Reuters: Olympus may have to sell assets to survive the crisis?

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I guess soon we will know if the Olympus Camera Division will be kept alive or sold to an external company. And that would be a bad news for the whole photography industry if such a appreciated and historical company disappears. Here is the news that worries me:
Today Reuters reports that “Olympus Corp has launched a review of its business structure, according to an internal memo, amid speculation that the 92-year-old company may have to sell assets in order to survive a massive accounting scandal.“. Reuters also underlined that “Olympus’s camera business currently runs at a loss” and “Investment bankers say rivals in both the endoscope and camera markets are closely watching events unfold at the company, although prospective bidders are expected to stay on the sidelines until the situation becomes clearer.

I know Olympus managment will try to do everything to not sell the camera division. But I don’t know if the financial situation will force them to sell everything to…Panasonic?..Samsung??? no idea 🙁

More Olympus fee scandal news:
Michael Woodford meets the FBI (Source: AP). He supports the Olympus Grassroots action (Source: AP).
A number of European banks are under investigation by Japanese authorities to determine whether they helped the management of Olympus hide irregular payments (Source: NYT).

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  • Jan de Wit

    I have both Oly and Pana camera’s but it would be a shame to loose the Olympus brand. While the e-p3 might be a bit overpriced, I do love the camera.

    • @Thom Hogan
      here you go Thom here is the most recent video where Panasonic say they expect to sell 200,000 in the next 12 months in the United Kingdom.
      http://youtu.be/mres7EKvmo4

      I will find the other video for you (I think it was an interview at Focus Show, Birmingham, UK in 2010) which states their earlier sales of 112,000 units.

  • Fedeskier

    I really hope nothing happens, already olympus is only investing its money on the pen series and not on the E series, if they sell their assets to panasonic obviously the dslr will stop to exsist.
    I really hope norhing happeneds and that they start investing on the DSLR, because since they announced that they would stop building the entry levels reflex, i’ve or probably most of the olympus DSLR users have been hoping that the company would put new thing in the market the for reflex users

    • L.Coen

      it’s not about the cameras per say, it’s about the consumers.Every Olympus and Panasonic camera has two glaring handicaps. The first is that none up until the om-d has a built in EVF. You can’t expect to compete with the big boys if you build cameras with that handicap. The second problem is the price.The Olympus ep3 and the Panny gx1 are hovering around 700 -800. you can’t expect customers to spend that kind of money on a camera and then fork out 300 more for a evf when the nearest competition that every dslr has an ovf.Olympus has no business charging those prices.You either gain the market by the equipment or the price value. forget the pros, the wealthy enthusiast…they don’t make for most of the sales. Its the soccer moms and the regular joes who are the main customer base. the best cameras in the world aint no good if no one can afford to buy them except a few.the point is olympus is not even top 2, and they have no business charging those hefty prices. But don’t take my word for it, travel around and you will see very little ppl have any m43 cameras around their necks.Olympus gear is not good enough to be status symbols, not good enough to be pro, and not good enough to be charging the prices they charge.Something has to give or Olympus and the rest of the m43 stuff will be just wishful memories.

  • Duarte Bruno

    Sincerely if this the case and the camera division will dye, the biggest casualty is the m43 lens line-up.

    As much as I love the Pen design I can survive without it. The best IBIS by far will also be very much missed. What I wouldn’t survive without is things like the 45mm F/1.8 as I’m sure many wouldn’t without the 9-18mm or the 24 F2.

    If they are really going to sell, I hope it’s Panasonic buying, so they can keep the lens business alive and rationalize the lens line up.

  • Yun

    Olympus is a famous brand in cameras , no matter how , whoever took over , the business is still on going .
    Only a fool that close the camera business !
    People always remenber Canon & Nikon as camera famous brands , and so Olympus .
    No a bad idea if someone from external took over but come out more
    Innovation & advances technologies in Olympus’s new products .
    That is my personal opinion .

    • camerageek

      Rollie was far more famous than Olympus. It got closed so yeah, if whomever buys the Camera division wants to liquidate it, they will.

      • Stu5

        Rollei was a far smaller company than Olympus cameras. It was famous with professionals but not they amateur market. Once their 35mm compacts went they had nothing much to offer the amateur market but even in their heyday Rollei was never one of the top selling camera brands.

        • L.Coen

          Minolta was one of the big 4, and look what happened to them… eaten up by Sony.Olympus biggest mistake was like that of Minolta, charging prices their equipment was not worth.When you’re the top two, like Canon and Nikon, then you can charge top 2 prices. When you are not, you are playing with disaster if you do.Minolta made a lot of good gear, problem was that they were wishy washy and had no clue or direction.Now look at Olympus, from the om, to the pen-f to 43, and now m43…I don’t think they know what they should do.They ask for prices their cameras cant back up.

          And with the new om-d at 1400,is that the best a CSC camera can do with an EVF? 1400 for the first Olympus CSC with a built in EVF? the dslr already gives you an OVF with every single camera, even the lowest of entry level dslrs. Consumers aren;t stupid, they will look around at multiple stores to get the best deal. If a particular store gives you more apples in a bag for the same price, then they go there. The execs making millions up in any company such as Olympus have a very hard time identifying with their customers.

  • You can not be sure that Olympus imaging has actually been running at a loss.

    The best thing to happen would be for the two divisions to be split, perhaps with the imaging division been taken up in a management buy out.
    Woodford might be OK for the endoscope division (but I have my doubts), I wouldn’t like his hands anywhere near the resurgent and promising imaging division as he hasn’t got a clue about the market place or photography.

    “A nation (company) can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within.”

    “An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly against the city.

    But the traitor moves among those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through all alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.

    For the traitor appears no traitor; he speaks in the accents familiar to his victim, and he wears their face and their garments and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men.

    He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared. The traitor is the plague.”

    Marcus Tullius Cicero 42 B.C

    • Stu5

      Your exactly right, it can’t be said that Olympus cameras was running at a loss because the accounts of the camera business need to be gone through again to make sure they are correct and were not being used to hide losses from elsewhere. They might be 100% accurate but they also might not be.

  • DonTom

    Yeah, I have to agree with Yun. The most likely prospect to take over would be an Japanese electronics company without a camera division. Toshiba springs to mind, I’m sure there are others. But hopefully it won’t come to that!
    Mind you, look what happened to Minolta :<(

    • “look what happened to Minolta :<("

      A77 and NEX-7 happaned. Not that bad…

  • Frosti7

    We need panasonic to buy the division so that we will get differential products instead of the same lens and cameras as panasonics

    • Stu5

      For Panansonic to buy Olympus would be the worse thing possible. Also Panasonic might not want them as Olympus are already making some camera equipment for Panasonic which means Panasonic were trying to save money in the first place by not having to invest in new equipment, staff and buildings. Then again they might think that they have to purchase them if the chance came up because if it went to another company that already makes sensors then Olympus with those sensors would end up being a major headache for Panasonic in the M4/3 market because they would show how weak Panasonic sensors are and how much more potential the format has got with a decent sensor in it.

  • LLLL

    a few month back i told you that olympus camera departement will be down the drain in 4 years.

    it seems like it will happen much earlyer….

  • LLLL

    “You can not be sure that Olympus imaging has actually been running at a loss.”

    sure we can.. we are able to READ.

    don´t talk about things you don´t have a clue about or at least get some infos first.

    • @LLLL
      I can read too, but you don’t believe everything you read or do you?

      What Woodford and the like are saying is none of the accounts/figures can be believed or taken at face value, so maybe some years when the imaging division was reported to be running at a loss it wasn’t and when and if it was then you have to look at the reasons and whether there is an easy fix…

      • MichaelKJ

        Olympus might be more likely to find a buyer for the imaging division if it is more profitable than most of us believe. It appears that it has to sell something to meet debt obligations to creditors and it obviously isn’t going to sell its medical division assets.

        • @MichaelKJKJKJKJKJKJKJ…
          Olympus has extremely strong cash flow, which is any business’ top priority even over profit,I don’t believe it would need to sell any of it’s assets if WSJ, Reuters, FT and Woodford got if it’s back!

