felt they would last a long time after all of the doomsday talk died down. I, for one, choose to be optimistic as many of the visionaries say once the dust settles there will be continued Olympus involvement in the camera world.., maybe only in the higher end pro world, but involvement never the less. I’m patient and will continue to use these beautiful cameras until I can’t, or they aren’t making them anymore.., and even then, each will have to die on its own and be unrepairable.

    I’m sorry about my unbridled optimism, but I watched Apple computers go through this very thing and look where they are today.


    • Everyone seems to think that cell phones ARE cameras and if what you want is a snapshot, they can do that. They are also great for when you are somewhere and your gear isn’t with you. But I think cameras give you far more flexibility and artistic freedom — and I totally love my Olympus cameras.

      I’m also optimistic. There’s still a reasonable amount of it in the big online (and in downtown NY city) stores, as well as Amazon and a lot of other second hand stores. I can’t even imagine going back to a big heavy camera. It was too much for me to handle 20 years ago and I’m sure it hasn’t gotten better with time and arthritis. I haven’t seen — to date, anyway — any sign that Olympus is disappearing. I’m hoping this was more a financial infusion than a real change of manufacturer. It’s hard to know unless you sit in on boardroom meetings. I’m not sure Olympus knows exactly where they are going.

      These cameras are a very big deal for me. I haven’t seen any other cameras I like nearly as much. And you are right. Apple went through this and they are better than ever.


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