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Olympus-Sony partnership now completed.


AP reports that “Sony has today become the largest shareholder in Olympus as the firms complete a £400m deal first announced last year.” Only in the years to come we will see how far the Olympus and Sony partnership will go when it comes to develop their digital cameras. For now there is no doubt that Olympus will keep reinforcing the MFT system and Sony will do the same with the NEX system. But they may share some tech like sensors, OLED technology and more.

Their first main goal has been defined last year by Olympus President Hiroyuki Sasa “the company might need further collaboration with Sony to turn around Olympus’s unprofitable compact-camera business.” (Source: Wall Street Journal).


  • Yun

    A good move .
    Sony will not let Olympus down for sure by providing latest sensor technology which this is the section , Olympus is poor & have struggling for years .
    mFT really need innovative sensors to make it stay relevant with the rest .

    • furseal

      Yeah Panasonic screwed up big time holding back on sensor tech with Olympus…id be surprised if they can afford to keep on manufacturing their own sensors without the extra volume that Olympus brought.

      • hsyt

        Nikon have shown that designing a sensor and having another company fab it is straightforward the D5200 designed by Nikon and fabed by Toshiba is the best APS sensor currently available. There are no shortage of fabrication companies

        • Mr. Reeee

          Lots of companies do that. Apple does it. It’s no big mystery. It’s a wonder that Olympus didn’t given their photographic history and ability to tweak sensors.

        • yinle

          You must not forget most nikon dslr used sony-manufactured sensors. Although they claimed to have designed it themselves.

        • Miroslav

          “the D5200 designed by Nikon and fabed by Toshiba is the best APS sensor currently available”

          According to Dxo. I don’t see anything extraordinary in dpreview samples. I’m not convinced by numbers that don’t correspond to actual performance.

          • street

            comparometer in image resource…. omd and g5 less noise and better detail than 5200….

  • Andrew

    I don’t see what is the point now of Olympus making any other compact camera beside the tough cameras and the XZ series. For all their other compact models, Sony does the same thing either equally or better.

    • furseal

      Totally agree, they should collaborate more where it makes sense. By building these camera’s together they can share development costs and increase overall volume.

    • 5u89u9

      The tough range are very poor image quality wise Olympus has lost a lot of money in its P&S market though unfortunate compacts account for a high percentage of Olympus turnover

      • crawler

        The tg camera’s actually compare very well to similar offerings from other brands. Your information is incorrect fud. British SAS actually use them for photography on missions where required.

        • Mr. Reeee

          Yeah, the TG1 is very good compared to other compacts, even though it’s not that small. It’s a great little camera!

          I’d love to see a version with a M4/3 sensor!

    • yinle

      Oh yeah, Nikon-designed and Toshiba-fabricated D5200 sensor is the first non-Sony manufactured sensor! Oh wait, please read:

  • tomas

    if i would be a ceo of oly i would see future and potential of compact P&S cameras in rangefinderlike fixed lens and zoom cameras with 4/3 senzors. In order not to canibalize pen & omd series they should be cleverly differentiated and priced. Also I would include native monochrome versions, later limited versions with some extra cosmetic features like titan body etc.I see market for lowend & highend here.Oly could build cameras to compete with fuji and grab a csc market where canikon behind oly & sony..create new rangefinderlike market…to me olympus brand in photography means more than sony..curent types of p&s with tiny senzors is dead…due to its poor image quality

    • Olympus Board

      You’re hired, when can you start?

    • Es

      The problem with competing with Fuji is that Fuji is basically a fart in a hurricane. Have you seen their camera sales figures? The company hardly even makes the chart.

      Its only active enthusiasts that go for Fuji products.

  • Wagawaga

    Olympus is now Sony’s Bit@h!

    • mr_t

      hell no, you’re my bitch.

      • Ross

        Now boyths. Be nithce. ;)

  • taran

    Sony says: “No peaking for you”

  • Yun

    Olympus now back to business & even grow stronger . Now is Pana’s turn to prove if it’s own new revolutionary sensor capable to turn the table around .
    I’ll see , if still far from what we expect , I would urge Pana to close it’s sensor division & look for Sigma or Fuji instead .

