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Sony wants to buy a 20-30% stake of Olympus


Now it’s getting serious guys! The very reliable Japanese website Nikkei (Click here) reports that Sony plans to buy a 20-30% stake of Olympus. Techradar says that “The capital and business alliance would be mainly aimed at bringing together Sony’s strength in imaging sensor technology with Olympus’ expertise in endoscopes and other medical equipment.” Only one week ago Olympus Japan announced new digital microscopes with Sony’s HDR sensor.

Right now I cannot guess how this will influence the camera business. Don’t think that Sony will “force” Olympus to join the NEX system or to use Sony sensors on m43 camera. After All Sony already supplies many competitors with their sensors (Canon for compact cameras, Nikon and Pentax with APS-C sensors and so on). I have the exact opposite question, will Panasonic work together with a partner that is now in business with a direct competitor?

  • io

    First! :D

    Here comes the Sony sensors!

    • DonTom

      Of course Panasonic will still work with Olly, and now they will have to be more competitive. All Japanese tech is massively inter-connected. Not by accident!
      This news increases the odds of a truly up to date Panasonic sensor in the OM-D.

      • bilgy_no1

        “This news increases the odds of a truly up to date Panasonic sensor in the OM-D.”

        I don’t think so. The OM-D is long finished in design, even production will be ongoing as we write. This news is too late to have any influence on a product that will be announced on the 8th of February.

        • got a feeling the official Olympus announcement will be brought forward to the 5th or 6th so as to clash less with Canon and Nikon’s announcements around the 8th…

        • DonTom

          I know what you mean, but Panny would have been nervous about such a deal the moment the shit hit the fan at Olly. This should have prompted them to put their best sensor forward for Olly, less reason for them stray in the future!
          Of course, we could all have it wrong. I thinl the Nikon 1 sensor (with PDAF) is made by Aptina. If Olly is going down that path, it could be made by anyone who can access the patents/ technology required. Here’s hoping!

          • Not happening. Like he said the omd would be in production runs by now. No time to calibrate a new sensor. No time to create a 4/3rds sized one.

        • Vlad

          Sony could’ve provided sensors earlier and the current agreement can be a different one. It’s all possible.

      • Charlie


      • achiinto

        Maybe we should wait for the 2nd iteration of the OM-D and maybe it will have a Sony sensor.

    • bilgy_no1

      “Here comes the Sony sensors!”

      For endoscopes…

      • krugorg

        Have you seen the size of those NEX lenses? =O

        • spam

          That’s why they need tech from Olympus.

    • @io aooh no, not in my body please. :-D

    • Is there any rewards of being the first to respond a thread? R u a kaskuser? If so, please leave this nonsense in your forum.
      As for the topic, any sensor, any investor, any acquisition that could bring more improvement to future Olympus Pen, I will support it. Just please keep the pricing reasonable :)

  • this sounds credible-
    although I’m hoping it will be a 15-20% share so Olympus can buy back the shares in better times :D (not too sure how Panny feels about this though)

    I notice Terumo have also bid (probably the better option) even though a certain someone suggested they weren’t big enough to bid ha, ha…

  • Kaloksi

    I guess this could be a win/win scenario. Panasonic can’t do much to it unless they counter offer Sony’s offer and get a 20-30% stake in Olympus. In terms of market capitalization Panasonic is worth more than Sony.

    If Sony manages to get a foot in Olympus board I don’t think they will discontinue the micro four thirds technology. Would be too much to loose from it. This way in case Nex system does not prove to be worthwile in future (due to bigger lens for a small body) Sony can always move to micro four thirds as this is the most balanced system in terms of sensor/lenses size.

    • OlyFan

      “This way in case Nex system does not prove to be worthwile in future (due to bigger lens for a small body) Sony can always move to micro four thirds as this is the most balanced system in terms of sensor/lenses size.”

      For the kind of feedback NEX-7 has been getting, I highly doubt this will be the case. Its much more feasible for Sony to address their lack of lens issue. Note that, the NEX system has been knocked repeatedly for the lack of proper lenses rather than its size.