          • The strong cash flow is from endoscopes, the division they want to save above all else. The largest part of the company. They will jettison other things to preserve that, is my guess. Let’s see, save the division that has 80% of the market or the one that has 5% of the market?

            As for the cash flow, you’re making a number of assumptions, most of which are probably untrue. First, that the cash flow is enough to pay back the huge debt load they have when calls start. Not likely. Second, that Olympus is done with its losses from the deal. Also, not likely, as many of the “acquisitions” still are on the books in various ways and draining cash themselves. There’s no likely buyer for those bits and pieces, as they aren’t profitable and have no real growth potential. Look for more write downs, not less.

            Finally, “if [list of press] got if [sic] it’s [sic] back”: I think you mean “off its back.” Yes, let’s get rid of free press documenting business fraud. That sounds like an excellent idea. One that would have no consequences on anything, as no one would ever commit fraud again if they knew they could get away with it.

            The correct posture for any Olympus shareholder, customer, or employee should be the following: full disclosure, full penalty for those involved, do your best to preserve anything that’s anything that’s left.

            • @Dearest Thom Hogan
              you too are making assumptions…
              ..anyways.
              Yes I know the endoscopes are providing the cashflow, that’s obvious.
              1st. Depends when the s are called doesn’t it…
              2nd Yep I’m pretty Olympus was done with the losses from the deal, thats why the board was so angry originally and Wooodford should of bide his time.Any write downs/advisor fees probably never left the company as cash type or came back into Olympus or is in Olympus’s control (Woodford himself has said ths is what may of happened).
              Finally Actually it sounds not like free press but “right wing Goldman Sachs” type of “”””FREE PRESS”””.

              “The correct posture for any Olympus shareholder, customer, or employee should be the following: full disclosure, full penalty for those involved, do your best to preserve anything that’s anything that’s left.” in your Nikon dreams.

              • Almost certainly the s have covenants that kick in under a number of conditions, including delisting of the stock. I would suspect that one of the reasons why no one is trying to buy Olympus at the moment has to do with those s.

                But the bigger picture is simple: no one is making a move until Olympus restates their financials and reveals the true size of the loss. And the loss is ongoing, as I’ve stated several times now. Olympus purchased, as part of the fraud, businesses which continue to bleed significant money. It’s one of the reasons why Woodford was hired in the first place: to cut expenses. (though what idiot thought that they could keep Woodford from finding those acquisitions and challenging them while he went around cutting costs?) We are not done with the losses. We’re going to first hear about the actual losses that triggered it, then the losses that they had in trying to cover up the losses, and eventually the losses in cleaning up the stuff that they acquired, then finally the losses that the coverup incurred, which is not just limited to new accounting expenses, but is likely to include fines and more. No, you’re nuts if you think that the losses are all accounted for at this point.

                The simpler explanation for why the board fired Woodford is that they thought they could continue the cover up. They did not expect Woodford to go public. They expected him to run and hide in a corner while they layered another set of cover ups. It also seems clear that the entire board was involved, or that those on the board that weren’t involved were simply yes men.

                I’m not sure how you think billions of dollars didn’t leave the company. In fact, I invite you to give me a billion dollars, which I’ll promptly lose, and then I’ll give you my company so that you can recover your billion ;~). Yeah, didn’t think you would take that offer, because you’re blowing more smoke than a pope election.

                I wasn’t aware that Goldman Sachs had any press, but you seem to be completely unaware of what Goldman Sachs does: they would have been much more likely to be a participant in hiding money and not disclosing it, not in disclosing publicly that someone is hiding money.

                • Mr. Reeee

                  From what I’ve read about the timing of Woodford’s promotions, it’s seems pretty clear that he was expected to be grateful, be loyal and keep his mouth shut. When he didn’t, that’s when it all blew up. And my guess, this is where the accusations of Woodford’s not “understanding Japan” (or whatever it was) came from.

                  • harnamsc

                    +1 Good catch there. Now when you look at it, that is probably what actually happened.

                    As for Olympus I hate to say this, but its unlikely the Olympus camera business will survive. The losses will be significant for sure and realistically speaking the logical move will be to sell the camera division and save the endoscope division.

                    Therein lies the problem, who will buy Olympus? Their cameras and lens are based on the 4/3 format which no-one else uses except for Panasonic. And Panasonic has not much to gain from buying the Olympus camera division as they’re already developing their own sensors and lens. True the Zuiko lens technology is worth something, but Panasonic already has the new X lens and Leica under its belt so buying the rights to the Zuiko lens is unlikely.

                    So having said that, we had best prepare for the worst and expect Olympus to announce the end of their cameras and lens. I’m still using Olympus m4/3 cameras and really do not want this to happen. But we have to be realistic and prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.

      • You seem to be dreaming. Your dream goes like this: Olympus hid all of their investment losses in the camera business, and when those are removed the camera business will turn out to be fantastically profitable. Such dreams are called fantasies.

        There are almost no 4/3 sales and compact sales have been declining badly for some time. m4/3 sales may be doing okay in unit sales, but the selling price has dropped dramatically. These things say that even if the camera division were profitable, it is shrinking, but they also suggest that it isn’t likely profitable due to write downs.

        Worse still is the fact that Olympus Imaging isn’t exactly a powerhouse of patents and IP. That means that the value of the division is basically its market share and sales.

        • @Dearest Thom Hogan
          nope not dreaming.
          Seeing as there are almost no 4/3 sales and they are not currently producing or marketing in great quantities what’s the loss/problem???

          Compact sales are declining for everyone seeing as smart phones are so much better.

          m4/3 sales have been absolutely stellar for Olympus and Panasonic, maybe not for Samsung and Sony and probably will not be for the overpriced ill thought mirrorless Nikons.
          As for falling selling prices that’s how the the capitalist’s system is ideally suppose to function once you get volume and market share.
          Instead of the way Nikon and Canon, trying to make the market behave in an over priced/inflated way, times are changing and people are no longer stupid…

          The Nikon V1 and J1 will be a big fail!

          • George

            oh man you are a retard aren’t you.
            You say Oly is selling well in m4/3 and sony doesn’t

            Have you ever checked out amazon sales rankings???
            I know you didn’t cause if you did then you don’t sound like a total idiot.

            Most selling Oly cam is EP1 for god’s sake and it is on #73th place. Even nex3 is selling more then all Oly cams
            e5 is on 4000+ place on amazon.com, i even didn’t know there are more than 4000 cameras on sale.
            There are not a single OLY lens on top #1000

            You said Nikon v1 j1s are big fails. If you ask me they suck as cameras but how are sales? Nikon v1 is on top #20 on amazon list.
            Again make a little research before sounding as a total moron.

            And again you wrote people are no longer stupid. Well some are not but that is clearly not you.

            I wrote like thousands of times and people laughed or flamed at me when i told people to sell all their OLY gears before it is too late. First one was way before all these frauds. Well how did i know ?
            Because unlike you i have a brain.

            • @George
              actually most people do not buy their cameras off Amazon, so their sales rankings mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
              I have NEVER EVER met anyone or heard of anyone buying their camera (of any type) off Amazon, so you are the one who needs to do your research.
              and further more it is you who gives morons a bad name.

              • calxn

                Uh, the breadth of your idiocy knows no bounds. Where the heck do you live? Outside your little hick town, most people buy from Amazon, BH, Adorama, Best Buy, and Ritz. I know for a fact that Best Buy and Ritz favor NEX over m43. Every Best Buy I go to, they steer me away from m43 towards NEX. I’ve heard the same about Ritz. I would bet Amazon is either #1 or #2 in camera sales overall. You are a class A idiot. Congratulations on your A.

              • George

                omg you are a moron…
                What is wrong with you? Are you capable of understanding what you are reading?

                you said
                “m4/3 sales have been absolutely stellar for Olympus and Panasonic, maybe not for Samsung and Sony ”

                you said
                “The Nikon V1 and J1 will be a big fail!”

                you said
                “@Thom Hogan
                pretty sure Olympus is 1st in Japan in the mirrorless market and 2nd in all of Westen Europe behind Panasonic”

                In Japan Sony is #1 since nex5
                In Western world i know it is a shame but Nikon is #1 currently and Sony is @2

                You dont know a shit you dont do a simple search all you do is guessing and writing them as you know a shit

                just shut da f**k up and try to learn something

                • @George
                  Olympus has the largest share of the Japanese mirrorless market, followed by Panasonic the Sony according to most recent figures, that is a fact.
                  You are aware I’m talking about the mirrorless market, aren’t you?

                  btw you should learn some manners, I just hope you are not in business yourself.

