Olympus may will continue without partnership with Sony/Fuji. Will simplify digital camera business.

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Olympus CEO Hiroyuki Sasa

The upcoming new Olympus CEO Hiroyuki Sasa has been interviewed by Japantimes (Click here). He confirms the partnership interest from Fuji and Sony but also underlines the possibility that Olympus may can handle the current financial situation alone without any external help. The very interesting part for us is that Sasa wants to “narrow down our (digital camera) portfolio” and “we can make the (digital camera) business fully profitable.

Some types of inexpensive compact digital cameras will be withdrawn but at the same time the company also intends to strengthen its popular mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (says Sasa).

As I already wrote many times here there is to much product reiteration and too many similar cameras. Ans example is the absurd triple E-PM1, E-PL3 and E-P3 release. Could be that Olympus wanted to test which one sells more but as I think two PEN cameras would be enough. No need to waste time developing and producing three almost similar PEN cameras. A cheap entry level E-PM1 and an advanced E-P3 (with E-PL3 tilting screen) is all what we need.

For the most advanced user they already made a great camera like the Olympus E-M5. I don’t know if there is room for another m43 camera category. I would now focus on two aspects: 1) Sensor: Something special has to be done here like the Fuji X PRO 1 sensor did. 2) Connectivity and Applications: Just look at that new Polaroid camera. It is the future 🙂

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P.S.: Links to all current Olympus m43 cameras (Click on shopname to open the search page).:
E-M5 Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
E-P3 Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
E-PL3 Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
E-PM1 Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.

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  • Kaloksi

    Wishing Olympus and Sasa-san all the best and may Olympus thrive in this challenging world bringing out innovative products.

    • GreyOwl

      +1

    • yes Olympus should trim down it’s compact camera business to just the Tough range, everything else in the compact sector is too reliant on low margins, PENs leave as is (yes 3 models)OMD at least 2 in the range and 1 in the DSLR the E-7….

      • flash

        +1
        Way to many P&S cameras. From Olympus and everyone. They all seem to be the same, made with generic parts at at some generic factory. With camera phones I am surprise that any maker still sells more then five regular P&S.

        We need more CSC not less. I believe that the old four third line is doing OK. Also their tough cameras, and the XY series sells well.

        If Olympus does not have any new major issues in the coming year the Camera division will make a profit.

      • bilgy_no1

        Olympus has already made a lot of changes in its compact lineup: XZ-1, the VR-range, are all more distinct products with better features and now also BSI sensors. Still not there (still a lot of low margin stuff), but much better than two years ago.

    • MichaelKJ

      +1
      A major reduction in P&S cameras is a smart move and way overdue.

      It would be great if Oly could avoid a partnership.

      Regardless, I don’t think a partnership would have any impact on the camera division-at least for the time being. Fuji and Sony are interested in Oly’s medical division.

    • at

      It is not easy to have innovative products without huge investment cost on development. Probably Olympus, with its long history in photography, can make most profit by cloning the classic body design from film cameras, without any advancement on its interior quality.

      • Geoff

        If you are going to use that argument, Olympus have for all intent done that and are now down to having to develop new internals; but then 16Mp is a major leap forward for Olympus, even if 12Mp is good enough for the A4 shooter though stretching its capabilities for A3/A3+, especially if any cropping has been done.

        Of course there are always the exceptions to the rule, ie they could come out with a digital “O Product” or “Ecru” but then I don’t think anyone would go down that path in these days of economic decline.

        • Olaf

          You do easy 50 x 70 cm with very sharp results from a 10 mpix sensor. I can tell you because I have done some and the resolution is enough even for very close views.

  • Sounds very promising.

  • Missy

    Probably medical division and new OMD & PENS give them more prospective for the future without partnership 🙂 go oly go

  • BeaverTerror

    “May will”?

    • Nawaf

      Make up your mind damn it! 😛

    • Esa Tuunanen

      Remember that english isn’t admin’s native language and he surely doesn’t have extra time to keep double checking things like vocabulary and syntax.

      • BeaverTerror

        English isn’t my first language either. Still, I think a potentially misleading TITLE is worth correcting, especially once people have pointed it out. I’m not holding the entire post to the same standard.

  • observer

    “Will simplify digital camera business.”

    LOL! Yeah 3 generation of cameras with same sensor.

  • I is agree, it two Pen is sufficient but also two OM-D, so to next year will Olympus hopefully have four M43 camera E-PM2, E-P5, E-M5 and E-M50. 😉

    • Nawaf

      What if the E-PM2 would be sent off too.. interesting times ahead.
      Sensors should improve too, this will make the m4/3 system more attractive.