  • Biggstr

    Sony sensors might not be a bad thing. Would this mean that in the future there is an outside chance that Olympus might get advanced Sony sensors before Nikon? Does this mean that the 4/3 and MFT sensor update problem for Olympus is finally solved? a 20% to 30% stake is not a controlling interest so at least Olympus maintains its independence.

    • OlyFan

      I think a more pressing question is – “Will Sony be willing to manufacture 4/3 sensors?”. I think Olympus still had autonomy in their selection of sensor suppliers. Their problem was that not many were willing to manufacture a 4/3 sensor except Panasonic. Its quite an investment for a sensor supplier to change their assembly line to accommodate a new format unless its a viable proposition for them.

  • Olympius

    Of all the big tech firms in Japan, Sony was the last one I would have thought would want a piece of Olympus…but it’s looking more and more like they are going to be the benefactor Olympus needs at this hour.

    I know that Olympus is already using Sony sensors in their point & shoot cameras, I wonder if there is a way for Sony to start supplying 4/3 sensors….could be interesting, and Olympus needs to find a way to differentiate themselves from Panasonic.

    Very interesting…..

    – Olympius

    • Ross

      While we are looking at this with reguard to Olympus Imaging (consumer cameras etc.), the main object of any company having any interest in Olympus is it’s medical systems, such as endoscopes etc. Obviously Olympus lenses carry a lot of reputation too & the issue with camera sensors etc., I think, are less of an issue either way, although I do think it may influence Panasonic’s attitude to Olympus in what it may be willing to share & hopefully be to Oly’s advantage & as already mentioned, when the financial troubles started, Panasonic would have been careful with it’s actions knowing possible future scenarios.

  • Mr. Reeee

    Olympus gets Sony sensors, while Sony gets Olympus auto-focus?

    • Bob B.

      …well…let’s see..perhaps Sony could first have a lesson or TWO on how to make a lens, before we get to the autofocus part?

      • DC

        +1. This might be a good deal for both of the companies. Olympus gets the Sony sensors, while Sony gets some lenses designed by Olympus.

      • Mr. Reeee

        Sony has Zeiss on board. I think they’re covered.
        The Zeiss 24mm f1.8 is pretty nice! They need to make more lenses like that!

        The thing about NEX and the lenses is that the bodies are so small and almost inconsequential, ANY lens looks like a monster.

        Whoever makes final decisions on which lenses to produce is the problem.

        I think of NEX as an excellent platform for adapted lenses.

        • Bob B.

          I will still take my MFT …or just grab my 5D Mark II if I need better quality. The Zeiss is a honker..I might just as well hold a full-size “camera” in my hand. To me that lens defeats the whole purpose of mirrorless…plus that system has a whole lot of other problems too. I know everyone’s feelings differ on the subject..but I do not see that as a desirable camera for too many reasons.

          • MikiCoga

            + 100000

            • Bob B.

              The Sony kit lens is like a soft-focus lens. At least the samples I have seen.
              The Zeiss is not “tack” sharp and should be for the price.
              (I guess the sensor is soooo good it makes the lenses look bad)
              The focus is slow.
              The menus are awkward.
              There are all kinds of color balance issues with legacy glass…
              Just not something I want to invest that much money in and wait and hope for good AF lenses.
              I will stick with my FF DSLR and my MFT setup. Thanks. I guess it may appeal to someone with a lack of experience.
              On the surface it looks slick.

              • “The Sony kit lens is like a soft-focus lens. At least the samples I have seen.”

                Stopped down ever so slightly, it’s mostly pretty sharp except in the corners of the frame. I don’t like the lens either though, but then I never once used the 14-42 that was sold with my GH2 either.

                “The Zeiss is not “tack” sharp and should be for the price.”

                Perhaps not what you would define as tack sharp, but the Zeiss is a superb lens in other regards. It has a very homogeneous performance across the frame with good sharpness even wide open. Colors, contrast and OOF rendering is excellent and as an added bonus the lens focuses down to 15cm from the sensor. There is some easily correctable CA.

                “The focus is slow.”

                Not really. In most situations and using the central AF point the NEX-7 with the Zeiss 24/1.8 is just as fast as my GH2 with he 20/1.7 pancake. I realize that some of the newer primes may be faster, but the Zeiss compares well in terms of AF speed to the m4/3 primes I use (20/1.7, 45/1.8, 45/2.8 OIS).

