Olympus Exiting Camera Business

Smartphones have really hammered the camera industry, and this was inevitable. Still, shockwaves. They weren’t the biggest, but they still made excellent cameras. Particularly cameras that could operate in all conditions. Olympus weatherproofing was amazing.


I was surprised to learn a couple of years back that Oympus now make some of the best mirrorless cameras, the form factor and performance is pretty much ideal for people who prefer small, lightweight cameras over DSLRs. I know a few Nat Geo photographers who swear by them.

Check out that link I put about the weatherproofing. People have dropped their Olympus DLSRs and zooms into the ocean by accident and simply rinsed them off. If you’re a Nateo photographer on some assignment in the middle of the jungle, that’s the kind of weatherproofing that you need.

Not shocked , late last year they said they wanted to focus on the medical side of things.

Their HQ for the US is near where I live.

Shame because they made some very good cameras. But the world has moved on. The best camera is the one you have on you and most people have a phone on them rather than an actual camera.

Sony really blew the real camera (ie, not cell camera) market with its large sensor affordable cameras. That put Olympus in a hard spot when both Nikon and Canon pushed for mirrorless in their own lineups. I

Is there a particularly high risk of dropping your camera into the ocean while in the middle of the jungle?

But can it survive being swallowed by a crocodile?

Bummer. I have a waterproof Olympus that, well, gets used whenever we visit Hawaii. Good camera.

My last film SLR was an Olympus.

Don’t know about the cameras, but Olympus make good voice recorders.

What if you’re on a jungle mountain cliff overlooking the ocean, huh? What about that, smarty pants?

This is a real bummer. I have an Olympus E-M1 Mark 2 and it really is an amazing camera. A lot of the tech in the Olympus cameras is second to none: weatherproofing, incredible sensor stabilization, top-notch jpg rendering, and lots of cool shooting modes like live composite, where you can watch your exposure build on the LCD, and pro capture, which records frames before you even press the shutter button. Their lenses are also outstanding.

Obviously the sensor is the limiting factor (although it is a plus for the stabilization, with less mass to adjust), but for the vast majority of people it is more than sufficient. I switched from Nikon simply because I wanted a lighter package that still gave me good results, and I’ve never second-guessed that decision.

I understand why their business is getting clobbered, but everyone should be sad to see them go, because they fill a really useful niche in the industry. I know the mirrorless full-frame cameras are basically as small as Olympus cameras now, but the Olympus package is still much smaller because full-frame lenses are gigantic. Lens design is better than ever now across the board, but you still can’t defeat physics, so the bigger sensors are still going to require bigger lenses.

Anyway, my current camera runs fine but I guess I need to start thinking about the future. Maybe Fuji? APS-C seems like a decent compromise, and I like the controls.

But then you would be on the edge of the jungle, not the middle.

How’d I do?

8/10, would read again.

Attended a webinar this morning with an Olympus tech guy talking about their cameras. It seems their intention is not to “exit the camera business” but to keep the Olympus brand going and bring new cameras out (apparently there will be announcements in the near future). They are still negotiating the sale to the (potential) new owner, it’s not actually completed yet.

The guy was demonstrating the OM-D line of cameras, pretty amazing gear. I’m going to see how things play out in the medium term, but at the very least I’m now wanting an E-M1 MkIII.

The Olympus Tough TG-6 would have been the ultimate GoPro killer if it just had better imagine stabilization and slightly better resolution. From the reviews it took incredible macro photos without a lens change, and had brilliant underwater capabilities. But they didn’t have a mount for it and the IS was really quite poor.