  • Mizu

    “A cheap entry level E-PM1 and an advanced E-P3 (with E-PL3 tilting screen) is all what we need.”

    -1

    Fortunately this idea came too late. After I’ve bought my E-PL3.
    This portfolio is great for everyone (PM,PL,P). You can take size-features-price combo into consideration. For me the E-PL3 was a well-balanced of the three above, and I’m very happy with it.

    It should be a way between low-end(PM1) and high-end(P3) otherwise you turn away and choose another brand, like me:

    If the E-PL3 were not on the market I should have gone to Panasonic….

    • fishtank

      Well said. E-PL3’s spec is very well-balanced. Getting rid of this line would be foolish.

  • Rutrem

    good decision for Olympus. Oly and Panasonic have just to focus on further development of the m4/3, new and better cameras and lenses… and maybe thay have a chance to grab bigger portion of the market.

  • Elf

    Could be bad news for those of us who still use regular 4/3 gear.They can’t be making big profits there. Oh well my macro lenses work really well on the GH2

  • Gianluca

    My idea of olympus cameras:

    – ZX xxx with tilt screen, standard ibis( and u can add a viewfinder like vf-2/3)

    – EPM xxx with tilt screen, standard ibis( and you can add a viewfinder like vf-2/3)

    – EP xxx rangefinder style with tilt screen , standard ibis and integrated viewfinder

    -OM D xxx splash/dust proof, integrated viewfinder, 5 axis ibis

    – OM D Pro xxx same as OM D more : multi aspect sensor , integrated grip, faster fps , sensor with lower MP( 12/14)
    but with exceptional DR and high iso performance.

  • Miroslav

    P&S lineup should be simplified. Basic, travel zoom, super zoom and tough – no more.

    In m4/3 there should be at least three product shapes:

    -P&S shaped (E-PM)
    -rangefinder shaped – with EVF in the corner (E-P)
    -DSLR shaped – with EVF in the middle (E-M)

    But I really think there is a place for E-PL and E-ML lines, simplified E-P and E-M models for those that don’t need weatherproofing, 1/8000s shutter speed and/or don’t want to pay 1000 USD for a camera body.

    Whether that place can instead be taken by old models I don’t know, but it’s not costly to produce different body shells with similar internals. In fact, making the same parts ( battery for example ) in larger numbers can help lower the price of all models.

    • Please no VF in the corner. For me it is better to hold the camera if the VF is in the middle.

      • spam

        +1

      • Rudolf Remmler

        Please vf in the corner just like nex 7

      • Miroslav

        They need to give us both shapes – same internals, different body and then we wouldn’t have to argue.

        • Yes, Miroslav,you’re right.
          An E-Mx that looks like an SLR (viewfinder in the middle). Looks professional, good for impressing people.
          An E-Rx that looks like a rangefinder (viewfinder towards the corner). Looks more inoffensive and discreet, doesn’t frighten people in the street.
          The E-M5 and E-R5 can have basically the same internals. Perhaps stagger the release of new models – one this year, the other the next. Technical innovations could go first into whichever one is due for a new model.
          Olympian Bliss!

  • MJr

    Yes, lose those compacts, more OMD line and lens development ! !!! !!!

  • Mr. Reeee

    Buh-Bye Four Thirds!

    Weed out the ludicrous number of P&S cameras first!

    As for M4/3, the EPL3 is the sweet spot. The TiltyScreen (or fully articulated) makes an EVF-less camera far more usable.

    • Geoff

      Agreed, as a E-P2 user (backing up 4/3rd system), I’d love to upgrade it but it’s a toss up E-P3 no tilt screen or E-PL3 with tilt, would prefer the P3 but want the tilt.

      • rrr_hhh

        Same here, it was a tough choice when i up graded from the E-P1 and had to choose between the supplementary control wheel of the E-P3 and the flip up screen of the E-Pl3 ! I went with the E-P3, but still resent the lack of the flip up display.

        • Geoff

          Hello, nice to know someone else feels the same way… I bought an E-P1 at the release party in London, it failed after 3 months, and again after 9, a phone call got me the 2 as a complimentary replacement. Yes it is a good camera excepting it’s limitations, would love the E-M5 (cost permitting) but as has been pointed out to me why not consider the 3 if cost of M5 is to much. But the M5 does have the tilting screen plus EVF and the new sensor.

    • OlyFan

      Absolutely.