                  • stickytape

                    The majority of people do not purchase their cameras from specialist camera stores. Even if Olympus sales figures are up in Japan, Japanese preferences are not congruent with the rest of the world, nor does Japan represent a majority of the world’s population.

              • Mr. Reeee

                Amazon has a pretty much no questions asked returns policy. I know people who order a couple of cameras from Amazon, try them out for a month and return he one they don’t like. Or ALL of them. No big deal. No loss.

                B&H has a 200 shot limit on cameras, which they vigorously enforce. I’ve been in their returns department when someone is informed that they went over the limit. It ain’t pretty. They OWN it!

                Companies like Olympus drop prices dramatically to clear stock. It’s not altruism or magnanimity. It’s poor forecasting and too high pricing. They’re still selling EP1 and EPL1s NEW! They’re still selling the EP2 and EPL2 NEW! Granted at dramatically reduced prices, but there’s nothing positive about that. Watch the latest generation cameras plummet in price after January 1st.

                Same thing with their lenses. Of the 11 models released, 5 are duplicates and only 3 of he remaining lenses are compelling or desireable: 12mm, 45mm, 9-18mm.

                And why, after 3 years, don’t they have a model with a built-in EVF? … I don’t care what body style.

                This is NOT a healthy company?

                • mahler

                  I agree. Olympus never got the potential m4/3 really has. No diversity in body styles, too late to market products (EP-1), too late releases of lenses (except the recent primes).

                  To discover after three years of mirrorless, that there is a potential for a camera with a tiltable screen, is a joke. The competitor had everything to exploit mirrorless already in its first body: tilt screen, EVF, and fast CDAF.

                  It is Olympus’ stubborn PEN-only m4/3 policy, which prevents them to release functional-driven bodies, instead of too similarly looking design studies.

          • MichaelKJ

            “Seeing as there are almost no 4/3 sales and they are not currently producing or marketing in great quantities what’s the loss/problem??
            Compact sales are declining for everyone seeing as smart phones are so much better.”

            The problem is that this implies that the only part of the imaging division that is worth saving or would be attractive to a potential is buyer m4/3.

            “m4/3 sales have been absolutely stellar for Olympus”

            According to BCN rankings of ILC cameras unit sales in Japan:
            For the most recent week, 8 of Oly’s top 10 sellers were different configurations of the outdated E-PL1s and E-PL2. Oly’s top model was an E-PL1s selling for only 26,200 yen ($338). The reason Oly is currently selling a lot of m4/3 cameras appears to be due to heavy discounting with little, if any profit margin.

            By way of contrast, 7 of Panasonic’s top 10 were new models, 4 GF-3 configurations, 2 G-3 configurations, and 1 GX-1. Seven of Sony’s top 10 were 5N or C3 configurations.

            • You don’t know if it’s with little or no profit margin, also people buying those E-PL1s and E-PL2’s might buy lenses and other accessories (with higher margin) and also are more likely to upgrade to EP3 and future models.

              • ckb

                You are so funny to read. No matter what, you show the little positive sliver of hope. Do you actually believe what you write?

                The inventory that Olympus is selling is one and a half to two and a half years old. They have already reported(very nebulous) their profit on this inventory. The new stuff they are producing is not selling fast enough because they are devouring their sales of new good products with older poorer products. People buying the cheaper stuff will not be impressed and not want to upgrade.

                As much as you love this product you need to look at it again. What do you like what do you hate. I like the size and almost everything else has some short comings that I do not like. The one part I like, the size, comes with the problem of holding the camera comfortably in my hand (E-P3).

                What are your numbers for sales in the UK and what is your source. Because I am sure that in the wonderful town of Godley Texas no one has heard of or bought an m43 camera.

                • @ckb
                  the world is bigger than Texas.
                  “People buying the cheaper stuff will not be impressed and not want to upgrade.” your opinion but more than likely wrong.

                  Pansonic UK have twice stated their units sold in the last 12 months, both videos are on youtube.

                  Olympus seems to be reducing prices on older models in saturated markets(Japan) or conservative low profit markets (USA), you don’t see much Olympus Pen price reductions in Western Europe or the Far East/Australia.

                  • ckb

                    I dont live in Godley either but my arguement is just as valid as yours without independent numbers. Any shop that sells cameras would be fine. Thats why people use Amazon.com, they have numbers and they deliver.

                    BTW Dallas and Austin are more important to the Camera industry than any place in UK.

                    You did not answer my question though. I am going to cut my alfalfa so I am really looking forward to your answer.

                    • @ckb
                      I didn’t say you live in Godley.
                      btw the combined population of Austin and Dallas is 1.8 million, the United Kingdom is 60 million.
                      Which question do you want me answer?.
                      1. “Do you actually believe what you write?”
                      2. “What do you like what do you hate. ”
                      3. “What are your numbers for sales in the UK and what is your source.”

                      btw I don’t own an Olympus camera.

                  • Fish

                    @ Youdidntdidyou

                    Concerning your reply to CKB, what he said was: those places were “more important to the Camera industry than ANY place in UK”. Hahaha he didn’t say “EVERY” place in the UK.

                    How do you expect people to take your arguments seriously if you are comparing the sales of two cities in one of the 52 American States, against the whole of the United Kingdom?

                    Instead of comparing 1.8million vs 60million, why don’t you compare North America’s 340million versus only 60million in the UK and then tell us that Amazon’s sales mean nothing???

                    Even if they may not exactly predict m4/3 sales in the rest of the world – they are infinitely more helpful in understanding what’s happening in the market than your personal observations or the non-statistics you have failed to provide.

                    • @Fish
                      his reply to my original post was the UK (as a whole)not any place, the UK isn’t a some little town that can be compared to Dallas and Austin.

                      Actually Western Europe where mirrorless is doing well is comparable to the USA’s population.

                      Panasonic stated on a youtube video (filmed at a show) that in the UK as of June 2011 that had sold 112,000 which from a standing start is pretty impressive, there was also a much more recent video (late October this year) where they said their sales were now even higher.

                    • ckb

                      Way to long on the tractor. I would rather be at one of my desks by 75 or Mopac.

                      When mentioning Dallas and Austin I was not refering to the population I was refering to the semi conductor industry backbone. TI[Dallas] and Motorola/Freescale[Austin] were the original companies that helped Kodak, Nikon and Canon put together a digital camera. Without them and a massive amount of money from the US NRO digital cameras as we know them would not exist.

                      You can answer 1 and 2 however the admin already answered 3 for you.
                      BTW. Not trying to be mean but if we use Japan as a leader we would have analog HD TV.

                  • calxn

                    How much does Olympus pay you to shill for them on this blog? My gosh. Those stories of paid shills were true. It’s pretty obvious from your posting pattern.

                    • @calxn
                      the same shill smnikon pays you.

                    • Fish

                      youdidntdidyou is not a shill – no one would pay him for the content of his posts. A quick read of this comments section shows that he has only embarrassed whatever position he meant to take. Particularly amusing where his mindless rejoinders to Thom Hogan’s compelling analysis.

                      No, not a shill, just a hopeful optimist and I pray he never looses that wide-eyed wonder he has for the world.

                    • @fish
                      WHAT is Thom Hogan some kind of Nikon Pope who can’t be answered back, most of his “compelling analysis” is lifted straight from his Financial Times and Wall Street Journal subscriptions with a little bit of Reuters thrown in.
                      He maybe your Earthly representative of your Nikon God but he’s not mine.

                    • Curly

                      @You

                      And yours are drawn direct from the comic pages.

              • Mr. Reeee

                Can I have some of whatever it is you’re on? 😉

                Clearly, you are in denial, delusional, or both.
                (please, can I have some? 🙂 )

                Obviously, Olympus cameras relying on pretty JPEGs, IBIS and “retro styling” … with a 4 year old sensor… and let’s not forget the promise of Zuiko lenses (for the informed)… aren’t enough to counter more advanced offerings from other companies, or convince people to buy “new” models, when the “old” ones are half price, or even less.