                “The menus are awkward.”

                They could use some reorganizing, especially the very long to scroll through setup menu. Luckily, the the 3 control dials and various customizable buttons mean you only need to delve into the menus every once in a while.

                “There are all kinds of color balance issues with legacy glass…”

                Perhaps, but the results are not necessarily better than on m4/3. My Zeiss Biogon 35/2.0 is sharper on my NEX cameras than on my GH2. Even corner performance is not better on the smaller 4/3 sensor. That’s only one lens of course.

                “Just not something I want to invest that much money in and wait and hope for good AF lenses.
                I will stick with my FF DSLR and my MFT setup. Thanks. I guess it may appeal to someone with a lack of experience.”

                I would say I have a fair amount of experience. I’m not saying that NEX is better than m4/3, but each system definitely has its advantages and disadvantages. As to the AF lenses, they’ll be coming as Sony is stepping up system expansion.

                “On the surface it looks slick.”

                So it does…

                • Bob B.

                  Bjorn..good responses….you know your cameras!!!!….for me …the Nex 7 is the camera that almost was!!!!…it just doesn’t quite hit the mark…and I soooooooooooo want it to.…I now have 9 MFT AF lenses
                  so..I am really hoping for a revolutionary change in the MFT system sensor! The competition is so intense…and getting more so.
                  The other thing with MFT for me is that it complements my large system. I want and need both. Big and small with huge lens quivers. But is is all fun…and I can only own so many cameras..and actually use them!!! Currently just one FF DSLR and 2 Pany MFT cameras. LOL!
                  It is an exciting time to be a photographer, right now!

                  • Hi Bob, I think the difference is that you use 2 systems, while I’ve been trying to use only one (not always been successful, I admit). With a full frame sensor in your arsenal, it’s easier to compromise on the Micro Four Thirds sensor size. After all, you can always throw the FF DSLR at the problem if the Pany isn’t up to the task. For me, NEX is my only solution (or will be soon), so I’m quite happy to have a mirrorless system with better image quality. Not as good as your full frame, but quite respectable.

                    I agree, it’s all a lot of fun.

                    • Bob B.

                      Yes Bjorn…if someone said to me….you can only have one system…I would have a LOT of thinking to do!!!!!!! LOL! Nice back and forth…I enjoyed it!!!! Thanks.

          • Mr. Reeee

            Like I said, NEX is an excellent platform for manual, adapted lenses.
            Have you tried Sony’s focus peaking? It’s pretty nice.

            For a $100 I could buy NEX adaptors for Nikon, Pentax/M42 and Voigtländer Leica M mount lenses, use my GH2 with my native M4/3 lenses and be quite content.

    • marilyn

      plus 20000

      • daniel

        Can’t agree anymore.

        I think it’s NEX’ (too) short flange-back distance that makes it hard to make lenses small and sharp. And new Fuji system might have the same problem for the reason. If it’s the case, m43 has a good advantage on lenses. All the other ILC systems have too short flange-back distance for their sensor sizes (maybe except Q system). I’m pretty sure someone has scientific explanation for this.

    • MikiCoga

      Sony is interested on Olympus medical division, olympus is a world leader making medical systems such as endoscopes. I think Sony already owns a small % of Olympus shares.

  • Chris K

    Sony wants a chance at Olympus’ patents. They don’t really care about their products. Think of the damage they could do to Panasonic with ownership of all the 4/3 and M43 patents Olympus has filed….

    • Mr. Reeee

      Japanese companies want other Japanese companies to REMAIN Japanese.
      So, anything to outflank companies like Samsung and their ilk!

  • Simon

    To be frank: what value did Panasonic contribute to Olympus – except the delivery of crappy sensors?

    An alliance with Sony would be more than welcome. Olympus could finally get access to state of the art sensors.

    • Some of the best lenses for the system???

    • Chris

      I don’t think we’d have had m43 as we know it without Panasonic. Without the burden of creating a new lens system being shared and without the economy of scale that two manufacturers using the same lens mount provides I imagine that Olympus would either have had to go for a high-end niche like Fuji or have as dubiously viable a system as the Pentax Q.

  • jim

    He he … will sony do m4/3! that would be very cool!

