(FT2) Hot (false?) rumor: Panasonic to buy Olympus imaging division???

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Before you read the rumor: This is a rumors website. Always keep your feet on earth. In that case the rumor hasn’t been confirmed by my trusted sources so it’s based mostly on rumors from external websites!

A couple of weeks ago a trusted source told me that he wouldn’t be surprised if Olympus would sell his camera division. It was just a chat and he didn’t explain me why he thought that. In the meanwhile I got a rumor from a new source a while ago saying that Panasonic could buy the Olympus imaging division. I didn’t post that rumor simply because it came from one single unknown source. But now the rumor is spreading around the web on other websites too. So it’s time to post it with a very low credibility ranking of “FT2” (=rumor from non reliable and unknown source).

According to those rumors Panasonic is negotiating the acquisition of the imaging division from Olympus! And we have been told that Olympus first reaction was “positive”. At SLRclub (Click here) some secret Olympus source said that Olympus wants to keep their highly profitable and healthy medical business.

At that point I want to repeat once again that the rumor is unconfirmed! And if you ask my opinion, I really do hope it is NOT true!

Reminder -> Rumors classification explained (FT= FourThirds):
FT1=1-20% chance the rumor is correct
FT2=21-40% chance the rumor is correct
FT3=41-60% chance the rumor is correct
FT4=61-80% chance the rumor is correct
FT5=81-99% chance the rumor is correct

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  • EvoltPen

    Personally I don’t believe this rumor. Actually I would like to believe it, because I believe it would benefit both Panasonic and Olympus.

    I would like to add that sometimes it is wise to think to work together. Could be that Panasonic and Olympus aren’t that far away to work more close in future and make them both stronger what ever brand name they start use. Maybe they have been planning this for long time, you never know.

    Xoom had good opinion. This could be some kind of deal where Panasonic buys more than 50% of Olympus and keep brand name running. They might have plan where they work together with different kind of models and segments.

  • SteveD

    The good is that Panasonic and Olympus often seemed to have complementary strengths and weaknesses. I have a hard time believing they would immediately adopt the worse features of both companies. ;-)

    The problem is that 43 ceases to be a consortium and becomes just a company. Mu43 will be fine, but 43 will be gone. The only thing 43 has going for it is that Olympus makes nice cameras and Olympus will be gone. There is no advantage to having a 43 sensor in a full size DSLR body because then you are just going head to head with APS-C. You immediately give away the primary advantage of the smaller 43 sensor. The advantage to the 43 sensor is that you can make smaller bodies and that’s what mu43 is all about. The E5 is a a great camera but that’s because of Olympus and not the 43 format. Panasonic might keep 43, but I just can’t see why.

    • Esa Tuunanen

      > I have a hard time believing they would immediately adopt the worse features of both companies.
      You’re yourself pushing for it.

      > The advantage to the 43 sensor is that you can make smaller bodies…
      BS, APS-C sensor isn’t that much bigger and Sony has shown that you can cram it easily into as unergonomically small body… basically even FF sensor would fit with growing integration of electronics.
      And the cold fact just happens to be that for ergonomic full controls body minimum size is set by human anatomy meaning differences between systems are mostly in size of optics. (don’t generalize small body and lens for casual shooting into whole system)

      Olympus chose sensor size because it allowed very high quality lenses without making lenses bigger and even standard 4/3 kit lenses were above average APS-C optics while being more compact.
      Without that high quality optics very few would have had the slightest interest in E-5.

      And with as heavy software corrections as in m4/3 lenses also APS-C lenses could be shrinked in similar fashion basically returning optics size difference back to square one.

      • “And with as heavy software corrections as in m4/3 lenses also APS-C lenses could be shrinked in similar fashion basically returning optics size difference back to square one.”

        Repeat. Valid just for mirrorless systems. The old dslr systems make software corrections very-very problematic.

      • Nathan

        The APS system has a larger image circle because the 3:2 format, coupled with the larger sensor produces a larger diagonal, and it’s a significant difference. This is why the NEX lenses are so much larger than the 4/3 and u43 lenses. 4:3 fits better in its image circle, wasting less image area. The optimal design, of course, would be a square image sensor whose corners protruded outside of the image circle, with multiple aspect ratios drawn from circle edge to circle edge. (or from vignette limit chosen by manufacturer) But that approach would be expensive.

  • For a loyal Olympus Fan this would be a sad day.
    I would prefer a closer corporation of Olympus and Panasonic in core technologies. 80 % of all M & A fail.
    If it would be a “hostile takeover” it would destroy a lot of the motivation of the best Olympus engineers and optical specialists in the next years.
    Far more important than an Olympus-Panasonic M&A is the future success of Micro Four Thirds in US and a bundling of all forces.
    Look at the Sony Nex performance on amazon.com (US).

