More very bad financials from Olympus.

Discussion in 'Micro 4/3 News and Rumors' started by D7k1, May 8, 2015.

  1. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    I love the Olympus stuff, this analysis by Tom makes me pretty sad. Tom can be a bit of an alarmist but that chart is seriously cause for concern. If Oly does use the camera portion of their business for R&D Perhaps we will see just three cameras (like the 10, 5II, & 1) but at significantly higher prices. I'd be happy keeping my EP5 for 10 years and adding another m43 body, but it makes me think twice about wanting a $1,000 plus lens. It will be interesting to see Panasonics and Nikons figures. I'm covering my bases keeping two systems going but I don't know how many folks can afford to do that. This is the Dickens - the best of times and the worst of times IMHO.
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  2. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    It's hard to imagine a scenario where Olympus is turning a profit from their camera business. I don't know if Panasonic and Sony and Fuji are doing any better. I guess I should go buy a camera or something to help keep things propped up...
  3. Serhan

    Serhan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 7, 2011
    Sony turned to positive... Maybe it is due to sensor sales coming from Apple and Samsung sales... Today SAR was reporting they can only supply 50% of sensor demand coming from Chinese firms:

  4. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I suspect almost all the companies will be doing their best to mask poor camera sales with high margin businesses like video / broadcast cameras.

    I would be surprised if Fuji makes any money on their X-Mounts, but the cost of revenue on them is so infinitesimally small compared to the size of the company that they can keep it around as a hobby business. Just like Pentax is for Ricoh these days...

    It's not a great sign for M4/3, to be sure. But if it's any consolation, I just bought a used 11-22mm that is likely no younger than 10 years old, and it works like a charm. So even if Olympus and Panasonic got out of the game tomorrow, all the gear that's floating around on the market won't go bad for a long time to come...
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Darren Bonner

    Darren Bonner Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 1, 2013
    Poole UK
    I would only be concerned if new products from Olympus and Panasonic stopped coming out altogether. Still some electronic equipment seem to last, My father in law still has my old 6mp canon bridge camera which is about 10 years old and it is still working fine.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    I'm not the least bit concerned for various reasons, some of which are:

    - Every camera manufacturer is doing poorly in their camera division.
    - Olympus is showing that they're committed, at least for the time being, with frequent new product releases.
    - Olympus' digital camera division is just a fraction of their main core business which is in the medical and surgical field.
    - Getting rid of their camera division would do more harm for their brand image than the current monetary losses.

    I'll continue to buy and use Olympus cameras as long as they continue making quality products, regardless of their financials.
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  7. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    I am committed to m43 (as well as Nikon) and I hope Olympus and Panasonic make it through this shake out. It looks like Panasonic is to shake the video world up again - if the G7 gets 4K I sure the GX8 will get it also (43rummors thinks they are both coming). I've never had a camera that feels, to me, as good as the EP5.
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  8. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    I expect Olympus and others will trim their lineups. There are too many options. Makes more sense to have fewer options and sell them at greater margins. So I expect Oly and Pany to drop lower-priced, mediocre performers and keep the higher-priced, most highly regarded models.

    They could also develop, or co-brand more accessories. Oly is weak in accessories. I'll have bought multiple bags, a couple of tripods, a soft/box card and battery holders...true those are saturated markets. But at the moment I've bought NONE from Oly. Should be simple to re-brand and market quality products and increase accessory revenue.

    There is a concept - ARPU or ARPC ( avg revenue per user / avg revenue per customer ). Oly and Pany get virtually $0 additional $$$ from a camera or lens buyer.

    You want customers who buy marquee items loading up. You want them leaving the store with a few extras...a fitted case for that lens, a bag designed for the system with your logo on it...

    I can go to Best Buy and leave with Canon emblazoned on a lot of things. Not Oly or Pany. $$$ left on the table.
  9. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    In the end, I just don't care that much. Right now there were enough compelling reasons and products for me to switch from canon. Everything I own should continue to be viable for years. If Olympus or even m43 dies, then so what? I'll pick my next camera from someone else and carry on. I can make good photos with any brand.