    • Mr. Reeee

      Panasonic should bring back the multi-aspect ratio sensor! It’s one of the best features of previous GH series cameras!

      • Yes i think multi aspect sensor is to back again in GH5, maybe coming soon. ;-)

      • Mike

        There’s no such thing as a multiple-aspect ratio sensors. It’s just different crops from the same rectangle. It is a retarded technology.

        • Mr. Reeee

          Clearly you have no understanding of exactly how the GH-series sensor works. A typical sensor simple crops a 4:3 image to get different aspect ratios. The older Panasonic GH sensor used different portions of an oversized sensor (18.3MP) to obtain higher pixel count images.

          Here’s one:

          And another:

          • hjdsu

            I have seen all the links that claim the GH2 has an over sized sensor , however every single link giving its dimensions gives it the same size as every other mFT sensor. I think it had more mp and all crops were made inside this. I would be happy to be proven wrong with someone showing a link that actually gives the size of the sensor.

    • rehrj

      If Olympus grow any weaker they are in deep trouble the lost 18 billion yen { imaging dept } double last years loss , at this rate of “growth” 36 billion is on the cards for next year

  • Sorry, is not this that Sony have 11.46% of Olympus old news from last summer. ;-)

  • I wonder how soon the honeymoon will be over.

    • It’s not going to be over until Panasonic closes down. That was Sony’s stated aim. So the question becomes: how long until Panny closes down? LOL

  • Really Andrew? What does Sony have that is better than the OMD? Nothing Sony has can touch it.

    • Anonymous


    • Adriaantie

      Nex-3, nex-5, nex-6, nex-7, rx-1, a-99, zeiss etc etc etc etc……….

      • I will put an honest reply to you as a former Sony FF camera user and Zeiss lens owner…

        The A99 in terms of sheer sensor performance is not as far ahead of the newest m43rds cameras as one may think. This can probably be attributed to the SLT design and sony’s choice of processing. Combined with the limited lens collections in their Alpha line, which is still reliant on 20 year old Minolta optics (some of which is superb, such as the 35mm f2 which i owned, and the dirt cheap but great 70-200 f4)… However that doesnt change the fact that these are screw drive, old optics.

        Now when you look at DPRs comparometer if a99 is only just ahead of the OMD at 1600, and the A77 is actually behind the OMD for noise at 1600. Combine that with the vast choice of lenses for m43rds and the APSC A77 is left in the dust, while the A99 has a comfortable technological advantage over the OMD in some areas (video) it is matched by the GH3 there.

        Looking at New we see a similar thing, where in this case, thanks to no SLT design their sensors are jusr ahead of the OMD and GH3, but with such a limited lens selection the m43rds system can often outperform the NEX system thanks to so much support.

        Having said all that, the differences are so academic and really non existent for real world shooting people are well served by both. However, the size difference between my a850 and 85mm is real, especially when chasing my son up and down a climbing frame… It is real when I travel to shoot, and the lack of intimidation of my subjects is real… etc. You can get much of that with an a58 but the lens selection for apsc alpha is really quite consumer.

        • jklop

          That is absolute nonsense the A99 is ahead of the E-M5 straight across the border even with the SLT losses. I wouldn’t trust an Olympus fanboys opinion on any camera gear.


          • Dont throw names around, it is childish.

            So, use your eyes, look at the RAW comparisons on DPR which list their processing techniques and dont use noise reduction and make a comparison, if you set the OMD at 800 it looks better than the a99 in shadow detail/noise, and equally as good in general detail. Do the same for the a77, set them both at ISO 1600, yet DXO has the a77 ahead of the OMD for its mark.

            Just use your eyes, dont use DXO to support your preconceptions.

            • ProShooter

              Stick your sony up your ass, you dumb fanboy wanker

              Why does sony always have the worst garbage as fanboys?