  • Steve-O

    It could be good, having Panasonic’s deep pockets and electronics/video expertise combined with Olympus as more of a boutique division producing mFT’s with IBIS, latest Panny sensors and Olympus processing. I could see a line-up like this:
    1) Panny pro-spec wethersealed alloy bodied DSLR style mFT at GH size
    2) Olympus pro-spec wethersealed alloy bodied rangefinder mFT
    3) Panny GH series for under $1000 quality video
    4) Panny G series for those wanting a compact DSLR style body
    5) Olympus E-P5 with flip OLED, built-in EVF, 16 MP sensor & under $800
    6) Olympus E-PL5 with flip 3″ usable area LCD, flash, 16 MP sensor, $650
    7) Panny GF-5 basic and small body but with buttons, flash, 16 MP, $500

    Then, to make things really interesting:
    1) An Olympus E-6 at K-5 size/weight with GH3 sensor/Oly processing, $1250
    2) An OM-T1 (T for “tradition”) with same featureset as E-6, but E-6xx size/weight, no weathersealing, 16 MP sensor/Oly processing, $750

    Olympus has the SG/HG/SHG FT lenses which, if updated and with a known future for the format would again sell well, along with a great set of mFT lenses which Panny could now sell for less than their OIS series, further expanding their market share.

    As for IBIS, Panny could now bring this into their bodies as well, giving users the option of using OIS or IBIS depending on the application (OIS for video, IBIS for legacy and stills).

    This could be a lot of fun for their enthusiasts and work well financially.

    • pdc

      Nicely thought out rationale. Next 6-18 months should be very interesting. My bet is we’ll see Panasonic/Sony/Samsung further solidify their dominance of MILC systems through acquisitions and brand rationalization. Hopefully we will see Fuji and Ricoh alignment with these big boys. Will Toshiba also get to play in this sand box? Sure glad I’m not carrying significant Canikon DSLR baggage.

  • iluvhatemail

    I love both companies but cant bear the loss of yet another camera great to acquisition. Still sorely miss minolta.

  • Snowbird_UT

    I guess my first and last Oly will be my E-1. Its a heck of a camera but I doubt it will ever have a worthy follow up. I had hoped that Oly would get a Fuji sensor for the next go ’round. I really am not a huge fan of the Panny sensors. My L1 cameras are nice but they need raw to get something good out of them. The PL lenses on the other hand are great but if Panny gets the Zuiko then that maybe the end of the Leica deal. I think this sucks all the way around.

  • flash

    Don’t believe it. If Olympus is to sell its image division there are better suitors. As now the division is profitable , it probably is not for for sell. For mFT users it will mean less choices if it happen.

  • DebuTodo

    If Panasonic to purchase Olympus, the Olympus Brand name will probably be eliminated like what they are trying to do with Sanyo after the purchase. So called streamlining. Will anyone going to use Pen or E-7 with Lumix Logo? I won’t.

    • TempTag

      I would think between Lumix and Olympus the Olympus name is far more valuable and recognized amongst both camera enthusiasts and the general public…

  • greyhat

    @SteveD
    If this is more than a rumor it may happen that the consortium continues… with Fuji adopting mu43 for mirrorless X100.

    @admin
    any news?

    We all know that Olympus CEO is an European that promised profit to shareholders ASAP (not a Japanese with loyalty to a brand); if Camera Division is still NOK after some months and after launching new “revolutionary” products, this means SALE and keep the cash cow (Medical Division).
    An alternative is Fuji or Ricoh buying Olympus.

  • K

    I hope this is true. Oly been listening to the wrong advice and targeting the wrong segment. Hence it’s bleeding.

  • MJr

    I love olympus, but maybe just because i cannot forget the OM system, as for m43 the fact is that Panasonic is doing very very well with their cameras (not better per say), but i wouldn’t mind them joining forces because this competing with each-other isn’t doing either any good. They’re both doing essentially the same thing, now that Oly doesn’t even have retro styling anymore. Can’t say the same about Nikon vs. Canon, they could never get along.

  • Bryan Brunton

    Not going to happen.

    How much would money would the medical and scientific branches of Olympus have to sink into advertising to recoup the name recognition that comes via the camera division?

    In the past 2 years m4/3 and Sony have taken huge amounts of market share from DSLRs. You think they would sell when the tide is rising and they have a chance of unseating Canon/Nikon?

  • peter

    Maybe this is the reason, why Pana’s new cameras are just for livestyle and for beginners, they take Olympus as a real photographer brand for hi level? that would be nice.
    otherwise, if they use the know how for better kameras under the pana logo, it would be good to…

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