                This is NOT a successful business strategy.

          • calxn

            Wow, the amount of fanboy jealousy and denial is strong in you. Hate to burst your bubble, but m43 are mainly selling in Japan and a few Euro countries. It’s practically not even on the top 100 in Amazon’s top seller. By this time next year, it will be in last place for mirrorless, behind Sony, Nikon, and maybe Fuji. Today, it’s only behind Sony since Nikon hasn’t been on the market that long. The echo chamber and cheerleading sessions that is 43rumors may make you think m43 is eating up the market, but the facts are starkly the opposite.

            • @calxn
              actually most people do not buy their cameras off Amazon, so their sales rankings mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
              I have NEVER EVER met anyone or heard of anyone buying their camera (of any type) off Amazon (amazon is more last resort/long tail), and out in the real world in the hands of camera users I have never seen or met anyone with a Sony or Samsung mirrorless and they are not particularly active on flickr and the like.
              If you look at the micro four third groups on flickr most of the members where former Canon/Nikon users and they are actively using and enjoying their cameras everyday…

              • Fish

                Hello, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Chad and I have bought cameras and lenses off of Amazon and Adorama. In fact, I have bought more camera gear online than I have ever bought locally.

                If you believe that the sales figures of the online shops aren’t indicative of actual sales, please share which source you are basing your claims on. I live in Canada and I have never seen another m4/3 in the wild. I’ve seen a few NEX though.

                I doubt your miraculously optimistic view that the format is selling better in local shops than online (it seems, in fact, that you think they are selling so much better that they even cancel out the poor online numbers, causing those numbers to “mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING”). On the contrary, I would suggest that the sales rankings in the physical stores are even worse than the online percentages!

                – it is difficult to even find m4/3 in local shops.
                – sales staff push Canikon and Sony much more than m4/3.
                – (I believe) that an average local shopper is less discerning and has done less research than your average online shopper. They are more content to have a salesperson “sell them” or recommend a particular camera whereas I would never ask a salesperson’s opinion on a camera because by the time I have stepped into the shop I have already poured over countless reviews and owners forums and already know exactly what I want and am aware of the features and shortcomings of that product. And I don’t even step into those shops as often as I should because my price comparison research has shown me how much I can save by shopping online.

                The m4/3 format is one of balance and nuance – it’s not the go-to choice. None of us are using it because it is the most popular format or because it is the ‘best’ at any one thing. I would suggest that there is a very small percentage of people who have ever bought a m4/3 camera by accident or by default; whereas there are probably a staggering number of people who have bought a Canon or Nikon just because that is what they have seen the pros carry or because the salesman suggested it.

                No, I expect that not only do local sales mirror the online statistics… they are probably even worse.

                • @Chad
                  I was talking about Amazon specifically , in Western Europe and probably everywhere outside the USA/North America they are not the main online seller of cameras.
                  I would actually be surprised if they were inside the United Kingdom’s top ten of online camera sellers.
                  So yes Amazon’s number’s “mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING”.

                  I’m also aware that in North America retail sales staff push Canikony much harder than micro four thirds, but North America is less profitable and harder to break into than the rest of the world for various reasons.

                  • Fish

                    So far you have told us not to believe what we read ie, market analysis. You have said that North American sales rankings mean nothing. You are ignoring this news story and an internal memo by Olympus itself… and the only thing you have been able to produce to the contrary have been a bunch of quotes from Marcus_somebody in 42B.C. and the claim that you once saw a youtube video about camera sales in the UK.

                    Seriously??

                  • Fish

                    And what are you talking about my “Nikon God”? Ive never owned a Nikon. I have owned OM bodies, multiple Oly 4/3 bodies, and more than one Oly m43 body. You just admitted that you dont even own an Olympus m43 jackass….

              • calxn

                You are so blind in your little corner of your small, little world. I travel a LOT. I have never seen ANYONE use a m43 camera in the US. It’s all Canikon or NEX. In Asia, it’s Canikon and NEX or Samsung (surprisingly). I have seen ONE person with a m43 camera in Asia. I know the stores in Hong Kong carries m43. Perhaps they are selling well in that little bubble that is Japanese teenage girls giving the peace sign or carrying Hello Kitty lunch boxes. Don’t generalize Western Europe. UK does not equal Western Europe. I doubt m43 is selling well in Western Europe outside the UK and maybe Germany. I hope Olympus is paying you with cash instead of stocks to get you to work so hard on this forum.

                • @Calxn
                  you only travel on the American Nikon tourist trail (I can tell from your post pattern)on your “world” travel.

                  btw UK and Germany are the 2 biggest markets in Western Europe.

                  • calxn

                    LOL, you wouldn’t ever dream of going to some places I’ve been to. Or maybe you have dreamed of it… while watching Palin’s documentaries but would never dare to do so. You are showing a side that is usually attributed to “ugly Americans”. I thought you Brits were supposedly dignified. I’m not sure why you are spending so much time trying to defend Olympus here. In the face of massive fraud over the years. I’m sure shareholders hold a much different view of the situation than Olympus camera fanboys.

                    Hate to also pop another of your bubble, but Nikons are used a lot for more than brand name. They’re reliable workhorses. Unlike you, I don’t discriminate when the cameras are good. I use a variety, including Hasselblad, Canon, Sony, and Fuji. I even have an XY-1. I don’t go blindly cheering a company. You live in a little bubble. Always rooting for the little guy because you’re pissed off at the big guys who worked hard and achieved success the honest way. Wake up!

                    • calxn
                      I’ve been plenty of places but don’t hit the tourist trails.
                      I understand the Brits are dignified to those that are dignified to them.
                      Actually it’s looking like one main fraud carried over for 20 years to hid losses amongst a company with strong cash flow.I don’t really care too much for corporate shareholders, truth be told.

                      One of my Four Thirds cameras has taken 450,000 shots is that not a workhorse?
                      btw I use 3 different brands of cameras every week.
                      I wouldn’t be so sure the big guys worked harder or achieved there “success” the honest way either.

              • scalia

                well, M43 (especially Oly’s) is selling very well in Indonesia (200 mil population) & south east asia. And i’m positive that people in Indonesia not buying m43 from amazon.

                cheers

          • > Seeing as there are almost no 4/3 sales and they are not currently producing or marketing in great quantities what’s the loss/problem?

            Let’s see, they buy something for X, can’t sell it, so it sits on their shelves until…oh wait, they write down the asset to it’s actual value and they take a loss.

            There’s a common thread in your posts. You either didn’t take Econ 101 or you failed it. Cash is not profits. Profits are not cash.

            Likewise, declining sales prices due to inventory build up is rarely profitable. You don’t plan to build X widgets to sell at Y, find you can’t sell them, so then sell them at a discount and still “make a profit.” And another Econ 101 thing: market share is not profit.

            • “Cash is not profits. Profits are not cash. ” obviously but cash is more than profits, you cantrade for years with cashflow and no or little profits, but you can’t trade without cash….
              There is very little Four third camera stock sitting on retail shelves anywhere and the E5 isn’t been produced in large quantities either.

              “You don’t plan to build X widgets to sell at Y, find you can’t sell them, so then sell them at a discount and still “make a profit.” Funny that it happens quite a lot in the electronic business in various ways when there are profitable add-ons/accesssories or upgrades that can be sold on eg xbox.Also after you recuperated your initial outlay to produce and market a good or service and achieved the desire profited you are then in more of a position to build volume/market share by discounting.

              Or are more worried that Pen’s competive pricing will hurt Nikon’s V1 or J1 sales??????????
              “market share is not profit.” obviously.

        • mahler

          I totally agree.

          It is probably disastrous for the camera division that the EPL-1 is still the best selling m4/3 product. It is still available in good quantities for a very low price, which is hardly profitable. This looks like a strong miscalculation and overproduction of that camera model. They had too much quantities and now have to get rid of it for low margins.

    • Stu5

      You assume the figures are correct. Unless you have had the opportunity to go through all the books of Olympus imaging in the last two weeks you have no way of telling if the books are correct or not or if they have been used to hide losses from elsewhere within the company. At the moment with all the things that have happened it would be very wrong to take the figures at face value. They need checking by a separate accountancy company that has no connection with Olympus or one in the past.