        • kenCDYT

          “Now when you look at DPRs comparometer if a99 is only just ahead of the OMD at 1600, and the A77 is actually behind the OMD for noise at 1600. Combine that with the vast choice of lenses for m43rds and the APSC A77 is left in the dust, while the A99 has a comfortable technological advantage over the OMD in some areas (video) it is matched by the GH3 there.”

          Instead of comparing JPEG output download the RAW files turn off all noise reduction and you will see just how bad the E-M5 is. The vast choice of lenses are with the exception of a couple of gems { 75mm , 60mm ,25mm and 35-100} either slow or mediocre or slow and mediocre lens like the 12-35 may be fast but even with a mountain of software corrections they are still far from perfect.Nex has an even
          poorer choice of native lenses, as with mFT there is no shortage of adapters for all kinds of amazing glass for those happy to MF

    • gfdsj

      The Sony cameras using their top sensors outperform the E-M5 in all areas , the real problem with Nex is their lens selection which apart from one or two are poor.Think about it for a second assuming the E-M5 is using a 16mp Sony sensor what makes any of you think a new Sony Nex using their latest 16mp on a larger APS sensor wouldn’t be better|0/%28brand%29/Sony/%28appareil2%29/793|0/%28brand2%29/Olympus/%28appareil3%29/736|0/%28brand3%29/Sony

      Contrary to what the true believers would have us believe the E-M5 hasn’t even matched the older generation 16mp sensor in the likes of D5100 and Pentax K5 ETC|0/%28brand%29/Olympus/%28appareil2%29/698|0/%28brand2%29/Nikon/%28appareil3%29/676|0/%28brand3%29/Pentax

      Sorry for all the kool-aid drinking Olympus boys who think otherwise , but those are the facts

  • MarcoSartoriPhoto

    My wish list: a Sony RX1 coupled with a less expensive Zuiko35mm f1.8 instead of that Zeiss. Brand it whatever you want, Sony or Olympus. Add an EVF. Get my money. Is it too far to become true?

    • Let Olympus concentrate on m4/3m and Sony on mirrorless FF, perhaps?

      it is quite difficult to make high performance lenses for such a short distance to flange, so Oly alone could guarantee it, at its Tetsuno factory.

      OTH m4/3 is reaching limits to growth due to diffraction, so better technology sensors might be needed.

      People think in terms of infinite progress, but it is not so. Even in Digital you can recombine images in v. many ways, but you can’t fight the law of physics.
      What is sure is that the 12 Mpx lesson, the frustration from Panny won’t be forgotten at Oly. They will now fight back with all their strength.

      Sony is also vying for digital dominance, so expect no quarter.

      • mr_t

        “Dude, half the time I don’t understand what the hell you’re trying to say.”

        That’s more a comment on your own intellect than the OP.

        • gerey

          “”As opposed to the failed Minolta digital, bought by sony, who whipped out the OVF, dropped in a light sapping SLT design leaving their bodies int he dust of all the similar sized competitors… WHile they release body after body, and no lenses leaving sony users to buy 20 year old optics and pray they dont bite the dust cost sony doesnt seem to want to make any lenses :D “”

          If it was not for its medical dept Olympus would already be long gone, their imaging division has been losing money consistently for years, this year they managed to double their losses compared to last year .Yet we here mFT will rule the world,selling off low end gear at bargain prices makes up the huge majority of sales of mFT. This is why it is not making either Olympus or Panasonic imaging depts profitable

          Even in Japan where mFT does better than anywhere else , there are only two! new Olympus cameras in the top 40 selling models the E-M5 doesn’t even appear in the chart which shows the top 80 selling cameras

          Enjoy your alpha, behaves a bit more like an omega :P

          I do not and would not buy a Sony Nex due to the lens factor you can have cheap rubbish or vastly overpriced. I really do not know if letting Sony in will turn out to be a good idea

    • gfdsj

      Olympus hasn’t made a FF lens for well over a decade , they charge £400 for a mediocre 17mm F1.8 designed for a sensor a quarter the size of FF they would probably charge even more than Sony

      • MarcoSartoriPhoto

        Then it should be the right time to surprise the market. Sony already has the sensor, Olympus could offer the glass.