    Doubt it but its a nice thought!

  • Zaph

    Olympus have some wonderful lens design knowledge that Sony could also use, they seem to be struggling to get small, high quality lenses out for NEX, and maybe Olympus can help them out in that area. Plus Olympus have the fastest AF technology of the mirrorless cameras, and the NEXs are a little slow there. It’s not just about the sensors, this deal is by no means a one-way street!

    • Zaph

      I totally agree that it’s not a one-way street. Sony would win big, hence their wanting a large piece of Olympus.

  • jim

    Infact why dont they all just be friends :)


    Make the mother of all cameras!

    • Antoine


      • Mr. Reeee

        P.O.S.? ;-)

      • Ross

        Well, that has to be better than Canikony. ;)

  • WT21

    Sony wants to put real sensor technology into a camera with real styling, real menus and with real auto-focus, and in a system with real lenses.

    (yes, that’s right — the only thing Sony brings to the table is the sensor technology, and perhaps high-grade lenses, though m43 is doing well enough there).

    • Mr. Reeee

      Sony HAS style. Modern. Contemporary. Minimalist in a way.
      It may not be the nostalgic rehash some prefer, but it certainly has style.

  • Buel

    Hm, maybe Sony is not interested in the camera devision of Olympus, but only in the medical part of the company?
    If so, what would this mean for the camera devision that doesn’t look that healthy?
    Would it pay off for the Sony sensor devision to produce sensors for Olympus? The amount of 43 sensors could be rather small and thus the production less (or not?) profitable … They won’t sell these sensor to Panasonic …
    So actually this really could be bad news.

    • Buel

      If Olympus began shipping m4/3 bodies with Sony inside, I think that sales would definitely be on a sharp rise.

      • Buel

        Yeah, quiet possible. But if Panasonic is suddenly alone with m43 NEX sales might go up …

        Actually the sensor division of Sony is independant of the camera division. If the sensor division wanted to sell sensors to Olympus or Olympus wanted to have Sony sensors this would have been happend already. (Just as Pentax, Nikon use Sony sensors in DSLRs.) It hasn’t. My guess is that there was no agreement on prices.

        • Pixnat

          “But if Panasonic is suddenly alone with m43 NEX sales might go up …”
          Not possible, because the Four Thirds system is a standard created by Olympus and Kodak. Panasonic joined the Four Thirds consortium later.
          Olympus will continue the m4/3 system, and Olympus m4/3 cameras with Sony sensors would be real winners, best sellers!
          Sony would benefits of fast AF technology and Olympus’s optical knowledge.

          I truely think that an Olympus-Sony alliance would be a real treat for the Canikon domination in the photography world.

          But it’s too early to speculate, as Sony in intersted in endoscope and medical equipment business for now, according to the news.

          • Digifan

            >[I truely think that an Olympus-Sony alliance would be a real treat for the Canikon domination in the photography world.]<

            I think you have a point here.

          • Buel

            Wishfull thinking.
            1. At least in long term Sony could eleminate a competitor (if they take over Olympus one day). It wouldn’t make sense for Sony to run two mirrorless systems. According to the news Sony is interested in the medical branche of Olympus, not the camera division.
            2. The Sony sensor devision sells their products to everyone who wants them and where there is a agreement on prices. They are independant from the camera devision. They sell APS-C sensors to Pentax, Nikon and in-house. Sensor for compacts to Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, not to Panasonic. So why is there no agreement between Sony sensor and Olympus? My guess: Cost for a 43 sensor for just one client is not efficient or in other words: Olympus is not willing to pay the price they had to.
            Now Sony is taking over 20-30% of Olympus. What will change? Nothing. What happens when/ if Sony takes over 100% of Olympus? There would be an in-house competitor for NEX who is barely profitable …

            • Pixnat

              Why do you assume Sony wants to eat Olympus? It’s the base of your reasoning.

              Olympus used Panasonic sensors because they made an agreement with Panasonic when they launched m4/3. But recently, there was a news that this agreement was over. So now Olympus is free to choose their sensor supplier.

              A Sony-Olympus alliance would make great sense : one of the best sensor maker with one of the the best body/lens/jpeg/AF maker would be super profitable for both, and could shatter the photography world, for sure!