      Throw away the P&S cameras. Replace with EPM/XZ range (low end)

      Integrate EP-x and EPL-x range (Mid)

      Develop OM-D line further with better sensors (High end).

      Re-use innovations in OMD and pass it to lower segments.

      • bilgy_no1

        Compacts still have a place, if only as a lead up for customers before they buy into the ILCs. People often buy a versatile compact before stepping into ILC; you want those people to know your brand. For many it’s the first step to brand loyalty.

        But Olympus shouldn’t focus on the cheap stuff. Make stuff that people with a nascent interest in photography will feel proud to own: quality images, solid feel, great design, special features (Android and 3G?).

  • Rudolf Remmler

    Damn need to sell my SHG glass ASAP

  • E-1

    Not sure what the obsession with the Fuji sensor is, scaled down to m43 it would be – when keeping the photo site density to keep the ISO performance – below 12mp. Who would buy that?

    The Fuji sensor is the ratio of APSC/m43 better than the E-M5 sensor. – This means technology is roughly the same already ! – The different color matrix does not to seem buch better than the weak AA filter in the E-M5.

    • Don Pope

      I would buy a 12mp camera if it had better high ISO performance and dynamic range. In fact, the 12mp Nikon D90 is still one of the most popular cameras in the world.

      • E-1

        I suspect the E-M5 has better High ISO than the D90 (the D90 for sure is a excellent camera).

        In another thread someone mentioned the MP to be 9.x for the same ISO perrformance, would you buy a 9MP camera in 2012? I wouldn’t (although I still love my 5MP E-1)

        • BLI

          A 16 Mpx APS-C sensor scales to ca 9 Mpx in m43 size, not to 12 Mpx.

  • xmort

    What about E-650 with the OM-D sensor and 5-axis stabilisation. That would be a nice product. Or PDAF enbled OM-D6.

  • madmax

    He looks like he needs some help from Olympus medical division…

  • Rudolf Remmler

    Purchase justification self balsamation arguments

  • OlyFan

    “narrow down our (digital camera) portfolio”

    Unfortunately, this may mean the end of 4/3 DSLR line-up. E7 may just be the last 4/3 DSLR. I do hope they find a solution to integrate the amazing 4/3 Zuiko lenses into m43. They are just too good to be thrown away.

  • Marck

    OK, you want to say bye bye to Four Thirds? Give us a decent Phase Det. AF on a m4/3 body and you can. Otherwise it’s not fair with all 4/3 users, many of which are PROs.

    Make an OM-5 mkII with Phase-AF and I’m set. I have got to many excellent 4/3 lenses to say good bye to all of them if I want a better sensor!

    • Mizu

      “Make an OM-5 mkII with Phase-AF and I’m set.”

      Yes. But it shouldn’t be a small deal R&D-wise: the AF-system had to be developed, but keeping the other stuff it had to be a translucent mirror or kind of. Not easy. But leaving the 4/3 users is a shame.

  • Anonymous

    1) new EP4 should be like EP3 with articulated OLED and EVF and in-build flash

    2) maximum small (like EPM1 or GF5) EPM2 without alriculated LCD (LCD, not OLED), with flash, without EVF – such camera need panckacke lenses

    3) new OM-D with everything from EP4 and better IS, better waterproof body, better EVF (maybe something like hybryd OVF-EVF from Fuji), better AF, Wi-Fi (like phones), addtional features like in Sony or Pentax (HDR, panorama, peaking) better video support and microphone, grip options, tiltable OLED, maybe tilt-shift sensor like in Pentax…

    4) more pancake lenses (new 17/2.8, 12 or 14mm, 25mm)
    5) more waterproof lenses for OM-D
    6) tele and long tele lenses
    7) very fast portreit lens with thin GO

    8) there is binoculars division in Olympus, therefore special equipment for digiscoping dedicated for micro43 should be easy to do (with AF maybe?)

    9) Oly produces dictaphones (very good), why there are not

  • Berbu

    Good move.

  • Keith

    And how the future of 4/3??? I am waiting for the next DSLR after E5, I thought E7 may be the last model of 4/3 for sure.

  • Rob

    I read this as the end of 4/3 cameras too.

    Phase detection would be a nice upgrade to the current m4/3 cameras and a reasonable compromise for 4/3 users.

    I think all compact cameras are suffering from the mobile phone industry. I myself wouldn’t consider a compact anymore because my iPhone is more than capable of matching them with the exception of optical zoom. But even Nokia is addressing that now with their 41Mp phone giving it a decent digital zoom.