        • gerey

          How much do you think it would cost to design a whole range of FF lenses from scratch both these companies are deep in the red . Have you seen what Sony charge for higher quality lenses , the 50mm f1.4 ZA is coming in at £1300 that is more than the Canon 50mm F1.2L and nearly 5 times the price of a Nikon 50mm F1.4G.

          • MarcoSartoriPhoto

            I won’t enter into de domain of economy scale costs, comparing a Zeiss cost for a single point&shoot expensive camera as RX1 and one of those less expensive lenses you mentioned but that will work on a wide range of bodies. I’m not well prepared. But Olympus has a history in OM lenses, those would suit what you call a “full frame” sensor. And Sony already has a capable big sensor. Sony has also a beautiful EVF. The “problem” is to put everything together, and putting it in direct competition to the already existing RX1. Here in Europe its price is too high, even Sony president admitted it.

  • The most produtive relationship between Sony and Olympus would be, if Sony built the bodies and Olympus built the lenses as Pa Larkin would say “perfect”.

    • That would be a retrograde step. Olympus has been the most innovative body designer in the past 10 years. They have been first (and initially decried for it often) with many of the things now found as standard on interchangeable lens cameras.

      • no bad words no abuse. just a short comment.

  • Davey Turnage

    Now that Sony and Olympus have merged they can take the best of both: the lenses from Olympus and the camera bodies from Olympus (maybe throw in sony’s sweep panorama). Then they would be onto a real winner.

    • Anonymous

      Now that they have merged we can have two major camera companies fail at once , seriously have you looked at the losses Olympus and Sony imaging divisions are making

      • mr_t
        • ghsyt

          I am not a financial genius but I see a huge difference with a company like Nikon declaring a reduction on “profits” when compared to Olympus whose imaging department has been losing money year in and year out.Was covering up losses in the imaging department not the main reason for the massive financial discrepancies which seem to have been happening long before mFT came along.

          I am very much a fan of mFT with a combo of Olympus and Panasonic gear all of which serves me very well.Considering the supposed success of mFT it is disappointing that both companies continue to do so poorly. I suspect that the real big sellers in mFT are the low end discount priced bodies sold with a kit lens or two, I also suspect that many maybe even most of these buyers will never buy another bit of gear.
          This is the group that just as with low end DSLR would be better off with a decent P&S.

          I don’t care whether mFT takes over the world I just hope that the companies can sort themselves out financially and continue developing the great gear we all use. I really feel that they have get the act sorted out this year , for Nikon and probably Canon are being rumored to be working on higher end mirrorless cameras, they have an awful lot of market clout that Olympus and especially Panasonic lack.Many mFT users mocked the Nikon 1 system which I think was really just a place keeper for Nikon , despite the smaller sensor they managed to match the 12mp mFT models , with very fast performance and considerably better AF so if they do develop a larger sensor mirrorless I would expect it to be very competitive.Nikon seem to manage to squeeze a little more out of the Sony sensors than even Sony manage, though with their Nikon designed and Toshiba built D5200 Nikon seem to have moved straight to the top of the APS class.

          I am not interested in DSLR or any other system than mFT , for me it is a good balance between size and performance. Guys further up this thread are mocking the E0S-M { not unfairly lol} however considering how poor its performance is Canon managed to take a decent bite of the market with it.

          • mr_t

            Yes but Olympus is not part of the photography oligopoly so of course was never in such a strong position as those two to be able to wear the loss of an entire segment of their business.

            When I say the loss of an entire segment of their business, I am referring to the decimation of point and shoot by smart phones.

          • ArtP

            “Was covering up losses in the imaging department not the main reason for the massive financial discrepancies which seem to have been happening long before mFT came along.”
            The Olympus financial scandal was not incurred by the imaging department, but rather was due to speculation and trading losses. It was hidden for years by rolling the loss over year to year. When they couldn’t do that any longer, they tried to hide the loss in over priced acquisitions.

  • kenCDYT

    “”What is sure is that the 12 Mpx lesson, the frustration from Panny won’t be forgotten at Oly. They will now fight back with all their strength.””