              And yes, I agree, it’s a whishful thinking for now :-)

      • Nathan

        Is Sony GUTS!

        • Buel

          It’s my wishful thinking too, by the way. The base of my reasoning is not that Sony wants to eat Olympus (though I think it might happen or the Olympus camera division gets somehow homeless as the one of Pentax was). The base of my reasoning is that Olympus was never bound to Panasonic sensor. I recall that Olympus even stated this somewhere. Actually they also used Kodak sensors. So why was there never an agreement with Sony? Sony sells sensor to its competitors anyway. Why not to Olympus? My guess: Volume / price per unit was not right. This didn’t and won’t change in any way.
          So I think Olympus is coming up with an own, new sensor design that is produced by someone else. (There are several companies who would be able to.)

    • flash

      More then likely they just think it is a good investment, and their “responsibility” to Japan INC.

      But maybe Olympus can help design a mobile phone or small notebook computer for them, they need the help.

  • Pixnat

    A Sony sensor in the next Olympus camera generations…
    WOW!!!! That makes my day! Fantastic if true!

  • Fan

    NEX 7 sensor would be great, it would be 14.9MP in M43 format.

  • bilgy_no1

    “aimed at bringing together Sony’s strength in imaging sensor technology with Olympus’ expertise in endoscopes and other medical equipment.”

    Why is everybody speculating about m4/3 implications? The quote above is quite clear: it’s all about the endoscope and medical equipment business. The people at Sony who are preparing this deal probably don’t even know about M4/3…

    Large conglomerates are not unitary agents. Look at Samsung: the mobile division says it wants to overtake Nokia in the market for mobiles in 2012. Yet the screen division happily sells Super AMOLED+ screens to Nokia.

    Not saying that Olympus will never Sony sensors in m4/3, but this article gives insufficient ground for making those speculations. The Olympus ILC unit will buy the best sensor they can get within the budget targets from whoever is able and willing to supply it. Corporate level deals will not directly influence that, especially in the short term and with only a 20-30% buy-in.

    • TheEye

      “aimed at bringing together Sony’s strength in imaging sensor technology with Olympus’ expertise in endoscopes and other medical equipment.”

      Sounds like Sony wants to build a first-rate rear end camera. It will surely be a streamlined, unobtrusive camera, “weather”- resistant, and with excellent low-light image quality.

      • tmrgrs

        Are you 13 years old?

        • TheEye

          Do you have a sense of humor?

          • tmrgrs

            Yes but it’s on a more adult level than what you seem to understand.

      • Do

        Opinions will differ how unobtrusive this camera really is.

        • bilgy_no1


        • TheEye

          Google Inside View! BWAHAHAHA!

    • +1000

    • WT21

      “Why is everybody speculating about m4/3 implications?”

      Because this board is not

      • TheEye

        “Because this board is not”

        Not yet.

        Erst wenn Olympus im Arsch ist dann ist 43rumors auch im Arsch.

        (Written in German to protect innocent “Englishers'” ears.) :-P

        • naughty,naughty…

        • tmrgrs

          Are you a 13 year old German?

        • Gabi

          Nanana, muss ich wieder schimpfen??? ;-)

          • TheEye

            Des woass I do net ob Du wida schümfn muasst! :D

      • inorog

        LOL :)

    • tmrgrs

      Once this deal is done and Sony becomes a major shareholder, it wouldn’t make any sense at all from that time forward for anything but Sony sensors to be used in anything made by Olympus including imaging division cameras as well as endoscopes in the medical division. So by the time there’s a new PEN later this year, it is possible that the Sony 4/3 sensor will make its first appearance. If not then, then for sure sometime in 2013. Maybe in the OM-D mark II?

      • bilgy_no1

        “Once this deal is done and Sony becomes a major shareholder, it wouldn’t make any sense at all from that time forward for anything but Sony sensors to be used in anything made by Olympus including imaging division cameras as well as endoscopes in the medical division.”

        We don’t know the particulars of the deal, but what has been said (focus on endoscopes and medical equipment) does not suggest that an exclusive supplier deal has been made for digicam and ILC divisions. Sony only acquires 20-30% of Olympus, and that means they cannot control even the composition of the Board (which is where shareholder influence lies primarily), let alone operational decisions of what is only a minor activity of Olympus.