  • Low Budget Dave

    Olympus makes good cameras. I don’t know if they are more (or less) corrupt than anyone else… But they are the ones that got caught.

  • c.d.embrey

    The P&S camera market is an illusion, the Cell Phone Companies have already eaten their lunch. The Vaporware Polaroid Smart Camera (camera only, NO phone) will never be built, the Nokia 808 PureView (camera & phone) http://europe.nokia.com/pureview?intc=ncompromolp-fw-ilc-teaser-808pureview_228x96-na-nokiacom-eu-en-1todtmtf4af77 makes it Old News.

    BTW Panasonic who makes Both Cameras and Phones, needs to make a challenger for the Nokia 808.

    BTW2 the first Japanese camera manufacture to stop wasting resources on CC/P&S cameras will win.

    BTW3 Olympus needs to make their model names useful. With Nikon’s D3100, D5100, D7000 anyone can tell the pecking order, with Olympus not so much.

    • bilgy_no1

      Panasonic already have a Lumix Phone. 12 MP on Android, but only in Japan.

      • c.d.embrey

        Thanks, that’s good to know. Hopefully it will make its way to the US sometime soon.

    • fishtank

      Regarding the BTW3, Nikon’s naming scheme is actually much more confusing than Oly’s. Oly’s E-620 > E-30 > E-5 or E-PM > E-PL > E-P is simple and clear. Whereas, Nikon’s D700, D7000, D3100, D90, D3… What a mess…

  • fgl42

    Olympus can turn the corner. I’m looking forward to the next OMD camera. I wish Olympus would beef up it’s video capabilities. Start adding an external mic jack (don’t make people buy that overpriced Sema) to get it. If they want to add a shotgun mic to the hotshoe that makes the Sema unusable. Start adding a headphone jack. These two things would cost almost nothing to add to the cameras. And increase the choice of frame rates. Give us 24p and 60p. Other than that, the video specs of the cameras are really nice. Especially when combined with the 5 axis IS. I’m pulling for Olympus. But quit shooting yourself in the foot with dumb little oversights. Nikon and Canon are offering the mic jacks and now headphone jacks- come on Olympus.

  • marilyn

    wrong move olympus camera… they should have merge or help each other… SaSa San pull down your pride

  • Esa Tuunanen

    There’s plenty of room for mirrorless high end camera with good size grip and high end DSLR class controls with direct controls without four way button/on screen menu hell.

    E-M5 and GH2 are far from high end and if those are all that mirrorless can offer then mirrorless isn’t any evolution but only devolution from DSLRs.

    • EvoltPEN

      Olympus has said that E-M5 isn’t high end. They don’t even say how long shutter will last. I think we have to wait that mirrorless market grows more with camera like E-M5 until we start to see high end. Could be that they choose to stay with enthusiast market and we never see high end from m4/3.

      • They did mentioned the shutter lifetime, they said it is 100k. Their standard of “high end” is a minimum of 150k.

    • First is mirrorless camera, a evolution from P&S camera, and also a devolution from DSLR camera, so how this will be in coming year is interesting to look.

    • I dont think technical is the issue. Its the business feasibility that counts. For a higher spec OM-D, I’m pretty sure they can put 150k or more shutter life, more robust and an even finer finishing work body, higher capability battery, built in flash, bluetooth and even gps, fully articulated display, etc. How much would be the R&D cost, production cost, huw much they could sell and how many units they could sell, it would be a higher risk compared to the current OM-D position.

      So, making a Much higher spec om-D is very possible, whether feasible or not, thats the tricky question.

  • Peter

    Does anyone knows if there will be a new pen in 2012 like an ep3 with the new omd sensor and tilting screen like e-pl3?

  • jfml

    I think Olympus can turn it around. Even though the market have caught up and crowded around them, MILC with 4/3 sensor and IBIS is still something unique.

    Bring back the E-PL2 design for E-PL4. Drop the “PEN” from E-PM1, or design it to resemble a PEN camera.

    OM-D needs cameras with wider visual appeal.

    Maybe shelve 4/3 DSLR to save even more funds. The future is MILC.

  • Dmitri

    It is time to sell Olympus gear and jump the ship. Never buy again from these timewasters. Goodbuy Olympus!

  • Evjenij

    Olympus ” may will” ? What the hell is may will? That’s like Yes, maybe. LOL

    • “Maybe, maybe not.”

  • Dmitri

    I’ve sold all olympus gear and got Sony Nex-6. Buy Oly!

  • Pingback: Olympus – Simplificar Para Remontar | DSLR Magazine()

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