    Yes Olympus have had an amazing 18 billion Yen loss year using camera with the new sensor, that worked out well lol looks like the E-M5 was not quite the saviour the Olyboys thought oh well maybe an FT e7 at $2000 will do the trick

    Sony is also vying for digital dominance, so expect no quarter.

    Sony is vying for survival their finances are even worse than Olys

  • I am surprised as you are about how struggling are the Jap. camera companies, non excepted. However if you read Hogan, you will see that achieving size is strategic to the difference between not expanding , and making losses. C & N are the first instance, a dozen of smaller companies, including mirrorless the second.

    I believe that saying good bye to the mirrorbox allows to reap the benefits of digital, and thus, despite the present losses, mirrorless companies will eventually dominate the industry. Sony, Panny, Fuji, Olympus are therefore both fighting against C & N, and among each other for survival, with Samsung getting at their business via smartphones.

    The Economics might be boring, but at least they can help one making decisions about what system to invest into.

  • I believe that T.H. analysis of competition in the camera business must be kept separate from photography. Anyway he both owns Nikon and m4/3 equipment, so he has practical experience of cameras too.

    What we are all struggling against is camera saturation and falling profit margins. I am sure that most companies would like to introduce pricier models.

    In various blogs there is an expectation of a cheaper Leica substitute, a mirrorless FF. There seems to be a race for it, by Sony, Fuji, Pentax (?), with Panny yet undecided.

    I think that m4/3 will stay anyway, it is well entrenched. O & P will stay with it anyway, issuing more pricey, pro cameras.

    But other Pros might want next to it a FF mirrorless, and there Leica stands alone. It dropped prices a bit with the ME, which is probably a sign that it sees competitors coming.

    Keep in mind that all the low tier of mirrorless feels the heat from smartphones, so there will be a redistribution of investment, with APS being entirely dropped.

    Does dedicated photography need dedicated cameras? Digital wizardry allows even smartphones to output interesting footage. So the battle might concentrate on the upper segment, with better lenses.

    Oly’s quarterly report singled out the E-M5, and the PL5 for good sales, so there is still time to take strategic decisions.

  • Olympus need to focus to cut the rot
    A million and one fish tins with little apparent difference takes up to much shelf space in stores, they need to condense the lineage to something the market can understand, just as BMW market a hierarchy of 3 series 5 series and 7 series cars.

    Customers could also use some idea of where they are going, a lens roadmap is just the beginning of that process. 43rds users who have been left in limbo for years need some determination of what is to become of them, and I dont see the present strategy of only Ex bodies working for them, it virtually maroons Exxx users in particular.

    Theres an easy 50k sales in 43rds that requires little to get it on the road and utilise the existing lens range. The high commonality of parts with m43rds makes this a real no brainer, but additionally the fact that mirrorless hasnt found the same acceptance in US and western markets as it has in Asian markets rejuvenates sales in those areas without necessarily impacting on m43 sales.

    • So if you had be a CEO for BMW will you cut out; bike, 1-series, 6-series, 8-series, Z4 and all X-series. LOL
      Well i hope not this, and the is like be Olympus to, so when Terrada say an beautiful system mean he; XZ-series, PEN-series, OM-D-series and E-series, all camera can use same accessories to camera after when E-7 comes for i thik this will have also an AP2 port under hotshose.

  • JohnTKD

    Theres an easy 50k sales in 43rds that requires little to get it on the road and utilise the existing lens range. The high commonality of parts with m43rds makes this a real no brainer, but additionally the fact that mirrorless hasnt found the same acceptance in US and western markets as it has in Asian markets rejuvenates sales in those areas without necessarily impacting on m43 sales.

    I am sorry Riley I do not think that there would be anything like 50k FT users left willing to pony up for a new FT body.Throwing cash at a diminishing system mirrorless is the way forward it sucks at C-AF but things change.Why waste time and money aiming a product at a fraction of the potential market that a top notch mFT would.The only way this would work out is if they charged a massive premium for the camera and truly how many FT guys or gals would go for a $2000+ body.Even with a far bigger market I am sure my E-5 cost around 1600 bucks when I bought it,when you start looking at the $1600-$2000 prices the competition is damn fierce look what Nikon are doing with the D7100 for 1200 bucks.