    Realistically, though, if Olympus bailed, Panasonic would get a big boost and would be less likely to fail. Kodak could become less of a small player, too. A perfect storm would have to occur for the whole system to die.
  10. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    They are making money on sensors though, not their cameras. If they wanted to maximize profits there, they could decide competing against their sensor customers is a bad idea. I think everybody but Canon has a good reason to leave the industry if you think about it.
  11. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    I doubt very much that the M43 product line will disappear. Even if Olympus got out of the camera business, they would certainly sell the Olympus brand and product line to someone as a means to recoup their losses. Canon or Nikon would happily buy it to save from developing a smaller sensor interchangeable EVF product line from scratch. It's easy to spin it as a positive thing from the purchaser's viewpoint and gets a big chunk of the seller's marketing/R&D investment back quickly.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I doubt it would be Nikon or Canon as they have their own lineups (as odd as they may appear), but I agree someone would buy it . Pentax looked a lot worse than Olympus does and they got picked up by a big and stable company like Ricoh. Maybe either Panasonic or Olympus will cannibalize the other one's camera business. Maybe Sigma could use a "normal" camera system instead of their quirky stuff. Who knows.

  13. Pentax was in a worse shape ( I shot Asahi/pentax SLRs back in the day) and they were purchased. Their stuff is still available through Ricoh. Beats the hell out of me how they couldn't capitalize on their 645 in digital.

    Leica was near bankruptcy until a rich aristocrat with a passion for photography, a very strong business background, and the capital required to resurrect it bought it. Its doing fairly well even though its a relatively small player.

    Konica Minolta and their old AF mount is still around under the Sony banner.

    I think Olympus is in a lot better shape than all those three prior to being purchased. In the end, it really doesn't matter much to me. As long as I'm enjoying the purchases now.

    I do wish Olympus the best of luck...
  14. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    It would be great to see Olympus turn things around, as they do seem to truly still have a mindset around enthusiasts' wants and needs. But, you have to wonder, if that mindset may be part of their problem from a business standpoint. Can we really support their business enough to make it viable?
    • Funny Funny x 1
  15. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    I'm pulling for Olympus, but all that has to happen is for Canon or Nikon to release a Prosumer MFT camera with an adapter that enables use of their legacy lenses with communication to the body and its over for Olympus and Pany cameras.

    The shame in all of this is that innovation and choice suffers for all of us.
  16. I don't think enthusiasts these days can really support an entire camera division without significant efforts to keep operations low cost. When cellphones reached the point of being acceptable for every day shots, most people who claimed to be "enthusiasts" went towards the cell phones.... The upper tiers of this "enthusiasts" group went towards "the big two". What was left is up to Panasonic, Olympus, Sony, Fuji, etc.. to fight over. Sony being also a manufacturer of the majority of the sensors on the market is far more capable.

    In the mid to lower priced enthusiasts stuff... there are too many choices and not enough consumers.

    Leica hit a similar problem... they raised their prices significantly.. they are in a unique position to do so.
  17. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Seems to me that 4 or 5 years ago, they would have been fine with the kind of execution they're doing today (steady stream of advanced enthusiast gear). Problem is that the market for digital cameras is collapsing, and there's just not the kind of volume their used to be. In a perverse way, I think they would have done better going full-frame, where they would have had some flexibility to raise prices. As it stands, the choices for reaching profitability are between increasing sales volume (very hard - given the competition and shrinking market) and lowering costs.
  18. inthecage

    inthecage Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 4, 2010
    North Ohio
    M Ferencz
    There is really no reason to have more than 3 cameras in their lineup. Pens should be eliminated. I would be stunned if after years of 4/3 and m4/3rds that they are even remotely considering abandoning the ship. Fact is it's been sinking for 10 years and they have survived a mount change, a major finacial scandal, cell phone cameras, and years of red. What makes anybody think that they won't survive another 10? Olympus makes cameras and that is as simple as Ford making cars here in the USA. Not making cameras is not an option. Could be wrong, but something tells me the company will carry the camera division indefinetly.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  19. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I think some of these companies are treating the anomaly boom of the mid to late 2000s as growth. In reality it was a one-time trend as people switched from film to digital and then upgraded as resolution and sensor performance changed dramitically from year to year. Now we are at a point where the reasons for upgrading frequently are not as compelling and everyone has already switched to digital. So really, we are back to levels of demand more in line with the film era.

    I think camera companies are going to have to get "real" and figure out how to remain profitable with much lower sales numbers. That means slower R+D, slower product cycles, lower production and fewer employees and costs. That likely means fewer, higher quality products that cost more. Leica is an example of this in the extreme.

    The problem is that how do you get there when your competition is also still pouring money into a shrinking market? I think some of these companies are going to innovate and compete themselves to death chasing each other thinking that is where the profits are going to come from. What might happen is that the company that "wins" by selling the most cameras also loses the most money. And some niche players who sell fewer, specialized products at a high markup with smaller overhead will stay profitable.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  20. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Yup, it seems that the sensor business, and a few other divisions, is floating Sony's boat. Doubt that they're making much, if any, profit from their camera business.