  • Miroslav

    Pentax wasn’t closed under Hoya nor under Ricoh. Sony rebadged Konica Minolta DSLRs and continued to develop them without closing the division down. If Olympus photo division is sold, I don’t care about the name on the label, all I care is the continuation of the current lineup and the support for 4/3 and m4/3 products.

    • Frederic Hew

      The only thing is Olympus may still have an ounce of committment to 4:3 users, so if the camera division is not closed we may someday see 4:3 lenses integrated into the m43 system.

      I know that’s a very optimistic scenario, and that I have no reason to believe this will eventually happen. I also know, however, that this will never happen should the camera division be sold to another company.

    • Dave_in_MI

      Sony didn’t buy Konica Minolta (the company), just the camera assets. KM is still a successful company. If Wikipedia is to be believed, KM wanted to partner with Sony, not sell out. A Konica-Minolta-Olympus partnership might be interesting.

    • But that’s part of the problem. Any takeover of the imaging group would preserve only that which has future value, and that’s only the m4/3 stuff.

      4/3 bodies and lenses aren’t selling in a quantity large enough to perk anyone’s interest. All that would be jettisoned. The compact cameras are designed on top of OEM offerings, which anyone can pretty much do without any Olympus asset. That leaves m4/3 bodies and lenses. Not exactly a huge enterprise, and not necessarily one that’s going to win long term against Nikon, Sony, Samsung, and eventually Canon making competing offerings. You’re talking a possible fifth place competitor, especially after all the time it will take to absorb the former Olympus Imaging into another company.

      Perhaps the right company could benefit from the m4/3 stuff, but that pretty much means Panasonic, and the primary things they’d get with an acquisition are lenses.

      • @Thom Hogan
        pretty sure Olympus is 1st in Japan in the mirrorless market and 2nd in all of Westen Europe behind Panasonic

        • MichaelKJ

          Olympus is first in Japan mirrorless market in volume, but as I noted above, its best selling models are the heavily discounted E-PL1s and E-PL2.

          Among new models in BCN’s most recent ranking of ILC cameras, Oly’s bestseller is an E-PL3 configuration in 23rd place, Panasonic’s is a GF-3 in 8th place, Sony’s is a 5N in 14th place, and Nikon’s is a J1 in 18th place.

      • Boooo!

        “4/3 bodies and lenses aren’t selling in a quantity large enough to perk anyone’s interest.”

        Maybe that’s because there are no bodies to sell, except the stupidly expensive E-5, and people don’t want to waste money on lenses that are borderline useless on m4/3?

        I’d like the 7-14, the 150, and the 2x TC. I’d be willing to get a bank to purchase those lenses. Am I going to? No, because what the hell am I going to do with them later?!

        There’s also a substantial userbase of 4/3 lenses already sold. People are pissed. I see the 12-60 and 50-200 in almost mint condition selling for half the retail price, and nobody wants to pick them up. Why waste money on soon-to-be-unusable lenses?

        Bring back 4/3 and it’s not going to be anywhere near unprofitable. Olympus gear used to sell like hotcakes where I live, and even now, the common advice for someone wanting to get into amateur DSLR photography is to pick up a used Oly with the two kit lenses, because they’re really, really cheap, and then write it off in a couple of years.

  • Well Nikon was purchased by an investment company years ago and they still go strong. With that said anyone want to by a black EPM1?

  • Anonymous

    Maybe sumsang should buy olympus, to learn how to make a good camera body.

    • I suspect you haven’t tried a Samsung NX100 or other camera. Olympus could learn a lot from Samsung. It isn’t the body that holds Samsung back, it’s been the sensor and marketing.

  • Vivek

    They will have to sell what is currently profitable in order to survive.

    • Huh? Let’s see, let’s sell all the profitable stuff so that we have all the unprofitable stuff left over. Yeah, that sounds right.

      Simply put: Olympus would want to keep the endoscope business intact because it owns 80% of the market, generates most of the profit and cash flow, is in a semi-protected market that’s growing, and would make a very nice business all on its own. They’ll sell any and all OTHER assets necessary to make that happen. If that won’t cut it, they’ll declare bankruptcy and try to preserve the endoscope business that way.

      • @Thom Hogan
        actually endoscopes are not guaranteed to grow as more less invasive techniques become more widely available.

        • The less invasive techniques are currently far more expensive. Given what’s happening in the medical arena, we’re not likely to see a replacement technique that gets picked up in any volume any time soon, and Olympus still has plenty of markets to grow into.

          • Less invasive techniques use less labour, are more versatile and are quicker and unlike endoscopes are unlikely to do any internal damage.
            Those markets it has room to grow in might skip endoscopes all together and go straight into the less invasive techniques, like Africa and India has largely skip landline phones.

  • I think the Olympus camera brand is worth a lot = selling can bring in a lot of money + aquirerer will continue use the brand name and products. R&D does very well considering……
    Panasonic may want to get rid of the competition, that is a threat.

    • Frederic Hew

      It’s not worth much when the stocks are so low, unless the buyer is as generous as to buy it at for considerable premium… and why should he?

      The three most influencial parameters in determining the worth of the company (or part of) are stock value, profitability (i.e. prospects of future income) and demand.

      Do your own math… 🙁

      • @Frederic Hew
        you forgot cash flow (which is often more important than profit in the real world) and assets…

        • Cash flow of the imaging operations is likely negative, not positive.

      • hlbt

        Current PBR is 1.6 — high or low?

    • Unfortunately, the Olympus brand for cameras is a mixed lot due to a lot of mistakes plus lack of marketing. Olympus should mean “small cameras done right.” It did once. It sometimes does and sometimes doesn’t now. In other words, they diluted the brand value from its historic position.

      Panasonic is in a rock and a hard place. Olympus’ success with m4/3 has actually been good for Panasonic. The sum of the parts look better than the parts by themselves. With Olympus gone, m4/3 becomes just a G3, GF3, GX1, and GH2 against some formidable competitors, and Panasonic’s ability to sell and market outside of Asia is highly questionable at this point, especially in the US. With no co-conspirator in m4/3, m4/3 looks weaker. Some key lenses that made m4/3 look better than alternative formats get lost, too.

      But if Panasonic takes over Olympus Imaging, they get a lot of redundancy and very little IP leverage.

      • @Thom Hogan
        Panasonic mirrorless is absolutely smashing it in the United Kingdom fyi…

        • I actually tried tracking that assertion down. It appears to be a Panasonic assertion with no supporting data. But even if they are, here in the US the actual data show that they are failing miserably.

  • Setu

    Valentín Sama optics and camera expert and well introduced in camera companies, with excellent relationships with Olympus cameras personnel, wrote about Olympusgate with one of its “I see I don’t see” predictions.

    Link to
    http://valentinsama.blogspot.com/

    Article
    Madrugadas con radio, y el panorama

    Part
    Pero el Dr. Kaufmann de Leica Camera AG, que de pequeño debió ser un niño bastante travieso, ya ha avanzado a los miembros del “Leicaforum” que habrá al menos una sorpresa más, y que dicha sorpresa no es la CSC, sino… además de ella. Y ahora que caigo… en uno de los sueños a los que hago referencia al principio, más bien una pesadilla, creo recordar que el Dr. Kaufmann aparecía con los ojos ligeramente “rasgados”…

    In few words he suggests that Leica can buy Olympus camera division.

    • Leica buying Olympus? Now that gets me excited!

      Even though they are already involved with Panasonic, this would give them an opportunity to become more independent at this position in the market. With the report that Leica want 0.5% of the market share (correct? no?), this might be their ticket!

      Fantasy aside, I’m still hoping Olympus pull through this in one piece!

  • @Setu
    Leica would be an interesting purchaser of Olympus imaging 😀

  • camerageek

    “…I know Olympus managment will try to do everything to not sell the camera division…”

    Really? Are you in the Olympus boardroom regularly? No? Here let me explain business to you. Oly’s board is concerned only with two things; 1)Profits 2)Getting this scandal as far behind them as fast as possible. Knowing they will have to sell assets to cover whatever loses when the books are revised they will of course be selling divisions that are losing money first no matter what others think of the historical significance of that division. The board’s job is to make money and historical sentimentality won’t pay the bills or balance the books.