    • In the advanced cameras there is room only for FF135 and m4/3. This has been observed in all the main blogs.

      The reason is v. easy: you can now have a new FF135 body only for 1800$, later selling at 1600. The E-M5 body only began at 1100$. There is perhaps some room for a Pro at 1300 $, but that all.

      Additionaly Pros began using both formats, as complementary, m4/3 being noticeably smaller (and with more DOF). 4/3 proper as we know has neither the size advantage, or the price advantage, so the market has no room for it. Things have changed since the E-5 introduction.

      All that is left is the few that still have it, and who bought LONG AGO 4/3 lenses. Oly can provide an adapter and call it quits.

      Additionally can we remind that the speed booster/focal reducer will give new life to FF OM lenses? But only to mirrorless?

      If there was any fair play 4/3 users would call it quits realising that the technological advantage is long gone, instead of banging the fist on the table for new investment at pure loss.

      • Oky,@Amalric, i think the is not a good idea for my to jump over to Nikon for D600 to less cost so a E-7 will do.
        Maybe sensor is two stop back but my lens is sharp from F2. :-P

        • How can you be so THICK? Olympus doesn’t produce for YOUR whims, of those of a few HUNDRED retarded who are pleased to dance while their boat is sinking.

          Sooner or alter the boat had to go down under. We’ve listened much too long to your SELFISH claims of wastrels :)

    • @JohnTKD, look more have Nikon can do by D4, i think E-7 will cost under half, if you think buy D7100 maybe you can look on E-M5. :-P

    • I tend to agree with you about diminishing sales. But having said that I only have a small investment in 4/3 gear, e330,e30 12-60 9-18 14-42. I would not buy a new 4/3 body, the wife would not let me justify it in any way. Nor do I think I need that body size any more after the ep2 and em5.
      However I would like to continue using my 4/3 glass at a speed above snail pace so for me an effective solution is an adapter with pdaf or a hybrid body that uses cdaf and pdaf nativly and the standard adapter.

      • The is also diminishing sales of E-5 now, but this will not say that E-7 not will sales good. ;-)

  • Olympus holds a special place in my heart as the OM1n was my first 35mm camera.

    However, now that Sony has taken control I find myself thinking that the Oly brand will go the way of Minolta.

    I then find myself hoping that Sony starts making Full Frame mirrorless cameras and then converts the NEX series to 4/3 format. Why? Because I prefer 4/3 to DX and fear they might discontinue 4/3 rather than DX.

    Fortunately, the world does not operate according to my fears and desires. What do others think will happen with Oly?

  • OlympuSony

    Olympus will be the new Canikon and Sony wanted a piece of it. Otherwise, Sony would never want to be a part of Olympus, let’s face it. The m4/3 proved that it’s a much better choice for any photographer, these days, than the big and heavy classic SLR’s who are becoming outdated fast fast fast. In 10 years by now, if not 5, whoever will carry a camera the size of a current full frame will look like an idiot. For me, they already look like retards, really. I am no Olympus fanboy as I used Sony and Canon, as well but I can tell you, when the four thirds models popped up a few years ago, I started to see the sense in it and now, even more with m4/3 which are the logical choice for any sane photographer, who knows how important is, sometimes, if not most of the time, to get unnoticed when capturing moments, to not get sore hands from kilos of lens and so on. Olympus is the best choice, currently and I guess they opened the way for the future. As you see, they (manufacturers) all try, lately to release their own “EVIL” cameras but fail, most of the time cause it’s hard to keep up with a company that is known for exceptional optics. Sony, found the best solution and that is, buy a portion of the best and the future market leader. I guess Nikon and Canon, will share the numbers with Pentax and Panasonic, while the Market lead will be at Olympus and Sony, due to Sony’s latest decision. Good thinking, Sony.

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