        If Olympus would buy Sony sensors if they are not the best choice, the firm would destroy value of the other 70-80% shareholders.

        • tmrgrs

          Not the best choice? Are you being serious? Sony has the best sensor technology in the world right now. Hope your not one of those Panny zealots who pretends otherwise.

          • TheEye

            “Hope your not one of those Panny zealots”

            That should say, “you are.” Are you still in second grade? :-P

            • tmrgrs

              Grownups make typing errors while children think that rear-end cameras are hilarious.

              • TheEye

                I guess you have first-hand experience with rear-end cameras. Since I’m 13, I find that very funny!

          • bilgy_no1

            Not the best choice? Are you being serious? Sony has the best sensor technology in the world right now. Hope your not one of those Panny zealots who pretends otherwise.

            But the best choice is a matter of target costing and minimum requirements. If Sony provides a better sensor, but more expensive than say an Aptina sensor that is still good enough, Olympus should choose the Aptina sensor from a business point of view (hard to believe for us from a photographic point of view, but we’re an exceptional part of the camera market).

            E.G. If using a Sony sensor gives 1EV more DR, but makes the camera €50 more expensive and more difficult to sell to the intended audience, it is a bad choice.

            • tmrgrs

              For those of us who have some money, opinions may vary!

  • Kasteel

    Same sensor at different sizes will be a competitive problem for the future Olympus products, so I don’t think they go to use the NEXT-7 sensor. It scares me that Sony decided to keep only those areas that are profitable Olympus and gradually remove the photo section, at least in the body production, adapting the Zuiko lenses to de Sony Mount and keeping the medical products area.

    • TheEye

      Are you implying Sony didn’t preserve the Minolta (or Konica) brand name? ;-)

    • Chris

      “Same sensor at different sizes will be a competitive problem for the future Olympus products, so I don’t think they go to use the NEXT-7 sensor. ”

      Why? ISO and DR performance would surely be the same…

  • Yun

    Yes , this is good for M4/3 . This will definitely add pressure on Pana to create more competitive products if Oly is using Sony’s sensors .

  • MP Burke

    I suspect that Sony is really interested in the medical and scientific instrument parts of the Olympus business as these give the opportunity to make bigger profits than consumer products like TVs.
    If Sony had a significant stake in Olympus, it may feel it was in its best interests to put good sensors in Olympus m43 cameras, otherwise it could be pushing existing m43 users towards Panasonic.

    • Kasteel

      If Sony build a NEXT camera that can use the existing Zuiko lenses….. who goes to change to Pana?

      • bilgy_no1

        Don’t worry, Sony won’t do that…

  • Marco

    In my opinion this is the Sony’s logic

    Canon = FF and APS-C market
    Panasonic = m4/3 market
    Sony = FF, APS-C, and m4/3 market

  • furb


    • TheEye

      I think Sony tends to absorb rather than to preserve (What happened to Minolta and Konica?). Takes a stake larger than 50% I presume?

    • Sonympus

  • Ralentizeur

    wow, hard stuff for a tuesday afternoon…

  • Is the Sony sensor in general really that better then the ones Olympus used sofar?
    I don’t mean in specs but in practice. I used the E-P2 and now the Ricoh GXR M mount which seems to have the 12 mp Sony sensor…comparing the photos they look equally good. Maybe the noise is a bit less on the Sony, but nothing spectacular for my feeling (use mostly 200-800 ISO)
    If I hear all the comments about the Sony sensors, the new ones must be quite a big step forward in DR and noise performance. I just wonder how much I can see from all of this in daily practise.

    • Mr. Reeee

      The 16MP sensor in the NEX-5N supposedly has excellent dynamic range.

      Narrow DR is the only major shortcoming of the M4/3 system at this point.

      We have a wide lens selection at various quality levels and price points, a good selection of bodies with an array of feature sets and styles, plus a number of third-party companies producing lenses and other products for M4/3. The system is in a pretty healthy state.

      Hopefully P&O will address the sensor and DR issue in a serious manner in the upcoming OM-D and GH3.