    The future of Olympus Camera will depend on who buys it. Only a very strong company with excellent reserves of liquid assets will keep the company together. There are not many of those. Most likely they will be purchased by some holding firm that will then mine and sell patents before finally liquidating the company. Either way m4/3rds will suffer as if a strong firm takes it over, they will most likely concentrate on what makes the most money for a good ROI (i.e. expect m4/3rds development to slow to a glacial crawl. If it is a holding company, expect no new m4/3rds.

  • Boooo!

    I would like to see a financial breakdown for the Imaging Division.

    I can’t help but have the feeling that a lot of the financial losses were caused by creating a billion models and lines of shitty compact cameras.

  • hlbt

    Tokyo’s investment forums are filled with speculation on potential buyers, most names coming from the medical sector. I think Nikkei named Fuji and one medicine company as potential buyers.

    Olympus’ assets/IP must be a goldmine for the defense industry. Thus, I’d speculate that the company would stay within Japan. I find it difficult to imagine vultures from the financial sector overpowering entities acting on military interests.

    Konica Minolta may be a relevant example of what may happen to Olympus’ imaging division in the future. Konica Minolta sold their camera business to Sony, but retained IP rights of their technology (incl. lens design).

    • > I think Nikkei named Fuji and one medicine company as potential buyers.

      Let’s not forget the Canon. There was an information that Canon too is eying the Oly medical business.

      Actually, acquisition by Canon might be not that bad idea at all.

      But last news I have seen is that they are too on sidelines, waiting for scandal to clear. And most importantly waiting for the corrected booking: one can’t buy something of undefined value.

  • Aly

    It would be a hard hit for the m4/3 format, but losing Olympus is really meaningless in the big scheme of things. They would join a long and distinguish list of Minolta, Konica, Yashica, Contax, Topcon, Cosina, Petri, and soon, Kodak and Pentax.

    • ihateidiots

      What? Cosina is still functioning quite well.

  • We just should stop discussing these speculations that are launched whenever the Oly stocks seem to be on the way to recover. Quite obviously, somebody is interested in destabilising the company for a hostile takeover or whatever.

    • Well, as we know by now there are Corporate trolls going viral but also the clueless, and the vultures feeding on carrion. Sad human nature.

  • At the end of the day sales matter. In the last 2 years Oly has been the first or the second in mirrorless sales according to BCN rankings, the PL1 being at the same time the bestseller and the best longseller, so I am not sure how the camera division is making losses, unless they sell the cameras for nothing which is not the case.

    At any rate I am doing my Olympus appreciation job, having just bought a PL3 and a P2. Those hopefully will last me years, and since I like Panny too it’s not like m4/3 is closing down. But surely it would be impoverished, if Oly design team were disbanded. Another reason of hope is that Oly for the better or the worse in in Japan, so it might not be humiliated the American way, by selling the family jewels i.e. the patents, or even the furniture.

    Oly’s truest advantage is cultural: they have been into photography for almost a century: therefore their taste in colour signatures but also their mind blowing attention to customisation sot that a photographer can consistently achieve the highest IQ. Make no mistake: they are among the three best for optics, with Leica and Zeiss.

    • > At the end of the day sales matter. In the last 2 years Oly has been the first or the second in mirrorless sales according to BCN rankings

      BCN is Japan home market only. The vast majority of the market is US/Europe, where the numbers don’t look so good.

      > I am not sure how the camera division is making losses, unless they sell the cameras for nothing which is not the case.

      Perhaps you’ve missed all those US$399 and US$499 sales of E-PL1, E-PL2, and sometimes even E-P2? And yes, high discounting has occurred in Japan, too, which is actually one of the reasons why Olympus has done well in the BCN rankings if you look closely. Simply put, it is clear that Olympus still has significant E-PL1, E-PL2, and E-P2 inventory at a time when they’re trying to sell E-PL3, E-PM1, and E-P3 models. While we can’t say that they’re unprofitable simply from that fact, it is a highly suspicious clue that they are failing to meet their business expectations. Gross selling price is likely far lower than they planned.

      Meanwhile, you’re also ignoring all the other cameras Olympus makes, most of which are selling in lower and lower volumes.

      Finally, “profit” is a malleable term. If Olympus is sitting on unsold inventory as many of us believe, there’s a high chance that such inventory would need to be written down. Profits have a way of disappearing when you have to actually pony up all the coins. And since YouDidntDidYou is a one trick pony, let’s cut him off at the pass: unsold inventory tends to also mean cash flow problems, as you have cash you used that’s not being productive while you spend more cash to create new inventory of new products that also might end up sitting on shelves due to lower customer demand due to the scandal.

    • MichaelKJ

      The notion that Oly is selling so well is inconsistent with the fact that it hasn’t exhausted its inventory of the E-PL1s, E-PL2 and E-P2. It may be first in volume, but that reflects the fact that it is selling heavily discounted outdated models for less than $400.

      The best selling E-P3 configuration is currently ranked 79th in Japan (87,600 yen including tax, or $1,130). Sony’s double lens 5N kit is ranked 14th (84,300 yen, $1,087) and the black double lens 5N kit is ranked 18th (89,500 yen, $1,154). Olympus is getting clobbered in the high profit margin $1,000 mirroless market.

  • shep

    Woodford’s father was a photographer. Woodford started 30 years ago interested in Olympus’ cameras. He has made favorable comments about the E-P3 and m4/3 and their future. If Woodford stays, he will be a strong defender of “our” cameras.

    • @shep
      his comments were barely favourable, he even said compact zoom cameras are the way forward!!!!!!!!!!

      • Curly

        I have this vision that you are sitting at home in a dark room stroking your m43 while referring to it as your “Precious”. Not too far off considering the fantasy world you live in.

        “Mustn’t hurt the “Precious”!” LOL

        • @curly
          the majority of cameras I own aren’t micro four thirds.

    • In the end you are just into Oly smearing, because they don’t reach to you as a Nikon’s shill.

      Sad thing, by now we know there are corporate trolls. They are easy to find: they have no photographic reasons, only expectations of worse to come.

      Black magicians, like Admin. BTW. Enjoying the carrion. Japanese serfs/haters-

      • Fish

        amalric,

        English is my first language and I still could not understand all of what you’re saying. You mentioned trolls, black magicians, and serfs. You wouldn’t happen to play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons would you?

        You replied to shep’s comment but I can’t tell if you were referring to him or youdidntdidyou. However, it is obvious that both those guys are Olympus supporters (as am I). In fact I can’t find anyone who could be described as smearing Olympus, or being a shill, or casting a +3 spell of bankruptcy.

        Thom Hogan (although you didn’t reply to his comment), is not bashing Olympus either – he is providing a crash course in economics as it appears obvious that many people don’t understand some of the forces at work here. Don’t shoot the messenger just because the news isn’t good.

  • eventidephoenix

    I think whatever happens we don’t have to worry… whoever takes over the division may not necessarily kill an already strong brand presence, and the synergy between panasonic and olympus (or whoever takes over) will continue to make m4/3 a force to contend with 🙂

    The only thing that worries me is if Panasonic takesover… uh um…

    • It makes me laugh the kind of accounting that goes around here.

      With some 4 billion lost in speculation over derivatives 10 yrs, ago how can you say at all that the camera division makes losses?

      For all we know it might still pay to cover those losses. All I know is that Oly m4/3 cameras have been selling v. well, to the point that Oly has been reaching some 12% market share in Japan.

      • At the moment we can’t say exactly if ANYTHING at Olympus is or has been profitable over the past 20 years. They piled up US$6.5 billion in long-term debt during this period, despite absolutely owning a lucrative market. They still have substantive Goodwill and acquisitions on their books that are tied up in the cover up. The number they’ve admitted to so far is staggering, but may not be the total. The next landmark is the Dec 14th cutoff date for producing restated financials, which may give us some better clues.

        As for how we can say the camera division is making losses, pretty much that’s what Olympus has said. That’s actually one of the reasons why some of this cover up nonsense has gone on so long: Olympus has a lot of non-performing or at least under-performing assets. It’s why Woodford was hired to come in and start chopping.

  • Elf

    I think the only telling comments about Olympus camera’s future came from the former CEO…… When he said they had a five year window to turn things around. I think that day has been moved up to Now.
    The sale of assets will revolve around what is saleable. And it seems there may never be a better time than now to sell the camera division. Just my thoughts on what “I” read into the news headline.

  • panapus

    what about this name

  • zune

    All division in Olympus is optichal or/and electronic producte, not only camera division.

  • Pierre Tessier

    Please ! Stop all speculate in Olympus Camera Division’s future. Read this:

    Olympus denies camera division shake-up threat
    http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/Olympus_denies_camera_division_shakeup_threat_update_1010am_news_310595.html

    • blastingmills

      If they’d drop the price on that SHG 14-35 f2, I’d buy an Olympus asset right away!

      Even if they camera devision vaporized, I would still get a good 3 years out of my current setup. I’m going to milk my E-5 as long as I can. If the E-5 went on a fire sale, I’d probably buy one as a backup to continue using the 150f2.

      Worst case scenario, my SHG lenses become dedicated video lenses on a Panasonic…I can live with that.

      By that time, all the other camera makers will be switching to mirror less cameras and upsetting their current user base.

      • Fish

        Great point blastingmills.

        Have you ever tried the 150mm on a m4/3 body? Yes, I am aware of the balance of focusing issues but I have always been in awe of those SHG lenses and wonder if they show a pronounced improvement in image quality over my m4/3 lenses (I sold my last 4/3 body and have no desire to spend more money on that format).

        There is a 35-100mm for sale locally and I have been tempted… real tempted.

        • Boooo!

          “Have you ever tried the 150mm on a m4/3 body?”

          Doesn’t work on the early PENs (not sure about the third gen), doesn’t work on any Panasonic body that I know of.

          By “doesn’t work” I mean “can’t auto-focus at all, MF is all you get”.

          • acahaya

            really? because with S-AF the 14-35 works like a (big and slow) charm on my EPL1 and EP3. It is very well usable for everything that is more or less static. The 7-14 also works OK with S-AF.
            Why should this be different for the 150?

        • blastingmills

          I’ve used the Zuiko 150f2, the 50f2 and the 50-200 on my GH2, but strictly for video purposed. The camera does not want to auto-focus these lenses, at least not at a speed I find acceptable.

          I shoot manual focus for video projects anyways, so I am not too concerned.

          The SHG lenses are incredible. Very sharp at f2. They provide nice background separation and f2 is nice for low light applications. They have a nice look to them, when I shoot video. Contrast is excellent. I also have a Nikon legacy 50 f1.4, that I use on the GH2. The Nikon is murky and not nearly as sharp, when compared to the Zuiko 50f2.

          I’ve mentioned this before, but I use and prefer the E-5 for stills and use the GH2 for video. Overall, I really like the entire system and can see how m4/3 is a nice companion to 4/3.

          The E-5 is solid and handles very well. The colors and sharpness are great.
          The GH2 produces amazing video, but I did notice the body flexing under the weight of the 150f2, so make sure you use the tripod collar when handling that type of setup.

          • Fish

            Thanks!

  • alex

    they ant seel olympus cameras purely because they would then have to rename the medical business

    and olympus cameras with out name isnt worth a great deal really

    what they would probally cash in on is the patents book they have

  • SLOtographer

    I will enjoy my EP3 at the “restaurant at the end of the universe.” Things come and go. Enjoy what we have while we have it, while hoping for the best.

    • Here, here. In the end, it will mostly be electronic junk in the back of a cupboard. None of the electronic lenses or camera bodies will live forever. Use them, wear them out, or sell them for peanuts before they’re stuffed.
      Personally, I write off any money spent on cameras the minute I walk out of the store, I can never be bothered selling them before they wear out.
      If your selected system reaches the end of its manufacturing period, use it until you can’t stand it any more, then move on.
      Sure, I might have a momentary pang of anguish if the Olympus name disappears from the market. But then I’ll take a photo of my kids and forget about it!

      • RW

        DonTom says: “If your selected system reaches the end of its manufacturing period, use it until you can’t stand it any more, then move on.”

        I would agree with this 100% if you had not used the word “system”. The reason for buying a system versus just buying a camera body and a lens (or 2)is for reasons of future-proofing. Look how long some of the SLR systems on the market have lived in a state of peaceful internal compatibility. We can dirt Nikon and Canon all we want, but they do understand that when a customer buys into a system, they expect to be able to maintain their investment in lenses and accessories (at least) over a significant time span.

        The original 43 system didn’t quite deliver on the longevity promise as many that own the system are discovering now (at the restaurant at the end of who universe). Add little bits of current anti-system thinking such as the LVF1 not being forward compatible, and I think that potential customers have a valid reason to be a bit gun-shy of m43 as well.

        Either way, if Oly sells the camera division, this is bad for m43 in general. There are already a few competing sensor/lens mount formats, and a big reason for favoring m43 over some of the others is that it is a “consortium” of multiple manufacturers. m43 certainly will look much less appealing if it contracts down to being Panasonic’s own proprietary lens mount.

  • Michael

    It seems that Oly will need large amounts of money to pay off its debt sometime soon. To sell the camera business is then an appropriate decision (from a company board thinking), because
    1. they probably will no longer get money from banks and
    2. they surely would not want to sell the gold-coin-pooping donkey (the endoscope division, if you can believe the numbers).

    The question is only who will buy? In my opinion it will be either Panasonic, or a company that is not yet involved in the mirrorless market and will therefore gain an instant start. That leaves pentax/ricoh (No, I dont count that Q thingy), fuji, canon (?), or maybe even leica (although I doubt that they have the money, and things may get complicated with the pana-leica cooperation, because they would become direct competitors).

    Fuji or Pana are most likely, in my opinion. Question is, When will it happen?

    • What I find funny here and at DPR forum is that we are saddled by all sorts of accountants that are more than happy to avoid the main question.

      In which way an Oly camera contributes better to your art instead of another camera?
      Can you even imagine anything different than owning some dirty money embodied in a camera?

      Are you only able to match the efficiency of the tool with some imagination of your own?

      I guess you can’t, You are only accountants, wishing ill to creative engineers.

      What a sad bunch.

  • Vromopodarix

    I don’t get it, why Panasonic or Fuji? They both make their own (better) sensors (Fuji has Sony and the new organic thingy), they have good lenses on their own and Olympus sadly is not going to be a competitor for long.

    Fuji makes some of the best lens on the planet and Pana has a partnership with the other best lens maker.

    No I fear Olympus is as good as gone. I am keeping my EP1 until it dies but after that happens all bets are off.

    It is funny how things work out: when m43 was introduced ahead of everybody (except the atrocious DP1) we thought it would be the king of the new mirrorless trend. But in just three years it has managed the impossible: to have the best lens and bodies line up but lose market share to inferior systems (Sony and now Nikon), imagine what will happen to Panasonic when next year Fuji, Canon and Leica join the party.

  • There have been a lot of posts about market share & Olympus. I’m writing to share my experience buying into this system recently. I was looking for a mirrorless setup for travel to put together a lightweight kit in place of my DSLR kit. A couple of years ago, I stopped taking a wide selection of lenses for my full-frame Canon and pared things down to 1-2 lenses for travel. I wanted something even smaller & lighter that would allow me to enjoy taking travel photographs while not having to spend a lot of effort carrying gear.

    The most important factor to me was having a camera that is easy to control & use. I didn’t want to have to go into menus just to adjust basic parameters like sensitivity & exposure settings. I started by pre-ordering a NEX-7 & the Zeiss 24/1.8 from Amazon on the day they were announced thinking that I’d end up with a very high quality setup & buy more lenses over time. Because of the shipping delays and an upcoming trip, I needed to change to another setup. I didn’t want to get the NEX-5N because I think the interface is too much like a compact camera rather than one designed for shooting in the same way I use my DSLR. Because of the lens and body selection, I decided to get a m43 setup.