      • tmrgrs

        I’d be very satisfied with a cut-down version of Sony’s 16mp APS sensor in my next Olympus camera. After seeing what Fuji can accomplish with older design Sony sensors in the X100 for example, it’s for certain that Olympus could also work some amazing magic with those wafers as well.

        • You will lose an awful lot of pixels cutting that sensor down.

        • Fan

          You need to choose the 24.x MP sensor from NEX-7, and then you would be left with 14.9MP.

          MFT is 61% of NEX sensor area.

          • nobody


        • Bob B.

          Don’t know the science…but we need DR!!!!!!!! ….wherever it comes from.

      • Bob B.


      • Mr. Reeee

        The Sony 5N sensor is superior to any 4/3 or m4/3 sensor that has come before—I own lots of gear from both of these formats and I can confidently say that the 5N raw images have way more “push-ability.”

        The m4/3 format has a lot going for it—except a high performance sensor.

        • Mr. Reeee

          I’m glad you said it and not me. ;-)

    • Yes it is, by far!

  • OlyFan


  • Olaf

    Sony want endoscopes, something to stop up competitors rear end….

  • jam

    I think they should all form a new company PanaSonyPus…

  • Ep3zd50_ninja

    I am all for sony sensors but I dunno.. oly and sony.. something doesn’t feel right..

  • Stageshadow

    Is the sensor of the Canon G1X made by sony? Well that would be a nice in the next Oly Camera… Just dreaming!

  • Stageshadow

    Is the sensor of the Canon G1X made by sony? Well that would be a nice one in the next Oly Camera… Just dreaming!

  • flash

    This means only means that Sony sensors will be forced on Olympus. Which is not bad now, but the next generation of sensors it means that Sony’s will not be as good as the compensation. :(

    Think of what it means for the voice recorders (mulit track dictation stuff), you can now get a Sony , or Olympus, or an OEM one made by them, or one that does not work to well.

    Sony needs a shoot in the arm in all its consumer products (with the exception of Photo!), Olympus can not really help them or can they.

  • Interesting. A sony sensor would be a revolution for Micro Four Turds.

  • Riley

    this is about equity, not trading sensors for wallnuts or whatever

  • Turner

    I am an industry outsider, but I think the trouble they’ll step into by buying Olympus shares isn’t worth a few patents about autofocus or lenses or selling a few sensors. They must have some substantial stratecial interest in Olympus in terms of keeping the competition small and divided.

  • In industry there are many ownerships of different brands that are independent from each others.

    In industry there is lots of cooperation even between competitors. For instance BMW and Volvo have Peugeot engines…..

    There may be cooperation between the two photo divisions in research – and maybe in development of certain aspects of cameras. That would mean savings in R&D that not nessecarily means sharing of the production solution.
    From the Olympus perspective co-development of sensors would be of interest.
    From the Sony perspective it would be makde part of the “smaller sensor mirrorless” segment with already developed products. Olympus also has expertice in the development of small, HQ lenses – an area where Sony is very weak (and most likely very aware).
    Several win-win possibilities here.
    Some above would like to see m43 versions of the old 16 mpix sensors – why in the world re-use old technology? The new 24 mpix are better in every sense. – And: the cooperation will probably be over the next generation of sensors that will arrive in 1 – 2 years.
    Resolution is important for image quality! Oly always said 12mpix is enough, but that is just because they oly have 12 mpix!
    I saw a comparison between Nikon D3 (FF12mpix) and Fuji X Pro 1 APS-C16mpix: IQ higher for Fuji due to resolution and probably DR. On high ISO side the Fuji outperforms the D3….
    New sensors are better than old sensors! (at least 8if we leave the tiny compact sensors out of the picture)

  • Pei

    Japanese competitors will not like a SONY-Olympus alliance that will control 60~70% of EVIL/mirrorless market. SONY might be forced to spin off Olympus image from Olympus and Panasonic might step in, buy out Olympus’ m4/3 rights, and drop the entire PEN and OM-D lines.

    • flash

      Why is that? Sony is not buying Olympus but a part of its equity.

      Olympus and Sony combined would not even come close to having even a 1/3 share of the camera market, so it is not monopolistic; a “feature” such as a lack of mirror would not matter.

      Even if it was strong anti monopoly legislation is not in place in Japan.