    I went to the major camera stores in Chicago and found that none of them stock Panasonic and only one had an Olympus body (an older PEN as they didn’t sell so they decided not to carry the newer ones). The only mirror less cameras that were easy to find were the Sony NEX & new Nikon system. I was surprised to see this, but I guess that distribution is why Canon, NIkon, & Sony will likely dominate the market over time. I ended up ordering a full kit over the internet (Amazon, BH, J&R, & used) to get a GH2 with kit lens, 25/1.4, 7-14, & 100-300. Over the past weekend while shopping, I noticed that Best Buy carried some Panasonic & Olympus models, but that the Nikon & Sony systems were shown with large displays which promoted the products. Based on what I saw, the only people who are going to end up with a m43 setup are somewhat experienced photographers who seek out this equipment. I suspect that is a much smaller niche than the group of people who go to a retail store looking for a step up from their digicam.

    If this is the case & m43 is going to be a niche system for the experienced photographer, then releasing products which cater to this segment is essential for survival. Most people upgrading from a digicam aren’t going to spend the money for high quality primes or fast zooms just like most people buying entry-level DSLRs don’t expand much beyond the kit zoom. I chose to go with Panasonic because the GH2 is relatively easy to control (changing flash exposure compensation requires going into the menu, but everything else is straightforwards) and they offer a broad lineup of lenses. I am looking forward to the new fast zooms, a potential high-spec body, & I’d love to see a high quality telephoto lens to equal the 7-14 & 25/1.4 (prime or zoom). Seeing the GX1 targeting the somewhat advanced user compared to the GF2 & GF3 is a tangible acknowledgement that someone understands the market that these cameras are being sold in.

    • Esa Tuunanen

      > I went to the major camera stores in Chicago and found that none of them stock Panasonic and only one had an Olympus body
      Completely poor visibility of Oly and Pana in US shops doesn’t apply globally.
      Even if system camera market has been dominated heavily by Canon alone here in Finland major camera stores have had also other brands and Olympus lower end DSLR kits were quite recommendable for photography beginners because of very decent quality of 4/3 kit lenses.
      Since then problem of Oly has been their stubborness to this pocket PEN only total lack of strategy for competing others to keep and gain market share.

      Again in central Europe there are lot of camera shops and other big shops so I wouldn’t use some Amazon numbers for ranking total sales to one way or another here in Europe.

  • RW

    “Reuters also underlined that….prospective bidders are expected to stay on the sidelines until the situation becomes clearer.”

    Exactly. Anyone other than Panasonic actually has an interest in seeing how low the value will go before acquiring the division at fire sale prices. Panasonic, on the other hand may have a vested interest in Olympus remaining stable and in the market – both as a customer for their surplus sensors, and as a m43 consortium partner. Multiple “active” partners in the consortium give it credibility.

  • Selling off the smallish camera business can not save Olympus. Just saying.

    P.S. “Selling assets” is part of any company-going-through-crisis. Just saying.

  • HHBLx

    Olympus, Inc. has a big problem and the camera division won’t solve it for them!Sad to see the death of Oly cameras (and sweet lenses!).

    Probably means the death of m4/3 in the long run–unless Panasonic turns out to be much more creative than we can reasonably expect them to be.

    I’ve been in denial for the past year or so. I really like 4/3. I have both Oly and Panasonic gear. (m4/3 is so small I never change lenses–one lens, one body–I’m in heaven.)But this Olympus crisis has helped me begin the grieving process. Fortunately, I won’t need to buy any more gear until all the other companies have shown their cards. Maybe Lytro should buy Oly Camera!

    If any forum posters know a lot about the photo equipment industry, do you have any idea of when small boutique businesses will have the ability to take production cameras from a Sony or Canon or Samsung and then customize them for discriminating users?

  • EvieEff

    Here’s an off-the-wall suggestion for a possible buyer of Oly’s imaging division: Seiko-Epson. They have made digital cameras before (RD-1 and variants) but are not committed to a particular sensor format. They also produce the EVF used by Oly already (if memory serves), and they could use the purchase to increase their foothold in the camera market, like Ricoh is trying to do by purchasing Pentax, if that is something they aspire to.

  • Macy

    If Olympus goes down, who cares. Buy a Lumix.

    • Solar

      The olympus Pen form attracted me to M43 in the first instance. If all that remains in the M43 category is Panasonic SLR copies then I will use my oly gear until it dies and search for another category. What quality do you think Panasonic will bring to the market if oly disappears?

      Maybe a 2014 G5 with the functionality of a P & S; of course delivery for this item will be Xmas 2016…. Maybe an X rangefinder that collapses on itself. And when the new Pro body arrives, how much do you think that will be? Double the price of a Pentax K5?

  • james

    After reading through all the response here it only confirmed my fears in this company. Olympus imaging division is sinking fast and so far I don’t see any significant innovation on their new m4/3 that would entice canikon users to switch to m4/3. I’ve been an oly user for 3 years now and I really like their lenses. It’s sad to see that there may be a possibility that 4/3 will be stopped once they sell the imaging division but that is business. If something isn’t profitable anymore you should dispose of it. A couple of months ago I was planning on purchasing a epl3 and the 45mm lens but after reading a lot of alarming news about the company I am having second thoughts in investing in the four thirds or micro fourthirds system. Maybe I’ll just settle with my current gear for now and wait and see what will transpire next year. At first I was really hopeful that olympus would bounce back from the scandal but seeing that there hasn’t been any movement on the new stocks of pen cameras and lenses on the local stores here in my place only confirms that the company is in deep trouble. I hope everything will work out well with Olympus. As for me I have no plans in abandoning my current gear. I am still happy with what my oly gear has provided me. If the time will come my gear will give up on me that will be the only time I will be switching brands if the fourthirds format would no longer be existing. The only downside with this scenario is that my lens will be useless by that time.

  • Mumbly

    Everbody’s thinking/speculating here about which Japanese or Korean (talking about Samsung) company could by Olympus’ camera division, but you all forget the Chinese!

    I bet there are a lot of Chinese manufacturers who already do some ODM/OEM-manufacturing and who have a lot of financial as well as technical resources, and who are eagerly waiting for such an opportunity to enter the camera market as a fully independent camera maker.

    This wouldn’t necesseraly be bad news for Olympus resp. the m43/43-system as it makes no sense developing a new mirrorless camera system from scratch if one can aquire a “ready-to-use” system! Look at what happened to Konica Minoltas camera business after its acquisition by Sony. Sony didn’t dump Minoltas future DSLR construction plans but realized them under their own name. A Chinese manufacturer would most likely even keep the name Olympus as the brand is already well known to the market. They could buy the complete “package” consisting of the brand name, the camera system and the know-how; some Olympus engineers would be kept in the beginning to “share” their knowledge with the Chinese engineers and later be fired when there is no more use for them…

    • Esa Tuunanen

      Good point that Chinese option.
      There’s already lot of manufacturing in there (almost expecting some natural catastrophe to hit those factories) and those companies surely have their own ambitions but lack brand to use outside their own country.

    • ihateidiots

      Japanese won’t sell vital assets to gaijin.

  • Torstein

    Hmmf, It looks like I will be able to buy a cheap used 12-60 soon if Olympus camera division disapears. And I still want that 8mm FE. Then I can use my E-5 for the next 10 years and I still have whatever lens I need!

  • Ahem

    “I know Olympus managment will try to do everything to not sell the camera division.”

    What is this “knowledge” based on? Not on reality: the camera division is the poorest financial performer at Olympus. I’ve been saying for over a year that Olympus will sell it off, now is a great time for that.

  • Disraeli

    the problem is, who would buy the camera division.

    • zune

      Yes, the is not it`s will buy on only camera division, but maybe on Olympus company.

  • All very sad. Personally, I’ve decided to jump ship. It was time where I wanted to upgrade from my E-600 anyway, and there really isn’t a good path to do so. The E-5 is nice, but overpriced (and also something of a dead end). I’d like to think micro 4/3 will provide an acceptable upgrade path for my lenses (particularly the 12-60), but that’s unknown. Then there’s uncertainty about the future of the company itself. When I look at the dollars involved, it just doesn’t make sense anymore, which is too bad because there’s some really good stuff from Olympus, and the potential for some very, very good stuff. I just simply don’t have money for a potential dead end. I feel sad about that because I love my E-600.

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