  • Cmon guys, its only 30% stake in Olympus, significant control for sure. But Sony still doesnt own Olympus.

    It will be interesting to see how this Sony Olympus alliance pans out though, if both shareholders approve the investment.

  • Solympus or Sonypus or Sopus :D

  • Charlie

    All this does for Olympus camera is secure the longer term future of m4/3, which is great news.

    The most important thing it does not do is supply us with another piece of the new OM puzzle. :D

  • Zo

    “The capital and business alliance would be mainly aimed at bringing together Sony’s strength in imaging sensor technology with Olympus’ expertise in endoscopes and other medical equipment.”

    its about the medical business people. CNBC is reporting the same story and as they say, its all about the medical business Sony has no interest about the camera division — the real money in made in medical.

    The whole of Olympus value is in the medical devices business

  • safaridon

    Why all the assumptions of a possible Sony sensor for the OM-D? Has everyone forgotten about Aptiva the manufacturer of the Nikon I sensor with PDAF on the sensor and good high ISO performance? Aptiva said almost a year ago that they would be also going after supply of sensors for DSLRs? Olys recent focus seems to have been trying to get 43 and m43 systems working together better with both CAF and PDAF so this source seems more rational given the time frame.

    Amin- didn’t you promise some new GH3 news more than a week ago?

    • nobody

      “Has everyone forgotten about Aptiva the manufacturer of the Nikon I sensor with PDAF on the sensor and good high ISO performance?”

      Aptina is the manufacturer of that Nikon 1 series sensor, but it’s not clear how much of the technology involved may be owned by Nikon.

      • safaridon

        Nobody – Thanks for the correction, I knew I must have the spelling wrong as couldn’t remember the exact name only didn’t find until time to correct was elapsed. Good point that sensor probably made to Nikon’s design specifications.

  • SteB

    I think Olympus has long used Sony digicam sensors. This is different than 4/3 sensors because Sony’s business model with larger camera sensors appears to be to make general sensors that are used across lots of different manufacturers. It’s quite different to other manufactures. Canon’s DSLR CMOS sensors appear to be only used in Canon DSLRs. Panasonic’s 4/3 sensors were only used by themselves and Olympus. What’s more Olympus only got to use their 12mp sensor and not either of the GH sensors or the the G3 sensor up to now. Whether they wouldn’t let Olympus have these sensors, or if they simply made it commerically impractical through pricing isn’t clear.

  • Mikey

    A 20-30% share in the company will give Sony a lot of influence on the board but it’s not a controlling share that will allow them to do anything they want. There’s still other people that, combined, will own 70-80% of the company.

    I hope Olympus’s camera division becomes profitable soon because it’s been a money loser for several years now. When your company is in need of cash and you have a division losing money, you cut it.

    • Fan

      Yeah let’s all buy the OM-D!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I don’t have anything against Panasonic, in fact, I own two Panasonic m4/3 bodies and 3 lenses. The Pany sensor has its strengths—mostly in video where overheating is less of a concern. I’ve done a full day of video using the GH-1—I wouldn’t even dream of trying that with the NEX-5n.

    But when it comes to still imaging, the Panasonic sensor falls short of the competition. Yes, you can get great images if the conditions are right and the exposure is right. The Sony sensor has far greater latitude.

    Olympus product could be great with a Sony sensor. (Just like their E-1.)

  • Nic Walmsley

    So obviously most of us come to this site for the the headline stories published by Admin …and not the insightful commentary on the forum.

    If Olympus wants a Sony sensor in their high end cameras, they’ll have to pay for them. Sony isn’t going to say, here’s a huge wad of cash, we want a stake in your medical division in return, oh and here’s some sensors to sweeten the deal. If Olympus wants to buy Sony sensors, we will pay for them.

    In the long run this could be bad news. Sony might influence the direction of Olympus cameras. Less chance of an E-7, which would compete with SLT. Maybe slower development of m43 too. I’m guessing an improved share of mid range camera sales in Japan itself isn’t number one priority, but it would be nice.

    We don’t know just how deep Olympus’ troubles go, and thus do not know how much they may need to compromise to keep afloat.

  • Vril_Ya

    Admin – any interesting updates on the camera?

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